Wednesday, January 30, 2008

ABC Wednesday - B is for Bagged Blue Boat

I live on a street with three marinas. During the winter, one stores sailing yachts, one speed boats and the other these large cruisers, which are shrink wrapped until Summer begins.

To join ABC Wednesday and find others who play, visit the lovely Mrs. Nesbitt's Place.

To find something funny, visit Humor-Blogs dot com

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tarot Tuesday - Dana

Disclaimer: Tarot Tuesdays and Astrology Monthly are for entertainment purposes only. While it is true that I know everything (past, present and future,) I can not be relied upon to speak the truth. Please do not tell me I am playing with the Devil’s tool(s) and I am going to Hell. I know for a fact that G-d thinks I am the greatest joke he’s ever told and he’ll want me as a remembrance in Heaven. (Besides, I can’t go to Hell. There’s no ice cubes for my G & T’s.)

Tarot Tuesday
Each Tuesday I will do a Tarot reading for someone who has asked in the previous week’s Tarot comment section. If you want a reading, say so in the comments section. If more than one person asks, I will let Cody choose one person at random. Only one reading per month per person.

Astrology Monthly
On the first Saturday of each month, I will post everyone’s horoscope. Look for the first one on February 2nd, 2008. (I predict I may be a little late.)

Dana, the author of MURDER FOR HIRE: The Peruvian Pigeon asked for a tarot reading when she guest posted. And Dana announced the winners of her book give away.

My great-grandmother read regular playing cards for people in the small Austrian alpine village where she lived. She was especially favored by the community's resident herbalist. I learned to read twenty years ago because a friend wanted to learn but didn't want to go to the classes alone.

This tarot deck is called The Sacred Rose by artist Johanna Gargiulo-Sherman.

Dana, here's your reading (as always, you can click on the picture to enlarge):

Wands are fire and they represent the things you are passionate about; the things you must do. The Ten of Wands suggests that you have used all of your creative energy and only have burdens and responsibilities left from your last project. Accept your responsibilities, but be sure to ask for help where necessary or walk away when you seem to be getting nowhere. Ten of Wands tells you not to get burned out. You need to rekindle your creative spark.

The Hanged Man is the card of paradoxes and opposites. When in its normal position, hanging upside down, it says you are in the process of looking for inner and deep meaning and you are working towards profound breakthroughs in your internal life. Inverted, the card suggests you are fighting this learning process and do not want to give up something you know you need to release. For instance, to gain control you must stop struggling; to be strong you must be vulnerable. The solution to your current dilemma is simple but not easy and you are very reluctant to do what you know you need to do. You must make choices which will mean you must sacrifice some other choice, but it must be done. It doesn’t mean the other choice won’t come around again.

Knights are air and moving, change, the enthusiasm of youth. The Knight of Cups is in touch with his emotions and intuition and uses them to gain his desires. He reminds you to follow your dreams and passions but don’t go overboard. A day trip on the water is in your future.

Need a lift? Humor-Blogs dot com has loads of chuckles.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Daily Timed Writing - The Racetrack

I was a neophyte to the whole horse racing world. People of every shape and description filled the casino on Saturday afternoon. Old men with wrinkled dark faces and fat stogies lodge between their teeth rubbed elbows with husband and wife teams dressed in their Sunday best and young parents with children in tow. The variety of humans made an indelible impression upon me as I walked around the smoke filled building absorbing sounds and colors and smells.The caterwauling of a child unhappy with her location mixed with the hoarse cheers and curses of habitual betters. Beautiful horse flesh contrasted with the pale and thin bodies of people wasting themselves and their money.

I bet $5 on the number three horse in the fifth race at Philadelphia Park and I won. The horse's name: Magic Mischief. (Doesn't that sound cool?)

Want something to tickle your funny bone? Check out Humor-Blogs dot com

50 Things I've Learned...One and Two

I'll be fifty years old this October. In honor of this momentous burden, between now and my birthday, I will attempt to come up with fifty useful things I've learned in my time slogging through this mire we call life.

