Sunday, January 12, 2020

Sunshine

The Armchair Squid has given me this lovely award (I do love sunshine!) and I urge anyone who would like to take it and run with the questions he asked. Click the pic to see Squid's original post and the 'rules' for the award (I'm afraid I'm not much of a rule follower but if you are, there they are for you), and by all means nominated someone else you think would enjoy it.

http://armchairsquid.blogspot.com/2019/12/sunshine-blogger-award.html


Squid's questions...



  1. If you could live one year of your life over again, which year would you choose and why?
  2. If you could learn to be an expert at something without putting in the work, what would it be?
  3. If you could learn a new language instantly, which would you choose and why?
  4. If you could give $1 million to any charity, which would you choose?
  5. When was your Robert Frost moment a la "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood..."?  The poem (read it here) says you can't go back and that is true.  "Way leads on to way" and so forth.  But if you could, would you?  What is the difference you think it would have made?
  6. Time travel: where would you go and when?  Why?
  7. Who would you want on your fictional character bowling team?  You get to pick four.
  8. What would you want for your last meal?
  9. What's your favorite song?
  10. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
  11. If you came over to my home and I offered you a drink, what would you want me to serve you?  

1. This is a tough question for a person who is all too aware of how even the most minute changes in the past can affect the future. Given that I would want to affect the time-line the least, I'd probably choose to re-live my last year working at the vet where I used to work. There are things I'd do differently and in doing so I might have been able to save the life of my dear, sweet, still missed Evie Bean, one of the best cats I ever had. But to be honest, there are a lot of places in my life where a different action would've made things better so it's pretty hard to choose one. Not to mention the after effects. 
2. Languages. I would love to be able to speak more than English and the smattering of Spanish I still remember. I'd choose to be fluent in Spanish, French, Russian, and Chinese. Or I'll just take a download of the top 20 most spoken languages. 
3. See above, lol
4. I'd split it between the Sierra Club, Animal Shelters, and the ACLU
5. see #1 and my worry for screwing up time
6. Again, there's that whole changing the past, but, if I could go with the guarantee of being unable to affect anything, I'd probably choose 1805. I like the clothes. What can I say? But. if there was no guarantee then I would choose to go into the future, maybe 200 years from now, see if we've gotten into space and what we've found.
7. That's easy: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, and John Turturo.
8.  Steak, salad, Tiramisu, and a nice glass or two of Sancerre.
9. Oh, that's impossible to answer; I have too many favorite songs. But if there's one thing I can listen to over and over and not get sick of it might be Mozart's Requiem.
10. Introvert for sure. My days are filled with way too much peopling.
11. I'd love a nice glass of Sancerre as stated in #8 but I'd happily take a Squid mix :)

Much thanks to the Squid. Good questions!

Now it's your turn to answer one of the questions above...

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

where did it all begin?

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! 
Each we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

The question is optional!

January 8 question - What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just "know" suddenly you wanted to write?

The awesome co-hosts for the The awesome co-hosts for the January 8 posting of the IWSG are T. Powell Coltrin, Victoria Marie Lees, Stephen Tremp, Renee Scattergood, and J.H. Moncrieff!



 My grandfather was a writer, so maybe it was destiny (or DNA) all along, but at any rate, I started telling stories as a kid to my sister when we were in bed at night. I'd offer three titles, she'd pick one, and I'd make up a story on the spot. The first story I remember writing down (with pen and paper, mind you) was called Happy Birthday, Cathy, in which a girl celebrates her birthday at an amusement park and foolishly stands up on the Ferris Wheel and...yup, dies. Mama's last words, sobbed in anguish: "Happy Birthday, Cathy." I think I was around 10 or 11 when I wrote it, and I have no idea why I wrote such a tragic story! By 9th grade I was regularly writing short stories in notebooks, some of which I still have. I should also mention that I had some great teachers who encouraged me (Mr. Wallace, Mr. Elliott, and Mr. Bouchard) and a great friend (Mary) I used to write with (in person if you can imagine such a thing, lol) almost weekly. I'm not sure if I "knew" I wanted to write, I just started doing it and never stopped. And that's where it all began.

How did your journey begin?

In other news, I will now report the dismal tally of books read in 2019



1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr*
2. Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin
3. The Rule of One by Ashley and Leslie Saunders
4. Tell the Machine Goodnight by Katie Williams
5. A Symphony of EchoesJodi  Taylor Chronicles of St. Mary's*
6. A Second Chance – Jodi  Taylor Chronicles of St. Mary's*
7. Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman*
8. The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
9. Cut and Run by Mary Burton
10. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neall Hurston*
11. Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs*
12. Ancillary Justice by Anne Lecke*
13. Ancillary Sword by Anne Lecke*
14. Ancillary Mercy by Anne Lecke*
15. The Light between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth
16. Cold Waters by Debbie Herbert
17. Cress by Marissa Meyers*
18. Winter by Marissa Meyers*
19. All Systems Red: Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells*
20. In the Dark by Loreth Anne White
21. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

* means I really liked the book and recommend it. 

I'm still currently reading The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu (the story is good but I don't love any of the characters *sigh*), The First Salute by Barbara Tuchman (American history, a bit dry but also witty) and A memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine. I'm enjoying the last the most even though I started it after the other two. Finally, I'm looking forward to reading The Ten Thousand Doors to January by Alix E. Harrow, which I got for Christmas.

Oh, and I say dismal because that's barely two books a month and one less book than I read last year. On the other hand if I can finish the three books I've got going I'll be ahead of the game, or at least, ahead of my last year's game. Anyway, those are the stats, sad as they are.

Last but not least, I am querying so cross your fingers and toes for me!






 

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Sunday pics

My son and I had a great time visiting my mom (his grandmother) in Florida, and the weather was about as perfect as it could be for December, which can be variable. Temps stated out at 69 degrees our first day, and got warmer from there. It was divine.

Our favorite place was Venetian Gardens in Leesburg which we went to twice for the birds and because they have nice paths suitable for a wheelchair for my mom who can no longer walk because she had polio as a young girl. My son took the following pics with his awesome camera.
Blue Grey Gnatcatcher

Purple Gallinule


I forget who the last two birds are but they were all very tame, allowing us to get quite close, unlike the birds here in Maine who fly away if you look at them wrong.

We also went to Leu Gardens in Orlando, which is much prettier in the spring and summer but I did manage to find a few things to take pics of...



I also read The Lying Game by Ruth Ware, and got half way through both The First Salute (history) by Barbara Tuchman and The Grace of Kings (scifi/fantasy) by Ken Liu. If I can finish them by the end of the year I'll have read one more book than last year.

We left Maine right after a snowstorm and some bitter cold so it was super nice to be warm for a week. Especially for me. I'm quite certain I was lizard in my last life.




Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Imagine...


https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

December 4 question - Let's play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?


If I was living the dream, I would have my own place again, and I wouldn't have to work at a regular job if I didn't want to. To be clear, I don't need to live the big giant dream like Stephen King or James Patterson. Honestly all that traveling to events and signing books and speaking in front of big crowds...I mean I'd do it, of course! But I'd be perfectly happy with the small size writer's dream if it allowed me one little house with a big library (for me), a big back yard (for Bruno), and no real  financial worries. If I had that, my life would pretty much be stress free (I think...).

My perfect writer's life dream day would go something like this: Coffee on the porch, walks with Bruno, reading and lunch, and the afternoon for writing. I imagine never having to walk away from my writing unless I want to or it's planned. I imagine delving into research and getting lost down rabbit holes where I retrieve intriguing and fantastical ideas. I imagine my muse will always be with me because she'll be as happy as I am.

Of course, with a life as perfect as that, I would have no excuse not to get a lot more written...

What does your perfect dream life look like?

ps I will be traveling today so may not get to comments til later or possibly Thursday. Heading somewhere warm for a week :)

  

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Pawn Shop

I've been remiss in updating what's new at the pawn shop. Some things have come and gone very quickly, like an awesome mid-century modern bar set in orange and chrome we had for only a few days. On the same pick my boss got this amazing atomic sputnik light


I know. Unbelievable, right?! I think it takes like 40 light bulbs. Then there's this shelf of toys (I do love toys...and tins...)


and we have neon signs, which are always fun


tin paintings ( I like this one, probably because it has my favorite colors together)


the weird and tacky (I mean, hello? There are no pink flamingos in Maine!)


These are fun, too. They had flavored syrup in them and doubled as banks once the syrup was gone


And finally, some art, an abstract I happen to like



In other news revisions are going well and I finished Winter by Marissa Meyer. What a great series. I adored Winter. She might be my favorite.

As for the weather report, I heard this November might go down as the coldest on record here in Maine. The good news is I'm visiting my mum in Florida in two weeks and it's guaranteed to be warmer there than here.



Sunday, November 10, 2019

Birthdays, Books, and Bruno

A few days ago it was Bruno's 1st birthday...

I took him over to the Animal House in Damariscotta and bought him a rope toy and a pig ear. He was very happy. It's hard to believe that he used to look like this:

Oh, and here's Kitten (yes, that's his name, don't judge), waiting for second breakfast

Meanwhile, I've read two more books







































Per Wikipedia: "The Lunar Chronicles is a series of young adult science fiction novels written by American author Marissa Meyer. Each book entails a new take on an old fairy tale, including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White." Cress is the third book and I highly recommend this series. Great characters, lots of action, romance, and edge of your seat escapes and entanglements. I just started the last book, Winter...

All Systems Red is a completely different book. Per Amazon: "On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.
But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it's up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth." This book (novella, really) was a lot of fun, and if you like scifi and interesting bots I would definitely recommend it. There are more stories, including a full length novel, and I'll be putting the whole series on my list.

In writing news I've been diligently working on revisions for BELL, BLACK, & BRIAR, and have winnowed the list of fixes down to four, some easy, some harder:
* Tabitha needs to mention to Beck that she spoke to her father - this is the easiest, just insert a line somewhere
*Dig deeper into Tabitha and Alice - harder because they're both secondary characters but still important
*Beck needs to worry more over his failing aptitude - more time consuming than anything else as it involves going over every scene with Beck
*Explain how Grainne gained control of Marybeth - I think I know how, I just need to figure out how to insert the information properly

Finally, the weather, which is cold and getting colder. We had flurries last week, and I'm back to layering myself (I should just wear a damn snowsuit), which I despise. The good news is I'll get a break next month when I go visit my mom in Florida :)

So. What are you reading? How's the weather your way? What's the last birthday you celebrated? Yours? Someone else's? Was there cake?

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Moon

We had a full moon the other night and I took some pics but only one came out well enough I care to share it, and even so I did add a filter to it. The view is from our yard looking across the street toward our neighbors (yes, the barking dogs neighbors).


In other news, the days are getting shorter and colder, there are no flowers except for a few stray asters here and there, and I miss summer. I have also put aside THE TRAIN TO SOMEWHERE (to rest so when I come back it will be with different eyes...I hope) and am diligently working on revisions to a previously completed tale set in an alternative timeline. I'm still enjoying Lucifer on Netflix, as well The Americans and The Good Place (highly highly recommended). Currently reading Cress by Marissa Meyer. Oh, and I finally saw Captain Marvel. Loved it. And Good Omens. Wicked fun. But then, I love almost anything Terry Pratchett.

What's new where you are? Seen any good movies lately? Watched any good shows? Read any good books?


Sunday, October 6, 2019

Sunday pics

I haven't done one of these in a while but my mom in Florida sent me some photos a friend sent to her. All flowers that supposedly only grow in the Himalayas, some of which (maybe all...I wasn't entirely clear on that part) only bloom once in 400 years.
















Some of these look like birds, or tiny dancers, or little people. Sadly, I have no idea what the names of any of these flowers are, but boy, they sure are pretty.

In other news, you may congratulate me. I have successfully completed draft #1 of The Train to Somewhere (working title), and after letting it rest for a bit, I'll come back and tackle revisions. I have LOTS of notes.

Have a lovely week :)

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Thought for the day

It's been a while. And it might be a little while before I post again, though probably not as long since I'm only about five chapters away from being able to say, "Finished!"

Of course, that's draft one. I was almost going to say that's the hardest part, but who am I kidding? Editing and revising can be just as hard and time consuming. But I'm not thinking about that yet. Much.

Anyway. On to the thought of the day which occurred to me this morning because it was the first quite chilly morning in a while, and when I got into the shower I thought, thank God for whoever came up with hot and cold plumbing. I mean, what is nicer than stepping into a steaming shower on a cold morning? Okay, the beach on Sanibel, but I can't have that whenever I want. I can, however, have a shower at any temperature I want and that is a very good thing.

I will leave you with some pics...





Round Pond, Maine, where I recently went to eat with my mom, most of my sisters, niece, and sister-in-law.


Two American Oystercatchers my son saw on a birding trip.

 And a Clapper Rail


 And a wicked pretty moth (butterfly?). 


Finally, there's this one, also taken by my son. I love the mist rising from the water. This will probably be my next header pic.

Stay well and be nice. There's a lot of hate out in the world these days which has been weighing me down so I'm really trying (not always successfully) to be nicer in thought and deed. Especially thought.



Sunday, June 23, 2019

Books, vacation pics, and an addendum


Since the last time I posted about books, I've read five more, bringing my total to 13, which isn't horrible, but not very impressive either. At any rate, here they are along with my thoughts...

1. Cut and Run by Mary Burton - 
Twin sisters separated at birth are reunited thanks to a murder that leads to a whole more




 













I enjoyed this book and if you like crime stories that aren't about serial killers this might be for you. 

2. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neall Hurston –
"Hurston's use of dialect enraged other African American writers such as Wright, who accused her of pandering to white readers by giving them the black stereotypes they expected. Decades later, however, outrage has been replaced by admiration for her depictions of black life, and especially the lives of black women. In Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston breathes humanity into both her men and women, and allows them to speak in their own voices." --Alix Wilber*





 












I enjoyed this story as well, and especially loved Janie, the main character, and her search for good love. It was also interesting to read about the town of Eatonville, the first incorporated all-black city in the nation as well as the home of the author.


3. Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs - book 3 in the series







 










I very much enjoyed this book, having read the first two, and loved the horrible town, Sharon the ferryman, and Addison the talking dog (he's awesome).


4. Ancillary Justice by Anne Lecke - 








 










This is my favorite of the five I read. The best kind of scifi, ie, the kind that makes you think. Lecke reminds me a bit of Ursula LeGuin and that is high compliment indeed. Even better? It's a trilogy, so I still have two more books to enjoy.


5. Cold Waters by Debbie Herbert - 


















This was another 'crime' story, focusing on two sisters, one who has been away in psychiatric facility since her best friend disappeared, and two, the sister left behind to deal with the aftermath. When sister number one comes home all the skeletons come out. I enjoyed it as much as Cut and Run. 

Now to vacation pics, of which there are few. It was very warm in Florida, in the 80s, and humid, but also very rainy so we never got to the gardens. However, there were some nice things growing on my mum's porch...







In order: Bromancia getting ready to bloom, Mandavilla likewise, Red Salvia (allegedly), unknown, a rose after the rain, and wandering chickens!

Last but not least, an addendum: To be clear, the neighbors across the street fall into the good neighbors category. Yes, the dogs barking are annoying, and yes the dad's swearing doesn't help but oh my, it could be so much worse don't you think? And who knows about the sawdust garden. Whatever. If he wants a sawdust garden who am I to question his taste? I have a pink metal flamingo in my geranium on the porch. So. 

Hope everyone has a lovely Sunday and a great week!