Dec 9, 2016 - Blog, Inspiration    No Comments

In the Heat of the Moment

Outdoor concertWe went to an outdoor concert the other night – you know, the kind where everyone brings their own cheese and wine… it’s a lovely evening and the Beatle impersonators are gearing up for the refrain of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, as we are trying to get the cork out of our bottle.

Nothin’ doin’; this cork is holding cork fell aparthands with this bottle and it’s never gonna leave home. Looking at each other in sorrow, we realize we must push the remainder of this mangled thing into the bottle. There’s no way we are NOT drinking at this event. That’s just the kind of wine lovers we are – ‘bad’ wine is better than no wine!

A couple of hours later, a good time having been had by all, we head for my parent’s place, just up the hill.

“Hey, kids. Pull up a drink and set a spell”, invites Dad. “What’ll it be?”

“Actually, we have some wine, but it’s corked.” (This was the easiest way to explain to a scotch drinker that we had mutilated the cork, forced it into the drink and would need to navigate around the floating bits, rather than meaning a truly ‘corked’ wine.)

Dad, always with a response, smiles: “The only kind of wine I like is the uncorked kind. Want me to open it?”

This is the father I wish I had grown up with; he’s the same person, but very much mellowed with age… not unlike a bottle of burgundy.

Bless you, Dad.

Originally posted 2013-08-15 03:15:05. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Dec 8, 2016 - Blog, Books I Read    No Comments

Bruno, Chief of Police

Bruno, Chief of Police

by Martin Walker

What a delight this book was… is! The well-loved police chief of St. Denis, France is such a real character I felt I was reading fact instead of fiction. His policing techniques are bendable when it comes to the best outcome for his town and district, his friends and lovers. His talent for cooking is well known, and I have even tried some of his dishes, though don’t expect any recipes. (I had to read between the lines:) Through his eyes one can see the vistas and valleys from his house, or the trouble brewing in the market. Martin Walker has done a fabulous job, and as a writer, I envy him. Well done.

As a post script: I have to admit, I was leery, at first. The title didn’t do it, nor the cover. It was several reviews from readers that did it. So, Goodreads, take a bow.

Originally posted 2012-09-20 01:21:40. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Dec 6, 2016 - Blog    No Comments

Happy Holiday Editing

December.

To a kid, it means winter break, hot chocolate and presents. To a college student it’s winter break and a trip back home to see if your high school love is still yours. For parents, there’s no winter break – it’s double duty shopping, cleaning, and preparing for guests, food and gifts.

Writer’s, however, are editing their “NaNo”. All over the world National Novel Writing Month takes over and sucks up November by challenging writer’s to spew out 50,000 words or more.

No editing allowed.

That’s for December to consume.

So yes, I’m struggling with character inconsistencies, fleshing out settings, untwisting plot lines so I can re-twist them elsewhere, and sentence structure. But it’s the word-smithing that is the most fun – synonym smorgasbord!

Coming up with alternate words for death or hope really wakes me up. The story comes alive once I know exactly what feeling I’m sculpting.

What’s my least favourite thing about editing? Synonyms for also, so, and yet, for example. I hate it that we can’t use and reuse these overused words so we can all get on with the telling of the tale.

So *my favourite overused word* I went to Thesaurus.com, feeling a bit guilty for not clearing this hurdle all by my lonesome. Eureka! Eighty-four possible substitutes.

“I have to share” fever came over me. Inspiration to blog caused a frenzy of writer-ly activity: pushing the cat off my lap to gain better vantage of the keyboard, opening Excel to alphabetize, creating a columned document that I can copy with the Microsoft snipping tool…and heeere it is:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happier editing!

 

Originally posted 2013-12-11 13:24:57. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Dec 4, 2016 - Blog    No Comments

NaNoWriMo Rocks

Whew! November is finally over.

The last few years November has proven to be my most hectic month. However, that may be synonymous with “most productive”.

One becomes a “NaNoWriMo” winner by writing 50,000+ words in thirty days – the thirty days of November. That’s the same month, as you well know, when family and friends come to eat turkey with you, so you have to clean house, shop, cook, clean, and socialize whether you want to or not. Writing, takes a back burner, until the guests lights go out. Then it’s burn the midnight oil , baby, burn.

