Tuesday, January 31, 2017

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writing life: Facebook and twitter

 Building an author's platform is especially important if one considers being an Indie author.  Even when seeking a publishing house, though, these days the stronger an author's platform, the more attractive s/he is to a publishing house.

An author's platform is a combination of social outlets working together to spread the news about what s/he is doing or what s/he cares about.

So, Facebook.... how I wish I didn't enjoy thee so...   It can be a bit of a black hole, right?  It is an important leg for the platform that is so very important for author/writers today.  Those who like my author page help me.  Liking and sharing what I post helps me.  Commenting on what I post helps me.  Weird, right?  But it does.

The same thing goes with Twitter.  In all honesty, I don't quite understand Twitter.  Lame-o, I know.  I've attempted to understand it, but I just don't.  I work hard to share stuff there.  Mostly I end up telling my followers about what's going on here or in YouTube.  Blog and YouTube are my main focus at this point.

They are all very important.  And I appreciate my followers, likers, and subscribers so much!

Have you liked, followed, and subscribed to my various outlets?  I hope you will!

Monday, January 30, 2017

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Beowulf by anonymous, a book review

I read Beowulf, an Old English poem (in book form), as a youth for English class in school.  It was one of the few assigned readings I really enjoyed.  The story of a warrior who overcomes a monster and becomes King.  Can't get more classic fantasy than that.

Although it can be a little difficult to understand the English of the story, it is well worth the effort to decode it!  Now, as I remember the class discussions about the book, I especially enjoyed the way my teacher spoke about the hero and shared the story for those who didn't take the time to understand the Old English.

Have you read Beowulf?  What did you think?

If you want to read more of my book reviews of classics, come back on the last Monday of each month.  February 27th my review is about Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  Check it out and then come see what I think and tell me what you think in the comments!

Friday, January 27, 2017

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Oh No, Gotta Go! by Susan Middleton Elya, a book review

Oh No, Gotta Go! by Susan Middleton Elya is a wonderful blending of English and Spanish. The movement between the two languages is smooth and the rhythm and rhyme are wonderfully done. I love it when rhyme begins and follows through!

The Spanish is used in such a way that one can readily understand it by context clues. In addition to that understanding, there is a glossary and pronunciation guide at the end.

This book could be a good addition to any home library of parents who want to help their children learn Spanish in a fun and accessible way. I would like to have it for my homeschool library for just this very reason!

The action of the story is something most parents will probably find familiar: looking for a bathroom for their little one. “Didn't you ask her she had to go?” one parent says to the other, “No, didn't you?” the other says. What two parents haven't made the same flub and then had to rush around looking for a restroom for their toddler? Well, my husband and I have… at least a few times!

My children enjoyed this book. They didn't necessarily understand all of the Spanish, but there wasn't too much to be off-putting.

Illustrations should support and expand upon the text in children's picture books. I felt like G. Brian Karas did a good job in Oh No, Gotta Go! Showing places and using Spanish words as additional support for understanding those words within the illustrations.

Oh No, Gotta Go! By Susan Middleton Elya is an all around good book. I definitely recommend it for any family.

Have you read Oh No, Gotta Go!? What do you think about it?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

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learning to burn,part 20

Please begin at the beginning!

