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, February 3, 2016

IWSP

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.

Let's give our co-hosts  a warm welcome! 
Allison Gammons,
Tamara Narayan, 
Eva E. Solar, 
Rachel Pattison, 
and Ann V. Friend!

In an effort to keep these posts short I will be sharing a quote. 

Gaiman, Neil (2007) Today's quote is from Neil Gaiman:
“The best advice I can give on this is, once it's done, to put it away until you can read it with new eyes. When you're ready, pick it up and read it, as if you've never read it before. If there are things you aren't satisfied with as a reader, go in and fix them as a writer: that's revision."

I don't know about you, but I struggle with revisions. My attitude about them is getting better, but still, I struggle.

 Is revising something you enjoy or something you dread? Something you resign yourself to or something that excites you?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Cover Reveal! Question of the Month, A Celebration, Being Thankful

MURDER & OBSESSION
by Yolanda Renee

Flames burn between a hardboiled cop and a gifted artist, but soon extinguish as another man’s obsession ignites into an inferno of desire, driving him to destroy the object of his madness.

To be Released March, 10 2016

As wedding bells echo like the ring of toasting champagne glasses in the ice carved mountains of Anchorage Alaska, detective Steven Quaid rehabs his grandfather’s cabin into a honeymoon cottage for his new bride.

When he returns from a hunting trip, Steven’s faced with five police officers, who “Want to talk.” Plagued by two unsolved murders, the Department is searching for answers.

The conversation comes to a deafening halt as the team finds a bloody crime scene in the bridal suite. "Where's her body?" is a question Steven cannot fathom. 

Steven’s jaw clenches and his heart races. Images of Sarah streak through his mind.
The silence breaks as an explosion of accusations vibrate through every fiber of his being.
Steven bolts…

Although running is never the smart thing to do, Steven’s not thinking clearly and his escape into the wilderness of the Brooks Range proves almost fatal.

This Steven Quaid mystery is both personal and heartbreaking.

*****
  About Yolanda Renee:
At one time Alaska called to me and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun, survive in below zero temperatures, and hike the Mountain Ranges. I've traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and the memories are some of my most valued. The wonders, mysteries, and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left me and thus now influence my writing.

Despite my adventurous spirit, I achieved my educational goals, married, and I have two wonderful sons. Writing is now my focus, my newest adventure!

You can find Yolanda at:
                   Twitter 
                      Pinterest
                     Amazon
New Covers:
After a gritty detective becomes involved with a beautiful widow suspected of murder, rumor and obsession obstruct his quest for justice.
World damnation is a psychotic man’s goal, but two obstacles stand in his way, greed and a dedicated detective. 








***




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:

When have you lost or found love?

When? I'm not sure how to answer this question. First loves are always powerful and though I have fond memories,  I was a young naive teen. It was never going to last. Later, in my 20s there were a couple of moments. But they were doomed from the start. It wasn't until I was older and had given up the desire of a relationship that I was ready. And that's when I met my husband. 30 years later we're still together and thankful for every day.
***
Today is the start of Black History Month. For the days I post I'll be featuring some famous Virgin Islanders, both U. S. and British.

John Lucien was born on Tortola in the BVI in 1942 but was raised on St. Thomas. He not only had a beautiful voice but was a most excellent jazz bass player. This is someone I knew. Unfortunately he left us too soon in 2007.



Alton Adams was born on St. Thomas in 1889, before the islands were bought by the U. S. from Denmark. In 1917 he became the first black bandmaster in the United States Navy. He was also a composer and his music was performed by the likes of the John Philips Sousa's band.
AltonAdamsPortrait1922

Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for my Sweetie, my hubby, my best friend.
On his second birthday.

With long hair!

 Working on the '57 Chevy.

Enjoying the fruits of his labor.

Arg, me hearties!

What are you thankful for? Heard about Yolanda's book, do you follow her blog? Any thoughts of the Question of the Month? Have you heard of Jon Lucien or Alton Adams?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Six Impossible Things, Abstractions, 101 Dalmatians, Being Thankful


ImageChef.com
Is it really the last week of January already? One twelfth of the year is coming to a close. Wait! Stop the world, I want to get off! Last week was a rough one, but I'm not going to get into the particulars. Suffice it to say I'm glad it's over with, hopefully, better days to come.

