The Show Must Go On

“I’ll face it with a grin

I’m never giving in

On with the show!”

Queen “The Show Must Go On”

Reno is definitely an event city. During the summer and fall months there’s usually a festival or downtown concert almost every weekend. The bad news is that many of Reno’s events like Hot August Nights and the Air Races have been cancelled due to Covid-19. While I understand the need for public safety, it’s disappointing to see so many events that marked the summer and fall seasons for our community cancelled.

The good news is that Artown is still happening. During the entire month of July throughout Reno local businesses and churches become art galleries and concert halls celebrating a broad spectrum of art and music with events for all ages. While some shows are ticketed events, many are free.  About mid-June, I would study the Artown schedule with my calendar and plan my adventures for July. For me the planning was part of the fun.

This year In consideration of public safety, many of the on-site events have been scaled back. But here’s the even better news…Artown has gone virtual with many events scheduled to go on-line in addition to their on-site workshops and shows. So even if circumstances prevent you from a road trip to the Biggest Little City, you can enjoy Artown performances like the amazing trio, The Jazzettes and other live events from the comfort of your living room. Personally, I’d recommend making a night of it. Artown starts July 1st, so mark your calendar, plan for take out from one of your favorite restaurants, include a local brew or vintage wine, relax and enjoy the show.

Artist\Writer Interview-Debbie Lambin-My Thousand Words

2019 Artown poster

You mention that all of you have been artists in various mediums. How did My Thousand Words start off?

Accidentally! My daughter Rachael and I have always been artists and have had a great passion for the arts. From working with several mediums of art (watercolors, oils, acrylics, sketching, pottery, mixed medias, printmaking, etc…) to writing short stories and theater (improvisational, acting, musicals), etc….To be able to express yourself is truly a gift that we as citizens are blessed to have! When our three children were in grade school, we chose to home school them because of several reasons the first being that we wanted to give them more than what they were receiving as students. I taught them everything and when it got to being more than I could handle, they started at Western Nevada College for their middle school, high school and earned their Associates in Arts and Associates in Science degrees before getting their high school diplomas.

My Thousand Words(named by Rachael) began as a way to repurpose a book. Most people don’t pick up a book to read but rather grab a device to search through thousands of available titles and simply carry that instead! During our move from the valley to the city, we had an over abundance of books that needed a home because our new home was not capable of our vast library! In going through the books, we came across one that was used from a college class that no one enjoyed reading! Instead of finding a thrift store for it, I started to fold it up so no one would ever have to bear it! That design turned into something really quite beautiful and I believe that we had something to brag about!  With Rachael   being more of a sculpture artist, she made a little man that resembled Auguste Rodin’s “TheThinker” and he proudly sat on top of the folded book that I made! He became the simple business card holder from our printmaking artwork that we so often displayed at art shows…. So many began asking to purchase our little man that so proudly held our business cards that upon throwing a crazy amount of $125 to purchase, were told that we were too cheap and that they would have paid more! It was then and there that My Thousand Words book sculptures was born and name as a book is worth a thousand words and that is what our books are!

How has Covid-19 changed the way you work?

 For me, it has to be “Motivation and an ability to catch up” on all the things that  I have always wanted to do but never found the time to do!

I am one of those that have LOVED this quarantine time to begin to reflect on LIFE! To stop and smell the roses! To stop and evaluate life and how we are all living it! Are we making differences? Are we doing all the things that make us happy? Simply looking at life and making sure that we are doing what we want to do and not what we are supposed to do in order to make others happy and not us?

I love art and the arts and have instilled this in my family and friends all of my life. When My Thousand Words started to become something recognizable, I joined Nevada Art Council and other organizations that I could share the love of art with others. I was blessed that people loved our works and last year, 2019 we were asked to be the artists for the Artown poster art and let me the you that this was an incredible honor and with that honor, I wanted to share this art and talent with others and I began to teach at libraries, schools, colleges, museums and really anywhere that I was asked.

