Creating Hazel’s Story
now browsing by category
…it’s time to WRITE.
I bet my brothers think I’m sitting around eating bonbons, taking them for granted. I am not! The proof shall be in the pudding. Because writing is not what I’m supposed to be doing! Well, not entirely. I’m supposed to also work on Facebook Live! chats and demonstrations and clean the rubble out of my sewing room to get it ready for prime time.
But the day before yesterday I had a mini meltdown. I forgot to record a check which almost had disastrous consequences, and I had a delayed reaction to the death of my cat where I finally had a good cry. Still, I gamely forged on, attempting to do my first Facebook Live! broadcast as I had promised the day before because I had promised it, only to discover when I played it back that there was no sound. And I’d been so flawless, too! I bet the person watching was disappointed. Har.
Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day! This “sound not working” is a common problem apparently, and you need some sort of knowledge about computers to fix it. My brain is already fried from all the learning I’ve done recently as I get myself up to speed. Believe it or not, I’m not gifted in that regard and can only take in so much technical knowledge at a time. I took a day away from it yesterday to write. I felt guilty the whole time, knowing there was so much more I was supposed to be doing.
Then this morning as I was in the shower (twice a week whether I like it or not. Don’t judge me! I bet if you worked from your home where you went days without seeing a soul you’d morph the same way. And it’s not like I’m breaking a sweat going from one comfy chair to the next, plying a needle this way and that. Feel the burn!) my mind was so preoccupied with new chapters and plot twists that I washed my hair twice and was reaching for the shampoo bottle for a third time before I realized what I was doing.
I think it’s because ever since I got that rejection letter I’ve been re-writing and re-plotting in my mind, and I finally have the chance to actually DO it. I AM INSPIRED. I am writing like a FIEND and the story’s coming together so well that I cannot stop.
So there will be a slight delay in the other outlets, but they are still coming soon. Do not fret, dear brothers.
If this is to come to anything, then THIS is the book to have. Number ONE. Numero Uno. The FIRST.
The auction for Book #1 of Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway ends Wednesday, February 17, at 6:33pm Iowa Central time.
Just think of them! Sitting there on the shelves of Ye Olde Book Shoppe, waiting to be purchased. Unassuming books. Perhaps dusted every now and then. Wouldn’t we like to go back in time and buy those books to have them in our hands now?
Usually thousands, or tens of thousands of these true first editions are printed. In the case of Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway, we’re on our third printing, but of the first printing there were only 100 copies made. That’s IT. And all one hundred of those first 100 copies were hand numbered. The final ten have been auctioned off, one by one. And now we’re down to the very last.
Of course, Hazel Twigg is much more of a gamble than the books pictured here. These other books are first published editions, and we’re still working on that. By authors who were better known. We’re working on that too. But those very things – that this is a first release, rather than a first edition, and the very existence of this book is so far known by very few people – might be what makes this very copy of this very book worth that much more.
After all, once we do find a publisher, will they really want to print all these beautiful illustrations by Nina Khalova in full and glorious color? Some taking up two whole pages? All very vibrant and expensive to print? Most likely not. Maybe not until the “Commemorative Reprint of the Full Color First RELEASE!” You never know.
So yes, this is a gamble, but the payoff could be that much better. Perhaps in your lifetime. Perhaps in your great, great, great, great, granddaughter’s lifetime. Either way, you could be the one that had the foresight. To take a chance. To bid. To OWN.
Book #2 was purchased by…Michelle E. of Hudson, Colorado! Michelle, my thoughts are with you and I want to publicly and gratefully acknowledge you and thank you for all your support.
And with that, I leave you! Happy Tuesday, you’re my favorite.
Just some of the Hazel Twigg illustrations by the incomparable Nina Khalova.
Book #2 is up for auction! You can see it HERE.
I had a hard time coming up with something for the number two. I even secretly snickered to myself as I dismissed some ideas out of hand.
The problem with 2 is that it gets a bad wrap. Little humans of a certain somewhat unpleasant age are referred to as “The terrible twos.” Or in competition some view second place as “first loser,” and there’s no fun in that.