Last year I won with a book I titled “The Key Club” about a group of friends that lose things, pool their copied keys to help each other out when they locked themselves out of their lives. The neighbourhood finds out about it and wants to join, creating The Key Club.

This year I wrote “Toxic Solutions”; ‘Survivors are not always the lucky ones’, a dark tale about murder – lots of it.

In 2013, I organized a writer’s club picnic complete with silly extras. Someone even brought sexy cupcakes. But this year was a small, wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family from Europe. This was the first year I ever heard [slightly] dirty jokes told at table. Heh heh.

 

 

This seems to be a recurring theme, as last  Thanksgiving I hosted friends and family from far away places, as well.

                         

To top it all off, I got a new computer virus which should be the only thing that happens all month,  because you don’t have time for anything except purging. I hate it when that happens.

But in the end (of November) I realized I actually accomplished several goals. I may even consider not shooting for a New Year resolution, because I got so much done this year. What do you think; should I burn the candle at both ends this coming year?

Onward to the Christmas season:

The first thing my neighbours do is put up the lights; then there are the cards to address, the shopping, the food, and appeasing the ghosts of Christmas past.

It’s the ghosts that make it all worthwhile.

Originally posted 2013-12-04 18:12:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Nov 14, 2016 - Blog, Style    No Comments

Pinterest Warning

Warning Pinterest users!

Those of you who have discovered Pinterest already know of it’s addictive nature. What you may not know yet, however, is its ability to make you stop what you’re doing, and go redecorate a room in your home.

I am a fairly new member, and this weekend was driven to go through the garage in search for bed frames and fabrics. Images of what I had seen on Pinterest boards earlier in the week had infected my mind and I was unable to resist the temptationn on eof

Switching out the bed in my room, I put together the antique headboard that had been in the garage for years. Oh no! A  deep scratch! Wait; I know what to do… what was it? Quick – check out household tips of my Pinterest followers’ board’s for the solution.

Yes! A walnut meat. Strange but true, rubbing the walnut over the gouge concealed the damage enough to celebrate.walnut cover scratches wood

My room, uh I mean the guest room, is shaping up nicely.

You have been warned.

Originally posted 2012-04-28 03:38:58. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Nov 13, 2016 - Blog, Inspiration, Style    8 Comments

The Kiss

My sister was recently married in London, England and decided to have a reception in the States. We were ecstatic, and got right to work on preparations.

I was in charge of the cake.

Being that it was to be a small venue of close southern Californian friends and immediate family, I didn’t think the multi-layer cake was in order.

Since the art business is where my sister ‘calls home’, it seemed fitting that the cake should reflect that, and the romantic Gustav Klimt came to mind. His 1908 painting, “The Kiss” portrays a newly wed couple in a loving embrace of gentle affection. No other image would do.

Fondant City
I surrounded myself with coloured fondant icing – every inch of the rainbow, expanding it by making my own colours, working the dough-like frosting as if it were clay. It might have been more fun without the plastic cloves, but it was important to me that the cake be suitable for the pickiest eater. Accents of edible gold leaf pulled the image together. (The ‘glow’ around the couple is a gold leaf covered rib of fondant, as are a few areas of the garment designs in the photo detail, above.)

When the thing was presented to the newly-weds and guests, no one was willing to cut into the artwork – not even the bride and groom! Cake maker Alex Kent (aka Niki Chanel) had to do it amidst hisses and boos and gasps of disbelief… but they all had a piece.

Originally posted 2012-07-14 00:51:01. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Nov 13, 2016 - Blog, Inspiration    No Comments

Is Inspiration Food for the Soul?

Van Gogh Sunflowers, Creative Commons

You’ve seen the photographs of Van Gogh’s paintings, right? The swirling sky, the lonely room, the sunflowers…

I’ve often wondered about that room; what would inspire a painter to use his single room habitat as his still life? To emphasize how still his life was, at the time? Or was it peaceful for a change? Did he love it, or want to share it?

