How I Write a Short Story, Part III

So Barb H. had a wonderful idea, “Perhaps St Patrick’s day has always been unlucky for Clancy because that is when her father died or her husband left her or she lost a child. I am getting all these crazy ideas and am probably off base. I will be anxious to hear what you say!”

Barb thinks like I do!

So now I have these elements…a time frame (St. Patrick’s Day), interesting factoids (people actually DO make their own luck to some extent), a conflict (Clancy hates St. Patrick’s Day), and a mystery (why? because it’s the day her husband left her).

I need some activities (Kiki’s crafts–I’ll have to come up with these), and a resolution (I’ll think of something).

I also need to look back over Kiki’s world and think about possible ways to tie this story into Kiki’s life. One idea comes immediately to mind. In Handmade, Holiday, Homicide, we learn that Laurel has a lucky rabbit’s foot–but it’s fake fur. We know that Anya loves animals. She would be appalled to hear that Laurel has a rabbit’s foot, especially if she didn’t know it was fake! So somehow, I’d like to weave that into my story.

We’re almost at the end of the planning stage…except that I’d been thinking about Clancy, a lot, and I had surprise in store for her and her life. Keep reading to see what that is!

 

Taking Care of Yourself This Holiday Season

So often we take care of everything and everyone but ourselves during the holidays. I know, because I’m a poster child for trying to do too much. Right now, I’ve got a miserable cold, and I suspect it’s from getting too little sleep and working too many hours.

The question seems eternal: “How do we care for ourselves, especially during the holiday season?”

One way is to listen to our needs, to make time for us. For those of us who work at home–especially those of us who are writers–it can be especially tempting to work around the clock and on weekends. That seems like a great way to get ahead, but eventually we pay the price in loss of enthusiasm, or burnout.

Making time for yourself pays dividends because it keeps you healthy in mind, body, and spirit. I find that crafting for others not only results in gifts that I like to give, but it also allows me a sliver of meditation space, time for myself.

With that in mind, I’m offering a FREE gift with the purchase of my new book, Handmade, Holiday, Homicide. The gift includes instructions, patterns, and images for thirteen crafty projects. Some are appropriate to do with children; some aren’t. All are thrifty and don’t require special equipment.

Here’s the list:

* A trio of Christmas Carolers
* An Icosahedron Ornament
* Crocheted Necklace
* A Snowman Luminaria
* A Spa Basket

Scented bath crystals are relaxing and help you sleep at night.

* Fantasy Jars
* A Turtle Trinket Keeper
* Gingerbread Men
* A Quilted Glasses Case
* A Scrapbook Album in a Folder
* A Dollhouse in a 3-Ring Binder
* Mini Book Earrings
* A Book Garden

Included with the FREE gift are six yummy recipes!

But hurry…these are only available if you purchase your copy of Handmade, Holiday, Homicide on or before December 15, 2014 (the release date).

Grab your copy today:  http://www.amazon.com/Handmade-Holiday-Homicide-Lowenstein-Scrap-N-Craft-ebook/dp/B00PA26YL2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417791560&sr=8-1&keywords=Handmade+Holiday+Homicide

Dollhouse Lamp Base Tutorial

In the BONUS gift for pre-ordering Handmade, Holiday, Homicide, I showed readers how to make this adorable “Dollhouse in a 3-Ring Binder” room. Here’s how to make the matching base for the lamp.

NOTE: The BONUS gift will be available to those who pre-order Handmade, Holiday, Homicide on or before December 15, 2014. Hurry! You don’t want to miss out!

Here’s the link to get your copy:

http://www.amazon.com/Handmade-Holiday-Homicide-Lowenstein-Scrap-N-Craft-ebook/dp/B00PA26YL2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417791560&sr=8-1&keywords=Handmade+Holiday+Homicide


Supplies:
 
 
Polymer Clay (in the colors you want)
Aluminum Foil
Coffee stirrer straw (very small hole in these)
One piece of floral wire
An old pencil with an eraser
Needle-nosed pliers
Craft knife or steak knife
Acrylic paint and brush

Method:

1. Dig out all the eraser from the pencil, using the blade of the knife. Do this carefully, as you don’t want to bend the metal eraser cup. When you have all the pieces out, use the needle-nosed pliers and remove the eraser cup from the pencil. Gently shape the eraser cup into a flower with four petals by using the pliers. The finished die cut should look like this:

2. Roll the foil into a donut shape with a hole in the center. This should be the size that you want for your final lamp base. Cover the donut with polymer clay. Smooth it into a ball by rolling it in between the palms of your hands.

 

3. Roll out the clay for your flowers, making it as thin as possible. Press the flower die cut into the clay. Pull the excess clay away. Pop out the flower with the tip of your paint brush or with the pencil tip. Make five flowers. Press the flowers against the side of the clay.

4. Check to see that the coffee stirrer stick can fit in the center hole. If not, adjust the size. (You could use a skewer to do this or a toothpick.)

6. Bake the lamp base in the oven at the temperature suggested by the polymer clay manufacturer.

7. When cool, embellish with acrylic paint.

 

So, how do you like it? Any questions?

 

Excerpt from Handmade, Holiday, Homicide

Book #10 in the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series

 
by Joanna Campbell Slan
 
 
 

 
People think that being pregnant is
all about your growing belly, but the truth is, it also messes with your head.
It’s like for every inch my waistband expands, I lose ten points of my IQ.
Maybe it’s because I don’t get much sleep anymore. My skin itches, the baby
pokes me with his feet, and the indigestion causes a burning in my throat.
Don’t even get me started on the hormones. Whatever the scientific reason for
my brain fog, I’m just not as sharp as usual.

My fianc