Why are they so late for dinner? Prayer has already been said and the others are eating quietly.
Ofonode can't help but notice that he doesn't have quite as much food in front of him as he did for the past three meals, but still he has more than any of the other hands do.
A clomp of many feet indicate the arrival of the workers from the field. He's sure they've just come from the bathhouse because Primina wouldn't tolerate anything else.
When they come in, Eminghare is not with them. Ofonode stands and is just about to speak when she comes through the door. She looks very small after all the big guys that are already settled at the table. Already standing, Ofonode pulls Eminghare's chair out from the table and whispers, “Are you okay?”
She nods slightly and whispers back, “Later.”
The two sit and eat without another word between them. Ofonode reaches down to share his food and with Os throughout the meal. Ofonode watches Eminghare carefully and eats so that he's finishing when she does. “I'm leaving the extra napkin at my place, Primina. Thank you again for letting me use it. Dinner was wonderful. I'll take Eminghare to the women's rooms. She can stay in any room that doesn't have anything in it, right?”
“Good. You're welcome. That's fine. You can walk the hall, but don't go in any of the rooms, Ofonode.”
“Yes, ma'am.”
Eminghare rises and Ofonode does as well.
As soon as they are outside, “Are you okay. You look… I don't know, different.”
“Sure. I'm fine. That work was very different. What are we doing on this farm?”
“I'm not sure what you mean?”
“Well, I was expecting to do some sort of regular field work. But we didn't do that at all. They guys were digging and Boarch was watching. So, I started digging, too. Apparently the others already know how deep to go because after a few tries Boarch was only standing near me and he was very particular about the depth. I don't know. I felt like I was about to do something horribly wrong the whole time. It was worse than any physically strenuous work would've been.”
“I don't know. I haven't worked in the field. I guess no one really spoke about it at all, then?”
“Not a word. I mean, Boarch was fussing at me almost the whole time. But the guys didn't even say a single word to each other. It was really weird. I'm not going to stay longer than tomorrow. I was hoping to stay a few more days. But not because of this place, honestly. I was hoping to stay…”
Eminghare sighs in exasperation. “This way… not talking and being very secretive is not natural for me. I don't like it. I was going to wait until tomorrow, but would you come to the field behind the barn with me tonight?”
Feeling suddenly on alter, Ofonode works hard to carefully modulate excitement out of his voice and hopes Os is following as he usually does, “Sure.”
Eminghare nods to herself and leads the way. When she stops, Ofonode doesn't see anything out of the ordinary. Eminghare whispers into the air for a few minutes. Nothing she says is anything Ofonode can understand. A moment of silence and then a large dragon, very much like Os's dragon form appears almost immediately in front of Eminghare.
Ofonode grabs her shoulders and pulls her behind him, “Oseratin!” he shouts, “I need you now!”
Os wraps himself around the front of Ofonode's ankles and lays himself across his feet. Ofonode looks down, “That's not exactly what I was thinking.”
The dragon has moved only enough to land and in the process shifts into a small lizard form, just smaller than Os. Ofonode's mouth drops open.
Eminghare steps next to him and whispers, “She almost never takes this form. I've only seen her like this twice in the year we've been together. I think she really likes you!”
When the small lizard moves very close to Os, Eminghare's eyes open wide. The smaller lizard touches Os and the two disappear. Eminghare looks at Ofonode. “Why did they disappear?” Ofonode asks, “My friend has never disappeared like that before.”
“Just because you haven't seen it, doesn't mean he hasn't.”
“You mean, your friend disappears like that regularly?”
“Pretty often. When it's just the two of us, she doesn't, but if anyone else approaches or whatever, then, yes. I think she might be shy or just very careful.”
Has Os been able to do the same thing and I just didn't know it? Feeling very wary and nervous, Ofonode wants to speak to ease the tension he's feeling, “What is your friend's name?”
“I call her Binbin. But I don't know if she has a name she calls herself. She doesn't speak or anything. At least… not that I know of. Isn't Oseratin the name you've given your friend?”
“Uh… well, no.”
“How do you know to call him that?” Eminghare is looking intensely into Ofonode's face.
She hasn't really looked at him for long and never so directly, so Ofonode feels a bit uncomfortable and answers without thinking, “He told me.”
“What!?”
“Hasn't your friend ever talked to you?” he asks starting to wonder if he shouldn't have answered her question so directly.
“No… Not that I'm aware of. I mean, what do you mean by 'talk to'?”
“You know… talk. Like we're talking.”
“Then, no. Definitely not. She's never talked to me. Why would she not talk to me is she can? We've been together so long! Do you think she doesn't trust me?”
“I'm not sure why she wouldn't after so long… I'm sure there's a good reason for it, though. I just think it's amazing that you have an invisian with you, too!”
“In-invisian?”
“Okay, right. You wouldn't know that's what she is because she hasn't spoken. How about we talk about something else until they come back so she can tell you what she'll tell you and we'll go from there.”
Eminghare looks away as Ofonode makes the suggestion. She looks at everything around him and them unwilling or unable to let her eyes settle anywhere.
Ofodnode waits in silence. Does she still not trust me? Even though we both have the same sort of friend? Maybe it's just that she's scared, generally these days. I can't imagine what she's been through.
Slowly, Eminghare's eyes slow in their scanning of the area and eventually settle on Ofonde's chest. “Sure. What should be talk about?”
“Well, I'd like to know why you wanted me to meet your friend.”
“Oh.” Eminghare sags in what looks like relief to Ofonode. “I was hoping we might travel together. Since you've already been to Trebukenan, I'm guessing, you aren't going north, so we're headed in the same direction. It would be nice to have someone to talk to and safety in numbers and all that. I guess Binbin might talk now, but it's been a little difficult to travel alone in the sort of forced silence that comes with traveling with someone I thought couldn't speak.”
She is relieved! This is why she brought me out here anyway. “Without talking to Os, my first reaction would have been to say no if you'd asked me before now. But since I know you travel with an invisian, I think he'll be willing to have you two join us.”