Then inspiration struck: I’m currently working on the sequel for Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway, the SECOND in the series right now! And you know what? Sometimes sequels outperform their originals! So, see? TWO can be a good thing!
For my yet-to-be-named sequel for Hazel Twigg, my goal is a release date of November of 2016. No more of this four year stuff! Plus, technically, I wrote two books in those four years. So really, writing a book in half that time shouldn’t be too hard.
Just like *most of the sequels represented here, I hope to make my second effort better than the first.
So in this case, the number 2, or a sequel, as it were, means that there’s more experience under your belt. Sometimes you have a better feel of what people respond to, and you can improve upon that. Let us embrace the #2!
GUESS WHAT happened with book #3, my lucky number? My dear friend Jennifer Trenary purchased it for ME! She thought I should have it. Which makes me very lucky indeed – to have such friends as this. THANK YOU, Jennifer Trenary! You’re the best!
And with that, I leave you! Happy Blizzard! Happy Broncos! You’re my favorite!
*The original Ghostbusters was better than the sequel. It’s too early to tell with Zoolander 2. I have high hopes…
I cannot tell a lie: when I was numbering the first 100 books, there were three that I wanted: number 33, because three is my lucky number, and that would be the most three’s you can get within 100, number 29, because that’s my birth date, and number 3, because that’s my basic, basic lucky number.
I remember that for several heart-joyous moments, I thought perhaps it was my Dad’s lucky number as well when I saw his new email address. “dennisagle33…” it began. When next I spoke to him, I asked him slyly if 33 was his lucky number too, as if it were a secret we both would share. But, nope! It was the year he was born, which actually wasn’t too crushing to discover; for me 1933 turned out to be a very lucky year indeed.
I perhaps gave a little extra tug when #33 and #29 were taken from my hands, but I’ve learned; the most important thing is to get these books out there. So when The Mayor stops by to take my beloved #3, freshly signed with perhaps a secret note or two hidden within its pages to the post office, I will gladly and with a song in my heart send it on its way. I wish the very best of luck to whoever gets it, I truly do.
As for what’s coming soon, I have a confession to make: learning to juggle is hard. There are so many balls I’m trying to learn to keep up in the air. It’s a terrible thing, feeling like you’re dropping balls. I felt I was doing NOTHING well. You may or may not have noticed, but I have not had a doll up for adoption for many a moon. And the longer the space between Thyme and the next, the worse I felt and the less able to do what I needed to do.
Enter my new hero. She wasn’t my first choice. She was part of a pair of girls that arrived at the same time. The other girl had her original wig and her original outfit. Just what I needed! Because even if I failed and guessed wrong as to her clothing, she would still do well based on her merits alone!
But, alas! That prettier girl desperately needed a legolectomy, and I had no viable legs for her. I reluctantly went to put her back into the waiting crowd and continue my search elsewhere. But then I caught a glimpse of her companion. She was smiling at me with a smile so infectious, it could not be ignored.
It was hard to get past the heavy newer wig that had been given to her since she first left the factory. Harder still to get past the red lace dress, so lovingly made for her sometime in the past. I will never pooh-pooh something lovingly done, but just like walking into a beautiful old home that was remodeled in the 70s in a style that was all the rage back then with wood paneling, shag carpeting and lowered ceilings, it’s sometimes hard to see past that to the good bones beneath.
So I really looked and I saw her beauty. In exchange, this simple little girl’s infectious smile, somewhat similar to Dot herself, rescued me and gave me the strength and encouragement I needed to pick up those balls and to try once again to juggle. I can’t wait for you to see her transformation, currently underway.
Therefore, coming soon! Wednesday, February 3rd at 6:33pm Iowa Central time to be exact, Hazel Twigg O.L.D. No. 64 Helen the Unlikely Hero will be put up for adoption. Do not be fooled by imitators!
And with that, I leave you! Happy Sunday eve, you’re my favorite!
Below is the gallery photo as well as the rather loud first line of the description for the auction of book #4 of the very first printing of the first release of Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway. Study it carefully. Do you see my mistake?
