Saturday, May 28, 2016

Treasure Hunting With Icky Chic

No matter if your traveling the world or your own back yard, if your looking in the right place there is always TREASURE to be found. Why not join me as I leave no stone unturned, no mountain unclimbed, no ocean uncrossed, well, I think you get my drift... Just have fun exploring the caches of wonderful loot I've discovered in my hunt for the world's most FABULOUS FINDS!







Friday, May 27, 2016

WORLD BUILDING –Who Needs It? Can You Do It?

Photo Credit: I Nalna_94
As a writer, I learned early that creating a believable story required architectural and construction
skills. The second thing I realized was that I didn’t have a clue what World Building meant, how to begin, or when to stop. And most disturbing, was how my own writing style predicted dark days ahead. 

You see, I write by-the-seat-of-my-pants. I do some plotting, but mostly, the story just evolves one weird, funny, amazing, or awful idea at a time. Thankfully, these ideas do eventually merge into a story that previously only existed in my mind, a world with its own reality and principles of existence. 

So World Building is not something I consciously and meticulously predetermine, rather, I construct what I need when I need it. (*Smiles precociously) That’s not to say that a lot of building repair isn’t required in the editing process. (Woe is me!) After all, two things are definitely needed to make World Building concrete that is strong and durable—Coherence and Consistency, which miraculously appear during editing

As a reader, I don’t enjoy being bogged down by endless description. For instance, I don’t need to see the blueprints for a 33 room mansion. Just tell me it has 33 rooms including tennis courts, swimming pool, and riding stables and let me put it all together in my own mind. I guarantee, I’ll like my mansion better than the one you describe to me in full detail!

So what’s my point? In World Building, I try to construct only those features that are necessary in order to understand the rules or laws which govern my world, the environmental territory, time and space, new technology, and the characters that people my world along with their philosophy, language, etc. As a writer, I do the framework and allow you, the reader, to decorate so-to-speak. In reality, my world also becomes your world through participation.




Dare we try this out and see what happens...
I'll share a scene from my current work-in-progress and you tell me what details you filled in as a reader. At the conclusion, did your mind jump to the next action or dialog. What do you think happend next.  Don't be shy...GIVE IT A TRY!






She pulled into the parking lot of a new convenience store
and gas station. The place was crowded and she sighed in relief
at having gotten the last open space between a fancy black SUV
and a devil-black sports car of a kind she’d never seen before.

On her left, four men dressed in black suits exited the
SUV. They made her a little uneasy as their whole demeanor
resembled movie-style government agents, including the dark
sunglasses and military posture. Then again, the way they
scanned the building’s perimeter, maybe she wasn’t too far off
in her speculations.

Bam! The horrendous noise shattered Olivia’s musings. She
jerked her head to the right just in time to hear Miss Mable
snort disgustedly and push against her passenger door. Bam!
Somehow, with more dexterity than usual, her passenger had
snapped the catch on her seat belt and was attempting to exit the
van under her own steam.

“Miss Mable, wait for me,” Olivia grabbed the determined
woman’s arm, but to no purpose. Bam!

Olivia scrambled out of the van and ran around to the
passenger door seconds too late to keep it from smashing into
the side of the dangerous looking sports car for the fourth
time. Bam! She leaned her back against Miss Mabel’s door, using
her whole strength against another push.

Two men, dressed similarly to the ones from the SUV,
stepped out of the opposite side of the sports car and glared
daggers at her.

Another push from behind jostled her stance so bad she had
to press her hands against the driver’s window of the sports car
to keep from falling. She blinked as the four men from the SUV
joined the two from the sports car. She was surrounded on the
front and sides by a wall of men whose expressions were none to
friendly, and with a determined battering ram at her back.
Then, she heard the sound that drove her heart through her
throat—the person on the other side of the car’s window was
trying to open the door. She jerked her hands back, noticing
that her sweaty palms had left two very distinct prints on the
window’s once clean surface. With no option but to stay put, and
very little room between her and whatever was coming out of that
door, Olivia began to tremble. Her mind swirled as she searched
for an appropriate apology, one that would save her and her
passengers from a trip to the nearest police station—or worse.

He emerged like a butterfly escaping its cocoon. First an
arm, then a head of thick black hair that fell across his
forehead and bushed his collar. Olivia stopped breathing all
together as his broad shoulders, covered in yet another black
suit, were pushed skyward by a pair of legs that didn’t seem to
have an end. He pushed the door open as far as the minuscule
space permitted, allowing the edge to press against her body in
a vertical line starting between her breasts and continuing
across her belly button and pelvis. Pushing the back of her head
against the van’s glass window allowed her nose to escape being
mashed flat.

