Thursday, August 16, 2018

Through the Pages {a giveaway and a thank-you}


It's been almost a year since this story started, but it's far from finished. 

I want to hug all the people who've helped spread the word about Through the Pages, but most of them aren't in my immediate range of hugability. 

So instead, I'd like to give away one of my Collector's Boxes. 






In this giveaway, you'll receive a paper back copy of Through the Pages...




A paper back replica of Harper South's Journal, available ONLY in these special bundles...




Five art prints...



And maybe a random bonus gift!


The Collector's Boxes will be available on my website when I have more books in stock! In the meantime, why not enter the giveaway?

International Winners: unfortunately, lack of funds prohibits me from shipping internationally. So instead, for international winners ONLY, I have an e-book copy of Through the Pages in your choice of Kindle, PDF, or ePub. 



And in closing, a random landscape shot. This is my hometown, ladies and gents.


Good luck! -Annie

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Through the Pages {my first novel}




Once upon a time, not too long ago, in fact, a little less than a year ago...


{August 19th, 2017}

"Hey, Annie, remember how you were asking, 'what will I write next' the other day?"

I did ask that question, after finishing Jump: The Things I Remind Myself. But when God asks a question like that, I've found He tends to have ulterior motives behind it. So I very cautiously said, "yeah, I remember... what about it?"

"Well, I've got one for you. Write a book for your mom."

Cue wide eyes and a heck of a lot of confusion. And a scrambled message to my girl's group. "I think I'm supposed to write a book for my mom. Help!"

Go figure, they all thought it was a brilliant idea.

"Hey Annie," came the somewhat amused voice from the upstairs regions of the cosmos. "It's for her birthday next year, by the way. And it's about books. The interior will be cream paper, with an artistic book drawing for underneath the chapter headers. The cover will be purple."

And that is the story of why I had a meltdown from August 19th to August 21st.

This was uncharted territory for me. I was pretty sure it would be a novel, not one of my short stories or a novella or something easy. (I've never completed a first draft of a novel, only a lot of partial first drafts.) And I had less than a year. And I needed to keep it a secret from everyone around me. (I'm horrible at keeping exciting things secret.)


{the journey}


The rest of August, September, and October were spent in a weird sort of stasis. I didn't write a whole lot, at least, not that I remember. I did a lot of thinking. I spent a lot of time with books, and with my mom. And by mid October I had a pretty solid idea of what this story was supposed to look like.

November came around and I used NaNoWriMo as my excuse to pound out a 50k novel in a very short period of time. For the first time, I had a whole, finished, novel. And I couldn't tell anyone.




Well, not quite true. I told my girl's group (after making them swear to secrecy). I told Missie. And in June of 2018, I told my pen pal/adopted grandmother/great-aunt about it, because she asked what I was working on, and I was pretty darn sure that she wouldn't tell anyone. 

The hardest thing this whole time has been keeping it a secret from everyone. Hannah helped; I had to tell her because I was in the middle of a stress-induced panic attack of "I can't do this!" and needed help getting myself out. I told Jeremy because I conscripted him to receive the packages so my mother wouldn't suspect anything. I made my cover designer, my editor, my beta readers, and my girl's group swear themselves to secrecy, and... 

...here we are. 






Here's one of my favorite quotes from this story:


"That's the thing, Miranda, you never get over the butterflies if it's the right person. They just settle down a bit. If it's the right person, you just go your whole life being all tangled up with the butterflies in your stomach and the love in your heart." 
Through the Pages
Annie Louise Twitchell


LOOK AT THIS COVER

*all the heart eyes to That Book Gal for this amazing design*



Available at Amazon


Fun Fact: I had the hardest time finding an editor until I was actually ready to see about hiring one. At that point, Facebook hiccuped and showed me a notification for a post from an editing page I'd been following and hadn't done much looking into. If you're in the US, I highly recommend Lemons to Lemonade Editing. Not only did she do a wonderful job with my line edits, but she works on paper, meaning I had a marked up paper copy to make my changes from. That was perfect for how my head works and the way I prefer to do things, and made my process of fixing things so much easier.

