Nov 21, 2014

What I'm Reading

Did you not get the memo that it's NaNo time? For those of you who have been living under a rock and have never heard of National Novel Writing Month, you can learn about it HERE. And for those of you curious about my NaNo progress, you can read all about it HERE.

Anyway, I've been too busy writing to be reading. Or to do much of anything else, either.

That being said, I did actually get a miniscule amount of reading in. I really, really wanted to read but I couldn't settle on a book, so I started about three different ones but only got a few pages in before I'd give up.

So today I decided I'll pimp out a couple of books by two of my friends instead. That's the beauty of this being my own blog - I can do things like that.

First we have MacKenzie Saves the World, by Jamie DeBree.

MacKenzie Jones wasn't looking for love, just fulfilling her dream of owning a comic book shop. It seems too good to be true when she meets a candidate for her own personal superhero masquerading as a bookkeeper next door. But he holds a villain's secret that threatens to keep them both from finding their happily ever after.

Josh Taylor can't stop thinking about the geeky comic shop girl who's driving his sister crazy with her unconventional marketing ideas. Despite their very different backgrounds, he's more than willing to take a chance on love with MacKenzie. But when his father's business comes between them and a series of accidents nearly ruins both the comic shop and the catering service, it might be more than even true love can overcome.

Pick up your copy today for only $2.99 on Amazon.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Then we have Left In Sorrow, by Deborah Lean.

After almost twenty-five years of marriage, Holly Prentice has settled into a quiet and complacent lifestyle. Believing they had a ‘promise to love and cherish until death they do part’ kind of marriage, she was overwhelmed with grief when, on a snowy February night, her husband is killed in a car accident.

Holly quickly learned that everything she believed to be true about her husband, her marriage, and even herself was based on ignorance and lies.

Richard had been having an affair.

Escaping to the only place she has ever felt comfortable…the cottage, she decides to make the move permanent, and is faced with the challenge of a renovation to make the cottage an all-season home.

Holly feels up to the task, but she’s not quite so sure she’s up to the challenge of Ben MacRay, the contractor she hired for the job. Thinking she was over and done with relationships, Ben shows her the changes that are possible…in the cottage and in her life, and that sometimes with change, you have to take a chance.

You can get this one for free from Amazon. But act quickly because it'll only be free for another couple of days. After that you'll have to pay $2.99.

Happy reading to all!

Nov 20, 2014

Earth - Chapter Forty-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 ~ Ch 39 ~ Ch 40 ~ Ch 41 ~ Ch 42 ~ Ch 43 ~ Ch 44 ~ Ch 45 ~ Ch 46 ~
Ch 47 ~ Ch 49 ~

Zephryn woke with a groan. The back of his head hurt, and when he reached back there he felt cloth. Someone had knocked him out, but then bandaged him up. It didn't make sense.

"He's awake," a voice said.

"All right," a second voice said. "You boys best get out of here now, I can handle things from here. But thanks for your help."

There were the sounds of more than one other person moving around, a few murmurs Zephryn couldn't quite make out, and then silence again. He opened his eyes, blinking several times to adjust to the light.

"Easy there son," the second voice said. Someone came over to help as he tried to sit up. "Didn't mean to hit you so hard."

"Why'd you hit me in the first place?" Zephryn asked, wincing at the sound of his own voice. He swung his legs over the side of the cot he'd been lying on and waited for the room to stop spinning.

"Here, drink this," the man with him said, handing him a cup. "It'll make you feel better."

"And I should trust you why?"

"Because I'm here to help. Granny sent me."

Zephryn took the cup from him, gave the contents a dubious sniff, and then drank it down. "Who are you?" he asked. "And where am I?"

"My name's Martin," the man said, taking the empty cup from him and setting it aside. "I'm--"

"Chloe's crew chief," Zephryn said. "Mind telling me what's going on Martin?"

"Damned if I know, son," Martin said with a sigh. He sat down in a nearby chair.

Zephryn looked around curiously. It looked like they were in a cave of some sort - hard packed dirt floor, the walls shored up with timber, but with the odd root poking through here and there. The light came from a pair of matching battery powered lamps set into the wall. "Where am I?"

