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, June 19, 2017

WEP...Write, Edit, Publish and Being Thankful

Write…Edit…Publish (WEP) is a permanent bloghop posting every second month and hosted by Denise Covey and Yolanda Renee. Check out the program for 2017.  Submit your name to the InLinkz list to join us each challenge. WEP challenges are free, and open to all. If your entry catches our eye, you will win a $10 Amazon Gift Card or a winners’ badge.


The theme for this WEP is Bridges.

Explosion of charges on two of the three tied arches, looking southeast - Alsea Bay Bridge, Spanning Alsea Bay at Oregon Coast Highway, Waldport, Lincoln County, OR HAER ORE,21-WALPO,1-23

There are bridges that should never be crossed again, bridges that are best burned. These include, but are not limited to: bridges to addictions, bridges to people who repeatedly cause you emotional, physical, or spiritual harm, bridges to hate and separation.

Nakatsu-bansho-en Marugame Kagawa pref01n4350

There are bridges that should be crossed every day of our lives, that should be built and rebuilt as needed and wanted. These include but are not limited to: bridges to healing, bridges to love and compassion, bridges to inclusion.

A Bride build by Nature

There are bridges that are ambiguous, that should perhaps remain standing, but with some kind of barrier to remind us to be cautious but open. These include but are not limited to: bridges to forgiveness.

Forgiveness is tricky. Many times we can, and should, easily forgive the faults, transgressions, and idiosyncrasies of a person and leave the bridge wide open for future travel. But forgiveness does not mean that one has to build or repair a bridge to a person who can no longer be trusted or to a relationship that no longer exits. Forgiveness is about no longer harboring anger, hatred or resentment towards the person who caused pain. Forgiveness is a bridge of healing to yourself. Forgiveness is a wide brush, whose stroke is a rainbow of colors. Our task is to learn when to forgive and leave the bridge open, and when to forgive and close the bridge or burn it, not in anger or revenge, but in love and compassion.
Full Rainbow in november essex
Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for fresh green beans picked from our garden. 
It's been many years since we've had a garden.
What are you thankful for? What bridges have you crossed lately, or... burned? Do you have a garden this year?

Monday, June 12, 2017

#InkRipples, Being Thankful

#InkRipples is a themed meme hosted by Mary WaibelKatie L. Carroll, and me, Kai Strand. We post on the first Monday of every month. If you would like to participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, include any of the images displayed on this page, and link back to our three blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation.

This month's theme is BLURBS.

used by U.S. scholar Brander Matthews (1852-1929) in 1906 in "American Character;" popularized 1907 by U.S. humorist Frank Gelett Burgess (1866-1951). Originally mocking excessive praise printed on book jackets.
Gelett Burgess ... then entertained the guests with some characteristic flashes of Burgessian humor. Referring to the word "blurb" on the wrapper of his book he said: "To 'blurb' is to make a sound like a publisher. The blurb was invented by Frank A. Munsey when he wrote on the front of his magazine in red ink 'I consider this number of Munsey's the hottest pie that ever came out of my bakery.' ... A blurb is a check drawn on Fame, and it is seldom honored.["] ["Publishers' Weekly," May 18, 1907]
 My, what a long way the blurb has come; from mocking excessive praise to becoming something we writers (particularly those of us who self-publish) sweat over when trying to condense our novels into a few hundred words.

Blurb... sounds like a cross between a burp and blob, something that's urped (urpped? urpt) up on the page.
Being Thankful
This is my birthday month. I'm definitely thankful for that!
On a lark I thought I'd share some books that were published the year I was born, some which I've read at one point or other.

Pebble in the Sky - Isaac Asimov's first full length novel

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis

The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury

 Henry Huggins - Beverly Cleary

Mr. Midshipman Hornblower - C. S. Forester

The Wall - John Hersey
Conan the Conqueror - Robert E. Howard
The Cardinal - Henry Morton Robinson
A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

Kon Tiki - Thor Heyerdahl
What are you thankful for? Read any of the books listed? Can you guess which ones I haven't read? What do you think of blurbs, wonderful or terrifying to write? 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


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.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts, JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner!

