Friday, March 30, 2012

A to Z Challenge April 2012

It is simple. It is sublime.

It is my theme for the A to Z Challenge .

Guess the Movie.

Memorable quotes from movies beginning with the appropriate letter.  *oblivious to A and The as first words*

Rules of the game as set by our hosts:
  • Post on a topic or word that matches the corresponding letter of the alphabet, starting with “A” on Sunday, April 1, then every day except Sundays after that. (B is April 2, C is April 3, etc.)
  • Visit fellow Challenge participants starting with the blog immediately following yours on the sign up list. Aim to visit five blogs a day; more if you have time.
  • Keep posts SHORT!
  • Turn off word verification. Make it easy for others to leave comments.
  • Make it easy for others to follow you. (Move that Google Friends Connect widget or other following device high up in your sidebar.)
  • Use the official A to Z button. Link back to the A to Z Blog -

Have fun and make new friends!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Judging a Contest

What a dilemma.

When Charity suggested a blogfest at our critique group, UnicornBell, I figured Cool.

When she said it would be a contest, I did my imitation of Mr. Burns. Exxxxcellent.

Then Charity said, “Oh, by the way, the moderators of UB are the judges.”

“Sounds good to…hey, wait a minute. I’m one of those moderators.”

At any rate, it was a blast to read the entries. But *insert massively inappropriate curse word here* difficult to judge.

 “I had no idea.” – Jodie Foster in Contact.

So many great writers. 

How the hell do we chose the finalists? But we did say only four (or was it five) would make to the final vote and I’m not sure but what a coin toss was the deciding factor.

I worry about the ones who didn’t make it into the final round and it hurts a bit. Lemme say right now, you-all done good.

Excellent writers. Excellent people.

Thanks again for participating. And thank you for allowing us to read your entries.

Hi-Five all around.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words Blogfest

At Unicorn Bell, our critique group blog, we are hosting a Blogfest called A Picture Paints a Thousand Words.This is my contribution. 

Please note: I am not eligible to win but I did have a lot of fun with this picture.

I covered the last few steps to the old foundation and looked at the stones with an archeologist’s eye. Worked stone, old, Medieval construction or before, no metal reinforcements. It had the outline of a smallish house, maybe used in its later life as a dwelling for sheep or other livestock. I bit my bottom lip in thought.

Built on an ancient barrow or burial mound.

My property, inherited from an unknown benefactor, proved not to be the wasteland of rusted machinery that I imaged it would be. Instead, I found a fairy tale cottage and a land heavy with ancient history. And this weird bit of stone and moss, waiting for me like a living thing on my land, unperturbed. Confidant in its age.

I walked along the edge of the foundation, absently noticing the twitter of birds and distant lowing of a cow. Concentrating on the stones, I stepped carefully around several blue stones that had fallen away from the base.

The cow went silent but I didn’t think anything of it.

Slabs of blue stone barred my way. One had shifted, slanting to expose a stone well.

The morning sun disappeared behind a cloud and I shivered. The contrasts between light and shadow became one of gray. Birdsong vanished like the sun and the wind died. Everything was still as if I had stepped through a curtain into a silent world.

As if, the world paused in its spin and now waited, breath held.

I hesitated my skin prickling. But something odd caught my eye and I forgot the chill that brushed my neck and arms.

On the other side of the canted stone, a dark hole opened into the rock wall. I peeked inside the well of stone and saw an object at the bottom of the meter deep hole.

I knelt for a closer look, squinting in the low light. It was darker than ever, like the twilight before a cloudburst.  

A storm must be rolling in, I thought.

But the weather was the least of my concerns now and I ignored it.

It was difficult to see it clearly but something brown and slender lay at the bottom. A violent gust of wind caught my dark hair and blew it into wild tangles around my face. Bits of grass and grit whirled in a sudden maelstrom around the stones.

I reached in and shuddered with the thought of bugs and varmints that might await my fingers. But it was dry and cool in the stones. I touched a leather-covered object, long and thin, pulled it out of its hiding place and into the darkened afternoon.

The material was burnt-orange brown and soft as if lightly oiled leather. Impossible of course. Unless someone had deposited it recently. But the green moss seemed undisturbed.

A soft hum came to me, a low vibrating noise like that of a tuning fork.

The wind, I thought, whistling through one of the openings in the foundation. The beginning of the promised summer storm.

I set it on the ground, untied strips of thin sinew and unwound the supple leather. The leather released suddenly and the artifact tumbled from my hands, landing soundlessly in the grass.
My breath left my lungs in a huff. A rapier glimmered dully in the sunless day, the blade of deep black, shot with a tracing of gold. The foil was an intricate design of black and gold wires, an ancient artifact of inestimable value and quality.

The gold emitted a dim glow as if covered with dingy film. But the blade appeared as if my hand could pass straight through if I touched it, as if it had depth, a three-dimensional effect. Vibration filled the air about me humming louder.

I reached for the hilt and lifted it. The sun chose that moment to break into brilliance. A great flash exploded soundlessly and the gold rose up to meet the radiance of the sun. It glowed as if the light was in it and behind it. And faraway, I heard hollow, basso thunder.

