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Visualizing the Magic – Making Magic

A lot of writers have certain rituals that are required before they can truly be creative. For me it is music in my ears and visuals to help me picture what I’m writing about—photos, maps, blueprints. I use Pinterest to store all these visual ideas.

For Making Magic, there were some very special events to visualize. I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Bailey – Before and After


Of course, first there is Bailey, the homeless pup that Thea rescues on her way home. The before and after pictures of Bailey helped me visualize and describe what happened to the poor pup. After seeing some real transformations of rescued dogs, I really wanted to portray what an amazing difference we can make in one animal’s life.

The Wedding


And surprise, there’s a wedding in Making Magic! Mel and Daniel’s wedding in the hollow in front of the old home place on the mountain must be perfect. So Mel’s reception is out under the Woodruff Mountain stars and decorated with lots of sparkling lights.

The food at the reception is, of course, very Italian. And the Cannoli are Jamie Lynn Campbell’s favorite although she is very partial to the Bongo as well.


OcarinasAs you know, Jake Moser, the hero of Making Magic, makes a variety of musical instruments which I have shared with you here on the blog, but another musical instrument plays a role in the story as well. Aaron and Emmy Croate are both talented potters and young Aaron makes ocarinas like the ones you see here.


Aaron’s sister Emmy makes gorgeous platters which also play an important part in the story. This particular platter was actually made by North Carolina artisan Debbie Little and is very close in appearance to the ones created by Emmy in the book, although hers have slightly different designs.


And of course, the characters. Some readers prefer to picture the characters for themselves, which is why my character-related Pinterest boards have warning screens so you don’t have to see the characters if you don’t want to. So, *WARNING*, if you don’t want to see the characters as I visualize them in my head, you might want to skip this part.

As you can tell if you explore my Pinterest boards, there’s no one individual who really matches my idea of any given Books of the Kindling characters, but I have to do my best to try to find a close match, mostly for the sake of the cover artist. In the case of Jake, I think Stephen Amell comes close.
Then there is Thea. For me, Felicia Day is very close. It is hard to find a solemn picture of the actress, but she captures the prankster in Thea so well! KaNaXa, the wonderful cover artist for Making Magic, gives us just a hint of a sultry, serious Felicia in her rendition of Thea.
Making Magic
I am constantly collecting and posting photos on Pinterest for books already published and ones yet to be written. I hope you enjoyed this little journey through the images in my head!

Visualizing the Magic

(Just realized that this never got reposted from Romancing the Book. Enjoy!)

As a reader, and a very visual person, I enjoy picturing the characters and the settings as well as the clothing and the décor of the books I read. As a matter of fact, when it comes to setting, unless I can clearly picture where the characters are, I have this vague sensation that I, along with them, am just floating in the blackness of space. But it’s a careful balance for every author to ensure that they don’t bog down the pace of a book with too much description.

However, while I’m writing, being a very visual person, I need visuals – photos of my characters, blueprints of my rooms, pictures of my locations, snapshots of dogs and doodads – some to verify details, some just for the inspiration. When I first started writing, I gathered these visual prompts into folders on my computer – until I discovered Pinterest!.

Just like any other social media, you can definitely get lost on Pinterest. I must admit that I immediately went looking to see which of my favorite authors had boards. Some do, some don’t. As a reader and a visual person, I was very happy to find the boards of my favorites out there so I could explore and find out a bit more about their process and what they visualize as they are writing.

I’m still learning all the various ways to use Pinterest – still pinning away, but I wanted to share with you some of the ways I have used it while writing the Books of the Kindling.


WNC Mountains
First, the fabulous setting of More Than Magic – the gorgeous Appalachians in Western North Carolina. No one captures the beauty of those mountains better than Dave Allen Photography. He has done so many breathtaking shots that it is hard to pick one, but this one represents the view from Woodruff Mountain that tends to mesmerize guests.

And then there’s the rest of the setting. When you are writing scenes, it’s important to know the layout of rooms and even the precise arrangement of furniture. I went looking for the exact layout of the house, which involved an interesting exploration of house plan sites. I found a likely layout, made some modifications of my own, and voila – the Woodruff home. Here’s the first floor.

And of course, you need to furnish your setting. The Woodruff home is comfortable and homey. I decided to search out some decorating ideas just so I would have a picture of the interior of the home in my head as I wrote, as well as the exterior, since they have a wonderful wraparound porch and sunroom. Actually, I would LOVE to live in this house!


