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

IWSG: Editing Hell

  Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group (click on the badge above for the list) and connect with your fellow writers - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Time for the red pen! And now for my own post: Editing Hell (and you can take the first word as a verb or the whole thing as a compound noun). This is a live(ish)* report on the editing progress for Book 3 of the Pismawallops PTA mystery series (tentatively

Fi50 (Fiction in 50--words, that is)

After watching Jemima Pett do it for a year or two, I decided it's time for me to jump on the bandwagon with The Bookshelf Gargoyle's Fiction in 50 challenge . That's a complete story, in exactly 50 words, written to a prompt he provides for each month. Posting is the last week of the month, and I'm targeting Mondays of the last week. This is my first attempt, so go easy on me--it's harder than it looks! Moving with the Times Innovation can be hard on the tradition-bound. I’m really trying, though, to get used to reading the new way. My son says anyone can do it. It’s easy, he says. But it’s not easy, rapping him over the knuckles with one of the new-fangled books. My old scrolls are better. ©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2017 As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!

Flashback Friday!

It's Flashback Friday, and time to pull something out of the archives that I think could stand a little more exposure. I found this one which also fits the Wendig Challenge, more or less, and only got a couple of comments when it first aired in 2015. The funny thing is that it goes the opposite way of the story I wrote (about hope) for this week's challenge (which I'll share next week). So here we have... Helplessly Hoping When everything has already gone wrong and there’s nothing more to do, they say that all you have left is hope. At that point, “hope” is a four-letter word. I had always thought hope meant you had guts. You didn’t give up, even though things looked bad. Turns out there’s a world of difference between looking bad and being hopeless. I knew that now. When you are helpless and there is no one to come save your ass, hope is for cowards. I wasn’t going to die helplessly hoping. I’d die with my eyes wide open, grinning right back at Death. *** Today start

Book Blast: The Blessed Event by Frankie Bow

I don't often do these, because I don't like to advertise a book on here unless I've read it and know at least some of my readers may enjoy it! But I read and reviewed the preceding book in the series, The Black Thumb , and since I enjoyed it and plan to follow the series, I'll share this great deal with you all! Amazon has priced The Blessed Event by Frankie Bow at just 99⊄ for the month of January!  (Free on Kindle Unlimited) The Blessed Event (The Professor Molly Mysteries) Publisher: Hawaiian Heritage Press (June 10, 2016) Paperback: 344 pages ISBN-13: 978-1943476251 Kindle ASIN: B01GW5WUAE Synopsis "You may wonder what my least-favorite student was doing in my living room. In a twist of fate that might seem hilarious if it happened to someone else, he was now my stepson." Professor Molly Barda is looking forward to a quiet summer in Mahina, Hawaii working on her research and adjusting to married life. But when a visit from her new husband's rela