An unexpected beta-read result, and a review

Nick Rowe, aka Babbitman (a talented writer who lives in England), beta-read Catling’s Bane for me while it was in the works. It’s the first book in a fantasy/sci-fi series that takes place on another planet. One of my characters, Tiler, is a heart-of-gold bad guy who has a flair for creative swearing.  I made up “fictional” swear words not only as a way to define his character, but also to distinguish this fantasy planet from Earth.

Tiler’s made-up curse words were inspired by the Foul O’Matic. If you aren’t easily offended, give it a try. It’s a hoot.

Well, I thought I had created swear words and phrases that were on the mild side. Then Nick read the manuscript for me, and he nearly spat out his coffee/tea/pint (I forget which). Apparently, some of Tiler’s improvised curses were rather over-the-top in the UK. For a week or so, we emailed back and forth, discussing creative foul language and making up alternatives. He even made a chart! It was pretty hysterical and a totally unexpected result of a beta-read.

Nick was kind enough to read the whole Rose Shield Series and recently reviewed all 4 books on his site (see below). While over there, take a peek at his serial about a couple of shipwrecked sailors who accidentally dine on the Greek gods, starting with Zeus when he appears as a swan. It’s pretty funny. 🙂

Nick’s review of the Rose Shield Series: 

I’ve been meaning to write a comprehensive review of the Rose Shield tetralogy (one more than a trilogy, in case you were wondering) for ages but things kept getting in the way, not least the amount of time it took to read them in the first place; this is a substantial story (over 1200 pages in total) but I promise you that there’s no padding.

I was tempted to frame it in the context of one young girl’s rise from poverty and disfigurement to power and Influence, but it’s much more than that. It’s set in a world on a knife-edge that’s about to undergo a series of changes both internally and externally with questions of succession, invasion, occupation, injustice, and revolution. And it’s into this maelstrom of competing interests that Catling is thrown…

(Continue Reading: Book Review: The Rose Shield Series)

At the Mirror: Entreaty to the Sea

I’m traveling again, so I leave you with an exquisite poem by Lana. I can always count on her to mesmerize me with her offerings. Enjoy.

Entreaty to the Sea

by LT Garvin

When your grandmother

decided for care and comfort

and laid a string of pearls

across an ocean

it’s open depths

yawning the unknown

a depth you could not follow

So you said your prayers

beneath cerulean heavens

and bribed the Norse god of independence

to gather the shards

of your broken soul…

 

(continue reading: Entreaty to the Sea)

Way way back in early August, Sally Cronin of Smorgasbord Blog Magazine tagged me for a “little fun and distraction.” Before I could respond, I got distracted! Finally, I’m taking the opportunity to play.

As usual, there are a few rules:

Use the Blue Sky banner  (that Rachael Ritchey designed).

It is sort of polite to mention the person who tagged you.

You need to answer the 11 questions set by your tagger.

You will need to make up 11 original and interesting or funny questions for those you tag.

You need to tag 11 people.

Here are Sally’s 11 questions:

1. What was the name of your first pet and what did you love most about them?
My first pet (that I remember) was a beagle named Gypsy. She was lovable and lived with me during my entire childhood. It wasn’t until I went off to college that she passed away. I have a special place in my heart for dogs that can’t resist porcupines and roll in anything that stinks.

2. If you could meet anyone from history, who would you meet and why?
Hmm. Probably Jesus. I’d like him to clear up all the misinterpretations that are tearing people apart. I’d videotape and share on TV.

3. What is the most common misconception people have about you?
Maybe that I’m outgoing… I’m an extreme introvert.

4. If you could buy any car in the world what would it be and why?
A 1950’s era Chevy Univeral pickup truck. It’s what I rode around in during high school and brings back fun memories.

e-zchassisswaps.com

5. Do you have a hobby your friends don’t know about?
Some friends may not know that I enjoy painting to relax. Here are a few pictures:

6. What was the last movie you saw at the cinema?
Avatar. 2009! There just aren’t any theaters near me.

7. Describe your perfect day?
Totally alone, lying on a hammock, reading.

 

8. Summer or winter?
I like spring and autumn. Darn, not the options! Summers are over-the-top hectic around here (not good for introverts), and I’m usually desperate to hibernate by the onset of autumn. Winters in the rainforest are long and dreary, rainy and vitamin-D starved. The only good thing about them is I’m stuck inside WRITING!

