Discombobulated

Discombobulated is a cool word, somewhat archaic, yet surprisingly current. At least for me. It explains how I’m feeling—confused, disoriented.

I’m trying to get back into the routine of blogging, visiting, and writing. For the last week I’ve been making the rounds of blogs (hi, friends!), and I’m working on a WIP. The latter has been going well. I’ve finished a short story I wrote for a murder-mystery anthology. Currently, I am in the clean up and trim phase. I need to cut 2,500 words and then share it with my critique partners. I’m excited about the story and it feels good to be focused on a project again.

On the home front, life is less settled. I live in Pennsylvania, where half of our state has reopened to the “yellow phase” of doing business. My county is not one of those and has been slated to reopen on June 4th.

The problem?

Many counties—mine included—have decided to defy our governor’s orders and reopen on May 15th. Things have gotten f-ugly with state vs. counties. To make matters worse, the industry in which I’m employed is governed by the state. Needless to say the whole thing is a mess and I am monitoring day-to-day press conferences as is my employer.

I am discombobulated.

Close up of cat, big gold eyes

Perhaps this explains why I have been reading the same book for over a week. That’s odd for me, especially given the book is fabulous. I’m glued every time I open my Kindle. Yet I find it hard to open my Kindle for my regular evening routine. I’ve been going to bed earlier than usual and sleeping like a log. Being discombobulated is not fun.

I hope it doesn’t last much longer.

white cat lying on back with head tilted back looking at camera

All of that aside, I pray you and your love ones are doing well. Whatever phase of craziness your state is in, look after yourself, your loved ones, and your neighbors. A few months ago, we would have never envisioned this reality but there is no escaping it. If my father were still living, today would be his 98th birthday. I don’t believe he could have ever conceived this in his lifetime. Until a few months ago, I wouldn’t have either.

If you’re discombobulated hold faith that it too will pass.


And if you have a moment while you’re roaming the blogosphere, my good friend Craig Boyack is hosting me today with a closer look at my short story, In Search of McDoogal. I am so discombobulated, I got my wires crossed and thought it was next week—which is why I don’t have a dedicated post directing readers there.

But Craig has rolled out the red carpet for me, and I’d love to send visitors to his blog. If you are not already following him, you’re missing out on entertaining content and a great author. You can find today’s post HERE. Race you to Craig’s place . . .

With Apologies for My Absence

Hello, friends. I hope as I type this, that greeting doesn’t bring crickets. I’ve been gone for a while—over a month to be exact. I’ve popped up online here and there, but my blog has been quiet, and I haven’t been doing my usual rounds.

For that I apologize.

black and white close up of a cat's face, melancholy look

Dealing with the world as it navigates COVID-19 has been rough. I won’t lie. I’m an empath at heart, and have had to shut down and distance myself. Since mid-March, I’ve been working remotely from home (on my day job), and—strange as it may seem—it’s harder than working from my office. There are no interruptions, and I find I don’t take breaks even for lunch, preferring to work straight through. It’s easier to become immersed in a project. I’ve been highly productive, and have developed a new routine. For some reason, working social media into that pattern has been hard. Almost impossible.

But it’s time to adjust to the new normal, and I’m making an effort. Starting now, I hope to return to blogging and visiting, although my regular features may change or take a while to fall into a routine schedule. Before I went offline, I had a number of Wednesday Weirdness posts written ahead. Right now, I’m thinking that feature may change or not as appear as regularly. Just bear with me. As it stands, I’m happy to be back.

So, what have I been up to?

Pretty Siamese cat

Hmm…reading, of course! Since my last Book Review Tuesday post mid March, I’ve read nineteen books and/or novellas—far too many reviews to post. I may try to scatter a few of  them out in the coming weeks as I add new reviews.

I’ve also been invited to submit a short story for an anthology of murder mysteries. I’m knee deep in a story, reworking something I’ve had in the trunk for a while. Did you ever have a tale you loved, but knew it needed work? The story I’m using was written in the 1990s. That’s how long it’s haunted me. I always loved the overall arc, and it’s been fun to work with it again. Stay tuned for more news as the anthology progresses.

