Sep 19, 2014

What I'm Reading




For anyone keeping track of such things, I never did get around to starting to get caught up on Goodreads. Okay, I totally forgot about it. Just one of the many things I need to leave a note to myself about.

Oh, here's a thought. Why don't I write out a note - red marker on white paper - and tack it to the cork board that runs the length of the bookcase that backs onto the far side of my desk? There. Done and done. :-)

Once again it was pretty slim pickings on the reading front last week. When I wasn't busy doing other things, I was too tired. A lame excuse, perhaps, but it's the only one I got.

Electronic Books

No electronic reading to speak of. Poor George. I joined a gym, so I'm not using the stationary bike at home any more, and I haven't been on any appointments to speak of where I need to wait. I'd better check to make sure his battery hasn't run down. And then maybe make an effort to dust him off once in awhile like, say, reading at breakfast or lunch.

Tree Books

I started reading Eyes Like Leaves, by the amazing Charles de Lint. Mr. de Lint is better known for his urban fantasy, but in the beginning he wrote mythic fantasy as well.

I actually bought this book a few years ago, but had a hard time getting into it. Lately I need to be in the right "mood" for mythic fantasy and after reading The Wood Wife, by Terri Windling, I found myself ready for Eyes Like Leaves at last.

It's reminiscent of a couple of his earlier works, The Harp of the Grey Rose, The Riddle of the Wren, and Into the Green. In fact the names of the two characters I've been introduced to so far sound familiar to me. This is not one of your quick reads. This is a book to be savoured and savour it I am. Which is another way of saying I'm not very far into it as yet and I refuse to be rushed. ;-)

Re-Reads

I finished Swords Against Darkness IV, edited by Andrew J. Offutt, and have begun Swords Against Darkness V. It's more heroic fantasy than mythic, but fantasy none-the-less.

I appear to have gotten away from the science fiction and romance altogether in my reading lately, which is probably why I've been writing full steam ahead on my fantasy novel whilst having trouble with my sci/fi romance. Hmm. Something to think about.

Sep 18, 2014

Earth - Chapter Forty


This serial is presented in draft form and will be updated each Thursday. Your comments are always welcome!

Ch 1 ~ Ch 2 ~ Ch 3 ~ Ch 4 ~ Ch 5 ~ Ch 6 ~ Ch 7 ~ Ch 8 ~ Ch 9 ~ Ch 10 ~ Ch 11 ~ Ch 12 ~ Ch 13 ~
Ch 14 ~ Ch 15 ~ Ch 16 ~ Ch 17 ~ Ch 18 ~ Ch 19 ~ Ch 20 ~ Ch 21 ~ Ch 22 ~ Ch 23 ~ Ch 24 ~
Ch 25 ~ Ch 26 ~ Ch 27 ~ Ch 28 ~ Ch29 ~ Ch 30 ~ Ch 31 ~ Ch 32 ~ Ch 33 ~ Ch 34 ~ Ch 35 ~
Ch 36 ~ Ch 37 ~ Ch 38 ~ Ch 39 ~



Chloe's feet were dragging by the time she made it home. She was exhausted both mentally and physically. She still couldn't believe Martin had figured out what she was, although they hadn't had an opportunity to talk about it so she really had no idea how much he knew.

A five day rest! A smile curved her lips. A bath, a good sleep, and still plenty of time to get to know Zephryn better. Her smile dimmed a little. That was provided he felt the same way. They hadn't really had a chance to talk since their . . . encounter.

Her quiet life had been turned upside down lately. There were so many questions to be answered, like who had set off the explosion that trapped them in the old mine, and why. And the cave-in at the new mine . . . had it really been because of the shoddy shoring materials, or was something else going on. And Gannon . . . why was he suddenly showing so much more interest in her? Other than the obvious reasons.

She definitely needed to talk with Zephryn. And Granny. Maybe it was time to unbury his ship, at least enough for him to get inside to assess the damage. When she first rescued him, her mother said something about using his ship to escape, it would probably be a good idea for her to take part in the conversation as well.

Opening the door she frowned. She was sure she'd locked it. Shrugging off an uneasy feeling, she went inside, shedding her dust covered jacket as she did so.

"Zephryn?" she called.

