Ink Blotted Beka {blog tour}

Here are some of my favorite pieces from Beka’s portfolio! I’m definitely going to have to contact her to do some character sketches. 


Oct. 1

Oct. 2

Oct. 3

Oct. 4

Oct. 5

Oct 6.

Oct. 7

Oct. 8

{Creator Links}

{Creator Bio}

Beka hails from the Great White North (aka Canada), where she reads, dreams, and doodles away. She loves bringing characters from the written page to the visual eye, and dabbles in pencil and coloured pencil and the occasional watercolor. Her dream is to one day get into digital art and save some trees.

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Random Doodles 4/25/2017

I was traveling last week and my knitting was going almost as fast as we were.

I’ve been so proud of myself for this project. I ordered a batch of custom dyed yarn from my friend Merry Elizabeth at The Writer Knits Etsy Shop, found a pattern, consulted with my housemate/best friend/big sister about how to purl, and merrily went along making it. It’s a Daisy stitch. I tried to make a chart for it and that was a complete failure, so I just photocopied the pattern out of the knitting recipe book and carried that around. It’s a scarf; long and thin, and I have no idea how long it will end up being. It’s about the yummiest thing I’ve made, and that’s including the autumnal jewel tone craft spun silky yarn with sequins that I knitted into a scarf for my housemate. *swooning*

I’ve not been very motivated to write this week. Knowing April was going to be super crazy busy, I set my Camp NaNo goal really low, at 6,000 words. I had that done halfway through the month. After my book came in the mail, I haven’t really done any writing. Just enough to make it by for my Write Everyday For A Year challenge. More than a hundred words a day, anyway. It’s mostly been blog posts and poetry.

I wrote a poem in ten minutes on Friday night, to humor my friend Phoenix (Phoenix’s Facebook Page) who wanted a word war. I don’t even know exactly what to make of the poem. It’s odd and I think I need to revise it. I was tired.

I planted peas last week, and found a frog, and weeded ten feet of a twenty-eight foot garden bed that didn’t get planted last years so is all full of grass and weeds and things. I’m going to plant it this year so the grass and weeds and things need to go.

I’ve got my glass globe up in my apple tree, and am continuing on my rock wall down there in my corner. The bulbs I dug up from the garden next door last summer before the house was sold, took, and are sprouting. So are my irises. The lilacs out front got badly crunched by the heavy snow this winter and need to be cut back and thinned out.

I drew the other day too. It’s been a while since I’ve done that.

All in all, as much as I love words and writing, I’ve not done a lot else in the past year, and I’m enjoying a bit of a break. I’ve been doodling on some poetry and writing some non-fiction pieces, as well as reading a lot – I should do some book review posts, I think.
(PS: When I dated the title of the post, I almost wrote 2015 instead of 2017. Welp.)

Copyright 2017 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Spinner of Secrets, Update Seven


*heavy breathing*

Spinner of Secrets is ready for the next steps. Professional proofreading, then back to me for formatting, and my friend Hannah has offered to help with the cover design.

It was so hard getting here.

I had to learn to let go of so much. My insecurities, my feelings of inadequacy, my pride, my disbelief in myself. I desperately wanted to get this story published and to do that, I had to learn to be brave.

I shared a poem several weeks back, called Jump.


It was so important for me. I had to learn to stand on my own two feet and I had to learn to decide, this is good.

Not good enough.

Not just okay.

Not that will do.


I don’t really care if other people don’t think it’s good. I didn’t write this one for other people. I wrote it for me. I wrote it to tell a story and in telling the story, I learned my own.

And while I want this story to connect with other people and for other people to enjoy it as much as I do, I’m not sure if that’s the most important thing for this book. There will be other books. It’s inevitable. I’m as likely to stop telling stories as I am to stop liking rainy days and good books. But this book, this journey, has been about me growing up, about me learning myself, about me connecting with myself.

But there is this aching
inside me, right behind my ribs, just below my heart,
that begs me to go and jump off a cliff and
never mind whether people accept me or not.
Never mind whether they like me or not.

