Monday, November 25, 2013

My Literary Hero and My Literal Hero

There are many authors I look up to. But the one who stands alone from all the others, who shines a little bit brighter than the rest, the one who changed my literary experience, is an author from my childhood.

Most don't know this but when I was a child, I struggled with reading. Books were very scary to me. They were homework or something that kept me from exploring the outdoors. Instead of reading, I made up stories in my mind and to me, my stories were always better than the ones I was forced to read.

I wish I could remember why I came home with a certain book one day, but I do remember being excited. It must have been because I was a tomboy and I liked animals and I was always looking for an adventure. This book was about a boy and his dogs and they lived on a farm like I did! All the other books I tried to read were supposed to be funny, but I'd never laugh, or they were all about girl stuff I was terrified of.

I still remember my parents letting me stay up late one warm night to finish my book. I think they were just excited to see me wrapped up in a story for once.

I can still feel my tears as they ran down my cheeks and I can still feel the book in my hands as I held it tight to my body. I can still smell it and feel its pages. And in my heart, I can still feel the joy of finally connecting with a story, with an author. I read this book over and over and over.

Now that I'm an author, I try to write in the way that Wilson Rawls taught me. From him I learned emotion in a story is important, characters need to be solid, likeable and real, and your setting has to take you to a place you can see and know.

Owning an original signed copy of his book, 'Where the Red Fern Grows' has been a dream of mine for years. Wilson Rawls saw things the way I did when I was a little girl. Even though I never meet him, he understood me.

This weekend one of my older brothers paid our family a visit. In our younger years, Craig was always that big brother who watched over me, who asked where I was going and what I was up to. In my teens, he even cleaned one of his guns in front a date. I always smiled when someone came up to me and said, 'are you Craig's little sister?' I always answered with a proud, “Yes!” He was a dream come true when it came to big brothers. I treasure each memory I make with him.

You can only imagine how he touched my heart when he handed me the one book that changed my literary experience! It being signed by the one author I admire more than all others! Craig's giving heart allowed a dream I never imagine coming true to happen.

My heart is full. My eyes are still wet with tears. My soul still leaps for I now have a piece of history from a man I owe so much of my writing to. I know Wilson Rawls is happy I have one of his treasures.

I'm grateful for heroes in my life and I'm grateful for one I can call my big brother!

Thank you, Craig!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Card Exchange

Even in a world of instant communication through emails, snap chats, twitter and more, I still appreciate the good old mail box. I love the walk down the road to it and the feel of opening the mailbox flap. I love to look inside in hopes of something special waiting for me.

Every Christmas, cards come wishing my family a Merry Holiday from loved ones all over the world. Ever since Mike and I have been married, I have saved these cards. Along with them, I have collected antique cards as well. Together the old and new greetings go up in my home as part of my holiday d├ęcor. I love the way it turns out, pretty little pieces of Christmas art all over my walls and doors!

Many of you know my love for Halloween, and that I’m an image junky. I can’t help but wish my Halloween walls had the same collection as my Christmas wall have. So to solve that problem, I decided to randomly select family and friends and invite them to participate in a Halloween card exchange.
The rules were simple. If one chose to take part, they would send me their address and I would send them mine. We then would send each other a Halloween card to celebrate the upcoming holiday.
So many cards and treats came! Day after day my mailbox brought me orange envelopes with Halloween cheer inside. I figured one door might hold the surprises, but the cards have branched out further and unto my walls!

I hope this might be a fun tradition! I’m so grateful for all those who took part and helped my collection to grow. You can bet your card will be treasured and up each year to help bring in the Halloween spirit. I hope you might join in again next year!

If you didn't get a message from me inviting you to join in and you’d like to, please let me know and I will add you to the list. Sadly a couple of my messages didn't go through as I had thought. Apparently, I attached too many people to it. It is very possible you were on a list but your invitation is still searching for you out in cyber space.  

