Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

IWSG

Posting first Wednesday of every month YOU too can sign up HERE to find out more about the purpose of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh.

In an effort to keep these posts short and sweet, I'll be sharing an appropriate quote. 

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Today's quote is from , Under the Wide and Starry Sky, by Nancy Horan, an historical novel about the extraordinary lives Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife, Fanny.

Stevenson Family with Kalakaua (PP-96-14-010)

 l to r: In Hawaii, Lloyd (Fanny's son) Fanny, RLS, King Kalakaua, and Stevenson's mother, Margaret. Around 1889.





I've always had a deep fondness for RLS. I knew a little about his life, but this novel opened my eyes to many things. Nancy Horan obviously did a great deal of research.

 Did you know he wrote Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde while near death's door? In fact, he wrote the first draft in three days. Then he decided he didn't like it, burned it, and wrote a second draft in the following three days. All this by hand, in pen and ink.

Despite battling chronic lung problems and other health issues his entire life, that often kept him bed-ridden for weeks, even months at a time, Stevenson had an incredibly optimistic and positive outlook on life.

The author, Ms. Horan, has Stevenson say this about writers who believe they need to write literary realism. "Obviously, I'm not afraid to write about cruelty or violence." (He's talking here about Dr. J and Mr. H.) "But for a writer to feed the reader great dank heaps of ugliness in the name of realism is dispiriting. And to foist such stuff on young minds? It's evil. Writers should find out where joy resides and give it a voice. Every bright word or picture is a piece of pleasure set afloat. The reader catches it, and he goes on his way rejoicing. It's the business of art to send him that way as often as possible. I have to believe that every heart that has beat strongly and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world. If I cannot believe that, then why should I go on? Why should anyone go on?"

I love, love, LOVE this.

Are you familiar with the novel? Have you read any books by Stevenson? Got a favorite?

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Creative Blogger Award, Alternatives, and Being Thankful




On Friday, June 19th, I was taken by surprise when Spacerguy over at Star Trek - Sci Fi Blog
chose me, out of all the bloggers out there, for the Creative Blogger Award. What a nice warm fuzzy feeling. Thank you, Spacerguy!


The rules for this award are simple enough.

1. Thank and post the link to the person who nominated you.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself to your readers.
3. Nominate 5-10-20 blogs and notify them.
4. Pass on the rules.

Star Trek - Sci Fi Blog.
If you want to know ANYthing about Star Trek, Spacerguy's blog is THE place to hang out. Do hop over there and say hello.

Five facts about me.

1.) My hair reaches past my waist. I get three or four inches trimmed off it every six months or so. I dyed it strawberry blond, briefly when I was in my 20s. (Does that count as three facts? Can you guess what I'm doing?)


2.) This September I will have been married for 30 years, which is almost half my life! Where did the time go?

3.) I used to draw some pretty interesting abstract stuff, all in pencil. The one at right is inspired by a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke which reads:

I live my life in growing orbits
which move out over the things of the world.
Perhaps I can never achieve the last,
but that will be my attempt.

I am circling around God, around the ancient tower,
and I have been circling for a thousand years,
and I still don't know if I am a falcon, or a storm,
or a great song.

4.) I lived for a brief crazy time in Hollywood, California and used to walk up into Griffith Park on the week-ends in an effort to keep my sanity.

5.) Yesterday was my birthday.

My nominees are:
Farawayeyes at Far Away Series: Because she the's one who started The Battle of the Bands
Gary at Klahanie: Because I just know he and Penny will have something witty to say
Liza at Middle Passages: Because her posts are all so beautiful
Anne at Piedmont Writer: Because she needs to come out of the woodwork a bit more
Robyn Campbell: Because she's such a good friend
Rena Jones: Because she takes such great photos
***
Alternatives are synonyms for an over used word. Click on the tab above for a "complete" list of over used words.

