Saturday, April 4, 2020

Daddy Long-Legs by Katherine Pym





~*~*~*~


Daddy long-legs cluster


My primary time frame is 17th century London. It’s difficult to write of it and not go textbook, something I hated as a kid in school. What I’ve learned over my career is to fill a story that resonates with human interest. History does not change, only the names and circumstances, although even then, too much of the past rings the same in the present these days. 
 
But I digress. Spring has sprung and so have the spiders...
 
Take idiocy as a human interest story. Most people don’t like to admit to this, but it happens on an almost daily basis. Husband and I had one of those occasions this last week. 
 
Close Look at Cluster
We have daddy long-legs spiders. Lots of them. Hundreds of them, maybe a thousand (kidding, but not far from). They don’t build cobwebs of gossamer that spread across the house facade as if we were in a terrible fairy tale. No, they cluster in the eaves above our sliding glass door. They foul the clapboard with their poop, fall on our heads as we come and go. It’s creepy and annoying. We can’t sit on the patio because of them. People from miles around hear my screams, night and day as I take our pup out for her potty rituals.
 
Last week, Husband wearied of my constant screeches, my jumping about and shaking the bugs from my hair and down my collar. He marched outside and grabbed the garden hose. Like a soldier ready to forge into battle, he sprayed the spider clusters with steady jets of water.
 
They plopped like giant, wet shaggy balls onto our patio and lay there stunned. In an angry zest of nature, they freaked out, separated into thousands of crawly things with unnatural long legs. They ran up the wall, the sliding glass doors on both sides of the screen, stalked into a window corner and stayed there. Now, no one could come or go at all. Should we open the slider, an arachnid cluster would scurry into our house.
 
On that note, many did find their way into our house, (I know not how because it is a tightly built structure), and settled on the walls of our bedroom. Outside, the entire wall was covered with them, all vibrating up and down as if in a macabre dance.
Macabre dance all over our wall
 
As the days blurred by, they took to their clusters again, but not just one gigantic one. In their mindless fervor for revenge, several clusters evolved, from over the sliding glass door and down the underside of the eaves of our house and patio.
 
Now, we’ll have poop paths that run the full backside of our house.
 
Nightmare!
 
As a human interest story, I hope you felt what I felt, panicked when I did. That’s what I learned from years of writing. Don’t tell these things. Show them so that the reader stands with you, witnesses the horrific skin crawling insect moments that I did.
 
PS… No spiders were harmed in the telling of this tale. 

~*~*~*~*~
Many thanks to Wikicommons Public domain for the pics.

Friday, April 3, 2020

BWL PUBLISHING APRIL NEW RELEASES

BWL PUBLISHING INC. APRIL NEW RELEASES

Find them all at https://bookswelove.net



Maryland plantation heiress Ursula Martin is content with her secluded life in a convent.  Until the bloodiest day of the Civil War brings a downed soldier into her care.
Blinded Rowan Buckley only knows he’s in deep love with the woman who pulled him off the battlefield. His superiors claim she’s a spy. He knows she’s full of secrets, but he’s out to prove that treason is not one of them.
The two negotiate the crucial times of the Battle of Antietam, Gettysburg, and the New York City Draft Riots. Treachery meets them at every crossroad. Will their love survive?










Lady Sophie Harrington is not one to abide by society’s strictures. If there’s one thing she knows, it’s that she will not be paraded on the London marriage market in hopes of finding a suitable husband. When a handsome bachelor moves into the neighboring country estate, she thinks her wedding woes are solved - all she has to do is make the man fall in love with her and convince her parents he would make a good match.

Successful barrister Lord Bryce Langdon escapes London to begin a new legal practice in the idylls of Cornwall. However, being the object of desire for two beautiful sisters disrupts his life and distracts him from his true purpose for being there – infiltrate a local smuggler’s ring.

Can Sophie win Bryce’s love? What will she do when she discovers Bryce is not the honorable man he appears to be?




