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Showing posts from March, 2023

Photo Friday: Valley of Fire State Park

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As far as I can tell, in the aftermath of my April 2021 Grand Canyon rafting trip, I never did share a post on an amazing spot we visited on the way home--Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. That conveniently gives me a photo post for this week! This was a quick overnight stop on our way home--we pulled in mid-afternoon and nabbed just about the last campsite at the Arch Rock campgound. I was traveling with my brother- and sister-in-law. My vehicle is the small one :)  Note that the campsites had nice shade structures over the tables--much needed, even in late April. I did a quick exploration near our camp as the sun dropped, enjoying the low light and some great treats among the rocks. The Arch Rock for which the campground is named. Atlatl Rock is a large pictograph panel, with a set of stairs allowing for close views. Note the hunters and the bighorn sheep. The other campground is named for this rock. The artist's model.   We were up early to drive out the Mouse's Tank road

Book Review: The Bears Ears: A Human History

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I'm headed to the Bears Ears National Monument in a few weeks, so I figured I should do some more reading about the area. It's not new history to me, but a refresher never hurts, and many details were new. Title: The Bears Ears: A Human History of America's Most Endangered Wilderness Author: David Roberts Publication Info: 2021, W.W. Norton. 336 pages. Source: Library Publisher's Blurb: The Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah, created by President Obama in 2016 and eviscerated by the Trump administration in 2017, contains more archaeological sites than any other region in the United States. It’s also a spectacularly beautiful landscape, a mosaic of sandstone canyons and bold mesas and buttes. This wilderness, now threatened by oil and gas drilling, unrestricted grazing, and invasion by Jeep and ATV, is at the center of the greatest environmental battle in America since the damming of the Colorado River to create Lake Powell in the 1950s. In The

Audiobook Review: Nation, by Terry Pratchett

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I guess this is classified as Young Adult? Who cares--anything Pratchett wrote is worth reading. And more YA lit should be like this: long on thought, short on romance.     Title: Nation Author: Terry Pratchett. Read by Stephen Briggs Publication Info: Harper Collins, 2008, 9.5 hours. (367 pages in hardback). Source: Library Publisher's Blurb: Alone on a desert island — everything and everyone he knows and loves has been washed away in a storm — Mau is the last surviving member of his nation. He’s completely alone — or so he thinks until he finds the ghost girl. She has no toes, wears strange lacy trousers like the grandfather bird, and gives him a stick that can make fire. Daphne, sole survivor of the wreck of the Sweet Judy, almost immediately regrets trying to shoot the native boy. Thank goodness the powder was wet and the gun only produced a spark. She’s certain her father, distant cousin of the Royal family, will come and rescue her but it seems, for now, that all she

#WritePhoto: Siege

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We are back with #WritePhoto, and another installment of the adventures with Aunt Gertrude MacDonald at Campbell Castle! Follow the links to Parts I to III , and Part IV . And no, I have no idea where this is going, but I intend to have fun along the way! Image by KL Caley Participating this week on time for the #WritePhoto blog hop at KL Caley's New2Writing blog. Every Thursday a new photo prompt. Post stories, poems, whatever by the following Tuesday and link back to KL's page.     V.  Dying of Boredom   “They’re pulling back!”   The entire crew at Fort Campbell, as they were now calling the crumbling Campbell family castle on its remote lake in Scotland, gaped as the alien airship pulled back and stopped firing at the rebels. Their defense had worked. Water balloons and dung balls had defeated the invaders…   No, not defeated. James Campbell watched the airship pull back beyond range and settle to the ground. A row of four-armed soldiers p

Writer's Update: Does giving away books do any good?

