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, August 22, 2016

Titles to Write By, Being Thankful

"Titles" is an occasional blog post in which we play with a single word and turn 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 it.



For no particular reason today's word is: 
Olympic




Well, there is a reason for using Olympic. One is that I've watched more of the Summer Olympics this year than I ever have in the past. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's because there's been nothing better on TV. Whatever the reason, it's been a delight to see so many records broken, so many gold medals won. The U. S. women's gymnastic team,  the women who won gold in the relay race, watching  Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky swim for gold, all were awesome. And lastly, getting to see Usain Bolt win his 9th gold for Jamaica was icing on the cake.

Another reason is, the job/task of preparing for my book blog tour in October is Olympian. I'm think I'm doing pretty well. I have about half of my guest posts written and sent and I still have the whole month of September to work with! So, I'm feeling kind of up-beat in that department, like I have a chance at winning gold.

So, here are some titles to write by using the word Olympic and its various variations. 

Sunrise at Olympus Mons
Say Olympic Enough Times and it Starts to Sound Funny
O. Lym Pic, Photographer
Olympia: The Winner Who Limped to Victory
Olympic Hurdles Writers Face and How to Hurdle Them
A Visit to Mount Olympus: How I Survived The Gods
The Olympic Garden
The Olympic Heart

I'd take on of these title and write a little something, but for write errrr, right now, I'm busy writing other things and don't feel particularly inspired.
***
Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for
MORE RAIN!
Yes, we've had a lovely batch of rain all last week and this week-end. 
Over 7 inches. 
It was a slow soaking rain.
Making the ground soft and the plants go "ahhhh."
I'd say it was an Olympian feat of Nature,
but I think it comes easy to her 
if all the right ingredients are in place.

***
What are you thankful for? Have you been watching the Olympics? Do any of my titles inspire you? Care to share some titles of your own? 







Wednesday, August 17, 2016

W. E. P - Write Edit Publish

From Yolanda Renee and Denise Covey we have this lovely challenge.
The Gardens prompt is all about creativity. What picture comes to mind when you hear the word 'garden' - the spectacular beauty of carefully landscaped tiers – the fresh delights of a new snowfall on frozen branches – or the haunting beauty of shadows and wilted plants at dusk on a fall night. 


Please share your poetry, photography, artistry, or writing skills in a flash fiction piece inspired by a garden!

Your choice of medium, genre, word count (1000 maximum) and how the prompt inspires you!

When I saw this challenge I immediately thought of Robert Louis Stevenson's lovely book, 
A Child's Garden of Verses and the poem, The Flowers.

All the names I know from nurse:
Gardener's garters, Shepherd's purse,
Bachelor's buttons, Lady's smock,
And the Lady Hollyhock.

Fairy places, fairy things,
Fairy woods where the wild bee wings,
Tiny trees for tiny dames --
These must all be fairy names!

Tiny woods below whose boughs
Shady fairies weave a house;
Tiny tree-tops, rose or thyme,
Where the braver fairies climb!

Fair are grown-up people's trees,
But the fairest woods are these;
Where, if I were not so tall,
I should live for good and all.

When I recovered my exceptionally worn out book, I drew this for the front cover, copying it from the above illustration.

Here are some photos which I hope will delight and please the eye.
Butterfly on Esperanza. 

 Bee on Bluebonnet

Fields of Gold

Gladiola

Yellow Iris

Blue Iris
Along with A Child's Garden of Verses, The Secret Garden holds a special place in my heart.

Go HERE to see how others have been inspired by this garden prompt.

Do you have a favorite book, poem, picture or painting about gardens? Have you ever been to a formal or famous botanical garden? 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Dragon Sign: A Guest Post by C. Lee McKenzie:

THE SIGN OF THE GREEN DRAGON
C. Lee McKenzie's latest middle grade novel, has been released! You can read my review HERE. When Lee asked for help in promoting I, of course, raised my hand and waved madly. Since it's all about Dragons, we decided to explore someone born under the Sign of the Dragon in the Chinese zodiac. Take a look at what Lee had to say!
***
If you were born in the year of the Dragon, you were born under a powerful sign. Dragons are energetic and warm-hearted, charismatic, and lucky at love. They’re confident in themselves and sure they can do whatever it is they want. They’re natural born leaders, good at giving orders and doing what’s necessary to remain on top. Their best companions are Monkey and Rat.