Well over six feet, he towered above her five-foot-three
inches. High cheek bones accentuated bronze skin the color of
her morning toast. Aquamarine-blue eyes shot a rapier glare
straight down his chiseled nose. He was so close she could smell
his cologne. Not a scent she recognized, but tantalizing and
exotic like the man who wore it.

With her breath caught in her throat, she waited. He hadn’t
spoken yet, probably because he couldn’t, not with his full
bottom lip twisted in cold fury.

“Damn it woman. Can’t you control your kids?”

So much for his speaking prowess. His voice, heavy with
undisguised insolence, raked down Olivia’s spine. Feeling like a
insect pinned for display, she pushed against the door, only to
have it pushed back. He wasn’t giving any quarter.

Although his English seemed to be perfect, it had been
laced with a hint of an accent. She stole a furtive glance
upward and regretted the decision. He wasn't the gentlemanly,
home-grown type of man she was used to. Could he be Latin,
Spanish, or South American? whatever, the man glaring at her
with brazen intensity was definitely a foreign specimen. Even
though the lighter color of his eyes softened his dark
expression, they reminded her of photos she'd seen of the cold,
blue-green icebergs that broke away from the glaciers of
Antarctica.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Meet the Dynamism behind LITTLE FEET BIG ADVENTURES


My Solo Adventure to a Costa Rica Jungle! Read about it on my blog...






















My Guest today is Breeze Leonard. 
Breeze is the creative dynamism behind Little Feet Big Adventures, a trending new voice in the realm of family travel blogging. After reading Breeze's new blog, I'm convinced that she and her little traveling companions will open new windows of exploration, new goals for intrepid family travelers, and will provide a source of awesome and humorous travel experiences that will inspire us all. Be sure to bookmark her blog. Take my word for it, this blog will soon become the 'GO-TO' Guide for all those families with little feet who are ready, set, and just raring to go adventuring.

Now let's let Breeze introduce herself and then maybe she will be gracious enough to answer some questions for me.

Hi, my name is Breeze and I'm a family travel blogger. With a wonderful husband and three little vagabonds, I'm determined to bust the MYTH that you can't travel once you have kids. How am I going to accomplish that, BY DOING IT!

We are an ordinary family of 5 that travels on a budget. We are striving by our own real life experiences to encourage other families to go on adventures together. From our own backyard to overseas travel, we are making memories!

Breeze, what inspires you? Describe one real-life example.
Seeing my children's faces as they experience something for the first time. I'll never forget the first time my girls saw the ocean or their first airplane experience. I love watching their eyes light up! It seems like a small gift that I am able to give them each time they take in something new.

Do you have long-term professional goals that encompass your Travel Blog and your family?
Absolutely, I feel goals are extremely important! Our current goal is to road trip through all the
National Parks in the U.S. and share those experience with my blog readers. We love road trips and National Parks, so it just makes sense! And I have a few other adventures in the works that I'll be sharing in the weeks and months to come. Our adventure schedule is full, so I invite everyone to follow us, we'd love to have your company. Besides my blog, you can also keep track of us on TwitterFB, and Intagram

What kind of research or preparation do you do in advance?
I'm always researching new family friendly travel destinations. I try to stay up-to-date on the best theme parks, hotels, events, and much more that are geared towards the whole family. From experience I have learned that a little research can go a LONG way in making a trip go as smooth as possible. 

Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?
The best advice I have to give for family travel is to get off the beaten path. What I mean by that is chose places that are not the most well known or popular. The times we have traveled to smaller locations that are perhaps not as common are the times we have enjoyed the most.

Do you travel for inspiration?
Yes! As much as possible. It's amazing how you can travel to somewhere that just gives you inspiration to write, photograph or create! We don't always have to travel far to achieve that inspiration. I've gone to local parks and had the "light bulb" come on so to speak. 

What sorts of things are inspiring you right now? Where do you look for inspiration?
Spring is inspiring me! The colors, the smells and just how refreshing it seems. The warmer weather is encouraging families to get outdoors together. I look to my kids for inspiration, if they are enjoying something then I get inspired by their happiness!

Can you describe your blog's target audience?
My target audience is anyone who loves travel. Yes, my primary focus is on traveling with kids but I have taken a few solo adventures that would appeal to anyone who travels. We do a lot of at-home activities that would interest anyone taking care of kids. We love including our grandmas and grandpas in our travel excursions as well!

Are you willing to do interviews, collaborative projects, product or travel location reviews?
Of course! The more I learn about all things travel the better I'll be at passing that information on to my readers!

Thank you Lynda for sharing our love of travel with your readers here at Between The Pages. And if anyone has any questions, drop a comment here and I'll do my best to answer them. And be sure to come visit us at LittleFeetBigAdventures.com

GIVEAWAY:
We are currently running a giveaway on the blog for a $50 Gift Card to Toys "R" Us.  I encourage everyone to come check it out!

Happy Travels,
Breeze

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Lemons and Llamas with Author Nell Castle

My guest today is Author Nell Castle. Nell brought a yummy recipe for Lemon Tarts and a challenging writing prompt that will test your animal lore. 

Be sure to visit Nell's website and get to know this author who rewrites her friend's love stories that haven't ended well, bringing them to life with a breath of new hope and possibilities. Isn't that intriguing? I love happy endings!

Lemon Lore

What fruit is as versatile as the lemon? While its tart-sweet flavor makes it perfect for drinks and desserts, the lemon has tons of household purposes. Add it to your wash to brighten your whites--or dip your toothbrush in its juice to brighten your teeth (but watch out for your enamel!). Add a tablespoon to a cup of whole milk and you’ve got instant buttermilk. Sprinkle it over your kids’ sliced apples to prevent browning. Or try my favorite cleaning cheat: slice up some lemons in a bowl of water and pop it into the microwave for a minute and a half. Wipes off easily and smells great!

Recipe: Lemon Tart
Photo Credit: Liz West


Tart shell:
1 ¼ c. + 2T. Flour
1T + 1t. Sugar
⅛ t. Salt
8 T. cold unsalted butter
1 lg. egg yolk, beaten with 1T milk
Reserve 1 egg white, lightly beaten

Filling:
4 eggs
1 ½ c. sugar
½ c. orange juice
3 T plus 1 t lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
¼ c. heavy cream

In food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and pulse to the consistency of coarse cornmeal. Add egg yolk mixture, pulsing until the mixture starts banging around the bowl. Flatten into a disc, wrap, and chill for 1 hour.

Allow dough to warm up at room temperature for a bit, then roll out to fit into a 10 ½ inch tart pan. Trim dough and reserve. Freeze pan until firm.

Line the shell with foil and bake 20 minutes at 350. Remove foil and bake another 10-15 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and brush with the reserved egg white. Scraps can be used to patch any cracks from the baking process.

Assemble filling while the pastry bakes. Whisk ingredients together until smooth and transfer into a pourable container. On a cookie sheet, transfer pie shell to the oven. Slowly pour in filling as high as possible without overfilling.

Bake approximately 25 minutes, until filling is just barely set and still jiggly in the center. Check after 20 minutes and do not overbake.

Cool to room temperature before eating.


Llama Writing Prompt

Photo Credit: Pablo Trincado
One night in a dream, you wander through deep woods under a starless sky. Slivers of the full moon brighten the ground beneath your bare feet, leading you on a glittering path to the threshold of a tipi. Light glows through its leather walls, and smoke drifts up from an opening at the top. A long-haired shaman, his cheeks carved by age, eyes glowing like hot coals, holds back a flap and invites you inside. You take a seat on the dusty ground at the edge of the fire pit. Heat blisters your eyebrows as you stare into the blue heart of the fire. You know without being told what you’re looking for. You’ll find your spirit animal in this tent.

Gentle brown eyes blink at you from the fire, and ears twitch hesitantly from the top of its head. At first you mistake it for a deer, until its neck elongates. Its coat is thick, shaggy, soft. The llama steps around the coals and emerges from the pit, rolling its jaw slowly beneath its dark, velvety nose.

Your spirit animal is both a reflection of you and your spiritual guide. Write about the core traits of a llama as you understand them. Why might this animal choose you? What was your first reaction to seeing the llama emerge? Were you threatened? Disappointed? Pleased? What positive aspects of a llama do you see reflected in yourself? Do you share any negative qualities that might require work? What can you learn from the way the llama carries itself?

“Fun fact” about Nell: Nell will be visiting with a shaman in a sweat lodge in June and is feeling a little nervous about smoking tobacco from a peace pipe.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Artisan Interview with Marsha Jaramillo of Markets of Sunshine on Etsy

Don't you love discovering new artisans and their creative stash of treasures? I do. Their imagination and talents are simply amazing.

Today's artisan is Marsha Jaramillo from Markets of Sunshine on Etsy. At Markets of Sunshine you'll find whimsical story book gifts ranging from weekly planners, key chains, bookmarks, and secret compartment hollow books.




Marsha Jaramillo is a mixed media artist from Florida. She has been selling on Etsy since 2008 and has published one DIY Craft and Recipe book with her
Etsy team called Sharing Delicious Secrets.






Interview with Artisan Marsha Jaramillo

(1) What Inspires you?

Teaching my daughter at home was such a joy. I wanted her to be an avid reader so I bought her several series for girls. One being Nancy Drew by Caroline Keene. That became my inspiration to start my secret compartment books on Etsy.

(2) What’s your favorite piece of work that you've created?
My book lover gift sets

(3) What are you working on at the moment?
Book Journal Necklace

(4) Do you work alone?
My husband and I work together to create our book lover gift sets

(5) Have you had memorable reactions and comments toward your work
I have gained a following of customer's who come back year after year requesting my Little Golden book planner sets and my Eco-Gift Sampler Sets.

(6) How do you market your work?
Hollow book

I promote my business on social media and through good old snail mail and in the community to local business owners. And, through guest posts like this one.

(7) Why do you think people should continue to make things by hand?
If we don't teach the younger generation how to make things with their hands I fear that many of these skills will be lost. It is also very good therapy for the mind and allows you to relax and destress. And, people all around the world want products made in the USA.



You can visit Marsha at the following links:

Website/blog:  www.marketsofsunshine.com

FB: www.facebook.com/marketsofsunshine

Twitter: www.twitter.com/marketssunshine

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/marketssunshine/

Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/mysecretcompartments

www.etsy.com/shop/marketsofsunshin





Wednesday, April 27, 2016

VOLCANOS and SHORTBREAD with author Nicci Carrera

My guest today is Author Nicci Carrera who is sharing her shortbread recipe and a hair-raising volcano experience.


Where to find Nicci on the Web:

https://www.facebook.com/niccicarrera2
www.niccicarrera.com
https://niccicarreraromance.com/ (blog)
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9848514.Nicci_Carrera
https://twitter.com/niccicarrera1
amazon.com/author/niccicarrera
Good morning! Lynda, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog on this special day, release day for my second book. 

Recipes and Writing Prompts

Volcano Reflections
A volcano can change your life if it doesn’t kill you first.

In the early morning, I wandered outside to my private swimming pool. I ran for a dive as I did every day, but today the smooth surface of water reflected red lava spilling down the black flank of the volcano that forms the backdrop for my house in Hilo, Hawaii.

The significance of the reflection hit me as the water sliced around my hands. The icy rush and pressure of the pool joined the blunt force knowledge I was about to be engulfed in fire. Mount Kilauea’s lava flows must have shifted during the night. A stream of fire was heading right toward my house.

I surfaced, gasping for air. The taste and smell of ash hit my senses. I exploded from the shallow-end, water streaming off my body, and stumbled up the pool steps. The metal hand railing was warm to the touch as I pulled myself hand over hand out of the heavy water. I sprinted for the door, and that’s when I saw her.

My neighbor, Michelle, stood behind the sliding glass patio door, staring at me with her mouth hanging open.

Everything after that was a blur. We escaped together, and both my house and her parents’ house, where she was staying at the time, burned...

(See writing prompt at the end of this article)

English Shortbread

Hint: I use a Silpat on top of a flat cookie sheet for all cookies. Silpats are incredible; I highly
recommend getting one: http://amzn.to/18nD5HO. But you do need a nice flat cookie sheet. I use one like this: http://amzn.to/18nDtpM
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Extra fine sugar for sprinkling on top.

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg.
3. Sift together flour and baking powder.
4. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, stirring well to blend.
5. Knead dough lightly until it  holds together.
6. Roll dough on floured surface to 14 inch square.
7. Cut into 49 (2 inch) squares or cut with a cookie cutter.
8. Place squares or cookie cutter-shaped dough about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet (or Silpat lined baking sheet).
9. Drizzle a thin coating of extra fine white sugar over the cookies.
10. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Remove from baking sheets; cool on racks.