I hope you all have a very Happy Halloween! Thanks again for all who brightening my smile and brought me spooky Halloween cheer! Already I can’t wait until next year!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

My Personal Graveyard

After a long week my husband, Mike, and I wanted to do something different for a date. Mike grimaced at my idea but because he loves to see me smile, he followed me to an old cemetery with a roll of paper and charcoal in hand. We hunted the grounds reading names on the stones and studying the dates, figuring out when the poor souls left this life. Some gravestones were just rocks to us but there where others that called out. When this happened, we’d place the paper over the stone and with the charcoal, rub it causing an imprint of the history of who was buried under our feet.

We nearly filled the back seat of our car with rubbings! So many wanted do come home with us. We imagined that night, when all the ghost came out from their plots, they’d all gather together and some would brag about how their stone got picked, rubbed and how a piece of them got taken home with a living couple.

Upon returning home, I unrolled each paper and picked out my favorites. I then picked out a wall and began making my very own graveyard. To add effect, I covered the wall with black poster board and added a white moon with weeds around each of the stones. It looks amazing. Each stone has its own personality just as I imagined each of the people the stones represented did.

I think my new friends like being part of our home. I think they like being remembered again. All these graves were barren in the graveyard, they seemed sad with no flowers and just stones sticking out of the earth. In our home, they are full of life again. My kids run around playing, music is blaring, food is being cooked and friends come to visit. They gaze up at the stones reading the names and wondering who these people were and what made them smile or even cry. It’s nice to see the connection.

Last night, I couldn't sleep. I gathered my pillow and sheet and went down in the living room where my graveyard is. I laid down on the couch that is up against my cemetery wall. Right before I fell asleep, the thought came to me; I was now lying under all these graves! My first inkling was a little frightening but instead of getting up from under these stones, I stayed down and told Lilly Edwards, Cora L. Sasher, Willie Shipley and many more, ‘good night’. My bones have never rested as well as they did last night when they were under my graveyard friends.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sometimes Losers Don’t Lose After All

A few weeks ago, I noticed a contest hosted by Gallery Nucleus. A favorite artist, Mab Graves, had offered one of her original pieces up for the show in which her latest series ‘The Runaways’ was being unveiled. The rules stated that one of the girls remained nameless and along with naming her, she needed personality traits. The fan with the most ‘likes’ on the name and description would win the original piece of art work. My heart jumped and though I knew the chances of winning were slim, something told me to try anyway.

I looked at the picture and the little girl seemed familiar in some odd way but I couldn't place her. The more I thought about names, the clearer it came in my mind. Cora Wren, the name I was never able to use because she was never born. After typing in her name, I let my fingers take over. It’s how I write. It’s up to my characters to tell me the story. Before I knew it, I had finished and couldn't help but like the little person I created. She was familiar because she had little traits as I did when I was a little girl. Of course she would always be busy and of course she’d always be looking out for the bad guys. And yes, she’d be drawn to abandoned homes because there is such emotion embedded in the layers of wall paper and knotted wood.

I was touched with the reaction from so many of my friends, family and even strangers as they rallied behind me. The ‘likes’ came and I watched with great hope that maybe Cora Wren was her name! Maybe I would win! Maybe my lost little daughter’s portrait would hang in my home.

It came down to the finale seconds between me and another contestant. I lost by 26 votes but in my heart I didn't. I cried when I lost but they were not sad tears. Yes, I was sad this little girl's name would be different than what I chose for her and I was sad her portrait wouldn't be hung on my wall, but my heart was full because of all the support I received from so many. I cannot begin to count the emails and private messages I received from those who rallied for me and from those who regretted not seeing the contest until it was too late. Because of this contest, I made new friends and I grew closer to those who love and support me.
After the contest ended, I posted on my facebook wall a message of gratitude to all those who tried so hard for me. Heartfelt replies came. Among them was one from the artist. I was deeply touched by her messages, the one that came privately and the one that was made public. The gallery which hosted the contest contacted me with beautiful words too. My heart was full. I soon discovered that Mab Graves was doing something special for me. You will never understand my excitement!

From out of my mail box, I opened a beautiful piece of art signed by the artist. Tears still fill my eyes as I look at it. To me, the little girl in the original painting will always be Cora Wren but when I look at this new girl, my spirit is touched even more. More because of so many friends, family and strangers, because of new friends and because of a gallery who hosted a show and of an artist who was touched by a little name.