In Pennsylvania, we are still on hold. Twenty-four of our counties have reopened to a “yellow stage” but my county is still shut down. That means I’m still under a shelter-in-place order, working remotely from home. Restaurants are only open for delivery or curbside pick-up and non life-sustaining businesses are closed. My biggest outing is going to the grocery store—in which I haven’t seen a roll of toilet tissue since March 17th.

But, hey—I’m back. Or sort of. I’ll be making my rounds this week and in the future. Bear with me as I get my blog back on track. I’ve missed everyone.

In the meantime, tell me what you’ve been up to. I’ve heard news from a few of you—new releases in the works and new publishing contracts—but I’m behind. Drop a line in the comments and let me know what you’ve been doing. If you’ve got a new release or publishing contract, tell me about it. If your WIP is growing, I want to know. If you’ve read a good book and want to recommend it, tell me! Even if it’s just to say “hello,” I’m happy to return the greeting. Let’s chat! 🙂

The Saga of a Refrigerator

I’ve been meaning to share this story for a while now. Let me roll back the clock to early July . . .

When your refrigerator doesn’t work, what do you do? Tweet, of course!

But the saga starts earlier than that. In September 2017 my husband and I remodeled our kitchen. We did a complete gut and redo, opening it up to what used to be the dining room. See those wires hanging from the ceiling in the photo below? There used to be a wall there (and yes, Raven had to nose in on the action).

Room the has been gutted for remodeling, wires hanging from ceiling, plywood subfloor, ladder and tools aboutSix weeks of construction was miserable, but when all was said and done, we had a new kitchen complete with a full appliance package from LG—stove, refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher.

Open kitchen concept with black stainless appliances and white cabinets

The French door refrigerator came loaded with bells and whistles, including a door-within-a-door, multi-use drawer, and a deep freezer with multiple trays. Because of the size, the delivery guys had to remove the doors to get it into the house. We’d never bought LG before, but were sold on the features.

French door black stainless LG refrigerator with middle drawer and bottom freezer

I was really pleased with our purchase until the morning of July 3rd  of this year, when I opened the freezer and realized it was defrosting. My husband and I scrambled to move everything into the garage where we have a spare refrigerator/freezer. Unfortunately, not everything fit in the smaller freezer, and some things were too far gone. After trying to figure out what went wrong ourselves, I found a number for LG online and DH called. They had him do several diagnostic tests, but nothing worked.That meant calling in a service technician. Again, I went online and found a local appliance vendor who worked on LG products.

On July 5th a tech arrived and spent over an hour trying to solve the problem. He finally had to call LG. More diagnostic tests with the end result being the control panel had to be replaced. LG warrants the compressor on their refrigerators for ten years, but everything else is one year only—unless you buy an extended warranty.

Of course, we didn’t.

Let’s not forget this refrigerator, which cost a sizable chunk of change, isn’t even two years old. DH and I were aggravated but figured paying a $350 repair bill was better than buying a new refrigerator. The control panel wasn’t in stock—naturally—so we had to wait for a return visit from the technician.

On July 10th, he installed the new panel, and…nothing. After more poking, prodding, and trying to figure out what was wrong, he thought it might need a new motherboard. Might.

He couldn’t guarantee that was the problem. He also thought the freezer could need a new fan, but wouldn’t know until he replaced the motherboard so the two could “talk.” Sigh. Remember when refrigerators didn’t need a computer brain to operate?

Naturally, the motherboard had to be ordered (apparently stocking parts no longer makes sense). If, after the motherboard was installed, and the freezer still wouldn’t cool, he’d order a fan. At this point, he asked how far we wanted to go with ordering and replacing parts. We didn’t have to pay for the control panel. Since that wasn’t the issue, that part was going back. The new motherboard would run in the area of $450 to $500, and then, of course, there was the potential it wouldn’t work anyway.

We told him to order the part.

Meanwhile, frustration got the better of me. On July 15th, aggravated at not having had a working fridge for over two weeks, and ticked that this very pricey appliance hadn’t even lasted twenty-four months, I took to Twitter with a single tweet:

So disappointed in my state-of-the-art French door refrigerator by @LGUS. Not even 2 years old & motherboard has failed, freezer doesn’t work, 2 repair calls & techs are struggling to fix it. Waiting yet again for another part. So frustrated I got a lemon!