But that’s it – finding one’s inspiration where it lies.

My sister gave me a plastic shopping bag with scenes of life in London on it. It’s my favourite way to shop. Yesterday my dad saw it and practically stole it from me. “You can have it back when I’m dead.”

WHA… !?

That’s the other end of it – the appreciation.

If you ask an artist why he or she painted ‘that’, they don’t say, “because I thought you’d like it.” They tell you it affected them on a deep level they can’t explain. It’s this deep level that keeps me questioning: Is that ‘place’ where our spirit is, or are we lacking a sense like smell or ESP? Is it a means of communication that only our unconscious mind can read?

The more I think about it, the less I’m sure I really want to know. When I appreciate something, I say it’s divine, heavenly… but these words bring back the thoughts of the spirit – that ‘thing’ that never dies, the part of us that may leave us at night, vulnerable and close to death. The part of ourselves that maybe ‘lives’ forever, whatever that means. Kinda scary.

Looking at and appreciating art is, however, not creepy so I think I’ll stop the soul searching for the day, brush my teeth, and go dream.

Originally posted 2013-04-14 03:24:14. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Nov 12, 2016 - Blog, Books I Read    No Comments

The Osiris Ritual

A Thick, Twisting , Multi-layered Suspense

by George Mann

For those readers with delicate stomachs, be warned. Several murder scenes are particularly gruesome. Aside from that, fans of detective adventure with a touch of supernatural, will be thrilled.

George Mann’s view of the past is a mixture of both historically correct technology, like the first automobiles, and cybernetic things that go bump in the night, rightfully scaring the crap out of us. His characters have similarities to other beloved stories from Sherlock Holmes to the Etherman of Hell Boy. Like most Steampunk tales, this one takes place in London at the end of the 1800s, and yet it is as fresh and original as any new science that must be gotten to on the shoulders of sciences that went before. I couldn’t put it down.

Best of all, the ending is ripe for a sequel!

Originally posted 2012-12-31 21:23:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Nov 12, 2016 - Blog, Books I Read    No Comments

The Crowded Grave

Death in the French Countryside

by Martin Walker

Martin Walker does not disappoint his followers with this, the fourth book about Bruno, the small-town Chief of Police who cooks (extravagant dishes), is open to new experiences (learns to ride a horse), is a quick thinker on his feet (always saving someone), and great in bed (but we already knew that:)

A recently dead body is found in an archaeological dig in the midst of a Green Party vs traditionalists fois gras protest. The Crowded Grave embraces spy’s, secrets and Sauternes, just the way I like it.

Originally posted 2012-12-10 00:36:43. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Nov 11, 2016 - Blog    3 Comments

Videos Could Kill You. Cool!

Er… I mean videos about what could kill you are cool. These clever little 2-3 minute videos of how common things could kill you are actually miniature, obscure health tips.

For example, it so happens that hand sanitizer has twice the alcohol of hard liquor, so naturally some college kids (boys) tried to get a buzz on eating the stuff and, you guessed it, wound up in hospital. Yeah, not very smart – but it’s kinda funny. Generally I leave my alcohol intake to the occasional glass of wine, but that’s me.

So what else can kill you? Apparently loads of things you thought were healthy, can kill. Take, for instance the humble cherry; they’re in the stone fruit family by virtue of their very hard seeds like peaches and plums, and a single cherry pit contains enough cyanide to kill an adult if swallowed. But why would you eat that rock hard thing that is larger than any pill a doctor give you? Seems to me your safest bet is moderation and logic.

But come on, you’re not stupid enough to mow off your toes, are you? Well, are you?! If you want a laugh at what we’ve learned from experience, check out a few videos about what could kill you from the ULIVE videos. They are cute and very well done, besides.

http://www.ulive.com/what-you-dont-know-could-kill-you

You could also Google “could kill you” and learn – the fun way. One of my fav’s was

http://www.energyfiend.com/death-by-caffeine

But don’t over do it. Watching over 1000 could-kill-you videos could kill you. But hey, that’s kinda funny: “Death by Health Videos”. Cool  :D

 

Originally posted 2013-10-27 01:30:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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