“But what about you? Are you willing to have us join you?”

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

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my thoughts: on addictions

When I was a young whipper snapper, I thought addiction meant that someone used an illicit drug and couldn't control themselves. I may not have even known what illicit meant, but that's the gist of what I believed.

I have learned how wrong I was. Given what I've learned thus far, I imagine that I have yet more to learn that will undo at least some of what I believe I know now. But I don't know what I'll yet learn, all I can share is what I think now.

Basically, I've learned that addiction can take the form of almost anything. It can be a substance one imbibes or consumes. It can be an activity. It can be a thought pattern.

I have more thoughts to share on this subject, but I want to know what you think, too. What is addiction to you?

Monday, January 23, 2017

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Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, a book review

I wanted to read Catcher in the Rye book as I've heard about it most of my life. Given the places I've heard about it, I would categorize it as a classic, even though it's really not that old, all things considered. However, I didn't read far before I realized that Salinger is of the mind that it's necessary to include a great number of curse words in the text.

Curse words are crude, foul, and cause actual and literal damage. Both to the speaker/user and to those who hear/read such words. As a result, I did not read this novel.

Because many reference it, I will probably read a Wikipedia about it.

Do authors who use curse words so readily in their writing also curse so frequently in real life? I wonder because it seems to me that those who are so drawn to and entrenched in work with words would steer clear of such language because it is weak. It, like sarcasm, reveals a weakness. I know there is some other way they could show that weakness that such language use by their character(s) in some other way if they were truly great in their craft. A sort of showing, rather than telling, that I guess many authors aren't up to because they want the easy way out that curse words provide.

Well, that's lame.

I did not like the little bit of Catcher in the Rye that I read. I would not recommend it to or for anyone who cares about purity of mind and freedom from the wounds that such foul language inflicts.

If you've read it and would like to share what you thought about it, feel free to do so. Just leave curse words out of your description. If you don't, I will be obliged to remove your comment. tyia!

Friday, January 20, 2017

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Jamie's Turn by Jamie DeWitt, a book review

Winner of the Raintree 'Publish a Book Contest' in 1984, Jamie DeWitt (with the help of his teacher Lonnie Miller, wrote Jamie's Turn. The winner got his story published and won some money. Jamie used some of his winnings to buy some heifers for his family dairy.

I love this book! It's a story of a boy becoming a man sooner than most by way of a courageous act and then daily doing what needed to be done. Isn't that one of the most important characteristics of a good man? Doing what needs to be done for the good of family and sometimes more. This is especially valiant when that doing takes them away from things they might rather do.

Honestly, it's a character trait important for any and all adults to cultivate and seems all too often lacking among many.

One aspect of this story that I really love is how the community came together to help Jamie's family in their time of need. I believe most people want to help others. They just don't know how. So it's wonderful to read a children's picture book in which this is a part!

Julie Brinckloe illustrated this book. Her illustrations are good. My younger children didn't necessarily love the pictures, though, because the colors are muted and very homogeneous. However, I enjoyed them a great deal. They definitely support and expand the text, which is a primary function of illustrations in children's picture books. I especially like the illustration showing how the community helped when Jamie's family needed it!

