Monday, December 17, 2012

This Just Hurts

Lit candle in the church
Image courtesy: Erwyn van det Meer

I did not want to send my children to school today. But I am not ready to homeschool them out of fear—yet. I am a mathematician. I understand the odds of them dying in a school shooting are tiny.

Our school district sent out an automated phone message last night assuring parents that they were working hard with the local police and would meet to review safety protocols. That’s good, but will it be enough?

Would banning assault rifles make a difference? I’m not a gun owner or enthusiast. Banning weapons that spit out lots and lots of bullets seems like a fine idea. But I don’t have any confidence this will happen in today’s political climate.

Wouldn’t it be great if we had buckets of money to throw at the problem? How about bullet-proof safe-rooms in every classroom? Or maybe those fancy airport security machines at the door that let the operator see every mole and freckle on your bod.

Those fantasies are even less likely to happen than a gun ban. So, do we just hunker down and pray this doesn’t happen in our town, in our school, to our kid? We could just hope the odds will remain in our favor. But that feels like giving up. It also also feels like reality.

As a novelist (yes, still aspiring), I’m not a big fan of reality. So let’s take off into a different fantasy. You remember 9/11, right? The last plane went down in Pennsylvania after the passengers realized their lives were in danger, that their plane was en route to kill others.

It wasn’t a happy ending, but it changed the way people reacted to terrorism on a plane. Before then, the prevailing wisdom in such a crisis was to hunker down, cooperate, and wait for things to get resolved. That’s not the case anymore. Since 9/11, some intended victims have gone on the attack. Richard Reid (the 'shoe bomber') was subdued by flight attendants and passengers. A passenger also helped subdue the ‘underwear bomber’.

I wonder: would it be possible to attack a gunman in school? Now, I would not suggest placing guns in schools for defense. But are there things in the classrooms that could be used as weapons? What if a gunman gets into a classroom and everyone started flinging desks, chairs, and heavy metal staplers at him? How about a couple cans of long-distance wasp sprayer?

Crazy, right? Realistically, there may not be enough time to grab anything. But I wish there could be some way to fight back. My kids have been given fire-safety training and have lots of drills. Our district even has a small ‘fire house’ on a trailer that comes to the schools. Kids go inside and fake smoke is pumped in so they can practice escaping. Could you imagine a traveling 'school-shooter' trailer? Some guy in lots of padding holding a wooden gun prop comes in and everyone attacks, knocks him to the ground, kicks away the fake gun and wraps him up in duck tape and shoe laces. High fives ensue.

I know this is nuts and will never happen, but dreaming up these scenarios makes me feel better, for a moment anyway.

Children are taught to never hide during a fire. Yet, with a gunman it's best to stay out of sight. But would it be of some value, no matter how small, to possess self-defense skills in case the worst happens: if the gunman does see you?

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Favorite Book

Today I'm over at So Write. Us with an article rhapsodizing about my favorite book of all time: Shadowland by Peter Straub, which is not to be confused with C.S. Lewis's Shadowlands

Also, So Write. Us is hosting a 'best first chapter' contest. If you're interested in submitting the first 1000 words of your work, please see the details here. Tomorrow is the last day to enter and the prize is $50!

How was your Thanksgiving? After a long, hard day of cleaning, cooking, and calling each other poopy-head, we managed to have an incredibly tasty dinner. And I made it myself! Okay, the cranberry came out of a can, but the stuffing was made from scratch. And taking a turkey breast, dumping on basting oil and enough garlic to fend off vampires, and throwing it into the oven doesn't make me Chef Ramsey. But my kids ate it. Score!

Turkey in Display
Image courtesy: mystuart

 I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and can still fit into you writing chairs.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Wild, Wild Life

This is not my backyard or my birdfeeder (or my bear). It's my parents! Yes, they have all the fun in Asheville, NC. Bears and cubs ravage the birdfeeders, raccoons and raccoon-lets hang from the trees and get stuck in the garage. Plus they see coyotes, wild turkeys, foxes, and pumas. Okay, the last one's not true. Just seeing who's paying attention.