It was a little surprising he wasn't there to greet her. She was hours late, and he must have heard the siren and wondered what it meant. Continuing down the hallway she called again, but there was still no answer.

Poking her head into her bedroom as she passed, she checked to see if he was sleeping but the bed was made and there was no sign of him. Surely he hadn't been foolish enough to venture outside? She supposed if he had, as long as he was dressed in the clothes Granny had found for him, no one would notice another face in the crowd. But still . . . it was a stupid, if not dangerous, thing to do.

She nearly tripped over a pile of clothes and bedding in the kitchen.

"Laundry?" she said aloud. "You were going to do the laundry?" She gave a laugh.

The man was a never ending mystery. But the mystery of where he had gotten to was one she needed to solve as soon as possible.

Her eye was caught by her mother's door. It was standing open. It was never left open. Chloe felt the first true chill of fear. She knew better than to believe her mother could have done it.

Slowly she approached, afraid of what she might find.

"Mother!"

The bed was empty, the bedding pulled off to the side as though in a struggle. The small table beside the bed was overturned and the lamp was on the floor, broken.

"Zephryn? Answer me!"

A cold fist clutched at her heart. She couldn't bring herself to believe that Zephryn had anything to do with her mother's disappearance, but what else could have both of them vanish?

"I'm sorry," Granny said from behind her.

Chloe spun around, tears filling her eyes. "What happened?"

"We heard the siren and he wanted to go after you. I couldn't have that."

"Granny, what did you do?"

The old woman's chin lifted. "What I had to do. He's safe," she added hurriedly as the ground began to tremble as though reflecting Chloe's rising anger. "He's just a little . . . incapacitated for now."

"And my mother?"

"I'm not sure," Granny said unhappily. "When I came back, she was gone."

Her remaining strength seemed to leave her and Chloe sank down onto one of the kitchen chairs. "Where's Zephryn?"

"Back on his ship." Granny was unapologetic. "In fairness to the boy, he didn't go by choice. I may have had to knock him out a little."

Chloe never thought to wonder how Granny could have accomplished this. Nor did she need to guess who had her mother, obviously Gannon sent his men for her while she was trapped in the mine. Were the two events connected? Could Gannon have caused the cave-in to keep her from stopping him?

"I need Zephryn," she said with quiet determination. "He can help me get mother back. And then we can leave this place once and for all."

"You don't--" Granny stopped what she was about to say as a strong gust of wind rattled the windows of the small house. Neither of them had been aware of the rising storm outside.

"What is it?" Chloe asked.

"I'd say your beau is awake," Granny said dryly. Another burst of wind slammed into the house. "And he ain't happy."

Sep 17, 2014

On . . . New Poles . . .

Normally something as mundane as the neighbourhood getting new hydro poles (telephone poles, utility poles, call them what you will) wouldn't really be post-worthy, but for some reason the whole process fascinated me to the point where I even took pictures. That and it was noisy as all get out and I kept going to the window to see what they were doing.

It started a few weeks ago when men with cans of spray paint descended on the area and left their marks. There was blue for water, yellow for gas, and a mysterious pink one. After contemplating this for several days, I figured the pink marked the spot where we were getting new hydro poles.

My suspicions were confirmed when a few days later a truck deposited a pile of hydro poles in the circle of our crescent. Ha! I was right.

So about a week after that a truck came around for the first step, digging a hole for the new pole:



Actually, they dug two holes with their nifty machine. The second one was for the wire that braces the pole:



They dug the holes throughout the neighborhood over the course of two days.

The next step was planting the new poles. First, they used a baby digger (I forget what these machines are called) to drag the poles, one by one, from the pile to where they were going to be placed.



They used a cherry picker on a hydro truck to place the pole in the hole:



Then they back-filled the hole with gravel:



And the final step was planting the anchor for the bracing wire:



And . . . I didn't realize until I started writing this post last night that I didn't have a picture of the pole firmly in place. *sigh*

Oh, well. They still need to move the wires over from the old pole to the new one. Guess that'll be a post for another day. ;-)

Sep 15, 2014

Moriform Monday

moriform ~ shaped like a mulberry

Are you ready for Autumn?

