A House of Cards

Every Thursday at one p.m, Kathy, Jackie, Judy and Judy arrive at the house of cards where Jeanne, whom I’ve dubbed The Queen of Cards, will put them through their paces.20160818_145641

They gather around a table where containers of colored pencils poke their multi-colored tips into the air as if awaiting their first command. There’s a tray with a damp paper towel between them and a giant ink pad nearby.

A hush falls over the group. Let the lessons begin!

20160818_130023Jeanne has prepared samples of the cards the class will be making today. Each of her students will follow her instructions to the letter or pay the price…which might be a card they’d be too embarrassed to send. They begin working on their first design amid quiet chatter and encouragement and reminders from Jeanne. “Keep the pencils you’ve used out,” she reminds one of the Judys who’s already put hers away. “You’ll need it for the design on the envelope.” And later, “I like the bright colors you’ve used.”

She helps each designer choose an accent color and runs it through the embossing machine. Jeanne is in charge of the stamp, inking it before handing it out so the birthday greeting can be stamped into each card. The damp paper towel exists to rinse the stamp afterward. She shows each student how to dab liquid glitter into the center of their flowers. When everyone is finished, they’ve each created the same card that is unique to them.20160818_134823

20160818_151156Then it’s time to use water colors on card number two. Four more cards take shape, each unique to the individual who created it. Jeanne’s collection of stamps would rival the local Hobby Lobby. In fact, if she finds one she doesn’t have it’s cause for celebration. Cardmaking tools and equipment abound in the House of Cards as does the collection of cards she’s made to sell.20160818_130259

Jackie says she keeps her best cards and calls cardmaking sophisticated arts and crafts. These ladies were doing adult coloring before it became a thing and find it more enjoyable. Watching them, I find myself so relaxed I want a nap. I am not the only one.20160818_152226

By the time the class ends, everyone has made three cards and spent a creative afternoon enjoying the camaraderie of friends. Move over Hallmark. These ladies are on to something!


Barb’s Writer Friends: Author Sophie H. Morgan

T2015-02-06 22.14.14 (4)oday I welcome author Sophie H. Morgan for a quick interview and a peek at her writing. Blog followers may recall that I have raved about the two books I read of her Divided Kingdom series. Check out my reviews of ASHES and WHISPERS on Goodreads or Amazon.  Welcome Sophie! First the Q & A:

Someone just gave you the best compliment ever.  What was it?

Your writing made me cry. (In a good way!) I would love to have a reader so involved with my story that it invokes an actual emotional reaction.

What is one thing that is guaranteed to make you laugh and one thing that will always make you cry?

My spaniels always make me laugh. They never mean to but they’re so ditzy, it’s hard not to!

When two characters in any romance book/movie finally get together. The gesture or speech that precedes the Happily Ever After never fails to make me sob.

You get a month off from your regular personal life and writing routine to travel.  Where will you go? What will you do? Why did you choose this destination or trip?

It’ll sound boring to readers from the US, but living in England, I would love to travel around America (in only the best hotels, of course ;)) I’ve been to New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, but I’d still love to see so many other states, including Washington, Boston, Chicago, Texas, New Orleans…etc.

I bet most U.S. citizens haven’t been to as many places in the U.S. as you mentioned! Wouldn’t you like to visit Florida? I’d be happy to trade places with you as I’ve longed to visit the British Isles for years.

You get one do-over from your life so far.  What is it?

It’s kind of sad really, but I haven’t made any massive mistakes (so far!) I always play it safe, so maybe that’d be my do-over. Go back to a moment where I played it safe and dare to be “out there” more.

I forgot. You’re still young. Plenty of time yet for you to screw up and have regrets. tee hee

You have no choice but to live your life from now on as one of your characters.  Which character is it and why?

Probably not one of my Divided Kingdom characters – they’re always in life or death situations and I’d jump at my own shadow.

I would however LOVE to be Charlie Donahue, the heroine of my upcoming paranormal romance, Her Wish, being published by SMP Swerve. She falls in love with a sexy, charismatic and challenging Genie – after a few obstacles, of course!

Please ask yourself a question you wish interviewers would ask but never do and answer that question.

Oooh. That’s tough. I guess nobody asks if authors are ever scared that their next book won’t be as good as the previous one. Having just finished the first draft of book 2 in my Genie series, I can answer that yes, at least one author worries about not being able to create the same magic with words as she did with the other books. The trick is to write through it – and prepare for the tougher editing stage!

mediumSophie H. Morgan is a paranormal romance author with a love for hot guys, sassy heroines, and HEAs that seem impossible. When not at the keyboard working out ways to drive her characters into each other’s arms, you can find her rambling about the English countryside with her four crazy spaniels, shopping for one more pair of shoes, or devouring yet ANOTHER romance novel with ANOTHER bag of raisin cookies.
Connect with her at her website www.sophiehmorganauthor.wordpress.com
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