Sometimes losers don’t lose after all.

Thank you for all those who made this possible! I will never forget! OXOXOXO

Please vist Mab Graves website: to learn more about her and her art.
If you’re like me, you’ll visit her Etsy page often and find little treasures you just can’t live without :

Please visit Gallery Nucleus and support the artists they feature:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Better than Birds and Streams

Since the church I attend does not have paid clergy, it’s up to us members to do our part in assuring our Sunday meetings are taken care of. The service each of the members dedicates allows the church to run smoothly but that does not mean there aren't stressful times. Our first hour of worship is done in the Chapel. There we all meet together as a church family. Part of this hour speakers from the congregation share their messages they have been asked to talk on.

I knew my time was coming up to be a speaker and every week I escaped that hand delivered envelope, I breathed a little sigh of relief. But luck ended a few weeks ago and I grumbled even though there was a piece of chocolate taped to it.

Those who know me know I do what is required but I’d rather stay at home or sit back and watch others give their talks and listen to their messages. I find talking in front of a group terrifying! But I it do because I know I’m supposed to, we all take turns and we all have a special message to share.

I posted this on my facebook wall concerning my talk:

This Sunday, I have to give a talk and give a lesson. I just lost EVERYTHING on my computer that I've prepared. Hours gone! Talking for 15 min in front of a whole congregation & teaching for 45 min is not my kind of thing but I do it because I'm I just want to give up. Sunday I want to dip my feet in a creek & listen to the birds.

As you can imagine, I was in a bit of a panic! I am NOT an extrovert and standing and talking to people is scary for me, plus being a mother of 7 children, plus home schooling 4 of them I really don’t have time for things like this to happen.

These were the replies by some of my dear friends who came to my aid. Some go to the same church as I do, some have their own faith, and some don’t have a faith at all. I was touched as they came to my moment of need to offer support, humor and comfort. My soul was truly touched. I then knew I lost the talk for a reason, I was supposed to share this experience and incorporate it into what I was assigned to talk about.

~Everything happens for a reason! God must want you to listen to him and speak from the heart...I know you will do great!

~Pray, breathe, and it will come to you

~I say just skip it.  kidding!!!

~Are you sure it's gone? What happened?

~I would love to hear you speak. Your preparation is still in your heart and mind. God will draw out what he wants you to teach. are awesome and i think it doesnt matter what you talk about....from you,anything would be heartfelt and who wouldnt just be happy to hear whatever you speak of....remember that....:-):-):-)....<3<3jus sayinnn..

~you can talk about dippin your toes and listenin to the birds....maybe some need a reminder....the best things in life are free and happy and beautiful...:-):-):-)

~You always do a great job. Just speak from your heart. It overflows with love and they will feel it.

~How old is your version of Word?

~You'll do fine. You're a wordsmith.....and a mom of many! This too shall pass!

~you have a beautiful heart and a willing spirit, so I know God will bless whatever you have to share.

~Ok Carrie. You give the talk-which will be wonderful, and the lesson-which will be great, and I'll sit with you on the creek bank and listen to the birds.

~I agree with Tracy and Sherry about speaking from the heart. Part of the typing and working through the message was a preparation in itself. I bet you could tie the story into the message at some juncture too. I usually find that in retrospect, interesting detours become clearer in reason.

This was my reply: 

Thanks everyone. Working hard on it today & I'll try to speak from the heart up there. The problem is, I'm a better writer than speaker. I get so upset and flustered just standing up there and talking. I have to think about every word. Most people think I'd be a good speaker because Mike is such an amazing one and so often people put husband & wife together as one, but speaking is not a talent I have. He stands alone with being so good at it, I'm far on the other end. It's terrifying to me. It literally makes me sick. I wish I had more confidence but I don't. It will be okay though. I got the lesson all down last night & today my mind is where it needs to be. I know with the help from the Spirit, I can do it. But I do look forward to it all being over & then maybe I'll take that walk and dip my feet in the creek & listen to the birds. I'm sure the Spirit will follow me there & it will be even more beautiful.