Never mind them at all.
(Ache, unpublished)

So in a way, yes, I am very selfish and jealous about this book. And in another way, I’m not. It’s grown up just like me. And I’m learning to let it fly on its own. It may crash, it may fall. That’s okay. Things do that. 
I learned to ride my bicycle without training wheels, when I was about six. We were at my friend’s house, riding our bikes around in front of the log house and the mobile home. My bike was small, pink, and very girly. I loved it. It looked a lot like this one: 
My best friend and his brother decided it was high time I was a big girl. I was happily riding around and they called me to a halt in front of the front steps, dashed inside, came out with a couple of wrenches, and took my training wheels off. Looking back, I can see how it would be comical to have a six year old and an eight year old, expertly wielding wrenches and taking things apart, but at the time I was just a bit concerned. I was afraid I’d fall down without my training wheels, but they said I needed to try it. 
So I tried it. I probably fell down, but I don’t remember it. And I didn’t fall down much. The glorious crashes I’ve had came much later. 
The interesting thing is that I wasn’t upset with them, I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t even especially scared. I was nervous. I really wanted to get it right and ride my bike without the training wheels. I wanted to make my friend proud of me. I wasn’t afraid of getting bullied or teased if I failed, not from him anyway. Maybe from his brother. While I knew I could have Daddy put the wheels on again when I got home, I didn’t really want him to. For one thing, I thought that the boys would take them off again next time I was up there, and they probably would have. For another, I didn’t really want them on again. I wanted to do it myself. I might fall down, I might crash. But that was okay. I didn’t care. Skinned knees were nothing compared to the feeling of wobbling around the driveway on my own, without anyone holding me up. 
While I’m not a risk-taker, necessarily, I have always liking surprising people, surprising myself, and trying new things. I didn’t bat an eyelash at jumping off the cliff when I was five – the cliff being a sand hill, the jump being two feet before you touched down again and just slid down the hill. Climbing trees only failed because I wasn’t coordinated to keep my balance very well. Airsoft, letting the boys throw me into the pond, sword-fighting and getting good enough to beat my brothers and my best friend… I loved it. I loved seeing what I could do. Testing limits. Where I could go. How much could I do. What sort of thing happened if I tried it a little differently. The absolute best way to get me to do something was to tell me I couldn’t. (Or tell me to get out of the way and let the boys handle it.)
Somewhere along the way, I got scared of that. I got scared of this desire in myself to try something new. 
And now I’m getting it back again. 
I’ve got a few cliffs to jump off, I think.
Spinner of Secrets is approximately 23,800 words – 3,000 or more added since I began this last set of edits. 
And look! My friend Kirsi made pretty art for me! 
Copyright 2017 by Annie Louise Twitchell
Artwork by Kirsi Grace
Forest photo by Annie Louise Twitchell
Bicycle photo by Unknown

The Christmas Ladder

 The Christmas Ladder is a short story inspired by my own family history. The man pictured below is my great-great grandfather, Reverend W. Merton Snow, a good number of years after the events in the story.

Here are the three children mentioned: Louise, Miriam, and Kathleen. Louise was my own beloved great grandmother, who passed away this summer at the age of one hundred. I’m named after her.

I’d like to thank my various relations for assisting me with this story, for providing me with names and dates, and photographs. Stories are made for making connections, and I’ve made new connections in my own family in the two days I’ve been working on this project.
I would especially like to thank my (somehow) cousin Andrea (Tyler) Evangelist for sharing the story with the Twitchell family in the first place.
There wasn’t a photo taken, or at least, none that we have today, of the Christmas Ladder that Grandpa Merton Snow painted, and so I felt very inspired to paint my own. And a little bit like the children’s book, if you give an Annie an idea, pretty soon, she’ll ask for some paper and a pen to write another one down with. 
I had a lot of fun with this one, and I hope you enjoy it. 


The Christmas Ladder
Annie Louise Twitchell

The Reverend was tired. It was the sort of unhappy tired that ought never be felt around the holidays, especially not this most sacred of holidays, Christmas. The day dedicated to remembering when the Christ Child graced the earth with His presence.

It was the day before Christmas Eve in Danville, Quebec, where he lived with his wife and three little daughters. Zilpha would probably have a hot pot of coffee on the stove, and he savored the thought of the hot drink as he trudged through the newly fallen snow.

He pushed open the kitchen door and stomped the powder snow off his worn boots, sighing softly as the girls came running to greet him – Louise, the oldest, Miriam, and Kathleen. Sweet little Kathleen, struggling to keep up with the older girls, tottering around on her little legs. He took off his coat, shaking snow off, and hung it on a peg by the door before scooping Kathleen up in his arms. She giggled happily. “Papa!”

“Hello, Kathleen.” He ruffled her hair, smiling down at Louise. “Were you good girls today?

Miriam nodded eagerly, bouncing on the balls of her feet. “We made cookies with Mama, Papa! We made cookies to hang on the tree!”

Sorry for the inconvenience, I have removed most of the story due to slightly evil genius ideas which will be revealed sometime soon! (12-27-2016)

Photo Credits to the Original Photographers
Story Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell
‘Christmas Ladder’ painting by Annie Louise Twitchell, 2016
This story is based on real people and real events, however, this presentation is the Author’s interpretation. 