We will be visiting their wildlife adventure palace for Christmas. Grandma has a large flashlight for shining out the windows to catch the nighttime critters' highwire acts. It's a blast.

I've been on blogging hiatus for a couple of reasons. First, I'm trying mightily to get my second book into readable shape by Christmas or maybe Valentines Day--St. Patrick's Day at the latest, I swear. I'm on the third draft, but the thing has bloated to 130K. It's a historical novel, so I can let it run a bit long, but not that much.

The second distraction relates to my husband's health problems. But I am pleased to announce that something wonderful occurred on November 6! Yes, I did get the candidate of my choice elected prez, but even more exciting, the hubby's vision is back. Whoot! He has more or less given me permission to blog about his illness, so I will have to consider how to approach that.

Writer's are always on the hunt for interesting tidbits (at least I am), and there's a lot to be mined from serious medical conditions. One of the oddest parts of our story is how normal life can be even in the midst of dealing with a brain tumor. Those dread words conjure up the direst of circumstances, yet, for us, for now, things are blessedly stable. So I might spend a few blogs in the near future discussing some of our experiences. For instance, if you ever have a character get an MRI, it's loud. There's a buzz-saw noise and a jack-hammer noise. Earplugs are a must. There's even such a thing as a mobil MRI (like a mobile library) on a trailer.

On a lighter note, a member of my local writer's group, Jim Bessey, has launched a new website for writers called So Write. Us. You can enter a thousand-word 'best first chapter' contest and win $50 or more, so check it out. But please, please don't tell me if you do enter, because I am one of the judges.

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Dreamy Debut

Today, I am pleased to present the debut novel by fellow blogger, Justine Dell. Legend has it this lady started her journey to publication a mere three years. After a long hiatus from reading, she finished one book and decided to write. Amazing.

I met her on Bransforums while we were both trying to get our first books published and have been following her ever since, first in the forums, then her blog. Here's what she has to say about her journey:

Me: Looking back on your road to publication, what were the highlights and lowlights?

Justine: The highlights are simple: writing and the WONDERFUL people I have met. Truly, I think writers are the best buddies ever and without their support, this would be a road I would have steered FAR away from.

And the lowlights? Hmm....editing. *shudders* It really is my worst nightmare. 

Me: I agree with you on the highlights, but I'm a editor at heart. (Does that make me weird?)

Second question: What led you to Omnific and what has your experience been like working with them?

Justine: It just so happens that this particular story is a lot shorter than most publishers (and agent) require. But I didn't want to add fluff simply for the sake of adding to the word count. Sometimes a story is meant to be on a shorter side (I think RD is just under 70K). Omnific accepts stories 50K and over and I was ecstatic about that! Another blogger/writer friend, Susan Quinn had been accepted and published by them and she had nothing but wonderful things to say. The rest, they say, is history.

Me: Ha! Once again, I'm on the other end of this spectrum, overwriting and having to cut, cut, cut.

And now for a teaser from Justine Dell's Recaptured Dreams:

Ten years, the Atlantic Ocean, and several rungs in society have kept Xavier Cain from having Sophia Montel. Now twenty-seven, he’s spent his entire adult life building a fashion empire that could finally prove his worth to her family. When fate reunites him with Sophia at London’s premiere fashion show, one problem lodges in Xavier’s path: Sophia doesn’t remember him.

The only obstacle that has kept Sophia from Xavier is a horrific car crash that erased her memory at seventeen. She’s spent the last ten years fighting to reclaim a sliver of her past that her mother refuses to help her remember. When Sophia meets Xavier at the London show, however, all her fantasies come to life in one night of passion. Discovering he is the missing link, she is determined to find all the pieces to their love story and her memory. 

Xavier wants forever. Sophia wants her memory. If they take this chance, they’ll have to start over. How far are they willing to go get what they want? And when the past catches up to them, can they handle the truths it has hidden?

