Alligators Overhead Trailer

Friday, July 29, 2016

Cherished Blogfest



Gram's Teapot, My Cherished Item

Her name was Lillian Francis Murray. Born in 1894, she grew up in Kansas, but spent her summers in Kentucky on her grandfather’s horse-breeding plantation. She was an excellent horsewoman, she baked cakes (no boxes involved) that rose higher than anyone else’s. Her quilt stitches were perfect. If she mended anything, you couldn’t tell there had been a crack or, in the case of clothes, a hole before she took a needle to the fabric. She was a “Waste Not Want Not” thinker, and she scrubbed everything to a shine--including one always slightly scruffy girl-child. I can still hear her say, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” 

I knew her as Mom. She was the person who picked me up when I cried, or who I ran to with a skinned knee. Oh, I had my mother, too. I was the only kid in the neighborhood with two moms. One went to work every morning. The other one stayed home with me. 

She taught me how to cook. She taught me how to sew. Mostly she taught me never to even think about shirking work unless it was Sunday. On that day, she’d sit in the living room and listen to my grandfather play his violin, we’d have a light “supper” and then maybe go to a movie, or friends would come over to play cards and talk. On the summer Sundays, she’d send me with my wagon to pick up ice at the corner market, and then I’d gather the neighbor kids to churn homemade ice cream. Grandpa would always take the last part of the churning duty because none of us had the muscle to crank it when it was nearly frozen.

She didn’t own a lot of things that were only for decoration. I remember everything having a useful purpose. And this teapot had a very useful purpose. It came into our home before I can remember. It was always either in the hutch next to the kitchen table and ready for use or on the table itself and filled with sweet-smelling tea. 

I’ve accumulated many valuables over time. This teapot is probably the least valuable in terms of money, but if there’s a fire, my grandmother’s teapot will go with me before any of the other things. It represents her and brings her voice to me just as I heard it in the days I was at her side.

Thanks for the Cherished Blogfest and a chance to visit my gram again. I even made tea in her pot today, so I could extend my visit with her.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Prop Me Up and Other Miscellany


Three plucky sleuths. A crumbling skeleton. A buried treasure.

Most of you know I'm about to turn a book loose in the world, so if you're a writer, you understand my state of body and mind. I'm booked pretty solid through August and probably September, but believe me, I'm eyeing November or December for some down time. 

To add to the confusion, Blogger ate my Blog List last week and then did some nasty things to my posts, so I had my head into html again--not fun in the summer, well anytime really. Apologies for not getting around to everyone's blog as usual. I'll be catching up soon.






My Email Connect ( EC) is growing. And in August I'll be featuring my sixth author. Who I pull from the hat is always a surprise for my EC followers, and I'm really enjoying reading, reviewing and featuring writers like this. If you're interested in what's going on behind the scenes, sign up and join us for my launch month. It's going to be special with more gifts--dragon related, of course. And more about my copywriting course. I'd love to have you as part of the group.






The Beginning of New Paths and Native Landscaping

I've turned to landscaping as one way to hoist myself off the writing chair and change a garden to native plants. We have a vacation home that my in-laws built back in the seventies, and it needs mega work. Great! Another project. But I'm enjoying the creative part (moving rocks and digging holes for new plants--creative?) while my husband shakes his head over the construction issues. 




I took a quick break and went to San Francisco for a SCBWI mixer at Books Inc. (the oldest bookstore in the city, btw) And I'm really glad I did. I met a lot of booksellers as well as authors and illustrators. I've been trying to do more volunteering for the organization, so I hope to be at more mixers like this one. 




Well, I'm off to check on my book blog tour. Today I'm visiting these amazing bloggers.
 Alex Cavanaugh
Yolanda Renee
The Silver Dagger Scriptorium (sounds ominous, doesn't it?)



My Quote for the Week: "Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching." Thomas Jefferson (This one seemed appropriate on many levels.)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Anyone Want Some Lobster? Liebster?


Sign of the Green Dragon is HERE today. 
Stop by. Say hi. Enter to win a GC to buy more books. 



