A friend of mine and co-collaborator at KidLit Parade, Cat Michaels, asked if I would be interested in participating in a blog hop that focuses on our creative spaces…or in other words…where we make our magic happen.

Since my blog has been sorely neglected as of late as we wind up the production of the re-release of Dani and the Mall Caper and Dani and the Rocking Horse Ranch, along with the release of our first audiobook, Dani and the Haunted House, I thought this would be a great opportunity to dust off the blog and give you a sneak peek at where all of this happens.

So please join me, and the wonderful folks listed below, as we welcome you into our private spaces on the Creation Station Blog Hop. I hope you will enjoy delving between the pages of our storybooks and straight into the heart of our creativity.

My blog wasn’t the only thing I dusted off…

As much as I love bunnies, you’ll find no dust on this desk! By the way, my desk breathes a huge sigh of relief and says thank you. I’m usually so busy working away that I tend to forget about mundane chores. Ah, the life of a writer!

Almost every aspect of the books begin and end here. Each book starts off with a brainstorming section and from there goes into the rough draft. Once all the ideas are down on paper, it’s time to flesh out the story.  Next comes the most tedious part…editing! Each book will go through multiple rounds of editing as I change and fine tune things. Once I am finally happy, I’ll hand it over to my editor. Once she returns it, I’ll end up editing it a few more times.  Then it will go off for a final round of editing and proofing. The final stage is laying out the book. It’s amazing that all of this takes place on one small desk, but it does! It’s really a magical place because once I sit down in that comfy, leather chair I am instantly transported into a world of make believe where anything can happen. I love discovering new mysteries and adventure!

IMG_4838Surrounding yourself with a bit of whimsy and memories…

Since writing is such a personal experience, I believe it is important that you surround yourself with a bit of nostalgia or comfort items. For me, there are several throughout my office. Whether it is my old-fashioned Minnie given to me by a dear friend who shares my love of Disney, or a small silhouette with the number 33 that represents a day our family spent with another friend at Disneyland partaking of an all-day scavenger hunt. Those types of items add a touch of whimsy, and a smile, when you are struggling over a particular scene.

CropgrandfatherTo go straight to the heart, there are the cherished items that touch our very core. Like the old grandfather clock my Poppy built for me with his own hands as a 16th birthday present, which is surrounded by pictures of a day spent at the beach with the “original” Dani P. Oh, how the waves chased us that day!

The grandfather clock transcends the status of a mere gift; it showcases how much love my grandfather held for me (and I for him) with its daily chimes. With each chord that rings out, memories come flooding back to all the wonderful times I spent with my grandparents.

IMG_4858For true inspirational writing…

One need not look any further than this vintage beauty. It was passed down through my husband’s family and his own grandfather used to do his homework on it when he was a little boy growing up on the dairy farm. As you run your hands across the well-loved wood, you can only begin to imagine all the stories it holds within its long history. It, in itself, radiates a richness of yesteryear that evokes one’s imagination. I can easily envision my grandfather-in-law as he sat at this desk to learn his “letters” and write his first words.

IMG_4839The “time-out” corner…

From time-to-time, everyone needs a time-out, including writers! This perfect spot in the corner of my office is the place to relax with a good book. It is also where I do any filming for Read-Alouds. I love the chair. Not only is it super comfortable, but it was one of the first pieces of furniture my husband and I bought together for our old-Victorian home.  The large Thomas Kinkade print, which hangs above it, exudes tranquility with its quaint cottage scene. And finally, the large floral arrangement next to it, which sits on a small hand-carved table made by my grandfather-in-law, was one of my grandmother’s favorites that she gave to me many years ago when we first started decorating our home. My reading corner is just another bit of nostalgia that always brings me peace and a welcome smile.

Finally, if all of that is not enough to get my creativity flowing…

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There is always the last resort…to plant a bean. A jelly bean that is! It is my custom blend straight from the Jelly Belly Factory. No pre-mixed version here! In my special little jar you will find a very strict ratio:  One-fourth Dr. Pepper (for those of you who know of my Dr. Pepper addiction), one-fourth Rootbeer, one-eighth Very Cherry, one-eighth Tuti-Fruti, and one-fourth Cinnamon.

And then there’s the fort…

I know when you grow up you are supposed to give up on child-like activities such as fort building. But, WHY? They are so much fun! And, they make the perfect place to record your podcast, book snippets, and even your audiobook. My awesome husband built my fort out of PVC pipe so that it can easily be moved from room to room or stored when  it’s not in use.

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The best part is going around the house and collecting all the blankets and comforters! Originally, we had purchased moving blankets, but I found them to contain a harsh chemical smell and they took away from the true fort-like experience. After all, if you’re going to write for kids you want to immerse yourself in the proper atmosphere!

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Here’s a close-up of my recording box. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone I forgot to wipe down the tablet. It’ll be our little secret. Okay? 

Building a recording box is easy. There are tons of videos on YouTube. I personally made mine extra large so it would include my tablet. It is the perfect tool to use instead of shuffling papers while trying to record! Not to mention the time you will save cleaning up your audio file! Of course, if you’re looking for a professional voiceover artist, I highly recommend Jill Cofsky Voice. She just completed our audiobook and did an amazing job.

StarbucksWell, that pretty much sums up my working space. Of course, there are times I like to grab the laptop and go out into the world. In moments like those, you’re apt to find me at a local Starbucks with a decaf mocha in hand sitting in a sunny window. It’s nice to have solitude, but sometimes a little noise is just what you need to get the creative juices buzzing.

Thank you for joining me today. I appreciate the opportunity to share with you my own little world of imagination. And as my printer’s little Dreamie butterfly reminds me daily, don’t ever forget to Dream Big!

Please join the authors below on the blog hop tour! And, if you have a PG-13 rated blog about work space, we’d love to have you post your blog link in the comments section below, and we’ll give you some blog loving!

#Gr8blogs

Julie Gorges, Babyboomerbliss

Auden Johnson, Dark Treasury

Corrina Holyoake, Venturing into the Unknown

Cat’s Corner