Makes 49 squares, or numerous other shapes! I make hearts for Valentine’s Day and shamrocks for Saint Patrick's Day.

Writing Prompt:
Using Nicci's Volcano experience, write about how she and Michelle might have assisted others in the neighborhood to escape with them. In your account include a helicopter, stubborn helicopter pilot, two troublesome neighborhood teenagers, and one overly excited poodle. Oh, and turn this into a humorous scene! Have fun...




Saturday, April 23, 2016

CATCHING THE LIGHT BULB MOMENT - With Jeannie Hall

Writers often draw from real life experiences, those exceptional moments that bring a plot twist, setting, conflict, resolution, motivation, or characterization into clear focus in a way we never before envisioned. It's an awe inspiring occasion, to say the least. These instances happen at all points in a writer's life and at the most unexpected moments. In this new series of blogs, we'll get a replay of such moments from the writer's personal perspective. 

So let's meet my first guest, Author Jeannie Hall.
Jeannie Hall is a Romance Suspense/Thriller author, hailing from the Southern United States. She uses her experiences growing up in the Deep South and love of nature as backdrops for her books. Jeannie enjoys writing intense and dark plots which twist in unexpected ways around her characters. She believes the best characters come from difficult and sometimes tragic pasts, building them into stronger women and men. 


Jeannie's Light Bulb Moment

My personal light bulb moment was precipitated by a lifelong friend. My best friend since middle school, Tammy Carter Bronson, writes and illustrates her own children’s books as well as YA novels. Before I was published by the fabulous Wild Rose Press, Tammy and I swapped manuscripts. I was having trouble with mine – well, trouble doesn’t even cover it. I had written five hundred words of a single title contemporary romance, and it was going nowhere with a capital N. To give you an idea of how bad it was, I started my story with my heroine attempting suicide. Not exactly a storyline to entice publishers. LOL!

Tammy was kind and didn’t tell me how horrible it was. Instead, she asked if I’d consider turning it
Tammi and I
into a different genre like mystery or suspense. I could keep all my original characters, but instead of having my heroine despairing to the point of a near suicide, I could have her running from the bad guy who haunted her childhood.

What a fabulous idea!

I could make my heroine wounded by her past but not defeated by it. She would be strong, overcoming even the most harrowing of obstacles. And she’d fall in love along the way. Girl power!

It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. While I had to work hard to complete the massive rewrite of the story, that same novel – my debut – ultimately became the dark romantic suspense, Violation of Faith. I’ve heard so many people tell writers that their first novel will never be fit for publication. That they need to throw it under the bed and consider it a great writing experience but nothing more.

I disagree.

If you’re willing to trash, delete or heavily edit the bad parts – or the parts that don’t work – then there is no reason why your first novel can’t become your first published novel.

I’m living proof.


You Can Visit Jeannie Hall at These Links

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jeannie-Hall/e/B01BQQMK68/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1?follow-button-add=B01BQQMK68_author&

Review Page: http://www.amazon.com/Violation-Faith-Cult-Wife-Jeannie-ebook/dp/B01B0WIHEM?ie=UTF8&redirect=true&ref_=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_0#customerReviews

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeannieHallAuth

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JeannieHallAuthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28699994-violation-of-faith





Saturday, April 9, 2016

Spotlight of COME LOVE A COWBOY - Anthology

BUY NOW
Eight stand-alone Contemporary Western Romance novellas from Award-Winning Authors.


Here's you chance to fall in love with a cowboy that's perfect for you. How about a firefighter, daredevil bronco buster, wealthy rancher, or a too-lovable bad boy?

Come Love A Cowboy has something for everyone. I love anthologies. I like to browse through the list of stories making a reading schedule, as to the order in which I'm going to read them, then leisurely enjoy each and every one. 


Today, I'm going to share a few thoughts on just one of the exceptional stories, Bad Boy, Big Heart by Andrea Downing. I've read several of Andrea's books in the past and I've never been disappointed. She writes from the heart, not just her own, but straight from the hearts of her characters. I never feel as though she rushes her story or short-changes her readers with cookie-cutter heroes, heroines, and plots.

KC and Chay's story, as it unfolds in Bad Boy, Big Heart, makes me catch my breath on the very first page, as the author introduces me to KC and Chay and to the world where I'll watch them fumble through the complexities of life and love, Wyoming! Here's an excerpt:

 ~ So much land, stretching away toward the mountains. Instead of the squares and spires of a city skyline hiding the streaks of sun and clouds, depriving the city of blue, here was endless blue, the horizon of earth and sky made jagged by the distant peaks as if they held the clouds aloft. An immediate feeling of space gripped her, a boundless world, a sense of freedom... ~

If that doesn't give you goosebumps and make you immediately book a flight to Wyoming, well, just read a little further...you'll get there sooner or later!