Fire Captain Gerry Ormond is launched to national prominence and receives the prestigious Governor General’s Medal of Valor.  He visits his hometown after a twenty-year absence and unwittingly unleashes a killer--a vengeful arsonist with ties to an old murder and theft of a Philippine treasure by a teenage fraternity.  Gerry was one of the frat members.
Karen, his high school sweetheart, ignites a dangerous obsession. Her husband looks good for a recent arson/murder.  Nick Modano, ex-fraternity president, now ruthless drug dealer, is the only other participant in the old crime.  Nick never forgets or forgives Gerry for running out on him during their old crime.
Samantha ‘Sam’ Markham, a crack fire investigator, begins to hound Gerry, believing his past is connected to the present crime wave.  For Gerry, the almost forgotten past has risen from the ooze and taken on a life of its own.  As a man used to chaos control, he is powerless to close the door to his evil past and haunted by a fire dream.  Confessing his old crime will help track down the arsonist but it could destroy him. It’s a tightrope he walks in a town where old friends are now enemies.


Martin Parker is a very happily married man, so when his first love, Diane Branden, blows back into town – still a force to be reckoned with – he is not prepared for the fallout. Drawn unwittingly into her carefully spun web, upheaval quickly follows as his world immediately begins to skid sideways.

Newlyweds Kane and Jessica Davidson also feel the roll of thunder as storm clouds continue to gather menacingly over Emerald Valley, heralding a season of trial, turbulence and challenges in this suspense-filled emotional drama.

Storms in the Valley is a cautionary tale, a grim reminder that nothing in life should be taken for granted, and to never underestimate the enduring power of love, personal strength – or trust.




 

Life is tough for a widow with three kids trying to farm on the drought striken 1930’s Manitoba prairie. Even with pressing Mariah’s two young sons, Jonathan and Seth, into helping, the ends never seem to quite meet. Still grieving for her dead husband, Mariah is unprepared for her reaction to a weary man who shows up unexpectedly asking for a drink of water.
One thing leads to another, and soon Jonas becomes a fixture in their lives. At first, Mariah isn’t sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Only time would tell.

Thursday, April 2, 2020



And here we are in April already. The Coronavirus has kept us locked away for several weeks now. Staying in is not my cup of tea. I'm a people person. I love people, love being around them, talking to them, and really miss them. I especially miss going to church on Sunday and Bible Study on Tuesday. I miss the fellowship of the ladies and studying God's Word. Not that I can't study it at home, I can and I do, but it's not quite the same as sharing with the group, hearing different views and praising God in singing at the end of our study. But we will get through this, and maybe we'll all be better off for it. People are learning what's really important in life. At least I hope they are.
It's a shame so many decided to hoard items - toilet paper of all things - it's not even that kind of virus. Then it was meat and just about everything in the store. I ran in one day and most of the shelves were empty. I couldn't believe it, I actually got the last bag of flour.  Seriously!  Now I understand they're hoarding eggs. Even though we've been told there's plenty of groceries. Yet every day items are flying off the shelves. Oh and don't forget hand sanitizer and alcohol, Clorox Wipes and just about any other cleaning product. Those of us who couldn't get to the stores in the early days were out of luck. Heck, I couldn't even find a loaf of bread yesterday. Barely found one today. And it's not going to get better any time soon. We're shut-in for the month of April.
But enough about people and the virus. As my mother used to say, "This, too, shall pass."
 Time sure has a way of flying by. Easter is just around the corner and before we know it summer will be upon us. That's fine with me. I love summer and hopefully we'll be back to normal by then.
I love all the outdoor activity - cookouts - games - camping.
Well we don't do camping much anymore, Sold our camper when we bought our house, but I really miss it. I know I can borrow one of the kids' tents since they all have campers now. But we're not into tent camping.  Sleeping on the ground isn't for us. Besides, once we get down - no easy feat - getting back up is almost impossible without a solid piece of furniture or something to hold on to.
My son offered us his camper, unfortunately, we don't have a vehicle strong enough to pull it or I'd take it in a heartbeat. Just the right size for us. Although I loved our 36' motor home. But for a weekend camping trip, it would do me just fine.
But there's still plenty of cookouts to enjoy.  Hubby is into smoking meat on the grill and that's always fun, even if it's just the two of us. I look forward to the day we can cookout with our family again.

