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."