Fun Fact #2: I'm still a bit giddy that I actually did this thing. I will probably be varying degrees of giddy for the next two months.

Fun Fact #3: I've actually been so overwhelmed since I gave the book to my mom on the 5th that I've had two or three headaches and gone swimming a lot and written almost nothing. Just this blog post. I'll get back in my groove eventually. I think.



The Bunny approves. This is important.


~Annie

Monday, August 6, 2018

Wake the Moon {the story behind the story & giveaway}



Demons laugh, light fades, and Jesse must battle his own darkness to wake the sleeping girl.


{Behind the Story}

Wake the Moon was inspired by a friend of mine asking, 'what would happen if Sleeping Beauty couldn't wake up?' I took that concept (with their permission; in fact they shared it with "here's a story idea for you, Annie") and mulled over it for several months before finally sitting down to weave this story. 

Sleeping Beauty can't wake up. 

It started out unexpectedly, with a male POV that I learned was our hero. It didn't stay true to the Sleeping Beauty story, but some of the elements are still there. It's more of a new story, now, less of a retelling. And there's a spiritual angle that startled me at first. 


It scared me. I've never been so alarmed by words that came out of my fingers before. And at the same time I loved every minute of it. It didn't take me very long to write, and then I just sat and stared at the finished first draft for a long time before hiding it and not thinking about it for a while. 

In May, I was trying to think of a fairy tale I could share with the Fellowship of Fantasy for their fairy tale anthology. I thought over it a lot, started a few things, and finally remembered that I had a vaguely Sleeping Beauty story in my back file. So I pulled it out, asked for beta readers, and launched into editing. 

It's not very long, this little story of mine, but I hope you enjoy it.






{Book Description}

Rescue a princess, meet a mermaid, win your reward.

The authors of the Fellowship of Fantasy tackle fairy tales from once upon a time to happily ever after. Explore twists on old tales and brand new magical stories. Meet feisty mermaids, friendly lampposts, and heroes who just might be monsters themselves.

This fourth anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy will lead you on a quest for entertainment and storm the castle of your imagination. So make a wish and enter the deep dark woods to find stories that will make you laugh, shiver, and maybe even fall in love.













Cinders by Kendra E. Ardnek
When the fairy Jalia receives a plea for her aid, it seems a routine Cinderella rescue - until she only finds the family's pet cats.

At The Corner of Elm & Main by H. L. Burke
A sweet-natured lamppost dreams of seeing the world. When magic grants his wish, how will he use it? 

Tears of the Sea by Savannah Jezowski
When Le Rae indulges her fascination with the forbidden sand walkers, she discovers more than danger in the shallow waters.

Steelhand by Ashley Capes
When a man with a mechanical hand hears a woman's ethereal voice calling for help, he must brave the steel forest to rescue her from a foul Alchemist.

King or Beggar by D. G. Driver
When a king’s spoiled, conceited daughter refuses and insults every nobleman asking for her hand in marriage, he stops giving her a choice.

The Girl Who Talked by Birds by Kristen S. Walker
A young girl's already isolated existence is worsened by the emergence of strange abilities.

The Princess and the Stone-Picker by Sarah Ashwood
"Those whose eyes are nearest to the ground are those who see its treasures." A humble stone-picker's mysterious remark sends a spoiled princess pursuing answers.

Wake the Moon by Annie Louise Twitchell
Demons laugh, light fades, and Jesse must battle his own darkness to wake the sleeping girl.

The Greatest Adventure by J.M. Hackman
A beautiful slave girl, hidden Fire Diamonds, and a wily dragon give Firebrand Aideen Siriol his greatest adventure yet.

Third Princess by Emily Martha Sorensen
The youngest of three always succeeds after the older two fail. But what if the older two aren’t willing to fail?

A Week after Midnight by Alex McGilvery
The prince is so shy he needed a ball to find a wife. What will he do when she moves in?

Being Seen by Gretchen E. K. Engel
Just because Ilmara is invisible, doesn't mean she doesn't exist.