9. Looks or Personality?
Personality, definitely! I couldn’t care less about looks.

10. City or countryside?
I’m a country girl at heart and live out in the woods without neighbors. Cities have great restaurants and I love good food, so I’m not completely writing them off.

11. Action or comedy?
When it comes to life, I’ll go with comedy. When it comes to writing, I’ll choose action. Though my preference for movies can go either way, my husband and I watch lots of action movies because he’s ten.

Now for my 11 questions:

  1. What country have you never visited but would love to, and why?
  2. What person in your life (not including family members) has most shaped who you are today?
  3. List three things that make you happy?
  4. What’s your favorite genre to read?
  5. What time period in history most intrigues you, and why?
  6. If you could add a new talent to your repertoire, what would it be, and why?
  7. Where is your favorite place in the world, and why?
  8. What animal best describes your personality, and why?
  9. What’s your favorite recipe (and please share it)?
  10. Hiking boots, sneakers, heels, or flip-flops?
  11. Would you rather have tons of love and little wealth, or tons of wealth and little love?

And I tag… everyone who wants to play. Enjoy!

And be sure to stop by Sally’s and check out her amazing blog. If you write, read, travel, eat, or enjoy learning something new, her blog is a great place to visit. 🙂

#Blue Sky Tag – Time for a little fun and distraction…#TGIF

Fall #Writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

Mrs. N planted moss around the bubbling waterfall and wiped her muddy hands on her jeans. Thank the stars that autumn was yoohooing at the garden gate. Summer was Mrs. N’s most hectic time with keeping the property up and making it look pretty for the residents. No doubt about it, everything grew like weeds—assuming there was such a thing—but it still required knuckle-swelling, knee-creaking work!

She preferred a natural-looking landscape, but even that took planning. “Meticulous design is the foundation to success,” the boss man insisted, even if most people didn’t realize it when marveling over the results. And honestly, that was the point, wasn’t it? Nature was supposed to look natural.

And it wasn’t only about plants; there were animals scurrying and flitting about. The perfect garden had to take them into account too. As usual, she’d planted wildflowers here and there for a lively surprise and to satisfy the bees and butterflies.

This year had been dry, and sprinkling raindrops on roses had taken an ocean of effort. She smiled at the waterfall and checked the crumpled list of chores she wrestled from her back pocket. Seed-gathering! That had started way back in July, for heaven’s sake. Envelopes lined her garden bench with thousands of varieties, gazillions really, at least that’s what her aching back told her.

Some perennials needed to be divided, but she was too worn out for that. They’d grow or die off—survival of the fittest didn’t only apply to creatures with teeth and feet. And she’d resigned herself decades ago to just flinging her bulbs willy-nilly. The leaves would cover them in a few weeks, and she’d consider them planted!

She sighed at the grass stains on her knees as autumn bellowed and rattled the gate. Tuckered out, Mrs. N made the same deal with herself that she made every year. Screw it. Time for some fun.

With renewed vigor, she rummaged through her shed. Autumn… autumn was for artists, and Mrs. N was the top of her class, a master, even better than that Dutch guy. Autumn was where she shined. It was messy and creative, a free-for-all celebration after the endless toil of summer.

She lugged her cans of color into the sunlight, all the ones she’d restocked last winter, including an array of scarlets and golds, pumpkin and vermillion, a touch of eggplant and jay blue. With a rusty screwdriver, she popped off the lids.

After swigging down three bottles of hard cider, she did some stretches to limber up. A bit tipsy, she threw open the gate and let autumn burst into the yard. The two of them twirled through her garden in a drunken dance, giggling and snorting and splattering color with fat brushes until the place was a messy, vibrant masterpiece.

