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.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Listing Hop, Question of the Month, A Win, and Being Thankful

To celebrate eight (8!) years of blogging, I'm offering up a bloghop I know every writer dreams of.

Really, what writer doesn't make lists? And if you haven't, or don't, can you really be considered a writer? Ooops, hope I haven't offended any listless people....

Although I've been listing since I was in high school, it wasn't until I read Ray Bradbury's book ZEN IN THE ART OF WRITING that I became aware of the importance of listing in the creative process.

You can read what Mr. Bradbury has to say about lists HERE. If you haven't read his book I strongly suggest you do.

This fest will be so easy and fun it should probably be a crime.

The rules are simple. All you have to do is sign up in the linky thingy below, grab the banner, and make a list. I suggest you keep your list to between 5 and 25 items long. We'll visit each other on October 26th.

You can list whatever you feel like (except for adult type content). That's it! Of course, if you'd like to help spread the word, I'm not going to fuss at you.

And, if this bloghop does well, it will become an annual October event!

Think about it, the ideas are endless.
You could list:
favorite trees/animals/flowers/insects/pets
favorite books/movies/actors/heroes/villains/music/concerts you've been to
places you'd like to go/places you've been to
make a bucket list
favorite food/desserts/drinks
favorite names
favorite scientists/mathematicians/artists
favorite activists/saints/prophets
favorite myths/mythological places/gods/goddesses
your morning/evening routine
important things to pack when going on vacation
what to take on a picnic
biggest fears
greatest loves
the birthdays of your family members
things you like/dislike doing
foods you don't like to eat
pictures of your cat/dog
cars you've owned
places you've lived/schools you've attended
musical instruments you play
important moments in history you've lived through
historical eras you'd like to have lived in
famous people (dead or alive) that you'd like to meet

And there you have it, without even trying I came up with a 25 point list, listing 50 things to list about....

So how about it, care to list with me?

Question of the Month
I decided to join this monthly bloghop because answering thoughtful/challenging questions is one way to expand one's mind. Hosted by Michael D'Agostino at A Life Examined ,  the question this month is: “Who would play you in a movie of your life?”

I've never given this idea any serious thought. I guess I'm not vain enough. Even now, thinking about it, and knowing how Hollywood distorts things to make a story more exciting, or racier, or adventurous, I have to say I wouldn't want anyone playing me, nor would I want a movie made of my life. I guess I'm just not fascinated enough with myself, at least, not it "that" way.

Being Thankful

Today I'm thankful for butterflies. 

We're seeing these lovelies (the Spicebush Swallowtail) in our yard 
now that the Esperanza is blooming.  

What are you thankful for? Signing up for my bloghop? Have you ever thought about someone playing you in a movie? 

Monday, September 28, 2015

What I Did Last Week, A Win, and Being Thankful

Thank you all, who wished me and my Sweetie a happy anniversary last week Monday. I had these wonderful intentions of visiting with those of you who so kindly commented and other bloggers as well, but... well, I ended up in the hospital. So instead of having a nice dinner at a nice restaurant on my 30th, I was on IV fluids and ice chips! It takes me a while to recuperate from these bouts with intestinal blockages during which time I'm just not interested in sitting at the computer and visiting.

But I'm back again, and here I am, and all is well.

My first excursion out of the house was on Friday the 25th. It was Texas Heritage Music Day put on by the Texas Heritage Music Foundation. It's an opportunity for school kids of all ages, not to mention adults, to see demonstrations on things like how weave pine needle baskets, spin wool, tan hides, or sit in a tepee. And, while wandering around, there is all kinds of different music drifting on the air: blue grass, Tejano, a dulcimer orchestra, banjos... It's all about living Texas history and music.

But I wanted to go to see the camels. You see, I have a fondness for these fine animals. (See, she's picking her teeth with a bit of hay...)

 "But what?" you ask, "do camels have to do with Texas history?" It's all about the U. S. Camel Corp, an experiment to see if camels could be used in the exploration of the American South West. Between 1856 and 1857, 75 camels were brought over from the Middle East, mostly Turkey and Egypt. Once they arrived on the Texas coast the camels were brought to a small army outpost called Camp Verde. (I was scratching her neck.)

Although the "experiment" was short-lived -- with the start of the Civil War the camels and fort were surrendered to the Confederate army and after the war the railroads were coming into their own -- the camels DID prove useful. They delivered mail and carried supplies between San Antonio and parts west. They helped explore and map Great Bend. They forged a middle passage across the South West to California which is now Route 66 and Interstate 40 and they explored the Mojave Desert. 
(Yes, you have every right to be proud of your ancestors.) 

