Saturday, April 06, 2024

In the Bag - Introduction (an Anachronistic Project [AP001])

My mother's side of the family is from Austria, where they lived in the small towns around the city of Salzburg.

Salzburg Castle painted on Two Man Tuttle Tooth Saw blade by Vanessa Victoria Kilmer

My Oma and Uroma went grocery shopping every day. They had very small refrigerators and very little space in their apartments. I grew up using net bags, so the trend of reusable bags in the USA in the 1990s was no big deal to me and made sense. 

I think people have been using net bags for as long as they have been making fishing nets. You can see some information about Roman recruits using them. The Bullock Museum in Texas has a net bag from around 2000 BC. 

Net bags would be perfect for hunter-gatherers as they are light and compact and require less material and energy to make than baskets, leather pouches, or pottery. They are also perfect as storage containers, easily hung from the rafters of a hut, thus protecting the items from pests.              

They are easy to make in small spaces, require no tools or special skills, and use cheap native materials. 

Thanks to travelers from all parts of Asia, Hemp has been used in Europe since the Bronze Age for food, rope, and fabrics. I'll be using hemp twine to make a net bag without tools. I'll go over other types of fibers in the next post.

This will be the first project in my series of anachronistic items related to the time periods of my books.

I'll be doing each of the process steps in real life as TikTok videos and blog posts with pictures of each step, and when it's all done, I'll combine the videos into one YouTube project video.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Lady Mary Wroth, Poet and Prose Author


Lady Mary Wroth
Painting attributed to John de Critz c 1620 
(public domain)

Lady Mary Wroth, 1587-1651, was a contemporary of Shakespeare and a friend to Queen Anne and Ben Jonson. Educated at a time when most women were illiterate, she wrote poetry and prose. She wrote The Countess of Montgomery's Urania, the first prose romance with possible autobiographical elements in English written by a woman.

Title Page of
The Countess of Montgomery's Urania
Folger Shakespeare Libray

Pamphilia to Amphilanthus is a sonnet sequence, the second known published by a woman in English. The first, by Anne Locke is disputed. 

Love leave to urge, thou know’st thou hast the hand;

’T’is cowardise, to strive wher none resist:

Pray thee leave off, I yeeld unto thy band;

Doe nott thus, still, in thine owne powre persist,

Beehold I yeeld: lett forces bee dismist;

I ame thy subject, conquer’d, bound to stand,

Never thy foe, butt did thy claime assist

Seeking thy due of those who did withstand;

Butt now, itt seemes, thou would’st I should thee love;

I doe confess, t’was thy will made mee chuse;

And thy faire showes made mee a lover prove

When I my freedome did, for paine refuse.

Yett this Sir God, your boyship I dispise;

Your charmes I obay, butt love nott want of eyes.

The seventh sonnet, from the only extant Pamphilia 
manuscript in Wroth's own hand.
Mary Wroth - Folger Shakespeare Library Digital Image Collection

Monday, March 18, 2024

National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award (NERFA)

Did you publish a Romance novel or novella in digital format in 2023?

Submit your story to the 
National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award (NERFA) contest
until the end of March 2024.

This is a contest for romance writers and is judged by romance readers.

Find all of the details at 


Thursday, March 14, 2024

So Many Ways to Scratch My Book Itch


          There are many ways to meet my book fix and make my to-be-read pile comfortably overwhelming. Many options are available, whether I like paper or digital, purchased or free. I embrace them all.
          In the last two years, I’ve moved twice. Before the first of the two moves from New Jersey to Florida, I downsized from a large three-story house where the entire second floor was all mine. I decided I could only keep what would fit in my van. I gave away hundreds of real books. In my second move, I still had three boxes of books. These included the cardboard children’s book of Ashenputtel (Cinderella,) the original Grimm’s version, that I received at the age of three, a couple of inherited prayer books from the 1800s in Old High German, signed copies of books authored by friends, and copies of my own novels. These are my treasures.

Then, there’s my Kindle account. Amazon sure knew what I was addicted to when they created this monster. I have 622 digital books. Access to them is 24/7 and anywhere that strikes my fancy. I have a Kindle device, which is perfect for reading in the sunshine outside or at night lying in bed. The light, text size, and font adjust for my old eyes and energy level. It has a font called OpenDyslexic, which I use to read without closing one eye when the orbs go all cross-eyed from fatigue. I’ll be thrilled when it shows I’ve reached the end of the page, and it turns it for me, you know, for those three am reading sessions.
     I have another 216 books in my Audible account. I like to listen to books when I can’t sleep at night. It’s like having an old friend with me. I prefer books while I’m driving.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember. Whether it was the back of cereal boxes, movie end credits, or road signs and billboards, I always needed something to read. My cell phone ensures I am never without it. 
     I have access to history, biographies, and classic literature. Wikipedia can take me to so many places. I recently learned about Enhedusnna, a Mesopotamian priestess who was the first named author over four thousand years ago. With the provided links at the bottom of the article, I found many more sites that expanded on the topic.
Short Fiction Break and poets dot org both offer reads sent to your email. Project Gutenberg has over 70,000 free e-books of older great literature, usually where U.S. copyright has expired. And I have a library card, so even more e-books are available.
     These options make it easy for me to spend all my time reading, and I refuse to apologize.

Wednesday, March 06, 2024

Featured Author - Enheduanna


image from
Enheduanna written in Sumerian cuneform

Enheduanna (23rd century B.C.E.) was the first named author in history. She was the Akkadian and Sumerian high priestess of the moon god Nanna (Sin) and daughter of Sargon of Akkad.