The Quest for a Wide-Awake Princess by Lia London
Prince Jack needs to find a suitable princess, but he'd settle for one who's not snoring.

How to Hide a Prince by E.J. Kitchens
Princess Fiona is destined to save a prince, but would kissing a talking frog free a prince, or curse them both?

Believing Fairytales by Arthur Daigle
Some fairy tales are true. The dangerous ones are partly true.

The Loathly Princess of Edimor by L. Palmer
Princess Selene always gets her desire. When she asks to escape a marriage by transforming into a swan, the witch who helps her has other plans.


{Rafflecopter Givaways}

 U.S. Only: (All books are paperbacks, and possibly signed.) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway 



International: (All books are ebooks of the winner’s file format of choice) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway 


Comment Giveaway: The person who comments the most across the whole blog tour will win some sneak peeks of featured author's works-in-progress!

~Annie

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

A Tale of Two Apples {blog tour wrap-up}




So basically this summer has been insane and I haven't stayed on top of things very well. I've been crazy busy with projects and life and general busyness and a whole lot of swimming. 

I'm finally posting my wrap-up for the Tale of Two Apples Blog Tour. Better late than never, right? 






Here are the posts, we'd love for you to check them out. 

Sunday 22nd:

Monday 23rd:

Tuesday 24th:
Wednesday 25th:
Thursday 26th:

Friday 27th:

Saturday 28th:
Wednesday, August 1st:
  • Annie Louise Twitchell {wrap-up post}


And here are the links to our short stories:



Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Dear Writer {an open letter}




Dear Writer,

Oh, love. I see you there behind the keyboard, hands to the ready, fingers itching to type, mind whirling with the story--or stories--you want to tell.

Three years ago I was just the same, dear writer. And today I am the same.

The distance between today and three years ago is too great to tell.

Dear writer, I need you to know that this will possibly be the hardest thing you will do, and this is coming from a girl who has done, willingly and more often unwillingly, many very hard things.

Love, this world is not kind. This world today does not see art the way we dreamers do. It is learning to, I believe, but only because it is lit with the passions of men who believed they could fly. The starry sky over my head tonight is flecked with traces of dreams that came true.

Dreamer, this world does not see with your eyes. It does not see the love, hope, passion, freedom, and grace that light up the room when you write. It does not see the pain, blood, tears, and sorrow poured out into the pages you cherish. It does not see how your heart bleeds ink, my love. It does not see the changing tides and the crescendo of the ocean in a path of moonlight.

This world is made of people like you and I, and sometimes... sometimes people are cruel. Sometimes people are angry. Sometimes people don't understand.

I do not wish for you to expect cruelty, dear one, only to be aware that it is there. And that not only is it laid out with heavy hands and unseeing hearts, but sometimes it is laid out with sugar smiles and candy tricks.

Dreamers, too often our hearts are tender. I think it makes our task on this earth easier. We bleed stories, after all. I would not see you grow cold in your heart and mind. I would not see those hands grow still. I would not see those dreams die.

My love, this world is not kind. How can it be? It has known so much hurt, so much bitterness and strife. It too bleeds, but it doesn't know how to use its stories to heal.

Dearest writer, that is what I would wish for you. I wish that the stories you write, the stories you dream of, would be a part of something that heals. And love, it's okay if the thing that heals is yourself. You are a part of this world too, after all, and you too are worthy of healing and hope.

I do not mean for you to only write soft things, tender things, easy things. Setting a bone is not soft or easy, but it must be done for healing to happen well. Healing is not only soft cotton bandages and pastel flowers. Healing is gritted teeth and sharp edges and a scream that cuts through the air like a knife.

Dearest writer, this is what I wish for you.

Write.

Allow yourself to be afraid, because oh my love, you will be so very very afraid.

But do not let the fear destroy your dreams.

Do not let the cruelty of others break you. Grieve for it, always, but do not let it dictate your choices.

Be angry. Be hard.

Be soft. Be loving.

Writer, be passionate, and in your passion, you can touch this world.