Because of this, it's the perfect time to think of Six Impossible Things.

The White Queen, in Through the Looking Glass, said to Alice: "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." 

When life gets you down think of, or believe, six impossible things before breakfast. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. If you are aren't smiling by the sixth thing, think of six more. Keep thinking of impossible things until you smile, or until you understand that life itself is impossible. Yet here we are.


Here, for your entertainment, are Six Impossible Things. You can believe them or not as you wish.


1. Cheese and wine with Joan of Arc.
2. Being able to know what redwood trees think.
3. Tea and poetry with Emily Dickinson.
4. Breathing under water - without the aid of scuba gear.
5. Sailing with Darwin on the Beagle.
6. Discovering the cure for the common cold.


***
ABSTRACTION
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.

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

Today's ABSTRACTION is:
Prayer, wreathed in incense, calls to our hearts as she kneels at our feel.




***


Today,  One Hundred and One Dalmatians is 55 years old. You can find out more about the film HERE.

I have fond memories of seeing this movie in Puerto Rico with my cousin, JohnJohn. We were twelve. While my sister, Erva, and his sister, Frances were watching Ben Hur, we were at the matinee, where the movie ran continuously. One price, stay in the theater and watch it til your nose bleeds. And we had to stay there until we were picked up.

First time through we were cracking up. Second time through we were splitting seams. Third time through, we moved to the front row and were just about rolling on the floor.

One of my favorite scenes is with Horace, Jasper, and the cat.

I still love it.






Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for prayer in all the many forms it takes.

Prayer flags (lots of them) at the Khardung La (10001182746)

Jew praying at the Western Wall

USMC-111003-M-UC900-047

India - Varanasi candle temple - 2196

A praying Nepalese, Buddhist culture religion rites rituals sights

Muslims praying in a Masque in Bangladesh

Prayers in Congo

Barack Obama at Sandy Hook interfaith vigil

A reza

FEMA - 957 - Photograph by Liz Roll taken on 04-12-1998 in Alabama

Nyota, Kenya 01


Prayers of an old lady

What are you thankful for? Care to share something impossible to believe in? What about an abstraction? Do you remember seeing 101 Dalmatians?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Origins, A Celebration, Being Thankful

Origins is a recurring post in which I delve into the history of a word or phrase.

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Today's word for no particular reason is:

Twilight

Twilight is that time after the sun goes down or just before it rises. It is that time when the sky is lit by the sun's refraction of the atmosphere. Thus, twilight actually happens twice a day.

Even so, the "twi" in twilight seem to be more closely related to "half." Therefore twilight really means half-light.

Dusk comes after twilight, though it can also mean that time of twilight before sunrise. But if we used dusk for that pre-twilight time of morning we might confuse ourselves, so it's probably better to use dawn instead.

Today is Winnie-the-Pooh Day!
It is celebrated today because it's A. A. Milne's birthday, born in 1882. 
The original Winnie the Pooh toys
Christopher Robin's original stuffed animals which inspired the much loved stories.
Winnie-the-Pooh got his name from a real live Canadian black bear named Winnie that Christopher Robin often visited in the London Zoo. Pooh was the name of a swan he met while on holiday. Eeyore get his name because it kind of sounds like a donkey braying. Tigger, Kanga, Roo, Piglet, and Owl... it's easy to guess how their names were derived.

Celebrate today by reading your favorite 100 Acre Woods adventure. I'm partial to the story of the harrible horralump myself. I'm also partial Eeyore, as I can sometimes get misanthropic. What I love about the stories is that no one tries to change Eeyore, or put him on anti-depressants. They love and accept him just as he is.


Today is also Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Martin-Luther-King-1964-leaning-on-a-lectern
San Antonio, Texas is host to one of the largest marches in the United States. This year they are expecting some 200,000 men, women, and children to walk the nearly 3 mile route. You can find out more HERE.


Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for:
JOY
Colours of Happiness 3
It's easy these days to forget to be joyful. 
It's easy to forget to have the wonder 
and playfulness of a child.
Go out, therefore, and be JOYFUL!

