Thursday, November 30, 2017

Characterization – Or How to Beat Lazy Afternoon Fatigue

The other morning I fulfilled a promise to go grocery shopping with my partner. I even made myself slow down instead of racing through the aisles. That was tough, though it helped listening through headphones to Black Veil Brides.

(stupid food, don’t you know I don’t have time for you during NaNo?)

Andy Beirsack of BVB
At least we left with lots of meals planned. That’s good. But then I drove us home where it took more precious time hauling and stowing all our finds. By one o’clock in the afternoon I had not written a single word toward my National Novel Writing Month project.

That decided me to go back out to a favorite writing location. There’s another market (pricier than where we shopped) with a public use area up on a mezzanine. I have a great time sitting up there above the produce department, spying on shoppers when my eyes and mind need to wander a moment.

It was really fun the day before Thanksgiving. The holiday brought out shoppers I don’t normally see, like the young couple who could not keep their hands off one another. ~leer~ For a moment I thought she might shove him against the strawberry display for a thorough grope.

(but that’s just my vivid imagination, which brings me to the real point)

On the way to the market I felt a creeping fatigue, probably due to the big fat deli sandwich I crammed down my throat while putting away groceries. Oh, and don’t try the blood orange flavored yogurt. Nothing like the fruit, this stuff was a sickly sweet glob of goo.

Anyway, driving through one neighborhood not far from our own I felt half tempted to turn around. However, I was not dangerous behind the wheel and figured writing would wake me up. How delightfully true that turned out to be!

I ended up creating a new character, secondary but with close ties to a main protagonist. As my word count reached the daily goal toward the coveted 50,000 due on November 30th I had lined up my next day’s story arc.
Meet Kyros 'Andy' Andropoulos, Renounced Greek Heir
Thanks to Mr. Christian for Posting his Image
On that note, I’d better get going on that. The hour surpasses my magical 11am starting period. And those words don't write themselves.

What have you been up to today?


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Behind the Times

I have a tendency to hang onto technology way past the point others move on. Take my Kindle Fire, for instance. It still serves me well as an e-reader, web browser, and gaming device. And since I don’t want the ever-connectedness others endure with their smart phones, that Kindle is not going away anytime soon.

However, it almost did. Out and about the other day I left my Kindle behind at a bar. Going right back to the place after a quick confirming phone call, I decided to get it right away instead of waiting until the next day.

The bartender who waited on my partner and me fetched my device from the manager’s office. She had to tease upon handing it over.

“We all wondered how anyone could lose something so big.”

Oh, well. In some circles that would be a compliment. ~wink~ At least I have my toy back. And I moved on from the sixties, unlike some people.

Like the Owner of This Mug, Rob Zombie
Love Your Movies and Music, Man!
Do you hold onto old technology or are you more the sort to shell out for the leading (aka cash ‘bleeding’) edge?


Monday, November 27, 2017

Positive Sparks Monday - Chief Tecumseh

To quote Annie of McGuffy’s Reader, the bright spirited blog where she created Sparks Mondays, “I believe we are meant to be lights in this world. If we allow our light to shine, we can see where we are going. It is then that we can begin to truly see each other clearly. Together, we can light up the entire world!”

Thank you to Kyros Christian for sharing this on social media.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Too Many Talented People

It need not be said that the best humor requires no explanation. But when it comes to the talented boys of rock band Palaye Royale I’m willing to break rules. And this gal needs a shout out for her gift with pen and ink.

So, here’s the explanation. The lead singer of Palaye Royale is Remington Leith. His brother, the drummer, goes by Emerson Barrett. You can imagine the cropped nicknames used by fans. And thus we have ‘Rem and Ems’.
Excellent Job, Candy!
Do you like the candy that melts in your mouth, not in your hand? If so, with nuts or without?

Great Likenesses, No?


Saturday, November 25, 2017

A Chuckle for the Day

I’m thankful to have embraced social media at long last. This image shared on Instagram by Nikki Sixx gave me a laugh this morning. Someone commented, “I knew it!”

Did you shop on Black Friday? Or, for that matter, is it a thing in your part of the world as dear Nasreen remarked?


Friday, November 24, 2017

Adventures in Writing – Experimenting with Music

Many of my fellow writers rely on music to set the tone. I am no different, except perhaps in musical taste. Instead of  atmospheric instrumentals such as most of my friends choose, I prefer hard driving rock tunes whose words are engrained on my brain. Mouthing the provocative lyrics by the band Korn is not distracting. In fact, I find my fingers fly across the keyboard.