The first couple of days last week were hot and humid, but by the end of the week I had an afghan on the bed and the windows were closed. Even the one in my office, and you know it's cold when I close that one. Fall is definitely on the way.

The hubby gave up the hope he'd get one last swim in and closed up the pool on the weekend. And the really funny part about that is, a couple of hours after he did so we heard a duck out in the back yard. Apparently Daphne approved of the tarp being on the pool. LOL

I checked with the Weather Network to see what the temperatures were going to be like this week - okay, I confess. I was checking to see if the hubby was justified in closing up the pool or if he was being a little premature. Turns out he was right. The cooler temperatures are here to stay.

Anyway, I couldn't help clicking on the Winter Preview while I was there, and I kind of wish I hadn't. While the east coast and the west coast are predicted to have above normal temperatures this winter, the central part - you know, the part I live smack dab in the middle of - is predicted to have below normal temperatures. *sigh*

In fact, the weather guy is saying the "pattern resembles last year." Really? The cold I can live with - I have lots of blankets and I enjoy being able to wear a sweater once in awhile. But I could really do without another ice storm. So could the tree in our front yard that never quite recovered from the one we had last year.



See that branch hanging beside the car? It never did spring back up quite like the rest of the branches. The hubby wanted to hack off a bunch of limbs - okay, maybe he might have suggested trimming it back - but I'm a notorious tree hugger and there were enough trees being desecrated in the neighborhood.

So . . . not being one to put a lot of faith in the Weather Network - sorry, but when they're telling me the rain has been ongoing for a couple of hours and it's dry outside, I tend to lose confidence in them - I checked the tried and true Farmer's Almanac.

It also predicted below normal temperatures for the long winter, as well as above normal snowfall. Just how far above normal are we talking? And may I request that this snow not fall on our driveway or sidewalk?

Okay, so the freezing rain may have shut things down for a few days. But at least we didn't have to shovel it, not like the snow.

Maybe it was a good thing I joined a gym after all. ;-)

Sep 12, 2014

What I'm Reading




Anybody out there use Goodreads?

For those of you who aren't familiar with it, in a nutshell Goodreads is sort of a reading/book lovers community. It's free to join, and once you set up an account you can use it to keep track of the books you've read and give reviews of them. You can even join in discussion forums for your favourite genres/authors.

Anywho, I've been a member for a couple of years now and although I started out remembering to list the books I've been reading on there at the beginning of the year I kind of fell off the wagon. Then my backlog got so big I figured, what's the point, and decided I'd just start fresh next year.

However, as an author myself, I know the importance of reviews, so in fairness to the books I've read and enjoyed I think it would behoove me to go back and start closing up the gap in my list. If I do a few every day, it shouldn't take me too, too long to catch up. And the nice thing about Goodreads is you can backdate your entries to when you actually finished a book, not making it seem like you finished twenty-seven books all at once. :-)

Electronic Books

No electronic reading to speak of, but I did download a few more free ones offered by Amazon through Pixel of Ink. I did have a wait in a doctor's office last week (which is where I usually get some electronic reading done) but I worked on some crocheting instead. Poor, neglected George. I'll have to see what I can do about the sorry state of my electronic reading this week.

Tree Books

No progress to report on Hunting the Corrigan's Blood by Holly Lisle. Nor was there progress made on Water For Elephants, by Sara Gruen.

However, I did finish Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It was Neil Gaiman at his best. If you enjoyed Coraline and Neverwhere, you'll love this one. I don't know what else to say, other than I was sorry when it ended. It was one of those tales that you wish could go on forever.

Re-Reads

I am about three-quarters of the way through Swords Against Darkness IV, edited by Andrew J. Offutt. Even more than the Sword and Sorceress series, this book brings home to me why I love the genre so much. I'm just about finished the longest story in the book, The Fane of the Grey Rose, by Charles de Lint who, as you know, is one of my all time favourite authors, and who went on to turn the story into a full-length novel, The Harp of the Grey Rose.

I also had the need/urge for some comfort reading - you ever have the urge to re-read an old favourite, just because it makes you feel good? In any case, my go-to book for comfort reading is The Wood Wife, by Terri Windling. It's urban fantasy, mystery, romance, and magic, all rolled into one. How could it not be one of my favourite books? I'm only about a third of the way through it because I'm only reading a little bit of it a day, just to make it last. :-)

So what are you reading these days?

