handcrafted card

A Protagonist Who Paper Crafts

Are there other authors out there who shamelessly projected their own hobby onto a protagonist?

In my Other Worldly novels, Rowan Layne is a paper crafter of greeting cards made for family and friends, and also an avid rubber stamp collector, including snarky sayings and fantastical images.

It turns out, mentioning some of those rubber stamps and what they say is a great way to infuse humor into the story of aliens among us and how the world adapts to a new reality (or doesn’t). It can also show how Rowan is feeling about any given situation.

In Alienable Rights, after anti-alien sentiment turns violent and ugly in the rural town where Rowan resides but now fervently wants to flee, she notes this rubber stamp in her collection: When things get to me, I like to take a drive. I am now 253 miles from home.

Rowan does eventually move 365 miles south, as I did, to the melting pot of Las Vegas. Where, when I’m not writing for cathartic release from the ills that plague this planet—international angst wrought by senseless and brutal war is presently palpable—I hole up in my craft room and immerse myself in a world of colorful creativity, and also endure an occasional paper cut, plus ink-stained hands and clothing. It’s well worth it.

In Feeling Alienated, Rowan fashions a fairy-themed card complete with glittery wings to cheer up a super-powered alien pal, and before long her stamp decrying It ain’t easy being green takes on new meaning.

Rowan (actually it was me) purchased that slogan from her favorite rubber stamp purveyor, Viva Las VegaStamps, https://vlvstamps.com/.  It’s a real store not far from the famed Strip, so my novels also promote local business. Lots of folks don’t think of Vegas in terms of those who actually reside here, but people really do live (and paper craft) in this desert valley.

Las Vegas can also be a place where one might see UFOs, including up on Mount Charleston according to an Uber driver in Feeling Alienated, and both Rowan and I have a number of rubber stamps on the subject. Our favorite is UFOs are real, the Air Force isn’t, but one in particular seems apropos to humans who can’t seem to hold themselves accountable for their own actions, making aliens out to be the bad guys as they project their own evil intent: I have no one to blame but the aliens.

The handcrafted card featured for this blog post is one I made before I started writing novels, but very prescient in that it depicts a moon, an ongoing focus throughout my Other Worldly series. It’s also a place Rowan visits to get away from some of those aforementioned pathological humans in Aliens Abound.

Additionally, the Celtic/Gaelic motif is an ongoing theme that led to Being Alien, fourth book in the series, taking place in England and Scotland. I also have rubber stamps of Scottish thistle, Highland cattle, and bagpipers, but none yet of Nessie or a unicorn.

My collection definitely includes a lovely Luna moth rubber stamp. Maybe someday I can have an artist create a stamp of Luna Moth Woman, Rowan’s fictitious superheroine. It might pair nicely on a card stamped with: The truth is out there. Or: Don’t make me put my hands on my hips. I don’t have that stamp yet, but every woman surely needs one.

One more thing. There’s a glowing green gemstone on the featured card for this post, and geology might just take center stage in book five, Alien Sensation, coming in a few months. There are more colorful rocks, characters—and planets—to be experienced by Rowan Layne as she ventures further into our solar system and beyond.

Plus, here’s hoping some of those otherworldly crystals can infuse enough positive energy to help Rowan stand up to misogynist bigots who take issue with her book about aliens, and her relationships with them. Leading her to remark on this rubber stamp: If I was a bird, I know who I’d poop on.

As Rowan Layne would say, “Boy howdy!” I need a rubber stamp that says that, too.

I’m going to go make a few cards now, perhaps using another favorite stamp with a comforting message for this currently chaotic reality we call Earth: It’s nice to know we’re looking at the same moon.




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