And what can make a young woman's heart beat faster than a Bad Boy? It's the proverbial warning. You know the one. It's supposed to stop you, but ends up catapulting you straight into the middle of the fire. Don't take my word for it...see for yourself with this excerpt:

Let me give you one word of advice, Miss City Girl. One word you most likely won’t pay a blind bit of attention to, but I’m gonna give it to you anyway. And it’s this: don’t, repeat don’t, fall in love with Chay Ridgway.

I never summarize the story in my reviews, but I do like to tell you what I like and I liked a lot. I liked the push and pull between KC and Chay, their diverse backgrounds being a natural catalyst to igniting a spark. I liked the secondary characters that fill the big Wyoming background with color, humor, and authenticity. I love the rich dialog that kept me smack in the middle of every scene. I loved the ending...like a sunset ablaze with color that warms the heart as it sinks into tomorrow. 

Great Job, Andrea! 
And congratulations to all the authors of 
Come Love A Cowboy.


Luke’s Fate by Kathleen Ball
Meg O’Brien hoped never to lay eyes on the one man who broke her heart. To her dismay, Luke Kelly arrives at her ranch a much different and broken man. Can Meg ever forgive his callous treatment of her and help Luke become the man he used to be?
Grant Me The Moon by Caroline Clemmons
All Tory Fraser intended was to show her high school history club students a local archeology dig. How could she know the excursion would involve a murder?
Three for The Win by Keta Diablo
Hollis should have known better than to fall for a bone-melting man like Stede. He’s gone now and Eli is left to pick up the broken pieces of her life.
Border Affair by Hebby Roman
When his partners’ daughter is kidnapped in México, a self-made millionaire must confront his feelings about their affair and the future of their relationship.
Leaving Necessity by Margo Bond Collins
Mac has one week to convince his ex-girlfriend Clara not to sell his oil company. In this high-pressure reunion, can they strike love again?
The Shape of Destiny by Julie A. D’Arcy
A young male shape shifter. A beautiful female ranch owner. Can love be born in a web of deceit?
Bad Boy, Big Heart by Andrea Downing
She’s a New Yorker escaping her parents. He’s a Wyoming cowboy supporting his dad. One summer, two young people—three months to find love.
Desert Heat by Patti Sherry-Crews
A single mother struggling to keep her guest ranch puts her own desires on hold. When a handsome and persistent fireman sets his sights on her, she must decide how much she’s willing to give.



Wednesday, April 6, 2016

ARTISAN OF HANDMADE - Spotlight and Interview - Suzanne Sumrow of PURPOSE4EVERYTHING


My guest Artisan today is Suzanne Sumrow of the Etsy Shop, PURPOSE4EVERYTHING.

I love this shop because it speaks to the little girl in me who still loves the whole fantasy world of dollhouses and the enchanting miniatures that fill them with wonder! And if that's not enough to make you look, take a peak at the Carved Geode Druzy Sterling Silver Pendant, Turquoise Blue Green Organza Ribbon Necklace or the Trimont China Footed Teacup and Saucer Set Vibrant Pink with White Flowers.

But enough of my drooling. Let's meet Suzanne who kindly agreed to do an interview for Between The Pages Artisans of Handmade Feature.


Hello Everyone. 

I'm Suzanne and I'm a nature lover, treasure hunter, vintage glass collector, creative spirit, loving mom of 3 and an avid animal lover. With 4 cats, 2 dogs and an adorable ferret, it is always a fun house! I have always loved creating things-- jewelry, stain glass, mosaics, wood working-- and I have always loved collecting miniatures. Lately I have used my creativity to delve into the world of miniature making...from drapery and furniture to nursery toys, kitchen accessories and home decor items. I have so many ideas for miniature items that I want to make, there is not enough time in the day!

I opened my shop to share my love of vintage items, and have a venue to sell some of my handmade creations.

Lynda: Thank you for introducing yourself, Suzanne. Let's jump right into the interview questions. 

What is the name of your shop and do you have a story behind that name?

The name of my shop is Purpose4Everything.

