Wednesday, October 19, 2016



Here we go…my first entry into the Write, Edit, Publish  (WEP) Challenge Bloghop. I’m new to this, so please bear (or should that be bare; I never know for sure) with me.

This is an excerpt from my first full-length work ‘Far Away Eyes’. A little bit of a different ‘take’ on the topic of Constellations.

The Seven Sisters
(995 words, full critique acceptable)
.  “Alex, tell me about the Sisters. Everyone refers to them like I know all about this.  Who are they?  Are they really sisters? What do they do? This is such an important part of our history, I think I should know the whole story, don’t you?”
            “Of course, let me start at the beginning.  When the children of Daniel and Hydrangea became numerous enough that they could not all meet in a Family council, it was decided that there should be a body arranged to listen to complaints and make decisions regarding matters concerning all.  Daniel, being wise and still very much in love with Hydrangea, knew that it was her Divine Spirit that had kept him going during all of the trials of their life. Therefore, he proposed that this Council be made up of their daughters and granddaughters.  He felt, and his sons agreed, that the Divine Spirit is stronger with women and their compassion is greater. The women of the Dag and Mah-yim would never sanction war.  They would think of the children and family first. They would be kind and loving in all of their decisions.  The first Council of the Seven Sisters, also known as The Pleiades, was convened.”
            “The Pleiades, like the constellation?” I ask.
            “Exactly. Do you know the story of the Pleiades?”
            “No, not really. Something about Orion chasing them through the sky eternally”
            “That’s some of it. After a chance meeting with the hunter Orion, the Pleiades, seven beautiful sisters and their mother became the object of his pursuit.  Enamored with the young women, he pursued them over the face of the Earth.  In pity for their plight, Zeus changed them into a flock of doves which he set in the heavens.  Our Pleiades come from the vocation of their mother, Pleione. She was the protectress of sailing.  As it is our calling to protect the seas and all who venture in or on them, it is appropriate.”
            “Are they really sisters?” I ask.
            “No. Today, in our society, that would be almost impossible.  It’s rare for our families to have more than one child.”
            “Why?” I ask.  This isn’t the first time Alex has made reference to this and I’m confused.
            “There are a lot of theories. No one seems to know for sure.  It is not like the medical communities of the world are rushing to solve the problems of a society that they do not know exists.”
            “Are we like humans in every way? I mean would a doctor know the difference? Would he recognize that we are not completely human?  I don’t think I’ve ever been to a doctor,” I ask, flooding him with questions again.
            “Nor have I. We do not use the medicines of the world.  You should know that. Your mother is a healer.”
            “Well, yeah, but I’ve only seen her do minor things.  What about things that need a hospital? Where do the babies come from?”
            “Oceanna, that pretty much works the same way it does for humans.  I am hoping that one day I will have to chance to show you,” he says, with a smile.
            Now I really am blushing. “That’s not what I meant. I was asking, ‘aren’t the babies born in hospitals’?  I mean, it’s so dangerous otherwise, so many things could go wrong.”  I know I’m babbling, and I don’t care, because it’s either babble on, or die of embarrassment.
            “I was pretty sure you had the general idea.  Do you know you are very cute when you get embarrassed?”
            “That’s a good thing, because I seem to embarrass myself a lot,” I say.
            “Baby, I hope you will be comfortable asking me anything and everything.”
            “No problem. I don’t think I’ll be able to top that remark about the babies though.  I hope you’re not disappointed,” I say, and I find I can smile about it. “Now go on, tell me about the Seven Sisters. If they’re not sisters, who are they?”
            “They can come from any of the families.  They are the most powerful women.  I have heard it said Marina LaMer would have been on the Council for the past ten years, had she not chosen to stand by her daughter. But, it is because she choose to protect her daughter, that she would be deemed powerful enough to sit with the Sisters.”
            “My Grandmother, Really? Exactly what do you mean when you call them powerful?” I ask, starting to wonder if there are some super powers I should know about.
            “These women are powerful in their convictions and resolve.  Like you grandmother’s decision to give up everything in our world to put her child first. This has made her powerful in her compassion and the love of her child and a willingness to protect her at all costs. Of course, she could not have done that without the complete agreement of her husband, so don’t think that Sam is not powerful also.”
            “You know, my brother, Tom goes on a lot about our family being a Matriarchal Society, one run by women. I don’t feel it’s like that with Mom and Grandma.  Of course, Tom thinks I would side with them because I’m a woman. I just don’t see them pushing him around.”
            “It is not like that with the Dag and Mah-yim.  The Sisters don’t push anyone around. They simply make decisions.  They must decide what would be best for all. Sometimes those decisions are hard.  That is what happened to my parents.  They got caught in a difficult decision.  My grandmother was on the Council at that time, my mother’s mother.”
            ‘”You never told me that you had a grandmother living.” I say, surprised.
            “She is not with us.  The decision…my mother’s death… broke her heart.”
            “Oh Alex, I’m so sorry,” I say as I rest my hand on his leg. He reaches over, covers my hand with his, and we ride on in silence.
Please leave me a comment or a full critique if you like. Please, say something. 