Love you all SO much! Thanks for thinking about me my heart is so full, I have happy tears. OXOXOXO
Oh, and I found out the talk is for 10 min not 15:)

The topic of my talk was: Strengthening the Feeble Knees, and Lifting Up the Hands Which Hang Down.

Oh, how appropriate! I believe these people who stopped and gave me a message where prompted by the Spirit. They knew, in some way, I needed to be uplifted. Through their words, I was touched by the Spirit. I then believed I could do it again, I would not give up. They believed in me.

Instead of having to prepare a new talk, the Spirit prompted me to share this facebook experience. After the talk, I was greeted by so many with words of gratitude but it’s not me who should be thanked. All thanks go to those who took a moment in my time of need and strengthened my feeble knees and lifted me up again. I will always remember this experience.

That evening, I did take that walk to the creek and I did dip my feet in the water and there I said a prayer, thanking those who helped me. The evening became more beautiful and the birds sang sweeter tunes. The flowers seemed to open up more and the creek bed was litter free.

As much as I think I would like to be alone with just the natural world around me, how gloomy it would really be without friends who take the time for each of us.

Special thanks to:

Tracy Overfelt, Cleta McCreey Huston, Mandy Billingsley, Fred Hanselmann, Rebekah Stanley, Rhonda Filetti, Sherry Bailey-Daniels, Chantell Osejo, Cyndi Pilotte-Sanders, Linda Robinson Brendle, Phyllis Wangsgard, Troy Rickertsen.    

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My Latest Flea Market Finds

I was never introduced to the joys of yard sales and flea markets until I was married. As a child, my wardrobe was made up of hand-me-downs but those things came from people we knew. I never thought it gross or strange; in fact, I looked forward to those garbage bags and banana boxes full of new styles.

Way back then, I thought rummaging through a stranger’s unwanted items was nasty and germy. After all, the junk was in their yard which was so close to the curb where garbage was left and hauled off. When I heard the word ‘Flea Market’ I only saw one thing in my mind.  

 When I was just a newlywed, my husband woke me one early Saturday morning and made the suggestion to visit a yard sale down the road. I groaned and made the comment of not wanting another’s junk in our tiny house. I told him I had never been to a yard sale and had no desire to ever start going. He was floored that for 22 years I had never been to one. Against my will, he made me go with him. He promised I’d like it; I was sure I wouldn't.

At first I wallowed around the junk at me feet and on tables too good to go digging but then something caught my eye, and then the price on the tag was even better. There was no turning back after that. The next Saturday it was me shaking my husband awake and pushing him out the door so we could find more yard sales.

Even after all those years, the thrill of that perfect find has never left. My husband and I are rather addicted to yard sales and flea markets. Sometimes we do well with finding treasure, other times we come back with nothing, feeling cheated in some way.

This last Saturday I did well with my finds. I couldn't be happier! Already I’m counting down the days until next Saturday.  I just hope I have room for all my stuff! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Finally, I’m a Blythe Mommy!

The first time I saw their round faces with their huge blinking/changing eyes, I was in love. They seemed to talk to me. They are adorable and quirky, with just the right amount of strange. If I were a doll, I’d want to be a Blythe.

When I was little, dolls scared me. I did have a couple and those little girls were as friendly and timid as I was.  My older sister’s dolls, on the other hand, were bold and evil!  They were too pretty, frilly and much too delicate. Their boxes were even treated with the best care and stacked nice and neat in our closet with the original pink tissue paper carefully folded inside. Most of these dolls were displayed on our walls. Some even hung over my bed.  In my nightmares, they came to life and liked to bite me and pull my hair.

I like to think that if I had a Blythe, when I was little in the 70’s & 80’s, my sister’s dolls would have stayed away. The original dolls sat on department store shelves because they were just a little too freaky for that generation. I think they would have been freaky for those fancy dolls too. But, they would have been perfect for me.  I have always been a little strange.

