My Working Cover

This is the working cover for a book I hope to have published by November.

Ethel, a middle school teacher, Luce, a stay-at-home mom married to a successful businessman, and Ola, owner of Ola’s Wise Old Books, are best friends. They circumnavigate through the pitfalls of middle age together, confiding their innermost thoughts to each other. Or do they?

Ethel, out of pride, acts as if all is normal even though her husband suddenly returns to his native India. Ola refuses to discuss her past or strange relationship with Cornelius, who works alongside her at the bookstore.

Everything takes a strange twist when Luce, while in the library, comes across some disturbing news regarding Ola, and then after calling the middle school, she finds Ethel no longer works there. If that were not enough, Ola announces she has cancer, and the prognosis is not good.


My Animal Characters

I’ve been working on a third book, even though the second one hasn’t been published yet. It all started with A Peculiar School, a story about animals living in a nature preserve. They become smarter because of something put into the water supply by the scientists at a nearby lab. Besides becoming more intelligent, they become more docile. Ethel Peacock convinces Densworth Lion they should becoming vegetarians, so the smaller animals will no longer be prey to the animals higher up on the food chain.

Ola Owl, Mac Chimpanzee, Owen Orangutan, Densworth Lion, Ethel Peacock


I have vowed to watching Youtube videos to better learn how to properly use Procreate to create art. I’m old and am old school. I’m still trying to use it as paper and pen or canvas and paintbrush. Hopefully, I can learn layering techniques, masking, clipping, and all the other many features.

This is my version of today’s lesson. I could have done better with the clouds. The tall building reminds me of Batman.


A Rainy Day in Giverny

Giverny is a village in the region of Normandy in northern France. It is the site of the home of Impressionist painter Claude Monet who lived and worked here from 1883 until his death in 1926. The artist’s former home and elaborate gardens, where he produced his famed water lily series, are now the Foundation Claude Monet Museum.


Paris at Night

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel  is a triumphal arch in Paris, located in the Place du Carrousel. It is an example of Neoclassical architecture in the Corinthian order. It was built between 1806 and 1808 to commemorate Napoleon‘s military victories of the previous year. 

Cathédrale Notre-Dame — It is expected to reopen to visitors in April 2024.

Louvre Museum

The Seine River



In 1968, Sally, at 109 is both the oldest and only African American resident of the old-folks home where Alice works as a nurse. Drawn to Sally, Alice sits at Sally’s bedside and asks her about her life, returning home each night to journal about it. Alice discovers something profound, something she takes with her to her grave only to be discovered by her granddaughter decades later.

Inspired by the true life of Sally Ann Barnes, 1858 to 1969.

The Kindle version of Sally is currently on sale for .99. In August the price returns to 4.99. The Amazon link:


Chris on Rock

I drew this from a photo taken some years back. We were hiking at Carter Caves State Park in Kentucky. I took this picture of my husband. I’m using procreate on my iPad. I’ve been working with the brushes, trying to create watercolor effects.


Koi Pond

This is a continuous progression, although sometimes, we feel we are going backwards. We are currently in the process of building a bog, a new filtration system using rocks and water plants. I’m hoping to use cattails.


A Fitting Poem for our Trails

The Road Not Taken 


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


Working on a Book Cover

I haven’t even gotten the book off to the editor yet, but I am playing around with the cover. I had originally drawn three paper dolls, but last night, I began work on three figures. It is the story of three middle-aged women who are best friends.


Hammock Time in Kentucky

In the sixties for the last couple of days. It’s supposed to reach seventy by tomorrow. On Sunday before last, we celebrated a full week of electricity. Although February is the shortest month, it seemed the longest. After an ice storm and more snow on top of that, along with temperatures in the single digits at night, we went through fifteen days without electricity and part of the time without water since there was no electricity feeding the pumping stations.

I had a list of resolutions before the electrical outage. The only ones I continued daily was journalling and yoga. I’m now back on track for the most part. One of the resolutions is to practice drawing everyday. This is a drawing of Shaker boxes. We retreated to Shakertown in Harrodsburg, Kentucky for a couple of nights for hot showers and warmth. It’s one of our favorite places.

A painting I did on procreate this past week.



The Divine Number 3

Our electronic devices are listening. I’ve noticed my husband and I can be having a casual conversation and ads start popping up all over social media regarding some product we may have mentioned. So, whenever I’m thinking about shopping for something and want to see if there are any discounts, I say the product name three times. I’m curious what will happen if I say Beetlejuice three times, but I refrain from doing so.

There is a lot of hidden meaning in Wizard of Oz. Possibly even futuristic predictions. “Click your heels together three times and say ‘There’s no place like home’ and you’ll be there.”