This month's question is: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

The only thing I've quit doing is journaling. I know, I know... as writers we're supposed to journal or keep a diary. I've journaled off and on throughout my life, but after a month or two I've always come back to the same set of questions. 

Why bother to journal? To preserve some aspect of my most exciting life? Who's going to read this crap and why would I want anyone to read it? And why would I want to leave it behind for someone else to have to deal with when it will probably be burned or thrown away when I'm dead and gone anyway? What's the point when even I don't reread what I've written? 

After years of struggling with these questions and doing the three morning pages suggested by Julia Cameron in her most excellent book, The Artist's Way, I finally gave it up for good. Don't get me wrong, I worked her whole book, faithfully doing those morning pages and it kick-started a long dry spell. But what did I end up with? Reams of hand written trash on college rule paper stuffed into an already over-stuffed four-drawer file cabinet. (I burned them all.)

Instead of journaling I much prefer spending my time on a new story. I like discovering the characters, world building, researching, taking notes, doing outlines, creating time-lines and then, the piece de resistance, writing the story. And that's what I keep, that's what fills my three ring binders and my file cabinet. I have stories, story ideas, snippets of stories, conversations, character descriptions, world descriptions/maps, lists of made up words/names, lists of titles, (etc. etc. etc.) that go all the way back to high school. And I do occasionally go through it because there are tons of possibilities for a NEW story -- my novel A Lizard's Tail came from these sources. 

That's my journaling, that's my diary. Within the binders and drawers is the history of my writing journey. From horrible angst-filled teenage poetry to philosophical/spiritual observations, it's all there. And whoever has to deal with it when I dead and gone can do with it what they will. 

So, the answer to the question is no, I've never said, "I quit."

What about you? Ever given up writing, quit and then found your way back?

Monday, June 5, 2017

Island Idylls, Being Thankful

Island Idylls: Stories of growing up in the Virgin Islands.

Adventure Under the Mosquito Net
For as long as I could remember I had either slept in the same room with my sister, or in the same bed.

Me at about the time of the incident.
When I was six, my sister, Erva, went BY HERSELF for TWO WEEKS to the Girl Scout camp in Puerto Rico. I went years later, a lovely spot up in the rain forests near El Yunque, one of the highest mountains in PR.

It was the first time in my long life of 6 or so years, that I had ever slept by myself. There I was, a small little thing, lost in that big double bed under that big mosquito net.

Lucky for me my parent's room was just a few feet away. They wisely left their door open so the light from their room cast a comforting glow over the bed and I didn't feel so alone.

I don't think I made a fuss about going to bed, that wasn't like me. And I didn't have any nightmares. In fact I think I rather liked being an only child, having Mom all to myself.

Everything was going alone just fine.

(Can you sense something about to change? Can you sense an adventure?)

I had settled into bed and Mom had pulled down the mosquito net to tuck it in when I let out a screech. Now Mom didn't call me one of God's Screechers for nothing. I had a piercing scream that could carry for miles, bouncing off hills and traveling across the water three miles to St. Thomas.

Gecarcinidae,Gecarcinus ruricola. Land Crab - Flickr - gailhampshire (1)
There, inside the net with me was a... land crab. They are not small, and with claws extended can easily reach a foot or more across.

Dad rescued the poor disoriented thing and set it free outside, while Mom calmed me down. How it got inside the mosquito net remains a mystery to this day.

Land crabs mostly live in mangrove swamps in holes they dig down to water level. This way they can keep their gills wet. However, they do wander around top-side, particularly at night. They are good to eat. In the old days people would catch them, put them in a 55 gallon drum and feed them coconut meat and corn meal. It cleaned out their swampy innards and made the meat sweet, sweet.

Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for the little bit of rain we've gotten.
What are you thankful for?  What's the strangest animal/insect surprise you've discovered in your home?

Monday, May 29, 2017


"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Twenty-Four Days by Jacqui Murray, Being Thankful

Please welcome Jacqui Murray and her latest book, 
the nail-biting thriller...