For more information on Recaptured Dreams, Contests, Giveaways, Entertainment, Grammar Police, and other cool stuff, check out Justine's website.

To buy the book on Amazon, go here

Barnes and Nobles fan? Go here

Where are you on your publishing journey?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me . . .

Once you get past a certain age, somewhere between 12 and 22, birthdays start to lose their luster. Yesterday was a case in point. My darling youngest managed to scream for an entire hour from getting off the bus to our arrival at the restaurant. Dinner was actually pleasant, if somewhat subdued, but I consider any meal out a success if my offspring consume more than two bites.

But enough about the trials of motherhood. On to the presents! You remember the ditty, "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth"? Well, all I want for birthday is a stack of books, a stack of books, yes, a stack of books. Here's some on my wish list:

1. Ken Follett's Winter of the World

The sequel to Fall of Giants is finally here! Okay, Fall of Giants wasn't as freakin' fantastic as Pillars of the Earth, but it does serve an important purpose. It teaches you about World War I, something I never learned in school because for some reason we had to rehash the Revolution and Civil War each and every year. Winter of the World will cover World War II and I'm ready to be both educated and entertained. I wonder what the third novel in this series will cover? Perhaps Vietnam.

2. Ann Brashares' 3 Willows

I just finished Sisterhood Everlasting and My Name is Memory. Both were excellent. It was fun to read them back to back and study the ways Brashares keeps her star-crossed couples separated until the very end.

3. J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy

The lady can spin a tale. Despite the absence of letter delivery by owls or invisibility cloaks, I'm pretty confident this will be good.

4. Justine Dell's Recaptured Dreams

I'm firing up my Nook as we speak! Yes, fellow blogger Justine Dell has her book on the Barnes and Noble Website! Awesome. I will be a host of her blog tour this Friday, so stop by.

What is on your book wish list these days?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Beware the Ides of . . . July?

Think you had a bad day? At least you weren't stabbed in the back!
Image courtesy: Biker Jun

Hello, I'm back. Will I be posting regularly? Not a clue. The question on everyone's lips this time of year: "How was your summer?" You are supposed to say, "fine, good, great" or some other quick, but vague remark before replying, "How was yours?"

Well, my summer started out totally, freaking awesome. I was writing a strong second draft to my ms, working in my daughter's school garden, getting in shape, reading a ton. Our family was spending weekends flying down water slides and spinning ourselves silly on the Tilt-A-Whirl. I remember thinking, and I'm not making this up, "Wow, life right now is so good--too good. Something's got to give."

Then came July 15. My husband's slight vision problem got serious. For his privacy, I won't delve into the whole spiel, but there's been an ER visit, doctor's visits, procedures, surgery, and more to come. He's not in mortal peril or in any physical pain, but it's a game changer.

As this was going on, my youngest caught a virus. She's on an immunosuppressent drug, so her body couldn't shake the fever. On day ten, we had to go to the ER for fluids. She handled the long day of tests, X-rays, and collection of body fluids like a champ.

To add to the mounting chaos, my fourteen-year-old cat was suffering from some ailment that was causing her to drop weight and pee in massive chunks. Diabetes? Yes, that's what I thought since my other kitty has that. But no. After two rounds of antibiotics, three urine collections and an X-ray, it turns out the animal has kidney stones. My vet told me he'd never seen kidney stones in a cat in 24 years of practicing. She's on a new diet and I'm mixing a medicine into her food, but that's it. Surgery on a fourteen-year-old cat is asking for trouble and only specialists attempt it.

Is that enough stress? No. In the middle of my new role as medical transportation specialist, I found a lump in my armpit. First available appointment was a week away, giving me plenty of hours to stew over the dire possibilities. Then my luck turned. The lump dissolved by the time the appointment rolled around. The doctor believed it was just a blocked sweat gland. Whew!

