Showing posts from June, 2021

Building new worlds 6/30

 It's Writer's Wednesday again and I'm deep in work on my new novel, so I wanted to share some thoughts about world-building, because essentially that's what I'm working on, and what's being so hard right now. I have this great new character who wants her own mystery series, and I'm doing my best to give it to her. But I have to admit, after 5 novels in one series, I'm a little rusty on starting from scratch. In fact, since that series started from something I wrote before I had a clue what I was doing (and believe me, it showed in the amount of time/effort it took to revise it), I really don't know how to do this. There. That's the truth of it. I'm struggling with a chicken-and-egg problem. How do I know who did the killing and why (and who didn't) without knowing about the whole town and all the history? But how do I know what history is important if I don't know about the murder? So far, in an attempt to get a grip on all this, I&#

AudioBook Review: Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

  Title: Fighting Words Author: Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. Read by Bahni Turpin Publication Info: Random House Audio, 2020. 6 hours 35 min. Source: Library digital resources Publisher’s Blurb: Ten-year-old Della has always had her older sister, Suki: When their mom went to prison, Della had Suki. When their mom's boyfriend took them in, Della had Suki. When that same boyfriend did something so awful they had to run  fast,  Della had Suki. Suki is Della's own wolf—her protector. But who has been protecting Suki? Della might get told off for swearing at school, but she has always known how to keep quiet where it counts. Then Suki tries to kill herself, and Della's world turns so far upside down, it feels like it's shaking her by the ankles. Maybe she's been quiet about the wrong things. Maybe it's time to be loud.   In this powerful novel that explodes the stigma around child sexual abuse and leavens an intense tale with compassion and humor, Kimberly B

Friday Flashback: Canadian Rockies

I usually do my flashbacks with fiction, but since I've shared a lot of fiction in the last two weeks, I thought I'd toss out an old photo post from 2014. (For anyone who's wondering, I'm too lazy this week to the Grand Canyon Part 6. Check next Friday!)      This was part of my A to Z which I think was themed around mountains. The trip that is documented here was in summer of 2013. We spent a month in the Banff/Jasper/Kootenai area, all of it camping and backpacking.   Here's the original post: Just a few of my favorite shots from Banff and Kootenay National Parks, and Mt. Robson Prov. Park. The classic view of Moraine Lake, Banff National Park Mt. Robson and Berg Lake, Mt. Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia. Hiking near Snowbird Pass, Mt. Robson in the near distance.  Hoary marmot Some lunch counters are better than others.  The Rockwall, Kootenay National Park Get up early.  No one saw this but us, as the sun rose on Floe Lake, Kootenay National Park What t

Writer Update: Submissions, writing, and planning

Time for a quick reality check on the writer. I haven't reported on submissions for a while, so here goes: May: 2 submissions June: 1 submission 2 rejections, one outstanding. I need to do a reality check on one story, which has about 6 rejections. Might be fine, might be deluding myself. It's SF--if anyone wants to take a read, let me know and I'll appreciate your feedback. I also need to write some more stories just for submission and stop sharing everything here on the blog! Lately the only short stories I've written have been for blog-hop prompts. Writing and planning/plotting: Progress on the new book/series is finally starting to happen, though much of what I'm doing now may just be exercises to get the juices flowing, or even pure procrastination. But the plot/"outline" for the new book is taking shape at least a little. To help matters along (and/or to feel like I'm writing even if I'm not), I've been writing an extensive biography of

#WritePhoto: Along the River

Every Thursday, KL Caley at New2Writing shares a photo to serve as inspiration for some kind of writing to be posted and shared by the following Tuesday. Last Thursday, the photo was this peaceful scene of a fisherman. I took a few liberties and came up with my story. The hop is open to all, just write your story and share the link at KL's blog!  Photo by KL Caley   Along the River: A Story in Six Chapters I. Ratty and Mole play in their boat until the ducks, angry at the disruption of their feeding, chase them away. They retreat to have a picnic on the bank of the river, and are joined by the Badger and the Otter. They remain hidden under the drooping willows. II. The miller lets the water through the weir, turns the wheel and grinds the grain for an hour, just enough for his wife to bake the bread for their anniversary dinner. She always makes that from the flour he grinds at the ancient mill. The rest of the time, the wheel sits silent and still, and the water passes around the