Enheduanna is named as the author of seven Sumerian temple hymns and several hymns dedicated to Innana and Nanna.

Enheduanna's writings are inscribed on to clay in cuneiform 
(Credit: The Yale Babylonian Collection/ Photo by Klaus Wagensonner)

Inana and Ebih

"1-6. Goddess of the fearsome divine powers, clad in terror, 

riding on the great divine powers, Inana

made perfect by the holy a-an-kar weapon, drenched in blood, 

rushing around in great battles, with shield resting on the ground (?), 

covered in storm and flood, great lady Inana

knowing well how to plan conflicts, you destroy mighty lands 

with arrow and strength and overpower lands."

Go HERE to read all 184 lines.

Enheduanna is pictured on this disc. She's in fancy-dress red.

A scene of sacrifice is carved on to one side of this calcite disc;
an inscription of Enheduanna appears on the other 
(Credit: The Penn Museum)

Monday, March 04, 2024

Book Review - Beyond the next Star by Melody Johnson


Beyond the next Star is the award-winning SyFy Romance of Melody Johnson. She's taken the decades-old story of alien abductions with their tales of scientific observations, tests, and rats-in-a-cage by beings similar to humans that don't recognize "peoplehood." However, this time, the specimen is kept and taken to the alien homeworld as a pet.

Torek, a warrior with a psychiatric prescription to get a pet to relieve his PTSD symptoms, adopts the exotic animal. He must prove his fitness to be returned to active duty by keeping the fragile being alive. 

Staying alive on a hostile, frozen planet isn't easy for a human, but Delaney has survived and hidden from danger her whole life, so it's no big deal to pretend to be a witless pet, especially since she's hiding from a murderer. Even on alien planets, greed rears its ugly head.

Despite all the obstacles of the situation, mutual affection and love grows as there are attempts on Delaney's life and she reveals her humanness to save Torek.

This was a surprising storyline and well-written. I enjoyed the creativity that made the story come alive.

Beyond the next Star is the first standalone book in the Love Beyond series. It is followed by Sight Beyond the Sun. Melody Johnson also has a vampire series called Night Blood with four books available. You can find Melody Johnson's books on her WEBSITE

Thursday, February 29, 2024

12 Prompts for Leap Day - the Day that doesn't Really Exist

What if you only existed each leap day?

What if you could only get around by hopping or jumping?

What if your friends jump off a bridge? Would you, too?

What if you wrote yourself a letter containing your hopes and dreams for the future to be opened on the next Leap Day?

What if a witch cursed you and turned you into a frog?

What if you lost your sight on Leap Day?

What if you lost your memory on Leap Day?

What if you could only express your love on Leap Day?

What if we no longer have Leap Years?

What if things no longer come in fours?

What if our calendar were based on the moon and not the sun?

What if we randomly inserted a day in each Leap Year's calendar instead of using February 29th?

~ ~ ~

make an origami leap frog

~ ~ ~

"Use this day to do something daring, extraordinary and unlike yourself. Take a chance and shape a different pattern in your personal cloud of probability!”
― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

"Happy Leap Day. A day where 'this time last year' and 'this time next year' does not apply." - Anonymous

"Leap and the net will appear."  - Zen saying

Monday, February 26, 2024

Bookish Adventures in Daytona

I went to the Coastal Magic Convention with my daughter this past weekend (Thursday evening until Sunday morning) in Daytona Beach, Florida.

This was my first book-related convention. It's a reader-focused event that began in 2013. 

Authors in the urban fantasy, paranormal, sci-fi, and romance genres come out to meet their readers with Meet n Greet panels. The hosts made this easier by doing passports, scavenger hunts, and pick-the-lie activities to get folks chatting.

There were various panels where authors discussed their processes for storytelling and information about their various books and series.

Friday night was a Las Vegas Murder Mystery where authors played roles in the WhoDoneIt. We guessed the murder victim but got the killer wrong.

Saturday night was a pajama game night. We played Harry Potter Trivia. Erika was a finalist. I was in the final place.

Saturday, we had Lunch with an Author and joined Melody Johnson for delish ravioli. Erika got her vampire book, The City Beneath, and I got her sci-fi book, Beyond the next Star. She signed them for us, too.

I also got to meet Ilona and Gordon Andrews, my favorite authors. They signed Magic Tides for me, and I got a picture with them. They are sweet and funny.

The asparagus in the hotel restaurant was really good. I had some every night with dinner.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

The American Sentence - Haiku for US, Too

 The American Sentence is a poetry form invented by the beat poet Allen Ginsberg in the mid-1980s.

17 syllables are the agreed-upon requirement. After that, you can write it in one line or multiple lines, use concrete images, refrain from using articles, and include a time, place, and a title, if you like.

The poet Paul E. Nelson wrote an article on The American Sentence.

Here are some examples by Allen Ginsberg:

  • "That grey-haired man in business suit and black turtleneck thinks he's still young."
  • "Bearded robots drink from Uranium coffee cups on Saturn's ring."
  • "Crescent moon, girls chatter at twilight on the bus ride to Ankara."
I'm am writing one a day for The 100 Day Project based on 3 randomly selected words. I've done 5 so far.

Here are a couple I wrote before the project began:

    Ashes floated in the sky like snowflakes on a quiet winter night.

    Her hair spread out in the frothing water as I jockeyed the river.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Habit Forming Habits - The 100 Day Project 001

It takes 90 - 100 days to form a habit. Beginning today, I commit to 100 Days of Creating. My project takes the form of an American Sentence a day based on three randomly generated words.

nuance ~ formation ~ salmon

the formation of the sacred salmon proves the gods know no nuance

#TheAmericanSentence #haiku #WordSketches