Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lean Construction Pocket Guide

Lean Construction isn't fiction.

But I introduce this little book here because a lot of readers and readers' spouses work in construction, and using Lean principles to eliminate waste and improve productivity is a must.

This pocket book (yes, it fits in your shirt pocket) was written by my husband, Dennis Sowards, a foremost expert and consultant in the industry. He has over 30 articles published in construction magazines and has taught Lean for several years.

This book lays out the principles of Lean in a language all can understand. It explains Lean tools such as 5S's, A3 Thinking, Kaizen, Kanban, Muda Walks, Poka Yoke, Spaghetti Charts, Value Stream Mapping, and much more that are essential to improving profits.

Why use Lean principles?

"Lean is an answer. Lean is all about increasing value and cutting waste. Doing Lean will lead to more loyal customers, more engaged employees which together drive more successful companies and stakeholders. Sounds like a Disney story, doesn’t it? While there is no guarantee of survival in this ever-changing business climate, Lean brings a higher probability of success than doing it the way we’ve always done it." -Dennis Sowards, Lean Construction Pocket Guide, pg 3.

The Lean Construction Pocket Guide is available on Kindle or hardcopy. Visit his website.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Lizanne Sowards tagged me for "The Next Big Thing"-- a blog tag game being passed around the internet right now. It is fun because authors get to talk about our work-in-progress (WIP) ...and how often do we get to do that?

What is your working title of your book?


What genre does your book fall under? 

 LDS Romance. It is mildly a paranormal. The title refers to dreams Jessica has, and that she visit teaches a woman who sees the fate of relationships.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?   

Jessica leaves Arizona, her newlywed father, and ex-boyfriend to make a fresh start at an small Oregon oceanside village newspaper office, and unwittingly gets involved with the residents, learning their past lives and secrets.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?  

One year.
May we see an intro?    

Trrring! Jessica glanced at the chiming cell phone.

Vince. She moaned and disconnected the line so he could not leave a voicemail. “What part of it’s-over-between-us don’t you understand?” The phone bounced as it made contact with the passenger seat.

Jessica pushed Vince from her thoughts, thankful for the twelve hundred miles separating them, and stood from the over-packed car. She breathed to calm her fluttering stomach and stretched her aching muscles from the long drive. She already had the internship at The Ridge newspaper. The manager, Christine Strand, hired her on merit of the writing samples she had sent and also the recommendation of the head of Arizona State University’s journalism department.

Now to meet her boss.

Jessica stood before the building’s double doors and reached for the knob. The door flung open. A young man stepped out and almost ran her down. “Excuse me!” He glanced at her briefly before stepping around and continuing to the parking lot.

“No problem.” Jessica assured him, but suspected he hadn’t heard. She straightened the yellow plaid skirt and white blouse she wore, and checked the hair twist for loose frizz before entering the office.

The smell of newsprint, ink, and the cheerful smile of a twentyish girl greeted her at the counter. “May I help you?”

“Yes. I’m here to see Christine Strand.” Jessica gripped the shoulder strap of her laptop bag in an effort to control her shaking fingers.
The girl’s long, straight brown hair swayed as she headed to an open door at the back of the office. “Hey, Mom! Somebody’s here to see you.”

  Who or what inspired you to write this book?

A few years ago I visited the Puget sound. There was a lovely Victorian house standing high on a hill overlooking the sound. The story came to me of Jessica living in that house and looking down on a lonely beachcomber who spent the evening hours sitting on a rock. The man tells Jessica his life in bits and pieces as her own story also unfolds.

Thank you Lizanne for tagging me on The Next Big Thing! Liz is just getting started with her medieval blog and her upcoming novel, Shadows of Montsegur, and would love followers.