Lobster Liebster Award
Thank you Yolanda for including me. Here's the answers to your questions.

1. What WIP are you working on now or tell about another hobby you have.

I’m almost done with my edits on a young adult novel. This one will be a bit of a departure for me with multiple POV characters, but my agent’s interested, so that’s a step in the right direction. Fingers crossed.

2. Do you find subjects for blogging difficult or overflowing

Both. At times I can’t decide which topic to choose, but at other times, I don’t have anything I want to set down. I think I just burn out occasionally.

3. Your favorite fictional character. Why?

Maybe Sherlock Holmes could qualify. I love his brilliant mind, but also his vulnerability with his addiction. He’s complicated and fascinating.

4. Your favorite author. Why?

That’s a hard question, but I’ve always loved Margaret Atwood’s work. It’s her prose that grabs me and holds my attention. Her stories sneak up on me and always surprise me.

5. Your favorite genre. Why?

I don’t have a favorite genre. I read just about everything, but some with more enthusiasm than others. I’m more drawn to literary work than thrillers or romance, but a steady diet of Rushdie would put me into a coma. I love quirky fun stories, so any genre with that involved is a favorite.

6. Blog hops pro or con—productive or a waste of time. 

I do some hops because they offer me a chance to meet other bloggers. I think we become rather incestuous otherwise. You know, a close set of bloggers that can anticipate each other’s posts. I don't think they're a waste of time, but time-consuming, and if they’re interesting I don’t mind that.

7. Biggest regret or best decision you’ve ever made?

The best decision I ever made was to buy where we live today. We’re in a quiet space, but still within a short distance of our small town and San Francisco. The beach is about twenty minutes away and Lake Tahoe about four hours. It’s a unique place and I’ve always loved being here.

8. What is the meaning of success to you?

Finding happiness in what I’m doing.

9. Do you write reviews for books you read? Why or why not?

Yes. If I can read the entire book, and if I can give it at least three stars, I review it. Because I’m a writer, I understand how important those reviews are. I really want to support others, but I don’t want to hurt them by giving them a one or two-star review. After all it's only my personal opinion.

10. Biggest social media success or failure?

I didn’t do diddlly with my one attempt at a Facebook ad, but I mishandled it. I'll try again.

11. Please share a paragraph or two from your current WIP or your favorite quote.

From Retro Girl:

Lula didn’t drive the direct route home. She drove to the lake instead and parked. She let her head rest against the driver’s window and stared at the calm blue water. This was a place she’d seen since she could remember, and it looked the same as always. That confused her because it shouldn’t. Nothing in her life was the same, so this lake should be different, too.

Didn’t the universe know about Blossom? About the totally changed Win and Marty? About Lucia Banes whose shattered foot had healed, but whose heart had been remolded into something unrecognizable?

She touched the lucky rabbit’s foot charm and stroked it’s misshaped edges. Her heart on a chain.


Thanks again, Yolanda. Appreciated your thinking of me.



The Liebster Blog Award rules are:
  • Write a blog post about your nomination, displaying an image of the award.
  • Thank the person who nominated you that includes a link to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the person who nominated you asked you in his/her blog post.
  • Nominate 5-11 other starting bloggers who you think deserve this award and come up with 11 questions of your own for them to answer.
  • List these rules in your blog post.

My nominations for the Lobster Liebster Award:

So many people have been tagged on this one that I think I'm just going to let any of you who want to join in, do so. Here are my questions:

  1. If you had only one good deed you could do in this world, what would that be?
  2. What is one fictional character you'd like to be? How come?
  3. What's your fondest memory from childhood?
  4. Is there any story you wish you'd written? Which one?
  5. If you're a writer, what genre do you wish you could write, but just can't?
  6. Are you going to participate in the A to Z 2017? Why or why not?
  7. What makes you happier than anything else in this world?
  8. What is the meaning of success to you?
  9. When you were in grade school, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  10. Is there anything you want to do, but are afraid to try? 
  11. Please share a paragraph or two from your current WIP or your favorite quote.