Earlier in the year, one of my friends had a beautiful Custom Cinnamon Blythe dolly up for sale. The moment I saw the doll, I was in love. More in love than I had been with any other Blythe. She was perfect. This little dolly wanted me as much as I wanted her. After a miracle of her not going into another’s home, things worked out and I was able to adopt her.

Cora Wren is the name I was never able to use for a daughter but now it has been given to a doll, my very first Blythe. She will always be a treasure and always stay in my care. It’s nice to be one of those girls who will never grow up, the kind who collect old childhood toys and always plays with her dolls.

For more history on these amazing little dolls please visit this site:

Take a peek at my Cora Wren’s custom transformation:

Please take a look at Phillaine’s site as she’s such an amazing Blythe artist:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

First Time Author, Katie Lee and her Amazing Story, 'What Endures'

I have been blessed with the privilege of getting to know an amazing little lady. Katie Lee is someone with much strength and character. She has over come so much in her life and is an inspiration to me. One thing Katie and I have in common is the dream of our books getting published. No one will understand the struggles, wishes and heartaches of book dreams unless you have lived it, and no one will understand the joy when it finally happens. Congratulations, sweetie! I'm so proud of you! Thanks for the chance to read your ARC!

I don’t normally read romance but I was ensnared from the beginning all the way to the end with Katie's book, 'What Endures'.  I love reading debut works from first time authors. What a new and refreshing voice.  What an amazing storyteller!  I expect great things from this author.

I’m a rather picky reader. Bad dialogue is what I hate the most but with this book, I could tell the characters controlled the story and the author was only the fingers that typed their tale. Katie let her muse flow. She allowed her characters to come to life. I love this book!

Jason has been involved in a serious car accident. When he awakens from his coma, he discovers he has no memory of the last fifteen years. His life as a major league baseball player is gone. His life as a super star and living the high life is gone. And, his world with the love of his life has faded away. He has no memory of Megan.

Megan has not left Jason’s side since his accident. Faithfully she stays only to discover the dreaded news. Jason’s physical injuries will take time but his memory might never come back. Carefully he is introduced back into his world in hopes to re-learn the past. To prevent any added post-traumatic stress, Megan’s and Jason’s relationship is put on hold.  Megan moves out of their home together and starts a new life as Jason’s friend and not his finance.

As the months move on hints of the past come to life but not because of remembered memories. Can Jason’s and Megan’s love be found again or is it just too hard to love a woman he doesn't know.

If you’re looking for the kind of book to get lost in, the kind you can’t put down, pick up Katie Lee’s book 'What Endures'. I’m still thinking about this book weeks after reading it. It has stuck. Be one of the first to order your copy off Amazon on August 1st!   

I’m a Katie fan!

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Birthday Boy Who was Almost Delivered By Daddy

11 years ago today Mike almost delivered Peter all by himself. It was a morning of comical mishaps that fits perfect with Peter as his pregnancy was by far the oddest. To this day, he is my most peculiar child. He was breech through the whole pregnancy and in hopes to get him to turn, besides our midwife trying to turn him, I had to lie on an ironing board upside down while Mike burned incense at my feet. Yes, I was 9 months pregnant lying on an ironing board upside down. How I regret that we never got a picture. When Mike and I started feeling loopy from the incense, we decided to only tell our midwife we were doing her earthy ritual.  

A week before he was born, he decided to turn all on his own. Peter’s stubborn nature was evident even before birth. There was no convincing him to do what the midwife wanted. When I was 2 weeks overdue, I had to enjoy the delights of castor oil and an enema in hopes to get me in labor. Still, there was no convincing Peter to come out into this strange world. He must have loved being tucked in my ribs and listening to the beating of my heart. He must have enjoyed the warmth and security of mom.

When my water broke early one morning, I hurried downstairs where Mike was sleeping on the couch. He remembered how long my last deliveries were and instead of calling the midwife, who lived an hour away, he sent me back to bed in hopes we both would get some needed rest before the big event. As Mike rested, I did not. A few hours later, I waddled down the stairs now in hard labor and woke him. While I labored, Mike ran with the phone in hand calling who he needed and getting our other four children up and ready to stay elsewhere.