And with a touch, maybe, healing can begin.

Love, Annie



Copyright June 27th, 2018

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Witch of Belle Isle {upcoming release}



AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Okay, so now that's over with...

I have some news.

Rebekah DeVall and I are doing a project.

Two separate projects, actually, but we're doing them together.

Last winter we wrote short stories for the Rooglewood Fairy Tale Contest, themed on/inspired by Snow White.

Click here to learn about her half, a story called Death's Mirror, and read on to hear a little about mine -- I'm borrowing the same tag she used, to describe my story, The Witch of Belle Isle.


{Pitch your story with an aesthetic}



A Snow White inspired historical fantasy set towards the end of the American Civil War.



{Introduce the main character with a line} 



The door of the long barracks, the hastily constructed building in which we lived, was open and a ray of sunlight trickled pale fingers inside. The rain had stopped, finally. I dragged myself to my feet and trudged for the door, following the other ghost-like men. This was hell. Hundreds of men wasting in filthy barracks, starving for food, starving for light. Hope seemed too far away, even as I stumbled into the sunshine. 

{If The Witch of Belle Isle wasn't mine, why would I want to read it?}


Okay, I hate answering questions like these. And right now I'm sick with a cold. Here goes:


  • Historical Fantasy. I love it. Taking something old and familiar, making something new out of it? DUDE. 
  • Fairy tale from the male's POV. I don't meet many of these, but I love reading the different perspectives. 
  • The main character, Henry. He's been sucked into this war between brothers, and now he's trapped in a Confederate prison camp, and all he wants now is to go home where it's safe, and warm, and quiet.

{If the antagonist were the main character, how would the story open?}


I did not ask for this, you know. All I wanted was to be safe, and loved, and desired. I did not ask for this. But now that power is within my grasp, I find I am loathe to give it up. 



{What am I doing in Belle Isle that is new for me, as a writer?}


Using a real historical place that I've had to research myself. The Christmas Ladder is a historical piece, but it's based on my own family history, and there wasn't a lot of research involved for it. Spinner of Secrets is only a loose historical fantasy. But The Witch of Belle Isle is a historical fantasy set in a very real place. I'm so used to making things up as I go that sitting down, researching, fitting my story into the boundaries presented by my research--it was a fun and exciting challenge. I'm not a historian, I won't promise that it's 100% accurate--but if you're looking for that in a historical fantasy, then my friend, that's a different problem.



{What does the main character want to change in their lives/world?}


Henry is a Union soldier in a Confederate prison camp. He's tired of the fighting, the killing, the death. He wants to go home. He also wants his country to be at peace, but he hasn't figured out how to make that happen, and in fact he's kind of given up on it for now.


{Share a newly written line}



“Keep hope,” Reverend Morris had told me, day after day. “You’re young and strong. You can beat them still. Wouldn’t that be the greatest triumph, to defeat them by living?”
Reverend Morris hadn’t been particularly old, but he was one of the men whom we were burying. 

{You're stranded in The Witch of Belle Isle~! Who do you go to for help?}


Definitely Faith. She's full of determination and love and yes, faith. Here's one of my favorite lines from her so far: 


“We should win the war because of the strength of our convictions, not because of magicks and charms. That is no true victory.”


The Witch of Belle Isle and Death's Mirror are coming out on July 20th, 2018, so be looking for them! You can pre-order Belle Isle on Amazon, here.

Oh, and here's the link to Rebekah's post again: Death's Mirror

~Annie

Copyright 2018 by Annie Louise Twitchell
Images from Pixabay, Pexels, Unsplash 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

I'm Going... On A Vacation!




Well, kind of.

I've had an interesting relationship with summer vacation for a ridiculously long time, but one thing has been true for the last several years: I never stick to my blogging schedule during the summer.

I mean, it's not like I stick to my schedule anyway; my schedule says I post once a week on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday (but not usually Wednesday) and I still don't manage to be super consistent with that. I've learned to loosen up a lot and just let it be what it is, and if I don't post this week, so be it! I'm okay with that.

