The vintage stylist asks for help!

The Vintage Stylist’s featured shop display

So, spring hasn’t arrived quite yet and I was happy to receive the vintage stylist, Mimi Shepherd’s, email that featured a raucous pink/red/orange colored tablecloth she’d selected for the staring placement in her shop’s boutique tablescape section. It was great to see some color brighten another rainy, overcast morning and I told her that. Mimi always seems to be leading ever forward with her style sense, but this time she wanted reassurance that she wasn’t stepping off the edge using this scape as her design focus.

Now, Mimi’s the expert stylist and I was quietly pleased she’d asked my opinion, so I shared my humble take on the scape. I told her the classic element bust was certainly a vintage element, as well as the wine and water goblets. Victorians loved flowers didn’t they? And you certainly couldn’t get any more vintage than that … unless you counted the Greco/Roman influenced statuary. And I reminded her of what she always says about vintage that it needs a new angle or beat to jazz it up some. The color certainly provides that amp. That seemed to jolt her confidence and she signed off quickly to put in the finishing touches to the display. I can’t wait to visit her shop once the spring reveal is presented!

Closet tablescape designing

My heroines secretly do fuss with pretty tablescapes … time for them to step out of the china closet and share! What is tablescaping? Setting or laying a table with a thought to how basic requirements for eating a meal come together in a pleasing, joyful way. I think of it as a collage … layering different dishes with a mind toward shape, texture, and color, and considering flatware utensils, beverage containers, napkins, as well as whimsical objects that emphasize a seasonal theme, or color story.

Professional chefs will tell you your eyes start a meal. The table sparks our appetites and says you care enough about those you share meals with to fuss a little (or a lot) to influence their meal experience in a good way. The goal is to always bring a smile and anticipation for the meal to follow. Tables can be minimalist, set with soft, compatible colors, simple foraged wildflowers, and set outside, or with greater structure and formality.

In The Vintage Telepath Julie Bishop’s mom Violet May, knows about setting a table and creating a theme and an environment. Unfortunately, these attempts are lost on Julie who struggles with all things connected to her mom’s spiritual and metaphysically inclined spirit. In Loving Vintage, vintage stylist Mimi Shepherd has a love for styling porcelain, but little time at the moment as her biggest challenge is setting her daughter onto the right path. But now, in the forthcoming The Vintage Stylist, we finally see Mimi embracing her china love and tablescaping addiction when she adds a boutique china section to her own specialty shop.

These heroines are coming out and embracing their joy for making everyday life just a little more gracious and beautiful. I’m glad to see it!

Discovering a new genre

I do enjoy attempting to solve puzzles and this often morphs into trying to locate missing persons, and the more fact-based study of actual genealogy charts and the genealogical universe for family history. This interest of course, found its way into a major plot point in my story Loving Vintage.

Boomer heroine, Annie Savone takes on a determined quest to examine how she came to be with very little information; information that must be extracted from the murky depths of a muddled private adoption. Actually the story does become something of a dectective story … what a surprise.

Enter a new read by author, Nathan Dylan Goodwin with a genre new to me, Forensic Genealogy. An English author, he sets his stories in charmingly historic real life locations in beautiful Sussex, England. As a reader, I always attempt to Google story locations and thrilled when they return real places. I can even map street names. So exciting. When I first started writing, I chose to set my stories locally even though many tried to change my mind. So here was a shared commonality.

Goodwin’s Forensic Genealogy series is based on main character, Morton Farrier, a gifted genealogist, and his cases. The first story includes forensic insight for how to analyze an old photo in terms of time the image was taken, noting background detail, and the angle or perspective from where the photo was captured by a photographer. I was hooked immediately, as I had processed these qualities in my story and pleased that I had thought enough about what would be relevant in an old photo, to be helpful to the heroine. I was thrilled my fledgling insight had created a storyline that was relevant and productive.

I am excited there are eight more books in this series, eight new reads for me to enjoy and learn from a master at building a satisfying story for my readers. I hope you grab a Quarantine-silver-lining to read through some titles and escape via a great story. Stay safe.

Novels and contemporary development

Surprisingly, contemporary novels often chronicle historical and local geographical development. Today I was reminded how details in my novels do this. My debut novel, Nardi Point, is set in a growing North Raleigh, North Carolina new subdivision; specifically an IT professional couple take on the construction of their first home and creation of a family. 2018_NP_PP_coverWell, increased development in this region’s corridor has increased exponentially and the model subdivison for this story, Tadlock Plantation, is completely sold out and even expanded into adjacent, The Registry, where once a sleepy dairy farm existed.

Closely followed by book two, A Path through the Garden, the heroine lives in the Youngsville area. That town’s Main street, where “founding fathers would not have trouble recongizing it today as it remained unchanged newly two hundred years later,” is now quite changed. New shops, antique havens, coffee and coffee shops, family farm visit experiences, new architectural improvements, increased foot traffic, have updated the growing town and region.PAPERBACK Cover APTTG

Writing is such an adventure. Writing in the present and reflecting on those words several years after, provides quite the opportunity to consider our busy lives and places in our world. If you keep a journal of sorts, dip back into its pages for references to your setting, where your world unfolds, and muse over the changes that have occurred. These changes can mirror those in our thoughts about our inner selves as well. Change is indeed the only constant.

Happy reading♥

Sitting too long…a cautionary tale

Nancy is super engrossed at the keyboard. Her thoughtful heroine is about to make a fatal error….

Four hours later—Nancy is super engrossed at the keyboard. Her thoughtful heroine is still not thinking right, she’s going further down the rabbit hole. And Nancy hasn’t moved from her position yet!

Yes, this is how the past several years have gone starting five novels ago. Why am I sharing this with you? So you become smarter than I was and not completely disregard exercise from your daily routine. I don’t have the time or inclination to think about exercise. Well, the time is available that’s true, but I’d much rather be “super engrossed at the keyboard” than wasting it doing any sort of exercise.

It started with a hitch in the leg/pelvic region. What had just happened? It seemed for a moment maybe one leg was shorter than the other and it resulted in an uneven limp/walk. I shook it off and thought an actual short “refreshing walk” would rid me of the kink. Only about a block away from home, my upper legs burned, my stamina deserted me and the thought I may not be able to walk back to my home crashed into my brain.

I asked our family physician, did I need  xrays?  Medication? Gulp, surgery like in hip replacement? Am I disabled? He is so patient with his writer patient. “No. You need exercise, like a nice refreshing walk. I also recommend physical therapy.” I shook my head. Argggg! I seemed to be without a choice.

Two months later, I thank my physical therapist, Sheila Gallagher-Whitlock for introducing me to best practice exercises for tight hip-flexor and Psoas (pronounced so-as) muscles. For me it means various exercises, a daily walk, a stand-up desk, and writing intervals of no longer than twenty minutes. Twenty minutes!

So all my beautiful readers and writer friends, I humbly offer this tale for your consideration. I never dreamed this could happen to me, but I’ve since learned I am not the superwoman I thought. No, I could become disabled for if this condition had been left unchecked, the muscles I work so hard to improve daily could have reached the point of no-return and a nice little scooter would have been my only future option.

This tale I share is even more important than a New Year resolution! If like me, you find your daily routine is light on mobility, do what you can to change that! I wish you all the very best in 2019!

From Nancy, writing from her stand-up desk!