In 2008, 150 years later, the camels returned to Camp Verde. 

Camels in front of the 150 year-old Camp Verde General Store. 
We have camels in Texas, thanks to Doug Baum and the Texas Camel Corp.


A Win!
If you haven't subscribed to C. Lee McKenzie's newsletter, you're missing out. Only those who sign up are eligible for special offerings, like BOOKS! Why just last week she pulled my name out of the hat and I won the ARC of The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow by Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robeinson. You can visit their blog, HERE.

About The Secret Files:
Fear Not the Unexpected.  
Eleven-year-old Fairday Morrow is less than thrilled that her family is moving thousands of miles from civilization to the quiet country town of Ashpot, Connecticut, where she’s absolutely certain she’ll die of boredom. 
As if leaving New York City and her best friend, Lizzy, the only other member of the elite Detective Mystery Squad (DMS), weren’t bad enough, Fairday is stuck living in the infamous Begonia House, a creepy old Victorian with dark passageways, a gigantic dead willow tree, and a mysterious past. 
         Before she can even unpack, strange music coming from behind a padlocked door leads Fairday up a spiral staircase and into a secret room, where an ancient mirror, a brass key, and a strange picture of a red-haired lady are the first in a series of clues that takes the members of the Detective Mystery Squad on an amazing adventure.

Being Thankful

Today I'm thankful for competent and friendly hospital staff. 'Nough said! :)


What are you thankful for? Ever gotten up close and personal with a camel? Did you know about the part camels played in the opening up of the desert South West? Have you read The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Titles to Write By, The Monday Muse, A Book Win, Being Thankful

"Titles to Write By" is about playing with a single word and turning it into, what else, titles! Afterwards the object is to pick one of them and write a little something.

It was Ray Bradbury, in his book ZEN IN THE ART OF WRITING, who taught me about making lists of words and turning them into titles. If you haven't read it I highly recommend you do.

For no particular reason today's word is:


(With my eyes closed, I opened the dictionary at random and placed my finger down on the page.)

The Grasslands of Terra Two
Cow and Grassland
How Grasslands Changed My Life
Living on the Grasslands
It's a Grasslands Sort of Day
The High Grasslands
Grassland, Graceland, What's the Difference?
I Never Promised You a Grassland
The Sod House of Grassland
Grasslands and You: Why Grasslands are Important

In which we play with one of the above titles and see where our Muse takes us.

ImageChef.comThe High Grasslands

I was raised on the high grasslands, where the wind was a constant. There was no escaping it, except down in the cellar. Only in the cellar was there cessation from the constant noise of it moving past my ears, whispering through the grasses, moaning around the corners of our low-built house, whipping the clothes hanging on the line. Only in the cellar was there a reprieve from it stirring my hair, which tickled the skin of my face and about drove me crazy. Mother used the cellar as punishment. She never realized I did things to anger her so she'd send down into it's cool, dark, silent depths, into it's peace.

Recently I won this novel by Melody Maysonet! Thanks Melody.
A Work of Art book cover
You can get your copy HERE.
Shy, artistic Tera can't wait to attend a prestigious art school in France to prove to her famous artist father that she can make something of herself. But Tera's hopes for the future explode when the police arrest her dad for an unspeakable crime. Her father's arrest must be a mistake, so Tera goes into action, sacrificing her future at art school to pay for his defense. Meanwhile, she falls head over heels for Joey, a rebel musician who makes her feel wanted and asks no questions about her past. Joey helps Tera forget her troubles, but he brings a whole new set of problems to Tera's already complicated life. Then, to make matters worse, as her relationship with Joey deepens and as her dad's hotshot lawyer builds a defense, fractures begin to appear in Tera's childhood memories--fractures that make her wonder: could her father be guilty? And whether he's guilty or innocent, can she find a way to step out of the shadows of her father's reputation and walk free? Can she stop him, guilty or innocent, from tainting the only future she ever wanted? A Work of Art is a deeply felt story about self-image, self-deception, and the terrible moment that comes when we have to face the whole truth about the myths of our childhoods.

Being Thankful

Today I'm thankful for my Sweetie. It's our 30th wedding anniversary.

The many faces of Stan.

When he grew his hair out, just for me.

When he grew herbs commercially and took cuttings of plants whenever he ran across 
one he wanted to propagate. 

When he was putting our '57 Chevy together.

When it was completed. (Ten years later.)