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How goes the battle? First things first:  what's going on with the writing? Sad reality: making major improvements in a manuscript is... hard work. And I'm not always up for that. I'm really trying, though, and still hope to have some real progress before I leave for the desert at the end of the month. I won't promise to have a finished revision, though. Some days it progresses, some days it doesn't. The business of writing: promotions Last week was the Smashwords "Read an ebook week" sale. I put nearly all my books on sale at up to 50% off, and selected three to be free, in addition to the two BookElves anthologies in which I have stories. Here's the result: I gave away 13 books for free. I sold none. Will those 13 free books get me any additional readers? That's the hope, but I have my doubts. How many books are on your ereader, picked up because they were free and it was easy? We do what we can to encourage people to move on to the next boo

Time to get Political

It has always been my policy, here on this blog and on social media, to stay out of politics. I'm generally here to talk about books and travel and fun stuff. But at some point in your life you may be hit upside the head with the need to speak up. That time has come. Not just for me--for all of us. Because even aside from my personal stake in what's happening in too much of the US, I also believe that if it becomes the norm to take away the freedoms of some groups, it will eventually bcome the norm to take the freedoms of all, and I feel that our nation is teetering in the balance. For the moment, I'm not talking about the loss of a woman's right to control her body (I should have been talking about that for the last two years), or the rights of people of color to not be beaten and killed by the police (also shame to me for not talking about this). For today, I'm talking about LGBTQ* rights, including the very right to existence. Does that sound extreme to you? Thin

Photo Friday: Signs of Spring

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I figure everyone is getting a little tired of winter by now, so I've gone about the neighborhood and gathered some photos of spring on its way! Granted, this is Seattle, not northern Minnesota, but if your spring is still a long way off (or if you live in the southern hemisphere and you are anxiously longing for winter), you can still enjoy the photos, and dream about maybe the best time of year. I shot all these on my cell phone while on my daily walks. Some kind of fruit tree. Not sure what this is, just starting to bloom in the park. Daffodils about to burst forth Lenten rose I'm not sure about this. Maybe Oregon grape? I've no idea. I loved the new leaves bursting out around the moss-covered stump. Snowdrops. Embarrassed to say this is in my own yard and I'm not sure what it is. Another tree or bush in the park, starting to bloom. All these blooming fruit trees tell me I should have gotten my new fruit trees last month. I hope this has given you a pleasant break fr

Non-fiction review: The War Below (audiobook)

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My sifting through the history audio books at the library (Overdrive) brought me this at times painful read about US submarines in WWII.   Title: The War Below: The Story of Three Submarines that Battled Japan Author: James Scott. Read by Donald Corren Publication Info: Simon & Schuster/Blackstone Audio, 2013. 448 p. hardback, 14 hrs 20 min. Source: Library Publisher's Blurb: The riveting story of the submarine force that helped win World War II by ravaging Japan's merchant fleet and destroying its economy The War Below is a dramatic account of extraordinary heroism, ingenuity, and perseverance—and the vital role American submarines played in winning the Pacific War. Focusing on the unique stories of the submarines Silversides, Drum, and Tang—and the men who skippered and crewed them—James Scott takes readers beneath the waves to experience the thrill of a direct hit on a merchant ship and the terror of depth charge attacks. It's a story filled with incredible

Read an Ebook Week Sale!

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It's Read an Ebook Week at Smashwords.com , and there are some great bargains over there. I've created a great deal for mystery fans, with Death By Ice Cream , the first book of the Pismawallops PTA series FREE, just through Saturday! Get started on the series --and follow up fast, because the rest of the books are 50% off--all but but The Christmas Question --which is also free. Read the entire Ninja Librarian series for under $4, or explore my short fiction with Clues, Cops, and Corpses --free this week only. Stinky the Skunk Corners Skunk checks out a bunch of my books.

Flash Fiction: Prepare for the Siege

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Last month I combined a couple of #WritePhoto prompts and stories for a single tale of castles and aliens. You can read that here . This week, though I missed Friday (I really missed Friday. Thanks to working on my taxes, it never even crossed my mind about a Friday post), I have another installment for the intrepid defenders of Earth, at the base somewhere in Scotland. That's because last week's prompt (which I missed entirely) was a cannon, aimed out an embrasure. Continuing with my imaginary castle this week, James Campbell and his motley crew are preparing for another attack. Image by KL Caley, New2Writing.com IV   Preparing for a Siege The aliens had gone—for now. James Campbell wasn’t naïve enough to believe that driving them from this one castle one time was enough to save them. What was going on outside—beyond the castle and the village—was anyone’s guess. Radio signals had stopped a few days after they defeated the aliens.   Okay, a few days after Gertrude