I applied for the Basin Range Exchange grant from the Nevada Arts Council and was selected as a participant.The group of 25 traveled to Tonopah a middle point and shared ideas of how to bring art to the entire state of Nevada. As we were paired up with another my husband David, Julie from Las Vegas (in charge  of library programs) and I created our project called NV Art Stops Tour. This would be a celebration of books, reading, literature and our book art sculptures that would be placed all over Las Vegas, northern Nevada and central to be displayed and viewed by all libraries, museums, schools and more. Our project was to be for one year and then become a non-profit and travel the state and more sharing our art with everyone while instilling the love of books and reading! Of course, everything got stopped due to the Covid-19. With all of that being said, over 80 sculptures were made for that tour and when Covid-19 came, we had sculptures in inventory and many that were placed in Northern Nevada libraries that are still sitting and waiting for the viewing of the community. We decided to put all of the “making of art” on hold, and finish all the things that were started and complete them.

Finally, I was able to work on three books that I started to write and never could complete due to the continuously working and creating book art! I am proud to share that one is completed and ready to publish and the others are in the works.Taking time to do many other things together with family and neighbors has been wonderful. Opening up and learning how to be more of a citizen in our community has been great! I think that just taking the time to reflect on “Life” and those around you, taking time to better myself as an artist, has been really terrific and eye-opening. Now when I work, it will be more specialized and with more of a purpose. The NV Art Stops Tour really took a toll on me with all that was necessary to do. There were so many things that were on the agenda to do that it really became overwhelming! (become a non-profit, write 4 books, write a script, make over 150 sculptures, etc…) Covid-19 was in actuality a real blessing in disguise! It was a way to slow down and really take time to “smell the roses” as many would say!

Any advice to families considering a collaborative business?

John-Henry, Rachael and Debbie Lambin

If everyone is on the same page and would like to do that same thing together, then I would say to go for it! In working together, it is super important to “listen” and take ideas into account for creating not only the art sculpture but also the business too. What is really special is that there are so many great ways to do things and options in doing so and by listening and working together,the possibilities are endless and so is the creativity. Sometimes walking away and having that chance to “re group” and know how to handle situations together, is a good thing. Now for me, I am a full time artist, John-Henry and Rachael as medical students that don’t have the time to do it always (like me) and my husband David works full time. To collaborate together is tricky but is possible and can be special too. I think that the best advice is to work around one another. Have one (me) be the sort of leader and help all to work together as they are able to do so. The largest take away would be to “listen” and know that every idea is  an idea good or bad, it is collaborating together!

What’s next for you?

Finding galleries that I have wanted to place our work in but never had the time to do so and place much of the inventory into them for all to see. I hope to finish my online store for people to view and purchase. Of course, complete my books that have been on the“backburner”. A series of books that would include stories written using our book sculptures as the illustrations for the books. Honestly,there is a lot to get caught up on and I am excited to venture forward to the new and of course, include the past too. We hope to restart the NV Art Stops Tour very soon too!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

If there is something that intrigues you and something that you have always wanted to do, I would share that you need to do it! Don’t let time fly by without releasing your dreams to all that would love to be part of it or share it with you! You have an idea? Throw it out there and let others experience it. Who knows, you may have an audience of 1 or an incredible amount of people! Don’t ever let anyone  tell you that your idea is bad, that it won’t go anywhere or ever take negative comments! I have always shared with my kids that no idea is a bad one as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone…

 What podcast/You Tube channel are you following?

 I love listening to several podcasts. My favorite is “Imagine Life” by Wondery. It is all about a famous person and they give you little hints while telling you the story of that person.  In fact, Wondery has a lot of great podcasts to listen to!  Another is “How it’s Built” and that one is all about people that have taken a dream and made it into reality.

Who are your heroes in real life?