Want to know more about WEP? Read other entries? Submit your own entry? Please go HERE to get the scoop and find the linky list. (Entries close October 19th)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

I'm BACK and not Too Insecure About it!

It is with some trepidation that I sit down to write a blog post. Not just any blog post, but my first since May 22, 2016. At that time I had decided that almost three years of BATTLE OF THE BANDS was enough for me. I also decided that I needed a break from blogging in general. I never intended to stay away this long, but ‘you know how it is’ one thing led to another and here we are and it’s October 5, 2016, almost 5 months later.

Severe health issues kept me from enjoying the summer here in Tahoe as I would have liked, but I do have a nice deck and a great chair where I spent a lot of time reading and sunning myself while recuperating. Hopefully, that is all in the past and I will be able to get on with my life and back to some of the things I really enjoy.

Anyway…what better place to start than with ‘The Insecure Writer’s Support Group’, a place where writers come together to vent their insecurities and lend a supportive hand to each other. I hope my thoughts will be well received, but if not, well, I’m not going to let that bother me too much. I tend to be a weirdo like that and have learned to be more secure in who I am.

Before we get into it, I want to express my thanks and direct you to the blog for the IWSG. TO FIND IT CLICK HERE Please stop by and check out the list of other participants (there are quite a few, I’m now number 250 on the list), also don’t forget to thank Mr. Cavanaugh for his efforts in our behalf, and the other dedicated folks who are helping out this month.

The QUESTIONS for this month is: How do you know when your book is ready?

As I first read that I misinterpreted it to mean, ‘How do you know when your book is finished?’ and for me that’s easy. All three of my WIP’s have begun as a piece of flash fiction or short story that is the actual ending for my story. Strange, I know, but that’s just me, for some reason the real inspiration comes from wanting to know ‘the rest of the story’ once I have an ending.

Be that as it may; that was not the question. So, I have to admit that I’m not sure how to really, Really, REALLY know when your book is ready. I know that with the story that is closest to my heart, I keep going over it and making little changes, all in the hopes of making it better. I believe the basic story to be good, but fear that I'm not telling in well enough for others to enjoy. 

I know I need input from other sources (beta readers), but this is an area where I have not had good luck. Several people have disappointed me by offering to trade WIP’s and do critiques. Now, I’m not beyond reproach here, as there have been two where I let the other writer down and did not finish a critique for them (but in fairness to me, neither did they). On the other hand there have been a few where I did a complete critique, and in one case more than one, and have still not yet received any word at all on my first five chapters. Oh well, such is life.

There have been favorable responses and a few suggestions for changes from close friends and family, but it’s hard to trust that they are being completely honest, and simply not wanting to hurt my feelings.

