Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Tree Calamities! Have YOU ever had one?

OK, so I'm waiting for my little sister, Marijo, to come out to my house so we can commence with the infamous yearly Christmas Tree Decorating adventure. Though growing up it was much more adventuresome as she and I would ride our horses up into the woods, pick out a tree, then hike up later with our big brother to retreive it. Joe always enjoyed the trek, both up, as he would throw stuff at us the entire time, and back down, as he would make US carry the tree with him STILL throwing things at us all the way back down. Ah the priviledge of being the one with the talent for wielding the ax! Suffice to say, it's been at least eight years since a tree has met it's untimely demise from our property, they being far too tall now to deal with. So gaks, and gasp! I've been paying for one ever since.
Of course, when you're a single gal, getting a tree can be just as challenging even though you are paying to chop one down. I'm not a skilled tree chopper and can't lift a nine foot tree by myself so I usually bribe ... oh I mean coerce ... er .. ah... ask kindly of some unsuspecting gent (usually my brother in law or best friend's husband, to wield the ol ax, carry the body, hoist it onto the top of the jeep where it is quickly lashed for transport, take it off the jeep at the house, and of course, get said tree into the house, and into its stand. The price of tree transport has gone up over the years. I used to get away with a batch of chocolate chip cookies as payment. Now it's full taco dinners for said help and their family! But it's fun!
To make the task ever more adventurous, one has to get all the decorations down from the attic. We prepare ourselves by putting on our gloves, hats, anything that can be used for armor against the eight legged masses, and our cans of raid. (Hey, it's a log cabin!) Years ago the only thing one had to worry about are what we call around these parts as simply 'wood spiders' which, can get pretty hefty in their own right. So much so that you can actually hear them walking on the wood next to you. Ewwwwwwwww ... unfortuneatly the wood spider population has diminished over the years when the "girls" moved in. When they moved in we're not sure, or perhaps they were always there but too few to make a decent showing. At any rate, Black Widows seem to have a taste for wood spiders, who in turn had a hankering for Hobo spiders, which are as nasty as the "girls". So you can see why we wait til we are armed to the teeth, then ascend!
After getting all the decorations down one has to sift carefully, to make sure no tag alongs made it down as well. I remember the year a nice big wood spider decided to take up residence in the baby Jesus's cradle of our nativity scene. He wasn't happy about being evicted but too bad! We threw him outside rather than "stone him". After making sure there aren't any decorations that are going to crawl off the tree by themselves, we can commence with the deocorating. After which we turn on the tree lights and oooo and ahhhh at our stunning achievement. Occasionally, however, after turning away from our task, knowing we've gotten through yet another year relatively unscathed, there has been the resounding CRASH!!!!!!
One has to weigh what is worse. Your tree falling over, visions of your mother's antique ornaments shattering on the floor flashing across your mind with your immediate demise soon following, or having to go up into the atic again for the spare ornaments. I learned the last time it happened, that it was a lot less frightening to go to the store to get more ornaments. But not near as adventuresome! So this year, should the tree take a dive, I've decided to make my lil sis go back up into the attic for the spares!!!!!!! OH! I think I hear her truck now!!!!!!!!!! Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ...... :)
So what sort of Christmas Tree calamity has befallen you?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Am I The Only One ...

... who suffers from the malady of not being able to read fiction once they really get to writing it? I've heard of this, suffer from it, and have known some other authors who are also plagued with it. Interesting, I must say. I have a small window of time (like about a week) to read like a maniac and get in what I can before I dig into Time Masters Book Two and plan to finish Sue Dent's Never Ceese and if I can squeeze in a good old fashioned sappy Christmas book I will. Hmmm, Vampires, Werewolves, and Santa. Well, that will make for an interesting mix, won't it? I'd better watch what I eat before I go to bed, eh? I'll be dreaming of a vampiric Santa Claus whose sleigh is pulled by eight really big werewolves!
Any suggestions for a good Christmas book?


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Thank you Carole McDonnell and Wind Follower!

Ok, so how many of you panic at this time of year because you have those folks on your Christmas list that are just SOOOO hard to shop for? I know I have them, and two inparticular! And no, it's not that they have everything, or that they are extra fussy about the gift they recieve or are just so hard to please a new Jaguar wouldn't even suffice. No, I'm talking about the kind of folks who are so special to you, you want to give them something as unique and as special as they are.Every year, it's the same dilema, and I can never come up with something I think is special enough for them. These folks are like having another set of parents. I even call them mom and dad! They are Fitz and Jahna Houston, and they live in LA, work in the entertainment industry, aka "The Business" and are writers themselves. Many of you have probably seen Fitz on one show or another, and Jahna has been crowned I don't know how many times for different pageants she's been in. Fitz even won the sexiest husband in America one year and they were featured on the Montel show. So yes they are in the public eye a lot, and very, very, busy people. So this year I finally got clever, and decided to try to find something for them to have for those quiet moments, something they can share and come away from with a feeling of satisfaction. Something they can sink their teeth into that does't involve calories! But WHAT?!?!??