Yesterday a tease from my partner about my obsession over Palaye Royale (“You’ve abandoned all your pretty Japanese bands.”) made me decide to experiment. For a change of pace I pulled up the visual kei concept album ‘merveilles’ by Malice Mizer.

As it turns out, the sometimes sweeping violins and oft sentimental tone of Gackt’s sweet baritone actually drove a main protagonist out of the room. To be fair, Nickolas was too ticked off at Alexandra for reasonable conversation, anyway.

Late, Great Malice Mizer Drummer Kami
He Also Inspires My Vision of Nickolas

And I decided what to do if the direction stalls out my National Novel Writing Month word count. I can always have Nicky and Alex ‘make up’ after Johnny leaves the room. ~wink~ We shall see. As I type this I’m in my key writing time and need to get back to NaNoWriMo.

What should I experiment with today? Any suggestions?


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Back Up, Back Up!

No, my title is not asking you to move out of the way of the television set or something. ~grin~ This is more about learning a lesson from others’ mistakes.

As you may have read in my (many) previous mentions, November is National Novel Writing Month. Authors around the globe challenge themselves (and one another) to write fifty thousand words in a period of thirty days. For those interested in the math, that’s an average of 1,667 each day.

Some find it easy. Some of us struggle. Still others have a technical glitch and lose partial or even entire documents. I’ve been there. It’s not fun.

No Fair!
After commiserating with not one but two lovely authors who lost chunks of writing within the last few days, I realized my own recent failure to back up my work. So, the other night, I transferred everything written in Scrivener software into a Microsoft Word document. Then I emailed it to myself for good measure.

Have you created a backup of all your documents and digital photos recently?

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the United States!


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Magic of Cats – A Complaint

How is it that cats can lounge in one spot for nine hours straight, then, when they get an upset tummy over the period of a few minutes, they manage to project their vomit in every single room of the house?



Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Porterhouse in the House – A Carnivore’s Delight

Of late my partner keeps picking out different frozen dinners to try. In theory I welcome these meat and potato combinations even though trying to limit my intake of starchy vegetables. But the protein is inevitably some 'mechanically separated' (look it up if you dare) chicken/pork/beef by-product/soy amalgamated patty of mush, though I ate every bite out of deference to the animals' sacrifice. And I didn’t even know anyone could give mashed potatoes the consistency of Silly Putty.

So on the way home from swimming at the YMCA Saturday I stopped by a meat market. My initial craving was for a seldom available deli item called souse. Unlike the pre-digested looking lumps from our latest frozen dinners, these less cherished meats don’t pretend to be anything other than what they are.

Souse is essentially head cheese with the bite of vinegar. The cold cut’s unique flavor and texture take me back to childhood, when Mom and I had the souse all to ourselves. ~grin~ We didn’t complain.

Waiting for my savory treat to be packaged, I looked toward the butchery case. There I saw the most beautiful cuts of porterhouse steak. Yes, they were expensive. But now that we know the proper technique for home cooking (as long as you don’t mind your home smelling of smoke for a few days), I could justify the expenditure.

Photo Courtesy of
I intended to take before and after photographs of the porterhouse. Unfortunately, my inner lion took over the moment I opened the butcher paper and I forgot all about grabbing the camera. At least I took time to follow all the cooking instructions, like letting the raw meat come to room temperature and even allowing the cooked food to 'rest' after final removal from the oven!

Have you ever tasted head cheese or souse?


Monday, November 20, 2017

Positive Sparks Monday – Words From Willie Nelson

To quote Annie of McGuffy’sReader, the bright spirited blog where she started Sparks Mondays, "I believe we are meant to be lights in this world. If we allow our light to shine, we can see where we are going. It is then that we can begin to truly see each other clearly. Together, we can light up the entire world!"

I’m really enjoying the website Brainy Quote. Today, like last Monday, I decided to go with a musician. Thank you for these wise words, Mr. Nelson.

Won't you join us?


Sunday, November 19, 2017


During National Novel Writing Month I like to update my word count on the official website throughout daily writing time. Yesterday I entered the wrong number and didn’t notice until later, when I found this:

Do you think I could write fifty thousand words between November 18 and the thirtieth?


I don’t think so. But believe me, some folks I’ve met could.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Impulse Buy

On a normal day I find it quite easy to ignore advertisements online. Then Facebook showed an ad for this dress. I couldn’t resist, and hope the outfit doesn't look too much like a costume.
I Do Need Some New Clothes...
I ordered the dress a size larger than is hopefully (!) needed because I’ll likely need to have it altered for length, anyway, since I’m quite petite. And so I decided to go bigger in case the sizing runs small. Too many times I’ve ordered clothing online and found the fit snug (even shoes!).