Number One would be the abundant use of irony and sarcasm will get you through the day. I have mastered the high art of saying the words people want to hear while infusing them with my true feelings. It's not easy getting in trouble for your tone of voice (unless you're seven or seventeen) because people are never sure what you are saying when the words are right. Most people are not interested in reading between the lines.

The opposite is true, too. You can say some really silly things and people will only listen to the words and not the intent. For instance, in my first paragraph above, one would think I'm unhappy and downtrodden. I'm actually having quite a jolly time of it and life only keeps getting better. I have a hard time remembering how old I am, mostly because I act like a twelve year old most of the time.

One of the worst things I've ever learned is that you can insult someone to their face without fear of retribution if you say it with a pretty smile and a laugh. This was something I was taught by one of the best salesmen I've ever met.

Number Two would be the importance of learning new things and sharing them with people, even if they don't want to know what you've just learned. I have a Google Account, which is free, and has neat-o stuff to use. For instance, there is Reader which allows you to put in the web addresses of places you like to visit, then it notifies you when the sites are updated. It works for most websites and blogs.
Google also has documents which you can use in your account, with spreadsheets and a word processing area, so you can go on any computer anywhere and work on things. As you can see, the function to add links is really easy to use, as are all of the functions they offer. Adding links in Blogger is easy too. Just click on that thing that looks like a chain link, put in the address and give it a name. One of the things I don't want to learn is how to write code. I'll leave that for people who like acronyms.

I'm not selling things with all of these links, by the way. It's just that I learned that the more links you have the higher a rating you get with search engines, which makes you look more popular and I don't have any friends, so I pretend with my site meter hits.

Oh and I also learned about pinging and Pingoat, where you go and put your blog address or other website a few times a week to let all kinds of places know you updated your site (this is also free.) This is also going to help your popularity, like buying candy for your friends when you were nine.

Looking for a laugh, find it at Humor-Blogs dot com

Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's All About Me

Jadzia tagged me with this MeMe. Here’s the rule: Remove 1 question (any question) from below, and add in your personal question, make it a total of 20 questions, then tag 8-10 people in your list, list them out at the end of this post. Notify them in their chat box that he/she has been tagged. I don’t tag, so do this if you wish. And I changed more than one question.

1. At what age do you wish to marry?
I considered it at several ages, but never went through with it until I was 43. I figured there was no point if I’d just end up divorced, so I waited for someone I actually liked.

2. What color do you like most?
Um, green.

3. If you have the chance, what would you probably say to your beloved one?
I have the time all of the time and I tell him he better hurry up and win the lottery so I can retire.

4. Where is the place that you want to go the most?

5. Which part of you do you hate the most?
I really wish I had more tolerance.

6. When you encounter a sad moment, what would you do?
Cry, drink, cry in my drink, drink while I cry.

7. What are you afraid to lose the most?
Any of my family members.

8. If you win $1 million, what would you do?
Buy 100 acres in upstate PA and write full time.

9. What’s your wish for the year ahead?
Finish a final draft of one novel and send it out to an agent and/or publisher.

10. How did you celebrate the New Year?
Slept until 11:55pm, woke when the firecrackers went off, called relatives, then went back to sleep at 12:15am. I know, I’m a party animal. We let the amateurs have New Year’s Eve.

11. Till now, what is the moment that you regret the most?
I really don’t have any. All moments brought me to where I am now.

12. Which type of person do you hate the most?
Everybody who annoys me, so that pretty much covers everyone not me.

13. What is your ambition?
To be a self-supporting published author.

14. If you had one wish what would you wish for?
World peace.

15. Name the one body part your hubby or boyfriend tells you he adores:
Well, my husband says one thing and my boyfriend says another.

16. Do you like it when it rains?
I love it when it rains, but it has to be a real storm, especially with great big booming thunder and lots of wind. It just sort of enters into me and I feel very alive.

17. List two of your Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions.
Relax more and stay focused.

18. What do you need to do this year in order for you to be happier in life?
Publish a book.

19. What new thing have you learned recently?
I just learned about RSS. I signed onto Google Reader. I listed all of the blogs I visit and it notifies me when they update. I have saved so much time.