In less than 2 hours I had this reply:

So sorry to see this. Please send a private message, and we’ll be more than happy to look into this.

Did I DM? Darn, right! I love the power of Twitter!

LG hopped to it, said they’d send one of their techs at no charge, despite the refrigerator being out of warranty. Two days later the guy showed up, took one look at the size of the behemoth and asked, “Did they have to remove the doors when they delivered this?”

Yep, they sure did. So, Mr. tech checked a small compartment at the top of the left door to discover a wire connection popped loose. Apparently, when the delivery guys reattached the doors, they didn’t set the connection firmly. Over time, from opening and closing the door, it jiggled loose and couldn’t communicate with the panel which controlled the temperature in the freezer. Not even in the house five minutes and the LG tech solved our problem!

He spent a lot of time with us, went over tips and tricks and showed us all manner of little things we wouldn’t have known about the refrigerator. This man had a PhD in LG! I can’t tell you how pleased I was with LG. And yes, I did DM to thank them.

Here’s the thing: if I hadn’t made that tweet, we probably would have continued replacing parts with the first company, never getting to the bottom of the problem, and possibly having to purchase a new refrigerator. Companies are brand conscious. They monitor their handles and hashtags to see what others are saying about them. No one wants a flurry of negative tweets aimed at their brand. If I doubted LG, I’m now in love with the brand. I’m also in love with Twitter (though I always have always been).

Even my husband, who never uses social media, now recognizes the power of a single tweet. Best of all—I have a working refrigerator again!

Update and Book of the Month #ADesolateHour

Weekends are too short, but this one was productive. Hubby and I grabbed breakfast at Panera’s Saturday morning, then hit Home Depot followed by the grocery store. Afterward, he worked on home projects while I hit eight—yes, count ‘em EIGHT—stores for various items I needed. Two of them were furniture stores (I need new dining room furniture) where I snapped photos on my iPhone to share with hubs later. I’d planned to make a veggie pie and chicken for dinner, but the evening ran too late so we ended up ordering pizza instead.

two cats in silhouette with tails twined into a heart, sitting on branch above lake in autumn setting

I got to see the first episode of the new Once Upon a Time—my absolute favorite show on television. I wish I could say I’m gonzo about it, but it’s too early to tell. I adore Lana Parilla and her character, the Evil Queen/Regina Mills/Roni, but I’m not sure how she’s going to fare in this new setting and storyline. Time will tell.

Book cover for A Desolate Hour by Mae Clair shows a small town overlooking a river at night, full moon overhead, cover in wash of green red and black with white letteringI spent Sunday working on an author presentation I have to do later this week. I still have a lot more to do on it, but the worst is behind me. I was also gobsmacked to learn that A Desolate Hour was chosen as the Book of the Month by book reviewer Kevin Cooper of the blog Books and Music. If you’d like to take a looksee at what Kev had to say about ADH and my Point Pleasant series, you can find his post here.

I’ve got a busy and exciting week ahead, including shopping for a new iPhone. In two weeks, I leave for Florida and vacation. In the meantime, I’ve got some cool guest bloggers coming up along with a few posts from yours truly. Stay tuned!

Happy October and Happy-Almost-Halloween!

 

Back from Vacation by Mae Clair

It’s been a while since I was able to hop online and share a post with everyone—all for a good reason. DH and I took a six-day trip to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Although we’ve traveled a fair amount in the U.S., this was our first trip to the Dominican and our first outside of the country. It was definitely a learning experience, especially as relates to custom lines. The trip down wasn’t bad but coming back we did a lot of waiting….in customs, on the connector flight, at the airport, at the shuttle bus stop. Fortunately, I have a lot of great memories to override the aggravation.

The resort was spectacular, upscale and Zen-like with acres of tropical gardens interwoven with walking paths. We had a fabulous room in the adults-only section of the resort which also featured a private pool, private beach, and private restaurant for the guests in that area (with access to all other areas of the resort).