Photo Friday: Grand Canyon #5

Rafting the Grand Canyon, Days 9 & 10. This trip was April 3-18, 2021, with AZRA--Arizona Raft Adventures. See previous reports: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Day 9:  This was another day when our hiking plans were skunked by other rafters who beat us to the landings. A general courtesy of the river is not to pile on, except at a few "must see" stops (Redwall Cavern and Deer Creek Falls seem to be the main ones). Morning in the boat. We had a number of substantial rapids: Fossil, Specter, and Deubendorff, and especially Bedrock, which gave everyone an interesting ride. Our one very small "hike" did impose on another camp, so I take it this is another "must". We walked 1/4 miles up Stone Creek to a beautiful "shower." Yes, we "showered" with our clothes on, though most people removed their hats!  We are now in the heart of the Vishnu schist. The black is actually a subset of the Vishnu, the Brahma schist. The pink is Zoroastrian granit

#WEP: Great Wave

 It's time for the bi-monthly WEP challenge. This year's prompts are all from famous paintings, interpretation up to us, of course. Here's the June prompt: WEP Challenge are open to anyone. Post during the 3-day posting window, then link back to the WEP post page, and visit the other writers to enjoy a bunch of great stories! Read more about it here . 920 words, FCA     Great Wave The hooded figure was reported to have visited the same rocky point on the shore every day for a week. Always at high tide, and carrying a large pack. It wasn’t that no one knew who it was; there were no strangers in the tiny coastal town. Nor did anyone wonder about the hood. Any sensible person outside was wearing a hooded rain parka, and rain pants as well. The question everyone was asking was what Mildred Perkins thought she was doing out there in the rain and crashing surf, and what she had in her pack. There was some attempt to speculate that she was engaged in some form of smuggling, but th

Release Day! Clues, Cops, & Corpses

I've been off seeing my younger son graduate from university, so what better way to celebrate than by finally releasing my mystery collection!   It's out, it's today, and it's the 4th (and last for now) book in my collection of collections. Amazon Smashwords   Nine tales of murder and mayhem, from the classic to the absurd. Can detective L. R. Hen discover who is committing the notorious Cackling Murders? Have the waters of lakes and rivers washed away all the clues in several damp cases? And just what can motivate a brainless thug to care about something? All these cases and more are solved in this quick, fun collection of stories by the author of the Pismawallops PTA mystery series.   Order your copy today! Just 99 cents at all ebook retailers. And please, consider leaving a review when you are finished.

Flashback Friday: The Gods' Own Keeper

I'm off celebrating my youngest son's university graduation. While I'm busy, I hope you enjoy this story from 2015!   The Gods' Own Keeper Osbert Godskeeper scurried across the Great Hall of Chaotica. Orgo and Hempto were fighting again, and Osbert had no desire to get caught between those two. Neither had learned the control proper to a god, and Orgo tended to leak lightning when he got mad. Hempto was worse. He smoked. Not his pipe, which was bad enough--the gods’ herb of choice stunk, as far as Osbert was concerned. But when Hempto was upset, smoke came out of every orifice. It stunk even worse than his pipe, or Chacto the Great's cigars, and it burned. Hempto was a fire god, and nothing but trouble.   When he had reached the far end of the hall and the safety of his office, Osbert’s manner changed. No longer a frightened, scurrying figure, he stood erect and took firm hold of his microphone, scowling fiercely at the battling behemoths.  

Writer's Report and Book Review

World-building the next novel The germ of my next novel has been in my head for well over a year, but forcing it into some kind of shape has been surprisingly hard. I have some ideas for a couple of reasons for this. For one thing, we can fall back on the ways that grief, loss, and trauma have messed with my head. Focus has never been my strong suit, and it's worse now.  I think that the issues with creating a new world go beyond that, though. I've been writing books in the Pismawallops PTA series for about 7 years, with some ventures back into the world of the Ninja Librarian. In other words, I haven't had to create a story-world from scratch in a very long time. In fact, the last time I did so was the goofy fantasy world of Halitor the Hero --published in 2014 (and I think drafted in 2013 or earlier--probably right after Return to Skunk Corners and while I was working on Death By Trombone ).  All of which is to say: the last time I created a new world, I was a different w

Non-fiction Audiobook Review: Raven's Witness

  Title: Raven's Witness: The Alaska Life of Richard K. Nelson Author: Hank Lentfer. Read by Basil Sands Publication Info: 2020 Tantor Audio. 8:29. Original 2020 by Mountaineers Books. 256 pages. Source: Library digital resources Publisher’s Blurb: Before his death in 2019, cultural anthropologist, author, and radio producer Richard K. Nelson's work focused primarily on the indigenous cultures of Alaska and, more generally, on the relationships between people and nature. Nelson lived for extended periods in Athabaskan and Alaskan Eskimo villages, experiences which inspired his earliest written works, including Hunters of the Northern Ice.     In Raven's Witness , Lentfer tells Nelson's story--from his midwestern childhood to his first experiences with Native culture in Alaska through his own lifelong passion for the land where he so belonged. Nelson was the author of the bestselling The Island Within and Heart and Blood . The recipient of multiple honorary