Pumpkin Moon

October is always a busy month for me, so all I have for this week’s blog post is some Harvest/Halloween stuff:

One of the things I’m busy doing is preserving. I made salsa a couple weeks ago and applesauce this week. 
I also harvested potatoes from my garden. I can grow potatoes really well. Potatoes like me.

This is my ‘Pumpkin Moon’ painting that I did November 2015.
And finally, a throw back to a poem I wrote last year. 

Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

The Importance of Tigers, Camp NaNo April 2016

Hello. This is why I haven’t done much blogging in the month of April. I try for a post every week, but I almost didn’t get one up last week because of this:
So back in the middle of March, one of my writing friends emailed me and asked if I was going to do Camp NaNo with her again this year. I’d done the July session with her cabin last year and enjoyed it – I really liked being able to set my own word count goals, and my understanding of the November NaNoWriMo session is that you’re locked in to the 50,000. (If that’s not correct, someone tell me, please.)
I decided that yes, I would do it again this year and do another short story. Enter Nathan. 
Nathan is probably the most difficult character I’ve written in a while, and mostly because he is so young and helpless. He’s a very broken kid but he wants to trust people, he wants to be loved and protected and helped. He wants that so badly… and until he meets Sabrina Anderson and her mixed-up family, he never gets any of it. I found it difficult to write, and I’m not entirely sure where the whole idea came from. 

I’m not going to share much because this is a very, very rough draft, and it needs to just sit for a while and simmer on a back burner in my head. But here is my favorite quote from the story:
“All of my children have taught me something. Abbi first taught me how to be a mother. Theo taught me that sometimes your own worst enemy is yourself. Vivi taught me how to see beauty in broken things. Sonya taught me that being wild is okay. Jason taught me that sometimes being angry is a good thing. And Nathan… Nathan taught me the importance of tigers.”

‘The Importance of Tigers’ – pencil and Sharpie sketch, ALT
Also, I got sick in the middle of the month and didn’t touch my stories for a week. I got bored of watching Gilligan’s Island one afternoon and decided to draw something instead, and came out with this beastie. I am absurdly pleased with my tiger, especially since I was so stuffy and fuzzy in my head at the time. I like to sit and stare at my tiger. I find it quite mesmerizing and I’m not entirely sure why, just that I’m weird. 

Anyway, I wrote my 12,000 words that I wanted to write for the month, and I am shifting back to editing and revising my Spinner of Secrets, draft seven. I’ll probably be talking about that this next month or two, so if you’re in conversation with me and I suddenly yell something about Aleya and Kyle, and violently scribble things on a sticky note, please just quietly roll your eyes and wait until I finished scribbling before you continue talking.

Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell
Artwork Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Annie Lou, Artist

Those who’ve known me for a while know that I am an artist. I create stuff out of other stuff and occasionally out of nothing at all, but that’s a lot more work. I adore words and have a passion for them, but I also love working with other forms of art. Like dancing or swordfighting or painting.

I’ve always loved to draw and paint, and I even have a few pieces of which I am extraordinarily proud. 
Smaug, one of my favourite dragons.

This is the dragon I sketched while I was supposed to be working on math competition work. And Daddy dear, before you get indignant that I wasn’t paying attention to you, please observe that the above drawing is almost entirely lines. That style of drawing helps me concentrate, just like knitting helps me listen better. I was listening most attentively. I promise.

Bag End.
Gosh, you might think that I like Tolkien, too. Hint: I do.

It was a fundraiser for our local (hehe, it’s Western Maine – I do not think that mean what you think it means) hospital. We were doing art classes based on the works of Rudyard Kipling. This is my painting of The Cat Who Walked By Himself. It sold for over a hundred dollars at auction which made ten-year-old me very, very, very excited.

I got bored of writing one day, a while ago. I’d been typing for a while and my eyes were starting to ache from staring at the screen for so long. I’d dreamed about painting with watercolors just before I woke up that morning, so I decided to do some. I found some envelopes and set about painting them with no particular intent, pattern, or design, just what happened to show up. Hint: that’s the way I do a lot of things.

I proceeded quite merrily with brother #5 watching me intently from the other side of the table and running a commentary on how lovely they were and what was I going to do with them?
Huh. Do with them? You mean I have to do something besides have them in my letter box to be pretty and make me smile?
I guess I have some letters to write, since I kind of intended to mail the envelopes. I’m not a big fan of mailing empty envelopes, and these ones are too small to put cookies in. Sorry, folks.

So anyway, I do lots of other stuff besides writing, when the mood strikes. Every so often it strikes violently and I am left breathless, staring at a piece of paper in bewilderment.

Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell