Thursday, December 26, 2013

the day *after* Christmas

What an odd sort of day! It's for resting, mainly, because we've all been chugging along so valiantly toward the finish line of Christmas, but it is also a work day. I found I was quite grumpy today, for whatever reason. It took a bit of work to get myself un-grumpified. I think perhaps, if I may be candid, something to do with having indulged too much with food, and I'm feeling all squashed out. ;-) It is good that January and resolutions are just around the corner. I believe I may be in need of some stiff backbone that gets me exercising more regularly.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas Eve!

To those who celebrate, have a Merry Christmas Eve! May you find your time spent in the company of friends, family, and good traditions (hopefully food!). To those who don't, may the days you do celebrate be joyous when those are here. Lots of love to all, from a very discombobulated writer.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Holiday Movie Overload

I think I may have over indulged in holiday movies this weekend. They're addictive, too. I've had the tv humming all weekend, and long into the night. It's been in the background, while I've been cooking, cleaning, and wrapping presents. There's gingerbread in the oven, and I was peeling open pomegranates. I'm all spattered with red juice (luckily not a t-shirt I worry about staining), but I've got many preparations done. There's still more to do and the night is quickly waning. Back to work!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Cards

I finally just finished my holiday cards (some Merry Christmas, some Happy Solstice, and a few just Happy New Year), and ended up with a grand total of 33 cards sent out. Not as many as some years, but more than others, so a happy medium. I was curious how many cards others sent out, and asked a few people -- I seem to be around average for those who send cards, but well above people who aren't card senders. And I had a very interesting conversation with a twenty-something who sends out cards in the traditional manner, and she mentioned how much her cohorts enjoy getting 'real mail', but curiously, she said they they don't hardly ever reciprocate. Apparently, getting a card doesn't make them think, oh hey, I should send one back, they just receive it as a gift. Which is quite an interesting way to think about it. I have to say, I mostly get return cards *after* I send cards out, so I highly suspect that I wouldn't get cards if I didn't send them! (Which...I enjoy getting the cards, and I enjoy sending them...but I don't want my friends and family to feel obligated...what a tender subject!) Card count out: 33 Current cards received: 4

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Long nap, big chair

I had a fun day outside, and when I came home, I was quite tired, and sat down in my big chair. The next thing I know, it is hours later! It was a wonderful nap, but now I'm up in the middle of the night. I'm too tired to do much of anything, but not quite sleepy enough to get back to bed. It's sort of nice, though, to be up in the middle of the night. I've got the tv on for company, and I did some dishes, and also ran the dishwasher, which was very comforting (I wouldn't have guessed that!) in its washing noises. I feel as if I'm in a little deep night cocoon, all wrapped up in the dark and the outside quiet, while my little home is a soft, yellow beacon of activity.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I've Been a Long Time Gone....

Hello!!! I'm so sorry to have been missing for so long. It's been a trial for a while now. But finally, the stars are aligned, and I should be around more regularly. I needed some time to get things in order--my personal life is about as busy as my home is cluttered, and today was the first day in I don't even know how long that I didn't have to go *anywhere*. I stayed home the entire time, and I finally had a chance to get things in order. This is a busy time of year anyway, but lately I feel like life has been moving at warp speed. I need a pause button! Life gets busy again for the next four days, as I have to go and do some training for work, but I'm going to try to pop on and say hello. But I'm glad to be on the other side of the whirlwind, and while it isn't exactly calm, it is not quite as seriously busy as it was. Heck, there might even be time to *gasp*, write something! I've managed to find the time to edit for a few people, but I need to focus on my own writing and editing, too. That would be so nice. :-)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

quick check-in

My traveling, free-spirit of the land lifestyle will be over shortly and I'll return home, and be consistent again in posting. For the moment, though, I am still on the wind, and part of the echoes. I'm 'caching', as it were, for the writing to come. And I have good news to share, when I have time to properly write it out, about a story I wrote that was accepted! More to come on that when I'm settled home again and can be long-winded and gush about it!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

grey and pensive

It's a grey and pensive day out there, raining and gloomy. The sound of rain pattering on the roof is quite audible and makes me want to hide inside. I've got coffee brewing in the kitchen, and I'm working on starting a fire in the fireplace, though. Which means today is the perfect day for working on a ghost story!!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

weird little town

Sorry to have been MIA for a bit. I was staying with a friend and things just got busy, and I haven't even cracked open my laptop in about 7 days. WOW. I didn't think I could go that long, but apparently, when you're busy enough, it can happen. But I am traveling again, and had the weirdest little experience. I stopped off in a tiny little town, which seems to be just a few stores on a main corner. And honestly, it was a little bit Twilight Zone. Everyone barely acknowledged me, even when I was right there, unless it was to be somewhat rude in their ignoring me. A guy pulled in at the gas station in front of me (ignoring my having been waiting to pull in), a woman pushed through the doors to the gas station mart, glaring at me as if I was the one in her way (I'd been there first and actually held the door for her), and a few other odds and ends. Just really busy people, breezing through their day, but it was bizarre. I was in a good mood, so it didn't sour me, but I did find it odd. And I wonder how I can turn it into a story. It seems like it could be some kind of a fairytale. Why are the people in this town like this? And if I hadn't gotten out of town before sunset, would it have been dangerous? I do like when something triggers this atmosphere of wondering, because when my hindbrain finally pulls it altogether, I usually end up with a very nice, creepy, spooky tale.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

ice outside

There's ice outside on the porch to my lonely eyrie. It's quiet here, and still. The countertops are cold, the floor soaks up the heat from my feet, and the air is cool. I can hear the sounds of the house, and it seems the house is the most talkative between us. I get to return to my own little busy home today, and I will be quiet glad of it! It may be worn and threadbare, but it is cozy and solid, and there are nothing of the whispers of empty woods.

ice outside

There's ice outside on the porch to my lonely eyrie. It's quiet here, and still. The countertops are cold, the floor soaks up the heat from my feet, and the air is cool. I can hear the sounds of the house, and it seems the house is the most talkative between us. I get to return to my own little busy home today, and I will be quiet glad of it! It may be worn and threadbare, but it is cozy and solid, and there are nothing of the whispers of empty woods.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

raining at the lonely eyrie

And now it is raining here at the lonely eyrie! Honestly, it couldn't be more picturesque than this. (Other than if there was a hearth and fire, which there isn't. There would be in my fantasy home.) I'm chilled, and wearing a knit cap and wool socks. I think I like fantasy soooo much better than reality. I need a hot cup of tea. But I am working on some editing. Go, editing!!


I used to think it would be so lovely to live far away, maybe in the mountains, maybe in the woods, or on a lonesome cliff near the sea. These images are used all the time in stories and movies, fairy-tales and make-believe. I'd sweep my porch and bake some bread (idyllic much? why yes!) and cuddle with my kitties, and read in the late afternoons, drinking hot chocolate. I'd stoke the fire in the evening, and close the windows against the dark. There'd be a lovely little garden, and perhaps a stream would cut through the property, gurgling to me, and telling secrets as it passed. But, maybe not so much. I've got the lonely eyrie house for the weekend (wood floors, granite countertops, custom ironwork on the staircase and all) and while it is very pleasant, I miss the bustle of my own small home. Perhaps it is only because this place is not mine, with things that are mine in it. Or perhaps it is that I am not build for the solitary life. The quiet here, it is so exacting. It makes me think of horror stories. And with Halloween just past, and the world starting to slumber for the winter, I think it is a perfect time to let this atmosphere foment in my brain.

Friday, November 1, 2013

in search of a better beef stew

My mom made me a very lovely beef stew, and it was quite tasty. But she's very traditional with her beef stew. Meat, potatoes, onions, carrots. Beef stew gravy. I'm not super in love with potatoes in stew. Nor carrots, though I like those moderately better. I realize that readers are now viewing this with horror. Potatoes are the bedrock foundation of dinner! And I love a good baked potato. But I'm just 'meh' about them when they are in stews and soups. I know that I could just leave them out, or substitute turnips or parsnips, etc. But I want something that is a hearty, delicious beef stew that isn't about substitutions. That is a beef stew standing all on its own merits. Does anyone have a good beef stew recipe that is a bit on the different side?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

here, have a rough draft excerpt

I started working on a ghost story quite a while ago, and with Halloween upcoming, it has been on my mind to return to it. I won't really get a chance, seeing as I have a lot of other things clamoring for attention, but I thought it'd be fun to throw out one of the little snippets from the story. This part has almost nothing to do with the ghost-arc in the story, and I'm still hemming and hawing about the main characters names. But it is a rugged little bit, with kissing. Link goes to the snippet at another location.It's just signposts....

Saturday, October 26, 2013


This is the Saturday before Halloween! I went to a haunted house last night, and I've been looking over my options for more haunted house/haunted hayrides tonight, and maybe even tomorrow. I love a good, safe scare. The weather could cooperate a little bit more than it is, though. Cold and rainy may be perfect Halloween weather: chill and damp, dark and foul, teeming with the promise of hauntings and frights. But it isn't much fun to stand around in a line, waiting! Although the hot cider and doughnuts does a lot of compensate. I should really get onto writing some spooky stuff. I love reading it just as much as I love writing it.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I got nothin'

Quite tired tonight. I finally buckled down and did some paperwork that has been languishing and needed to be done. One small drop into a huge, huge bucket. How does everyone else do it? I always feel like I'm barely keeping on top of things. But: yay! Paperwork done!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cookies are an acceptable dinner substitute, right?

Today was long. And the insomnia from last night didn't help. I've finally made it home, gone through a big pile of mail, and paid the important bills. Dinner, however, is going to be a handful of cookies. One of the cookies is oatmeal raisin. I'm going to count that as healthy. Oatmeal is high in fiber and fights cholesterol, and raisins are fruit.

Steampunk Insomnia

I was at a museum earlier today and it had both a steamship from around 1920/1930 and some train cars from the same time. Real life steampunk, and it was pretty cool stuff. I can see the allure of that genre. Everything was so physical -- the ship moved by means of coal being shoveled into the furnace, and it was hot, sweaty work. But upstairs, the guests had silver and linens. I don't know that I would ever write steampunk, but it is gorgeous imagery. And in other news, insomnia has come to claim me. Usually it is a rare night that I wallow through the darkened hours, so I should be tired enough to sleep tomorrow night, but the thing about insomnia (at least for me) is that I'm not really alert enough to be creative. I can't use these hours for writing. I could clean, or read, or watch tv, or even pay the bills, but creativity is a slight reach too far.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

writing comfort

So, it is going to be a busy weekend, outside of writing, but I am going to make sure to eke out some time. I have some serious editing to do to a longer piece, and there's been an opportunity to work on an older piece I have to get it ready, and then it would be a free work, so that readers could see my style. That one needs a Very Serious Edit. So I have a lot of work to do. But for the moment, I wanted to mention my writing gauntlets! Now that the weather is turning cooler, and it isn't quite time to turn the heat on, I get to dress in warm, bulky, comfy clothes, and that includes using these really lovely knitted gauntlets that my mom made for me. I actually have several pairs of them. I keep one set at work for when there isn't heat there (it happens!) and a couple sets at home. The ones I have don't individually cover the fingers, so they're like very long sweatshirt sleeves, but with a thumb-hole. I just love them. They're pretty, as each one is done in different colored yarn, and they really do a great job of keeping the hand warm, and the fingers free to type. Once again, it really is some of the smallest things in life that make you happy!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

graham crackers

I went years without eating them, and then, last year, I had some, and rediscovered how delicious they are! But the question that needs asking -- why do they come in wrappings that are impossible to close again? Not even with a clip. The uneaten portion must be placed into another, separate container of some sort to keep the graham crackers from going soft (and they always go soft, graham flour must be very absorbent). I wish graham crackers came in some different sort of packaging. Also, casual conversation with a friend gave me an awesome idea for a setting for a story! I love chance serendipity like that.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

period between writing

There's always an odd little down period between finishing one story and gearing up to start another. It isn't that the ideas aren't waiting, but rather that there is some odd, emotional lull that needs to be filled with energy before I can start again. So, I meant to write tonight, but didn't. A night of rest isn't such a bad thing.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

after edit agony

The thing that is so frustrating, is finding an error (in this case a silly *math* error) after working so hard on an edit, and knowing that it must be corrected, but wondering how many people will read it before you get the chance to fix it. Oh, GAH. Math, why do you torture me so?

Monday, October 14, 2013

quarry, quarry, query

I have a serious love/hate relationship with this word: quarry. Because it firstly means some place where you are getting rocks out. Granite quarry. Marble quarry. And secondly means a thing you are searching for. Today the quarry we hunt for is jackalope. And I have to look up the spelling every single time! Also, I like to confuse it with query. Those "qu" words are tough.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

writing time tonight!

I've been writing and writing and writing this week! I finally finished the first draft (although portions of it have already gotten a nice strong edit) tonight, and then worked on a few bits and bobs. But I'm feeling excited! There's just such a nice feeling to finally having a completed project. I have, however, completely failed to allow my characters to imbibe and partake of some drinks. Tomorrow, I will edit, and slide in a few drinks. My poor fellows should at least get a beer, or something. I also was so cruel -- there was cake in the story, and I wrote that they went off to kiss, instead of eating cake! It must be true love. Who else would you give up CAKE for?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

one precious hour!

I've paid the bills, made the food, and organized the stuff. Now, I've got one precious hour in which to write and edit. I suppose I should be better about this, and write first and take care of the rest of life later, but I figure I have to handle the necessities first. Food, shelter, safety. Can't get myself hauled down to the pokey for not paying the bills! And while I wouldn't waste away if I skipped a few meals, I'd be terribly cranky!!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

uncommonly pleased

It really is the smallest things in life that can make you happy. One of my credit cards is due to expire, so I'll be getting a new card at some point. For years, I've had the generic design on the face. But now, there are designs to choose from! I picked one I liked, submitted, and then sat in front of my computer and actually clapped my hands with glee. Ha! I will enjoy having a pretty picture in my wallet!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

cookie issues

I love cookies, and I love making my own cookies. Getting out the ingredients is fun, measuring is fun, mixing is fun, eating is fun. The part that isn't fun? Putting the cookie dough on the cookie sheet! For whatever reason, I *despise* that part of it. It's so tedious, and there's all sorts of issues about spacing to consider! It is also the part I dislike the most when making muffins, or cupcakes. Multiple filling just makes me groan. I suppose I should just start making cake. One big blob of batter into one container, and done with it! But while I like cake, I love cookies so much more.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

curry, and chocolate crinkle cookies

I have the ingredients! I know it is late, but I'm about to embark on all evening session of making a new curry recipe (YES -- with the rice cooker!!) and some chocolate crinkle cookies. The cookies are to give away, but the curry is ALL for me.

all the pretty colors

I'm off to the paint store this morning! I have a little paint project in mind and I need to choose a color. Some variation of off-white! This may be one of the hardest things to do. There are a LOT of versions of off-white.

Friday, October 4, 2013


While paying the bills last night, I just left the tv on for background noise and one of those entertainment shows came on. They had a clip about a celebrity having to push through a crowd of the paparazzi, clinging to the hand of their body guard, before they were able to get into a car and be whisked away. I have to say, it was appalling. I realize that a lot of people make their living being a celebrity, and a lot of celebrities make more money in a week than I'll see in my life time, and this is one of those prices to pay, but still. I just felt bad that they would have to go through something like that. I like the pretty pictures of the pretty people just as much as the next person -- but the really good ones come from their work (tv, movies, etc.) and photo shoots. I wish the pop culture wasn't so much about hounding them. I suppose I'm even more grateful for the quiet in my life, when I see reminders like that.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


I finally got an antenna for my tv, so after a year of going without, I have some stations again. I had a few shows on tonight while I did some tasks around my home (will the *chaos* of my house ever be tamed? probably not....) and a few of them were sit-coms. They were funny, and had interesting characters. But I noticed a disturbing tendency. Why is there so much shouting? I know they aren't actually *shouting*, but so many of the character interactions are done at a projected voice-level and a projected emotion level. I watched MASH the other night, and a bit of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and they seemed a bit less with the projection. (Oh my, have I reached the grumpy stage of my life? So soon? How wonderful! I've been waiting for the opportunity to grumble and be grumpy!) Is there some difference because some shows are on stages, and others are filmed live?

Monday, September 30, 2013

so late, so early!

Dear Authors that write so fantastically that I stay up until nearly 2 am to finish the story because I determined I would function better on 4 hours of sleep than not knowing how the story ended--you ROCK. Thank you.

the theater

I went to see a production of Blithe Spirit last night, which I hadn't seen before. It was so much fun! The costumes were gorgeous! The entire first part had the characters drinking up a storm with very dry martinis and brandy, and so of course, I had to get a martini during the intermission (very dirty, dry sounds better, but I love olives). You know, I really don't let my characters drink enough in my stories. I should really be much kinder to them and give them some of the sauce.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

things that are weird

There's a playground near where I live. It's a very nice playground for kids, with a lot of the usual stuff in it. What I find odd is that the yellow road sign to warn motorists to slow down, be careful, is the usual stylized kids, on a teeter-totter. Which is a structure that isn't actually in the playground. Which generally aren't in playgrounds anymore, as they are considered too dangerous. Yet, that's the symbol chosen as most easily recognized for motorists. When those kids grow up, it won't be. I wonder what they'll pick next?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Review for Gray and Burnished Granite Seas

I just received the most lovely review for my short story, which was part of the OutServe Charity Sip project for Torquere Press. Look!!

sexy words: assiduous

There are a lot of words that I like for their meaning, and then there are words I like for how they sound. Some words hit both aspects, though not as many. I was reminded of the word assiduous this week. The meaning isn't super sexy (constant, unremitting, persevering), though in the hands of a competent author, a case could be made for the trait as either a god one or a bad. (The word deciduous comes close to the deliciousness of assiduous, but runs second best.) This word is all about the way the mouth forms those syllables, particularly the end with its luscious "uous" sound, and the pursing the lips must make to form it. I think the "ahhh-" at the beginning sets the listener up for that second half, and that single "d" in the middle gives just the right amount of pause before the over-the-top come-hither "uous" follow-up. (Which is why deciduous doesn't make the grade. That beginning hard "d" is just too off-putting.) Mmmm. Assiduous.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

finally a free evening

And what do I do? Laundry! I attacked the chaos of the house! I got my table all nice and clean, and then, when I had actual time and space and quiet to work on editing I...shirked. Of course there are always a million things to do -- e-mails to answer, bills to pay, drains to unclog, car appointments to schedule, problems with some gadget in the house that needs fixing...and I fussed. Now I've got twenty minutes until bed, and no writing done, and no editing. Okay, then. Twenty minutes. I can edit a chapter. I can do it!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

hiking in the rain

The weather forecast warned of rain, but it was sunny and nice when I left home. As I got closer to the mountain everything was fine, until I started on the ascent. Then it started to mist. And got mistier. The sky spit a little bit. Then, it was actually drizzling. Drizzle turned into a steady, soaking rain. But, I'd already gone, and my friend was up for it, so we hiked anyway. It rained practically the whole time, but it was worth it anyway. The trees are starting to become spectacular. There was one particular view with all the birch trunks stark against the rest of the canopy that was just stunning. I came home, ate soup, took a hot shower, and indulged in a nap. Since I'm working on a story with some hiking in it, I'm going to call it research, and not procrastination. :-)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

a peck

I went apple picking this afternoon -- gorgeous day, if a bit breezy. So now I have a lot of apples. The MacIntosh, Macoun, Freedom, and Cortland apples were ready for picking, so I have a nice mix. What to do with so many apples? I'm thinking pie.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

pineapple pizza

My favorite pizza is just plain cheese, or sometimes a pesto pizza with cheese (instead of the marinara sauce), but tonight, I went whole-hog, and got the pineapple-and-ham pizza. Mmmm. It was really good. Unexpected with the sweet and salty, and the savory cheese, but a very good combination.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Gray and Burnished Granite Seas

Finally, the Charity Sips have been released out into the wild!

These are charity sips because the authors are donating all their royalties to Outserve-SLDN, and Torquere (the publisher) is going to *match* the royalties. So it is a double win for the charity.

So, the link, after all that waiting, to my story: Gray and Burnished Granite Seas

And the link to the whole charity sip collection (there's something in there for everyone): Men In Uniform Charity Sips


And here's a little sample from my story:

Frank stared down at the glossy granite beneath his feet. It was dark gray and felt fathomless and deep, like the pitiless ocean itself, both a friend and an enemy, going about its business without regard to the human lives near it.

The clear, reedy sound of a clarinet skimmed across the vastness of the memorial amphitheater, a familiar tune. It should have been lonesome sounding by itself, but it instead recalled the music of his years with Tom, and brought a bittersweet melancholy that made Frank more glad than anything for the reminder of that time. The clarinet melody was shortly followed by a light touch on a piano and the thump of a stand-up bass, and the distinctive, melodramatic sound of a vibraphone. Frank looked up, expecting to see a band, perhaps a float or a parade, given that the instruments didn't march well. He scanned the area, but it was unusually deserted, and there was no source to be found for the music.

His eyes fell on the statue of the Lone Sailor, and his mouth grew suddenly dry. There was a roaring in his ears, as if he was at a Red Sox game and a player had just hit a grand slam, and Frank's chest grew tight with decades of emotions.

The Lone Sailor statue was positioned on an area of dark gray granite and consisted of an upright man, tall, with a faraway look in his eye, and his collar turned up against an oncoming chill, sea wind. Resting near a cleat was a large, hefty duffle bag, as if ready to be picked up and slung over a shoulder. Made of bronzed metal, it looked like a scene frozen in time, and Frank squinted with his faded eyesight at the figure.

For a moment, it had seemed as if the statue had shifted. It had hunched its shoulders, and tilted its head so that distant, considering look had left the horizon and focused on Frank.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

One More Day

The Charity Sips are released tomorrow!  *bounces*

This is like sitting on the edge of your seat, and yet still skooching forward, forward.  I'm going to run out of seat! I'm excited for a lot of reasons. One, this is one of my favorite stories that I've written. It incorporates so many things into one place--all these elements--into something beautiful and poignant. The setting is one of my favorites (see the photo I posted yesterday, of the Lone Sailor statue!), and the era, the family dimensions, the dancing, the music, the strength of love that lasts even when other frailties intrude. But also, this is for charity. The sales of the stories for this (mine and others) are going to do a lot of good. OutServe-SLDN:

Monday, September 16, 2013

Miss America

Congratulations, Miss America!  Miss New York!  Miss Syracuse!  (Who is from Fayetteville!!)

I had a fabulous time at the Miss America party, and being in central New York, very near Fayetteville, NY, we were all cheering for her to win.  How fabulous!!  Hometown girl is crowned!

She really was a strong contender.  Her question answering skills (it seemed like they had a really woefully short time to answer such complex issues) were good, her dancing was phenomenal, and she just seemed to glow the whole competition.  It's hard to tell through a television, of course, but she seems like a kind, friendly person with a lot of energy and dedication.

I'm so proud to have her represent me, and our region, and excited to have her show the beautiful diversity of women everywhere.  We're all different and lovely in our own ways.

Lone Sailor Statue, Washington D.C.

Our Bloghop Starts Here: Torquere Press

This is a photo I took, many years ago, of the Lone Sailor Statue in the Navy Memorial, Washington D.C. It is slightly larger than life, and you can see from the trees in the background that it was winter-time, or close to, but I don't remember it being a particularly cold day.

There is something about the statue that is haunting, and captures the imagination.  The artist did an amazing job catching that moment of anticipation, and of movement of form, even in a frozen moment.

My upcoming Charity Sip, Gray and Burnished Granite Seas, incorporates this location, and this statue.  Only two more days until the release!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

There she is....

I'm off to a Miss America party tonight!  It should be so much fun. Food, drink, and intense competition. 

Does anyone remember about a contestant maybe back in the 1960s that had a talent where she packed a little black dress and changed her accessories on-stage?  My mom vaguely remembers it (we were talking about unusual talents) and I can't find any reference to it online, but it sounds fascinating.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

To the Lifeboats!

TCM is playing the theme of To the Lifeboats!  They just showed Alfred Hitchcock's "Lifeboat" and "Abandon Ship!", both movies where practically all or all of the movie is set in a lifeboat.  The situation is dire, there are ethical considerations, and rescue seems unlikely. It is all horrible, yet I can't stop watching.

scientific notation shocker!

Okay, so this probably isn't a shock to anyone else but me, but somehow I missed that an E can stand in for a ^ when denoting the superscript part of the notation.  How did I miss that, all these years?

I am flabbergasted!  What's up with that, educational system? I am sad!  I don't like having these empty spots in my knowledge.

I went looking online for a good example of this mysterious E, and it took me a bit to find an example, so I'm wondering if perhaps it isn't quite as common, really.

I copied the following from , to show as an example:

0.000001 sec. or 1.0E-6 or 1.0^-6

Did everyone know about the E, or is it ^ all the way?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

counting down

Eight days left until the Charity Sips become available! 

(And psst...I used the rice cooker again.  This time it was a jasmine mix, with jasmine rice and garbanzo beans and turnip something-or-others-seeds.  And I added in dried cherries right before eating it. It made my home smell fantastic while it was simmering in the rice cooker. So fragrant and sweet.  Jasmine rice really is floral. I really love my rice cooker.)

Monday, September 9, 2013

still in the editing phase

I've chugged through nearly 40 pages (of approx. 130) with some good solid edits.  There are a lot of little things I'm tweaking here and there since I've read some useful advice since I finished this story.  Now that I know a better way to do it, I'm carefully splicing up some areas and making them more awesome.  But it does take time.

Tonight, however, I had mundane life stuff to do (laundry, it is always, always laundry) and paying the bills, so editing will wait for another night.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

rice update

Oh, yes.  Perfect rice.  Yum!

rice cooker, return of the triumph!

I've got the rice cooker out again today!  I've got what was called a "Kansas Medley" in the pot, and it is bubbling away as I type.  Soon, I will be rubbing my hands together in satisfaction, with a plate full of rice and grains.

In the meantime, I am sitting down to some serious editing time.

the Charity Sips are listed on the Coming Soon page!

I read through the blurbs from the other writers, and I am always so continually amazed by the wealth of ideas and stories out there. I'm so looking forward to this release.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


I think the world is conspiring against me.  I used to have SO much time on my hands.  And lately?  The universe keeps throwing things to do at me!  I haven't enough time to keep up with all the things, and I really am craving some time to sit down and just be quiet, and write, and decompress.

Alas, gotta keep moving.  When things were quiet, I wished for things to do, and now I am wishing the opposite.  I need to learn to roll with the punches more.

Well, on the plus side, living life means I'll have more things to draw upon when I finally do have time to write!

I'm off to have adventures!

Friday, September 6, 2013

the madness of hyphens

I was in the bookstore and was browsing through Eats, Shoots, and Leaves and rifled through the section on dashes, otherwise known as hyphens.  I loved the opening section. It referenced a quote from the Oxford University Press stylebook: “If you take hyphens seriously, you will surely go mad.”

I think, perhaps, I have skirted the edge of madness, for surely, I spend far too much time considering my hyphenating tendencies. But what a madness!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

the trouble with careers

I don't mean my career.  I mean giving characters careers.  How many jobs does a person have in their lifetime?  A few, for sure.  Service industry ones are common, maybe being a lifeguard, or an intern somewhere, and then you sort of settle in to your field, where maybe you have a few different jobs.  So, I'm counting.  I've had...nine different fields.  Is that a lot?  A little?  A good portion of them were jobs I did in my youth, not the sort of jobs I'd necessarily give to characters. 

There are the standbys, of course. Doctor, lawyer, engineer, teacher, police officer/, what am I missing?

Those jobs are somewhat easy.  I have never done those jobs, but I know what they entail.  (Except for the engineer.  Dude, what do they do all day?)

Jobs for my characters confound me.  I want my characters to have interesting, fulfilling positions that afford them security and opportunity to meet the loves of their lives! 

I feel like this shouldn't be that hard, that I should be able to look up a job and imbue a character with it, but yet, I struggle.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

writing time

Finally, an evening to myself!  Although I took long enough to decompress after work (needed dinner, needed veg-out time in front of the tv to rewire the brain for the evening, and needed to start laundry) I am now sitting in my big, comfy chair and looking out at my back area through my French doors (my one super indulgence -- I love the extra air and openness, but I have to have the screens because mosquitoes think I am the most delicious thing ever to have graced the earth).  Computer on, coffee at my elbow, and here I go.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

looking forward to tomorrow

Tomorrow, after work, I don't have anything else I have to do.  Nothing.  That means that my laptop and I are going to make some serious miles.

I just need to get a good night's rest, so I will have the energy to get down to brass tacks.  Oh, how many times I've wasted an evening because I was awake, but low on energy.  It seems a cruel twist of fate.  

First up on the editing block will be a paranormal ghost story that has been simmering for far too long.  And if I have my fill of editing, then I have a spooky, gruesome ghoulish haunted lake story to write.

It must be almost Halloween.  I seem to have ghosts on the brain!

Monday, September 2, 2013

the last weekend of summer

I had a very nice one, visiting with family, and catching up on some sleep.  I got in a few long walks, ate the traditional summer fare, and enjoyed a boat ride.

What I did not get?  Any writing time!  And it is driving me a bit bonkers!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

wip paragraph meme

Chris Quinton tagged me for posting a paragraph of a wip.  This was the Halloween story that needed more polish, and I'm going to make it into a *much* longer story.  It isn't exactly the very last paragraph, but it is near the very end.

For an endless instant, there was nothing but satisfaction and the overwhelming rush of the most simple of emotions, love and thankfulness bursting from his insides to his skin, and Brandon savored it, and wished it would never end.  Then, practicality took over.  Running his fingers across the nape of Aran's neck, he pulled away, dragging in a deep breath.  His gaze flicked over the house and grounds.  There was the faintest rustle in the nearby tall, dry grass, and it sent a frisson of alarm all through him.  "There are probably more snakes."

Thursday, August 29, 2013

sleepy yoga

I don't know what it is about yoga, but right at the end, when we get to lie down, I almost always fall asleep.  I think I might make some little snoring noises, too.  Eeep!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

hanging curtains

I'm feeling quite proud of myself.  I managed to install my own curtain rods over my first floor windows.  This involved a level, measuring, drilling, and hammering!

*hands on hips, stares purposefully into distance*

I feel a little awesome right this moment.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

summer garden veggies

The summer tomatoes are coming in!  They are ripening almost too quickly to be eaten.  I *love* them.  I don't even need to do anything with them.  Just eating them (like an apple) with maybe a little bit of salt is just perfect.  They taste like liquid sunshine, especially when they are just off the vine and sun-warmed.

I also have a ceramic bowl full of cucumber spears and container of (store purchased) baba ganoush (eggplant dip).  Mmmm.  Life is tough, let me tell you, but it can have these little delicious moments in them.  That's sooooo nice.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

upcoming posts about my charity story!

I know I'm going to have some internet connectivity issues this coming weekend (a nice way to say, my internet access will be down!), and I'm scheduled for some posting on the torquere_social livejournal, so I set up my posts ahead of time.  (Nice feature, that, to be able to journal ahead of time and then have the posts show up when they should.)  So, I won't be replying to comments on that day, but will get to them later.

But, I posted quite a bit about the bits and pieces that went into my short story "Gray and Burnished Granite Seas", which is a short story for the Charity Sips that Torquere Press is putting out in September.  It's a lovely, sad, sweet, happy m/m romance set in present day but about WWII, with just a touch of the paranormal.  I really think that this is the one to read, if you've never read my stuff.  (If you have read my stuff, then this is exactly like the sort of stuff I write!) On my part, the story and all the work that went with it were donations to the charity, OutServe.

So, come by on August 24th, Saturday, to see my posts:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

love: crazy-flashy or calm and steady

Just caught the very tail end of The Shopworn Angel on TCM, (it being Hattie McDaniel movie day on TCM) which had a very young Jimmy Stewart.  The interesting thing in the movie about the romance was that the female lead and the other male lead didn't realize they were in love until Stewart's character fell in love with the female lead.  It was quite the theme in the movie, and seemed very much in tune with the time that the movie was made, although still something that might happen today.  Sometimes love isn't crazy-flashy, but calm and steady.

Monday, August 19, 2013

puppies always steal the covers

So, I had occasion to sleep on an air mattress the other night while staying with a friend, and I had my dog with me.  We started out okay, with me owning most of the bed.  But by morning, I was scrunched on about 6 inches of mattress with my dog in the middle of the bed, and the rest of the bed empty!  I kept scooching over to give him space so I wouldn't squish his paws, and he kept inching over to stay snuggled up with me. Good thing the night wasn't any longer or I'd have ended up on the ground, and he'd have had the whole bed!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

headed out to a musuem

I'm on vacation for a few days, and today I'm headed out to a museum for the day, to have a lovely Victorian-style tea with my mom, and to look over the well-tended and expansive gardens.  I spent the morning clearing out my photos on the camera so that I can take pictures.  Trips like these are always good for two reasons.  One, because I enjoy them.  And two, always researching for writing!!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What came first?

Usually I get an idea for a plot point well before I work out what the characters need to be within a story, but for once, I had an idea about a character.  It is interesting to have this character hanging about, and nothing to do with him yet.  I wonder what he wants?  What sort of adventure should I send him on? I don't know yet.  I hope something will gel soon, as I am soooo curious!

Monday, August 12, 2013

in the way!

Life has been really good at blocking me from writing lately!  I need to push the other stuff aside, but it is important stuff!  (Like balancing the checkbook, paying bills, doing laundry so I have clean clothes, etc.)

I need a vacation that isn't a vacation, but just me and a clean living room, and the laptop. (The wish for a clean living room may be a bit optimistic.  I live in a tourbillion!)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

yoga class

I usually go to my favorite yoga class with my favorite instructor, but a neighbor invited me to go to her yoga class, so I did.  Yoga can be really different!  This one definitely had a "so you want to join the circus as a contortionist" vibe.

I thought my balance was fair and my arm and leg strength moderately developed.

Oh, nay, how wrong I was.

It was a very good workout, that was certain.  And an excellent reminder that I can always improve my athletic abilities.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

writing a better blurb

I'm working on the short blurb for my upcoming story (available in mid-September). It feels a bit like writing for the voice-over artists that intone over the movie trailers.  In a world where....
(They just had a great interview on Fresh Air last week with some voice-over actors about a movie that was about voice-over actors.)

But seriously, this is a difficult art!  Make it short, but capture the essence of the story, but without sounding too generic, or too cliche.  That's a tall order!

Okay. Okay.  :)

Any preference between these two?

Frank Ross lost his lover at sea during World War II, but he's waited long enough, and love never dies.  

Frank Ross lost his love during World War II, and has gone to the Navy Memorial to pay his respects.  He finds more than memories, as the wide granite seas await with music and dancing, and a love that never leaves.

I'm leaning toward #2, but it is longer.

Friday, August 9, 2013

crockpot disaster

I have a nearly infallible cookbook for the slow cooker. I say nearly because up until this morning, I had yet to make something in it that I did not at least like, even if I didn't adore it.  That all changed today.

I made a lamb dish with a peanut sauce.

Granted, I had to make some very small substitutions.  I didn't have molasses, so I used honey and I made jasmine rice instead of brown rice. Not big changes.

I cooked and prepped all the ingredients in the evening, and set the slow cooker to cook all night, so that when I awoke, voila! there would be delicious food to take to work.  I was running low on time, so I didn't get to taste it, but I packaged it all up, and took it along.

Lunch time...and I have to say that the two flavors don't really go together.  At least for me.  Someone else may adore this recipe.  But, not me.  I actually had to throw it out, because I couldn't finish it, which I hate to do.  Wasting food is just terrible.  I try to avoid it as much as I can.  So many people do without, that I am thankful that I don't have to.  But, this recipe just didn't turn out well. 

Luckily a girl had brought in cookies for the day, so I had an extra banana and 2 cookies for lunch.  Mmmm. Yummy, even if not the healthiest of lunches.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

*hand to forehead

Major bummer news--the Halloween story was declined.

While it's not fun, on the other hand, this means I can take a look at the story and see if I do want to expand it (and where the possible flaws were).  It sits pretty well as it is, a long story just under 8k, but there were bits and pieces that would make for a most excellent continuation. 

I will let the hindbrain stir it about a bit.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

lure or Super!lure?

I ordered a fishing lure the other day through the mail, but I ordered the wrong thing.

The lure I wanted should have been about 5 cm long (about as big as my thumb).

(For anyone curious -- it was the Rapala Shad Rap Shallow Diver, Blue Gill color.  This is a fantastic lure. It. Catches.  Fish.)

But I wasn't paying close enough attention, and I ordered the Rapala Super Shad Rap Shallow Diver, Blue Gill Color.  At 5 1/2 inches long.  It is HUGE.

This lure is the size of some of the fish I catch with the smaller version of the lure. I'm not even sure I have test (line) that I want to put this lure on, the fish I'd be sure to entice would be *enormous*.

I could write the sequel to Moby Dick.  ;)

**I do indeed fish!  It was serendipity that I had a story idea for The Way to a Fisherman's Heart...which I enjoyed writing because I got to spend so much time thinking about fishing.  I had to remind myself...romance, write some romance.  Not just what lure to use! 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

bright eyes

I had an eye doctor appointment today, to help keep my eyes in good shape.  Looking at computer screens for most of the day is not a great thing to do--you end up with very dry eyes.  Something about the concentration needed to do the work on the screen means that you actually blink *less* than when you're just doing other normal activities.

I did get my eyes dilated since I hadn't had that done in quite a while, and all is good, but my goodness, it take a long time to get the eye muscles back working again.  I had on sunglasses to drive home and was miserable from the brightness, so I hid in my house, shades drawn tight, and watched tv, with my sunglasses on!  I got a bit tired and went down for a nap, and now my schedule is all flummoxed.  No writing tonight!  I will refocus for tomorrow. (Ha, ha! Refocus...get it? Okay, I'm not as clever as I wish I was. *cheeky grin*)

Monday, August 5, 2013

long car rides

On occasion, I tend to make some long car rides to visit family. I'm not a huge fan of driving or riding.  I'm not unaware of the cost to the environment, even if I have an exceptionally fuel efficient vehicle, and it is a lot of time to be on the road. I do really enjoy seeing my family and friends, though.

Sometimes, though, the drive serves the most excellent purpose of allowing the brain to just free-float about with thinking of things.  And many times, those are plot-driven things, character-driven things, and problem-solving things. There can be some serious unraveling of thorny conundrums when you have a few hours at your disposal to just think at them.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

cooking tonight!

No writing tonight.

I tried to go for a swim (in a local lake), but after 10 minutes, my imagination got the better of me and I hightailed it out of there.  The water was quite murky, and all I could think was that some enormous lake monster was going to come and swallow me down. 

So, I spent the better part of the evening cooking a very nice bean curry, using the rice cooker (again! go me!) and making raita.  I hadn't made it before, but it seems simple enough, with yogurt, cucumber, and a few spices. It's late now, but I'm going to sit down and have a bowl and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Submitted! (Halloween story)

The scariest of days arrived--the day of submitting!

I've been working on a Halloween story for submission, and this week it finally got shaped up, and now it is shipped out!

This is the one where I was mulling over the whole schematic theme of temptation, and I spent a lot of time brainstorming how to work with the initial core idea to reshape it so that I could write about something slightly different. I think it came out very well.  Interestingly enough, the original idea, though a bit on the steamy side (that's good) would not have had the character depth (that's not so good) that the story ended up having.  In fact, as I've been working on this story, I was pleased to have several little things to put in the story that could mean sequels -- or at least a follow up novella-type thing where I could more fully explore some of the juicy stuff I just hint at.  I was already just about at the length limit for the submission, so for once, as is not usual with me, I was full up!

This story itself is really more just dashing adventure, with adrenaline-fueled kisses, and a common(ish) nightmare creature, which must always be amped-up into an even *scarier* creature.  So I did that, too.

*fingers crossed* that it reads well, otherwise, I'll be back to the editing draft!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

last minute editing

Late night at regular work, but I'm home and making some last minute edits, as well as drafting up my submission letter.

In some ways, the letter is harder than the story!  You *know* that someone else is going to read that, and it is critical! Every time I draft a letter, I have a very distinct memory of being in grade school with a pencil and the old-style paper they used to have us use, and very carefully working off a letter template.  I learned all my letter writing skills in 3rd grade! 

My intention is to have everything done, give it a once over tomorrow, and submit. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

2nd rough draft done

I did a big edit late last night on my Halloween short story and I'm much happier with it now.  Hurray for editing!  It still needs some more spit and polish, but it can wait one more night, and then get its last scrub.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Victory with the rice cooker!

I found I had misplaced the directions for the rice cooker, but lo, the internet has many gifts to give, and one of them is instructions.  So, I learned the proper ratio of rice to water, and attempted to cook.

Success! (Just in case anyone was concerned for my safety.)  The rice came out perfectly. 

I may need to use this device more often.

I fear the rice cooker

So, I need to cook some rice.

And I was given a rice cooker as a present a while ago.

Usually I just cook rice in a pot on the stove -- with a very fine colander, you can cook it just like pasta, and you don't have to worry about matching up amounts of rice and water.

But I really do want to be able to use this fantastic rice cooker device.  It will mean I won't have to heat up the kitchen with a boiling pot of water, and should give me really delicious rice.

I can use other appliances just fine: crock pot, blender, toaster, immersion blender, food processor. But there is *something* about the rice cooker that is just very intimidating!

Wish me luck!

Friday, July 26, 2013 good

I had a plan.  I was going to go for a bike ride, hit the grocery store, and spend some time at the library, writing and finishing up my story.


My couch called its siren song to me.  I said, I can take a 20 minute nap and then do those things.

But the couch is more like a quicksand swamp, and I slumbered in its embrace. But it was so, so good.   

I will just have to be extra productive tomorrow!

Sometimes you just have to allow yourself to enjoy the nap.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

oh boy, edits!

It's going to be a busy weekend.  I've got edits to do on my charity story *and* I need to figure out how to write the gosh-darned ending to the Halloween story I've been sweating over.  I know how it is supposed to end, but the words to take through the maze of actions keep eluding me.  Like a not-so-funny game of catch-me-if-you-can.  I'm even considering writing the ending out in *long-hand*. I've heard that changing how you write can access areas of the brain differently. 

I've been a keyboard writer pretty much from almost the beginning (once I got a computer in my room and could type in private instead of in the shared space in the middle of the living room). It is odd to contemplate how words might feel coming out long-hand instead of the easy flow of typing.  Not to mention that I can actually touch-type, and don't have to hen-peck at the keys with two fingers. The connection there is almost instantaneous, seriously. Plus, there's also the very serious matter to decide upon: printing or cursive.  Printing will be legible later on, but cursive is faster.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

writing spot

My library stays open late a few nights of the week, and I thought I'd try going there to write and see if the ambiance agreed with me.

Arriving only to find you have the wrong day of the week and the library is closed is very, very sad indeed.

I ended up getting a chunk of story done anyway, but it was with the same old writing spot as ever.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Apparently I have a zillion things to do other than write.  I'm at a pivotal moment in the current draft and instead of being bold and plunging forward--which means that instead of the filmy, insubstantial mist of an idea of how the story goes in my brain, it would become written in stone.  (Editing...I know...but somehow it feels different.)  So instead of taking the bold step of actually getting past the high adventure/drama spot, I am: jogging, biking, eating, playing, fishing, napping, shopping, walking, showering, eating (again), visiting, clearing off the table, doing dishes, doing laundry, looking for old documents, eating (once more), and showering and going to bed.  I'm too tired to write.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

critical mass of tomatoes

Each summer I plant more and more tomatoes, with the hopes I will reach some indefinable limit where I have enough for myself and can start to give them away to friends.  After all, what would be better than being handed fresh, summer-warm garden tomatoes?  But I just can't!  I never seem to have enough, and want to eat them all myself!

Of course, I've had a few set-backs.  Moles (or voles, how does one know?) seem to eat them, there's blight, and rust, and weeds.  Drought, and green, squatty worms.  Beetles of an awful sort.

I'm eagerly awaiting the tomatoes.  Right now they are all green, with the slightest hint of blush, the promise of orange and red.  And there will never be *enough*.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

caught in the rain

I went out for a very nice walk--well, mostly nice, a very nasty fly followed me for a good long time.  I must have looked a bit silly as I kept wiping the top of my head with a hand to send the fly away.  It'd just buzz off and then come right back to the top of my head.  But, almost done with my walk, it started to rain, and then that fly was no where to be found.  Where do they hide?  I finished my walk, quite drenched, but fly free. 

Tonight, hopefully, I'll get to writing.  I'm working on a Halloween story.  It's rather less spooky than just a tad frightening, though.  Those two are close cousins, but there is a distinction.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


I just watched the documentary First Position last night, which followed several different young people as they competed in solo ballet at the Grand Prix ballet competition, an opportunity to be noticed and to get scholarships or even possibly hired into a company.  I am just so amazed by the dedication that these young athletes had.  You get into their heads a little bit by watching the documentary, and wonder, could I have done that if I had a passion?

Then, I needed to get up early to go walking with a friend, and I almost canceled because it was early and I was tired...and I think the distinction must be the passion.  (Or I'm just not that passionate about walking.) It's amazing that there are people out there with that much energy and dedication, to push past the boundaries not just of their bodies but of their own personal willpower.

a blank page

I do a lot of plotting in my head, and I get all excited about the characters and the ideas and the concepts, and the little bits and bobs, where I think, oh, yes, I should put that in there.  So how come when I am faced with a blank page, that I end up looking at it blankly?  There should be some easy way to download thoughts to the screen!  Snap, snap, engineers! Get crackin'.   (Of course, that's a whole genre of futuristic horror stories, right there!) Ha!

Thursday, July 11, 2013


I went to a gathering this evening (something like the Tupperware parties, but this was for jewelry) and had a lot of fun.  And the food was divine!  Fresh strawberries with real, fresh whipped cream.  Tiramisu. Three types of cheese, crackers, and really fresh red grapes that just about burst in your mouth when you bit down on them. A chocolate cake that was super gooey and amazing. It was all really decadent, but I enjoyed it. 

Of course, being a writer, and it being a party, I had one ear open to listen to the cadence of how everyone spoke to each other!  Writing research never stops.  Not even for the gooiest of chocolatey cakes.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

one for a story

Life is full of experiences that get tucked away for a story somewhere, and today was one!  I was swimming at the local swimming hole, and had my head in the water coming back toward shore, when I look up to see a dog about to jump on my head! He looked like a very nice dog (let me be clear, I love pups), but they do tend to have sharp nails when they swim, it really is a doggie paddle. I do have to laugh at myself -- my words of outrage were like this: "Oh, hello! Oh, hi!" to the dog. The owner called the dog back (dogs can swim a bit further up the way, but aren't supposed to be in the people area) and gave a swift "sorry about that" and they were gone.  The dog did catch me along the back of one hand and I have a little bit of a scratch-welt there, but it isn't too bad.  It'll be gone in a day or two. I was quite worried he'd scratch me more severely, but I was able to push back a little, and actually sort of provided a platform for his front paws and held him up in the water, so he wasn't actually paddling into me. But I did think, if I wasn't me, if I was older or younger or less skilled of a swimmer, it could have been a much worse confrontation.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

story accepted!

My short charity story was accepted! *dances and twirls*

So, now I'm off to go swimming, and then nose to the grindstone, and maybe some writing time tonight!

Monday, July 1, 2013

pondering the next project

The next story I am thinking of starting would be a Halloween one -- and I am having some good brainstorming ideas, but they all seem to be variations of the same theme.  Temptation.  There'd be a different ending, and a different avenue to get to the ending, but yet, the theme would be very similar to other recent stories.  I realize that writing can go in cycles, and I must be stuck in this same thought process, but how do I get out?  I think up some good ideas, and when I examine the concept, turn it over and over and tease out the core of it, I find it to be too similar. 

I need to figure out a way to switch over into another theme, something with a different flavor to it. So, the brainstorming goes on. And on.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

odd lull

There is the oddest feeling right after finishing a story.  It is definitely an 'out of sorts' feeling, because I haven't yet settled on what the next project is going to be, and I'm undecided.  It is a floaty sort of feeling, full of potential, and yet with a hint of approaching danger, too.

Also, there's nothing quite like having a little puppy (or a cat, but right now I have a puppy keeping me company) sitting at your side while typing into the computer. They really are the best sort of company.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

odd little writing quirks

I finished writing!  And, of course, after it is all written out, *then* I start to have doubts about this that and the other thing. But then it'd be a different story, and I quite like the way it turned out.

Maybe I should try to write one of those choose-your-adventure books.  Then I could have all the possible plot twists concurrently!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Synopsis.  Hmm.  Stuffing a story down into its barest lines, its most basic essence. 

So, so, so much harder than it should be!!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

It is high summer all of a sudden today!  Transplanted some roses yesterday--hot, sweaty work--and today I hope for some writing time.

The charity story I've been working on is coming along well, but slowly.  It is tough when there are little spots in the story that are tough to smooth out to satisfaction.  I know part A and part B, but the little transition between the two parts isn't connecting as sweetly as I could hope for.  So I'm sweating the editing!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Chugging Along

I got a good chunk into the story, and then decided I wanted to make changes.  Oh, inspiration is a fickle thing!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Finally! The first line!

I've been trying to start writing a short story, and I know the entire form of the story, and the characters, and their histories, and what happens.  But what I didn't know was the opening line!  Finally, today, it came to me.   I've got a couple hundred words started on the story now.  First lines are so important.  Without them, the entire rest of the story either shows up begrudgingly or not at all!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Space and Writing

I don't know about other writers, but I find that I write best in organized, clean spaces. (I suspect perhaps this is true of others, because of the image of the writer in the coffee shop -- coffee shops tend to be generally clean and organized, so they make great spaces in which to concentrate. Otherwise...would writers congregate where there is dirt and dust? Bus stops? Sports games?)

Which can be difficult because my home-keeping skills are never sharp, but only a bit dull, and generally lacking.

So, this weekend, I did a major clean and got everything back on track and spiffy looking. 

Of course, now that I'm exerted all my energies in cleaning, I have none left to write.  So, it'll be an early bed tonight.  But with the place spit-spot and in apple-pie order, when I have time, it'll be straight to the writing, and no longer with the procrastinating since I won't feel guilty for not cleaning.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

plans for the day: gardening

Finally!  A weekend with nothing else to do but get things organized! 

So, today and tomorrow, I'm going to concentrate on my little garden tasks.  I have a bunch of houseplants that require some tending to, and some lovely roses that I just got (June is almost here, and June seems synonymous with roses), and of course, all the tomato plants, basil, and whatnot.  I have a couple grey-blue stoneware pots that I put flowers in, and set at the front, welcoming me home each day with their cheery colors.  I generally pick between impatiens, petunias, and the like.  This year I've got some amazing orange-and-yellow marigolds (also good for cooler times of the year) and some gorgeous lobelia that will go into a hanging pot.

I wasn't much of a flower person for a long time, but in past years I've made an effort to at least recognize the more common flowers, and I quite enjoy being able to recognize them, and plant them around a little bit.  They are always a joyful sight to me.

Oh, yes, also, some writing.  I have three or four story ideas sitting in my brain that I'm mulling around, rolling about.  I should make time to get them out.  If I have the garden area in order, I think sitting on the porch, outside, with the flowers blooming, with my laptop will be an excellent creative space to start to work on writing.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

It was windy today

There's a stiff and gusty wind today. I was riding my bicycle and keeping an eye on the speed gauge. When the wind was quiet, I could hit 11 mph easily. When the wind hit gale force against me, I dropped down to maybe 4 mph!

Writing-wise, I've had some inspiration for a possible story for a sports related theme. Hmmm. This would be my *third* sports related story I've worked on. I'm starting to sense a theme, which is weird, because until this year, I certainly wasn't usually writing about sports.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

all the pretty flowers

I had occasion to drive for a bit yesterday, and the flowers at the moment are stunning.  The daffodils are up, some tulips are up, and then the trees are all flowering.  Crabapples in gorgeous canopies of white, pink, and purple-red are giving the air a sweet scent. In the forest, I saw dogwoods between the taller trees, and their white flowers were stunning to catch a peek of. 

Then, I passed an apple pasture, and all the trees were gilded white with flowers, just waiting to slowly turn into crisp apples in the fall.  Even in the spring, I suppose we must think of fall coming. Then, the lilacs are just beginning to bloom, base first and out to their tips.  The pale lavender is the most common, but I've also caught glimpses of white and the dusky dark-magenta color that I believe may be some sort of heirloom color.

There's a warning for frost for the next two nights, but still, the roses are starting to show up at the garden supply stores, and that's a whole other celebration of flowers!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

first bike ride of the season

I took the bike out and made sure the tires had the correct pressure and then--woooosh! I was putting rubber to the pavement.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

dried beans

I have a soup recipe that calls for dried beans, and they require cooking first.  Why do they take so long?  I pre-soaked them overnight, and then additional hours.  I've got them cooking on the stove now, softening infinitesimally.

What must have been done to the beans in the cans to make them so soft?  *shudders at the horrors*  ;)

More signs of spring...

I saw a hot air balloon in the sky yesterday!

It sort of made me think about seasons in terms of writing. Sometimes the energy of going into or being into a season can generate a lot of passion for a story setting, and then it can be really hard to work on it later when the season has passed.  And even harder to get back into that mindset to edit!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

craving garlic

I had such a craving for garlic tonight (no...not currently writing anything about vampires, that's just a coincidence!), and I made a delicious garlic-caper pasta dish.  And with anchovies.  I know, I know.  Everyone's least favorite food.  But I really *like* them.

Now, I just have to decide...give in to the urge to eat cookies, or be good?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The sheep are back!

On my way to work I pass a field.  In this field, in the spring and summer and fall, are a flock of sheep.  (I think a squadron of sheep would sound cooler, but I suppose they are a flock.) I don't know where they go in the winter, but it would be far too cold, even with the lean-tos, for them to stay in the field, so I suppose they winter over in some nice farmer's barn.  But this week, the sheep were back!

I really enjoy watching them as I drive past each day.  They range from dark soot-grey to a vanilla warm-white, and they nibble on the grass and weeds voraciously. Their coats get bigger and bigger and bigger, and then at some point, they get shorn, and show up looking quite less frumpy and all sleeked out.  Not that they're skinny sheep.  They're average sheep shape.

So, it must be spring when the sheep are back in the pasture!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What happened to spring?

It got cold and grey and rainy again.

I like winter, but if it can't be winter, then it should be spring.  None of this in-between malarkey!

I went for a jog tonight and my hands were like solid ice by the time I got back.  I know...I should use gloves.  Sometimes I do, I just didn't realize how chilly it was.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


How unusual--fireworks outside at this time of year.  And, so perfectly positioned!  I can see them through my kitchen window. 

Sometimes random things are just lovely.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

shine on, moon!

I haven't checked, but I must believe tonight is a full moon.  I saw it rising in the sky as I drove home, and it was absolutely enormous

Sometimes it just seems unbelievable that there's a huge moon out in the sky, revolving around us.  It's such a lovely thing, obviously the source of many flowery poetic statements.  But it's so *dramatic*.

I heard someone once say that the moons looks larger when near the horizon because of the way our brains process relative size.  So then as the moon moves through the sky, it looks smaller because nothing is near it to compare it to. 

Shine on, moon!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

head colds and editing

I have my story back from the editors (this is the sports-themed one) and I need to do the edits this week.  The clock is ticking!

But of course, now I have a head cold. My head is all stuffed up and I'm feeling less than productive and energized and certainly in no head-set to edit anything!

This has been the year for colds.  It used to be that I would maybe get one in the winter, but this year I got them sprinkled all throughout the winter. 

Well, time for a cup of tea and then maybe if I go slowly, I can tackle the editing....

Monday, March 18, 2013

piano tuning

Today is piano tuning day! 

I inherited a piano from a truly beloved aunt, and I do play a little, though I need to practice more and find someone to give lessons so that I might get a bit better. I had moved awhile ago, and pianos need to settle in to their new homes, and of course, life is always busier than you wish it to be, but today is finally piano tuning day!

The sound of a real piano in the home is just so gorgeous.  It actually feels like a texture next to your skin, and inside your ears and brain.  I love that we have recorded music because it means having music available all the time, which is a luxury we don't even realize anymore, but having real live music is still something to be savored. 

So, the piano is getting tuned, and it is starting to sound lovelier.

Although there's something also beautiful in the strange discordant out-of-tune-ness of some songs played on a piano.  If the piano is out of tune across the board, it can sound hair-raising and ominous in a way that an in-tune piano can't.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

a grim and grey day

Such a rainy day here today.  Every time I looked outside I could see the bare branches of the trees stretching up to the sky.  It made me feel like Dr. Frankenstein was out there somewhere, stitching together his monster, and that there were shadows in the graveyard, and fog all around.  If there were moors around here, I'm sure there'd be a monstrous large hound....

Saturday, March 9, 2013

really excellent black bean soup

I have had a hankering for black bean soup for a while now.  I checked a few websites for recipes, and didn't come across one I exactly liked, so I mashed a bunch of recipes together.  It came out really well!

My recipe:

a dollop of olive oil
1 pepper (I used a red bell, but green would be fine), chopped into small bits
2 onions, chopped into small bits
a tablespoon of chopped garlic (I want to say 4 cloves, but I worry a clove isn't what I think it is, and it'll sound like four bulbs, which would be too much)
a handful of okra, chopped
half a cup to one cup of brewed coffee
juice from half a lime
half a cup of your favorite salsa (I used a salsa verde, which I think the cilantro and tomatillos really go well)
2 cans black beans

Heat up a dutch oven or a big pot, add the olive oil, then the onion and pepper.  Stir and cook for a few minutes, until soft.  Then add in the garlic.  Stir and cook for a few minutes.  Add in the cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper.  Stir about.  It'll be a little dry--which is good, because the spices will become very fragrant and delicious.

Add in the beans (I add in the juices from the can, but if you're worried about salt, you can rinse the beans, or use dried beans that you've soaked and cooked).  Add in the okra. Add in the salsa.  Add in the lime juice. Add in the coffee.  (Coffee is to taste, and also depends on how thick or thin you want the soup, so be judicious.) Add in water to the desired consistency of how you like soup.

Let the whole thing cook for a while, simmering. You can let it go for fifteen minutes to forty-five (keep an eye on the fluid level), just don't let it bubble over and make a mess.

If you have an immersion blender, use that to sparely blend the soup.  I like having some semi-big chunks left, so this is definitely a personal preference. Blend until you're happy with how it looks.

If you don't have an immersion blender, remove some (or all) of the soup from the heat, let cool, and use whatever appropriate blending machine you may have available in your kitchen.  Put the soup back, reheat.

Salt and pepper to taste if you're going to eat it right away, but I recommend taking the soup off the stove, storing it for a night, and then reheating it, salt and pepper to taste, and then eat.

Letting it sit that one night will let the flavors meld.

If you aren't interested in a vegetarian version, you can substitute chicken broth for water.  Or, when you eat the soup, a dollop of plain yogurt mixes in very well and gives it a creamy texture.


Not the cookbook I was looking for

I tend to buy a lot of books, especially cook books or anything relating to food, and I'd been given a Kindle for my last birthday, so I buy them, download them, and wait for time to read them.  I had a few minutes to look at a book, and I wanted to look over some recipes, and one of the books had a picture of pickled preserves on the front and a cute title (Heaven Preserve Us) and I thought: hmm, I want to make some pickled eggs, maybe there are some good tips in here.  So I tap the cover and start reading...and it is really interesting, and good, but its a story.  I kept going, thinking it was an introduction into why the author had written a preserves book the end of the chapter finally looked.  It was a cozy mystery!  Not a cook book at all. So I'm glad to have started it, but disappointed there wasn't a pickled egg recipe!

I love e-books, but I wonder if this would have happened with a paper-and-glue sort.  I'd have known picking it up that it wasn't the cook book I was aiming for.  Still, not a bad happenstance.  I got to start a new story that I might not have grabbed for a while. Sometimes mistakes can make us happy, too.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

sound alike?

I was listening to the radio in the car the other day at a very low volume, and a song came on.  My brain started to fill in the lyrics because I could only hear the melody a little bit, but then I realized it wasn't the song I thought it was.  I turned the volume up. But, still, I've gone to listen to the two songs and I think a small portion of one sounds like a small portion of the other.  Just curious if anyone else can hear the same thing?

So, the Muse song Panic Station.  And Michael Jackson's Thriller.

I know!  Very different songs.

But the bit in the Muse song where it goes:

Ooh, 1, 2, 3, 4 fire's in your eyes
And this chaos, it defies imagination
Ooh, 5, 6, 7 minus 9 lives
You've arrived at panic station

Against the part of the Thriller song, where it goes:

You close your eyes
And hope that this is just imagination
But all the while
You hear a creature creepin' up behind

Give or take a little bit, since the speed and the lyrics don't really match exactly.

Obviously, not the rest of either song, but just that little bit.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

risotto in the crock-pot

I have some cooking away right now.

Did you know it was even possible?  Generally recipes call for constant, continuous, never-ending stirring at the stove-top to make risotto.  But, it can actually be made in the crock-pot.  It takes about 3 hours.

You cook up a few of the things on the stove-top, like onions and garlic, and the rice, and some of the liquid.  Then you put it into the crock-pot with the remainder of the ingredients, usually enough broth for the rice to absorb, and you leave the crock-pot on high for a bit, and ignore it.  When you come back 3 hours later--risotto!

I am a big fan of the crock-pot, for many reasons.  Braising tends to make things delicious (crock-pots essentially braise meat--long, wet cooking time).  And the crock-pot doesn't use as much energy as using the stove.  Plus, you can make a lot, and then save the leftovers--and then you have lunch or dinner the next day!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What Goes Around...

...comes around. 

I've heard that saying for a long, long time.  I suppose it must be associated, also, with the idea of karma.  That you reap what you sow. 

It isn't a singular saying, we have a lot of them for this concept.

And then there are some days, where I can't help but hope it might be true.  Some days, in your daily dealings, you come across people who could be much nicer and kinder, but just aren't. Those are really tough people to put behind you, because they can be so insidious.

I won't be around to see if what they dished out will come back to them, and perhaps this isn't very magnanimous of me, but I wouldn't be terribly sad if things came back around again to them. 

*takes extra super deep breath*

Okay, so I am going to go and indulge in some reading--a happy, fluffy story will get my mind off people with mean insides, and I will drink some mint tea with honey in it, and fall asleep and dream of nice things, like spring flowers and gardening, and choosing roses to put out on my back deck this year.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

pot hole season

I couldn't help but notice all the pot holes that have developed in the roads over the winter.  They're starting to get pretty bad.

Last year at this time I had a truly harrowing pot hole experience where I hit a series of exceptionally deep ones, and busted both tires on one side.  Two tires at once!  It was pretty spectacularly terrible.

Lately, I feel like when I got out on the roads that I'm driving an obstacle course.

Here's hoping that Spring comes soon, and the road crews can get out there and patch things up!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Small colds

Last year I was very lucky and didn't get hardly a single cold.  This year I must have passed under a darker sign, because this is the fourth or fifth cold of the season. 

All I crave right now is soup, more soup, and maybe some tea with honey in it.

Also, a very looooooong sleep tonight in a warm bed.

It does make it quite difficult to get things done.  But, again, I'll keep thinking of it as research.  If my last cold was years ago, then perhaps I would have forgotten too much about it to write it very well.  Hmmm.  If I write a character being ill, perhaps my own cold will seem much less worse.  Just by comparison, mind you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My short story "The Way to a Fisherman's Heart" just published yesterday!  It is included in an Anthology of a collection of wonderful stories (of which I just started reading myself, and they are very, very good).

The description for the Anthology:
"Just because there's snow on the roof, doesn't mean the fire's gone out in the furnace." There's something to be said for maturity and experience, and in all of these relationships, at least one of the lovers is over forty. Whether it's a May/December romance, a second chance at love, or finding a soul mate later in life, these stories prove that it's never too late for love.

Here's a link to the book:   Snow on the Roof

And a story description!

Jim loves fishing, but there's more than just the water and fresh air that lures him out to the fishing hole.  Franklin is often there, with tips and tales of a well-spent lifetime of angling.  He's rugged and handsome, with a deft hand at the sport, and he draws Jim's attention each time they're together. Will there ever be a right moment for Jim to find out if the attraction is mutual, or will this be the one that got away?

Monday, January 28, 2013

It's Snowing!

We're getting a little bit of a snowstorm here today.  The roads are slick, and I hope people are able to get home safely. 

We've had an awful week of truly brutally cold temperatures, where some days it was impressive to reach single digits about zero, so I'm glad it is somewhat warmer (though still quite cold).  There's rain in the forecast.

I love to see the snow covering the ground.  It makes it beautiful out there, like frosting on a cake.  And it covers all the ugly mud.  But it can make it very slick.