Anyway, as I sit here in my chair at 9pm trying to decide what to do this evening, I decided to go look at my blog set up, and hey look! I have no scheduled posts, no drafts, and no ideas.

And I'm okay with that.

As of right now, I'm offically giving myself the summer off. If I have something that really merits a blog post, I'll make one up and schedule it for one of the days in my terribly ambiguous schedule. If not, I'm not going to worry about it.

In other words, see you in August!

But I'll be on my social media accounts on my usual semi-daily basis and sending my newsletter every month, so I won't be vanishing entirely. It's just that I spend so much time outside during the summer and I'm trying to get out of the habit of 6am to 11pm work days, so I think removing this stresser for the summer months will be a huge benefit for my overall sanity. (People tell me it's questionable at best.)

I plan to spend the summer reading, swimming, gardening, not dying while my family does a plethora of projects, star gazing and mosquito swatting, avoiding moose flies (ask me sometime about being used a moose fly bait when I was nine), writing, and hanging out with a popsicle. I had planned to hike a mountain in July until the weather got to a roasting 72 degrees Fahrenheit last week and I remembered why I like hiking in September: less bugs and less heat. So the hiking trip might be postponed. We'll see.

See you in August if not before!

-Annie

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Summer Reading {and why I need some lemonade}



As you may know, I read a lot of books. My Goodreads count so far for 2018 is thirty-two, which is lower than I'd expected, but it's because I haven't really read much in the last couple weeks even though I have three or four books I'm currently reading through.

In the last couple of days, I've identified the "reading block" I've been experiencing. It helped once I realized this is something that happens every year. You see, I read a lot of fantasy stories during the year. And every year for the last... six years or so, when the weather here turns hot, I stop being able to read fantasy.

Now, why this happens, I have no idea. But it happens. And to some extent it affects my ability to write fantasy.

So today I have a favor to ask:

Recommend your favorite contemporary, romance, chick lit, mystery, etc, and I'll check it out. I might not read it--depending on how many I get and which ones I'm interested in--but I need some more contemporary lit!

Bonus points if it's an Indie author. Because the Indie book club I'm in focuses on Indie Fantasy, I haven't met many contemporary Indies.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need some lemonade to make up for forcing my head to read fantasy when it's too hot to handle it.

~Annie


Thursday, May 24, 2018

White-Washed Tombs {cleanliness in writing}



I have people who tell me I shouldn't have any swearing in my books.
Well...

*whispers* I don't always agree with that.

I'll be honest, I'm pretty nervous to share this post with people. I hear it so often from so many different places:


  • Christian fiction shouldn't have language. 
  • Christian fiction shouldn't have violence or gore. 
  • Christian fiction shouldn't have death.
  • Christian fiction shouldn't have kissing or anything beyond that. 


And the ever baffling ultimatum:


  • Christian fiction should be clean. 


I'm never exactly sure what they mean by "clean" because life isn't clean. I understand about keeping things appropriate for the age level and not being slimy and trashy even when you're writing to young adults and adults. But some of these restrictions don't make sense to me because it's stuff I run into in the outside world, about once a week. Thank God for messy books like Katherine Paterson and The Bible, that helped prepare me for meeting messy human beings. (And helped me figure out myself, messy human being exhibit A.)


If you're sitting saying that the Bible isn't a messy book, I don't know what parts you've been reading, because it sure isn't pretty.
In Matthew when Jesus is chewing out the Pharisees? (Matthew Chapter 23, go look it up.)
He calls them "white washed tombs" and "brood of vipers". Now look in the Old Testament at what the cleanliness laws are and consider what those terms actually mean to the elite of the Jewish people. If you actually think about it, he's cussing them out pretty bad. We just don't realize that because those words don't really mean anything to us today. We don't understand the severity of those terms.


The argument people throw at me most often is "Do it all for the glory of God." You know, this section of 1st Corinthians 10:


“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”
If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.



Okay, that's great! Thanks. Throw a Bible verse at the issue, because that always fixes it.

