In Memoriam – A Fantastic Helpful And Wonderful Woman – Kelley Lynn Crandall

This post was written and prepared to be published March 1, 2018. But due to the news I got on this very sad day I was editing and publishing it today.


A few years back I had an extremely hard time in my life. It was a phase where nothing turned out the way it was supposed to be according to my plan.

During this time there were so many of my friends standing by my side; not only my friends and family who had been with me for a long time, nearly all my life but also FB friends. Friends I’ve never met in my life, but only met on FB, on other social media, people I could count on and who became real trustworthy connections in the meantime. (I will get back to them in another post!)

One of these people was Katie Jenkins of Magical Designs. Through Katie, I met another amazing woman: Kelley L. Crandall, a writer, and Marketing Specialist.

They both helped me significantly through this time, were in contact with me nearly daily, supported me and gave me advice, suggestions, help, and encouragement.

Since then, Katie became the Mom of beautiful twins, congratulations, Katie! Of course, she concentrates on her family now. But whenever we’re in contact again, I’m still grateful to know her. She’s such a wonderful person!

When I started feeling better, I had been talking on the phone to Kelley, and we talked and talked like women do sometimes. At one point I told her: “I wish I had an editor for my stories, and I wish so much it could be you.” And wonderful, amazing, gold-hearted Kelley said: “I wish that too!”

That is now how I got my editor. Kelley understood the problems I was fighting with – and she understood me. She searched her way through my work, and she even liked my books, which is, in my opinion, a very important thing. (I mean, how can a person edit something if the story isn’t liked?)

Kelley was patient, encouraging and supportive; she was helpful, humorous and an amazing friend! She became a part of my heart!

Today I got the Information that Kelley has passed away. To say I’m sad would be too mild… I’m heartbroken.

Only last week we chatted and today she is no more.

I am thinking of Kelley’s husband David and her children. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

I know, this blog post isn’t particularly long – but today I wanted to thank my friend from the bottom of my heart:

THANK YOU, KELLEY L. CRANDALL!

For everything you did, for your work, your heart, your understanding, and your friendship! You mean a lot to me!

I will never ever forget you, Kelley. You left your love in my Soul. I don’t want to say Goodbye… I want to say: SEE YOU!! You will be sorely missed!!

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Me, My Cellphone And A Gas Station

It’s been a surprisingly warm day early February when I realized I needed gas. My car was gasping for fuel, and I stopped at the gas station, doing what I always do. Stuffing my cell phone into my pocket, getting out of the car and getting ready to pump gas.

I got a bit of water and that really ugly ragged thing that’s parked at gas stations for people to clean their windshields and ran around my car to make sure I would have a clear vision as soon as I was back in my car. And I tried to be careful since that day we had important guests at the office, and I was dressed in a business suit and high heels.

That moment I realized two senior women leaning on a car two gas pumps further away, whispering and provocatively looking at me. There was no doubt; they were talking about me.

I knew I was looking quite decent, my car wasn’t as dirty as it normally is and I was doing good, so what was there to whisper about?

That moment my phone rang. I was waiting for a call and pulled my cell out of my pocket to answer the call.

While I started talking, smiling, talking some more, the gas pump ‘told me’ my tank was full. I removed the nozzle from my car, closed everything up and finished when the two ladies ran over to me, screaming and crying, their hair standing up.

My call was only short, and I smiled, said goodbye and hung up. Then I turned to the ladies. “Don’t you think it would be appropriate to keep your volume down when you see other people being on the phone? They were breathless in shock and pointed to that famous sign on the pillar next to the gas pump:

Picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com

 

“How DARE you?” one of the ladies panted, only to burst out into visible indignation when I had a laughing fit. After recovering halfway, I finally managed to ask the ladies: “You aren’t dumb enough to still believe that fairy tale, are you?”

They could barely believe what they heard, and I finally told them: “I’m sorry, ladies. I don’t have time for the long version. But believe me: That’s crap. It’s a myth, and nobody knows where it came from. No smoking while pumping gas makes sense. But not using a cell phone? It’s a myth. I wish you a wonderful day.”

Then I took off.

And really, it IS a myth.

I’ve done my research. Years ago already the “Mythbusters” have proven that cell phones cannot produce sparks strong enough to cause a fire, not even if one was holding a cell phone right into the gas vapor.