Entangled MindsStrange, realistic visions and dreams invade Rebecca Brennan’s mind. When she experiences someone’s pain, she’s determined to find out who shares her mind. Her search leads to a small town filled with Victorian homes and interesting people and puts her life in danger.

Review of Entangled Minds:

Hooking a reader on the first page is an important tool for a reader, and Ms. Dowell really pulls you in with Becca’s rude awakening in Entangled Minds. Is she linked to a cop? A civilian? Or a killer? Or is she linked to both the shooting victim and the shooter? You’ll have to read the book to find out, because it’s too good to give away any of the plot, except to say Rebecca searches for the town in which this mystery takes place and finds it full of Victorian homes, quirky people, and plenty of suspects—enough to keep even me guessing until the very end. I really did not have the perpetrator anywhere on my list of suspects! If you’ve read my reviews, you know how difficult I usually am to fool. Brava Ms. Dowell.


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

BWL PUBLISHING INC. APRIL NEW RELEASES

Find them all at https://bookswelove.net



Maryland plantation heiress Ursula Martin is content with her secluded life in a convent.  Until the bloodiest day of the Civil War brings a downed soldier into her care.
Blinded Rowan Buckley only knows he’s in deep love with the woman who pulled him off the battlefield. His superiors claim she’s a spy. He knows she’s full of secrets, but he’s out to prove that treason is not one of them.
The two negotiate the crucial times of the Battle of Antietam, Gettysburg, and the New York City Draft Riots. Treachery meets them at every crossroad. Will their love survive?










Lady Sophie Harrington is not one to abide by society’s strictures. If there’s one thing she knows, it’s that she will not be paraded on the London marriage market in hopes of finding a suitable husband. When a handsome bachelor moves into the neighboring country estate, she thinks her wedding woes are solved - all she has to do is make the man fall in love with her and convince her parents he would make a good match.

Successful barrister Lord Bryce Langdon escapes London to begin a new legal practice in the idylls of Cornwall. However, being the object of desire for two beautiful sisters disrupts his life and distracts him from his true purpose for being there – infiltrate a local smuggler’s ring.

Can Sophie win Bryce’s love? What will she do when she discovers Bryce is not the honorable man he appears to be?




Fire Captain Gerry Ormond is launched to national prominence and receives the prestigious Governor General’s Medal of Valor.  He visits his hometown after a twenty-year absence and unwittingly unleashes a killer--a vengeful arsonist with ties to an old murder and theft of a Philippine treasure by a teenage fraternity.  Gerry was one of the frat members.
Karen, his high school sweetheart, ignites a dangerous obsession. Her husband looks good for a recent arson/murder.  Nick Modano, ex-fraternity president, now ruthless drug dealer, is the only other participant in the old crime.  Nick never forgets or forgives Gerry for running out on him during their old crime.
Samantha ‘Sam’ Markham, a crack fire investigator, begins to hound Gerry, believing his past is connected to the present crime wave.  For Gerry, the almost forgotten past has risen from the ooze and taken on a life of its own.  As a man used to chaos control, he is powerless to close the door to his evil past and haunted by a fire dream.  Confessing his old crime will help track down the arsonist but it could destroy him. It’s a tightrope he walks in a town where old friends are now enemies.


Martin Parker is a very happily married man, so when his first love, Diane Branden, blows back into town – still a force to be reckoned with – he is not prepared for the fallout. Drawn unwittingly into her carefully spun web, upheaval quickly follows as his world immediately begins to skid sideways.

Newlyweds Kane and Jessica Davidson also feel the roll of thunder as storm clouds continue to gather menacingly over Emerald Valley, heralding a season of trial, turbulence and challenges in this suspense-filled emotional drama.

Storms in the Valley is a cautionary tale, a grim reminder that nothing in life should be taken for granted, and to never underestimate the enduring power of love, personal strength – or trust.



Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Putting the bits together by Priscilla Brown

 

Struggling with a tricky assignment on an island inhabited only by her employer
and a hundred sheep, journalist Jasmine's almost literal lifeline is the sexy ferry deckhand.
 

This contemporary romance set in the Scottish Hebridean islands is available from
Smashwords until 20 April 2020, at US$1.60 
 
 
 
As well as writing contemporary romantic fiction, my creative interests include working with textiles  (knitting, hand and machine sewing, embroidery, felting). Recently I participated in a workshop creating new cloth by intermingling scraps of any colour, design and texture of fabrics, and adding embellishments such as buttons, ribbons and braids. We worked small on a background fabric of our choice, choosing fragments from a stash we had each brought and from that generously offered by the tutor. We cut and tore, fiddled with shapes and colours and designs, overlapped our pieces or covered a join with a ribbon. When we were satisfied, we carefully removed the bits so we could paste them back. Pasting is not firm enough to last, so we secured our work by embellishing with stitching and embroidery.
 
For me, writing a novel is rather like putting the bits together. These are a few of the "bits" collected in my notebook which eventually found their way into the above story...reversing a car onto a tiny ferry (I had to do this, somewhat daunting especially as it was a rental car, and this became the germ of the story idea)...a smuggler's tunnel (the eighteenth century one I saw was wide enough to roll a barrel through but a smuggler would have to be skinny to use it as a escape route)...an ancient curse (liking the idea of this, I made one up)...a ruined castle...someone dishing the dirt... a shared partiality for fruit and nut chocolate (this came from observing a couple on a train, he feeding her squares of chocolate from the wrapper which I could see).

And then there's the practicalities of building the story. I don't have a complete plot before I start  novel, making much of it up as I go, and I like to check the technological "bits" on the way.
 
Choosing words: is this the most effective word for this situation? Does it convey the appropriate tone and the precise meaning? Is  the spellchecker telling lies about my spelling?

Assembling words into sentences: are the grammar and punctuation correct? Do the words fit with their neighbour words? Does the word order carry an unambiguous message? Any extraneous or repetitious words lurking? Is there a rhythm to the sentence which makes it easy to read?

Combining sentences into paragraphs: sometimes one or only a few sentences are effective in a paragraph, to build tension, or emphasise a plot point, or introduce an important situation. Otherwise, are the sentences relevant to each other, and to the current circumstances? Does the paragraph move the story on?

Placing the paragraphs into chapters:  each needs an attention-grabbing beginning and a cliffhanger ending.

Oh the satisfaction when the "bits" appear to have fitted together, reaching THE END! But of course they haven't all been cooperative. On checking the manuscript, it's likely to find some which don't fit--they may be redundant, at the wrong place in the story, out of character, failing to convey the  overall tone of the writing, simply incorrect...and more. So the revision process begins, manipulating those "bits" until the writing is reader-friendly and the story can be finally wrapped up.  (As I did with the fabric scraps, creating a pretty bangle.)
 

Stay safe, Priscilla
 
 
 
  

Visit here to find a different free book every day

 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 


Sunday, March 29, 2020

Crazy & Yoga







My grandmother lived through the Spanish Flu. Long ago, when I was a youngster, she told me the scary story of how she'd sat in an upstairs window with her school friends in NYC, all of them watching in fear as body after body was carried from neighboring buildings. 

Bad old days, was her unspoken message: 
Don't worry little granddaughter. Things like that can't happen in these marvelous modern times.

Right as Grandma was about many things, she has proved wrong there. Now my husband and I are isolating; we are hoping and praying for deliverance for our friends and families. We also send our prayers for health and continued strength to our needlessly endangered and overworked health care community. We pray too for the rest  of the world. Each country now shows its true colors in the way it treats its poorest citizens--and many wealthy nations like ours are failing the test.

It would be ironic to drop dead of a heart attack -- instead of the  virus -- over political events an elder recipient of social security can do nothing about. I'll stop venting now and talk yoga instead. 