"This is a cave Tierra, Chloe's mother, created. Not sure why. I guess it was some place she could escape to if the need arose."

"So why are we here?"

Martin ran a grimy hand through his short, grey-streaked hair. "Granny came to me, wanting a favour. We all have a healthy respect for that woman and her wanting a favour isn't something anyone around here would take lightly. She said she needed me to bring you here, that there would be terrible danger to Chloe if I didn't."

"Chloe!" How could he have forgotten what she was doing? "Where is she? I have to--"

"Now just hold on, son," Martin said, waving him back down when he would have risen. "She's not here. As far as I know she's still in her meeting with Gannon."

"You know about that?"

Martin nodded. "Granny told me. And I can't say as I like it one bit. There's just too many strange things going on around here."

"Don't I know it," Zephryn muttered. "Maybe you should start at the beginning," he said, sitting back with a sigh.

"Granny came to me and told me that Gannon found out the truth about Chloe's ability to manipulate the earth --"

"You know?"

"I've known Chloe since she was a little girl, of course I know."

"But Gannon didn't know the full extent of her abilities, how did he find out?"

"No idea. All I know is Gannon sent his men to take Tierra and was coming back for you. Now you I didn't know about. Course I knew someone put a smile on that girl's face, but Chloe hiding a stranger in her own home?" He shook his head in disbelief.

Zephryn didn't know what to say.

"Where'd you come from, anyway?"

"My ship crashed on this world." Zephryn spread his hands wide. "Chloe found me and took me back to her house - she hid me from Gannon. I've been hiding there ever since."

"Well I'll be damned." A wide grin split Martin's face. "I always figured that girl had spunk. And right under Gannon's nose, too."

Zephryn couldn't help grinning back. He couldn't help feeling a little proud of her himself. "So now what, Martin?"

The other man sobered up and sighed. "Granny just said it was important to get to you before Gannon's men. Sorry about that, by the way. They were nipping at my heels and I didn't have time to argue with you. I might have hit you just a tad harder than I intended."

Rubbing the back of his head, Zephryn's smile turned rueful. "No harm done," he said. "All in a good cause, I guess. Wait a minute." He sat up straight. "You said Gannon was sending men back for me after he'd taken Tierra?"

"That's what Granny told me."

"How did he find out about me, and where I was staying?"

For that, Martin had no answer.

Nov 19, 2014

On Winter Predictions . . .

As I sit here typing this (Tuesday night), the wind is not just whistling around the eaves, it's roaring around them, just as it has been all day. Only now the snow's starting as well so it's looking rather blizzardly out there right now.

Normally I enjoy the wind, however after listening to it all day I have to admit it's getting on my nerves a bit. However, I digress.

There was a lively discussion at the gym this morning about winter hitting so hard and fast and what that might mean in the long term. Some believe that because we're getting slammed early it won't last. Others believe it's just the tip of the ice berg and we're going to get slammed for the next six months.

So I thought it might be interesting to do a little research on different methods for predicting winter and a few of the predictions for this winter. Let's start with the fun stuff first:

Ways of predicting winter:

The brighter the fall foliage, the colder and snowier the winter ahead.

When hornets, wasps, and bees start building their nests high up in the trees, you can expect a severe winter with lots of snow.

If the animals around you have an unusually thick coat of fur, winter will be colder than normal.

If the migratory birds start flying southward earlier than usual, it means winter weather is on its way early. However, if they're hanging around in late November, it means the winter will be mild.

Buy a locally grown persimmon and cut it open. If the seeds are in a spoon shaped pattern it represents the shovel you'll need for all the snow you'll have to deal with. A knife shape indicates a cold, cutting winter wind. But if the seeds are in the shape of a fork, you can expect a mild winter with only a light dusting of snow.

If spiders are spinning larger than normal sized webs, it means they're preparing for a bad winter.

Check out the woolly bear caterpillar of the tiger moth. This is the furry, black and brown caterpillar most people are familiar with. The wider the black bands on it, the more severe the winter. But if the brown band is wider then you can expect a milder winter.