With a satisfied yawn, Mrs. N settled into her lawn chair, content to let autumn fling the last drops from the cans. She put her feet up and admired their work. When autumn too wore herself out and disappeared through the gate, as she always did, Mrs. N snuggled under her white blanket and dreamed about spring.

***

Thanks to Sue Vincent for the colorful autumn #Writephoto prompt.

I’m on the road again with sketchy internet. I hope you enjoy and will respond to comments and return visits as soon as I’m able. Enjoy!

 

An update… Life rolls onward

Mom in 2014

My brother Justin and I arrived in Colorado to whisper our goodbyes to our mom.

It turned out that she’d contracted E-coli, and while the illness raged through her intestines, it also caused kidney damage and cardiac complications. In her already weakened state, it was draining what was left of her strength.

I sat vigil in her hospital room, slept on a bench, aided the amazing nurses, and after 9 exhausting days in intensive care, my mom’s health began to improve.

In the meantime, two hours away, my dad contracted E-coli (I learned later that CNN reported the outbreak). Justin and I were on double duty, driving, caretaking, and cleaning! The old codger refused to go to the hospital, and he was strong enough that we decided not to drag him there by his ears. He remains at home and is recovering.

My mom is still terribly frail but has been moved to a rehabilitation center as a step toward going home. I remain hopeful and will be facilitating her transition home and then moving them both to senior housing near Justin and me as soon as space becomes available.

I’m home for a few days and then back to Colorado this weekend. Life has been topsy-turvy, the blog suffers from neglect, best-laid plans are in shambles, but I have no regrets for being part of my mom’s last weeks or years, whatever comes. Writing? What’s that? Haha!

Blogging will be sporadic during October as I travel back and forth, and I’ve been contemplating a few changes for the new year – all fun writerly stuff! I hope to visit everyone during this brief respite at home, but I don’t expect I’ll post frequently until things settle down. Thank you all for your kind wishes and concern. I have thought of you often over the last two weeks.

 

Go Gently into that Good Night

My dear sweet mother is nearing the end of her life, and I find myself suddenly dashing for the airport. I will be away from the blog for a few weeks.

This beautiful poem and the accompanying photos by Sue Vincent speak eloquently of the arc of life as expressed through flowers. I encourage you to read it to the end. I have closed comments here, simply because I would feel obligated to reply, and my heart is elsewhere. But trust that I know you wish me peace and comfort. Please enjoy this stunning poem.

Flowers

There were always flowers.

Orchids pinned upon a mother’s breast,

All lace and diamonds.

Long black gloves

And painted lips,

As she left, laughing.

A child who watched

As the door closed.

There were flowers…

Yellow tulips,

Cellophane and ribbon

A girl who blushed

As the curtain fell

Upon the stage;

She cradled them,

A first bouquet.

There were flowers

Roses and lilies

White, in hands and hair,

Their fragrance mingled…

 

Continue reading at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

 

 

Autumn

pixabay image

In celebration of Colleen’s 100th poetry challenge! A haibun/tanka.

Autumn

I love autumn, even though it’s a season of dying. There’s no ignoring the withering of vines and weeds, the fading light and deepening chill. Leaves cease gobbling up sunlight and chlorophyll breaks down. The green ripeness withdraws, revealing shades of canary yellow, pumpkin, and fire-engine red… before crisping to brown. How softly life let’s go. With a breath of wind, it drifts and returns to the earth. Nature is wise, isn’t she… to make this time of dying so beautiful? There are lessons in each of her rolling seasons. The graceful fall of Fall mirrors my experience working in hospice. If we are lucky we will spend our autumns like the leaves, in beauty and glory, bright and brisk of spirit, joyous and beloved… and let go with a whisper to dance on the wind.

I glide with the wind
in autumn’s celebration
gold and vermillion
a confetti of crimson
dying in graceful beauty