The garment also comes in blue, purple, and green in place of the orange. Do you think I made the right choice?


Friday, November 17, 2017

Bogart’s, Here I Come

My newest favorite rock band Palaye Royale is currently in France. Meanwhile, the other day they announced 2018 US tour dates. On March 29th they are coming to Bogart’s, a venue in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I’m so stoked.

I thought they would be headlining, but instead Pop Evil (whom I saw open for Avenged Sevenfold) is the headlining act. That’s okay, I plan to haunt PR’s merchandising table after their set concludes.

Cleveland, Fort Wayne, and Even Detroit Aren't That Far
Hmmm... Road Trip, Anyone?
Is it creepy for a middle aged woman to want to hang out with guys in their late twenties?

Update: Twenty-five minutes, three reboots, one headache, and an anxiety attack later I have my e-ticket to see Palaye Royale open for Pop Evil. Geez. I think I preferred standing in the snow to receive a proper paper ticket to fumbling with all this stupid tech. I can't even print the darn thing out and will have to take my partner's smart phone to the show.



Thursday, November 16, 2017

Comma Comma Comma Comma Comma Chameleon

Sorry about the bad pun for those of you familiar with the music of Boy George. And thanks to whoever created this meme.

Do you prefer the Oxford or standard comma?


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Introducing My Favorite OC

Nearing the mid point of National Novel Writing Month is always a bit of a big deal to us participating novelists. As I type I’m planning to attend a gathering at the lavish new city library (actually a day early on Tuesday, November 14th). I look forward to seeing what all the hype is about!

In the meantime, our great municipal liaisons are making the effort to keep us all motivated. And in honor of the midway party, one of these kind ladies asked for a brief introduction to our favorite original character. So, I decided to share here, as well.

Nickolas Sean Angelus Gravan is half Greek, half Irish, and one thousand percent rockstar aspiring werewolf. He sings me to sleep with the voice of Dave Gahan from Depeche Mode and haunts my dreams.

Nick Gravan, Rocker Extraordinaire
Lead Guitarist & Backing Vocalist of BloodMoon
Would you like to meet him?


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Jezebel Vs. the Devil Duck

My writing buddy Jezebel is not the most inspiring when it comes to telling story. But the other day I just had to laugh when she started bounding around on the guest bed to get attention. I managed to grab my camera and capture some of her antics.

The Mighty Huntress
These are both stills from video taken. Below is her prey.

The Devil Duck
Sorry the video could not be directly embedded but the size was too large and I didn’t want to trim anything. Worse, the soundtrack is bad. I didn’t realize my partner’s video from down the hall was competing with my Metallica album. ~shakes head~ If you take time to click and watch, I hope you enjoy.

What’s your favorite distraction from the task at hand?


Monday, November 13, 2017

Positive Sparks Monday - A Word From the Wise

David Bowie was a great musician and also quite the philosopher. I like many of his numerous quotes from over the years. This one just speaks to the spirit of the day.

“I've never responded well to entrenched negative thinking.” – David Bowie

Thanks to Brainy Quote for this. And to the lovely Annie of McGuffy's Reader for starting the sparks idea. Let's all try to bring a little positive energy into the world!

What's your favorite David Bowie stage persona?


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Happy Veteran's Day!

Today I’d like to shout out to my nephew living in one of the coldest cities in the United States in service of our country. We’re so proud of him and eternally grateful he came home safe from two tours in Afghanistan. Thank you to all our service men and women.

On the flip side, I feel guilty for having missed out on laying wreaths for Wreaths Across America today. The date literally didn’t occur to me until too late.

Photo Courtesy of Wreaths Across America
Have you thanked a veteran or service member today?


Friday, November 10, 2017

Sign of the Season

‘Tis the season for spicing everything with pumpkin pie flavors. One autumn, a local tire shop’s sign jokingly advertised pumpkin spiced tires for sale. That was funny. Yesterday my partner returned from the grocery store with something we absolutely, positively, did not need – pumpkin flavored doughnuts.

I don’t even eat doughnuts normally. I may not have had one in this millennium, in fact. But today I just had to have a taste.

Nicely Done, Entenmann's

The treat was so rich I’m grateful for the foresight to cut off a single bite. Don’t worry, sweets lovers. I put the rest in a sealable snack bag.

This beat the heck out of the nasty pumpkin flavored hummus I tried. That stuff tasted sour somehow. Yuck.

What’s your favorite pumpkin flavored item?