When our midwife and her assistant arrived, I didn't notice or hear the grilling Mike was getting from the midwife as she thrust her equipment on the table. It seemed like seconds after she arrived that Peter was born. What I do remember is holding my new baby boy and gazing down at him as he looked up at me. He was beautiful. To this day his nick-name has stuck; Handsome Pete. To this day, older girls look at him and wish he was older or they were younger. To this day I am still his most favorite person in the world.

He will always be a mommy’s boy. He will always hug and kiss me. He will always invade my personal space when I cook and he will always tell he loves me. What a lucky mommy I am to have such an amazing boy.

Happy Birthday, Peter! How our world would be less without you! I look forward to another year of odd with you. We are kinder spirits I think!   

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Rare Interview with Mr. Bohns and Author Carrie Filetti

Special THANK YOU going out to my dear friend Krista Krueger for the amazing interview she had with me and Mr. Bohns. Mr. Bohns doesn't take his top hat and black gloves off for many but Krista made him feel right at home. Soon he sat back and answered her questions with ease. He even laughed a few times!

I hope you all will enjoy this interview as much as Mr. Bohns and I enjoyed being a part of it.

The Surpirse Interview: Carrie Filetti & Mr. Bohns

I was lucky enough to get a chance to interview Carrie Filetti and Mr. Bohns recently and ask them about the process of a living woman writing for a dead man.  I have to say they are an awesome team.  Carrie is an amazing storyteller and Mr. Bohns has a great story to tell.  I hope that you all get as much enjoyment out of these ten questions as I did because I smiled the whole time, which is rare. J  If you’d like to learn more about Mr. Bohns’ daily life you can follow him at

  1. So, Carrie, Mr. Bohns, how did you two meet and what made Carrie the one living person you felt you could tell your story. her talent, acceptance and love of the slightly macabre?  All of those things?

Carrie: I was going about my days as a normal living housewife when out of the blue I was awoken by the oddest dream.

Mr. Bohns:  Ms. Carrie might think she was ‘normal’ but I have known her for some time. She has never been normal. When you’re dead you have a gift. You kind of know everything about the living. I’ve been watching and waiting for the perfect time to open up to her. She had to almost die herself before it could happen.
Mr. Bohns, losing Carrie is a frightening thought, but let’s move on.

  1. Since you confided in Carrie for her to be able to write this book, has she been able to take a tour of the factory?  For documentation purposes, of course.

Mr. Bohns: Carrie is the only one who knows my factory better than me. When writing this story she pointed out a few nooks and crannies I didn’t know of. She is always welcome at my factory.

  1. What exactly does your factory specialize in and Carrie what do you think of Mr. Bohns’ products?

Mr. Bohns: My factory is known for its spooky treats and gloomy dolls and toys. Some of my best sellers are my Black-Licorice Spiders w/ Candied Webs, Goblin Gumball Eyes and my Dog-Bite Joey Dolls. The doll is an inspiration from Carrie as she was almost eaten by a beast. I was able to reach her after that incident.

Carrie: Mr. Bohn’s products have opened my eyes to a whole new world! Candy is dandy but Mr. Bohns’s is so much more fun! When I suck on a lollipop, it’s now on a mummy’s head. When I chew gum, I now add candy to give it a little ‘boney’ crunch.

  1. Carrie, what do you think of Mr. Bohns’ “life”?

Carrie:  He will always be a loner. He has a problem accepting the fact that he’s dead. He still has a lot to live for. He still runs into trials. They don’t stop in death; we keep learning and growing after this life, folks.
I’d imagine he has a lot more stories to tell that we could learn from.

  1. I’ve heard of a girl named Maryanne that works there, how important of a role does she play at the factory and in the book?

Mr Bohns: Maryanne plays a HUGE part in both. Most people are captured by me because of what I am but Maryanne is the real hero.

Carrie: (Smiling over at her friend) Mr. Bohns is the hero too. You can’t help but love characters that grow and overcome their weaknesses.