Our days were spent lounging poolside on Bali beds, then taking dips in the ocean and pools. Each night we hit one of the different restaurants. We never did manage to take in any of the shows that were offered at the on-site theater, but there was always a singer or musicians at the restaurants or beach.  One evening, we returned to our room to find rose petals strewn all over the bed, and a bottle of champagne chilling in a silver ice-bucket. They took very good care of us. 🙂

Here are a few of the views from the walking paths:

View of palm trees from garden walking path in tropical setting

 

Lush tropical setting with palms, pond and flamingo

Below are pics of each pool we hung at, the main one, and the adults-only. Each had a swim-up pool bar plus a walk-up side. The adults-only bar also connected to the beach, where we spent some time.

The second picture is shot at night of the adults-only pool. It had several built-in water spouts with animal heads that reminded me of something from a lost city in a jungle setting. There were also built-in lounge sections to soak up sun while in the water. Yes, I was highly spoiled.

swimming pool bordered by palm trees, in a beautiful tropical setting

Night time pool setting with lights reflected on water

The ocean temps were great, and we made friends with one of the locals who worked at the resort. One of the first things I did when we got home was to go out and buy a Spanish language course. I love learning new things (I’m a sponge) and thought learning to speak Spanish would be fun. If I conquer it, Italian, the language of my maternal grandparents, will be next.

I also really loved all of the soothing lights on the beach at night. Look at this seating arrangement, where the table and chairs are actually lighted from within. Those odd shaped white things are chairs. We sat in them, and although they’re gorgeous to look at, I can’t say they were particularly comfortable.

Grouping of beach chairs, lighted from within, at night

Finally, these are a few of the Bali beds by the pool (ours is in the middle). We’d drop our stuff there in the morning and then go back and forth between that wonderful relaxing spot, both pools, and the beach. One day a shower came up. It only lasted five minutes, but we were sheltered in the Bali bed. It was great for reading and whiling away the afternoons.

Bali beds in a tropical setting

Close up of Bali bed interior

On the downside, I did get sick at the end of the trip with stomach stuff (and I was so careful not to drink the water). I think five nights of different cuisines caught up with me as I generally eat bland food. Here’s a shot of me the day we checked out. As you can see, I was pretty washed out by then. Fifteen hours of travel later (most of that due to airport delays) we pulled into our driveway at 2 A.M. last Sunday morning.

Author Mae Clair relaxing in a high backed chair

I’m sure DH and I will go back to the Dominican again, but it will probably be several years. We’ve already booked a short local weekend for July of 2016, and I’d like to do Florida next October. It’s going to take me a while to put the memory of a 2-hour customs line behind me.

Missed you guys while I was gone, and am looking forward to getting back into writing mode again. I’ve  got to get busy on my WIP and some other stuff I have in the works. It’s hard to believe the year is almost over. I definitely need to get my act together now that vacation is behind me!

It’s Time for a Change…I Think, by Mae Clair

Quill pen and inkwell resting on an old book with green backgrouI know I’ve been scarce lately, but I’m hoping to get back to regular blogging soon. I miss not doing regular posts. I’ve been keeping busy writing and editing, but I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking about my blog in general. The conclusion?

It’s time to do some remodeling. I designed the look of this blog to brand me as a romance author with a slant toward mystery and the supernatural. Now, as I move ahead with my writing, my stories focus less on romance and more on mystery and suspense. My brand should reflect that but the idea of change has me nervous frightened white-knuckle terrified!

Why? *gulp*

Will I find new fans and readers? What if I lose old fans and readers?  *sheer horror*

I enjoy reading across genres, but not everyone feels the same. I’ve already had a few reviews from romance blogs in the past that labeled my books too complex with too many secondary characters and multiple plot threads.

That was the mystery author in me struggling to emerge. I’ll no longer have to fight that instinct, but at the same time I feel like I’m stepping into an arena where I need to start over again.

I hope my existing readers will stay with me as I make the transition (okay, begging a bit here, LOL!). My Point Pleasant Series (a.k.a Mothman) still has a dash of romance, but the romance has shifted to the background rather than commanding the spotlight. That’s the path I see my writing heading in the future. Mythology, folklore, and the unusual will always play an integral part, so some of the branding I’ve done over the last three years still fits that particular niche.