 That would have to be my husband David and my children. To start, David has always allowed me to dream out load and share that if it is something important to me, he was in full support! Take homeschooling our children, he believed in me that I could do this and of course, do it well. That success provided them with great education for all three. Jeff has 2 masters in Theology and Divinity and is a pastor of a church in Carson City. He started his own seminary as well. Married and adopted two little girls (my beautiful granddaughters; Aby and Elaina) and then there is Rachael and John-Henry both in their 3rd year of medical school at UNR. Soon to be surgeons and excited to do this for the community.

For my children, I would say that they are my heroes because as a novice teacher, scoutleader, 4H leader and so much more…. They stood by me and believed in me to teach them and make them who they are today! Most recently, my health was on the edge and through research and education, they placed my husband and I on the Keto and we have not only lost over 80 lbs. but have very healthy bills of health!  These are my heroes in so many ways!  They have helped us to be greater versions of ourselves!

Share a marketing tip that has worked for you.

 Believe in yourself and the product that you have before you!

I say this because if you are excited, you will share it with everyone that you meet! Make business cards (very very simple design) of what you do and share it with EVERYONE that you meet! I say this because you are marketing yourself and what you do! Everything will begin to fall into place and you will begin to realize that your product will start getting noticed and grow from there!

When we started our little art idea of making art out of books, we always hoped that people would like it but never realized that it would have grown to what it is today! I was always excited about what I did and shared it with EVERYONE… really EVERYONE! The press was excited to learn about it and from there, it was like a springboard to getting the word out about our works of art!

What are your other passions outside of your current creative pursuits?

I love teaching and sharing the love of art with everyone! I love my family and watching them develop into their new careers of helping others in the medical field. Getting to be with David more now that they are moving on and love swimming and getting healthier too.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

To purchase or order a custom book sculpture, the best right now is to go online to www.MyThousandwords.com and complete the contact us form. We will have a store shortly online.

www.LambinArts.com (NVArtStops Tour) and teaching site

www.MyThousandWords.com (bookart site)

 

 

Something to Howl About

“For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.” Rudyard Kipling

I recently obtained the rights back to two of my earlier romance titles, Howl and Roar. In their permission granted email, The Wild Rose Press requested that I make some changes before releasing the titles. In other words, I couldn’t take the books straight off their shelf and add them to my own.

I was pleased to comply. As an author, there’s always a few more changes that come to mind even after you type “The End”. So for the next few months I “returned” to the woods of Northern California the setting for both stories and re-connected with the characters. While I felt like I was among friends with the cast of characters, the whole re-write process took longer than expected, the start date on the revised manuscript was February 20, 2020. Also, I decided to head in a new direction for formatting and distribution which added more time to the learning curve.

I’m thrilled to announce the re-release of Howl which includes both stories. All the extra time and effort in the release, was well worth it. Not only does Howl have a smoking hot new cover, by Harris Channing, but it’s also available on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

Howl

Evil often strikes in unlikely places, outside an office in broad daylight or at secluded cabin at dusk. This unflinching pair of shifter tales reveals the beasts in our midst. After surviving a brutal attack, a single mother’s days become a battle to maintain control while her nights are a disturbing blur of dreams. A workaholic is plunged into turmoil when her weekend romantic rendezvous becomes a desperate struggle to survive. Will love save them or be their undoing?

Creating in Crisis

Yet another writing option when the power’s out.

“In times of crisis, it’s wonderful what the imagination will do.” Ruskin Bond

Like many people the recent shutdown has caused me to be more aware of my pantry. Though the panic buying has ceased as places are opening up, certain things never seem to be in stock. Minute Rice appears to be an endangered species in my neck of the woods. I last spotted the iconic red box in my local grocery several weeks ago.

I’ve been slowly adding to my supply of back-up provisions, one shopping trip at a time while leaving plenty of canned goods on the shelf for others. By the way if you’re interested in a sensible approach to stocking up, I recommend Survivorman, Les Stroud’s method.

Many of you know the feeling when inspiration strikes, but suddenly you can’t find the right materials to capture it. By the time you finally find your sketchbook, camera, notebook, paints or pencils, the moment has either passed or you’re too frustrated from searching to do the inspiration justice. So while you’re considering whether to add an extra can or corn or beans to your emergency supplies think about what your creative self might need during a crisis. Keep in mind not all crisis situations emerge as a governor-declared emergency.  During a severe winter storm season, we had to give our neighbors a ride to the store in our SUV. Their sedans lacked the clearance and the capacity to navigate the icy hills of our neighborhood.

What creative supplies do you need? Consider the tools and supplies you reach for on a regular basis. As a writer, though my laptop is always nearby, I like to have plenty of college-ruled, spiral-bound notebooks on hand as well as Post-It notes and flags. As a knitter, I keep extra sets of needles in the 4,7 and 10 sizes in case one pair is tied up with a project when I’m ready to start another.

Being prepared isn’t about fearing the storm. It’s being able to enjoy the sunshine knowing you’re prepared to face the storm.

Artist/Writer Interview-Christina Nellemann

My biggest breakthrough came when…

I’ve been a graphic and web designer for over 20 years and I always wanted to leave my day job to run my own freelance business, but never thought I was quite ready to make it work.

At this point I had been in my current job for about 12 years and was becoming physically ill from dealing with the stress from some supervisory changes.

One day in my yoga class, my amazing yoga teacher said her practice mantra. It was “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be at peace?” It hit me like a gong in the head: I want to be at peace. From that day forward I put a plan into action to leave my job in one year. I saved up enough money to live off of for about six months and picked my deadline. I left that job one year later and have been working for myself for over six years.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your creative pursuits?

Even though I work for myself, I still have to get up very early in the morning to get everything done for the day. I really do love it. Time seems to go slower from 5:00 am to 7:00 am than at any other time of the day. In addition, unless there are some pressing deadlines, I also tend to leave my office around 3:00 in the afternoon.

What’s next for you?

I’m not sure. I really just take one day at a time. I try to plan as much family and travel time as possible. My husband is planning to retire in about three years and most likely I will retire with him.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Work toward the best scenario, but plan for the worst scenario.

What podcasts are you following?

The podcasts I currently have on my phone are Astonishing Legends, Normal 2 Nomad, The Survival Podcast and The Micah Hanks Program. An interesting mix, I know. I like cryptid and UFO stories and prepper chat. I guess that comes from being from Nevada.

What are your other passions outside of your current creative pursuits?

I have always loved the outdoors. I do long distance hikes, kayak, ice skate on frozen lakes, camp in my fiberglass camper, and garden. I also raise chickens.

I’ve also been a big traveler over the years. I’ve been camel trekking in Morocco, slept in a cave in Turkey, went camping in Iceland, swam with sharks in Easter Island and the Galapagos, and enjoyed hot spring hopping in Ecuador and Japan.  I enjoy really getting to know a place intimately rather than rushing from one location to another. I’m really hoping to get back to traveling when the pandemic is over with.

My website is http://felinedesigninc.com

 

Turning Desktops into Concert Halls

Safe to say the Reno Phil attracts a diverse universe of fans.

“Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” Plato

With 60+ professional musicians overseeing an orchestra, symphonic chorus and four youth orchestras, the Reno Philharmonic is one of the largest arts organizations in the Biggest Little City. In its 51st season, the Reno Phil has averaged more than 30 concerts per year entertaining audiences with musical line-ups ranging from Beethoven to film scores.  Their “Star Wars” concert in 2018 included several notable guests in attendance.

I’ve been fortunate to meet some amazing people during my brief stint as a Reno Phil volunteer. Even though the Pioneer Center is currently closed, music fans have the chance to get to know the musicians of the Reno Phil through their #Spread Joy campaign.  In this new on-line series, Reno Phil musicians perform the pieces that bring them joy, providing audiences with a more intimate perspective of the individual musicians’ musical style and personalities.  Each performance has something unique to offer from violinist, Ellen Flanagan’s surprise audience to Johnny Lenz’s haunting performance on the electric cello dedicated to first responders.