I definitely recommend this book. Good lessons for all herein.

Have you read Jamie's Turn? What did you think of it?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

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Learning to Burn, part 19

Please begin at the beginning!

The table is full and most of the other farm hands are finishing their plates when Eminghare and Ofonode arrive. Primina stands and points to one of the two places available, “You will sit there, Ofonode.”
“Yes, ma'am.” He can see quite readily that his place has more food than Eminghare's and at least more dishes than the others. His cheeks grow hot as he wonders what the others think about the favor Primina is obviously showing him.
“Have you found that you can do the work, girl? What is your name, anyway?”
“I am called Eminghare. And, yes. I can do the work.” Eminghare is sitting up straight in her chair, looking directly into Primina's face. Ofonode wonders if she is feeling challenged. He would if someone asked him such a question.
Primina's eyebrows lift. Without looking away from the girl, “How is she doing, Ofonode?”
“Very well. I have been pleasantly surprised.”
The surprise in Primina's expression seems to deepen, “Have you finished the hay, then?”
“Not yet. Yesterday we had the same amount to do and it took all day. Today, we'll probably finish soon after lunch.”
“Good. Take Eminghare to work with Boarch when you've finished with the hay.”
A surge of disappointment surges through Ofonode, “Yes, ma'am. And I'll finish the barn on my own, then?”
“Yes. I'm sure you can handle it, right?”
“I will.” Ofonode wonders if Os will be willing to help him for a little while right after lunch. He glances at Eminghare and realizes she's been staring at him. She quickly looks away, though, as he looks over at her. What was she thinking? Why was she watching me? Is she worried about work with others? Ofonode wishes he could just ask her direct questions. But he feels sure, based on their interactions thus far, that she wouldn't answer him, so he decides he won't ask. He'll wait for her to tell him what she's comfortable telling him.
“I have the napkin from breakfast, Primina. May I return it and use my lunch napkin to take some food with me. I can't eat everything right now, but it can really help to have to it along.”
“Sure. Just make sure you return it at dinner.”
“Yes, ma'am.” He packs the napkin full plaintain mosa and sinasir. He hopes Eminghare will be happy with these. The main dish was a sweet potato curry, which he ate all of because it wouldn't have transported well by napkin. The other guys at the table are looking at him with various expressions most readily interpreted as jealously. Well, I'm not going to waste it by just leaving it on the plate.
Ofonode waits outside of the dining room for Eminghare. He walks with her and they leave the house. About half-way to the barn, Ofonode hands her the napkin, “I thought you'd like to take it to your friend. I'll get to work in the barn and when you're finished, come and we'll get the rest of the hay into the loft.”
Eminghare's pale cheeks bloom with bright red spots right in the middle, “Thank you, Ofonode. That's very thoughtful and kind of you.”
“You're welcome. I hope you'll tell me about your friend sometime. But even if you don't, maybe it would be a good idea if you only disappear with food when we're able to work together. Unless, of course, you want others to know you're feeding someone out there.”
She nods her head. “Thank you for keeping my secret. I really appreciate it.”
“Sure.” Ofonode walks to the barn and Eminghare moves off into the field. As soon as he's sure she's gone, Ofonode talks to the air, “I know you're there, Os. What do you think about helping me out around here when I come back from bringing Eminghare to work with Boarch later?”
“I think you should ask me when you come back alone. Boarch might have you do something else.”
“That's true.”
The invisian can feel another question, but refuses to help the boy ask it.
“What do you think of her?”
“I think she could be dangerous. As much as she won't talk. She is a secret keeper. They can be good, but also bad. Tread carefully in your interactions with her, Ofonode.”
“Your answer is what I was expecting. I have been careful, haven't I?”
“Revealing that you knew why she wanted the food was potentially a bad move. If she is on the dark side of secret keeping. If she's on the light side, you've given her greater reason to trust you with her secrets. Just don't give her any of your private information. Because she's so untrusting, perhaps that's a good reason not to trust her.”
“You're right. She should be back any minute.”
“Who are you talking to, Ofonode?”
“My friend.”
“Do you talk to any lizard? Or just the one you travel with?”
“Well, if I knew all lizards as well as I know my friend, I might talk to all of them.”
Eminghare laughs and Ofonode wishes he could think of something else that might make her laugh more.
“If I told you I talk to some lizards, too, would that surprise you?”
“I don't know. I guess I'd have to know the lizard.”
Eminghare smiles, “I might introduce you to one tomorrow if you'd like.”
“I would like that a lot.”
She nods her head. “Maybe I should catch this time.” Eminghare says this as she begins to climb the ladder to the loft.
Ofonode grabs a bale of hay and tosses it to her as soon as she tells him she's ready. The two work together steadily. Ofonode feels sadness grow in him as the stacks of hay diminish. This isn't the kind of work that is conducive to having a conversation, so he just tosses her a new bale each time she says the word.
Eminghare joins him at the door to the barn and hands him the napkin, “Thank you, again.”
Ofonode smiles and nods. The two walk out, Eminghare walks beside him, watching him carefully so she'll know where to go. Ofonode stops suddenly, turns, and looks at her for a moment. Eminghare looks up into his face and waits.
“Would you sit next to me at dinner?”
“Uh, sure. I guess I can. I mean, if there's a place next to you, I will.”
“I'll make sure there is.” They continue walking together in silence. I wish I knew what I could ask her that would get her to open up and talk to me. It's too late for now, we're almost to the field Boarch is working. Or probably just watching.
Ofonode stops and points off to the field and a small shed sort of building, “That's where Boarch is with a few guys. Don't work too hard or they'll wonder what kind of being you are. It's better if you don't surprise them as much as you did me. Please tell me you'll work a little more like a girl while you're with them?”
“A little, maybe.”
“Good. Okay. I'll see you at dinner.”