And I still have a romantic novella releasing in November. FOOD FOR POE is a romantic read that combines folklore and the paranormal with a Christmas-time setting. One final offering before I catch the midnight train to the land of mystery and suspense.

Right now I’m rethinking everything from my email tag/signature, to my blog and web mastheads, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ mastheads. Hopefully, I’m not over analyzing. It’s not a huge leap from romantic mysteries to suspense, but it is a leap. Some social sites only need minor changes, but others require a major revamping. That’s going to be most evident on my blog and website as I work on a new look.

So…change is coming.

How soon I’m not certain. But if you happen on hop over to my spot in the blogosphere one day and it looks completely different, don’t freak! It’s just me embracing the mystery/suspense genre. I hope you’ll remain a blog follower and come along for the ride. It’s going to be a “thrilling and mysterious” journey! 😀

Fibbing for Fun by Mae Clair

Recently, my friend and sister author, Cd Brennan, invited me to her blog to share to share five facts about myself for her Sunday S’more feature. Well, actually four facts and a fib. Visitors had the chance to decide which of the five “facts” was an untruth.

Thanks for everyone who hopped over to take a peek at that post. It’s time to spill the beans on Cd’s blog, so I thought I’d spill them here too. This is your chance to see if you were right or guess again. 😀

And, the contenders are:

~ooOOoo~

My husband and I have enjoyed many years of bay fishing and river fishing. Once, while fishing for bass on the river, we got caught in a freak thunderstorm—rain, wind, lightning and hail. As we didn’t want to be sitting on the water in an aluminum pontoon boat, we looked for a place to beach with shelter. There were several small islands nearby, a few with summer cottages, so we beached on the nearest. The guy in the house saw us struggling, and motioned us inside. We anchored our boat and hurried after him.

After about ten minutes indoors we heard a massive crack directly overhead. Not thunder, but something else. We raced outside to find a large tree had been struck by lightning and dropped onto the roof. Seconds later, my husband spied our boat one step shy of being swept into the river—the storm had ripped our anchor free.  Fortunately, he was able to grab it at the last moment and haul it back in, but had the tree not fell we would have been minus a boat. Thankfully, no one was injured and the cottage only had minor roof damage.

~ooOOoo~

The high school me.

The high school me.

My nickname in high school was Starchild.

~ooOOoo~

I was a bit of a rebel in high school and during my senior year led a protest that involved barging into the teachers’ lounge, and demanding that the principal meet my group in the auditorium. There was about twenty of us who cut class, pulled down “no smoking” signs and demanded we be given our own smoking area outside. Remember, this was a looooong time ago, and people didn’t realize how bad smoking was. I was the ringleader of that protest and am still amazed I wasn’t expelled.

~ooOOoo~

A number of years ago I attended a business conference in Arizona as part of my day job. My husband went along and we extended our stay for a mini vacation. The conference was held at a resort of villas that included eight suites, each villa with a private pool.

Late one night, hubby and I went for a romantic moonlight swim. The place was deserted, no one about. We had the pool to ourselves—right up until a helicopter swooped down, hovered above us, and nailed us in the beam of a high-intensity spotlight. I freaked out, my husband yelled something not very pleasant, and the helicopter took off.

We went back to our suite and my husband spied someone prowling around below our balcony. Turns out it was a cop who warned us to stay inside as a convenience store had been robbed several miles away and the armed suspect had been chased to our area. I hate to think if he’d stumbled upon us in the pool!

~ooOOoo~

I grew up with an Italian grandfather who immigrated to the U.S. from Castelleone when he was 28.  He was proud of his cultural heritage and taught me to speak Italian when I was just seven years old.

Pop-Pop looking dapper

My grandfather

~ooOOoo~

And the untruth? It was the last one. My grandfather was from Castelleone and came to the U.S. when he was twenty-eight but he never spoke Italian around us. Even my mother didn’t know a word of it. The only time I ever heard my grandfather speak his native language was when he called home to the “old country” and chatted with his relatives over the phone. To this day, I regret I never learned Italian.