Look at the moss growing on any nearby tree: the more moss on the south side of the tree the harder the coming winter.

If you notice the squirrels seem to be gathering more food to store than usual, or burying it deeper, it's a sure sign the impending weather will be bad.

Thicker shells on acorns mean an extra cold winter.

Pine trees will produce larger than normal cones to ensure that some seeds will make it to spring.

Thicker corn husks and onion skins also indicate a severe winter is on the way. The thicker skins are meant to protect the vegetables from the cold.

Fruit trees blooming twice in one year are a certain sign the winter will be severe.

If the sun shines while snow is falling, expect more snow very soon.

If there's a ring around the moon, count the number of stars inside to tell you how many days until the next snowfall. If the moon has two rings around it, it will snow within 24 hours.

If you see lightning in winter, it indicates snowfall within ten days. However, if you hear thunder from the east, it means winter is over.

Predictions for this winter:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the U.S. predicts a warm winter for the western states and possibly a colder one for the south.

The Farmer's Almanac, however, disagrees: With its traditionally 80 percent–accurate weather forecasts, The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts that this winter will be another arctic blast with above-normal snowfall throughout much of the nation. The extreme weather will continue into Summer 2015, which is expected to be predominantly hot and dry.

The Weather Channel also predicts a colder and snowier winter than normal. They also predict that January will be the harshest of months, so brace yourselves.

Nov 17, 2014

Morphology Monday

morphology ~ study of forms and the development of structures

Wow. Talk about absent minded . . . I completely forgot I was supposed to write this post last night. Must be snow fever. ;-)

Yes, that's right. We've had our first official snow fall of the season. To be official, there has to be at least a couple of inches, and it has to stick. In fact, there's enough out there to scrape off the front porch . . . if I knew where the hubby hid the snow shovels. I think they might be in the garden shed, but he has it packed with such precision that I'm afraid to look.

That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. ;-)

You gotta love this Canadian weather. Tuesday it was so nice out I went walking on the beach in my trench coat. Today I had to dig my winter boots out so I could clean off the car before going to the gym. I think it's a little milder today though and the snow is starting to melt. The forecast is for rain mixed with snow today, turning to snow later when the temperature begins to drop and then snow the rest of the week.

For those of you keeping track, I hit a real dry spell writing-wise last week. Not only was I a day late with the installment for Earth, I fell about 5500 words behind on my NaNo. I'm slowly starting to catch up though - I'm only about 4000 words behind now. LOL You can read about it on My Writing Journal. Hopefully I'll be posting another update over there later today.

As you may recall, last Monday I was only about 500 words behind and I tempted fate by pointing that out. I may have strained something patting myself on the back.

I did not get the baby booties done in time for my daughter's shower on Sunday - for some reason the pattern is pretty much incomprehensible to me. But I did get the bonnet done and the set looks pretty cute, if I do say so myself. :-D

Last night I started on a new set for the shower I'm throwing for her in two weeks, but I'm keeping mum about it for now because it's something a little different and I don't want to take the chance of her accidently finding out about it. But in any case, for those crafters reading this, I learned a new crochet stitch - a single double. It's used for decreasing when you're working in single crochet. Fun stuff.

Trust me, if this works out it'll be very cute. If it doesn't . . . well, there's always Walmart. LOL

This week I want to not only catch up on my NaNo words, I want to try writing ahead a bit. I'm throwing a baby shower for my daughter the last weekend in November, so I'm not going to be able to pull my typical all nighter (or two) to put on that burst of words.

What was I thinking??

Nov 14, 2014

Earth - Chapter Forty-Eight

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 ~ Ch 40 ~ Ch 41 ~ Ch 42 ~ Ch 43 ~ Ch 44 ~ Ch 45 ~ Ch 46 ~
Ch 47

Chloe could no longer feel Zephryn's wind as she followed Gannon back to his office. She hoped that meant he'd marked the location of her mother and even now was coming up with a plan to rescue her. She needed to stall for time.

As they entered the room the communicator on Gannon's wrist went off. "Yes? . . . What do you mean he's gone?"