Eminghare just nods her head while chewing lightly on her lower lip.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

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writing life: YouTube

Why in the world would an author/writer need a YouTube channel anyway?  Well, writers are more attractive to publishing houses if they have a strong following in various social media outlets.  The more the better... if they are each and all strong.  Mine haven't really been stellar.  Growing is definitely good, though!

Especially since I'm thinking very seriously about going indie.  Independent publishing is up and coming and definitely appealing to me for some reasons that may not be super obvious to you if you haven't watched my channel at all.  And if I'm doing all this work anyway....

Also, I have a great, deep, wide desire for my husband to have a really strong role in this thing I'm doing... something that I could potentially turn over to him as his own thing.  Thus why Cap'N Hugh has had his own day since very early in my channel's life.  Also, his were my first children's books and YouTube, and promoting the search in the other outlets, was really the best way I could think of to search for illustrators.

Video editing was a tough thing for me to learn.  Many YouTube how to's were watched.  A friend's help was accepted thankfully in giving some guidance.  Silly me... I was afraid to mess with the one panel I needed to mess with to make the editing software work.  Isn't that how it goes?

I've still got so much to learn and there are so many ways I want (and probably need) to improve.  I mean, I've got regular posting that shows stuff in my life... and that's the main thing I wanted to do with my channel... so you can know who I really am... Tori FOR REAL... but I also want to have more fun stuff.  Things that are interesting to anyone who takes the time to watch me there.  I want you to come away feeling happier.  Truly.

Next time I'll tell you about my Facebook and probably Twitter, too.


Monday, January 16, 2017

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, a book review

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is a classic. Classics are worth reading for many reasons. For one, they have been read so widely and often that there is much in intelligent discourse that references the content of the story. Sometimes, references to the classics appears even in less intellectual entertainment venues like broadcast TV programs. The more broadly and well-read an individual, the more they are able to realize reference to classics!

Heathcliff and Catherine are a legendary pair because of Emily Bronte. Their story is not necessarily one others would aspire to, but, like Romeo and Juliet, this story shows a love that lasts beyond the grave. Isn't that what everyone hopes their love will do? I think so… at least when that love is new.

I like that the story is related by someone who has seen the whole thing come to pass. Bess is not exactly a reliable narrator because she is very opinionated about what she has seen, but she does provide a continuous point of view, which makes the story a little bit easier to digest.

