I’ve updated a blog from yesteryear on the writer’s site, A Slice of Orange. Squeezed between Halloween and Christmas, it often feels like Thanksgiving might become a holiday wannabe.
Click the link here to read – Happy Hallothanksgivingmas.
It’s been a rough spring largely because I missed it.
In December, we made a sudden decision to spend February through April in Florida. Our primary reason was to spend time with elderly mother-in-law in assisted living before she forgot who we were. Secondary reason is spousal unit’s desire to skip winter in Pennsylvania.
Who could blame her? It was a rough winter as well. My initial fear, however, is what would it do to the time I reserve for writing. I’d just come off a promise to the long-suffering muse in my head that I’d not neglect her; (click and read – The Silent Light of a Winter Night, December 2018).
Turned out, I wrote more than usual. Cranked out 40K on the book I’m rewriting, and still had time to format and post blogs on our group’s GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ blog about every three-four days that began in mid-January through the end of March. Lot of work, but something had to give.
Yep, bless me readers, but I haven’t blogged since February.
During this rather busy period, I heard from an ex-colleague who used to follow humorous articles I wrote for a travel magazine overseas. Would I submit something for a quarterly newsletter they do? More specifically, would I write about our first ever snowbird experience in the same voice as my former writing experience? How could I turn down a fan from yesteryear? It published a few weeks ago, and he’s given me permission to post it here.
The article is in a different voice from what I pen today, but as penance for not keeping up in blogosphere, I offer it below. I hope you find it humorous, and perhaps it will brighten your day as well.
Never thought I’d be a Snowbird, defined as those who abandon the bitter winters of Northern America for sunnier climes in Florida. I like the change of seasons and don’t mind shoveling the times Nature dumps solidified water on my driveway. It’s also my most productive season as a writer, when I don’t have to answer the WYWA (Worldwide Yard Wrestling Association), or involuntarily submit to projects assigned by my wife.
It was an impulsive decision, sparked by a need to spend more time with my 90-year-old mother-in-law in an assisted living facility in Naples. Wheelchair bound, she’d weakened the past year after her husband passed-away in 2017. My bro-in-law knows everybody in the South Florida boating industry, and he found a place in Ft. Myers beginning February if we were willing to take it for three months.
Three months? What the heck do I do for three months in a territory commonly known as “God’s Waiting Room”.
Did anybody notice I missed October? Who could tell? When I went into Walmart a few weeks ago to get some Halloween treats, the seasonal aisles had Christmas decorations. I found broken bags of candy in a bin near the exit. What’s that all about?
Hey, I’ve been chin-deep in a sci-fi story. Went upstairs the other day to refresh my caffeine drip and discovered October had come and gone. I didn’t even put out a pumpkin. All those damn doorbell chimes a couple weeks back? I thought they were church solicitors with an urgent need to save my soul. The Halloween candy I bought is still on the counter. I’m surprised my front door didn’t get egged.
It’s August, and that time of year when I walk away from the word processor, kick back, and spend quality time with my two grills and smoker.
Yo DT, shouldn’t you be adding pages to that sci-fi story you’re stuck on.
Damned muse. Always giving me shit when I’m not focused on important stuff – like finishing the book. Annoying little bastard, but easily silenced with a couple cocktails and fibbing that it’s world building research for a dystopian tale I’ve been trying to finish since last year. Or was it the year before?
Exactly when humans began to burn meat over fire remains controversial. Scientists originally believed the early meat eaters ate sushi style, fresh off the bone, and didn’t start barbequing until 800,000 years ago. Then in 2012, a South African Primatologist examined evidence from the Wonderwerk Cave, where sediments revealed presence of burned bone in a campfire over a million years old. Sure hope it wasn’t a fellow hominid.
In setting up my web site graphic, Searching for Light in the Darkness, I put a lot of thought into the graphic art to fit the brand (translation: burned-up days surfing the internet for artists and sites). It was by pure luck I stumbled on Lori Nix’s “The Library” (thank you Google Search). I get numerous positive hits on my profile page on about.me because of Lori’s unique dioramic photography.