20. If money were no object, what 3 (materialistic) things would you really like to have?
A 1958 Cadillac Convertible
100 acres in upstate PA
One of the new MAC laptops

Yuck it up HERE.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New Feature - Tarot Tuesdays

I tried something new and it didn't work the way I wanted it to work.
The post below this one is actually a new post. I set it up Monday and saved it as a draft so that's why it has Monday's date. Won't do that again. (TOM and DAVID helped me figure it out. Thanks.)
I am starting a new feature called Tarot Tuesdays.
If you want a reading, read Dana's post below this one and leave a comment for Dana and then tell me you want a Tarot reading.
If more than one person asks, I'll choose one person randomly or maybe do them all. I can't decide.
Now, follow directions, kay?
Looking for some laughs?

MURDER FOR HIRE: The Peruvian Pigeon

Dana Fredsti (pictured here with her best friend and partner in crime, Maureen Anderson) is the author of MURDER FOR HIRE: The Peruvian Pigeon. Dana shares with us some insights into using your real life in one of your books.

Dana says, "Write about what you know. It’s almost a cliché when it comes to writing advice. Don’t try to write about running off to join the circus if the closest you’ve ever been to one is seeing Cirque de Soleil on Pay-Per-View. It’s good, sound advice unless you’re one of those writers who does enough hard research and has the talent to realistically recreate all the necessary details of a place/time/situation he/she has never experienced. Or if you’re writing fantasy and have the imagination to create an entire world out of whole cloth. Barbara Hambly comes to mind as an example of a writer who can do both as demonstrated by her Benjamin January mysteries set in 1800’s New Orleans and seven equally engaging fantasy series, not to mention a slew of stand-alone novels.

You’ll also hear truth is stranger than fiction. You know, the type of stuff that shows up in News of the Weird or the Darwin Awards. Or things that piss a person off, like, “Woman is awarded great flipping wodges of cash for spilling hot coffee on herself while driving.” Incidents that really happen, but if you try putting them in a screenplay or novel, the inevitable reaction is, “Well, that would never happen!”

If you’ve read my bio either on my website or at Elysabeth’s Emerald City you’ll know the inspiration for MURDER FOR HIRE: The Peruvian Pigeon (henceforth referred to as MFH) was my experiences as co-writer/director/producer and actor in an actual theater group called, coincidentally, Murder for Hire, founded by myself and my best friend Maureen Anderson. Maureen was also my co-author on the first draft of MFH. We used our actors and clients as templates for the bulk of the other characters, creating a couple from scratch to fill in the gaps where needed. We wrote that draft in about a month, alternating chapters and POVs between “Connie” and “Daphne,” thinly disguised versions of the two of us.

It’s easy to write quickly when a: you pull incidents out of real life and b: you’re at the age and mentality where you believe everything that comes out of your pen (did I mention the first draft was written long-hand?) is pure gold. It’s not, however, necessarily conducive to a realistic story when the authors are so enamored with using quirks, incidents and you-had-to-be-there moments they won’t consider changing them or taking them out if they don’t serve the plotline and characters. Some of them DID work, mind you. Those that did made it into the 2nd through 6th and final draft. Those that didn’t (a reference to donuts making Daphne’s butt ache, for instance) were excised for the good of the book and of humanity. It only took five years or so for me to acquire the necessary objectivity to do so.

Another issue when writing the first draft was our inability to separate ourselves from the lead characters. I WAS Connie and Maureen WAS Daphne. When I say “thinly disguised” versions of ourselves, I’m talking rice paper thin. Rice paper that’s been gone over with a steamroller a few times. No separation of church and state here, folks! I have vivid memories of writing sessions where the conversation went much like this:

Me: “Dude, Connie would never say that. And she wouldn’t wear pink.”

Maureen: “Well, dude, Daphne would never wear jeans. I’m sorry. She just wouldn’t. And I don’t mean, Daphne doesn’t use margarine!”