The setting is completely unfamiliar to me. I've read about moors of England so I understand what they are like inasmuch as one can without experiencing them. Still, I think if I had actual experience in/with them, this story would be even more interesting to me than it is.

Have you read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte yet? What did you think of it?

Friday, January 13, 2017

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Alone Together, by Suzanne Bloom

A very fast read, especially good for young ones with short attention spans. Alone Together by Suzanne Bloom is easy to read with big bold illustrations by the author. My children enjoyed it and encouraged me to read another book by the same author.

Everyone needs some time alone. Will bear be able to enjoy what he wants and needs?

I have felt a bit like bear in this one when with my children. More in the days when I had only one or two than now, thankfully.

What do you think of this picture book?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

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my thoughts: on gossip

Have you ever been the focus of gossip? How did you find out? How did it feel?

Boy, I sure have. In various forms, I've experience this unkindness. By presenting it as an unkindness, I reveal, at least a little, how it feels to me.

And why? Why do folks gossip about me? Because I think differently about some things than some people? Because I look different? Because I do things differently? Yes, apparently, to each of those.

I'm a fat chick. Thankfully it's pretty proportional fatness. So, I pretty much just look like a larger-sized lady than many. So what have folks had to

I don't think I'm all that unusual or interesting, but apparently others do. I've realized the fact that others gossip about me in various ways. Sometimes, and most directly, when someone makes a comment that reveals they have been speaking with others about me. I'm pretty sure they don't even realize they are telling on themselves.

At other times, and perhaps most often, someone else tells me what others were saying about me. The times this has happened, the person who tells me also usually shares how they defended me and how they got out of that conversation. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not. It sure feels like a bad thing to hear the unkindnesses spoken about me when I am unable to explain or help them understand. And most often, they are saying things that reveal they have simply not understood or misconstrued something I've said or done. But maybe it's good to feel bad for a moment because I have definitely and immediately ended any more than the most basic social interaction with those I realize have the habit of gossip.

I have been told I think differently than many. I don't usually perceive it. But if you hear the same thing frequently and long enough, it does seem to have some validity.

As for how we do things… well, when we learn more and assimilate that knew knowledge into our life, we make changes in how we do things to accommodate the new understanding. At least, that's what we're supposed to do. And that's what I do. The way we do everything we do is because we're striving to live in accordance with the understanding we have gained.

I have been through numerous paradigm shifts. And even still must live with a great deal of cognitive dissonance because I'm not in a position to DO what I know and want to do. But we do what we can as we're able. Doesn't everyone? Well, based on how often folks gossip about me in this way, I guess maybe not.

Monday, January 9, 2017

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A Widow's Story, a Memoir by Joyce Carol Oates, a book review

Initially, I started reading A Widow's Story, a Memoir by Joyce Carol Oats book as research for a project I started a while back. Only because I was determined to read the whole thing was I able to read all of it. Even so, I didn't carefully read every word. However, even though most of the 415 pages were difficult for me to get through, I'm glad I did. Why? Most obviously, because I finished what I started. Yet, also because there were some good nuggets. Some actual truths like nuggets of gold lying out in the open creek in the days of the gold rush in California. The sun glints on them, I feel awed and impressed. Then the sun disappears behind the cloud and the gold is no longer identifiable.

Most of the gold appears half-way through the Ms. Joyce's relating of her experience of becoming a widow. Some of them, as memories of her husband. Some during the brief relating of her experience with her late husband's manuscript. Most as commentary.

I had a difficult time with her focus on suicide. I guess it's appropriate given how steeped in suicide and suicidal thoughts Ms. Oates has been for, apparently, the whole of her scholarly life (both as student and teacher). Still, given my experiences with suicide, it is just a difficult subject for me to read… and yet more so because Ms. Oates is for a portion of the book very focused on how much better it would be to kill herself than live.

The saurian is very interesting to me. As a result of certain of my own beliefs, it seems very possible to me that if she actually saw a lizard-creature in the periphery of her vision, that it was actually there as a spiritual tormentor. The things she hears that she attributes to it are perfectly in line with my beliefs and understanding.