  1. Carrie, I imagine Mr. Bohns is an interesting gentleman, how was the experience of writing about him?

Carrie: Mr Bohns is dapper and a fine gentlemen. He is prideful but it’s because he knows a lot. It makes him very angry to see the living throwing their lives away. He has taught me to live my life to the fullest because we only have one life to live and we must be careful and obey the laws.

Mr. Bohns: Always drink your milk and wear your seat belts!

I have to tell you, Mr. Bohns that I love my milk and my father instilled that you should
Always wear your seatbelt.

  1. Okay Carrie.  You have a little hideaway to do your writing, what kind of things do you keep nearby to keep yourself inspired?

Carrie: Oh, boy! Do you have all day? I have so much! Some of my favorites are my childhood toys. Fisher Price little people and my stuffed toy, Ziggy the Zebra. I love vintage so I have some fun pieces from the 40’s & 50’s. I have spooky things galore, like my vintage Halloween collection and my spooky/odd Valentines. I have little button-eyed dollies, Monster Legos, skeleton keys; my daddy’s old circus books (because he and I have always shared the same secret, to join the circus). I have such wonderful friends who have sent me little treasures and all those are in my room too. I have artwork from friends, stuffed monsters, a coffin key, figurines and I even have a set of silver spoons a friend made skull faces in. Oh, and I must not forget…the skeletons. I love my boney friends.

That sounds like a lot to keep you on track.  I have my own coffin key as well. J

  1. How did your family feel about you spending so much time with Mr. Bohns?  Were they jealous of the time it takes to write a book, supportive?

Carrie: I have to be one of the luckiest mommy’s ever! My kids LOVE Mr. Bohns. They quote him at the dinner table, they pray for his story to find the right publisher. Some have even surrendered their birthday wishes over to him in hopes the world will know how amazing he is. They bug me constantly (even the teenagers) to read his and Maryanne’s story. My family will not let me give up when I get discouraged. They literally get angry when I let doubt in.

You’re a lucky woman Carrie with a family that obviously loves you and believes in you very much; as Mr. Bohns must to have waited for you to be ready for his story.

  1. Mr. Bohns, did the factory run smoothly while you and Carrie worked together or were there mishaps?

(They both laugh) Mr. Bohns: Oh, there were mishaps! Plenty of mishaps! You’re bound to have mishaps when you work with the living.

Not all of the living are so bad, Mr. Bohns.  Carrie seems to have done very well by you.

  1. And finally I have to ask, will there be or are you working on another book about our favorite dapper dressed living skeleton?

Carrie: My Dreadville books will be stand-alones but if you read them all, you will find clues and mysteries of old characters. My new book is about a different monster but you can bet you’ll run into Mr Bohns.
I love the idea of a place called Dreadville and that the stories will intermingle.  And I’m glad we’ll run into Mr. Bohns again.  I’ve grown quite found of you, sir.   I can’t wait to see what Carrie has in store for us.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Invisible Red Thread and Three Little Ladies

"An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break." - Ancient Chinese Proverb

For years I didn't believe in soul mates. I never had one. I never believed there was another girl in this entire world like me. But the moment Dana and I connected, we were finishing each other’s sentences. Out of all the hours in a day, we’d pick the exact moments to send emails. We would find images online to share only to discover the other was saving that same image with the same plan. The list goes on and on. We seemed more like twins than new friends.

Dana has been very ill for a long time and she recently found herself in the hospital hanging on hope for survival. Her communication to me was very limited as it was too painful to even type. Her jaw was so swollen she couldn't talk or even eat.  Dana’s father read her my messages and I waited patiently for her father’s updates.

Miles and miles separate us but that invisible thread was never cut. Somehow our bond grew. Somehow we continued to know about the other with little contact.

For her birthday, I went online in hopes to find that perfect image. I wanted something she could hang in her room and at her weakest moments in her illness, she could remember us and all our future plans. It had to be extra special. I wanted an image of hope.

The moment I visited Mab Graves’s site her piece ‘Best Friends’ spoke to me.  It was me and Dana. Mab had captured us perfectly. Tears welled up in my eyes when my husband nodded yes. I believe he felt it too.

