Saturday, September 30, 2017

Good Eats?

My kitchen island countertop is covered with tomatoes that need processed and frozen for summer fresh eats during wintertime. This one would be best eaten rather than trying to parboil and peel, if I can overcome its grotesque looks.

Almost a Cartoon Fist, Isn't It?
I should not waste good food. Doing so is galling to me.

Any suggestions? Maybe just chop it into salads?


Friday, September 29, 2017

The Good Life

Jezebel needed a new ‘purr pad’, the last one become a shredded mess. So I ordered a set of two online a few weeks ago. Here you can see she’s really taken to the new one.

Game of Twister, Anyone?

The spare is on a dining room chair in place of a human seat pad, as yet unused, which is fine. I’ll have it when needed.

I always wonder what she’s thinking staring off into space. At least she has stopped running away or jittering in place whenever I pull out the camera

What's your daily favorite place to relax?


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Please Welcome Author Nick Wilford with Excellent Writing Insight

Hi Darla! Thanks for helping out with my blog tour today. I’d like to engage your readers in a discussion if I may.

Darla: Splendid, Nick! Thank you for guest posting. I really enjoyed "Black and White" and am delighted to host you.

Why is it important to include some romance in non-romance books?
I’m the last person to count myself as a romance writer, and it’s not a genre I had read a lot of before I started writing books. But I have met some really excellent fellow authors who write romance, and seem to do something different with it. There are always new things to do in every genre; it’s all in the hands of the author. And it’s interesting when genres mix and mingle. When beginning to write Black & White, I didn’t set out to include the element of romance. It was something that arose naturally, and it did serve the plot. I don’t think anything should be included in a book just for the sake of it.
The world of my novel is quite grim on the face of it. Not because there are bad things happening – crime as we would see it has been eradicated, people have been conditioned out of it, and of course that’s a good thing. But the society is very sterile. Not just for the fact that there is no dirt or illness – things are hyper-ordered and regimented, with people eating meals and working out at set times. It’s as if the human touch has been lost. Marriages never seem to be particularly affectionate, and people also don’t extend that much love to their kids (only one is allowed per family). My two young leads, Wellesbury and Ezmerelda, both have friend groups that are characterised by quite a mean, cutting sense of humour. So the idea of romance blossoming between them was something that really helped offset this and offered some light relief. It wasn’t immediately obvious – as I said earlier, it wasn’t planned from the start. But right away I was intrigued by the dynamic between them. It was clear that Ezmerelda is smarter than Wellesbury – and smarter than her whole peer group, in fact, which irks them. But her intentions are always good, so hopefully it doesn’t irk the reader. She’s also the practical, level-headed one, where Welles is wide-eyed and optimistic. She’s great at taking his ideas and fleshing them out into a concrete plan, and she’ll also give him a pep talk whenever he gets discouraged.
So initially, this was more a case of two like-minded souls finding each other than something that was written in the stars to be a great romance. But then, I find the appearance of “insta-love” in books quite bothersome. At least give them a chance to get to know each other first. With Welles and Ez, their feelings developed after they had been through quite a lot of stuff together – some very adverse circumstances – and they started to realise that it really was them against the world. Hopefully this will make the reader root for them to succeed even more, especially when it looks they might not get the chance to be together.
All in all, I think a splash of romance is a great addition to any story. It can help round out your characters and draw the reader in. But just like our real-world affairs of the heart, don’t try and force anything. In fact, just get on with the main plot and if things develop organically – well, then it was meant to be. This will make for a much more satisfactory experience for the reader.
What are your thoughts on including romance in non-romance genres?
Title: Black & White
Author: Nick Wilford
Genre: YA dystopian Series #: 1 of 3
Release date: 18th September 2017
Publisher: Superstar Peanut Publishing
What is the price paid for the creation of a perfect society?

In Whitopolis, a gleamingly white city of the future where illness has been eradicated, shock waves run through the populace when a bedraggled, dirt-stricken boy materialises in the main street. Led by government propaganda, most citizens shun him as a demon, except for Wellesbury Noon – a high school student the same age as the boy.

Upon befriending the boy, Wellesbury feels a connection that he can’t explain – as well as discovering that his new friend comes from a land that is stricken by disease and only has two weeks to live. Why do he and a girl named Ezmerelda Dontible appear to be the only ones who want to help?

As they dig deeper, everything they know is turned on its head – and a race to save one boy becomes a struggle to redeem humanity.

Purchase Links:
Meet the author:
Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those early morning times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. Visit him at his blog or connect with him on Twitter, GoodreadsFacebook, or Amazon.
Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of my collection A Change of Mind and Other Stories or a $10 giftcard! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Primed for Prime Time, or Why I Left the Seventies Behind

This household has climbed another rung up the technology ladder. My partner, enamored with the Internet streaming opportunities, has decided to invest in Amazon Prime even though we live too far from a major city for same day delivery of products.

We now have a ton of programming off Amazon lined up to watch on TV via our Roku device. In addition, membership lets us stream music.