Enter the blog tour for Carole McDonnell's book Wind Follower. I didn't have time to read it before the tour, but did start to read the posts and Carole's own website and blog. All I can say is WOW! I logged into Amazon and bought it yesterday so I'd be able to get it mailed down to LA well before Christmas. It's perfect! It will tease the senses, feed the soul, taunt the intellect and most importantly, leave them feeling satisfied with an excellent read! WHEW! So thank you Carole McDonnell for penning a smart, tight, well written story that pretty much has it all! Now you'll have to write another one to bail me out again next year! Wind Follower is definitely a book to not only read for yourself, (which I definitely plan on doing) but to share with others!Get crackin Carole on that next book!

On sale at Amazon Books
As well as Juno Books
You won't want to miss her blog either at Carole McDonnell's Blog

Friday, November 30, 2007

'Twas a Cold and Snowy Night

Ok, so the snow isn't really sticking, but it IS cold. Very cold! And when it's this cold writing sort of gets addled a bit. You find yourself wanting to write about cheery fires and baking cookies and that sort of thing. And even then it's hard as your fingers, cold as they are, have trouble with the key board like mine are doing now! Brrrr!

I live in a summer log cabin. Tomorrow is December 1st! What does that tell you? Now you understand why it's so cold! But I wouldn't trade it as it's in a beautiful setting and is very private. And yes, I am in front of the fireplace! Typing aways as best I can. One of the reasons I got myself a laptop! Unfortunatley the fire is not doing much for my icy hands! Oh rats! Well, it beats the office at any rate!

Time Masters Book One: The Call, takes place in the summer. Dallan, being a Scot, is impervious to cold and I have yet to throw him into a sitution with Shona and a bit of cold weather. Shona, on the other hand, isn't so impervious and therefore Dallan will just have to figure out what to do about that! But I ramble! I'm going to go put more wood on the fire and find a good book to curl up with! Now there's a nice combination! Happy evening to all!


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Birthing Characters

Dallan MacDonald

Dallan was an interesting character to create and he took quite awhile to boot. Taking my time and wanting him to be as real as possible, there was a lot of research involved. But in the end, after numerous Highland games, speaking with Scots of different clans and about a year of getting into this characters head, the thing all writers strive for during character creation happened. Life.

When a character comes to life it can be a sudden thing, or it can take a while. Dallan, while giving him a trial run, lasted about a couple of pages before springing into action and taking charge. It was quite an interesting phenomenon to say the least. Probably because I myself had never spent so much time in the creative process with one character, and because I'd never had one do that before. Just take over. So once I got used to it, I was able to just let him "do his thing". Some of the other characters from Time Masters also hit the pages running and there was no problem once they got going. Kwaku Awahnee is one, but we will discuss him in another post. Suffice to say, Dallan is the glue which holds Time Masters together so well. Readers identify with him readily and he's not the perfect hero which makes him all the more real to us. With his piercing green eyes and drill bit stare he so often throws at Kwaku, not to mention the rest of the TM characters, he becomes interesting. And of course, the things Dallan says to Kwaku are also interesting. "Ye good for nothing bloody heathen!" will more than likely find it's way onto a tee shirt one day if a reader hasn't done it already. And of course, "Saints!" as our boy does his best not to swear, though it slips out in his native Gaelic now and again. And Dallan shares with many of us something in life we try to avoid at all costs, even to the point of sabotaging ourselves in order to prevent confronting it. Rejection. And though his runs deep, he is able to overcome. With a bit of help of course.

After reading Time Masters, Book One: The Call, (we have all started calling it TM1 for short) folks are so swept up with him they say they can barely touch the ground once the story has ended. I guess I'd better get to writing TM2! I wouldn't want anyone to land with a resounding thud as Dallan does a few times in TM1!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Faith Awakened

Faith Awakened. A book, a message, and a darn good piece of writing! Take the science of cryogenics, throw in a healthy smattering of virtual reality, cast an Irish slave living in what her world refers to as simply “The Trouble,” integrate a young girl with all the perks of life, yet suffers through gaps of memory loss but whose heart seeks the heart of God and voila! Ingredients! Bet you thought I was going to say a story, didn’t you? Not quite. Here is where it gets good.

You have two women living in two worlds, both with different lives and troubles, and basically don’t have much in common, their taste for life and its wonders differing at times like night and day. How can two people so far apart wind up so intertwined? Ok, now we’re getting some story. These women are not only connected, they are connected at such a level that not only was I surprised to find out how, but the characters were just as surprised as me! And folks, that takes talent to pull off! Short, clipped, well rounded and woven together tighter than Levi Strauss ever thought of, Grace Bridges has created a wonderful, thought provoking tale that takes the reader into situations with the characters that keep the story moving right along. And the message of trust, and where should we put it is ever pulling at you. The writing is well thought out and clean. The pace excellent and the storyline grips the readers and pulls them along with just the right amount of tension. Difficult enough to do with a 350 – 400 page novel. Grace Bridges does it in a little less than 200 pages. That takes talent, my friends. A lot of it.

I’m looking forward to more from this bright, young and extremely talented new author, Grace Bridges. A name that won’t remain new for long. I certainly plan on wearing it out! And after you read Faith Awakened, you certainly won’t be able to keep quiet either! Geralyn