What are you thankful for today? I rather like the word twilight, what about you? Got a favorite Pooh story or character? Are you doing anything special for MLK Day? Got a reason to be joyful?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Alternatives, A Birthday, Being Thankful

Alternatives is a recurring 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:


This is a word that doesn't have a whole lot of synonyms. I suppose we should all be thankful. How many of us over use it? (Please raise your hand. Oh, there's one, in the back with the ink stains on your fingers...) Just how often would you use "brace" or "duo?" And I had to look up distich.


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

alike, all, along with, also, and, apiece, as well as
besides, brace
consist, coupled/couplet
distich, double, double harness
duad, dual, duet, duo, dyad
either, equally, evenly
jointly
likewise
match/matching, mates
one and the other
pair/paired
set of two, some, span
team, tete-a-tete, the couple, the two, two of us, together, twain, twosome
we
yoke, you and me
***
This song wouldn't have worked as well if the line had been "Just the both of us."

(A distich, by the way, as the Merriam-Webster Dictionary explained it to me is: any strophic unit of two lines. Clear?)
***
The Grand Canyon was designated as a National Monument on this day in 1908, but it wouldn't become a National Park until February 26, 1919.
USA - Arizona - Grand Canyon - South Rim - Hermits Rest Route - Panoramic View
***
Today is International Thank You Day.
I send all of you a big THANK YOU for your being here.
Pass it on to any and all to whom you have the pleasure of encountering. 
The servers at a restaurant, the cashier at a store, the teller at the window,
the crossing guard, the postman, a teacher... etc. etc. etc.
But don't just say it today, say it every day.
The world will be a better place for it. 
***
Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for being able to be thankful. 
***
What are you thankful for? Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon? Do you over-use the word both?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

IWSG and a Few Other Things

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.

Let's give our co-hosts  a warm welcome!
 L.G. Keltner, Denise Covey, Sheri Larsen, J.Q. Rose, Chemist Ken, and Michelle Wallace! 




Sherlock Holmes statue at Meiringen2
Man spreading. :)
In an effort to keep these posts short I will be sharing a quote. Today's quote is from:

Sherlock Homles whose birthday is today, born in 1854

“It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but that you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it.”











***
Today is also Pepe Le Pew's birthday, born in 1945. Happy Birthday to you both, who have made our world a more interesting place.


***
This is also Three Kings Day, The Epiphany, The Twelfth Day of Christmas, The Adoration of Magi. In Puerto Rico Three Kings Day is still celebrated. As a child my mother and her brothers put straw and water under their beds for the camels and when they woke in the morning found... presents! I still think this is the day we should be opening our gifts as it is the day Christ received his. 
Museo. Tabla de la Adoración de los Reyes Magos, de Pedro de Campaña

***
Lastly...
I thought this would also be a good day to review the rather eclectic list of books I read last year

1.               A Chain of Evidence by Carolyn Wells
2.               The Railway Children by E. Nesbit
3.               Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
4.               The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg
5.               The Magic City by E. Nebit
6.               Mysterious Traveler by Mall Peet
7.               Letters from Rifka by Karen Hesse
8.               Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson
9.               Woven by Michael Jensen
10.            The Great Time Lock Disaster by C. Lee McKenzie
11.            The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata
12.            Death Comes for the Archbiship by Willa Cather
13.            The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
14.            Connecting the Dots by Sharon Jennings
15.            The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey
16.            Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Garner
17.            Once Upon a More Enlightened Time by James Garner
18.            In Darkness by Nick Lake
19.            Esperanza Rising by Pan Munoz Ryan
20.            Coraline by Neil Gaiman
21.            Replay by Sharon Creech
22.            The Wonder Clock or, Four and Twenty Marvelous Tales by Howard Pyle
23.            Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chodron
24.            Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan
25.            Native Tongue by Carl Hiaasen
26.            Healing Anger: The Power of Patience from a Buddhist Perspective by The XIV Dalai Lama
27.            Inner Revolution by Robert A. F. Thurman
28.            Natural Radiance by Lama Surya Das
29.            The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
30.            Shambhala by Chogyam Trungpa
31.            Awakening the Buddha Within by Lama Surya Das
32.            The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow by Jessica Haight
33.            Hot Pink in the City by Medeia Sharif
34.            After the Ecstasy, the Laundry by Jack Kornfield
35.            Questions from the City, Answers from the Forest by Ajahn Sumano Bhikkhu
36.            The Dhammapada by Eknath Easwaran
37.            A Work of Art by Melody Maysonet
38.            The Wisdom of Imperfection by Rob Preece
39.            The Heart Attack Sutra by Karl Brunnholzl
40.            The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett (currently reading.)
***
What's your favorite Sherlock story? What do you think of the quote? Are you a Pepe Le Pew Fan? What do you think about opening presents on the 6th of January instead of December 25th (extra shopping days!) Did you read any good books in 2015? Do share!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Island Idylls, Question of the Month, Being Thankful