Here's the thing:

I write stories. I don't write for a Christian audience, and I have never claimed to. I don't write for a secular audience. I write for readers. I write because I believe these are stories that need to be told. Occasionally I write because God says "oh ho ho, my dear, you're not getting out of it that easily" and leaves Howler notes in my dreams until I get my rear end in my desk chair and write. (I wish I was kidding.)

My stories are populated with people. Some of them have had really horrible things happen to them, and that shapes their character, and sometimes who they are when we meet them at the beginning of the book isn't pleasant.

I cannot demand they are squeaky church-approved clean.

I can't! There it is. I cannot demand that the characters in my story be different than they are.

If I demand that my teenage character Theo {The Importance of Blood} doesn't swear in the first half of his story, I miss out on the way we learn he's healing. He's angry, he's scared, he's hurting. He acts out and yells, cusses, breaks dishes, throws things, and generally makes a mess of everything.

But then he starts to feel safe.

He starts to feel loved.

He starts to feel wanted.

And when he starts to understand he doesn't have to fight for his life anymore, he starts to heal.

That is shown in the way his behavior changes. In the way his character develops. He starts actively trying to work on his anger issues. He stops cussing. He stops breaking dishes. And he learns to apologize when he hurts someone. And by the end of the book we've found he's a sensitive kid who had to grow up too fast, who grew a thick skin to keep himself safe. He's trying so hard to be better than who he was, because he doesn't like who he was.






I don't throw swear words around carelessly because that eliminates the purpose of having them in there. The reason to have them in my story is to communicate that something is wrong. Someone is hurting, something bad is happening, THERE IS A PROBLEM HERE. One well placed swear word can be exactly what is needed. I work hard to make sure it's in the right place. Sometimes I can replace it with 'Theo swore' but sometimes that's a cheap cheat and it shows.
And no, I'm not trying to tell people to put swearing in their books. If it doesn't have a place, don't put it in. It's as simple as that. I'm not writing this to tell other people what to do; I'm writing this to explain why I do things the way I do.


{One of the things I love about blogging is that it's an interactive medium of sharing my thoughts. One of my new followers sent me a lovely email in response to this post, and hearing her point of view allowed me to find the piece I knew I was missing somewhere, and wrap this up so I'm happier with it. And if any of this is confusing, I'm sorry. My head doesn't always arrange itself in such a way that it can make sense.}


I've spent a lot of time praying about this, thinking about this, and talking it out with a few people. That verse that people throw around, about glorifying God in all I do? I glorify him by doing the job He's given me, to the best of my ability. Sometimes that means reading a bible passage in church, and sometimes that means cleaning out the septic field. Sometimes that means writing a story that is glowing with His love, and sometimes that means writing a story that's still trying to find His love. Sometimes that means praying and talking with other Christians, and sometimes that means trudging through a foot of snow to check on a family in need. Sometimes that means taking flowers to an elderly neighbor and sometimes that means putting on my war boots and gloves to jump in and get my hands dirty.

What is the intent? I try really hard to make sure the bad stuff I show in my writing is met and matched by hope and light. There is truth in the bad things. But there is also truth in the good. My intent is not to shock people with foul language. My intent is to use that as a tool to further, deepen, and strengthen the story I'm telling. My goal is that the words I lay before people have been considered, weighed, measured, and found to be needed in their place. I don't throw these things around casually, my dears. But I know from personal experience that the right book at the right time, dealing with hard things and showing things that aren't pretty... that can make all the difference in the world. 

Some of the time I read Christian fiction and it leaves me feeling sick to my stomach. It's so sappy and melodramatic and overly moralistic and oh-so-clean. It completely abolishes the fact that we live in a world where bad stuff happens every day. And then I read books like The Fault in Our Stars, which has some language and some sexual content, and it's a breath of fresh air because these, these are kids like the ones I knew at high school. These are people I know. I'm not saying that it's okay or that I agree with everything that is said and done; I'm saying that it's real. 