When Bish mentioned her dad was born in 1916 (a Dragon year, for sure), we thought it might be interesting to combine a bit of Dragon lore with his history. That way we could test out the Chinese Zodiac’s accuracy.

Here’s what Bish told me about her dad. I’ve underscored what stands out to me as the characteristics of a Dragon.
***
My dad, John Stanford Denham, was born in 1916 in Seattle, and raised in Clear Lake, Lake County, California. His father abandoned the family when Dad was 10. He had two younger brothers who were twins and just 11 months younger than him. His mother, a concert pianist, worked in honky tonks to support her three boys.

When Dad was 12, he and his brothers built a model T Ford from parts they collected at junk yards so they could get to and from jobs they had all through the depression.

Dad was accepted to Stanford University, but wasn't able to attend because he didn’t have the money and his father (who had money) wouldn’t lend him any.

He worked with the CCC and helped build roads into Yosemite before enlisting in the navy. He was stationed on submarines in Hawaii before the war, was eventually discharged and then drafted when the war started. However the government/military decided his brain was more important to them than his body so he was trained in a new and highly top secret technology called RADAR.

He was sent to the Caribbean to build radar stations on different islands and while in Puerto Rico met my mother, where they were married. He was transferred around until he and my mother ended up back in California where he continued to work for the government after the war and was involved in the atomic bomb tests in Nevada.

By 1955 he quit, having had enough with the scrutiny of top secret clearance and the red tape of the government and that’s when he moved us to the Virgin Islands.

Though he never went to college, Dad was (among other things) an ace mechanic, electrician, electrical engineer, and mathematician. He did many jobs while in the islands including the Mobil gas station/garage we owned and operated. When it was closed he went on to be the chief engineer for a local TV station and then built and was the chief engineer for a radio station.
***

John Stanford Denham seems to fit the Dragon mold with all of that energy and “I can do it” attitude. He had a long and successful marriage with Bish’s mom, so it looks as if his Dragon sign brought him luck with love. When you have a daughter who can write like this about her dad, you know he had to have been a warm-hearted and charismatic man.
***
Book BlurbA crumbling map from 1859, found clutched in the bony grip of the long dead, sends three young boys on a dangerous adventure where an unsolved murder, a modern crime, some lost ancestors and ancient Chinese dragons reveal the true meaning of treasure.



Author bio: I love to write for young readers. Sign of the Green Dragon is my third Middle Grade novel.Alligators Overhead and the sequel, The Great Time Lock Disaster were my first two. I’m proud to be a hybrid author with three Indie books out along with four traditionally published young adult novels:Sliding on the Edge, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Double Negative and Sudden Secrets. It’s fun to know both sides of this writing business. 

When I’m not writing I’m thinking about it or scratching my head over how all of this started. 

Media Links:

Buy Links: 
Amazon

Monday, August 8, 2016

Origins, Six Impossible Things, Being Thankful

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and moreOrigins is a somewhat reoccurring post in which I delve into the history of a word or phrase.

Today's word is: gung ho, which means to be enthusiastic, zealous, or eager

I chose this word because I'm feeling rather gung ho about about my up-coming book, despite the load of corrections which are now in the good hands of one Diane Wolfe.

That said, gung ho actually means something different. It's Anglicized from the Chinese words kung, meaning work, and ho, meaning together. Gung ho was adopted during World War II by the United States Marines under General Evans Carlson. In 1942 The New York Times Magazine reported: "Borrowing an idea from China, Carlson frequently has what he calls 'kung-hou' meetings... Problems are threshed out and orders explained."

The following year Life magazine reported:
"He [Carlson] told them [the Marines] of the motto of the Chinese Co-operatives, Gung Ho. It means Work Together... My motto caught on and they began to call themselves the Gung Ho Battalion."

And there you have it. I'm feeling enthused by all of those who are working together with me on The Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands. There's no way I could have done it alone.
***
ImageChef.comIt was the White Queen, from Through the Looking Glass, who 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.