When he was a pirate. 
As a couple we have grown older, wiser, more accepting, more tolerant, and more patient.
I think we are better people for it.
I love you, Stan.
What are you thankful for? Did any of the titles inspire your Muse? Care to share a title of your own in the comments? Won anything lately?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Alternatives, Origins, Being Thankful, and Guest Posting at March of Time Books

Today I'm a guest at March of Time Books (formerly March House Books.) Hope you'll take a few moments to stop by to read about a few of my favorite childhood books!

Alternatives is a post in which I give synonyms for an over used word. Click on the tab above for a "complete" list of over used words.

Today's word is: - Get codes for Facebook, Hi5, MySpace and more

Watch it appear and disappear... I'm going to let you add your own "s" or "ed" for words such as dawns/dawned or change the tense for words such as arose or blew up.

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

act, actualize, arise, arrive, attend

be apparent, be clear, be created, be developed, be evident, be invented, be manifest, be obvious, be patent, be plain, be present, be produced, be published, be published, be revealed, be within view, become apparent, become available, become evident, become visible, blossom, blow in, bob up, break, break out, break through, breeze in, bulk

check in, clock in, come, come across as, come forth, come into being, come into existence, come into sight, come into view, come off as, come on the market, come out, come to light, come/came across as being, commence, crop up

dawn, debut, develop, drop in

emerge, engender, erupt, expose

feel, form

get here/there, get in, get through, give/gave the impression of being, got on sale



land, look as if, look to be, loom

make, make the scene, manifest itself, materialize

occur, originate, outcrop

perform, play, pop in, pop up, present, punch in, punch the clock, put in an appearance

reappear, recur, rematerialize, resurface, ring in, rise, roll in

seem, seem to be, set in, shoot up, show, show one’s face, show up, sound, spring, start, strike someone as being, surface

time in, turn out, turn up

I haven't included a video in a while but when I saw BREAK THROUGH as an alternative for appear, I immediately thought of Break on Through by The Doors.

You know the day destroys the night
Night divides the day
Tried to run, Tried to hide
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side, yeah

We chased our pleasures here
Dug our treasures there
But can you still recall
The time we cried
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side

Yeah! C'mon, year

Everybody loves my baby
Everybody loves my baby
She gets (high)
She gets (high)
She gets (high)
She gets (high)

I found an island in your arms
Country in your eyes
Arms that chain
Eyes that lie
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side
Break on through, oww!
Oh, yeah!

Make the scene
Week to week
Day to day
Hour to hour
The gate is straight
Deep and wide
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side
Break on through
Break on through
Break on through
Break on through
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah


Origins is a post in which I delve into the history of a word or phrase. - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more
Today's word is: DAWN
I chose this word because it's in the above list.

From the 1200 centuray word dauen, meaning "to dawn, grow light," which is a shortened form of dauinge or dauing meaning the "period between darkness and sunrise," which is from the Old English word dagung which comes from dagian meaning "to become day," which is from the Proto-Germanic word dagaz, "day" (which has the same ancestor as tagen meaning "to dawn.") Probably influenced from Scandinavian words such as the Danish dagan and Old Norse dagan, meaning "a dawning."

Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for trees!
All kinds of trees. Here are a few from the islands.
 Kapok tree on St. John

 Rain tree at Cinnamon Bay National Park Camp Ground, St. John. My friend Margaret on the left, me on the right.

 One of two Baobab trees on St. Thomas that are several 100 years old.

An African tulip tree, St. Thomas

 Some of my classmates and me on a tree that was blown down in a storm many, many long years ago yet kept on growing.
So, what are you thankful for? Any new ideas "dawning" on you? Got a favorite alternative for appear? How about, Morrison and his pouty look? I was definitely intrigued by him when I was teen.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Island Idylls, Question of the Month, Being Thankful
Island Idylls: Or, stories of growing up in the U. S. Virgin Islands.
A Fishy Handshake 
I'd say by the time I was six I was fishing off the rocks with a hand line, smashing whelks for bait. But it wasn't until about age eight that I learned to fish with a rod and reel. That's when we got our little boat, the F. D. O., which stood for Father's Day Off.

In 1958, Dad was working as head of maintenance at Caneel BayLaurance Rockefeller's  private resort hotel. One of the benefits of working there was that housing was provided for the staff. We lived in a tiny house we called the Bee Hive, with the best view on the place. At least that's what Adlai Stevenson told my mother when he and his wife happened to wander through our yard.

Because the F. D. O. was small, neat, and clean, we were allowed to keep her pulled up on the main beach. She fit under a large Sea Grape tree where we could keep her tied up and out of the way and.