Curses! I accidentally cut and pasted the #5 picture! A bid was made, and now I can’t change it. After I worked so hard on the photo for number 4, too…
With each new auction, I add a new accessory. This time the accessory was a beautiful pendant necklace done with my own little mouse with my right hand (I’m a lefty). This is the same pendant Hazel and Ruth and the rest of the Holders wear in the book. The same pendant Pinky is wearing when she arrives at the Hideaway. The same pendant as the ones Smith and Jones are trying so hard to find before The Event.
Know who spotted the mistake? Not me! Nope! It was The Mayor. She gleefully told me right away – alas, too late to change it. You know why I think she was so quick to find it? Because she coveted one of those $10 Hazel Twigg bills! She saw them before I did and instantly wanted one for herself. I can see why! The back of the bill’s a work of art.
I want one too! I know of a few more mistakes in the book, even though I haven’t thoroughly read this printed edition (I don’t have to. I LIVED it). If no one finds those mistakes by the time we’re ready to publish, or ready to print the second installment of the Hazel Twigg series, I very well might claim one myself. We only had nine of these bills printed. Are there more mistakes than that? I’m not sure…
In the meantime, when I send them out, I write little notes with them and number the bills themselves for provenance. There have been three official book mistakes so far.
The Mayor’s mistake is more a random one. Heaven knows, if I widened the scope to include non-book mistakes I make we’d have to print up hundreds of these things! So from this day forward, only book mistakes will count. But there has to be some sort of perk for being my sister and keeping me sane! I love my Julie.
So keep looking! You know know what you’ll find.
Speaking of treasure hunters, guess who won book #5? Our very own Jennifer Trenary of Rolfe! My dear friend! Official Finder of
mistake Treasure #3! The very wizard who put our Hazel Twigg $s together! See? She wanted one too…
And with that, I leave you! Happy Sunday, you’re my favorite! (Go Broncos!)
FIVE is the same age that Ruth is in the book when she receives Elizabeth:
The party was at that carefree stage, the one that comes before cake and ice cream and after games and present opening. Ruth watched as her mother fussed over the chocolate layer cake with rainbow sprinkles on top and “Happy Birthday Ruth” written in large, loopy letters. There were five pink candles and Ruth could hardly wait to see if she could blow them all out in one breath. She was finally a whole hand old! What should she wish for?
Also! Back in March of last year a wonderful woman we shall call Lara Solonickne contacted me. She has a site for Sears homes, and on that site she has a section for Sears homes featured in Children’s books. She did a wonderful article on my house and Hazel Twigg back then, and guess what? She just so happened to take a gander at my recent blog post and saw the one about the builder! She wrote and asked if she could post an update on her site, of course I said “Yes!” (she has ads on her blog and everything!) and now I’m posting that she posted with a link, and…it’s a cyber circle!
Very nice photo! May I use it on my website?? I just checked in with your blog today and was so surprised to see an update on the house.
Seifert was a carpenter in town. My research on your Sears house showed that the owner who hired Seifert was Jerome Hollenbeck. He only lived in the house a year… his wife died and he moved out in late 1914. Sad!
It is! Thank you for your research, Lara, and for happening by at just the right time.
Lastly, our THIRD MISTAKE has been found. Actually, my Eagle-Eyed Agle Mother has found more, but I’m saving those for you. One per person! It’s kind of like finding a golden ticket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: FIND YOURS BEFORE THEY’RE ALL GONE!!! We have the $$$ printed, Julie’s going to mail them to me tomorrow and I’m going to sign them and mail them out as soon as I receive them.
“Julie’s going to mail them to you?! Mail them? I thought you guys lived in the same tiny town!” I can hear you saying to yourselves.
Ah, readers. Getting together conveniently in the spring, summer or fall is one thing. In an icy winter with two busy chickies? Very tough indeed.
