Rosanne Bittner — A Gift of Books

Today was the holiday party for Mid-Michigan Romance Writers of America at Schuler’s Restaurant in Marshall Michigan. We had a good time with games, food and a gift exchange. While I waited for the festivities to begin, long-time member Rosanne Bittner came over to me and set down three books beside me. I had asked her to bring the two cowboy anthologies she was in so I could purchase the books. Rosanne Bittner included an advanced copy of Ride the High Lonesome book on the stack. I asked her how much she wanted for all of them. She said nothing. You do a lot for our group so no charge. I was overwhelmed by her kindness and gasped. After reading the first page of Rosanne Bittner’s Ride the High Lonesome book I can’t wait to read more.

If you are looking for a good love story in a wild west setting, pick up a copy of any of Rosanne Bittner’s books. She’s an excellent writer with 70 books to her credit (so she must be doing something right).

The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh by Stephanie Laurens book review

A spicy romance laced with mystery. From the moment the family heirloom necklace touches her, Mary Cynster is in for the ride of her life as she is pursued tirelessly by Lord Ryder Cavanaugh until, finally, she gives in and agrees to marry him.

Once their marriage is complete Mary and Ryder must face a number of mysterious happenings at his manor house where both he and Mary narrowly miss certain death.

But who is behind these plots to unseat the Marquess of Raventhorne? Will Mary and Ryder find out who is behind these attempts on their lives before the next mishap causes them to lose their life?

Will You Ever Change by Aurelie Valognes book review

A slice of life vignette of one family and their struggles to come to terms with their relationships with each other.

Martine and Jacques Le Guennec struggle to hold their relationship to each other together through various holidays and family get togethers. In the end, they both grow as individuals and as a couple shedding light on their love and fierce determination to remain together after several family mishaps.

It’s a quick read. It reinforces the complexity of the human spirit and its determination to stay the course in light of hardships.

I listened to the audio version of the book which was translated by Wendeline A. Hardeberg and read by Sandra Burr. The book is a light read.

Writing Time

If I’m to be successful, I need to carve out time to write. The precursor to writing time is hours spent checking emails and social messaging. And I wonder where the time went and why I’m not being more productive. Even now, when I could be editing a story, I find myself catching up and complaining on my blog about how poor my use of time really is. This is frustrating. I want to be more productive, but don’t want to dedicate copious amounts of time to my writing works in progress. Hmm, why is that? I’m afraid of failure so I’ve stopped a great deal of forward motion in writing in order to catch my blog up. I know that once I finish editing this current work in progress that I’ll have to return to other works in progress. For two of them, okay so there are only two other works in progress meaning I haven’t finished them yet, I don’t know where the stories go. One I know should be a longer work, but I’ve run out of ideas for how to get the hero and heroine together. The other is a story about a Michigan logging camp that I haven’t done enough research. My writing right now is like a child dabbling in puddles after the rain when they could be jumping into the lake. I don’t want to jump into the lake. I want to stamp my feet and get my shorts wet until the mother comes and calls me in. There is no mother to call me in. I am on my own in this writing world. How lonely it is. Maybe I don’t want to feel the loneliness so I play at writing. Ouch! That hurt. I don’t think I’m playing at writing just because I am slowly making my way through a work in progress and am unpublished. Let’s begin again.

Okay, so I am working on my writing just slowly so as not to overwhelm myself. Maybe by this time next year I’ll be done with edits and will have finished the other two novels. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Writing Contests: the Key to My Creativity?

I was just perusing Facebook this morning when I came upon a share from another writer friend about a contest to win a mentor. The thought of having a mentor–someone who will read my work, tell me what to change and what is strong–sounds wonderful. I want to enter this contest. I just have to get my current work in progress up to snuff by finishing my edits. I know I can crack out the work. I have until April 27 at 10 p.m. Eastern Standard time to get my entry into the contest. I think it will be worth it to see how far I can progress in edits and the contest.

I need to look for more opportunities like this one because they ignite my desire to write again–to edit again and to sit at the keyboard and just breath again.

Writing Very Little

So I’m more focused on creating art than I am at writing (and editing my work) right now. Maybe I need to focus on short stories in order to attempt to sell something, but then what if that goes south too? Will I give up on that? No. I may take a long break from writing right now, but I’ll get back with it eventually. The thing is I don’t want to take a break from writing. I am editing a novel in hopes of getting it published. The editing is going slow. I don’t know what the problem is. I should have been through these edits quickly. I think I’m afraid of making mistakes and missing something thus my turtle’s pace. My writing, like my art, isn’t perfect. It’s the best that I can do and that is scary. The best that I can do is sub-par? Really? Yes, really. I’m trying though and that is what matters. I just need to keep on trying with the writing and not give up.