During these mad weeks, I would glance at the calendar and dream of September 6, the first day of school. I would fantasize about writing again, even blogging! That blessed moment was only two days away when my 'healthy' daughter caught a fever. I almost lost it. My long awaited free time was disappearing fast like a desert mirage. Instead of gently offering popsicles and cool compresses, I turned into a cursing, raging, rhymes-with-witch fiend. Then . . . the child got better yesterday. I put her on the bus this morning with her sister. They were all smiles. I'd post a picture, but the camera batteries bit the dust just as I was snapping the shot. But it's no biggie. They'll get on the bus again tomorrow. And here I am, writing this blog to you fine people.

Our family's not out of woods, healthwise, but we're on a path of recovery/management, living as strong as possible. It's funny how fast things can change. As writers, we are told to give our characters hell. Bad things bring a plot to life and move the story forward.

Note to whoever is writing my family's life: Could we take a little breather from the bad stuff, pretty-please?

So, how was your summer?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Letting The Ball Drop

Day 5: Juggling Anyone?
Image courtesy: Visions by Vicki

Life is busy, but things seem to reach a fever pitch in summer around here. End of school picnics, kindergarten graduation, trips to pools and parks, not to mention vacations, volunteer work, and summer camp. Oh, and I can’t forget my parent’s August visit, which will induce me to go into hyper-Virgo-manic cleaning mode.

Do you know where this is headed? Yes! I can’t keep up with the weekly blog schedule. Not the posting really, because I could always come up with something. The real time involved is visiting and commenting on other blogs. I don't know about you, but the number of comments this blog recieves is proportional the number of comments I leave at other blogs. 

So my presence in the blogoverse will be sporadic. I’m not totally throwing in the towel, but my free time seems to be disappearing faster than my natural hair color, and my current ms needs mucho editing.

What is the busiest time of year for you? Do you take blogging breaks or stick to your schedule no matter what?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Vampires as Scapegoats

On my beach vacation, I chose Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth-Grahame Smith. I'd been on a vampire kick, rereading the Twilight Series plus I've recently read a biography of Lincoln for research on my current wip. I wanted to see how much historic detail a popular novel in this genre used. Turns out, not much! This story moves, spending most of its time on the vampire hunting. Few words are wasted on the food and clothing (except the detailed desciption of Abe's custom-made, vampire-hunting jacket).

The premise is ridiculous, but Smith makes it work. Life in the 19th century is full of hardships and death is a constant threat at all ages. Instead of blaming the numerous deaths in Abe's family on the lack of modern medical care, blame it on vampires! Brilliant! His mother wastes away from ingesting a few fatal drops of vampire blood--a punishment inflicted on the family when Abe's father fails to pay a debt owed to vampire. Devasted, young Abe vows to kill every vampire in America.

All schoolchildren learn that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, but several historical accounts demonstrate his attitude toward blacks is not sterling. So why did he emancipate them? Smith comes up with a gruesome reason--the vampires (mainly in the south) were using slaves as food with no fear of reprisal. This easy (and large) food source is attracting vampires from all over the world. The only way to eliminate a future where all men, white and black, are vampire chow is to win the Civil War.

So there you have it. Don't blame man's inhumanity to man for the Civil War; the vampires made us do it. The movie comes out on June 22. Will you go see it? Have you read this or any other of Smith's books?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Sedona!

On Wednesday, Big Bear turns eight! Eight? Wait a minute. How did that happen? Who said she was allowed to grow up?

It's out of my hands. Eight and about to finish second grade. Things have changed quite a bit since I was her age. Today she was excited about learning multiplication in school, something I didn't learn until fourth grade.

Plus, she's graduated from the two-hour birthday party with cake and balloons to a spend-the-night bash. I've gotta prep the house and my eardrums for a whole evening (and morning) of squealing, shrieking, running girls. I don't know who I feel sorrier for: me or my elderly cats. At least they can hide under the bed without seeming rude.

But seriously, I'm very proud of my munchkin. She may show the 'tude of a disgruntled thirteen-year-old complete with eye-roll and 'whatever' at home, but out in public, she's an angel. I so jazzed she's already caught the reading bug. This girl has blazed through the following series: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Junie B. Jones, Franny K. Stein, Araminta Spookie, and the first thirteen Secrets of Droon. In addition, she scarfs down my Baby Blues comic books left and right. Yes, she'll do anything to push back her bedtime.