Here’s the mistake, it’s on page 304 and it was found by Jennifer Trenary, the same friend who gave me aaaaalllll those watches for Thyme! Sorry for the blur:
It’s supposed to be BETTY who fetched the blankets! Sometimes my fingers will think one thing, and type another. Not even Elizabeth is called Beth! Thank you, Jennifer!
For those LUCKY THREE who have found their mistakes, your $$$ will soon be on it’s way. For the rest of you, don’t give up! These mistakes are not in any kind of order and there are still plenty to be found. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the story.
And with that, I leave you! Happy Tuesday, you’re my favorite!
It was the best after-Christmas present a girl – this girl, at least – could receive.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know how much I love my home. I even made it a main character in my book! In the past, I searched in vain for a picture of this house from long ago. Our wonderful little local library has historical books galore, full of Rolfe’s history. Alas, there was not a single picture of the house on Pine Street to be found. At least, that’s what I thought.
A dear neighbor named Gloria G. purchased four copies of “Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway” to give as gifts to relatives. One of those relatives, we shall call her Clara, for that is her name, posted on the Rolfe Community School page on Facebook that she’d received the book and was looking forward to reading it. Other Rolfe Alumni chimed in, one thing led to another, and a nice woman named Kim posted this:
My house! My house! In the earliest photo you could possibly get! The photo above was taken before the stucco, with it’s unusual texture, was applied. The very stucco I’ve tried to replicate it with hypertufa.
One of the main things I love about my house is the attic, even though for the past several years I rarely go there. Rarely during the day, and NEVER at night. But reader, I went up there yesterday, camera in hand for a very specific purpose.
When we first moved here, before the fear took hold, I used to spend a lot of time in the attic. To me it looked like the stuff of movies, and I found it a charming place with lots to see. It wasn’t hard to notice that there was some writing on the wall, high above the window:
Can’t see it? Look closer:
A face to go with the name! I did a little research, and I found out a little more about Mr. Seifert. He was born in 1863 and died less than 10 years after this house was built. He’s buried in our local cemetery south of town. His tombstone is very unique:
The first chance I get, when the weather gets warmer, I’m going to traipse on down to the cemetery and find that tombstone. It shouldn’t be hard, now that I know what it looks like. Thank you, Rolfe Community School!
PLEASE NOTE: We’re having some difficulties with Amazon. Until we can get them ironed out (they are harsh taskmasters!) the book will be for sale on ebay. Both signed, and unsigned. Get your copy now! Tell your friends!
Which brings us to book #6 in the countdown of the first ten copies of Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway.
For each post about each book, I think of what comes to mind for that particular number, and I put it in the “gallery” photo. I had my gallery picture with its connection to #6 ready to go and everything!
But I’ve changed my mind. Instead, I’m dedicating #6 to the Builder of the Hideaway, and shall make a small notation as such. Just a little one, on the cover page. Because I think it’s worth noting.
Speaking of worth noting, book #7 was won by…my brother Kenny, who was born exactly 100 years after Mr. Seifert! From the very beginning, when we decided we wanted to auction these first 10 books off, he said, “I want number 7!” I suspect it’s because as I mentioned in my last post, seven is a very important number in our family. Thank you, Ken! And congrats!
With that, I leave you! Happy Monday! Go Packers! Unless you don’t like the Packers, of course. Then it would be, Go Whichever Team You Like Best If You Like Football!
You’re my favorite! I’m sure you knew that already…
#6 Gallery: Haley Joel Osment from the movie, “The Sixth Sense.” I watched it YEARS after it was made and still didn’t know the surprise at the end until it happened. My mind was blown! As was everyone elses, I’m sure! Mine was just blown a little later, is all.
My lucky number has and always will be 3. But! The number 7 is a very important number to us Agles. It all started long, long ago. Set to the tune of “(They Tried To Tell Us We’re) Too Young,” Dennis and Jane Agle were married…
Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway book number SEVEN, first book in a series of SEVEN is up for auction right now and you can see it HERE. It ends this Wednesday.
I’ve always been very proud to have come from a large family. Perhaps it’s what also made me so competitive. In fact, when I proudly announce that I come from a family with seven children, and some scoundrel says, “Oh, really? I came from a family of nine…” blah, blah, blah…HMPF!!