The best is when I find books that give me that "I know this character, they're a person like I could meet on the street" that are written from a point of view that shares the good and the hope as well as the bad and the hurt. Stories that are written to strengthen, challenge, and reassure those who read it. They don't shy away from the messy parts, but use them as necessary, as a tool to tell the story. 

One of my romance stories doesn't have any language, any sexual content beyond the couple kissing when they get engaged. It doesn't need it. It would be horribly inappropriate to include it, not to mention disrespectful to the characters, the story, myself, and my readers. I have a lot of stories like that, actually. But that doesn't mean the other stories aren't there too, and it doesn't mean they don't need to be written. How can we ever hope to reach the hurting if we act like they don't exist?

See, life is messy. And I write about that. But life is also really cool, and sometimes we meet other humans and we just *click* and that's it, we're family now. And life has rainstorms and thunder and apple blossoms and waterfalls and autumn leaves and holding hands while you walk to the post office. And life has snow storms and crocuses and sunlight pushing through a cloudy day. And life has mud puddles and blood and death and dark, dark earth that sticks to your shoes because it's so moist and rich. It's a huge, tangled up, complicated mess of so many things, and I don't know how to pick and choose which things I talk about.

So yes, sometimes my stories are messy.

-Annie


Copyright 2018 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

10 Amazingly Clever Ways To Store All Your Other Stuff When Your Life Is Already Packed To The Max With Books





So many articles about “Clever Ways To Store Books” seem to be written by literary-challenged people who have a total of twenty books to store. Sweetheart, I have twenty books on one bedside table. (That’s the smaller table.)

If you’re one of those people who has so many books that they’ve started re-papering the walls independently, this post is for you. Here, I outline 10 Amazingly Clever Ways to store all the other stuff when your books take primary control of the living space.



1.
In the basement. A lot of basements aren’t good places to store those valuable books, either because of moisture or pests, or both.




2.
In the guest bedroom. I’m sure no one will notice. That is, until they try and sleep on the bed that is actually packing crates covered with sheets, blankets, and pillows.



3.
Got filing cabinets? Use them to rest stacks of books on. Store all that lovely icky paperwork inside it and every time you’re tempted to do some filing, pick up a book and read it.




4.
Under the bed. Assuming the books haven’t taken over, under the bed storage is a great solution for things like shoes, clothes, books, a collapsible trampoline… Under the bed storage is almost endless. I know for a fact that three children, two cats, a box of toy trains, and a stuffed elephant can fit comfortably under a bed and still have room to spare.




5.
In the garden shed. Never ever ever put books out in the garden shed. Books belong in a place of honor in your home. Besides, you’ll never read them all if they’re way out there in the garden shed. Not like you’ll read them all anyway, but that’s not the issue.




6.
Under the couch cushions. This is a handy place to store batteries, small change, the Kraken, your great-grandmother’s diamond necklace, an entire deck of playing cards (unboxed and scattered, of course), one random fork (probably the one you don’t like), and all of your cat’s shed hair that he’s saving to knit into a winter coat. This location is especially recommended for all the small valuables that you don’t want stolen, as no one ever thinks to look under the couch cushions until the remote isn’t near the TV.



7.
In other people’s homes. To maintain the peace in society, however, it is strongly recommended to relinquish all rights to the stuff before passing it on.




8.
In a yard sale! These urban wonders boast low prices, so you’re almost guaranteed not to make enough money to make up for the labor involved, but at the end of the day you’ve gotten rid of a lot of things you didn’t need, and possibly made a few new friends.




9.
Go green—recycle away! Old papers that you don’t need, used up craft supplies, all the random bits of packing material that you’re not going to use again. Check with your local recycling facility for their guidelines.




10.
In the garbage can. This handy container requires very little maintenance considering the amount of work it does. All things non-transferable and unrecyclable go in here, then get taken to the curb for the garbage men to collect. In rural areas you may have to take it to the dump yourself; it’s still not a lot of work in exchange for less stuff to take up valuable square inches.



There you have it, folks. Ten "clever" places to store stuff that won’t infringe on your book space. Happy reading!


Inspired by Nancy Chase
nancychase.com


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