Three times, the magic number. Nickola Tesla did everything in multiples of three.


Snowscape Experimentation

I’m trying to learn all (well, some) of the bells and whistles of Procreate (It’s an art app.). This was an experimentation with different brushes. It turned out somewhere between impressionism and abstract.


Black History Month

With great love, I wrote Sally. The book is inspired by the life of Sally Ann Barnes, 1858-1969. I met Sally once in 1961 when she was 103. That meeting had a lasting impression on me. I researched her life off and on for seven years.

Bronze Winner of the Wishing Shelf Book Awards and a Readers’ Favorite


A Start

I’m quite lazy when it comes to detail in drawing. My husband comes in, and I ask if he can tell what I’m drawing. He says lemons, but then the lemons are right in front of me. I’ll use them later for a Shaker lemon pie.



The Beginnings of a Painting

I think I will take this one slow. When finished, I hope to incorporate it into a previous painting of a polar bear. I’m toying with the idea of a joint adventure with Theodore Polar Bear and Baby Fox, characters from A Peculiar School.


Thaddeus Turtle

Yesterday, I promised myself to write more, draw more, and walk out in nature more. I’ve been drawing the characters in my book, A Peculiar School. Last night, I drew Thaddeus Turtle who will turn one hundred soon.

While out walking, I saw something hanging from a tree. It took me a moment to figure out what it was. It was a small rocket and parachute that my husband and grandson launched back in June. A picture from along the trail.



More updates have been made since this picture.

The last day of the year, and I’m in the process of making a new website. Still more work to do, but it’s a start.

For over three months, almost four, we have also been updating our home, the kitchen/dining area to be exact. I have to give my husband the credit. He does ninety-nine percent of the work. It’s all a do-it-yourself job. It started on the day after his birthday, September 13. It didn’t start as a kitchen project, but one thing leads to another. I asked if a particular wall was load-bearing. I was hoping to get more light and a new workspace to write. It’s where I’m writing now–the new kitchen island we installed which is pictured.

Of course, the project grew. They always do. We knocked out two walls. My hope was to get it finished by Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Year’s. Now, I’m hoping for Valentine’s Day.

We have tried to recycle as much as possible. My husband has hand-built cabinets, moved around appliances, and we’ve dismantled an old barn to use the boards, some of which were ten inches wide.

So, more writing and better-prepared, healthier meals for 2021!

And wishing everyone a much better year! One of creativity, peace, and good health!


Theodore “Einstein” Polar Bear

I love polar bears, and Ted E. Bear is my favorite character from A Peculiar School. A Peculiar Store is an anthropomorphic tale about all animals getting along. It’s set in a nature reserve.


Ethel Peacock

It’s been so long since I’ve posted. Lately, I’ve restarted my practice of drawing. Something to do during the isolation period. I’ve been doing digital art, basically for the ease of it and for fear of ruining perfectly good paper. It’s a learning process. I’ve been using the Procreate app.

I’ve been attempting characters from my book, A Peculiar School. It’s about all animals getting along with each other. My main character is a peahen. For now, I’ve practiced a peacock. I will keep refining until I get to a peahen, what I think is a good look for Ethel.


On Sale

Do we create our own reality?

Jessica moves to an island to make a new start after her divorce. A whole new idyllic world opens up for her, but all is not as it seems. A Novel Tea Book Club Selection, Wishing Shelf Book Awards Finalist, William Faulkner-William Wisdom Writing Contest Finalist, 5 Star Readers’ Favorite

The Kindle Version is on sale for a limited time for only 0.99!


Recognition for Sally

Sally, inspired by the life of Sally Ann Barnes, 1858-1969, born into slavery in Carter County, KY was listed one of nine moving works of literary fiction. It was chosen along with Mudbound, one of my favorite books of all time. This book was also made into a movie.


The following week Sally was chosen as a finalist in the 2018 Wishing Shelf Book Awards.



A Peculiar School

I’ve never been much of a collector, but serendipitously I have been coming across animals, the ones I’m writing about. From left to right, Owen Orangutan, Ted E. Polar Bear, Filbert Fox, Hiram Hyena, Densworth Lion, and Ola Owl. This is not a children’s book, although a thirteen year old has read it and understood it. It is very much a hero’s journey type of book.

A Peculiar School, available at AmazonBarnes and NobleApple iTunesKobo or ask for it at your local bookstore.



Jessica Awarded

Friday morning I was informed Jessica Lost Her Wobble was a 2017 finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards. The adult books were judged by 2 Reading Groups, 1 in London and 1 in Stockholm. The books were marked according to editing, theme, style and cover. Actual winners will be announced in April.