For family with aspiring musicians in the home #SpreadJoy not only provides insight into the personal lives of professionals, how they got started and their favorite music, but also shows them having fun in a relaxed setting. See all that practicing does pay off.  It’s a wonderful opportunity for kids of all ages to learn about a broad spectrum of music ranging from brass to strings all from the best seat in the house,

In addition to the individual performances, #SpreadJoy also features their low brass players who perform “Song for Health” written by Steven Verhelst. Verhelst describes his composition as “an appreciation song for our healthcare and public services workers at the forefront to the Corona pandemic.” Find out more at #musicdoesntstop.

Art Where You Are

Mosaic by Katie Packham, Copper Cat Studios

“The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep.” Paul Strand

Even with all the various platforms available to creatives (Amazon, Etsy, YouTube) it can be challenging to truly be seen. For creatives established in brick & mortar venues such as galleries and bookstores, the closing of non-essential businesses are particularly devastating.  As in other challenging times, people often find innovative paths through, over and around life’s obstacles.

I’ve previously posted about the Copper Cat Studio, a Sparks-based studio that offers a variety of classes from mosaics to needle felting as well as featuring work by local artists. When our governor gave the order for non-essential businesses to close, owner, Katie Packham closed the doors on her studio building and threw open the doors to her virtual studio, posting images of her mosaics as well as other artists’ work available for purchase on her Facebook and Instragram pages.

Copper Cat Studio

I purchased one of Katie’s mosaics and we made arrangements for me to pick it up from her studio. Elegantly (and safely) attired with a lovely scarf serving as a face mask, she brought the mosaic out to me in my car. A very simple transaction, the hardest part for me was choosing which piece I wanted. The mosaic is now displayed in the entryway to my home office.  I see Love, Peace and Hope every time I go in to work, whether I’m headed in to review contracts as a paralegal or tweak a chapter of my latest novel as a writer.

Even under the current uncertainty, creatives are producing works of wonder. You’ll discover them on Instagram, Facebook, Esty or Hometown Reads. If your current finances are tight, you can write reviews and follow local creatives on social media. All those “likes” and followings can add up to increased visibility. Just don’t forget to use the creative’s hashtag when sharing about them.

Hanging Out at a New Hot Spot

“There are shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.”  Vicki Baum

I’ll be over at Lois Winston’s blog today chatting about the origins of two of my favorite Latin dances featured in Package Deal, Salsa and Bachata. Like many bloggers, Lois schedules her guests well in advance and I had responded to her invite long before the world took such a crazy turn.

The doubt hit, shortly after I sent off my post to Lois. Where does social dancing fit in a world being told to “Stay In & Be Safe”?  I then noticed the sign in my own kitchen.  Salsa and Bachata survived dictatorships and social upheaval to be loved throughout the world.  Thanks to Pandora, You Tube and laminate flooring, the dancing will continue at my house even if the clubs are closed.

 

Writer Interview-Jennifer Keevern

Describe your day job. I am an accountant.  Nothing too exciting here.

Tell me about your latest book. The Policeman: Our Daddy, Our Hero addresses the unique things that cops’ kids face when their parents are members of the thin blue line. The story is told from the perspective of Emily and David, whose father is a police officer. The book is geared towards children up to 10 and features things that cop kids are sure to recognize as staples in cop households.  Some of those things are funny, some are odd and some are even scary for them.

As my kids began to get older and I started to realize how much having a Police Officer for a Daddy can affect their day-to-day lives.  I searched high and low trying to find resources that would help me explain to them unique situations they will be put in growing up in a Law Enforcement family and I came up empty.  So, I decided to write one myself.  Then I thought about who could illustrate the book.  Who would be better than one of my best friends, a fellow Law Enforcement wife, and amazing artist, Heather?  Thankfully, she said yes and we were on our way.

We had so much fun working together and with our kids developing the book and learning how to become self-publishers and starting our own small business.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?

