Saturday, September 17, 2016

Autumn is In the Air

Ever since I graduated high school and thus no longer dreaded the end of summer break, autumn has been my favorite season. Cooler weather, brilliant foliage, and the anticipation of Halloween are just some of the joys.

There are also the brilliant skies:

Outside My Bedroom Window

From My Driveway

Jezebel Enjoying the Cicadas, Another Fall Bounty

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Darla’s Helpful Household Hint

Stick blenders are great, especially when using the larger food processor is unwarranted. Planning to emulsify a small number of dried peppers with tomato sauce, however, I pictured red splatter staining everything within radius. I looked around the kitchen for a potential cover.

What could I possibly use when the blender’s wand needs a hole?

Eyeing a stack of paper plates gave me an idea. I grabbed the kitchen shears and made this:

Wardrobe Saved!
 As you can see, it worked well. I only used a second plate for the photo’s visual contrast, so our bulk supply should last a long time.

Do you have any tips for preventing a seeming inevitable mess? I’d appreciate reading them in the comments.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Review of David Bridger's "The Honesty of Tigers"

How would you like to live your life over again? Surely there are things you would do differently, especially if you could go through a second time knowing how things went originally. It’s like the old Midwestern US saying: If I knew then what I know now…

Well, David Bridger outdid himself addressing this very issue in “The Honesty of Tigers”.

I have actually been stewing a few days since finishing the book, unsure what to write in a review. Obviously I enjoyed reading. But what can I say without spoiling any of the surprises? Well, that decided me to write nothing more about the plot.

Buy this Book. Keep your mind open to the plentiful twists. And enjoy.

ou can find the book here (USA) and here (UK).


Friday, July 29, 2016

Tilly Before and After - A Feline Transformation

Blessed though this household is with two sweet tempered cats, one requires a little more help in the grooming department. Meet Tilly, before yesterday's visit to our wonderful local groomer:
They Call Me Woolybear. Go figure...

And that was taken after I trimmed her ruff a few weeks ago! We've postponed the visit to groomer extraordinaire Renee because leaving the house is stressful when one is a sixteen-year-old pampered pet.

Now she looks like a different cat:

I Just Want My Kibble, if You Please

She no longer appears as if she's gone to seed and about to blow away on a summer breeze. Of course that's not likely to happen given her girth. But she is losing weight with a strict regimen since supermodel thin Luna passed away nearly two years ago, so don't judge. ~grin~ I do adore how she crosses her paws.

Anyone in your household have a recent makeover? No fashion expert, I could use any tips you might offer.


Monday, July 25, 2016

The Liebster Award

I'm pleased and grateful to have been nominated by a very talented writer for the Liebster Award. It's a fun way to spread camaraderie and readership.

After sharing the pretty badge, I want to thank Patricia Garcia. She is positively lovely and you can read her delightful reaction to the award here:

Pat Garcia Book Reviews

Her other blog features some really moving prose. It's the one I discovered when we were part of the April A to Z Blog Challenge and that home page can be found here:

Everything Must Change

Now let me share my answers to the questions posed by dear Patricia Garcia. I hope I was not too wordy. ~grin~ They are compelling questions.

1. What does writing mean to you?

Writing means expression of self, whether through diaries or fiction. In fact the former led to the latter when I realized how well my young self could portray scenes.

2. Where do you get your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from a combination of memory and dreaming which my imagination weaves together. Basically, I write the way I wish life could be but with a heavy dose of danger and angst not welcome in my reality.

3. Do you write fiction or non-fiction or both?

My intentional focus is fiction, but I still spend a lot of time writing in journals.

4. Do you blog and if so, how often?

This blog, as well as some other group and one separate solo endeavor, never see as much activity as I intend. The April A to Z Blog Challenge is my most active period, for sure.

5. Where is your favorite place or room to write?

I like writing wherever it’s most peaceful. My back porch is a favorite place when the weather is good (especially cool and rainy under my tin patio roof!) and my home office if I’m left alone long enough.

6. Do you have a regular routine, like writing in the morning or evenings? Or do you write whenever it hits you?

I have been guilty of not writing at all lately. My routine is completely amorphous if the muse really prods me. I’ve been known to get up and write at three o’clock in the morning and returning to bed only when exhaustion overtook me. At one day job there were days I stayed late, off the employer’s clock, just to have uninterrupted writing time.

7. Who is your favourite author? What kind of influence have they had upon your writing or upon you personally?

Michael Moorcock is probably my first choice. Elric of Melnibone tales especially, though many Stephen King, Andre Norton, “Ringworld” and “Thieves’ World” series books influenced me greatly. I have always appreciated a combination of angst and romance, continuing to this day.

