Tag Archives: writing

Katie Crabapple: Homespun

I saw this question asked via Facebook this week:

Do you check the number of pages before choosing a book?

Before the Kindle I did not check – all you had to do was look at the book and let the thickness be your deciding factor, if it so mattered. I don’t really mind if the story is short or long – to each their own.

However, I have learned since the Kindle entered my life to check the number of pages. The reason for this is, I have stumbled upon the makings of a really great story and then all the sudden it’s done. Almost as if it’s been beheaded! I find myself looking for the rest of the story! Quickly searching Amazon and the Author’s website for more details or possibly the next book only to come up empty handed.

I don’t know why this happens but I know I dislike reading a book that leaves me hungry with no second course or desert. There are times I am looking for a quick book to read, like Katie’s Homespun series but I want the whole story. If you have to break it down in parts, okay, go for it. Just don’t leave me looking for more and coming up empty. That is in my opinion not worth my time.

Therefore, I do check the number of pages. If it is not above 50 – I will skip it, UNLESS it has been recommended highly. How bout you? Do you check the number of pages?

Earlier this week or maybe last week I read all 7 of the Homespun books by Katie Crabapple. It didn’t take long. The books are rather short. 64 to 98 pages in length, so pretty quick reads, but very enjoyable stories.

Dear Katie,

Thank you for such lovely stories. Rumor is that you are currently taking some time off from writing. I believe the last book you released was in 2015. I’m not sure the reason for the time away, but I want you to know that you and your sweet stories are missed. I hope you are well and that someday we’ll get to read more from you. God Bless.


Nom De Plume

A Pen Name.

I spent a lot time thinking and praying over this idea before I created my website. I researched why Authors use pen names and why they don’t. In today’s world if you use a pen name, I believe most people are aware of it. So why use one? Or better yet, why not? It’s fun!

I use one.

There are a lot of different reasons for choosing a pen name as well as pros and cons. I personally, have nothing against my first name, Tonya. Although, it is regularly misspelled. I hated my maiden name; West. No matter what there were jokes about which direction I was going. Ironically, I am very skilled at getting lost.

My married name, VanWinkle leads to a lot of “like Rip VanWinkle” remarks. Many people call my husband and son both, Rip. Not something I want to be called.

I wanted something that was mostly, all mine.

When I set out in search of a name, I asked myself these questions:

  1. Will it look pretty on a cover?
  2. Does anyone else have it/use it? I needed to make sure I could use it as my website.
  3. Is it hard to pronounce?

Pretty simple. I typed it up in several different fonts to see how it would look and eventually settled on:

My middle name is Renea – although most people I know spell it Renee – I guess my Mom liked to be unique. I like it spelled this way though. Then I wondered what I could make work with my maiden name as it would be easier to adjust than VanWinkle. I lost my precious mother-in-law June of 2014 and her name was Marilyn. In her memory, I took the “lyn” and added to my maiden name.

And there you have it. The how and the why of my pen name – a name that is all mine.

However, until this year I have written as Tonya VanWinkle or Tonya West. In February of 1999 – I received this after submitting a poem into a contest my Librarian Mrs. Russell had suggested.

When I received this along with a letter in the mail about it I was through the roof excited. I mean I felt like I was flying and then I realized I had to purchase said book. That deflated me a bit. I didn’t expect to be paid but if I wanted the book that contained a piece of my work in it, I had to buy it? Weird.

But have the book, I do and my poem is on the bottom of page 56. Today, I can’t find that book online anywhere. The furtherest back I can find is 2001.

The company however is still around and still providing the contest to students all around the world and they can be found here: Creative Communications

The copyright inside the book says that the writing may not be shared without permission of both Author and Publisher. I have contacted them about it and as soon as I receive approval I will share it with you.

My life changed drastically that very month as I learned I would be a Momma. I graduated that May, married that August and was blessed with a beautiful baby girl that October. Life got busy. My writing journey took all kinds of twists and turns. I attempted writing Children’s books for a while – so not my thing. I found a folder with my work from that time – I’ll have to share some of that mess later.

I continued to write poetry and other things – which is why I should have stock in journals.

I took a few writing classes here and there, but mostly I continued to dream. It wasn’t until the beginning of this year, when my son said to me…

well what did you want to do before kids

that I realized I was doing what I wanted to do before children. I was just keeping it all to myself and not pursuing the dream. With the empty nest fast approaching, I have a lot of time to myself and my goal this year is to make it happen, which means I have to stay focused!

While I work on accomplishing that goal I am enjoying sharing my past works and journey with you and I thank you for your visit today.

 


The Big Question

Kinda stuck. The empty nest is quickly approaching my home. I feel as if there is a battle raging from within. I am proud of my children and I want to see them succeed in life. I am excited and scared for each of their journeys ahead. I don’t want them to be hurt, or afraid or to never come home again. I want them to be confident and soar, yet, I want to hold them just a little longer.

Their independence is rearing its head in full form and while I know they are simply testing their wings in preparation for flight, I find myself at times lonely and wondering…

What am I going to do now?

Recently, I stumbled upon a quote. Actually, I probably sought it out. I adore quotes and I’m always collecting them. Most of what I personally follow on Instagram and Twitter are quote related. I love to take beautiful photos and put a profound quote upon them. This particular quote packs a pretty big punch during this current season of my life.

All of a sudden, the nest is empty. The birds have gone, and what had been a constant blur of activity is now nothing more than a few discarded feathers. Silence mutes all that was colorful and it is time to reestablish our significant place in an ever-changing world.” -Marci Seither, Empty Nest.

Here is another quote that is spot on:

You want your kids to grow up, and you don’t want your kids to grow up. You want your kids to become independent of you, but it’s also a parent’s worst nightmare: that they won’t need you. It’s like the real tragedy of parenting.” – Jonathan Safran Foer

It is my hope, my prayer; that we have given our children a strong rooting. One, they from time to time might return to. It is also my hope and prayer that we have given them strong wings, ones that will carry them bravely through this ever-changing world. Yet, the big question still remains…

What am I going to do now?

I mentioned something of my wonderings to my son not long ago and he said to me, “What did you want to do before you became a Mom?” From the mouth of babes, correct?  I’ve known the answer to that question before motherhood ever entered the scene.

I want to write. I have always wanted to write.

I have so many pieces of unfinished work, there must be a purpose for it…