Twenty-four Days
A former SEAL, a brilliant scientist, a love-besotted nerd, and a quirky AI have twenty-four days to stop a terrorist attack. The problems: They don't know what it is, where it is, or who's involved.

An unlikely team is America's only chance
World-renowned paleoanthropologist, Dr. Zeke Rowe is surprised when a friend from his SEAL past shows up in his Columbia lab and asks for help: Two submarines have been hijacked and Rowe might be the only man who can find them.

At first he refuses, fearing a return to his former life will end a sputtering romance with fellow scientist and love of his life, Kali Delamagente, but when one of his closest friends is killed by the hijackers, he changes his mind. He asks Delamagente for the use of her one-of-a-kind AI Otto who possesses the unique skill of being able to follow anything with a digital trail.

In a matter of hours, Otto finds one of the subs and it is neutralized.

But the second, Otto can’t locate.

Piece by piece, Rowe uncovers a bizarre nexus between Salah Al-Zahrawi--the world’s most dangerous terrorist and a man Rowe thought he had killed a year ago, a North Korean communications satellite America believes is a nuclear-tipped weapon, an ideologue that cares only about revenge, and the USS Bunker Hill (a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser) tasked with supervising the satellite launch.

And a deadline that expires in twenty-four days.

As America teeters on the brink of destruction, Zeke finally realizes that Al-Zahrawi’s goal isn’t nuclear war, but payback against the country that cost him so much.

What pick-up line does Eitan (the geek in the story) use to attract his first wife?

The line that persuaded Eitan’s first wife (now dead) to fall in love with him, happened when both were attending the Twelfth Conference on Calculus Variations in Vienna. When he said, 'I wish I was a derivative so I could lay tangent to your curves', true love blossomed.

Kirkus Review:
A blistering pace is set from the beginning: dates open each new chapter/section, generating a countdown that intensifies the title’s time limit. Murray skillfully bounces from scene to scene, handling numerous characters, from hijackers to MI6 special agent Haster. ... A steady tempo and indelible menace form a stirring nautical tale
Book information:
Title and author: Twenty-four Days by J. Murray
Genre: Thriller, military thriller
Available at: Kindle USKindle UKKindle Canada
Author bio:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipmanthe story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and  Twenty-four DaysShe is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.
You can find Jacqui hanging out at these places:

Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for things seen and unseen.
Seen: The blue sky, made of an atmosphere (air) which I cannot see.
Seen: What is on my computer screen. Unseen: The invisible waves that make it possible.
Seen: The manifestation of actions caused by the unseen energy called Love.
What seen and unseen things are you thankful for? What pick-up lines have you used or had used on you? Do you enjoy a good thriller?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Origins, Being Thankful - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and moreOrigins is an occasionally recurring post in which I delve into the history of a word or phrase.

For no particular reason, today's word is:
(I closed my eyes, opened the dictionary and stabbed my finger at the page.)

Graphic means to describe accurately, vividly and dates from the 1570s. It comes from the Latin graphicus meaning "picturesque" and the Greek graphikos meaning "of or for writing, belonging to drawing, picturesque." The suffix -graphy means "the process of writing or recording." 

I shouldn't have been, but I was shocked at the number of words ending with -graphy. You can check out one list HERE. I could only think of a few, photography, geography, biography, bibliography, calligraphy...

Some synonyms for graphic include: concrete, stirring, striking, colorful, telling, compelling, comprehensive, eloquent, lucid, lively, realistic

All of us who write are, in my opinion, graphic artists. We try our best to write compelling, striking, stirring, colorful, realistic and/or lively stories. 

It seems to me that nowadays graphic tends to mean something that is violent, bloody or sexual. "Due to graphic nature of this program, viewer discretion is advised." Sad, when the word has some many wonderful synonyms.

No need for "viewer discretion" here. Below are three examples of abstract graphic drawings I did with a graphite pencil. I don't draw much anymore, but when I did I enjoyed playing with shapes and shades of white to black.

Being Thankful

Today I'm thankful for the Gladiolas blooming in our yard.
What are you thankful for? Do you, or did you used to draw? Have any pretty flowers in your yard? What do you think about the word, "graphic?"