8. Do current events in the world have an effect upon what you write?

I’m sure they do, though I avoid addressing politics and current world news. I prefer escapism from reality. And real world happenings leave me feeling quite helpless.

9. How often do you read? Do you read books in different genres?

I have not read as much lately as in past but enjoy biographies, science fiction, romance of every possible configuration, and fantasy. My tastes tend to go in waves. Dear friend and author Tina Holland hooked me up with free books from a conference and I’m really grateful because it led to some surprising territory.

10. Please share a paragraph or two of what you are currently working on.

Well, here goes:

“You know what?” I asked softly, barely above a whisper. “I do love you. You can’t make love if you aren’t in love.”

His body tensed. It transferred to his tight, near breathless voice. “Are you sure?”


He said nothing, his face turning from my shoulder to the seat cushions beneath us. I felt awed. Was he crying? I felt certain he never dared show any such vulnerability at home.

11. Where and what do you see yourself as within the next ten years? Will you have relocated? Will you have become the writer person that you have dreamed of being?

Ten years go by so fast and my dreams are mostly relegated to the rapid eye movement sort. So instead let me share how I imagine my much older self, skipping these middle years and  living as a solitary successful writer.

The fantasy: My home is expensive but not opulent, and quite reclusive. It’s either atop some wintry, thunder filled Japanese valley or perched over some isolated beach or overhanging an Alaskan waterway well north of Anchorage (view is key!). I live essentially alone, not lonely. Usually I envision some quiet assistant catering to all my wants and needs. There is always an animal companion whose nature depends upon where we live.


Now I will share the rules of the award, one of the necessary stipulations. There are only five and I took liberties with the order in which I met them.

1. Write a blog post about your nomination, displaying an image of the award.

2. Thank the person who nominated you that includes a link to his or her blog.

3. Answer the 11 questions the person who nominated you asked you in his/her blog post.

4. Nominate 5-11 other starting bloggers who you think deserve this award and come up with 11 questions of your own for them to answer.

5. List these rules in your blog post

Now, for the nominees: 

Jingle Jangle Jungle  - Mary shares great musical trivia and lots of videos 

Kalpanaawrites - Here you can view lovely photographs and read about writing, yoga, and travel

Kurt Nemes
- This is a truly amazing classical music almanac

Rhodrymavelyne - An aptly named Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration with book reviews and shared snippets

Joan Summers
- She shares design and more, especially her delightful travel photos

And lastly, here are the questions I propose:

1. What is your favorite destination, be it local or across the globe?

2. Do you have any extremely early childhood memories? If so, I’d be interested to know what you recall.

3. What is your favorite form of escapism?

4. Does your region/town have a famous attribute? If so, what is it (whether it’s a famous former resident, some large festival, or anything else that comes to mind)?

5. Would you embrace eternal life, given the chance?

6. If time travel were possible, would you move forward, backward, or stay put?

7. What color are your eyes? Would change it if you could? And if so, to what shade?

8. Given the chance to take animal form, what would you choose? Would you prefer being a pampered house pet or something wild and fierce?

9. In that animal state, would you hope for human sentience or existential oblivion?

10. Where would you go as an animal? Would you stay home or roam afar?

11. Do you currently have a project you would like to tout? Feel free to self promote!


Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Amazing Story Generator - A Prompt Ficlet

A friend of mine posed a challenge using "The Amazing Story Generator: Mix-And-Match Creative Writing Prompts" by Jason Sacher. The book has every page divided into three segments. You flip each randomly to create a three part sentence. This is what dear A. Catherine Noon shared on Coffeetime Romance forum:

1. Ignoring the advice of friends,
2: a temperamental sculptor
3: is tormented by vengeful spirits.

And here is my story (sorry it's a little long at 707 words):

The Sculptor

“We failed. It won’t burn. Pamela and I told you, Ian, you never should have painted that.” She pointed without looking at the lurid murder scene.

Ian turned to face his two guests, shadows under his eyes like bruises, almost darker than the brunette coif spiked by restless fingers. His furtive gaze darted from one sister to the other, then fell to the floor. Ian shook his head and threw out his long arms. “I thought if I painted it the scene would get out of my head.”

“And it did,” Pamela replied.

“At least partly,” her sister Patricia added.

“Like we warned you.”

“Is this another I told you so, Pamela? That doesn’t help me.” Their sad eyes met, the sisters holding hands like mourners seated for a funeral. Ian stopped pacing and folded to his tattered daybed across from the small couch. Both women saw how his fingers bunched the denim upon his thighs. “How do I get rid of them?”