AMTA, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, launched a study by the Oklahoma EMC Center about this subject. The study was sponsored by the London Institue of Petroleum which published the results at a seminar:

 

(Source: http://www.amta.org.au/articles/amta/Cellphones.do.not.cause.petrol.station.fires)

 

There was another study, carried out between 1994 and 2005 at gas stations around the world which confirmed the myth:

(Source: https://www.scienceabc.com/humans/can-using-a-cellphone-at-a-gas-station-petrol-pump-cause-an-explosion.html)

 

Many more studies around the world show the same result:

(Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/autos/cell-phones-don-pump-fires-experts-article-1.1123228)

 

But make no mistake! Using cell phones on gas stations is NOT completely harmless!

Further studies and expertise have clearly stated, it’s most likely the static electricity that’s the danger!

It’s not the cellphone, but static sparks created when drivers rub themselves on the car that cause most of these fires. A lot of times, the drivers talk on their phones when the spark happens, so it just looks as if the cellphone is the cause of the fire, when it’s actually irrelevant.
When you’re moving in and out of your car, you’re generating static electricity. If you feel a spark, that’s usually between 10 and 20,000 volts of static electricity—and that’s plenty strong enough to make gas fume. (Source: http://www.slate.com/blogs/business_insider/2014/10/03/cellphones_at_gas_stations_mythbusters_debunk_one_of_the_biggest_myths_in.html)

And now you might ask: What in the world does that have to do with writing? And I’ll reply: The call I got was from my new copyright lawyer. 😀

To Each One Of My Friends – Valentine’s Day 2018

Dear Friends,

This is a special Day for each of our hearts. In my heart I carry my friends. The ones who love me unconditionally, the way I am. The ones who stick with me, always! The ones who encourage me and support me. Each one of my friends does have a special spot in my heart.

Thank you for making this world and life a wonderful adventure.

Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

Rudeness

Today started with a lot more traffic than usually. I still have no idea how it comes that I have been held up by traffic jam all over the place. It already began when I left home to go to work. Instead of the regular 35 minutes, it took me almost 50 minutes to get to the office.

However, I accepted that, started my work, knowing I had to leave the office early enough to drive across the city and meet the legal Department at the other building.

Unfortunately another traffic jam came up and even trying to hurry up I was still unable to avoid being late. I hate being late. I consider this impolite towards the people I meet. And I don’t want to treat people like they don’t matter.

From the parking lot I ran to the entrance and arrived precisely at 10.03 am, with a three minutes delay.

One of the receptionists welcomed me, the other one listened. We introduced each other and I told them who I have a meeting with and that I’m already running late. One of the receptionists got on the phone – and I expected she would inform the legal department about my arrival – but far off! She had something different to do and I was waiting… finally the young paralegal showed up and… told me off for being 15 minutes late – which was kind of funny since she arrived at the lobby at 10.10 am.

Then she told me, that they never wait for longer than 10 minutes and they can’t see me anymore that day, even though we had planned half an hour for this introduction…

Then she got up, turned around and left, sending me out as I was a little girl who just had performed one of the seven mortal sins. I felt like I was kicked into my face.

On my way out I was that pissed I hyperventilated.

By the time I arrived back in my office I told it to one of my colleagues and then decided to send an email to the Manager of the Legal Department, telling him how things went, apologizing for the massive delay of three minutes and telling him that for the last 20 years I haven’t been treated as despicably and condescendingly as they treated me today.

So far I didn’t get anything back.

However… I am curious if I actually do hear from them.

That’s my day so far… can it get any better? Haha.

Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

… and still, we all do it, right? I’m not the exception to the rule either. Often I catch myself judging a person I don’t know because I don’t like her jacket. But I don’t know what happened to her that her jacket looks as ragged as it does.

But let’s stay within the literary world. Like so many other writers and readers, I love spending time in bookstores. I browse through the shelves and aisles, and occasionally I pick one, turn it around and start reading the blurb on the back.

My eyes fly over the shelves, and once in a while, they are caught by a particularly attractive and intriguing book cover. If I don’t like the cover, I don’t even bother reading a blurb, means I might miss a few good books, just because my eye isn’t attracted to the books’ cover.

Over the years I saw a few very interesting and eye-catching covers, and by a couple, I was quite fascinated.