I put the same amount of effort when working on characterization for my stories. I’m always on the hunt for that perfect face to fit a character; that unique combination of setting and portraiture that might even make a good book cover. Sites like Pinterest, DeviantArt.com, and other graphic artist sites offer a plethora of ideas. When I find one I like, I collect them on my Pinterest Characters Board for future reference.
I’m in the middle of rewriting a fantasy; contemporary gal crash lands in a dark-ages alternate world, almost hanged as a witch, has to fight an ancient darkness, death, dismemberment, general mayhem – good wholesome fun. In my search for concept character art to fit the story setting, I discovered a disturbing trend.
What is with graphic art portrayals of warrior women in outfits befitting a harlot?
Bacon has seen a resurgence of popularity in recent months (not that it hasn’t been a durable headliner for those of us who enshrine smoked meats). Our local AA baseball team is hosting Bacon Days Friday and Saturday, September 19-20, a celebration of America’s favorite artery-clogger, to start with a 5K run that includes a stop to eat bacon. You can read about it in the Morning Call, but I’ll venture a guess the event won’t be mentioned in Runners World.
I’m an enthusiast of foods we might see in the aftermath of apocalyptic events (see my earlier article, Expiration – Never). The cured and smoked belly of Sus scrofa domesticus, better known as the domesticated descendent of the wild boar, has been a part of ancient societies for thousands of years. Along with flour, beans and brown sugar, it kept people alive when pioneers wagon-ho’d to the Wild West. You could say bacon is a founding food. It’s a national treasure, like the bald eagle.
Romance writers love to tell period tales of pirates, sailors, sea captains, and the women whose hearts are broken by them. Might have had something to do with why seafaring men of yesteryear considered the presence of women on ships to be bad luck. Much has changed since then. An entire industry evolved around getting folks on cruise ships to find or rekindle love’s illusive spark.
A recent weeklong cruise gave me an opportunity to observe romantic rituals of people sequestered on today’s modern SS Gluttonous Seas. Enthralled by the dichotomy of behaviors, I discovered love could still be a challenge for some, despite the best efforts of ship crew to conspire, coddle, and coerce folks to love the one you’re with. The following is a summary of my questionably unscientific study.
We have a global addiction to signs. Somewhere in human development, common sense became … not so common … requiring we put warning labels on everything to protect ourselves from … ourselves. We’ve become, in a sense, a signotopian society.
Journalists have an unending supply of stories where miscreants scream at the government for letting them be so reckless, followed later with an equal amount of disdain of government’s heavy handedness infringing on individual rights. Don’t believe it? Both sides of the argument have a team of lawyers who’d be glad to send you a brochure. Where it’s led us is a profligacy of visual aids with words and stick figures.
Everybody loves a good villain, even better, a good villain name. To find a villain name that over time becomes a trademark of evil, the very mention of which instills a chill, is every author’s dream. Hannibal Lector, Darth Vader, Count Dracula, Cruella De Vil, Freddy Kruegar, Dr. Doom, Adolf Hitler – to name but a very few. Marvel and DC comics popularized pseudonyms to associate functional similarities like, Magneto, Dr. Octopus, Mystique, Joker, or Blackheart. For me, the most inventive process of nomenclature for faux villains are pseudonyms used by Roller Derby girls with altered famous names, aptronyms – a name that matches the occupation of its owner, or charactonyms for fictional characters suggesting a distinctive trait.
It’s not often I get to hobnob with bestselling authors, and this week, I’m with M.V. Freeman, author of Urban Fantasy and Romance. We share a similar taste for stories of shadow and light, and coffee with cream.
Check out my answers to her interview questions at Paperback’s n’ Papercuts.
Reflections and Delusions
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Searching for Light in the Darkness
Tales From an Untethered Mind
Irreverence's Glittering New Low!
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One writer's experiences, and battles with words
Aspiring Writers Unite! Learn from my mistakes (and advice from the experts)
Dare to Defy the Unknown
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