Me: “Well, CONNIE wouldn’t let some actor get away with…”

And many more variations on those themes.

In our desire to use every actor we’d ever worked with on every show, the first draft had way too many characters. The reader would need a flow chart to keep track of them so in subsequent rewrites I took out some and combined others. Grant, originally Daphne’s boyfriend, now became Connie’s to add more tension and to clear the field for other things I wanted to add. Based on feedback from encouraging rejection letters I added red herrings and more active sleuthing. The percentage of fiction slowly overtook that of fact.

But the hardest thing I encountered when I went solo on MFH and rewrote the whole thing from my, I mean, CONNIE’S point of view, was taking a huge step back from all the characters based on real people (especially Connie) and figuring out what real life quirks worked for each one and discarding those that didn’t. Once I’d gotten the point where I could say Connie is a character. Connie is loosely based on me. She can do and say stupid things and I won’t feel bad the next day. Bad things can happen to her and it’s not me and really MEAN it, I was able to write a much more effective and (so I’ve been told) scary and disturbing climax. Although some of it still makes my mom cringe.

Bottom line, if you’re writing a book and want to base characters on people in your life (ESPECIALLY yourself), unless you’re writing an autobiography, get over yourself and get on with the story!"

* * * * * * * * * *
I hope you all enjoyed the glimpse Dana has given us into the life of a book. When you read MURDER FOR HIRE: The Peruvian Pigeon, Dana's comments will have even more meaning (and will make you laugh even more.)

Buy MURDER FOR HIRE: The Peruvian Pigeon

Here is Dana’s WEBSITE.

Go to each of the tour stops and leave a comment within three days of Dana’s posts and increase your chances at winning a free copy of Murder for Hire. Dana is giving away three copies of her book to people who comment. The winners are randomly chosen from all of the people who leave comments.

This is the tour schedule.

Sun, Jan 20th - Elysabeth’s Emerald City

Mon, Jan 21st - Blog Book Tours

Tue, Jan 22nd - Kat’s Random Thoughts

Wed, Jan 23rd - The Chrysalis Stage

Thu, Jan 24th - Blaize Clement

Fri, Jan 25th - Pointless Drivel

Sat, Jan 26th - Redzilla Attacks!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Murder for Hire: The Peruvian Pigeon - Book Tour

Day 3 - Interview
Visit Kat
Here is the tour schedule, the stops and the agendas. You’ll notice a couple old friends on the list along with the new and interesting places to visit.

Date: Sun, Jan 20th
Blog: Elysabeth’s Emerald City
Topic: Excerpt from MFH and author bio

Date: Mon, Jan 21st
Blog: Blog Book Tours
Topic: An interview with questions by Dani Greer

Date: Tue, Jan 22nd
Blog: Kat’s Random Thoughts
Topic: Interview with Dana -
Screenplay and Novel Writing

Date: Wed, Jan 23rd
Blog: The Chrysalis Stage
Topic: Is it Real or Memorex –
The pluses and minuses of using aspects of real life in fiction writing

Date: Thu, Jan 24th
Blog: Blaize Clement
Topic: The Truth Behind Emerald Cove

Date: Fri, Jan 25th
Blog: Pointless Drivel
Topic: How the desire to kill resulted in a published novel

Date: Sat, Jan 26th
Blog: Redzilla Attacks!
Topic: To Be Announced

Go to each of the tour stops and leave a comment within three days of Dana’s posts and increase your chances at winning a free copy of Murder for Hire. Dana is giving away three copies of her book to people who comment. The winners are randomly chosen from all of the people who comment.

Here is her WEBSITE.

Read my review of Murder for Hire at Nessa’s Reading Room.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

Dot is the host and creator of Sky Watch Friday! and she posts beautiful and creative photos on her blog Strolling Through Georgia. Go there and see the list of all of the people who participant along with their links. You can easily join the group yourself.

You can see another of my photos HERE.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


*I Couldn’t Be A Scientologist, They Use Too Many Acronyms.