Picture, in your mind, the Caneel Bay of the 1950s. There was a concrete pier where guests and their luggage were loaded and unloaded from the resorts private ferry. The pier turned into a concrete walk-way which led right into the lobby. To the right of the lobby was a comfortable airy lounge with couches, chairs, and tables. To the left was the main dining room. Realize that all of this is open air, basically a roof, supported by pillars covering tile a floor. (All tastefully elegant) Just fifteen or twenty feet away from the lobby and dining room is the beach where guests can swim and sunbathe. No matter the time of day one could see guests walking around in anything from silk, linen, and mink to swim-suits and sandy bare feet.

So there we were. I had just gone on my first solo fishing trip. Just me and Dad. We had each caught a fish, but mine was bigger.  He got a Blue Runner and I got a Bonito. While Dad got ready to transport the motor, gas can, fishing gear, and boat cushions, I had the fish, one in each hand, and carried them by their tails through the lobby to the parking lot where the jeep was parked. There I was to unload the fish and return to help Dad carry cushions and fishing gear.

As I passed by the reception and check-in desk a large man stopped me and introduced himself as Allston Boyer. He asked me about the fish. I explained I'd been out fishing with my father and that I'd caught the big one. He asked me several other questions before saying, "There's someone I'd like you to meet." He disappeared into a room and returned moments later with a tall handsome man.

"This is John Denham's daughter, Bish, " he said to the tall handsome man. "Bish, I'd like you to meet Laurance Rockefeller." Having been taught to be polite, I slapped the fish in my right hand into my left and stuck it out. Mr. Rockefeller, having been taught to be polite, shook my fishy hand.

It was just about then that Dad walked up. Further pleasantries were exchanged, employer to employee and vise versa. Then we went our separate ways.

At eight years old I didn't realize I'd just shaken hands with one of the wealthiest people in the world, the man who owned Caneel Bay, the man who had bought up three quarters of the island of St. John and donated it to the National Park.

As for Allston Boyer, he was a contract lawyer, for LR with a gift for remembering faces and names. Although he had never met me, he had met my father, and it didn't take him but a second or two to figure out who the little girl carrying the fish belonged to.

So it was that my fishy handshake became one of our favorite family stories.

I decided to join this monthly bloghop because answering thoughtful/challenging questions is one way to expand one's mind. Hosted by Michael D'Agostino at A Life Examined ,  the question this month is: What's the best job you've ever had?

Hmmm, I've had a lot of jobs in my life, from pumping gas at my parent's gas station, to glazing ceramics. However, the absolute best job was working for 23 years with abused, neglected, and emotionally disturbed kids. Their resiliency and will to survive was/is humbling and awe inspiring.

And now, all these years later, many of those kids have made it a point to tell me that I made a difference in their lives. And my girl A. (the one who is dying and has guest posted here and here) gave me the greatest gift ever by saying, "Thank you for teaching me how to live before I die."

What could be better than that?
Being Thankful

Today I'm thankful for the Texas spiny lizard. 
Can you spot him/her?

What are you thankful for? What's the best job you ever had? Ever get to meet a "famous" person had shake his/her hand? 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


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

Heather M. Gardner   
Dolorah at Book Lover 
Murees DupĂ©   

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

Carlos Fuentes, Paris - Mar 2009 (7)I'm not familiar with anything Carlos Fuentes has written, but I love what he said.

This is for those of you who may struggle with figuring out what genre you want to write. For myself, I'm going to write whatever I feel like. I refuse to be labeled. 

Don't classify me, read me. I'm a writer, not a genre.

Don't classify yourself either. Well, you might classify yourself as a writer, but why limit yourself to a particular genre? If you want to write mysteries, when you've been writing, dystopian novels, then write mysteries. If a middle grade fantasy calls to you when you've been writing literary adult novels, then write a middle grade fantasy. If you write historical novels when suddenly feel the urge to write a piece of non-fiction, then DO IT. The point is, don't box yourself in. Don't fall into the trap of writing only kind of story, unless, of course, that's what YOU want to do! 

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Day! Do you write in a particular genre or in more than one kind? Do you have an idea for a completely different story than you're "known" for, but are afraid to break out of your own mold? If you are afraid, ask yourself why.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Off for a Few Days

I'm not here today and though I have a post for tomorrow, which is Insecure Writer's Support Group day, you might not see me around.

Why? Because we are having a new shingles put on our roof.  To avoid the noise and mayhem, I am escaping to a motel for the duration. I'm hoping I'll be able to take this time and work on revisions.

Being Thankful

Today I'm thankful that insurance is covering at least part of the cost for the new roof, which we badly need.

What are you thankful for?