So . . . did you pick the fib? 🙂

 

Embracing 2014 by Mae Clair

The New Year has arrived and with it my plans to look ahead. I learned a lot in 2013. In many ways it was a mixed bag of blessings.

I saw the publication of my second novel, TWELFTH SUN, and also participated in my first NaNoWriMo. I’m pleased to say I came out of NaNo a winner with a 50K+ rough draft of my Mothman-based story, Negative Reach. If all goes according to schedule, I hope to publish it in 2015.

The year wasn’t without its trying moments, however. My day job branched into new and demanding avenues which made me less visible online during the last quarter. I even had to drop off a few email lists because I couldn’t keep up with the messages. Fortunately, I love what I do, even when it’s mentally exhausting. In the New Year, I hope to achieve a better balance that allows me to enjoy my writing career as well as the one that pays my bills. 🙂

As always, I love reading as much as writing. In 2013 I read 69 books toward my goal of 75. Maybe I can actually hit that number in 2014. I discovered some wonderful authors, many of who became new friends, and I continued friendships with all the amazing people who have been my support base for so long. A super shout-out to all the followers of my blog. You guys rock! Thanks especially for the comments on my posts. I love hearing from you. Your opinions, thoughts and ramblings are a delight on each and every post I make.

So, what’s ahead in 2014?

bigstock-Patience-44287369

Yep, patience is going to be a big one for me as I tackle the following:

First up, I hope to indie publish SOLSTICE ISLAND, a romantic adventure you’ve likely heard about before. Hey, a voting-round on this blog actually helped determine the title! I’ve never indie pubbed, so I’m highly nervous and hoping I can figure out the Kindle formatting.

Something very cool I’m proud to announce…I designed the cover for SOLSTICE ISLAND myself. More news on that soon as I hope to release the novella later this month or February at the latest. There will be a cover reveal. 🙂

The week of February 9th, I will be the hostess on the Sizzle and Sass Facebook page and hope you’ll join me by popping in now and again. I’ll be the first to admit I suck at Facebook. I swear if there is a mathematical equation in the universe that deciphers how to fit FB into an already jam-packed day, it’s eluded me. I am, however, constantly on the lookout for a solution. One of my goals for 2014 is to be more visible on FB. I just wish I liked it better 😦

Also on the radar for 2014:

ECLIPSE LAKE
I feel like I’ve been talking about this one forever. A romantic mystery revolving around a missing person’s case, it’s on schedule for indie-publication in May/June of 2014. I’ve already received the first round of edits from my editor.

MYTH AND MAGIC
I’ll be sharing more updates on this in the months ahead. It’s another romantic mystery, set during October with an emphasis on Halloween. Naturally, I’d like to publish it in October of 2014, an ideal marriage of timing. Cross your fingers I can pull it off. It involves a couple who were childhood friends, had a horrible falling out, and are reunited at a corporate retreat when events take a strange and supernatural turn.

I’ve also got several short stories in the works that I’ll either be submitting to various publications or grooming for an anthology.

Of course, this is assuming all those carefully plotted goals and timelines cooperate. Then again, I’m known to be extremely hardheaded and stubborn when I want something, a trait inherited from my German father.

Finally, Mythical Monday will continue in full bloom. I can’t get enough of the odd trappings of folklore and eerie urban legends that lurk in the shadowed corners of history. I hope you’ll join me each Monday as I explore new tales centered around bizarre creatures, ethereal beings and peculiar beasties. I’m a cryptozoologist at heart.

So here’s to 2014 and my many wonderful friends. I’m excited and happy to share it with all of you. 😀

Creative Space: Creating a Workspace that Inspires

I’m delighted to have guest blogger, Cadence Blue, on my blog today.  Cadence and I connected when I was first venturing into the world of social media. I found her be delightful, friendly, and artistically-gifted. She loves writing, video production and grahic design work. And, hey, we share a love of cats. Need I say more? 😀

Given how passionate Cadence is about writing and the creative arts, I asked if she’d be willing to write a post for my blog. She came up with a wonderful topic that’s going to have you redesigning a haven for your creative pursuits. Please welcome Cadence!