Now, these five here, are only a few that impressed me and my eye in particular. To some of you, they might be weird, sad or even boring. This blog post and these covers are my taste.

Picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com

 

Cover designer: Jim Tierney

I love how the designer mixes color and the trace of antique and ancient. It’s not often we discover a new book with an ‘old’ cover.

 

 

 

 

Picture courtesy of: http://lithub.com/the-64-best-book-covers-of-2017/

 

Cover designer: Peter Mendelsund

I love the colorful simplicity of the book cover. It seems to be one simple compass needle, but I was drawn in when I saw this cover.

 

 

 

 

Picture courtesy of: https://litreactor.com/columns/the-best-horror-book-covers-ever

 

Designer team:

Bob Giusti (illustration)
Amy Hill (lettering)

This I call a perfect symbiosis between illustration and lettering. It can’t get any simpler than this, any darker, any more impressive – and any scarier.

 

 

 

Picture courtesy of: http://lithub.com/the-60-best-book-covers-of-2016-as-chosen-by-designers/

 

Designer: Na Kim

I cannot even tell whether this book cover is ‘intriguing’ or repelling… but it definitely is fascinating. And in combination with this book title it has a lot to say.

 

 

 

 

 

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

 

Cover designer: Anne Jordan

The cover caught my eye immediately. Why would a reader and writer like me not be intrigued by a turning page? I briefly looked at the book and found that I had to add it to my growing pile of books I need to read.

 

 

 

Are there covers you like? And I know, I got a lot to learn and many people to meet, cover designers amongst them. Who do you know, being a cover designer or illustrator and designed the perfect cover for your book?

Or what book cover do you particularly love?

The Little Buddy Wearing Makeup – A Riddle


It Looks like I wear glasses

my coat is silver gray

my hands and feet are very dark

all in all I look okay.

**

I’m not limited to hunting

at night time or at dawn

one can find me all day long

with a face like Makeup on.

**

It seems like I am washing

my food before I eat;

this is just a fairy tale

but believe me, it looks sweet!

**

A huge trouble-maker

that is how I’m known.

People seem to want us

but no family, just alone.

**

We look very cute and friendly

but hell, can we get pissed

when one day you feed and spoil us

the next day we get dissed.

**

It’s true we can be hand-raised

tamed and trained to see

but please just do remember

we want to be wild and free.

**

I am no pet to keep at home

to hug and smooch and swoon.

by now you might have guessed

I am the cute racoon!

*****

(Copyright: Aurora Jean Alexander, January 2018)

Picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com

 

Writing And Music

In my January Newsletter, right at the end, I added a link to a YouTube video. It leads to the ‘Waltz of Flowers’, composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, an amazing, wonderful and heart touching piece of music in my opinion.

(Just in case: You can listen to the music here)

But where do I go with this post? I had been considering writing about all the music I listened to while writing – but that’s not the case today.

First of all: I write my first drafts by hand – always. After I finish them, I type them into my computer. During writing, I never listen to music. It distracts me. But during typing in I do.

Today I want something different. While typing and listening to this amazing waltz I re-read and corrected a fighting scene in my book, and I asked myself: if this would be turned into a movie, what music would be playing during this particular fighting scene?

Oh yes, it’s easy as eating an apple to find the matching sound for a kissing couple, a romantic dinner or a love scene.

But a fight? That’s different. I got the fight in my head… monsters, demons, shadows, against a tracker and a hunter… magical creatures, good against evil!

They meet up in the mountains, between jagged rocks, dangerous winds, and storms and groundless abysses. The bloodthirsty mood is covering the entire scenery, no matter how ‘civilized’ the opponents try to act, suppressed violence is making their foul blood boiling…

And I found it, yes. The music that is supposed to cover the reader’s (or watcher’s) skin with goosebumps. The music that shows the brutality of the attack which injures one of my protagonists so badly, death is holding out its horrible claws.

picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

It’s a section of Havergal Brian’s Gothic Symphony. I was lucky and able to find just the part I need on YouTube. Of course, you just enter the composer’s name and Gothic Symphony and will be able to listen to the entire mammoth piece. To me, the entire symphony is too dark to listen to – but to my dark battle scene, it is just the right music.

Did you write a scene you imagined music for? Or do you know a movie after a book which’s music you like? Let us know in the comments.