What has been great about having a partner is that we can rely on each other to get the work done.  Also, that we can get all of our kids involved and learning about the power of books, running a small business and how to work with people.  If anything it has brought both of our families closer together.

Share a marketing tip that has worked for you.

A marketing tip that has worked well is making connections in the subject area.  We have been reaching out to many law enforcement groups across the United States and sharing our book.  What has been amazing is how much they love the book and that it is filling a lack of resources to help other Law Enforcement families.  What the most amazing thing has been is the great relationships we have been building with other Law Enforcement families; not only locally, but across the United States.  You hear how Police Officers call other Police Officers their brothers and sisters and they are one big “blue” family.  I have learned through this process that the “blue” family stretches well beyond the officers but to their families.  I stay in pretty regular contact with many of them and we help each other navigate this crazy life we lead.

Describe one of your favorite settings.

One of my favorite pages in the book is where the kids are saying goodbye to their Daddy as he goes off to work and give him a big hug and kiss.  This happens every day in our house as it does in many houses when Daddy’s leave for work.  For them it is just the normal routine of saying goodbye to him but to me it is a constant reminder that it may be the last time they hug and kiss him as he goes off to his dangerous job of protecting and serving our community.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Two Cops’ Wives was started with one idea in mind: Creating content that lets the children of police officers know that they have shared experiences and they’re not alone. America’s police officers live a very unique life, both on and off the job. This impacts their children greatly, for better and for worse, and it requires them to be passengers on the Hyper-Vigilence Rollercoaster. From using actual 10 codes while playing Cops and Robbers with their friends to coping with a line-of-duty injury or death, these kids see what most other kids don’t. No matter how hard the officer tries, the kids will inevitably hear some of the hair raising tales from the street. They hear of fallen officers and close calls. They can’t help but worry about whether their officer is safe every day. Most cops’ kids don’t realize that they go through almost all the same things and have the same feelings. Knowing they’re not alone will help them cope and feel a sense of community. The world sees a police officer. These kids just see mom or dad.

The Policeman: Our Daddy, Our Hero

Come take a ride-along with Emily, David, and their Hero while they tell their story of all the funny and different things that happen when you’re a cop kid.

https://squareup.com/store/two-cops-wives

Facebook@TwoCopsWives

February 17th-Random Acts of Kindness Day

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” Edgar Degas

Even though Valentine’s Day has passed there’s still plenty of opportunities to share the love since February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day. Sometimes it’s the “just because” thoughtful gestures that mean the most. Here’s a few ways you can commit kindness, rekindle your own creative spark and support the community:

  • Anonymously pay for someone’s entrance into a museum, gallery or concert.
  • Leave a poem or inspirational message for a loved one or stranger to find.
  • Write a fan letter to another artist/author/musician who inspires you.
  • Paint a rock and inscribe an encouraging message or simply “Hope”, “Joy” or “Peace”. Leave the rocks where they can be found. Painting hope rocks is a great activity to do as a group or with kids.
  • Contribute to your favorite podcaster/YouTuber’s Patreon account. Many of these folks juggle the challenge of developing content and producing. Even a one-time small donation helps bring original content coming. Or purchase one of their products from their site.
  • Write a positive review on Amazon for an indie author or for an artist on Esty.
  • Musicians living in Atlanta, Dallas, Nashville, Miami, Los Angeles or New York City can join musiciansoncall.org. This organization delivers live or recorded music to patients in healthcare facilities.
  • Pay it forward-Give the bookstore clerk $5.00 to go toward the next customer’s purchase.
  • Crochet or knit for charity. There are all sorts of opportunities on the Internet. Warmupamerica.org has some wonderful suggestions for group activities or you can simply donate a 7 by 9 knitted rectangle to be stitched together into afghans for the homeless.
  • Post an inspirational quote at your workplace where others can see it.
  • Librivox-volunteers from all over the world read books from the public domain to make audiobooks available for the public. Librivox.org.