Saturday, December 27, 2014

Thoughts (and Concerns) to Close 2014

This is what happens when I can't sleep at 2am.  I think too much about some of this world's absurdities.  And some of them rather worry me while I hope a few make you laugh.

Celebrities are not necessarily heroes.

Tweets are opinions, not news.

Repetition dictates popularity more than quality.

CGI abuse has turned movies into feature length cartoons.

Actors and musicians are entertainers, not political pundits.

Reality TV is far from real.

Pain is the one thing we can truly call our own.

Everything has a price, including freedom.

Money may not buy happiness but true starvation must be agonizing.

Religion does not guarantee that a person is either stupid or decent.

The most heated religious disputes seem unrelated to actual human caring.

Opinions should almost always be reserved.

What other people think of me is none of my business.

Solitude is nearly as precious a commodity as time.

If you have time to kill, there's a broom in the corner.

Humor can help resolve conflict, restore relationships, and even save your sanity, but only if you know your target audience. Otherwise keep your jokes to yourself lest you get popped in the nose, shut out in the cold, or possibly locked in a rubber room.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Foodie's Find

Like things a little spicy?  How about some crunch in your life?  I found just the thing to satisfy both those cravings.

They are crispy jalapeños under the Fresh Gourmet brand name.  My local grocer stocks them in the produce department alongside various bagged salad toppings.  The heat is unpredictable, as warned on the bag, but I don’t mind.  The lightly salted crunch with an amazingly fresh and fruity jalapeño taste has me hooked.

The crisps are versatile, too.  While excellent on salads, a handful makes a good standalone snack.  A sprinkling also perked up that old Midwestern standby – green bean casserole.  I added just a dash to the classic French fried onions.


Then I cooked hash browns the other day.  I like my potatoes nice and crispy, too, so that turned out to be another great pairing.

I look forward to coming up with new ways to spice up my dishes.  How about you?  Anything unique at the store catch your eye?


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Ending Overtype Mode Permanently (!) in MS Word

I have a new laptop.  And this Lenovo ThinkPad is awesome, the keyboard a writer’s dream.

But (and don’t we all have buts!), there is one issue that has plagued me.  This post’s title gives it away, of course.

Overtype mode needed to be stopped.

A Google search became paramount, and for a change my “Google Fu” struck a major hit.  Or in this case, a lethal blow – allowing me to kill the Insert key, which I didn’t understand had been the reason behind my little agony.

On my ThinkPad, the Insert key just happens to reside next to the Delete and Backspace buttons regularly used during story editing.  For months I’d been going through Tools → Options → Edit tab to uncheck the Overtype mode box in the uppermost left hand column.

No longer.  Thank the heavens.

With no further ado, here is how you kill the INS key.

1. Start Word
2. Click on the Tools menu
3. Click Customize
4. Click the Options tab
5. Click Keyboard
6. Under the Categories dropdown box, select All Commands
7. Under the Commands dropdown box, select Overtype
8. Under the Current keys downdown box, select Insert
9. Click Remove
10. Click Close until the dialog windows close.

That’s it.  Wasn’t that easy?  Can’t you just feel that weight lifting from your shoulders?  Well, that might be a little overly dramatic.  Maybe.

I must say thanks to Steve Thomas and the guys at both for sharing this information.  You can find the original post here:

Web Development Learnings
Happy writing!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Meet A. Catherine Noon, Coauthor of Tiger Tiger (Chicagoland Shifters)

In celebration of Tiger Tiger (Chicagoland Shifters) becoming available so recently, I am lucky to announce that one half of the dynamic writing team of A. Catherine Noon and Rachel Wilder could take a few minutes for an interview.  Ms. Noon, you honor me by agreeing to be grilled.  ~grin~  While I focused on the writing aspect here, folks reading should know that there is another side to this interview on The Nightlight Blog.  It features questions from the fangirl in me.  ~squee~  Now, down to business, as it were.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Review of Mel Keegan's "Home From the Sea"

I picked up “Home From the Sea” the minute I heard of the title’s release and did not regret my purchase for a moment.  Mel Keegan has an enviable gift for world building, in this case transporting us to the English coast circa 1769.  Mr. Keegan brings to life an ordinary, upstanding fellow about to be swept up in secrecy and adventure he could never have fathomed.

We first meet Jim Fairley running his late father’s tavern.  A reputable establishment, The Raven flocks with clientele who share hair raising tales from the high seas that leave Jim musing over the thrill of exotic shores.  The fog of his daily grind only lifts when a man of like mind enters the establishment and the pair discovers mutual attraction.  But these illegal interludes are dangerous, inevitably brief in nature.

As a result Jim finds himself forever consoled by the companionship of rum-soaked sailors, a dog, one cat, his nearly deaf grandmotherly cook, and a female populace that assumes an old leg injury left him a eunuch.  Even an aged regular sees the danger of missed opportunity, warning that any safe haven can become a prison.

Enter Toby Trelane, the enigmatic visitor who gradually, unintentionally, turns Jim Fairley’s mundane existence on its ear.  Toby acts as handyman by day and balladsinger by night, drawing unlikely crowds even on the cusp of bad weather.  This stranger piqued my interest with his secretive yet generous nature.  What was Toby hiding?  Why did he seem shamed by his past?

I had difficulty putting the book down well before any actual mayhem ensued.  You must know, too, that Mr. Keegan incorporated some unexpected characters, well crafted ones.  There’s the long-dead owner of The Raven who watched the coastal path with eerie intensity.  No one could say why.  Mother Nature plays a major role, for sure, and even the The Raven herself seems like much more than just a set of structures.

I consider this an outstanding mesh of romance, mystery, drama, and jeopardy.  If you appreciate a thoughtful story filled with grit and heart instead of endless sex, be sure to pick up “Home From the Sea”.

Click here to read the blurb, excerpt, or just buy, wish I recommend:


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Stream of Consciousness

Yesterday I sat at a riverbank, content to watch the water slide by.  A crane waded in the middle near a tiny atoll, taking patient stabs at elusive fish with its bill.  Four Canada geese endeavored to cross and, as I wondered why they didn’t just fly over, I swore the largest (mother?  father?) led this spring’s fledglings in an effort to teach them how to navigate the current.

After that bucolic consideration, I realized how the word current is spelled and pronounced the same whether we’re talking about the movement of air and water or referring to our present, as in a “current situation”.  The cause is likely coincidental, especially given the many English words originated from Latin or more modern languages.  The two meanings probably have very different derivations.  Still, I like the implication.  Life, however stagnant our place in it might feel, is fluid, able to change course around whatever obstacles emerge (my fervent wish for those in troubled times).

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Poetic Departure from Haiku

Suburban Jungle

Summer skies, darkening toward night, beckon me to the window for one last look into the garden.  Luminous pinpoints flare here and there, fireflies on the search for a mate.

One light pulses unmoving above females perched hopeful in the grass.  It's puzzling until delicate shadows appear to flit around the strobing glow.

A spin of the lit form and the beetle's deadly dance partner twines more silk around her prey.  Flashes continue, dimmer, weakening.

It winks out forever and I let the curtain fall.  A hungry predator survives another night.