Today's word is:



A couple of weeks ago... no seriously, upwards of two weeks ago, well, maybe it was a couplet of weeks ago... I came across an article posted on the Insecure Writer's Support Group Page. I wish now I'd taken notes about who wrote it with links and everything, but I didn't. Anyway, it was written by someone who does a lot of editing and she shared her list of over used words. I was pleased that find many of her words were already on my list. I was even more pleased to be able to add quite a few. More than a duet, perhaps even more than a smattering. This is the first of the latest additions.

Depending on how you use it, this list may come in handy for finding another way to say the same thing

a few, atom

brace

couplet, crumb

defined, deuce, divers, doublet, duet, duo, dyad

express

fragment

grain

handful, husband and wife

individual, iota, item

jot

many, marked, match, minority, modicum, molecule

newlyweds, numerous

one

pair, particle, particular, precise

regular

scatter/scattering, scrap, set, several, shred, singular, smatter/smattering, some, span, special, specific, specified, sprinkle/sprinkling, sundry

team, tittle, twain, twosome

upwards of

various

wit

yoke

Being Thankful

Today I am thankful for whales.

Humpback

Blue Whale


Sperm Whale
Any kind of whale.

My favorite Star Trek movie is The Voyage Home.


What are you thankful for today? Got a favorite Star Trek movie? Care to share something about yourself in the comments that I don't know about? Does one alternative appeal to you more than another? 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Abstractions, The Monday Muse, A Win, and Being Thankful

Welcome to my Crazy Quilt.


An abstraction is a concept that acts as a super-categorical noun for all subordinate concepts, and connects any related concepts as a group, field, or category. (Clear?) An abstraction is a word like love, hate, joy, beauty, cunning, disgust. In this game we turn them into a kind of poetry or a piece of flash fiction. They also make excellent writing prompts. Try it on, leave one in the comments.

The rules are simple. You can change them around.
 1: Abstraction + verb + place
 2: Describe what the abstraction is wearing
 3: Summarize the action

Today's ABSTRACTION is:

Delight, wearing tinkling tinsel, danced through the flower beds, and left laughter trailing in her wake.

I can see a fairy-like creature, pirouetting on flower petals, leaping from leaf to leaf. I see her inspecting for aphids and calling in the ladybug troops wherever needed. She carries with her a magic crystalline vial that holds within it all the scents of all the flowers in the garden where she lives.
ImageChef.com
See how the Abstraction turned into The Monday Muse?

This has the possibility of becoming a fairy tale, but something would have to go wrong. Perhaps Delight's vial loses its power, or the garden is threatened by a huge invasion of thrips that her labybug troops can't handle. Either way she has to find help. Which means she has to leave her garden for the first time in her very long life.

What will she find beyond the privet hedge and rose bushes? Who or what is she looking for? What adventures will she have? How will her experiences change her?
***
A Win!

From Natalie over at Literary Rambles I won Sarah McQuire's debut novel, Valiant.
Saville despises the velvets and silks that her father prizes more than he’s ever loved her. Yet when he’s struck ill she’ll do anything to survive–even dressing as a boy and begging a commission to sew for the king.

But piecing together a fine coat is far simpler than unknotting court gossip about an army of giants, led by a man who cannot be defeated, marching toward Reggen to seize the throne. Saville knows giants are just stories, and no man is immortal.

Then she meets them, two scouts as tall as trees. After she tricks them into leaving, tales of the daring tailor’s triumph quickly spin into impossible feats of giant-slaying. And stories won’t deter the Duke and his larger-than-life army.

Now only a tailor girl with courage and cunning can see beyond the tales to discover the truth and save the kingdom.

Valiant is a rich reimaging of "The Brave Little Tailor," artfully crafting a story of understanding, identity, and fighting to protect those you love most.

Natalie regularly gives away books by the authors she interviews. I hope you stop by and check out her informative blog.


***
Being Thankful

Today I'm thankful for clouds. My Sweetie and I call them decorations.

They give us something to hang our imagination on.

 They bring us rain.

They break up the vastness of a huge blue sky, perhaps helping to make us feel less small.

They make a fabulous canvass of which to paint a sunset.
Today I'm thankful for clouds. 

What are you thankful for? Has an Abstraction danced into your brain? Is your muse being prompted? Tell me all about!