So, Happy Birthday Sedona. You rock! And you're a cover girl. Her YMCA camp picked this picture for their brochure. (She's the one in the blue t-shirt.)

What was your favorite birthday memory as a kid?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Making A Character Likeable

Puppy Hugs
Image courtesy: Brian Auer

Hi blogoverse, it's been a while. My children have a plan, a devious plan. They've been contracting new illnessnes in a staggered pattern to keep me busy. However, I'm sure this deluge of sniffles, sore throats, and ear infections now will ensure that no one gets so much as a hiccup on our upcoming beach vacation. Right?

Now on to task. What makes a character likeable? How do you create a character people will follow through 300+ pages? It's not enough to make them attractive and nice. In fact, if you make all your characters sound like supermodels who are perfectly pleasant every moment, the reader may hurl while hurling your book into the trash.

Here's one trick: have other characters in the book like them. If someone is loved and/or admired by other characters, the reader will notice. You see this in advertising. Actors tell you how wonderful a product is so that you'll believe it's wonderful as well and buy it.

Trick number two: go for the sympathy vote. I'm immediately sympathetic to a character that's lost a child. Other calamities might not be as extreme, but broken relationships, lost jobs, and physical injuries work to keep a reader's interest as the character struggles to adjust and recover.

Trick number three: given the character a surprising or formally unknown talent. In Anita Shreve's Body Surfing, the main character is hired to tutor a teenage girl who sounds like a D+/C- kind of student. When the tutor accidentally finds out the girl is an artist, it's fascinating to read how that talent is drawn out and what it leads to.

Trick number four: have the character want something. This idea comes from Stein's On Writing. The character's want drives the story. Ideally, the reader should be unable to put the book down because they need to know: does the character get what they want? What happens if they do? What happens if they don't?

As I work to make my characters likeable, I'm taking a hard look a characters I really like. Consider The Time Traveler's Wife with Henry and Clare. Henry travels through time, but he can't control it and, boy, does it put him into some awkward situations since his clothes don't travel with him. This makes him fascinating and sympathetic. Clare meets him as a young girl and falls in love with him as she gets older. The difficulties of maintaining a relationship and a marriage with a time traveler give the reader sympathy for Clare. Her desperate want for a child adds to the sympathy.

Another book full of likeable characters is The Help. It starts with black maid Aibileen taking care of her white employer's toddler. The child's natural mother is a cold fish, more likely to slap her little girl for the least infraction than to give her a moment's warmth. Yet Aibileen is patient and nurturing to this tiny person, even though she has lost her own child, even though her employer treats her as less than human, and even though the child is likely to grow up to be as intolerant as her mother. The opening chapter does more than make the reader sympathetic toward Aibileen. It makes this character noble on a heroic level.

What characters have you found likeable? Can you give me more 'tricks' to creating a likeable character? It's not easy. Just picking a picture for this blog was tricky, but who doesn't like kids who love animals?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Reflections on A to Z Challenge

As a first-timer this year, I was psyched at the beginning--ready to read and comment like a mad fiend. Forget visiting the suggested five blogs, I was going to blast through twenty! At least. Then I got caught in the polite commenter trap: several people would comment on my blog, I'd comment back, and then be too pooped to visit more blogs. Repeated the next day, and the next.

Despite the trap, I did find new blogs to follow and gained new followers. In addition, I gained some valuable information. I love it when a blogger tells me my virtual pants are unzipped. Here's two prime examples:

1. Turn off word verification.

I've always been impressed with blogs that use word verification. Like, whoa dude, I wonder how they set that up? Those folks must be computer whiz kids. I felt kind of slackerdly for not setting it up for my blog, so when the warning to turn if off for the blogfest came around, I felt all smug. Don't have to do that!