There’s been a lot of classic seventies music thumping down the hall today, leading me to a realization. While the songs are not bad, some quite excellent, I just don’t enjoy listening overmuch.

The musicians are talented, for sure. I mean, we’re talking about a lot of great artists here. I have attributed my preference for newer music to the fact tunes like “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” by Creedence Clearwater Revival get way too much classic radio airplay.

Today I realized that much of the material, aside from a select few examples (“Hotel California” comes to mind, and of course it played this morning), leaves me feeling melancholy. This sensation, a weird revelation, built over many minutes.

Why should this be? Then I reflected upon what a disenchanted, miserable child I was in the seventies.

Don’t get me wrong. My childhood was not terrible by any means. Many would call my upbringing idyllic with no argument from me. That child just could not be pleased. Perhaps it was hormonal, a black cloud building long before the storm of mid eighties adolescence. I don’t know.

All I can say is I’m glad the music has been turned off. Maybe I’ll listen to Palaye Royale’s “Boom Boom Room (Side A)” again now. Next spring should see “Side B” for sale. Hurray! But I digress…

Let’s hope seventies film offerings don’t have the same effect. My partner found a channel featuring ‘grindhouse’ style schlock. I did enjoy when Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino directed odes to the genre ten years ago. We actually saw those in the theater.

Have you seen “Planet Terror”? Now, an image to make me smile...

Remington Leith, Palaye Royale Frontman, Monkeying Around


Saturday, September 23, 2017

New, Old Music

I tend to watch older movies, like from the nineties. “Point Break” released in 1991 is a favorite featuring Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, Lori Petty, and Gary Busey. Watching it again a week or so again I decided that the soundtrack needed to be in my collection.

Good times.

I also found something a litter newer by Black Light Burns, a side band of Wes Borland, guitarist and backing vocalist of Limp Bizkit. Still, the album “Cruel Melody” came out in 2008. So there's nothing new there, but good nonetheless.

My partner inadvertently introduced me to BLB while I held our communal smart phone in hand preparing to ask a question. I heard the words, “I have a need”, which regarded watching a prerecorded video said partner wished to watch. Derailing me, that phrase summoned the Black Light Burns song by the same title. And thus I found some new material (Hurray!). Check it out (NSFW if your employer is really strict; no strong language or content):


Do you like the movie "Point Break"? If so, which version?


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cutting the Cable

My partner is very computer tech savvy. For years we’ve been using a homemade DVR. The cooling fan is in a ‘coffin’ box to eliminate sound, the machine's hard drive filled with excellent downloads.

These days I have been lobbying to get rid of cable television. The cost keeps going up and up while my time spent watching has only decreased. At the same time I didn’t want to get rid of our huge old flat screen TV, making the process tricky.

Folks all over have expressed shock that I refuse to buy a high definition unit. The prices may have come down but we would have to pay someone to haul away our super heavy Sony. And I don’t want to fork over money to toss something in perfect working order.

My partner, an excellent researcher to boot, found a workaround using a Roku device. As I type we are airing a YouTube video. The picture is better than before, the sound through our old Bose surround sound speakers excellent as ever. I’m tickled pink and very grateful. I need to readjust to watching commercials now and again but we will save a lot of money.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll cave in to getting a new television once those savings add up. I won’t miss lame stream news, that’s for sure.

Do you like episodic TV? I still tend to gravitate toward movies, though “Under the Dome” is entertaining.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Little Things Matter

At my mother’s memorial service one of my brother’s recalled her fondness for tiny things. He mentioned how she would find the tiniest shell on a beach. Then I found this on vacation.

Wish This Were Clearer - I Lost the Fragment After Taking This
It really seemed she was with me. We certainly spent time on those shores together in years past. The shell fragment disappearing from my pocket before I went upstairs to the hotel room seemed kind of like letting go of her.


Monday, September 18, 2017

Sweet Time at the Beach

Earlier this month I visited my current favorite place on earth, North Carolina’s Outer Banks along the United States’ east coast. Meeting the sunrise with camera in hand is a favorite way to start my day there. Early on I found that another beachgoer didn’t have quite the enjoyment expected. The photo made my sweets addicted partner sad.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

RIP Harry Dean Stanton

The loss of actor Harry Dean Stanton saddened me last night, but I’m thankful he acted to the end of his ninety-one years. And he seemed to have gone peacefully as possible, of natural causes.

Today my partner sent an article that included an embedded movie trailer of his last project. It’s titled “Lucky”, and is the directorial debut of another excellent actor by the name of John Carroll Lynch. I wish all involved the best success with what looks like a bittersweet treasure of an independent film.

To all of Mr. Stanton’s loved ones, my heart goes out to you. May he rest in peace.

Check out this movie trailer!


Friday, September 1, 2017

Emerson Barrett's Art

I decided to share more artwork by drummer and artist Emerson Barrett of Palaye Royale. This length of rolled paper hangs in their tour bus, with another ten feet coiled on the floor. This is a screen shot from video shared the other day.

Look at This Detail
Talk About Being Painted into a Corner!

I Want These Shoes

Would you wear these shoes? I think they deserve a display box.