Discovering the Lost Continent of Mu

Hearing the Sermon on the Mount live, up close, and personal
Inventing a safe non-polluting, totally biodegradable, reusable plastic
Having tea with the Buddha
Being a bolt of lightening 
Being a giant sequoia 


***

These lovely people are giving my book cover space on their blog this week. Thank you for helping spread the word about The Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands. Another example of being GUNG HO!

Monday
Shannon Lawrence at the Warrior Muse
Yolanda Renee at Defending the Pen
Pat Garcia at Everything Must Change

Wednesday
Meradeth Houston at Write Stuff

Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for
lizards!
I do love lizards.
The most abundant lizard in the Virgin Islands is this little cutie, the leaf lizard.

A typical Virgin Island male anolis posing on a papaya leaf.

A Virgin Island ground lizard which can grow to be a couple of feet long. They never leave the ground and are very fast.

A Texas brown lizard. What, but this one's green! They are chameleons, changing from brown to green depending on their background.

A baby iguana chillaxing on my hand.

A adult iguana chillaxing on some rocks by the sea. They are very good swimmers.

A Texas spiny lizard.
What are you thankful for? Did you know the origin of gung ho? What's your impossible thing to believe today? Do you like lizards?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

IWSG, Sign of the Green Dragon

Posting the first Wednesday of every month, The Insecure Writer's Support Group, is  the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Let's give our co-hosts  a warm welcome! Tamara Narayan,Tonja Drecker, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Lauren @ Pensuasion, Stephen Tremp, andJulie Flanders! 

We’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. 

This month's question is: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published? 

I've been writing so long it's hard to answer these questions specifically. The very first thing I ever wrote, when I was eight, was a three page "essay" about my family. Even though I had terrible handwriting and spelling (dyslexia will do that) my mother saw something in that treatise and from that day onward encourage my every effort.

The first thing ever published was this poem, which appears at the front of my high school yearbook, a tribute to the journey the juniors and seniors are about to make.

The tangled vines of confusion
Suddenly being to separate
And grow straight up.
Suddenly there is a path before you
where there was nothing.
Suddenly there is something from inside you
Encouraging you on - telling you
To take that hesitating step forward.

I have many stories in my file cabinet that I wrote in high school and in the following years that will never see the light of day. So why do I keep them? Because they're a record of my writing journey, a record of my mind's workings, rather like a diary or journal.

I've come a long way, baby. But that doesn't mean I'm not insecure. Trust me, I am. Particularly now, as I struggle to make corrections in my new book... which is full of small mistakes. Oh GAK!


***

The Bowl and the Stone: 
A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands.


Pirates. Explorers. And spooky ghost hunters.
It’s 1962. Sam and her best friend, Nick, have the whole island of St. John, in the U. S. Virgin Islands, as their playground. They’ve got 240 year-old sugar plantation ruins to explore, beaches to swim, and trails to hike.

But when a man disappears like a vapor right in front of them, they must confront a scary new reality. They’re being haunted. By whom? And why? He’s even creeping into Nick’s dreams.

They need help, but the one who might be able to give it is Trumps, a reclusive hunchback who doesn’t like people, especially kids. Are Sam and Nick brave enough to face him? And if they do, will he listen to them? 

As carefree summer games turn into eerie hauntings, Sam and Nick learn more about themselves and life than they could ever have imagined.

Pre-order HERE today and enter the ghostly tale as soon as it releases.
***

THE SIGN OF THE GREEN DRAGON
C. Lee McKenzie's latest middle grade novel, is being released into the world TODAY! You can read my review HERE


Book BlurbA crumbling map from 1859, found clutched in the bony grip of the long dead, sends three young boys on a dangerous adventure where an unsolved murder, a modern crime, some lost ancestors and ancient Chinese dragons reveal the true meaning of treasure.



Author bio: I love to write for young readers. Sign of the Green Dragon is my third Middle Grade novel.Alligators Overhead and the sequel, The Great Time Lock Disaster were my first two. I’m proud to be a hybrid author with three Indie books out along with four traditionally published young adult novels:Sliding on the Edge, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Double Negative and Sudden Secrets. It’s fun to know both sides of this writing business. 

When I’m not writing I’m thinking about it or scratching my head over how all of this started. 