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Killing Time

My partner has a tendency to say, “I was just killing time” when I apologize for interrupting something being read or watched. My response is to mutter, “Murderer.”

In all seriousness, that statement does tend to bother me. Another careless remark I hear is “time is free.” No, I argue, it’s the most precious commodity we have.

On that note, it’s time I get writing. It's National Novel Writing Month and fifty thousand words aren't going to write themselves.

What’s your favorite time waster?


Monday, November 6, 2017

Positive Sparks Mondays – Mixed Blessings

Thanks to Annie of McGuffy’s Reader, I’m posting a positive spark today. You can find her here. She’s focusing on giving thanks right now, which inspired me yet again.

I live a charmed life overflowing with blessings. Some of my favorites are those one might call ‘mixed’, minor misfortunes with a positive side. Making note of them fosters and bolsters a positive attitude. Yet it isn’t always easy. And one thing I’ve noticed is that tiny frustrations can truly undermine the soul.

So when our real estate taxes climb year after year, I try to focus on the fact that our home’s value is increasing. Maybe someday I can sell it for a shack on the beach. ~grin~ You never know.

Yesterday’s mixed blessing was the weather. I sweated bullets cutting the lawn. But then I enjoyed the back patio wearing summer clothes. In fact, it’s where I typed this.

The up side to having a nosy neighbor is knowing he’ll keep an eye on your property. And spoiled, bratty cats provide reason to laugh every day. It’s all perspective.

What would you consider a mixed blessing?


Saturday, November 4, 2017

Good Morning!

It’s 6:30 in the morning. I have nowhere to go and nothing pressing to do. I roll over and bury my face in the pillow.

In moments I realize that a rhythmic thud is reverberating around the room from across the hall. What the heck? The local AM radio station doesn’t blast their annoying traffic report music on weekends.

The sound continues. A shadow darkens the doorway, my partner entering the room. Without lifting my head I complain about the galloping horse sound (what I call WKRC’s awful weather/traffic soundtrack).


“Radio,” I mumble.

“Oh, yeah,” my partner enthuses, “Amazon Prime apparently has a lot of death metal available.”

I should have suggested turning the sound up so I could hear more than thudding. But the cats were trying to get me up, anyway, as were my fish. So I finished reading a book and got started writing.

Did you know clown loaches can clack their mouth parts underwater to create a sound louder than snapping human fingers?


Friday, November 3, 2017

Interesting Gibberish (Or How to Choke Your Inner Critic)

Experienced National Novel Writing Month participants will tell you the path to success lies in never editing while you write. And it’s true. You have to keep forging ahead or you will never reach fifty thousand words in a month (or perhaps never complete your story, period).

I do, however, have a tendency to clip untidy bits while writing. If an obnoxious word or phrase pops up I hit the <enter> key twice, move my cursor back to the sentence above, and continue on. That way those words I typed in the interest of fiction count toward my NaNo total, which I figure is more honest than counting the words from blog posts or emails, etc..

Today I read yesterday’s nonsense and had to laugh. And by sharing here, I am really sticking it to my inner critic. Ppphhhhbbbbbtttttt! Take that, you spoil sport! I think Julia Cameron – author of “The Artist’s Way” and other creative boosting workhops – would be proud.

Below is the gobbledygook that cracked me up:

gave him a How is that We the Father Richards the priest behaving rudely them saw Backing me up the behavior he seemed who which of us to hand the note it unwilling on walked sounding vague into in pressed to clutches

How do you defeat your inner critic?


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

National Novel Writing Month

Here we are again – November first. Today begins the mad dash to write fifty thousand words in a month. The Office of Letters and Light began the challenge years ago, calling it National Novel Writing Month (NaNo for short).

A Main Setting for "Blue Moon" - Loveland Castle
Somehow, even while working fulltime, I managed to meet the goal by the November 30th deadline every year since 2011. Granted, unlike others, I never did anything with them. I’m honestly more adept at short story writing. All the same the word count should be easier than ever now that I’m retired and have no plans to travel for the US Thanksgiving holiday.

This morning, however, presented me with a snag. Planning to rewrite “Changing Your Stripes” from my novelette series, I wasn’t feeling the love. Perhaps it’s because the tale is too polished.

In addition, the stories all max out at around thirteen thousand words, tops. And therein lies salvation. Divergence is guaranteed if I want to make the goal. So why not write another piece of the overall puzzle and move on from there?

As of 1:15 this afternoon my word count has tripled. Still below the day’s goal of 1,667, I’m almost halfway there. And I’m having a great time telling about the wedding of my two original characters’ close friends. Now, back at it…

Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? If not, any other fun goals for the month?