Showing posts from February, 2017

Fin50: A Marriage of Convenience

This month's prompt is A Marriage of Convenience. I hope I did it justice. Actually, I totally cheated. This is non-fiction. A Marriage of Convenience Dad said he married Mom for her snow tires, or maybe it was the cute Simca she drove. Then he’d kiss her. I like to claim I married my husband for his health insurance. We are still married. Sometimes convenience is a good excuse for a long and happy marriage.  ### ©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2017 As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated! Special Promotion! For today through Wednesday only, and just for readers of this blog post, use the coupon HR73Z at to get a copy of the newest Ninja Librarian book for only $1.99! Click the book and start reading! Just because the skunks love Skunk Corners.

Audio Book review: Bradbury's Martian Chronicles

  Title: The Martian Chronicles Author:  Ray Bradbury; read by Stephen Hoye Publisher: Blackstone Audio, 2009. Original stories published between 1947 and about 1951. Source: Digital library Publisher's Blurb: There were a lot of these to chose from, since there are dozens of editions of the book out. I share here the one that goes with the Blackstone Audio version: In connected, chronological stories, a true grandmaster enthralls, delights, and challenges us with his vision, starkly and stunningly exposing our strength, our weakness, our folly, and our poignant humanity on a strange and breathtaking world where humanity does not belong.  
 My Review:   I think I have to start with Bradbury's own take on the book, from the introduction to the audio book. He describes the stories as not really science fiction, or about Mars, but rather fables or parables, the author's exploration of humanity. Certainly the prose is lush and at times the stories are pointed. In fact, one

Middle Grade Monday: The Quilt, by Gary Paulsen

Title: The Quilt Author: Gary Paulsen Publishing info: Yearling, 2005. 96 pages. Source: Library Publisher's Blurb: A six-year-old boy goes to spend the summer with his grandmother Alida in a small town near the Canadian border. With the men all gone off to fight, the women are left to run the farms. There’s plenty for the boy to do—trying to help with the chores, getting to know the dog, and the horses, cows, pigs, and chickens. But when his cousin Kristina goes into labor, he can’t do a thing. Instead, the house fills with women come to help and to wait, and to work on a quilt together. This is no common, everyday quilt, but one that contains all the stories of the boy’s family. The quilt tells the truth, past and future: of happiness, courage, and pain; of the greatest joy, and the greatest loss. And as they wait, the women share these memorable stories with the boy. My Review: I read this book as a group read with my Great Middle Grade Reads group at

Friday Flash: Long Way Home

Last week, Chuck Wendig solicited three-word titles from his readers (and I snitched one to use for my story). This week, he gave us his top ten titles to choose from. I used 996 words to write my version of "Long Way Home." Visit the comments on Chuck's blog post to find links to what others may have done with the same title. Long Way Home When I finally stopped running, I was in a tiny village in northern Saskatchewan, or maybe over the border into the Northwest Territories. I was filthy, wet, hungry, and down to my last three dollars. On the other side of the balance, I’d lost my tail. My detour through the muskeg scraped off most of them, city men with city shoes. Since leaving the swamp, I’d hitched three different rides, in three different directions—I made sure to leave each one at a crossroads so there were at least some choices—and finally gotten a bush pilot to drop me in the middle of nowhere. I’d stolen a pack from a pile of gear at the tiny airstrip. I felt b

Mystery Review: Death in Advertising

    It's another tour and review from Great Escapes--and this time, I have a guest post from author Laura Bradford as well! Death in Advertising (A Tobi Tobias Mystery) 1st in Series Cozy Mystery Author: Laura Bradford Publisher: Lyrical Underground (February 7, 2017) Approximately 300 PAGES ASIN: B01FBZXSFW Synopsis When Tobi Tobias decided to open her own ad agency, having to moonlight in a pet shop wasn’t part of her vision . . . of course, neither was murder. Sometimes when opportunity knocks, the door you open leads to a closet. That’s certainly the case for Tobi, whose weekends spent cleaning cages in her best friend’s pet shop may soon be over. She’s just landed her first big break—Zander Closet Company needs a catchy campaign slogan ASAP, and Tobi thinks she’s got the right hook to knock ’em dead: “When we’re done, even your skeletons will have a place.” But when a real dead body topples out of a showcase closet, she’s about to discover there is such a thing as bad pu