ImageChef.comIsland Idylls: Stories of growing up in the U. S. Virgin Islands. This is a repost of a blog from several years ago.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “One of the illusions of life is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive hour. Write it in your heart that every day is the best day of your life.” That quote is suspiciously similar to; “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”

New Year’s resolutions are fine, but I/we should be looking at each day as a new beginning. Each day is the beginning of a New Week or New Month. Anyway, time is illusory and doesn't really exist. It's all in our minds. But I am, like everyone else, a victim of it.


Can you tell? I’ve never been a big New Years person. I think it all goes back to a New Years party my family went to when I was nine, in 1960. This picture shows my mother on the left with her good friend Nora. My sister, Erva,  is smiling big in the back-ground wearing the lei. She was 13 soon to be 14, as tall as any adult. The picture was taken right at mid-night. Everyone is happy and smiling and toasting and kissing and…where am I?

I remember being excited, wanting to help ring in the New Year. It was a big deal. 1960, turn of a decade. Everything, I thought, would be new and different once January 1st showed its face. I think it was the first time I became aware of the change of the year and what that “meant.”

I hung on as long as I could. Probably sometime between 9 and 10 pm I got sleepy. Certainly I was not used to staying up much past 8:30 or 9 o’clock. I was taken to a bed-room and remember specifically telling my sister and my mother to, “Wake me up at mid-night.”

Of course it didn’t happen. By the time mid-night rolled around the party was in full swing. The adults had been drinking and dancing, laughing and talking and Bish was forgotten. I don’t remember getting home. But I do remember the next day I was terribly disappointed that I’d missed The Big Event.

It was supposed to be a new day, a new year. But the business of being a family and doing chores, of eating and washing dishes, making the beds and sweeping the floor, were going on just like they had the day before and the day before that. Nothing had changed.

So what, I wondered, was “new” about it? I came to this resounding conclusion. Nothing. It’s just another day.

Because of that observation I’ve never gotten excited about New Years. Except for 2000. Just how often does a person get to ring in not only a new century but a new millennia? Well, not often. And I had a good time with my husband and friends. We fired off fire-works and scared the donkeys, but that’s a whole nuther story.

I didn’t stay upset with Mom or my sister for not waking me up. And I remember that dress Mom wore. It was white with gold-thread accents. It was probably silk, looked kind of like a sari. I thought she was beautiful. She was and will always be.

Happy New Year.


***
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 are some New Year's resolutions you've had in the past? 

Well, as you might have gathered from the above story, I don't do New Year's resolutions. Why wait for the end of one year and the beginning of another to set them? Why not make them as and when you need them? Today, this moment, is all any of us has anyway. So don't wait for that special moment, because it will never come unless you make it so.
***
Being Thankful

Today I'm thankful for shelter. 
Lest we forget or pretend not to notice, there are people all over the world who have none.
Cleveland night homeless
Cleaveland

Clochards célestes - San Francisco
San Francisco

Dorothea Lange, Homeless mother and child near Brawley, California, 1939
The Great Depression
Homeless in LA
Los Angeles

Syrian refugees having rest at the floor of Keleti railway station. Refugee crisis. Budapest, Hungary, Central Europe, 5 September 2015
Syrian refugees

***

What are you thankful for? Are you a New Year's resolution maker or do you work on goals year round? Got a favorite New Year's Memory?