I hope this stays up long enough for you to see. This is an indoctrination video featuring Tom Cruise who is flat out creepy. They must have done this during the writers strike. Being a “clear” certainly hasn’t helped Tom Cruise’s communication skills any. How is he even a little bit attractive? I suppose if you like maniacal laughter, he’s your man.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Witching Hour

Night is a magical place full of the possibility of the unknown. The unbelievable scenarios of dreams take place in the bruise of a dark sky freckled with the lights from unknown sources; the beams of inhabited planets and populated stars where princesses dance with salamanders wearing crowns. The king brandishes his sword in defense of the downtrodden while knights rescue dragons from pirates trying to steal eggs the size of boulders and the color of emeralds.

The breakfast table is laden with spaghetti and bowls of vanilla ice cream, cheddar cheese and bacon, and platters of King Crab legs, shelled and drenched in melted butter. A confetti concoction of salsa dribbles over crisp corn chips and starched white linen napkins.

Amazing Grace played on bagpipes is followed by Brown Eyed Girl, It Wasn’t Me and Ravel’s Boléro, the music rising and falling with orchestral deliberation. Clouds of intimidation, hammers of percussion, and waves of melody expand in the lungs like flapping butterfly wings, their movement fanning a storm thousands of miles away.

The skin is tattooed with goose bumps from a cold breeze, smoothed over by the warm touch of an affectionate hand. Fingernails on a blackboard mimic the nails of an inamorata on the bare back of her paramour, raking hard soil into furrows of fertile ground for fantasy.

Patchouli mixes with unwashed bodies. Rue, bay, frankincense, cinnamon and sage burn away ghosts and call the angels afraid to show themselves to uninspired minds. Rosemary and lavender clean away the stench of doubt and beckon lovers to embrace.

Danger and possibility, imagination and death, flight and stagnation, neon colors and nihilism, fear and knowledge, all walk hand in hand through the night.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Boy and His Balls

My husband is in the kitchen pounding his meat. We’re having hamburgers for dinner. Was it wrong of me to start off this way? You must forgive me. My mouth hurts. I have a bad tooth which kept me awake all night and I’m tired. I have a tendency to be bad when I’m tired. Poor impulse control.

I love double entendres. Almost everything I think or say has more than one meaning. I find saying things with underlining risqué meanings in a very offhand way entertaining. Most people don’t even pick up on it but every once in a while I’ll look at someone and they’ll have a stupid lopsided grin and I’ll know they’ve understood. People I click with play the same game.

I particularly love to do this in large groups and office meetings when I become bored out of my gourd. I feel bad sometimes because I really can get carried away and I make others laugh and misbehave, too. I do it so subtly that I never get in trouble. I get tingly just thinking about it.

I put up a slide show of Longwood Gardens on my Photograph Site. It used to be a DuPont estate and is now a horticultural wonder. I went there on New Year’s Eve with my Mommy. My Journal Site has some short, short, story snippets that come from random phrase five minute timed writing. If you have been reading Divine Death there have been a couple of additions and things have gotten a bit hot.

I commented at Nessa’s Reading Room and updated my reading list. And finally, to see some of the things I made in December have a look at my Craft Site.

Now I am so worn out from exposing myself to you, that I must take a nap.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Sky Watch Friday from a Sunday #1

1:47 Minutes of the full moon, clouds, wind, chimes and even a jet engine on Sunday, December 23, 2007. A star or maybe Venus (?) is in the five o'clock position. A longer video, with better shots, is on my Photo Site. Maybe you'll peek at my other blogs (look, look, right and up just a smidge) this weekend now that the holiday rush is over. They've been updated.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Have a Focused and Persistent New Year

I feel like I've been away forever.

People that get what they want have goals. People that achieve their goals are people who never give up. These are the things I wish for you (and me) this year.

I have spent the last couple of weeks deciding what I want, what I really, really want (just like the Spice Girls.) I've looked at a bunch of successful people and quite frankly, if they can do it, so can I and so can you.

Let's realize our dreams this year.