Then someone commented that I'd get more comments if I turned word verification off. Do wah? The joke was on me. Blogger had word verification as a default and I had no clue, because whenever I commented on my own blog, word verification didn't show up.

2. Set up your follower picture to link to your blog.

When you follow another blog, a little picture of your choice gets added to their 'followers' grid. Like duh, you know that. I love getting new followers and always make a point of clicking on their little picture so I can follow back. Except sometimes the window that pops up has no link to the new follower's blog.

At first I thought, "Hmmm, that's weird. I guess they don't have a blog. Oh well." I mean, you can get onto blog sites without having your own, right? Then I wised up a bit and tried googling the person's name plus 'blog' to find them. This works sometimes, but if the follower uses the name "Katie" then forgettaboutit. A google search ain't gonna cut it. So peeps, go to a site where you can find your little picture and click on it. If there's no link to your blog, fix it!

fashion statement

Image courtesy: tuppus

So, thank you to the bloggers who pointed out these little problems with my blog.  And remember, X, Y, Z, pdq because some people may want to follow you too!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Z is for . . .

Zoetrope at

Image courtesy: tempo

“A zoetrope is a device that produces the illusion of motion from a rapid succession of static pictures.” (Wikipedia)

Here's an example. Warning: If flickering images bother you, don't press play.

And now for the final "Name That Famous Brand":

Yesterday's famous brand: Yoplait yogurt.

Well, that's all folks! I post on Mondays and if this 'z' brand is a stumper, come on by next week for the answer. I had a blast. Congrats to all who made it to 'z'. Zowie.

Click on the A to Z Challenge button at top right for a linked list of participants.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for . . .

Image courtesy: Aramand Agasi

Yin and yang. Dark and light. Female and male. Earth and air. Doofensmirtz and Perry the platypus. According to Wikipedia, the idea is complementary opposites, one giving rise to the other, instead of opposing forces i.e. good vs. evil. (Doofensmirtz is not entirely evil; he loves his daughter.)

Finding images for yin and yang isn't hard. In fact, has the feline variety up the yin-yang!

Image courtesy: kprager

Here's today's "Name That Famous Brand":

Sorry for the blur, it's so tiny.

Yesterday's famous brand: Xerox

Click on the A to Z Challenge button at top right for a linked list of participants.

Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for . . .

chinese mountain top
Image courtesy: Christan Matheson

Xanadu. Not the Olivia Newton John film. I mean the Coleridge poem itself:

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea. 

See the rest here.

Huaqing Palace, Xi'an, China
Image courtesy: Pet_r

This poem came to Coleridge in a dream while under the influence of opiates and reading a description of Kublai Khan's summer palace, the afore-mentioned Xanadu. Have your dreams gone into your writing?

And now for "Name That Famous Brand": (Do I even need a picture? Is there more than one famous brand that starts with 'x'?)

Photo cropped from an image by: kretyen

Yesterday's famous brand: Wilson tennis balls

Click on the A to Z Challenge button at top right for a linked list of participants.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for . . .

Image courtesy: Wikicommons

Wisteria. I have one of these gorgeous trees in my backyard, but this ain’t it. Up here in New York, the blooms won't show until June. Mine desperately needs an arbor, because the winter winds have pushed it over.

Wysteria covered pathways

Image courtesy: ::Wendy::

Wisteria is a climber and a destroyer. In SC, the vines grow like kudzu, engulfing trees and everything else.The perfume generated by such a mass is intoxicating.


Image courtesy: Long may she rain

Purple, white, and pink are popular colors for the flowers, but there is also a yellow variant. Care to see more stunning photos? Click here.

Speaking of yellow objects, check out today's "Name That Famous Brand":

Yesterday's famous brand: You got it again. Volvo.

Click on the A to Z Challenge button at top right for a linked list of participants.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for . . .


Image courtesy: TBoard

Victorian: The era of Queen Victoria's reign from 1837 to 1901. Ah, the architecture, the clothes,

Victorian resident

Image courtesy: Temari 09

and if the ghost wasn't spooky enough, how about a

Victorian Mummy - M26

Image courtesy: Shain Erin

Victorian mummy doll. What? Not on your Christmas list?