I’m so sensitive and shy, that perhaps a touch of competitiveness is a good thing.
The kids in our family came in two bunches. There was the first five of us:
Followed by a seven year gap, and then the last two:
Which officially made me the middle child! Of seven! Three above, and three below! “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!” indeed.
We have been seven strong for a very long time. And my parents were married for 60 wonderful years before my father’s passing. SEVEN is a lucky number, and I am so lucky to have been a part of the seven.
Book #8 was purchased by…Shawn P. of Loma Linda, California. He also purchased Book #10! He’s like, the Michelle of these last numbered books! Thank you, Shawn!
And with that, I leave you! Happy Monday, you’re my favorite!
It was bound to happen! When you have 24 main versions of a book, and countless hundreds (literally!) of revisions, and when after months and months of promises it’s just time to pull the trigger and go to print, MISTAKES are bound to happen!
But we here at Hazel Twigg like to make lemonade. And secretly, I think that the fact there are mistakes in this early version is charming. Plus, on Antiques Roadshow 2287, that’s how the experts will easily be able to tell these early copies!
I’m sure those of you who have read or are reading the book have even noticed some of these mistakes and have kindly allowed your eyes to gloss right past them. Turn not away! Look even closer! Because here’s the lemonade we were talking about:
IF YOU FIND a mistake in your copy of Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway, not only will the mistake be named after you, “Ashley’s Find,” for example, but you will get a $10 certificate good toward future Hazel Twigg products! And there WILL be some! These are early days, still.
In the meantime, I’ll be mailing you one of THESE:
Here’s what to do: If you find a mistake, contact me via the “Contact” tab above and let me know! AKA firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re the first to find it, I’ll get your address, and voila! $10 Hazel Twigg certificate will be winging its way to you in the mail! Then, once we get those goods created, you can shop to your heart’s content. At least the first $10 dollars worth . . .
HERE’S THE TWO SO FAR:
I have book #23, and I’ve decided to really use it and mark it as my reference guide. Our first treasure was found by Ashley S., who lives right here in good ol’ Rolfe. It’s on page 98.
WHOA! A repeated paragraph, slightly different each time! That’s a big one. I can’t believe I missed that. Ahem.
The second mistake was found by Jane A., also known as My Own Dear Mother That I Love, and it’s on page 138:
Whoops! That should either be ‘bout, or about. They don’t call her “Eagle-eyed Agle” for nothing!
Missed those? Don’t worry. THERE ARE OTHERS.
I hope you’re having a wonderful 2016 so far. I am! Guess what?!! I’m going to start working on the second Hazel Twigg book soon! Future
mistakes treasures are currently just a twinkle in my eye!
Cheers and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
(Did you notice the significance of the gallery picture with the stamp? Another well-known and highly fortuitous mistake)
One month ago today, “Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway was released in print. Segue alert! Today is the 18th. Eighteen divided by two is nine. And book #9 is available right now on ebay!
Tom Bergeron’s got nuttin’ on me!
So far so good. Response has been excellent, and there are so many good fairies working hard on my behalf. THANK YOU, fairies!
By the way, Julie said my hands in the countdown photo appeared a little “masculine.” I made a little change, gussying up my nails. Yer welcome, Julie!
Book #10 was snatched up by…Shawn P. in Loma Linda, California! Shawn also happens to be a cousin of mine. I had no idea he was bidding until it was over. Thank you, cousin! Your book is signed, sealed, and will be delivered soon!
I’m hard at work on O.L.D. #62. She has an intricate, somewhat tricky article of clothing and is based on a recent TV movie I saw. She’ll be up for auction this Sunday at 6:33 Iowa Central time come heck or high water. The LAST O.L.D. of the year!
I am determined to make a musical instrument for her. The Mayor says, “No!” but JUST YOU WAIT. Where there’s a will, there’s a way (hopefully).
And with that, I leave you! Happy last weekend before Christmas. How the time do fly! You’re my favorite!