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. 😀

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?

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.

Information Overload – Guest Post by, Aurora J. Alexander…

Today my guest post on The Story Reading Ape’s blog was published. Thanks so much, my Furry Friend, for giving me this chance!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

When I discover a beautiful picture, I very often catch myself standing there, sunken into the sight and just enjoying. And then, I realize, very slowly, that I picture some of my characters interacting right at this wonderful place.

In book 6 of my series, I have some of my characters meeting in a clearing which I had kept in my memory like a valuable treasure, only to remember it the moment I needed it and used it for this particular story. And there’s not much I can do than to describe what I see in front of my inner eye. I figure this is one of the things I love about reading: releasing my fantasy. If I read about scenery the writer describes, I picture it in front of me and try to look at it the way it feels comfortable and decent for me. Don’t give me too…

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Interview With One Of My Characters – 2


 

Hello, welcome to ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest.’ I’m honored you took the time to visit us.

It’s my pleasure to be here. Thank you for the invitation. I am, however curious, how you found out about me. Only a handful of trusted people know who I am and where to find me.

 

Yes, I know, you are someone unique, and you were quite difficult to find. But we’ve got our connections. It seems you adjusted quite well to the human species. Please, tell us who you are.

My name is Eavan Delaney. Dr. Eavan Delaney. I studied at the university and work as a psychiatrist with patients who have PTSD. I am, what you would call a distinguished expert, being invited to many medical congresses, talking about my field of expertise and consulted by colleagues to assess their cases. I also teach as a guest lecturer at the university.

 

As I mentioned: you blend in excellently. But this isn’t your true nature, right?

No, it isn’t. I am, indeed a magical creature. When I was still little, my parents had to flee their hereditary court and duties. They left me with people they trusted and disappeared. I was brought up like a human, educated and developed and I am now trying to continue what I was left to do.

 

Which is?

My people are at strife. I am supposed to unite them against our common enemy. It seems my time as a human being has taken its toll. I am delayed in what has to be done, and I need every help I can get.

 

Who is your enemy – or let’s say, the enemy of your people?

I am very sorry, but I cannot tell. I am the last guardian of our secrets and every word I speak about who I am, every single time I’m in danger to expose myself, is dangerous, not only for me but all of my people. I am our last hope.

 

Are your parents still alive?

I don’t know. I was told they disappeared and nobody has seen them ever since. The highest caretaker of our Nature is supporting me, and he told me he searched for my parents but had no chance of finding them. At one point their trace took him to nowhere and disappeared. He now tries to support me within his possibilities.

 

Do you have more relatives, siblings?

I got a half-brother. But we aren’t close. I was informed he too was hidden after my parents disappeared. He’s my father’s son, but I know him barely.

 

I like your hair. This rich, wonderful dark shiny brown. It’s beautiful.

Thank you, but I admit, it’s carefully colored. My hair color is quite unusual and would give me away immediately. I like this color too. It’s part of a mask I’m wearing to keep hiding and still working on my duties.

 

Now I’m curious: What happens if you’re too late – or you cannot fulfill your duties.

Oh, I don’t want to think about it. See, the conflicts between my people are that significant they forgot their original task, and we all suffer from this negligence. The storm is already raised. If we get any weaker, our enemy will be successful. If this happens, the war will annihilate our people, and the entire world is going to drown in fire and ice.

 

That is a grief-stricken prospect.

Nevertheless, it’s true. I would love to be positive about the outcome. Now that I got help the chances are better. But still, I need to hurry up before it’s too late. Better keep your fingers crossed, A.J.

 

Yes, I will. – You seem to be nervous. Do you need to go?

Yes, I’m afraid I have to. I will be picked up soon.

 

Thank you very much for being my guest Eavan. Please, take care, and I’d be happy to see you soon.

It was my pleasure. Thanks for the chance to visit you.


 

“Fire & Ice” – courtesy of http://www.google.com

Writer’s Treasure Chest’s New Look

It’s been year’s end. The stress of Christmas was over, and for a few days I got time to breathe and relax – or so I thought. Until I was informed that my wonderful blog theme has been retired and was recommended to pick a new blog theme and update ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest.’

Since I prefer my ‘theme’ not only on my blog but also on my different social media accounts as well as on my Website I worked like crazy on updating nearly every single one of my accounts.

I was a bit sad to see my ‘pink balloons’ gone.

That meant I had to think of something else. A few days ago I decided to go into the new year with this beautiful fantasy book picture. It took me hours to find what I was looking for, and since I’m a woman, another few hours to pick one of the prepared pictures. I love this one because it expresses so much the degree of fantasy my stories take.

Maybe one day I might find something else for me, but right now, ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ has a new look.

I hope you’ll like it as much as I do.