Sep 11, 2014

Earth - Chapter Thirty-nine


This serial is presented in draft form and will be updated each Thursday. Your comments are always welcome!

Ch 1 ~ Ch 2 ~ Ch 3 ~ Ch 4 ~ Ch 5 ~ Ch 6 ~ Ch 7 ~ Ch 8 ~ Ch 9 ~ Ch 10 ~ Ch 11 ~ Ch 12 ~ Ch 13 ~
Ch 14 ~ Ch 15 ~ Ch 16 ~ Ch 17 ~ Ch 18 ~ Ch 19 ~ Ch 20 ~ Ch 21 ~ Ch 22 ~ Ch 23 ~ Ch 24 ~
Ch 25 ~ Ch 26 ~ Ch 27 ~ Ch 28 ~ Ch29 ~ Ch 30 ~ Ch 31 ~ Ch 32 ~ Ch 33 ~ Ch 34 ~ Ch 35 ~
Ch 36 ~ Ch 37 ~ Ch 38 ~



"What are you?" Da'nat asked, eyes fixed on the old woman.

Granny turned slowly around. "I am no one to be trifled with."

"You're not human, that much is certain," he continued, as though she hadn't spoken.

"No, I am not," she admitted. "But I was, once."

"And now?"

"And now it does not matter. Things are moving faster than I'd anticipated. I--"

Da'nat took a step closer. "I ask you again, what are you?"

"I don't think you're ready to know," she said. She raised a hand to forestall his next question. "Not yet. I'll tell you everything, but you're going to have to have a little patience."

"All right," he agreed, after a moment. It wasn't as though he had any choice. "Then tell me why you rendered my companion unconscious."

Granny snorted. "For the same reason you teleported in here, to stop him from going after Chloe. Oh, yes," she added, at his startled look. "I know all about teleportation."

Da'nat wasn't quite sure what to make of the creature before him, there was something both very alien and very familiar about her. He could not read her, and that in itself was disturbing.

"What did you mean when you said you couldn't afford for him to be caught out there, not when you were so close? Close to what?"

"To the end of this phase of my life," she said with a sigh. She gestured towards the table. "We might as well be comfortable. He's not going anywhere. At least not right now."

He was not a creature used to following another's orders, but Da'nat found himself sitting down at the table.

"You knew about Chloe and her mother, their gifts," he said. "How?"

"You'd be surprised at some of the things I know," Granny said dryly.

"What kind of things?"

She sighed. "Forgive me. I ain't meaning to be deliberately mysterious. It's just . . . it's been a long time since I've seen one of your kind. Not altogether sure if I can trust you."

"And yet you think I should blindly trust you?" Da'nat asked, unable to hide his astonishment.

"You ain't very old, not for an Illezie, are you?"

"How could you possibly know that?"

"'Cause I know what true age is."

"Enough of this!" Da'nat did something he had never in his life done before. He lost his temper. "What do you want from me?"

Granny's eyes widened, just a fraction. "I want to help, that's all. I want to help Tierra get well. I want to help you and your young friend escape this world unscathed. But most of all, I want to help Chloe reach her full potential."

"And how exactly do you propose to do all that?"

"By making sure events play out as they were meant to."

"You're a Seer, aren't you?" he asked suddenly. Though many of the Ardraci were able to see into the future, their powers were insignificant next to a true Seer. Very few races could boast of a Seer, a soul with the rare ability to not only see into the future, but to follow the paths of events as they branched out into different possibilities, like roads leading to different destinations.

"Yes," she admitted.

"And what gives you the right to meddle, to take control of this future?"

"The right of my visions! Do you think it's so easy, being a Seer? I see all of the paths and possibilities, all of them! I see which paths lead to death and destruction, which to pain and loss. And though the possibilities are endless, I know which ones will lead to the fewest casualties."

"I know who you are," Da'nat whispered suddenly.

"Good! Then I'll expect you to help me." Granny looked at him fiercely, suddenly seeming larger than her tiny frame.

"What do you want me to do?"

"You'll start by taking your friend, here," she nodded towards Zephryn, "to his ship. He'll be safe from discovery and it'll keep him from going after the girl."