~ooOOoo~

Creative Space: Creating a Workspace that Inspires
by Cadence Blue

Are you a writer, a reader, a vidder, a graphic artist? Regardless of what moves you artistically, you need a workspace that is comfortable as well as functional—a place that coaxes the seeds of inspiration to grow and bloom into the full flower of your creativity.

Your workstation—your creative space—is your sanctuary. If you haven’t thought about making your workspace a place that will inspire you to do grand things then now is the perfect time!

Your office workstation is designed to be efficient, your dining room, inviting, and your bedroom, relaxing. It makes sense that the place where you go to write about (or read about) another time, place or world should be appointed accordingly.

The first thing I do is to keep my space clean. Dust is not my friend. Clutter is the next thing I erase. I can’t organize my thoughts if I look around and see that my things are disorganized.

Now that my space is clean and ordered I focus on my surroundings. I like to appeal to all five of my senses.

Color: Some artistic people are at their most creative when they feel energized. Others need to be relaxed before their creative juices flow. Whichever category you’re in, choose a color palette that puts you in the mood. This can be anything from painting the walls to hanging pictures and posters, or, art with motivational or inspirational quotes. Your sight is a dominant sense. Appeal to it with beautiful things.

Scent: A particular scent can take us back in time and stir memories. Don’t ignore your sense of smell at your workstation. I love the smell of brewing coffee on a cold winter’s day, or citrus in the summer. A few candles can make your space inviting. Last year I discovered flameless candles. They smell amazing and you can choose a wax warmer that matches your decorating style. If you like heavier, richer smells, incense is a great option.  

Sound: Don’t neglect what you hear. Keep music on hand that speaks to your emotions. Epic film scores can help you write your epic adventure novel. Remember that movie that made you cry? Sad music is great for writing those emotionally charged scenes.

If I am writing I listen to movie scores and New Age music because lyrics distract me. If I am making a video or working on graphic design I like music with energy, like pop and rock.

Another incredibly relaxing sound is water. My fountain is trickling near me as I write this. You can get them in the garden department of stores in the spring, or online all year round.

Taste: Nothing puts me in a creative mood like a piping hot cup of green tea or a cup of flavorful coffee. Whatever you like, keep it within easy reach. You don’t want to have to make a trip to the fridge when you’re in “The Zone”.

Touch: For me this usually means a cat on my desk to pet. Seriously, make sure you have a comfortable place to sit. Plush throw pillows on your sofa cuddle your body while you’re working at your laptop or reading. If you’re working at your desktop PC, invest in a good executive chair. Sitting in a chair that makes your back and hips ache is not conducive to being creative.

I hope these suggestions will help you design the best creative space for whatever you are creating, or simply enjoying.

I am curious: how do you set up your creative space? Please share your tips on designing the perfect place where the seeds of your inspiration grow and flourish.

I would like to thank Mae for hosting my ramblings today!

BIO: Cadence Blue has been entertaining family and friends with her writing for many years. Circumstances beyond her control caused her to step back from the art form for a time and she is just now making a tentative comeback as an aspiring indie author. When not writing she enjoys doing graphic design and video editing.

Cadence is married and is both mother and play companion to her four black cats, who demand much of her time and energy.

Connect with Cadence at the following haunts:
Facebook
Cadence Blue’s Fan Videos
Email Cadence: SweetCadenceBlue@aol.com

Mae Clair: What does Autumn Taste Like?

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts but, in the spirit of autumn’s arrival, I thought I’d engage in a short creativity exercise and invite you to do the same.

Want to give it a try?  All you have to do is match the sense (sight, taste, smell, touch, sound) to the season, connecting a concrete impression with the abstract. Sound confusing? Nah! ‘Tis simple. Check it out:

What does autumn look like?
Fat orange pumpkins and floppy scarecrows reclining on front porches

What does autumn taste like?
Apple cider

What does autumn smell like?
Wood-smoke rising from a hearth

What does autumn feel like?
The touch of frost on a brisk morning

What does autumn sound like?
Dried leaves crunching underfoot

How about it? What are your impressions of this vibrantly colorful season?

Even if you only try one or two, take a moment to engage your senses and your creative muse. I’d love to read what you come up with!