I contacted the artist with my desire to purchase this limited image. In our communication, I shared with her a brief history of Dana. Being the darling Mab is, she took the time to find out a little more about Dana. She visited her blog and she too was touched by this amazing little lady.
It wasn't long before Mab contacted me. She shared how she was drawn to Dana and how alike the two of them were. In her discovery something awoke and to help Dana in her healing, she wanted to do something special too. Along with ‘Best Friends’ (and a few extra little pieces), Mab took the time to illustrate Dana and sent it with a special note of healing and good cheer.

When the pieces arrived, my heart sang. There was so much love in this gift. I took them to be framed, making them perfect so all Dana had to do was find the spots on the wall. Those who helped me in the different shops were drawn to the images and the story. Power was there. Strangers were touched. 

I wish I could have been there when she opened both gifts. I wish I could have seen her face. I still tear up knowing I felt it when she did open them. I could feel joy and gratitude hundreds of miles away. It didn't take long before Dana, being so sick, found the energy to contact me.
It is nice to know there are dear souls in this world.  While it may seem bleak at times there are still good people in it. There are people who take the time to reach out and truly feel the spirit of another.  Thank you, Mab Graves for what you have done for my friend. Thank you for somehow connecting to mine and Dana’s red thread and drawing ‘Best Friends’. And thank you Mab for going the extra mile, for extending yourself even further and painting Dana perfectly. It will forever be a treasured masterpiece.  I am one of your biggest fans, not only because of your amazing talent but because of what you have done. I consider you a friend. One of the dearest, and so does Dana.  

For more information on my dearest friend and her illness, please visit Dana’s blog.

And please visit and support Mab Graves. She makes this world a little more beautiful in many ways.

Don’t forget to visit her Etsy shop!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mr. Edward Gorey!

Every year when Edward Gorey’s birthday passes, I reflect on how badly I wish he was still around. How I wish I could save my pennies so he might create a piece of art for only me. How badly I wish I could hang out in his home town in hopes of a glimpse. How badly I’d wish for a kitten from one of his many cats. How I wish I could have been his friend.

I have never been the kind of person who dotes on others and collects autographs but his would be one I’d treasure.  Once, I watched one of his ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ pieces climb and climb out of my price range on eBay. How I wished I was very rich at that moment.

Edward Gorey’s works move me. They are full of despair which triggers so much emotion. When I look upon art, I want to feel something; I want to see a story. His works do this for me. There is a twist of Gothic flare mixed with everyday occurrences.  Some are a bit bizarre but aren't our lives all unusual at times. Don’t the unbelievable things happen? Sometimes we are smothered under rugs. Sometimes bears do eat us. Sometimes we find ourselves face to face with the bad guy, and sometimes that bad guy wins. Edward Gorey takes us to the edge and lets our minds play out the story.

Oh, the despair! Oh, the tragedy! I would have been a perfect character in one of his books. I sometimes wonder what tragic end he would have given me as child and I do hope it would have been disastrous. I think he would have liked doing that for his friend.    

Monday, January 14, 2013

Watch for the Wolves, Little Red

At a young age my parents introduced me to a little tale. Ever since then Little Red Riding Hood has been my favorite. I had books and stuffed dolls. One doll was a topsy turvy. On one end was Little Red, she was perfect with her red cape, braids and dainty face. When you turned her upside down the doll transformed into the loving Grandmother with her spectacles and bed cap. When you lifted grandmother's cap up and over her face, the wolf was there. He was gray and had yellow eyes with sharp pointed teeth. I spent hours playing with that doll. In the woods outside our home, I was Little Red and I was taking a basket to my Grandma Hasek.  

The tale of Little Red has such an important lesson. Girls, watch out for the wolves because they are out there. They will hurt you and those you love. Stay on the path and don't ever leave it. Listen to your parents and loved ones. Be cautious and wise to what is around you. And if you find yourself in trouble after falling to temptation, (because flowers are so lovely) there is hope. But while wolves are out there, hope is also out there. Heroes still exist. Let them lift you out of the belly of sadness and hopelessness. 

And always, always, always wear red. Be who you are, but be smart.