Perhaps you prefer something shiny and new, like today's "Name That Famous Brand":

Yep, I'm still in the garage. Yesterday's famous brand: U-Haul cardboard box. That's why the color wasn't quite right. You guys are good.

Click on the A to Z Challenge button at top right for a linked list of participants.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for . . .


Image courtesy: njj4

Utopia, or perfect world. With the exception of The Hundred Acre Wood, books and utopia don’t mix. In a perfect world there is no tension, hence no story. That’s why we have dystopia, because one man’s heaven is surely another’s hell. Hunger Games is a prime example. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather don District Twelve’s duds than put up with the make-up, hair, and style regimen of the Capital—ugh.

My utopia would be to time travel back to 1987 or so. It's Spring Break and I've got a week to sway in my backyard hammock reading, eating M&Ms, and drinking diet root beer. What decadence! Care to share your utopia?

Here's today's "Name That Famous Brand":

Hint: I had to go into the garage to get this shot.

Yesterday's famous brand: Was it Twizzler or Twister? If you guessed Twister, the board game, you win.

Click on the A to Z Challenge at top right for a linked list of participants.

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for . . .

Tabula Rasa or blank slate. It's a state of mind both useful and terrifying for a writer. To edit a piece with a fresh eye, time might create the necessary tabula rasa. Yet tabula rasa in an agent's mind as they read your query is intimidating to say the least. Try condensing 100K into five enticing and coherent sentences. You might find this move easier in comparison:

Contortionists #2

Image courtesy: chooyutshing

Speaking of contortions, here is today's "Name That Famous Brand":

Yesterday's famous brand was a stumper. Roht row, Shaggy. Blissflower1969 recognized the 's' from Scooby Doo.

Note: I did identify the terrifying bug from yesterday's post: giant water bug. This fearsome thing attacks small fish, turtles, or snakes. It injects them with venom which dissolves the prey's insides. That way, the bug can suck out its meal. Tasty!

Click on the A to Z Challenge button (top right) for a linked list of participants.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for . . .

Siamese Carrot. What? You've seen siamese carrots on six other blogs already? Humph. Okay, how about a

Super-scary bug. Yes, this huge critter was as long as my hand. What is it? I have no clue, but I hope it's not the beginning of an alien invasion. Let's change the subject to something softer . . .

My sweet Sidney. And one more sweetie, because she'll kill me if I don't feature her:

Sedona at seven! Today's picture show will conclude with "Name That Famous Brand":

This one is Sedona's favorite show.

Yesterday's famous brand: Reese's peanut butter cups

Answers to yesterday's rebus puzzles:
1. I'm a lone star
2. forearm curl
3. microscope
4. lucky break
5. two left feet

Click on the A to Z Challenge button at top right for a linked list of participants.

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for . . .

Read my rebus and figure it out
Image courtesy: kristykay22

Rebus: the use of pictures for words or part of words. Here's some more and I'll post the answers tomorrow.

Image courtesy: Graela

Now for today's "Name That Famous Brand":

Yesterday's famous brand: Quaker oats

Click on the A to Z Challenge button at top right for a linked list of participants.
PS: R is also for really unhappy that google blogger changed its format and I have to adjust. Grrrrrr

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for . . .

Two Maries at the open tomb
Image courtesy: Nick in exsilio

Quem Quaeritis. It’s a few weeks late, but what the hey. This is latin for “Whom do you seek?” This question is asked by the Angels to Mary when she goes looking for Jesus’s body in the sepulcher. Then the Angels reply that he is not there, he is risen.

For today’s “Name That Famous Brand” I’m back in the kitchen:

Stumped? It's a food and a person belonging to a certain religion.

Yesterday's famous brand: Harry Potter. Maybe the word 'brand' was confusing, but with all the Harry Potter merchandise around, it certainly qualifies. Who else has a lightening font?

Click on the A to Z Challenge button top right for a linked list of participants.