Available on Amazon as well as most bookseller sites:  Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Jessica-Lost-Her-Wobble-Schlenker-ebook/dp/B0198UX0BI/

A Novel Tea Book Club Selection, 2017 Wishing Shelf Book Awards Finalist, 2014 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Writing Contest Finalist, and recipient of a 5 Star Readers’ Favorite Award.

At mid-life, Jessica, after many upsets, moves to an island for contemplation of her life and to make a new start. While there she reflects back on her beginnings in the early 20th century in England, her move to New York City, and marriage at a young age, while making friends with a girl half her age. This friendship opens up a new world for her and helps her explore her own soul. Jessie becomes a part of the island otherwise known as a local as she reinvents her life there and finds love. But all is not as it seems.

“Jessica Lost Her Wobble” is J. Schlenker’s first novel.


Jessica Lost Her Wobble – a Review


Jessica Lost Her Wobble – a Review
by Lisa • July 20, 2017 • 1 Comment

Jessica moves from New York to a small island to start her life anew. But all is not as it seems. The cover for Jessica Lost Her Wobble shows a rather peaceful scene. Does it fit the book? Yes, it does, but In no way does it hint at what is going on beneath the surface.

This story takes place in the 50s and 60s. There are cars, buses, and airplanes, but cell phones and the internet haven’t arrived yet.

Jessica is trying to escape her past and the tragedies she has lived through. Stressful things happen to everyone, but her failed marriage, the death of her son, and not having a good relationship with her daughter have all added up to being too much to handle. She must escape them, escape everything that reminds her of them. No one would miss her, and she really must get away.

She moves from New York to a small island community. The majority of its inhabitants are in their fifties and sixties.

I thought the book was very well-written, but it didn’t hold my attention that well until Amy enters the story and makes friends with Jessica. The book then became hard to put down. Amy is much younger, and Jessica’s friendship with Amy makes her take an even harder look at herself and her relationship with her own daughter.

Once Jessica is living on the island, she and her daughter do reconcile. Her daughter buys her a journal, and she decides to write about her life. Romance, memories, and hope for the future fill her life and her journal. Maybe writing about her life will help her to realize who she is.

Jessica Lost Her Wobble does a great job of keeping the twist a secret until the very end. At first, I was mad and tempted to throw my Kindle, but I really didn’t want to risk breaking it. This book turned out to be more of a great psychological story. I didn’t think the twisty ending made any sense when I first read it, but I had forgotten something. “The Prologue” had completely slipped my mind because I had become so involved with what was going on with Jessica and the other characters. That alone should give you a hint as to how real the author developed these characters.

I bought my copy of Jessica Lost Her Wobble from Amazon. If you are a fan of literary fiction, women’s fiction, or stories with a psychological twist, you will love this book. Even if you aren’t fans of those genres, this book should appeal to you. My favorite genres are horror and mystery; a psychological twist is a bonus.

This book about how Jessica lost her wobble is captivating. If you would like your own copy, I’ve provided an Amazon link below.

Amazon Link: Jessica Lost Her Wobble

Recommended Article: The Missing Butler and Other Life Mysteries – a Review

Favorite Sentences:
People excused authors for aloofness or detachment from life.

How could she find herself when so many pieces were scattered and just plain missing?

For Aunt Agatha to hold in a thought or opinion would be like every strand of Jessie’s hair to suddenly fall into place.

Their marriage could be defined as a slow, destructive process, suicide in installments.

She wrote about her past, but then, her pen was guided like a planchette across a Ouija board to the present.

Sabarmati-Ashram, wikimedia commons
New Words Learned:
ashram – a secluded building, often the residence of a guru, used for religious retreat or instruction in Hinduism

auspicious – promising success; propitious; opportune; favorable

ubiquitous – existing everywhere or seeming to be found or seen everywhere; constantly or very commonly observed or encountered

About the Author:
J. Schlenker, a late blooming author, lives with her husband out in the splendid center of nowhere in the Kentucky foothills of Appalachia where the only thing to disturb her writing is croaking frogs and the occasional sounds of hay being cut in the fields. Her first novel, Jessica Lost Her Wobble, published in December 2015, was selected as a finalist in the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition and was awarded five stars from Readers’ Favorite. One of her short stories, “The Missing Butler,” received honorable mention in the first round of the NYC Competition.


Indie Publishing New – July 2017

Source: Indie Publishing New – July 2017

Vicki Goodwin, aka Sojourner McConnell, author of The Path of the Child and Who’s That in the Cat Pajamas? (The Dolcey Series 1) is interviewed. She mentions me as one of her favorite authors. I consider this an honor considering the vast plethora of books she reads.


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