"What do I tell him? Is she . . ."

Granny closed her eyes briefly. "She's safe. They'll have her out soon. But you need to leave now."

"Why? I--"

"Gannon's sending his men for Tierra."

"Then we'll take her to the ship too. She--"

Granny was already shaking her head. "No. She needs to be here when Gannon's men arrive. I don't like it, but he won't dare hurt her, and she's the catalyst for what's to come."

Da'nat merely nodded. Rising from the table, he stood over Zephryn's prone body and they both disappeared.

"I hope you know what you're doing, you old fool." Granny said, then she, too, vanished.

Sep 10, 2014

On Journals and Journaling . . .

Do you keep a journal or a diary?

When I hear the word "diary" I think of one of those little pink notebooks you need a key to open, where teenaged girls pour their hearts out about what a heartthrob Bobby is. A journal has a much more grown up sound to it, don't you think?

According to my friend Dolly Garland, who's an authority on journaling, a diary is a report of what has happened during the day - where you ate, who you met, what you did - while a journal is of a more personal nature and includes thoughts and feelings and dreams.

So while my two sisters and I keep what we call journals, theirs are actually diaries because all they really do is list what they've been doing, kind of like a laundry list, while mine is a journal because I record what I've been doing, but also what I'm thinking, how it made me feel, and even the occasional rant or dream. Maybe that's why I'm the writer and they're not.

Hey! Here's a thought. If people who create art are artists, and people who play the piano are pianists, does this mean because I keep a journal I'm a journalist? LOL Sorry, I just couldn't resist. :-)

I've kept a journal for many years - okay, you know what I mean, not just one, but a series of them. Here's a picture of just a few of them:



The journal on the far right is my current one, and the purple one beside it is my favourite - you probably can't see by the photo but it's covered with quotations from Edgar Allen Poe. And the one with the peacock on it is the one I just finished using up. This has never happened to me before. Usually I use up one journal a year, and often there are a few (sometimes many) pages left in it at the end. Guess I've had a lot more to say this year. ;-)

As you can see, I like my journals to be pretty. That's pretty much my only criteria for one these days. Plus I seem to favour the oversized ones to the normal ones and they have to have lined paper in them. Some people prefer moleskin journals, some those rigid hard black ones with the word journal emblazoned across them in gold letters, and others just use a spiral bound notebook. As well, some people carry their journals with them wherever they go, some people have a special shelf for them and a special pen to write with, and some hide them away with the care a pirate has for his treasure.

I pretty much leave mine wherever I was when I was last writing in it (usually every other day or so) and as long as the pen has black ink I'm not all that picky. I used to think using a fountain pen to write in a leather-bound journal was utterly romantic, but leather-bound journals are expensive and the ink from any fountain pen I've ever used fades alarmingly over the years, not to mention it washes away pretty easily.

I used to keep several journals - one to write my dreams in, one for writing, one that was more like a diary - but I found it too hard to keep up with them all so now everything goes in just the one journal. And of course me being me, you know there are still exceptions to that.

See that little notebook looking journal with my initial on it? That was actually a failed experiment. The idea was to write one sentence a day for 365 days . . . or until the pages in the book were used up, whichever came first. For the first 20-25 days I dutifully wrote the first sentence that popped into my head, then I began to falter as it became harder to come up with a single sentence, and by day 40 I'd pretty much abandoned the project.

People journal for a variety of reasons. Maybe they're like me, owning a terrible memory, and just want to leave behind a record of their lives. I know one person who journalled her way through depression - a journal is a great way to have your say when there's no one around to listen. Perhaps you're facing a challenge and need an outlet for your hopes and fears. Maybe you're taking a trip; a journal can be a great way to tell about not just the places you've seen, but the way they made you feel, the dreams they inspired. And what about dreams? Sometimes dreams can give us an important insight to what's going on inside our heads. Why not write them down in a journal?

If you've ever thought of keeping a journal, I highly recommend it. You can learn a lot about yourself by journaling. And whether you keep a journal or are just thinking about keeping a journal, I highly recommend you check out Dolly's website, Kaizen Journaling. She offers a course in journaling, coaching, and a Beginner's Guide to get you started.