My honest conclusion is that I probably need to fork over the money for some professional editing/critique to know for sure if my work is ready to be pushed to agents and publishing houses.

I am interested to troll around the IWSG blogs today and through the rest of this week, to see what helpful suggestions other have to offer. Alas, the purpose of the IWSG. Looks like I picked a good month to return.

Not yet ready to commit to a regular blogging schedule, but I am trying to make a comeback and promise to post something else this month. If I start out slow (posting twice a month), I may be able to keep up and eventually figure out a more regular posting schedule. Until that time…Happy Trails!

Sunday, May 22, 2016


This has been my very favorite BATTLE OF THE BANDS for a number of reasons. First, I really and truly love both versions. I’ve had a definite favorite and pretty much knew how I would vote from the beginning, but both versions are really very good.

With fifteen votes in, The Piano Guys had thirteen votes and One Republic had two. I was pretty sure I was headed for yet another blow out. I have felt for the last year that I really lost my touch with BOTB, and the BATTLES I was presenting weren’t really very competitive or GOOD, and this seemed to be just another miserable failure. But once again I was mistaken. The next few votes that rolled in were all for One Republic. While The Piano Guys did win this BATTLE handily, One Republic made a very respectable showing.

The final tally, including my vote:

        The Piano Guys                   18 votes including mine
        One Republic                      11 votes

I like the One Republic version and the lyrics definitely add something to the song, but the version by The Piano Guys is one I could put on repeat and listen to all day long. Of course, they cheated and threw in a little Beethoven for good measure and in my ears, something like that never hurts.

I do think that this BATTLE has been one of my most voted on with a total of twenty-eight votes being counted. Thank you all for your support and participation. You make my heart smile.

Daddy always told me to quit when I was ahead and while I have not always taken Daddy’s advice, he has always been right. So, that brings me to the next item on the agenda today.


Truth be told, my heart just hasn’t been in it for the past year. It was about that time that I had a run in with another participant. I still couldn’t really explain to you what happened, but the end result left me reeling. Now, Daddy also told me that no one likes a complainer and I should never whine. Well, I’ve already told you my take on Daddy’s advice, but I do try not to whine. I also have learned that in this great cosmic sphere we call life, I am the odd ball. I don’t normally look at things the way the majority does. Don’t worry about that, because I like it that way, even if it does leave me scratching my head, and with severely ruffled feathers on numerous occasions.

Back at the very beginning of BOTB, I was personally against opening it up to general participation. Silly me. What was I thinking? This is the Internet and not my personal domain. In the end I was flattered that so many of you wanted to join this crazy idea of mine, and grateful that Mr. McCarthy talked some sense into me. Having said that I’m a tad disappointed with the competitive nature that has crept into BOTB. Again, no one, take offense. That’s just the odd ball in me speaking.

I know that Mr. McCarthy loves BOTB and he has done an excellent job of promoting it and keeping a list that everyone can find and locate all of the participants. This is what makes him Mr. BOTB. But you know it’s more than that. I think his love of music and willingness to be objective about different things (even though we all know that he has some very definite favorites and eclectic tastes) is what makes him the perfect host and LEADER OF THE BATTLE OF THE BANDS. No one will ever take HIS place.

I hope those of you who continue to participate keep having fun. When the fun stops it’s definitely time to turn to something else and that is exactly what I am doing.

I’m going to leave you with Jackson Browne and let him express some of my feelings. Please, if you have the time, listen to this video clip until it stops for at the end Mr. Browne expresses my feeling about all of you and BOTB.

Just so nobody hurts themselves trying to leave a comment, I want you to know I have turned the comment section off. I don’t believe in tributes or eulogies after the fact. If you love and enjoy someone tell them while they are around, not after they have departed. Also, I wouldn’t want to chance anyone leaving a ‘good riddance’ comment and know that is just as likely as some kind words.

Until we meet again…Happy Trails!