“We don’t know,” they said in unison. After a pause, Patricia continued, “But I have an idea.”


“Ian’s right, Pam. Our words aren’t helping him.”

“They would have,” Ian grunted, “if I’d heeded them originally. I won’t ask you to endanger yourselves.”

One of Ian’s early works tilted from a nearby shelf. The movement barely registered to anyone before the bust flew like a marble arrow toward Pamela’s head. She ducked with a squeal.

“Too late,” Pamela opined with a shaky laugh. “I guess you should tell him your idea now, Patricia.”

Silence and wide eyes were the only reply for long moments. Then, Patricia gave her proposal. Ian sat in stunned silence, noting Pamela’s agitation in the way she tugged on the tassels of her shawl.

One week later…

Ian never sculpted a full scene, before, let alone used color. He was a classicist, after all, and this endeavor took him out of his comfort zone of traditional stone media. The sisters walked around the one-half scaled scene composed of papier-mâché.

“It’s eerie,” Pamela breathed.

“You really captured the painting,” Patricia agreed. “How did you get it done so quickly?”

Sprawled on the little sofa, Ian squinted at each in turn. “You think they’ve let me sleep?”

Dropping his head back, he didn’t like the expression on Pamela’s face. He couldn’t read Patricia’s. Fatigue won over both fear and fascination. He closed his eyes, sighing.

“So they do want to move into the sculpture. That’s good!” Patricia enthused. “Then we’ll destroy it!”

Ian’s eyes flew open. Before he could voice his confusion, Pamela protested for him.

“That didn't work before, Patty. Why would now be any different? We already agreed to try a psychic shield around this three dimensional rendition.”

“A shield would have to be reconstructed on a regular basis,” Patricia said, waving her hand. “Ian would be back in danger as soon as something happened and we let it lapse. I’ve found an ancient spell we can use that will work.”

“Then I sculpted this for nothing,” Ian huffed, then sat straighter, shaking his head. “I’m sorry.”

Patricia tilted her head, hands across her heart. “You’ve had it rough.” Standing, she continued. “And no, this wasn’t for nothing. The painting was their entrance to the living world and the sculpture is their exit. We’ll cast the spell over both.”

In the desert, Ian thought the supernatural flames looked just like those for cooking on his grandmother’s gas stove. But the fuel, mostly incantations with some smelly physical components Ian didn’t try to identify, became exhausted long before the cold light extinguished. Of the art, there remained no sign. Sand turned to weirdly shaped glass, much of it shades of crimson and carmine.

Celebration was muted. The sisters trudged toward Ian’s Volkswagon Beetle. With an ever artistic eye, the sculptor palmed some of the small, more colorful chunks. Only much later would he recognize miniature fragments of the murder scene he painted one fateful day.

The ghosts left him in peace, no longer so much as screaming at him through sleepless nights. While he regretted never figuring out exactly how the spirits returned, let alone their identities or purpose, Ian kept the glass chunks until the end of his days.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Review of Storywalker by Author David Bridger

Skillfully weaving ancient mythologies and his own imaginings, David Bridger created a fantastical tapestry with Storywalker. He did not just build a world, though. Rather, he devised an entire universe.

The environments vary much as our modern scientists extrapolate existing on other planets. Yet these unique characters are threaded together via very human foibles and failings, goals and gallantry. And also like real human beings they can surprise the reader, sometimes even themselves.

I found myself fascinated by how many historically recorded myths Mr. Bridger mirrored and/or spun in this one tale. Recognizing many, I sometimes laughed out loud – not at slapstick humor or gross banality but the sheer cleverness. A few puns were delightfully sneaky, clicking into place like puzzle pieces.

The story’s heroes, meanwhile, diverge and reconnect as their quest comes to light with the natural ebb and flow of understanding. The reader gains knowledge alongside them, too, an organic construction I appreciate.

Mention of real world politics did jolt me from the fantasy once or twice but I uphold Mr. Bridger’s choice to do so, by all means. I am simply enacting my own right to admit it’s something I find mildly irksome. Those moments certainly did not derail me for more than a few beats, and I respect Mr. Bridger’s humanitarian passions as something which surely enhance his characterizations.

If you enjoy myths and fantasy, plots with a bit of spin, and worlds intricately cast, I urge you to read Storywalker. And my best wishes go out to Mr. Bridger. Himself a brave fighter against Myalgic Encephalomyelitis like Storywalker’s Molly, he is first and foremost a treasure to both readers and fellow writers.