The first half is very slow and difficult, yet it ends very suddenly. The end is really no end at all. I think it's possible, given the copyright of 2011, that Ms. Oates didn't have enough time after her loss in which to formulate an end that works better.

Although I recommend it, I do not recommend it highly… unless one is already a widow, in which case it might be very interesting.

Have you read A Widow's Story by Joyce Carol Oates? What did you think of it?

Friday, January 6, 2017

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Ship of Dreams by Dean Morrissey, a book review

Morrissey, author and illustrator of Ship of Dreams, is an amazing artist! This book is full of beautiful and detailed oil paintings. Some painted created as early as 1990 with the latest finished in 1993.

In children's books, art is meant to tell the story in pictures and/or give details to clarify the words of the story. At least, that's what my children and I look for in picture books. Morrissey accomplishes this with his beautiful oil paintings.

The story grabbed my children's imagination. My boy, especially, loves the ship and the idea of flying around with the Sandman. He thought how the boy ended up on the ship was especially funny.

I like the story. I love the pictures.

Have you read this one? What did you think? If you read it after reading this, let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

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learning to burn, part 18

 Please start from the beginning.

He waits a moment longer, “We, those like Binia and I, didn't know there were so many with us who wanted to conquer your lovely planet. Such thoughts were supposed to be weeded out of all applicants. We failed in that regard and have made ourselves protectors of the smaller groups of your people. We feel very protective over and love you and your people very much. As we should, love you, that is, since we are all siblings, spiritually speaking.

“Now, you know that Binia can transform into a flying dragon who can breathe fire. Because she was actually born on your planet, she hasn't had enough experience to know that it would be safe for you to see her other form. So, I'm going to tell you first: she and I can look like you.”

Eminghare springs into a standing position and, at the same time, “No! Is such a thing even possible?”

Oseratin and Binia look at each other. Ofonode stands, feeling sure that they are moments away from shifting to show her.

In the blink of an eye, the two previously small lizards, stand upright as rather tall humanoid beings. Both Ofonode, who is tall for an Anadarian, and Eminghare look up at their companions. Os and Binia's fingers are longer than any Anadarians'. Os holds his hang out for Eminghare and Ofonode to look at. It is much the same, though with four fingers and a thumb rather than the three fingers and thumb that the Anadarians have. The invisians' hair covers the whole of their head rather than, only having hair on the top and down a center strip in back as with Anadarians. Ofonode decides that all the invisians must have various shades of silver hair because even Binia, who is so much younger than Os, has a full head of silvery hair. Her hair is longer by far than his and Ofonode wonders if that's because males' hair grows much slower.

“Is it not much easier to see that we could come from the same spiritual father now that you have seen us in this form, Eminghare?”

She nods her head.

Binia moves close to her and reaches out her hand. Eminghare looks at it, but doesn't make a move to touch her. Binia reaches farther and touches the side of Eminghare's upper arm.

“She is still who you know, Eminghare. She is simply in a form unfamiliar to you. You've loved her before and she loves you still.”

Eminghare reaches across herself to put a hand over Binia's, “It's just so….”

Binia nods her head, a slight smile forming on her mouth.

“I will teach her to speak to you. She has learned while traveling with you, but doesn't feel confident at all yet.” Os smiles softly and looks at the two females. He jumps ever so slightly as if he's just been reminded of something. “Oh, I must continue to tell you two about our kind! There are a couple things left to say. Only invisian females are able to cloak themselves so perfectly as to see to disappear. As you have seen, some are so skilled as to be able to provide the same shelter to others.  This is rare. I am deeply impressed that Binia, with her youth, is so skilled! Breathing fire is within our scope of abilities, but only used under extreme duress and if the opportunity for extensive rest is possible immediately afterward.

“We live a very long time. Apparently, so do your people, Eminghare. But Ofonode's usually do not live as long as yours. Given what Binia has conveyed, it is very important for you to know this right now, Eminghare.