The thrumming, deep-earth hum filled my body, chattering my teeth and scattering my wits. Gold covered me, filled and encapsulated me like a halo of pure energy.

And then I fainted.


Far away, on another continent, a fierce blow struck the Dragon in his chest. His legs buckled and he fell. A deep roar vibrated his body and mind, coming from under his body from the ground beneath him. The sensation of iron clutched at him and pulled him to the east like the point of a compass, incontrovertible and inescapable.  

Chaos filled his mind as he recognized The Call. One thought only came to him:

The Rapier has found a new Master.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Shatner Phenomenon

William Shatner

Tomorrow is his birthday and his wife wants to give him a million Twitter followers. *clickFollow*

To paraphrase Yoda, “When eighty-one years old you reach, look as good you will not, hmmm?”

 And Tagged Again, by golly. This time by my super friend, Marcy at Mainewords.

The rules are simple:
1. Go to page 77 of your current MS.
2. Go to line 7.
3. Copy down the next 7 lines - sentences or paragraphs - and post them as they're written. No cheating.
4. Tag 7 authors.

This is from an earlier manuscript Of Oak & Dragons. The MC is talking to herself after learning her sword is sentient.

Hey Dad, I found this totally cool sword and it is talking to me, saying these, like, totally wicked things about dragons and death and how they are, after me and stuff. And if they find me, they will kill me and until then, I have to learn to be a quasi-super hero and rescue people in distress…


“About the Dragon,” I asked the rapier. “How is he dangerous? And why?”

Actually, the Dragon is not a single entity. This particular one has never harmed any of those swordsmen. I haven’t touched this one before, the rapier said thoughtfully.

Thanks Marcy. I’ll highlight the seven writers at a later date.

Monday, March 19, 2012

TV Shows, The Hunger Games, and I’ll Never Take Him With Me Again

Two TV shows have my full attention this week.

One program that I’ve blogged about before is Justified. The storyline and acting surpasses anything I’ve seen on the small screen and in theaters with the exception of Schindler’s List. The audience knows who the good guy is, that hunky, flawed Marshall Raylan Givens. But who is the bad guy, the mirror image who is his equal? The bad guys are dropping like flies. His ultimate opponent is not the obvious one, I suspect. I believe I know who his opponent will be. Not Boyd, btw.

The other show premieres this week. I watched the pilot of Touch last Thursday. All I can say Ho Ly Stuff and Nonsense. The star of 24, Kiefer Sutherland, plays the father of a dyslexic boy who can see the future through numbers. I had no idea how the various storylines could connect but at the end, I was sitting on the edge of my chair saying stuff like, OMGoodness and Holy Sheeyat. The season starts this Thursday.

Hunger Games opens this Friday. I’ll wait for the crowds to thin before I go. And take along a pocket full of tissues.

Now, the Hubby Story.

Picture the Sweet Babboo and me in the office of a car salesman. The offer for a pickup is on the desk, written for everyone to see. I take the sheet, add $300 to the price and say, “will you split the difference, install the $600 footboards, for this price?”

The salesman pauses, the gears turning, grinding. I can see he is thinking about my counter offer.

The Sweet Babboo stirs. “No, he can’t do that. He’s already taken enough off the price.”


Salesman smiles. “Your Sweet Babboo, I mean hubby is correct. I can’t take anything off.”

I am not mad. Not even a little. It’s why I love the man. He gives me such great stories.

Are you watching Justified or Touch? Seeing The Hunger Games? Got a spouse story?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Got Green? Blog O'Hop

When Mom told me that my ancestors were Scottish, I said, “No. I’m Irish.”

I continued to insist that my ancestors came from the Emerald Isle until she lost her temper. 

“Fine. You’re Irish,” she snapped.

Even when I was seven, I knew I wanted to be Irish. Never mind that my surname was Carmichael.

To me, March 17th means planting potatoes, wearing green, eating soda bread, and watching the ‘Worlds Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade’.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Blog Hops in March

Today's Subjects:
  • Two blog hops
  • April’s Mosh Pit
  • Confetti soon-to-be thrown.

Unicorn Bell, a critique group moderated by four writers, is offering prizes.
The crit site features advice for writers at every stage of their career.

Marcy of Mainewords runs a fantabulous site where she crits first pages with Dianne Salemi and posts jaw-dropping photos of her life. This is where I go first every Sunday morning after I snag a cuppa.

Jeffrey begins a kick off tomorrow for his debut novel, Spell of Entrapment. If fantasy is your meat and potatoes as it is mine, check this out.

Charity of Charity’s Writing Journey is in a class all her own. The lady is a modern day Wonder Woman running her clan of younglings, serving her church, and writing. And OMGoodness, that writing is about to explode into the publishing world, I just know it.

And yes, I am the fourth member of this elite group and humbled more than I can say by the association.

Unicorn Bell’s blog hop begins March 26 – 28. Did I say there are prizes?

MarkKoopmans’ Blog O’Hop starts tomorrow. Quick, quick, sign up NOW!