Media Links:

Buy Links: 
Amazon

***

When did you start writing? Have you hung on to your earliest attempts? Have you read Lee's book yet?

Monday, August 1, 2016

THE GREAT UNVEILING, Question of the Month, Being Thankful

Here it is folks! The cover for my newest book.
The Bowl and the Stone: 
A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands.

Pirates. Explorers. And spooky ghost hunters.

It’s 1962. Sam and her best friend, Nick, have the whole island of St. John, in the U. S. Virgin Islands, as their playground. They’ve got 240 year-old sugar plantation ruins to explore, beaches to swim, and trails to hike.

But when a man disappears like a vapor right in front of them, they must confront a scary new reality. They’re being haunted. By whom? And why? He’s even creeping into Nick’s dreams.

They need help, but the one who might be able to give it is Trumps, a reclusive hunchback who doesn’t like people, especially kids. Are Sam and Nick brave enough to face him? And if they do, will he listen to them? 

As carefree summer games turn into eerie hauntings, Sam and Nick learn more about themselves and life than they could ever have imagined.

Pre-order HERE today and enter the ghostly tale as soon as it releases.

***
This monthly bloghop, hosted by Michael D'Agostino at A Life Examined ,
asks a question. Sometimes it's one to ponder, others times entertaining.

This month's question is:
What's your favorite beach?

Having grown up in the Virgin Islands, a more applicable question might be, "What beach is your least favorite?" But I'm not going to do that. I'm going to show you some pictures of some of my favorite beaches. There are too many to list/show them all. 

Hawksnest, St. John, which plays a part in my book, The Bowl and the Stone.

Lameshure, St. John (pronounce lam-a-sure) with approaching storm.

Lilli Maho, St. John, where we once had a guest house. A beach I often walked at night.

Trunk Bay, St. John is also featured in my newest book. My grandmother owned and operated a guesthouse here. It was the first place I lived when my family moved to the islands in 1955, and where I learned to swim. It is considered one of the most beautiful and most photographed beaches in the world.

Brewers Bay, St. Thomas. A large, wide beach where they hold the annual sanctioned Texas Chili Cook-off. The winner goes to Terlingua, TX.

 Magens Bay, St. Thomas, a near mile long beach
where locals go in the early morning to walk, jog, and swim.

Linsqvist Beach, St. Thomas, a sweet peace (err piece) of paradise.
Being Thankful
Today I am thankful for those who are helping out with my cover reveal.
I'm also thankful for beaches.

What are you thankful for? Got a favorite beach? Does The Bowl and the Stone pique your interest? I'm in need of reviewers. If you'd like to read The Bowl and the Stone, let me know!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Update on The Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands

Next Monday is the cover reveal for The Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands.

I'm sending out a BIG THANKS to all those who are participating!




Come October I have quite a line-up of people who will be participating in my book tour. I don't know how I've managed it, but I'm ever so grateful. And nervous. Every post will be different, so I'll be busy writing them up through August and September and sending them off.

Work still to be done

I have received a proof copy of the book from Create Space. I'm delighted with the overall look. However, as I've been reading through it, I'm finding way more mistakes than I'm comfortable with. I can accept one or two mistakes, but I'm finding one or two mistakes in just about every chapter. It means the ebooks have these mistakes as well. This will never do. Corrections will have to be made.

Question

For those of you with more experience doing tours and such, I have a question about email etiquette. When I send out an email with attachments and information, should I expect an acknowledgement that the information was received? Or, should I assume that the email was never received? If I assume the latter, is it appropriate for me to email and ask if the information/attachments were received? What should I do if I don't hear back from that email? I sure don't want to be pushy, but knowing who's going to do what when, is kind of important.

Giveaway
I'm also planning a giveaway via Rafflecopter and Goodreads. I've never done either of these things before... (gulp)


Being Thankful

Today I'm thankful for

HUGS

Local Afghan Doctors, Coalition Medical Teams Render Assistance in Afghanistan Avalanche

ClĂ udia

Gurung hugging goat

Treehugger

What are you thankful for? Got any advice for me on email etiquette? If you've published a book, have you been disappointed by the number of mistakes in your print proof copy? Do you get nervous/anxious before a cover reveal and/or book tour?