I've written about Yoga before on this blog. I have tinkered with Yoga since the 1960's. As powerful as Yoga is--this exercise which joins breath with precise movement--I've never been a consistent practitioner.  Of course, that fact alone means that I am exactly the kind of person Yoga was meant for.*  Discipline is as important in yoga as it is in any other exercise--and as it is in writing. That means you have to work out as near to daily as possible. I've been writing daily for years, but best case for me with Yoga has been attending a class twice a week. 

Still, not even that would have been possible for me before the new, sophisticated senior classes, because I'm a skeletal wreck. I don't mean I'm thin. What I mean is that inside I'm badly joined. Tendons are sub-par, misaligned; I have Scoliosis. Maybe I didn't come like that, but that's the way my torso's been since my teens. I have never -- even on my best 110 lb. day--been able to touch my toes. 

As a result, I've had to wait for Yoga's full revelation to arrive in my 70's with the advent of Silver & Fit. The hidden truth is so simple that for years my befuddled Western head wasn't been able to comprehend, but the light has begun to dawn at last. Since the gym closed, I've found I'm able to carry on my practice a bit at home, probably for the first time ever in my life.  

Recently, yoga has been helpful in keeping (what's left of) my sanity, so I'm going to share one of what are called "foundational" poses. It's a simple -- and on the surface, easy -- exercise, but poses are still complicated to explain. Whatever, I'm about to try.

The door opener for me was Mountain Pose, so that's the one I'll use here. It's a great place to start, or even if you never get an inch farther, I think this pose is magnificently powerful in a time when we truly need to BE HERE NOW.* There may not be a future, after all.


The illustration above shows the proper posture. However, the way in which the posture is acquired -- where you actually begin -- is important. So is the breath, but I'll explain that as I go. 

You begin with the feet. My instructor told us to stand hip-width apart, not "together" as above, so I'll add that caveat here. Therefore, your feet are aligned beneath your hips, leaving the natural gap between them. Next, turn your toes ever so slightly outward, just a small bit of angle. Hands are against your sides--as much as your structure allows--with the palm open and facing forward, the thumbs turned out.

After you've got your feet placed, straighten up slowly--perform every move with attention -- and then slowly push your heels together. This push activates your calves, next engages your knees, thighs and then your belly, all of which are all now involved. Once you've engaged the core muscles in the gut, you pause to check that your tailbone is pointed down. 

Naturally, as the tension ascends your body, you will pull your shoulder blades--very gently, please -- together. The breastbone pushes out, and you can help this with a deep breath. For most of us elders, the shoulders won't want to move much, but do what you can. Remember to keep the shoulders down. 

(Digression: Yoga is not about force, which is the very Western notion that your will can overcome muscular deficiency, and that you are not a Jock worthy of the name if you can't push yourself through any pain to perfection in less than a week. This attitude will inevitably end in OW! DAMN! You'll yank something deep inside, have to take a lot of Advil(c) and then just sour grapes quit.) 

Back to Mountain Pose instruction. 

Now take another deep, conscious breath and be certain that you are still looking straight ahead and that all those muscles are still contracted. Don't tilt your head up or down. Keep the thumbs of the hands aimed back. At this point, you can feel your "meat suit" self line up and balance. Imagine your head on a string, the crown gently pulled upward.

Here is where you remain, breathing deeply and slowly, in and out, in and out, for at least eight breaths. You can, if you like, imagine that you are a mountain, plugged into the great energetic being that is our beautiful Planet Earth. Don't forget that you are giving back as well as taking and you'll feel yourself become part of the cycle. Hold Mountain Pose until you find your mind wandering, then stop if you must or continue on to other postures you have a hankering for. 

I hope you will find Mountain Pose as restoring as I do. I return to the endless cleaning of surfaces, newly acquired groceries, etc. feeling refreshed and ready not only for the tasks ahead, but with spirits raised--despite the news. I'm not worrying about a future I cannot control and may not even see. The breathing and the posture re-adjustment helps me keep sane in times which are, frankly, terrifying. Somehow, in the middle of this disaster, we need to remember to keep our humanity and our compassion--both for ourselves and for others. Personally, for me, I've been finding even a little bit of this ancient practice smooths the way. 