Quote of the Week: "Life is like a suitcase. You can squeeze a lot into it." Yoko Ono


So are you going to take on the Liebster this time around? Have you been doing some other hops to extend the blogs you follow? How's July treating you? Will you stop by my next tour stop and say hi? Hope so. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Did Someone Say Jump?


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Whether I'm ready or not, it's time to jump into the blog tour for Sign of the Green Dragon. Here's the July line up from Goddess Fish Promotions and my own lovely writing and blogging crew. I'm excited and nervous and all those things that, when lumped together, is called stage fright. Curtain going up!


July 12: BooksChatter
July 13: Rogue's Angels
July 14: The Avid Reader
            Angela Brown
July 20: Kit 'N Kabookle
July 21: Cafinated Reads
            Juneta Key
                 Alex Cavanaugh
                 Yolanda Renee
July 26: Books in the Hall 
July 27: T's Stuff
                 Christine Rains        
                 Catherine Consantine





Three plucky sleuths. A crumbling skeleton. A buried treasure.

Sign of the Green Dragon gets a high five for fantasy, fun and some fearsome adventure. If you like intrepid would-be knights on impossible and dangerous quests, you’ll love this story. As one reader says, this book, “has more twists than a dragon’s tail.”

Buy now and jump into the adventure.




If you want to see some creative posts that kicked off the dragon's journey to print, check out Roland's blog. Delightful from start to finish.

June 05: Roland Yeomans
July 07:  Roland Yeomans

And here are some others who gave me a head start on the launch: 

July 01: Juneta Key
July 02: Nas Dean




Quote of the Week: "Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul." Samuel Ullman, Poet.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

IWSG--I Was Searching for Gary--And Then He Found Me Hopping

Thanks Alex.

The awesome co-hosts for the July 6 posting of the IWSG will be Yolanda Renee, Tyrean Martinson, Madeline Mora-Summonte , LK Hill, Rachna Chhabria, and JA Scott




Never turn your back on the first Wednesday of the month. 

Seriously. 

That's when it pounces and has you for dinner. Maybe lunch. I was writing--do not snigger--and then July 6 popped up on my calendar with "ALERT. HOP TO IT." 

Hop? Really? 

Gary will go bonkers and Penny might even withhold her affection if I start hopping again. However, I'm basically intrepid and pressing on. 




Quietly

So. I'm tiptoeing into this TMI Blog Hop with some IWSG twists and turns. Here's my post. I hope you'll take the dare in spite of Gary or because of him. He is really a good guy who would never pounce, unlike the first Wednesday of each month seems to.




Thank you,  Debbie and Guilie  for the #AtoZ TMI Blog hop. So this is the "This is me, from A to Z. 

Sorry. I'm a fairly boring subject, so feel free to skim and scan. But before you start my #AtoZ, here's the answer to this month's IWSG question. 

The best thing anyone ever said about my writing was in a blurb Francisco Stork wrote about The Princess of Las Pulgas: ". . .a beautifully written, meaningful, young adult novel. Carlie Edmund will jump off the page and pull you into a poignant and timely story of loss and ultimate gain. She'll take you into a world where stereotypes are shattered and truth is discovered deep beneath the surface."



And now . . .
A: Age
Rocks are younger than I am, but heavier. So I'm good.

B: Biggest fear
Gary will read this post and he'll tell Penny.

C: Current Time
Summer. What could be better, except perhaps winter or spring or fall?

D: Drink you last had
It was either Chardonnay or Pinot. The only other things I drink are coffee or water, so those are possible last things, too.

E: Every day starts with
A walk. Simple, right? I live in a place that beckons. Have to take walks.

F: Favorite Song
My last favorite song was Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Raitt. I still replay that one in my head.

G: Ghosts, are they real?
This question is too close to my bones to answer. I have to write about this one day because she's back and making my life edgy.

H: Hometown
I don't have one. Not kidding. I was born on the move.

I: In love with
Penny. Who else? She's my heroine. And she might put a good word in for me with Gary if I say this.

J: Jealous of?
Nothing and nobody. I gave that up after high school. Waste of time.