He listened for a moment, expression growing grim as he glanced towards Chloe and then away. He paced over to the other side of the office to finish the conversation. His words were clipped and sharp, but he was too far away for Chloe to hear what he was saying. When he was done he tossed the communicator onto his desk before seating himself at the table.

The table had been cleared and a map spread out over the top. Chloe's eyes flicked towards Ulrik, who was standing off to the side, before taking the seat Gannon indicated.

"All right, Gannon," she said when she got tired of him staring at her in silence. "What exactly do you want?"

"Tell me something," he said as Ulrik poured him a drink like he was some kind of waiter. "Those tremors we've been experiencing lately, are you responsible for them?"

She hesitated a moment. "Possibly." When he would have responded she held up a hand and continued, "I'm not trying to be evasive, I truly don't know for sure. My power lies more with growing things than causing earth tremors."

"She lies!" Ulrik spoke up. He moved around so he was facing her. "I saw you and your lover going into the old mine. You can somehow sense the metals in the ore and draw them to you."

"I was able to extract a small amount of gold," she countered. "And did you not see how the effort made me weak?"

"You made the earth move beneath you."

"A small upheaval!"

"You held the earth back when the mine collapsed," Ulrik hissed. "Then you were able to dig your way out."

"You! You set off the explosion! You tried to kill us!" She glared at him.

"Enough!" Gannon set his glass down with a thump."I already know of your ability to sense the different ores, but is it true you have the ability to draw the ore to you instead of digging for it? Do not forget I can pull the plug on your mother's life support if I suspect you're lying."

It seemed a harmless enough gift to admit to. "Yes."

"Your ability to grow weeds does not interest me, but is it true you're able to move through the earth, as Ulrik has told me?"

Here's where it became tricky. So far Gannon didn't seem particularly interested in the man she was with in the cavern, but she had no doubt that would change if he suspected Zephryn was gifted as well. Their survival of the cave-in had been a joint effort.

"I was lucky," she said at last. "The earth was very loose and it was only a short length of the passage that was blocked."

Ulrik stirred angrily but Gannon cut him off with a gesture. He stared thoughtfully at Chloe. "And the tremors?" he asked again.

"I didn't mean to cause them," she said. "They were involuntary." She shrugged. "I was tired and worried about my mother, my control slipped."

Once again Ulrik looked like he wanted to say something. She flicked him a glance and said, "Yes, in the old mine I was able to raise the earth slightly, but it was only a few inches and it took a lot of concentration. I think a lot of the tremors we've been experiencing are naturally occurring."

Gannon took a sip of his drink, staring at her the whole time. Chloe tried not to fidget under his gaze. She wished she knew what he was thinking.

"So now you know the full extent of my abilities," she said when she could stand his silence no longer. "Are you going to release my mother or what?"

"All in good time," he said. "I think we need a small test of your abilities."

"You mean causing the cave-in that trapped me and my crew wasn't enough?" she snapped. "We could have been killed, in fact one of us was."

He waved a dismissive hand. "It was a chance I was willing to take, especially in the face of the potential rewards."

The arrogance of the man! Chloe clamped her mouth shut so she wouldn't say anything she'd regret.

"Yes, a test," he said thoughtfully.

A knot began to form in the pit of her stomach.

"I want you to put the Lightning Strike out of business."

"What?" The Lightning Strike was the smallest of the five mining territories. It was also the closest one to them. Generally it was left alone because it was so small.

"I want you to see to it that Lightning Strike is closed down."

"And how am I supposed to do that?" The very idea made her sick to her stomach. All those people out of work? It was unthinkable.

"Collapse the mine, seal up the tunnels, move all the potential sources for profit too deep for them to get to."

"No, it's too dangerous; people will be hurt, maybe even killed!"

"I don't care how you do it, but you have twenty-four hours to see that it's done." He spread his hands wide. "Otherwise, there just might be a power outage to your mother's life pod."

Nov 12, 2014

Of Lack of Ideas and Having Fun . . .

So here I sit, trying to come up with a topic for today's Wildcard post . . .