Middle Grade Audio Revew: Out of My Mind, by Sharon Draper

Title: Out of My Mind Author: Sharon M. Draper; read by Sisi Aisha Johnson Publisher: Atheneum 2010, 295 pages. Audio book by Simon and Schuster 2016 Source: Library digital resources Publisher's Blurb: Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom - the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she's determined to let everyone know it - somehow. In this breakthrough story, reminiscent of  The Diving Bell and the Butterfly , from multiple Coretta Scott King Award-winner Sharon Draper, readers will come to know a brilliant mind and a brave spirit who will change forever how they look at anyone with a disability. My Review: This book

Friday Flash: The Last Buffalo

My usual source of writing prompts is up to something, and this week he only asked us to provide an exactly three word title. I did that, and then picked one to use for my own. This one is courtesy of Samuel Huddleston. It's 904 words, and seems to have been infiltrated by a favorite character from some of Jemima Pett's flash fiction . The Last Buffalo The hunters were having a wonderful time. The herds had been vast and the shooting good. They feasted on buffalo tongue and skinned out the best of the animals, leaving it to Caleb to tan them. Caleb got stuck with most of the scut work around camp, but this time it was of necessity. The man—really, more of a half-grown boy—was the only one who could tan a hide properly. Caleb watched the other hunters while he went about his work. They were getting drunk, as usual. Carruthers was the leader, and he liked his drink. He wasn’t even really a hunter. He called himself an archaeologist, but what Caleb thought was that he was just an

Non-Fiction Audio: Astoria, by Peter Stark

  Title: Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire, A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival Author: Peter Stark; read by Michael Kramer Publisher: Harper Audio 2014; original by Ecco, 2014, 336 pages. Source: Library digital services Publisher's Blurb: In 1810, John Jacob Astor sent out two advance parties to settle the wild, unclaimed western coast of North America. More than half of his men died violent deaths. The others survived starvation, madness, and greed to shape the destiny of a continent. At a time when the edge of American settlement barely reached beyond the Appalachian Mountains, two visionaries, President Thomas Jefferson and millionaire John Jacob Astor, foresaw that one day the Pacific would dominate world trade as much as the Atlantic did in their day. Just two years after the Lewis and Clark expedition concluded in 1806, Jefferson and Astor turned their sights westward once again. Thus began one of history's dramatic

If I keep looking up, I can't see Monday coming

Just in hopes that I'll miss the whole work-week thing, I thought I'd do a little sky-gazing today. Enjoy these rather random shots of pretty or interesting skies and clouds. This is the sky that gave me the idea. I shot this on my way to the gym on my bike the other day, so it's just a cell phone shot and doesn't capture all the texture of the sky. But you can see the waves. The cell phone is great. But you have to look up from it sometimes to see what it might be best for! In keeping with the idea of great stuff close to home, this was shot only a few miles from my house. I liked the storm clouds and the crashing surf together. My husband and I tend to start a little late sometimes when we got out for a bike ride. But the up side of that is that we often get to enjoy the sunset. A mix of cirrus and crepuscular rays near Half Moon Bay, CA The next two were shot from Angel Island State Park last May, and show the fog moving in on the Bay. Sausalito about to be eaten by

Flash Fiction Friday: Lost Hope

In keeping with his theme this month, last week Chuck gave us another rather pointed writing prompt last week: hope in the face of hopelessness. I wrote it, but didn't post last week because it was Flashback Friday time. To my delight, this week's challenge, "Acts of Rebellion," fits the story too. So here it is. While I was thinking about the prompt, one line (the opening line) crawled into my brain and stuck, so I built the story from there. I was originally wanted to try to make it impossible to tell if this was a 19th-Century sailing ship or a space ship, but in the end, I had to go with outer space. Chuck gave us 2000 words, and for once I used most of them. So here, in 1852 words, is: Lost Hope   “Look at them go. Like rats deserting a sinking ship.” More like fleas deserting a dead rat, I thought, but had more sense than to say. Aloud, I asked, “Can you blame them? I only give us about a 25% chance of making it through. Most of them figure it’s a lot less tha