K: Killed someone?
Not yet. But I have had targets in mind.

L: Last time you cried?
When my two close friends died within a month of each other. I'm still crying, but you can't see it.

M: Middle name
Lee

N: Number of siblings
One.

O: One wish
To not regret my choices.

P: Person you last called?
My husband. "Dinner's ready. Where are you?"

Q: Question you're always asked
And you are...?

R: Reason to smile
I'm breathing.

S: Sounds that annoy you
Very high pitched voices send me over the wall. Or they would if there was a wall available.

T: Time you woke up
4:30. I'm writing. (Please stop the sniggering.)

U: Underwear color
Let me check. . . Oh yes, white. I'm back to basics, so my undies are either black or white.

V: Vacation destination
I travel a lot, so my deck is often my best vacation.

W: Worst habit
Giving impatient looks. I must learn not to do that.

X: X-Rays you've had
Those airport X-Rays! What a horror. Some totally weird, strange person with a badge is looking at my innards. Creepy.

Y: Your favorite food
If it doesn't involve goat, it's my favorite. There's a story behind this. The answer involves a bazaar in Istanbul.

Z: Zodiac sign
Aquarius, if you go with the western zodiac. One of those obnoxious Tigers if you go with the Chinese zodiac.

Did you have fun? (not you Gary) 

The blog-fest is on through July 13th. 
Just add your name and post your answers.

Happy First and Insecure Wednesday Everyone. 

I may be late in getting around to those I usually visit because we have a new baby in our family as of June, and I'm off to meet the little guy tomorrow. Hope he likes me.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Dear World Go Away. . .Just for a While Redux


Last week I hit the wrong button and published this post a week early. In other words I screweth up. Oh well, that's what relaxing does to me. I think all is well and kick back and viola! Double post. This gives me a chance to wish all who visit, a very happy FOURTH OF JULY. 






This month #InkRipples is about Inspiration, and what could be more inspirational than being surrounded by beautiful scenery in a peaceful, contemplative place like Tassajara. So here's my monthly meme post. Thanks to Kai Strand, Mary Waibei, and Katie L. Carroll for this. To join in just SIGN UP.



The Entrance

Earlier this month I took a few days away from writing and from the noise of social media, and drove to a place called Tassajara Zen Center. This is my third time, and I always come away renewed and feeling as if I'd been gone for weeks, not days. 

It's a long drive up a winding, dirt road where you hope the car coming in the opposite direction is going as slowly as you are. Negotiating the curves, edging past the rare car when you're on the steep canyon side of the road, and praying the air conditioning won't fail because all you can see out your back window is dust. . .Well, you get the point. You have to want to go to Tassajara. 



Los Padres National Forest

The rewards far outweigh the trial of coming and going. Here's one of the views along the way. You're in the Los Padres National Forest a lot of the time, and when you come to the end of that dusty road, you're at the Zen Center. The only way to go farther is to hike.




A Friend and the Yurt

I stayed in one of their yurts this time. At sunset all goes quiet. There's no talking on the grounds until after 8:30 the next morning. That's when you begin to really hear where you are. The crunch of gravel underfoot, the brush of clothing, your breath. You can slip into the mineral springs under the stars and dream your stories without anyone breaking into your thoughts, without any phone dinging to alert you about a text. 

My Reading Deck

The day starts at dawn when one of the Zen students interrupts the dark silence with tiny bells, and you lie in your bed thinking, I can go to morning zazen (meditation) or I can lie here and be content. Yoga starts at 7:30, breakfast (all the food is fabulous) at 9:00, zazen at 10:30, lunch at 12:00 and a break until 3:30 when you return for more yoga. Dinner at 7:00, then back to silence at dusk. Ahhh. A full and beautiful day inside your head and getting to know what your body can do when you focus on each asana (pose). 



The Path to the Zendo
So now I'm back and in the hubbub again. I'm grateful for both worlds and for the chance to choose between the two. Have you tried a retreat? What did you come away with? 





Quote of the Week: The value of things is not the time they last, but the intensity with which they occur." Poet Fernando Pessoa