Hope & Joy in a Classic Tale

By Janice McCaffrey      a christmas carol

While pondering the upcoming holidays my stream of consciousness meandered over past memories and future dreams. A few quiet moments of reflection led of course to Dickens’ ghosts.  My favorite version is The Muppet Christmas Carol with Michael Caine.

I love the little mice bookkeepers working dutifully and diligently in the cold office under the supervision of the kind-hearted Bob Cratchit performed by Kermit. Best of all though is the interplay between Rizzo the Rat acting as sidekick to Gonzo while he narrates the story as Charles Dickens himself.

My thoughts bumped over the moral of the story and what it means in today’s world. I got stuck on ‘don’t be stingy’ but wanted more. So what else is Dickens telling us?

On enotes.com’s website where they proclaim “We’re the Literature Experts” I found an article by Christian Themes (literary essentials: Christian fiction and nonfiction) titled     A Christmas Carol Themes. Let me paraphrase:

Scrooge’s initial penny-pinching reflects the values taking hold during the Industrial Revolution. Dickens illustrates what happens when individuals view relationships and other people through their financial worth. The author exposes the tremendous gap between the rich and the poor.

Then he illustrates a solution, individual redemption. The world becomes a better place almost immediately after Scrooge changes his outlook. The story implies that a renewed connection to humanity is, in fact, the very essence of redemption. His change is not introspective and personal; it is outward-looking and social.

While the results of Scrooge’s change didn’t alter the social structure itself, the compassion he showed to individual people did change the social relationships they shared. Despair turned to hope. isolation to belonging, and unhappiness to joy.

Wow! And I thought it was just fun to watch.

Yes, it’s a Christian based tale, but certainly can be applied to all of us no matter our beliefs. Let’s follow Scrooge’s example, enhance our relationships, and join Tiny Tim in his prayer.

tiny tim 2

 

“God bless us, every one!”

 

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December Book News

december holidays 2018

 

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Flathead Valley Go Find Book Tour Fall 2018

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In case you want to catch a lecture from Susan or attend a book signing, here is her December schedule:

Whitefish Library, Montana. Dec 3rd. Avalanche awareness discussion and book signing. 7 pm.

Kalispell Rotary, December 6th at noon. Discussion and book signing. Hilton Garden Inn. 

Imagine Library, Kalispell, Montana December 18, 2018, 6 pm. Avalanche awareness discussion and book signing. 

Questions? Call Susan Purvis 970-596-2999 or email at susan@susanpurvis.com

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Cookie CrumblesLESLIE BUDEWITZ:  ‘Tis the season for a good book! Join me during the Kalispell Holiday Art Stroll on Friday, December 7, from 5-8 pm. I’ll be signing books at Montana Marie on Main Street, formerly Think Local, a terrific emporium of Montana-made art, cards, candles, lotions, books and much more. Shops and galleries throughout downtown Kalispell will be open late with food, drink, music, and more.

And if you can’t make it that evening, you can find signed copies of my books on the shelves of these Flathead Valley shops: in Whitefish, BookWorks. In Kalispell, Montana Marie and the BookShelf on Main Street, and Montana Art & Gift in the airport. And in Bigfork, Roma’s Kitchen Shop, Nancy O’s Interiors, and the Bigfork Art and Cultural Center. (E-books and audio books available in the usual online sources.)

Wishing you and yours a joy-filled season of love and friendship, regardless of what and how you celebrate. 

Montana Leaves

By Marie F Martin

The Montana Maples are in full glory along my street in Kalispell. Three of my great-grandsons showed to clean my yard. What a fun beautiful time it was. After the leaves were all cleaned up I sent them home with a container of my beef barley soup and brownies filled with canned cherry pie filling and frosted with chocolate. Just a fun slice of Montana life.

Pile’em high.

I wouldn’t want to try this move.

Buried alive.

November Book News

                                                                November Light

november light 2018

              Photo by                Ed Gillenwater

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Flathead Valley Go Find Book Tour Fall 2018

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In case you want to catch a lecture from Susan or attend a book signing, here is her November and December Schedule. Mark your calendar now.

November 15th

Flathead Valley Community College LibraryKalispell, MT. November 15th, 6:30pm. Trivia Contest (with Prizes) Search and Rescue K-9 Power Point, Q &A, and book signing. Learning Resource Center FVCC Library #102. 

December

Whitefish Library, Montana. Dec 3rd. Avalanche awareness discussion and book signing. 7 pm.

Kalispell Rotary, December 6th at noon. Discussion and book signing. Hilton Garden Inn. 

Imagine Library, Kalispell, Montana December 18, 2018, 6 pm. Avalanche awareness discussion and book signing. 

Questions? Call Susan Purvis 970-596-2999 or email at susan@susanpurvis.com

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Cookie CrumblesLESLIE BUDEWITZ: Delighted to be starting November in Dillon, attending the Murder Mystery dinner on Friday, November 2, and teaching at the Mystery Writers’ Workshop on Saturday, November 3, both sponsored by the Dillon Public Library and held on campus at University of Montana-Western. But you know I’ll sneak over to the library — one of the classic Carnegie buildings — for a poke around!

Later in the month, I’ll be joining the holiday fun at the Bigfork Art and Cultural Center during the annual Christmas Art Walk on Saturday, November 17, from 4-7 p.m. It’s the perfect setting for me, since AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES is set in my version of Bigfork — I call it Jewel Bay, but you won’t be fooled! — and starts on Decorating Day and ends on Christmas Eve! Shop a while, grab a bite, and stay for the tree lighting as Montana’s Christmas Village lights up for the holidays.

And on Saturday, November 24, from 1-4, I’ll be chatting with shoppers and signing books at one of my favorite shops, Nancy O Interiors, on Hwy 35 north of the village. Soup will be on, and you’ll find all kinds of fun gifts for your home and the people on your Christmas list!

Remember, books fit in almost every Christmas stocking — and make great hostess gifts, too!

 

 

Learning my colors

By Janice McCaffrey

One of my first blogs back in February 2016, I shared a technique that helped me enhance first, second, third, and so on story drafts. Layering. I start with a very rough draft and then work on applying layers: dialogue, body language, physical descriptions of characters and settings, etc.

Currently I’m layering color.

In my July 2018 blog I listed online resources to help improve descriptions. I’m working with site kathysteineman.com to learn my colors. It lists adjectives that help describe a certain color.

For example

cat black

Cat Black

and

smoky black

Smoky Black

Then there are words like hue, tone, tint, and shade to describe differences in colors. According to DifferenceBetween.net a hue is the brightest, purest form of a color…red, yellow, blue, etc. A general term that refers to a pure color that has been lightened or darkened is tone. A true color that has been lightened is a tint. A true color that’s been darkened is a shade.

cornsilk blonde

Corn silk

 

 

apricot blonde

Apricot Blonde

 

Hair colors are fun to play with. There are many descriptions of blonde online. Here are two:

 

color wheel

 

Reviewing the color wheel has helped me dress my characters and decorate their space

 

 

 

 

And check out dailywritingtips.com’s How to Punctuate Descriptions of Colors By Mark Nichol – It’s a short two minute read and very helpful. Easy to understand explanations for  the correct use of hyphens and commas and how their misuse can change your intended meaning.

Metaphorically, I’m a three year old. No, not in dog years . . . in writers’ years. learning my colors

And I’m having fun learning my colors!