Oil Pastel Painting

It is 2:03 a.m. I am up early. Went to bed around 6:45 p.m. and now am wide awake. I lie in bed thinking about oil pastel painting until the desire rose so much in me that I needed to get up, retrieve my oil pastels from the front room downstairs and paint.

I decided on a single pear on 5.5″x 8″ size watercolor paper. It was what I had close by. Using a plastic pear, I drew the outline with a cheap colored pencil. It was cheap because it didn’t lay down a lot of color. The pencil etched the outline of the pear. Either way, I had an outline and chose progressively darker colors as I brought the image of a pear to life. I think I should have done the opposite. Working from dark to light in order to bring out more contrast in the painting.

I’m not sure how long it took me to build up the colors of the pear. I was lost in the moment. It felt really good to focus all my energy on producing as accurate an image of the plastic pear. Well, as accurate as my skill level allowed.

It is a hard thing getting my artistic muscles working again. And I thought writing was hard. It is, but it is worth it. How many times can I say it in a sentence. Uh, three. Okay, so I’m getting slap happy and need to go back to bed. Good night all. Thank you for reading.


I have a stirring in my soul to paint again. As I lie in bed, waiting for sleep to overtake me, vivid colors danced through my head. I thought of seascapes and paintings seen recently. I know I can create. I have the desire. I just need to begin again.

What stopped me from visual creativity years ago was the desire was there, but the market was not. I sold very few of my pieces. I wanted to sell more, but there just was not the opportunity. So how will this time be different? I plan to rejoin The Jackson Civic Art Association and attend their meetings twice a month on the first and third Tuesdays. Being with a group of like minded people should help prompt me to get my visual, creative juices flowing again. Probably, and while I’m at it, I should rejoin the Ann Arbor Women Artists. My goodness! One thing at a time please!

In the meantime, as I decide what to do next (find that blasted travel watercolor set), I need to take it one step at a time. What this means is I need to go back to the basics; paint a few apples, a pomegranate or two. I need to get painting again.

Does this mean I’m leaving off my creative writing? No, not at all. I’ll paint and write at the same time. Well, not exactly at the same time. You know what I mean…I hope. Now to find that travel watercolor set, buy an apple and see what I can do.

At Sharon Griffes Tarr’s Studio

Yesterday, Sunday, March 24, 2019, I journeyed to Williamston Michigan to Sharon Griffes Tarr’s studio in her home to buy a painting. I was amazed at all the lovely paintings on the walls and in a drawer. She is a prolific plein air painter of landscapes. There were several paintings that I wanted, but price was an issue and I’d only brought so much cash with me. As it was, I chose a lovely small painting of a winter scene by a small creek. The moment I saw it I knew I wanted it. So I bought it.

As I dug through a drawer filled with paintings on board, I found other smaller paintings that I wanted, but here again price was an issue. There were even some portraits in a basket. If you follow this link:¬†Sharon Griffes Tarr’s Paintings¬†

You can see some of the work I saw on the walls, in the drawer and in the basket.

We had a wonderful visit. I asked her when she started painting. She said when she was eleven. She told me the story about a couple who rented the upstairs in her parent’s home. The wife was an avid painter and spent time out in the garden painting her mother’s flowers. One day, the woman gave her a set of paints and a small canvas and told her it was time for her to start learning to paint. So, Sharon did.

I was hoping that Sharon had not learned to paint until she was older because I learned to paint when I was older. I wanted to relate to her story more. As she spoke, I thought back to my life at age eleven. It was at that age that I was writing some very short plays as in two to four pages long. I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was nine because my eldest sister, Sandra Picklesimer Aldrich , had published her first article in a magazine. I wanted to follow in her footsteps. The desire to paint and create with color on paper came much later.

As our visit drew to a close, I asked about taking classes from her. She said I could sign up with the City of East Lansing and take a class in the fall. Her classes run from 3-5PM. I told her I work until 4PM. If I were to take her class, I would need to leave work at 2 p.m. every Thursday during the class sessions, which isn’t feasible. I don’t like missing work. She mentioned that she might have a two day workshop on plein air painting in the summer. I perked up at this. I could miss two days of work to take a class.

I left shortly after we talked about classes. Sharon told me to take a certain road, which I did. I cannot remember the name of the road, but it was a lovely drive taking the back roads home.



Sharon Griffes Tarr Michigan Artist

Sharon Griffes Tarr is a friend on Facebook. I’ve been following her for a while. Recently, she has been posting pictures of an oil painting she is working on for a competition. The painting is lovely. It has bunny tracks in white-blue snow along a frozen creek with trees and long, brown grass stems. You might be able to see her paintings by following this link to Facebook¬†

Sharon Griffes Tarr Michigan Artist