I had a great idea last night as I was falling asleep, but of course I didn't wake up enough to write it down and all I remember about it was it was something to do with time. Something really witty, I'm sure. :-)

And then I was thinking of posting something witty - you know, give everyone a much needed hump day laugh. But honestly? I'm not feeling in a very witty mood these days. So then I thought maybe I should post about that - being clinically depressed or suffering from SAD (season affective disorder) is bad enough, but having both at the same time is . . . difficult.

But while I'm sure I could write a nice long blog about the signs of depression and what you can do to combat them, that would be . . . well, depressing. So where does that leave us? With a quiz! LOL

Oh, c'mon. It's been a long time since I've posted a quiz or two.

Hey! It's either that or the long whiny post about being depressed. Your choice.

That's what I thought. ;-)

First we have a quiz that asks Deep Down, Who Are You?

You Are a Poet
You are sensitive and expressive. You feel very deeply, and the smallest things in this world can move you.
You may feel misunderstood by the world at times, so you make sure to understand yourself well at least. You are very reflective.

You are a wordsmith, and you know how to get your thoughts out on paper. You are very eloquent and even witty.
For you, the written word is very cathartic. You always feel better after writing or even just reading a bit.

Next we have one that asks What Kind of Healthy Are You?

You Are Physically Healthy
You treat your body well, and you do your best to make sure you are a top performance. You take your physical health seriously.
It's likely that you know as much about exercise as a personal trainer and as much about eating well as a nutritionist.

You always feel better when you know you're taking care of yourself. You like to be empowered and proactive.
You know that you can't control your health completely, but you do what you can to make sure you're as healthy as possible.

And finally ('cause as much fun as I'm having doing this, I still have a pile of writing to do today) we have What Kind of Intelligence Do You Have?

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence
You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convincing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

Now admit it, didn't you have fun? If you want to share the fun, you can always tell us your results from any or all of the quizzes in the comments. Go ahead, it won't hurt a bit. :-D

Nov 10, 2014

Machairodont Monday

machairodont ~ sabre-toothed

Baby it's cold outside!

How cold is it? Cold enough that I've transitioned to my winter coats. Bye, bye, unlined jean jacket; hello ski jacket.

Saturday the daughter and I were up in Peterborough (about half an hour north or here) and we drove through a bona fide snow storm. It started out as rain mixed with snow, but by the time we reached Fabricland it was just snow. Nice big, fat, fluffy flakes that brought a smile to my face.

Yes, that's right. I like winter, and I'm not afraid to admit it. I've always preferred the cold to the heat, and I love walking through the snow. Of course I don't love the shoveling of the snow, but who does?

And yes, you may remind me that I said I like winter sometime in March when it seems like winter is never going to end. :-)

As of the typing of this post (which is late Sunday night) I'm only about 500 words behind on NaNo. This is almost unheard of, in my experience. Normally I'm off to a good start, fall behind, catch up, fall behind, fall further behind, and put on a big burst of words at the very end. This year I've been pretty consistent *knock wood*.

If you want to follow my NaNo progress, check out My Writing Journal. You can also get to it by clicking on the tab at the top of the page. It's not really a new blog, I just revamped my Current Projects. I gave it a bit of a face lift while I was at it and I'm hoping I have better luck keeping it up.

I finished crocheting the pink sweater I've been working on for my future granddaughter. Now I just have to do the booties and bonnet to match - by Sunday, which is when her first baby shower is.

She's getting two showers because she is blessed with a large number of friends and families, and we live in small houses. Which means there's no way we can fit everyone into one house at the same time. So her best friend is throwing the shower for her friends, and I'm throwing the one for family. And now that we've had the first snowfall I need to cross my fingers that the weather's good for it so the out-of-towners can make it.

I finally got my office sanitized, shoveled out, cleaned up yesterday - one of those things I've been putting off for ages. Starting today I'm actually going to try making use of it.

I still have a couple of stacks of boxes to deal with - I need to go through them, label them, and then consign them to inside the bench of the nook. And once that's done I need to organize my bookcases. Nothing too extreme, but I'd like to get all my unread books in one bookcase.

Cross your fingers for me. I have a feeling I'm going to need it to find places for all my stuff. :-D