“Invisians are able to communicate telepathically with one another. Usually only in line of sight, though. This is why we are so isolated. We don't know where the others like us are… neither those who are for or against us. Sometimes, if a companion is willing, we are able to communicate with those who are not invisian. If we become close enough and build a strong enough rapport, it seems likely that we should be able to communicate in this way with anyone we love. Binia is sure you have heard her in this way a few times. I'm sure Ofonode has heard me once, though he might have thought otherwise.

“Basically, other than the physical differences you can see, that covers all else. Binia has conveyed that it is important for us to sleep soon and stay only one whole day more and leave the next morning. I'm pretty sure Eminghare would have mentioned that to you next Ofonode.”

Eminghare nods her head.

“I'm not sure if we'll have enough supplies for the journey, especially since Eminghare just started, but if the rest of you think we can do it, I'll trust that.”

Os nods his head, “Then it is agreed. We must make our way to the sleeping quarters and rest.”
Eminghare, Os shifting into small lizard form, and Ofonode walk away toward the bunk houses.
“Basically, if the door is closed, don't open it to look for a bed. If all the doors are closed, climb into the loft. There will be bunks and cots around the space up there. I'm certain there are a couple rooms available, though there isn't much room other than the bed and some space to walk around two sides of it. I prefer the rooms, to the loft. But if the girls are feeling mean, they might have closed all the doors since you're out so late.”

“Thanks for telling me. Since we'll travel together, I'll finish telling you what I was going to say later. I'm feeling completely wiped out and ready to sleep. I'm not even sure how to tell you what I want to share right now because my brain feels fuzzy. I guess it's just a bit of information overload, maybe.”
“No problem, Eminghare.” The three have arrived at the women's bunkhouse. “Sleep well.”

“You, too, Ofonode.”

Ofonode waits until Eminghare is inside with the outer door closed and then catches up to Os who is already on his way to the men's building. They make their way to the room they share. Ofonode falls into the bed and Os plops into the cushy pillow almost under the bed.

“I hope you understand that I have not been reticent because of you, at all. It has proven unwise for my kind to share too openly with your people. Binia and I were able to communicate deeply and we both believe you two are trustworthy. I hope you will prove us right.”

Mumbling with fatigue Ofonode replies, just before he falls asleep, “Me, too."

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

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writing life: it's not just writing

Did you know that I've been working full-time hours (and more) at this writing thing since June last year (2016)?  And for a few months back in 2015 before my family somehow managed to catch lice and I shaved my head (3 guard) in hopes of speeding up the process of getting through that trial.  It didn't shorten the process.  After I got rid of the buggers, they children caught them again somewhere!  grrrr...

I have written, of course, but since June, the majority of my writing has been for Cap'N Hugh, here in my blog, and songs more than working on the stories I have in my head.  Why?

Well, in the business of writing... it's a big job to get art out for most folks anywhere, regardless of the kind... so it's a bunch of work.  What do I do in that non-writing work time?  Well, I mentioned a few things above.  That may account for a little more than half the 40+ hours per week.  The rest of the time is social media management.

Scheduling posts in Facebook, my blog, and twitter.  Checking in at each of those outlets/hubs as well as YouTube.

And YouTube... wow!  Video editing... that was a huge learning curve for me!  YouTube, in general, has been a steep learning curve for me!

I'll share more in a couple weeks.

Monday, January 2, 2017

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The Wizard of Rondo by Emily Rodda, a book review

As with The Key to Rondo, I had a difficult time making myself finish The Wizard of Rondo by Emily Rodda. There are good scenes in it. There are slightly funny scenes. There are a couple good action scenes… but mostly it was difficult for me to enjoy. This is not really because of the book, I think, but because I prefer relationship driven stories. This book, and thus far the trilogy, is action driven.

My two eldest daughters really enjoy the story. They are twelve and 9, almost 10 years old. They like the fantasy of it. They like the adventure of it. Neither of them have the preference for another sort of story that I do, apparently.

As far as the content of the story, I can recommend it for children of well-read 9 years or 10 years and older. There are a few new characters in Rondo, who are based on nursery rhymes. Some of them potentially funny. Most of the characters, though, are pretty flat. I think this is a sort of result of being part of an adventure tale.

Have you read The Wizard of Rondo by Emily Rodda? What do you think of it?