~~Juliet Waldron                                     https://bookswelove.net/waldron-juliet/


Smashwords has all BWL at 60% off; many books are free!



*Everybody  IMHO
*Ram Dass

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Read, Keep Calm, and Forget the Baked Beans by Connie Vines @connievines_author

This month's blog post, I felt, needed to be timely. . .but I believe we will all get through this--together.

Read.

Keep Calm.  Listen to music.  Allow yourself time to relax and read.  I know may of you are home-schooling your children.  Even with the joys of SKYPE, online access to materials, and exercise outings/live-streaming, your day is certainly a hectic one.

Take time to recharge and relax.

The schools are closed, and like most in the education field, we are working via computer from home. I am very fortunate.  I applaud those on the front-line: medical field, grocery store employees, delivery drivers, truck drivers, restaurant workers, electricians, plumbers, mechanics, police, firemen, pet stores/humane societies, banks, manufactures, and everyone whose job is part of an essential business to keep our cities/countries operating. I applaud their dedication, and I pray for them and their families, each and every day.
My Journal

Take care of yourself.

Having a difficult day?  A challenging moment?  I bundle up and go out side for a while, or spend a few minutes writing in my journal.  I talk to the dog, exercise: Chair Yoga (floor Yoga becomes dog Yoga), etc.

Need a few ideas to feed yourself, and your family?

Take stock of your pantry. Grape seed, canola, olive oil, or (here in southern California) avocado oil — in addition to butter or a butter substitute. For more flavor: balsamic vinegar or white wine. Other staples include: eggs, milk or a non-dairy substitute, flour, onions, garlic, and seasoning like chili.
Take inventory of the ingredients. Once you have the basics you should start to make a list of the ingredients in your cupboard. You should be especially on the lookout for proteins like frozen meat (or a plant-based substitute), fish, vegetables like spinach and broccoli that are high in protein, and any kind of nut-like butter.

If you can’t find what you want in a grocery store, try calling local restaurants, and seeing if they have extra ingredients or stock on hand.  Here in the United States we have a delivery service, Instacart (and numerous others), shoppers shop the items and deliver them to a customer’s door-step.  Items/meals are purchased at grocery stores and restaurants.  Often these restaurants have bread, eggs, milk, fresh fruit available when the markets are waiting for the next shipment.

In terms of vegetables, canned tomatoes are a must-have, especially if tomato sauce is out of stock. Carrots, onions, sweet potatoes, and beets all of which can be used to make a rice bowl. I chop fresh bell peppers and onions and freeze them for use in dishes. Aged cheeses hold up well (can be frozen, too), and can be used in a variety of dishes form salads to pasta.

Go-to dishes include: plant-based tacos or meat tacos using corn tortillas, peanut butter protein shakes, egg and spinach sandwiches, curries, and pasta dishes.

Call your neighbors. We all seem to have a fruit tree in our back yards and willing to share.  I have an Avocado tree; 2 neighbors have lemon trees.  So, now we have our vitamin C needs covered.

I cook double what I need and freeze half for a future meal.  Tonight, I prepared North Indian Chicken Curry.  I had to substitute Vanilla Yogurt for Plain Yogurt but no one was the wiser.
North Indian Curry
Yes, I do have dried beans in my pantry.  However, I add the beans to soups, salads, or as New Orleans’ style Red Beans and Rice, or Chili.

How are you making use of the items in your pantry?  I’m utilizing my crock-pot, oven, and stove top.  It’s too cold (for me) to grill outside.

Do you have a go-to-recipe you’d like to share?

A way to cope with stress?
I add shelf liner to my fridge


BWL books on sale at 60% off at Smashwords.  BWL is also offering free reads to give-back-to-our-readers during this time we are to stay safe at home.



I also have many recipes posted on my Pinterest site (visit my website for the link) Connie Vines Website


BWL Site


Smashwords


Stay Safe, Stay Strong!  We will get through this together 💕