And of course, the characters. Some readers prefer to picture the characters for themselves, which is why my Pinterest boards have warning screens so you don’t have to see the characters if you don’t want to. So, *WARNING*, if you don’t want to see the characters as I visualize them in my head, you might want to skip this part.

Young Grace

My character photos for More Than Magic were intended to capture the physical characteristics of the main characters. Note that I didn’t say “absolutely capture the main characters”. I don’t think any author can do that unless that author is also an artist. When I was trying to describe Grace Woodruff to someone early on I said that she was a “grown up Alexis Castle from the TV series Castle” (actress Molly Quinn). I was thrilled when the cover artist for More Than Magic the fabulous Nathalie Gray, aka Kanaxa, actually captured Grace perfectly on the cover of More Than Magic as a grown up Alexis Castle! What do you think?


And now the guys of More Than Magic. Again, finding someone who is a perfect match for what you see in your head would require being an artist, and a very good one at that. But I have to admit, this handsome man, Richard Armitage, comes very close to what I see when I think of Nick, although Richard’s a bit older. He does have the necessary black hair, amazing gray eyes, and lean looks. You can imagine the rest (and that’s the fun part). What do you think?


And finally, the fun stuff. You can also pin things like this, which fits in perfectly with the underlying theme of all the Books of the Kindling.

And that is how I used graphics to guide me as I wrote More Than Magic. Thanks for coming along!

Visualizing the Magic – Mostly Magic

There are two things that are essential to my writing process, one is music, the other is visuals—photos, maps, blueprints. And of course, for visuals, I use Pinterest. I am continually pinning things, for already published books, for books under construction, and for books that are just wisps of idea.

For this book, Mostly Magic, there was such a rich cache of visual images to play with. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!


TerraceFirst, my very favorite city in all the world – Florence, or Firenze, Italia. Talk about a rich cache. All I can give you on my Pinterest board is a taste. This particular photo is of the terrace at the top of the Hotel Loggiato dei Serviti that plays a key role in the book.

I actually had a discussion with an editor who was familiar with Florence and didn’t think you could see Il Duomo from that room. This is when the internet is your friend. As you can see, you really can see Il Duomo from that room.

Second, another rich source of visual images – Scarborough Renaissance Festival – which, although brief, plays a bit of a role in the book. I have spent many lovely hours at this particular faire. Great fun plus costumes and finger food!

These lovely fairies were captured by Artist at Play wearing outfits just a tad skimpier than Mel’s (the heroine’s) usual garb when assisting her magician father. If you have never been to a Renaissance faire, give it a try. You might run into a prince!



And of course, the characters. Some readers prefer to picture the characters for themselves, which is why my Pinterest boards have warning screens so you don’t have to see the characters if you don’t want to. So, *WARNING*, if you don’t want to see the characters as I visualize them in my head, you might want to skip this part.


As you can tell if you explore my Pinterest boards, there is no one individual who absolutely matches my visual of any of my Mostly Magic characters. I have to say though, that when I wrote Daniel Woodruff in the very first book of the series, I saw someone who looked a lot like Orlando Bloom in my head. Tall, lanky, long dark hair, and with what I call that “I-can-see-things-you-can’t-see-and -I-don’t-want-to” look. Yum.


Then there was Mel. I could never find really close to the Mel I had in my head. KaNaXa, the wonderful cover artist for Mostly Magic, gives us just a hint of Keira Knightley with intense blue eyes in her rendition of Mel. Another option is the irrepressible Jennifer Lawrence, whose hair and eyes and personality would come very close to our petite force-of-nature, Mel.



Origami, as you can probably tell from the cover, plays a key role in the book. (And yes, I know, it is such a funny and suggestive word!) Mel creates origami figures for her father’s magic show and for relaxation. These little green fellows are her favorites for handing out at her father’s magic shows, and for distracting adorable eccentric scientists. In addition, there is a You Tube link on my Pinterest board that shows you how to make a jumping frog out of a playing card, just as Mel does in the book.

As you can see, research for writing a romance can be fun and educational. I hope you enjoyed this little foray through the images in my head!

Visualizing the Book – GIVEAWAY!

Romancing the Book

Today, I’m over on the Romancing the Book blog talking about how visuals help me write. I’m sharing some of the photos and graphics that helped me picture the characters, features, and settings of More Than Magic.

It was almost as much fun doing the article as pulling together all the Pinterest boards I use to save the images in my head as I write.

Come join the fun and enter the giveaway for a free copy of More Than Magic!


MoreThanMagic72lg Available from:


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