The Be-All and End-All Mosh Pit of a blog hop begins April 1st the A to Z Blog Challenge. Get in on the fun and meet some of the best humans on the planet.

Lastly, the confetti. Or fireworks in this case.
I am nearing my two hundredth follower. When that day arrives, an Amazon gift card is in someone’s future.

What blog hops are you looking forward to in March and have you signed up for A to Z?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lucky Seven Meme

Chandara tagged me with the Lucky Seven.
  • Go to page 77 of your current MS
  • Go to line 7
  • Copy down the next 7 lines - sentences or paragraphs - and post them as they're written. 
  • No cheating

"Like the credit card."

I wasn't the only one startled when Faelan's words cut through the tension. His hooded eyes gleamed from under dark brows.

"Priceless," he said with a wry smile.

June sputtered then stalked toward him. "Looking for a sugar momma are you youngster?" Her face twisted in malice. "You need to stay out of this and keep..."

Her voice died. She came to a quivering stop.

Faelan hadn't moved.

 What is the title of your current WIP? Tell us about it.  
THE ADAMANT is about blacksmith Shamira Kelley a woman possessed by a pendant made from a unicorn’s horn that seeks payback from mankind for its millenniums-old death.

When did you start blogging and why?
Two years last month. Blogging is a much better solution than a website, easier to keep fresh and update.

If you could do anything tomorrow, what would you do? 
I’d love to see the Northern Lights.

Describe your happy place
Sitting in my front yard, warm sun on my face and a dog under my hand.

What was your first happy memory?  
After coming home from work, my tired dad drove me ten miles to see the Christmas lights in town.

What was the scariest thing you've ever done? 
After I toured a wax museum in Hannibal, Mo, I was shaking. I don’t know why, but those wax figures totally freaked me out. I was about to go Hattie Hysterical on ‘em and use my fingernails to claw my way out.

Where is the strangest place you ever had an idea for a story?  
Driving seventy down a busy interstate. The idea for a climatic ending smacked me upside the head and I nearly lost control of my pickup.

Where do you write? 
Messy, paper-strewn computer table in the living room. Try writing with the spouse yelling, “Hey, come see this. ESPN’s top plays are on.”

If you just won a ticket to anywhere in the world and you had to take me, where would you take me and why?  
Scotland. The British Isles fascinates me. I love me some castles and ancient history.

The five Lucky Seven recipients that I admire most are:

Jenn (Substitute photography for writing)

Honorable Mention goes to
Angela since *drat* someone beat me to her.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Got Green Blog O'Hop

"What does St. Paddy's Day mean to you!"

Mark Koopmans is sponsoring a blog hop, excuse me, Blog O’Hop.

I’ll save my Irish thoughts for next Saturday, the 17th but for now, lemme say that visiting Ireland is at the top of my Wish List. 

Oh, did I mention he is offering prizes? *BG*
Even without the OMGoodness-prizes, it is worth your time to skip over and read his blog.

I'm *still laughing*

Thursday, March 8, 2012

For Pete’s Sake, Don’t…

As a writer and blogger, I’ve stumbled down many an alleyway mostly due to naiveté.

Now I recognize how stooopid they were, those instances of Doh! and I cringe.

In order to help the writers just leaving the starting gate, I have three big Don’ts.

Since most writers have little time to dink around with long posts, here is

Monumental Advice Number One
Tell no one that you are writing/have written a book. If you have a spouse who supports you, it’s okay to tell them (she said grudgingly) but use digression.
By keeping your writing career mum, you will avoid these Questions.
“So where is your book? I keep checking the NYT bestseller list but *insert the snark here* haven’t seen your name.”
“I saw this ad about publishing your own book. They call it a vanity press. Why don’t you use them?”
“It’s been three months since you finished the book and still not published? Wow. “*insert pitying expression*
Advice Number Two:
Do not disparage agents, agencies, or your fellow authors on your blog. Self-inflicted wounds, i.e. shooting yourself in the foot, lose their charm after the first direct hit. No good can come of offending your potential clients and backers.

Last of the Three For-Heaven’s-Sake-Don’t-Do-This Rules
Posting rejections, the number of queries sent, the extra pages requested might seem like a good idea. But do you really want your followers to see this? Anytime I consider posting my stats, I refer to the Number One and the inclination dies.

Do you have any deep regrets since starting this business? I’d love to hear more from writers who committed the First Mistake, their friends and family’s responses, and how they dealt with them.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


This is farming along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers in 2011.

Highways, farms, livelihoods, houses, trees, and family.


On the Missouri, 207,000 acres were affected. An acquaintance lost his life along this river while performing his job.

In the proposed budget for 2013, The Missouri River RecoveryProgram, money was set aside to re-build those levees for flood control and maintenance.

7.7 million dollars.

Set aside for fish and wildlife restoration:

82.3 million

Did you catch that? 

To the farmers

and residents

seven percent of the budgeted 90 million goes to restoring the levees and their lives.

The balance of 82.3 million of our tax dollars goes to possibly the ugliest fish on the planet.

 And to the birds.
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