It is my belief that everything in our lives has a purpose.... whether it be people, places or things. Someone created something to bring pleasure or usefulness. For my vintage items, I just want to help them to find their purpose again! And for my own creations, to bring a bit of joy to someone, and spread the intention of love and peace.

How long have you been selling online?

I actually opened my Etsy shop to customers in September of 2012, altho I created the shop in May, and spent 4 months finding items, creating items, taking photos, researching and actually listing my items... trying to have a full shop right from the start!

Where can we find your products?

I only sell on Etsy, but I have a pinterest board devoted to my miniatures. My vintage finds are also only in my Etsy shop, and they range from vintage jewelry, to kitchen items, to collectibles, to home decor, to tools... it all depends on what I come across in my treasure hunt travels! I make jewelry and stain glass as well, but miniatures have been my passion lately.

Do you have a blog or website where you showcase your work?

Well, I started one for my miniatures... but then I was in a car accident that disrupted everything. I shattered my right wrist and dislocated my right hand (my dominant hand), so I was unable to do much of anything for a long time. I still have problems, and it takes me longer to create things, but I am not going to let it put an end to my creativeness.

So needless to say, I am very behind on updating my website. I have had to deal with a lot of emotions over the loss of my 'perfect' hand, and am learning to accept my imperfectness now...you know, my new normal. Being a bit of a perfectionist, makes it just a little bit harder, lol! But I hope to start it back up soon. 
 
Do you have any tips that might help another shop owner to better present their products?

My biggest tip would be to take good photographs! A picture says a thousand words, and you want them to all be good words, lol! I sometimes take over 30 photos just to get 5 good ones.... I am not the best photographer, but I keep trying! And I do alot of editing on one of the free photo editing websites (PicMonkey is what I use). But that all takes time, which is why I am not able to list as much as some shops do. Almost all of my items are one of a kind, so that requires a new listing for every product, very time consuming.

Do you work part-time or full-time in your business?

Well, I work full time on my business, now, as I was laid off about a year ago. But I also have 3 kids and a household to run, so it seems like I am always working on my shop with any spare time I have! I am the one who creates or finds all of my items, researches and photographs them, packages and ships them, does all the book keeping and all the promoting! It is definitely not as easy having my own shop as I thought it would be when I first started this. I spend a lot of my time trying to promote myself, on my Google+ page, Facebook, Pinterest and by being on Etsy teams.

What is the best/worst, or most amusing interaction you've experienced with a buyer?


The best experience is making custom orders for people! I get to know them, I get to create a one of a kind item for them, and I end up with a great friend!

I would have to say the worst was when I had a customer from Germany purchase one of my vintage items. Not sure what happened, but she refused the package, after opening it, and had it sent back, stating customs denied it... then wanted a full refund. It had cost $35 just to ship this item... Thank goodness PayPal was there to help me thru it, and they actually took care of it. But it was 3 months before I actually got my item returned. Needless to say, I do not ship International unless the customer is willing to pay for International tracking... lesson learned!

Do you accept custom orders?


I actually prefer custom orders! It is impossible to design miniatures that will fit everyones' dollhouse decorating needs... so custom is actually easier! The customer gives me an idea of what they need, and I figure out a way to make that idea into a miniature item. Some of my miniatures take days, or even a couple weeks, to finish. From finding the right items needed to create a piece, to actually making it into that piece. I ask my customers for input along the way, to make sure I am designing something that looks like what they have already created in their mind... so I ask alot of questions! I will try to create almost anything in miniature that a customer asks for, I love a good challenge!

Can you remember what your first sell felt like? How did you celebrate?

My very first sale was of a vintage pottery piece that I picked up, and it sold within the first week of my shop being opened... needless to say I was thrilled, and I was hooked! It made me feel that opening my shop was the right decision for me, because it took me quite awhile to take that plunge and actually open my shop. I have been happy with it since, I have grown alot from it, and I have found many a good person who have become good friends from this!

How valuable is patience for a new seller?


Patience is so important! As is perseverance! You have to work on something relating to your shop nearly every day, if you want it to work. It takes time to get found... it takes good pictures, good search words, promoting your shop or items every day, having the things that people are looking for... I am always working on that! I keep unique and interesting vintage items in my shop just to help me get found for my handmade items.... Learning from other sellers is always important, especially if you are just starting out. After 4 years, I am still trying to learn new things to help my shop make sales. There is a lot of competition out there, so great customer service is one of the most important things you can offer to a customer, too.