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Win free ebooks on May 18

Posted in Events

I’m participating in a Facebook Party for a new release of The Roar of Smoke, a book by Candace Carrabus.

Every half-hour, from 12:00 – 8:00 EDT, a new author will join the Facebook page and offer prizes and ask a question/sponsor a discussion. The winners of the prizes will be picked from the participants.

Here’s the list of participating authors and prizes, along with their time slots (in Central time). To join the event, click here.

I’ll be on from 4:00-4:30 CDT (5:00-5:30 EDT), and I’ll be giving away 5 ebooks of To Carry the Horn, the first book in The Hounds of Annwn series. If you already happen to have that, I’ll be glad to substitute any other book, or the next one to be published.

Lots and lots of books being given away — go check it out!

Interrupted by a woodcock family

Posted in A Writer's Desk

Woodcock-6451_DxO-Cleaned-2
Click for a big close-up view

Some procrastinations are grasped gratefully, on the grounds that at least something is being achieved, even if it’s not writing.

Rebuilding eight websites to comply with Google’s “mobile-ready” imperative falls into that category. Which led me to update my BlueRose website, which led me to clean up the 2000 tunes that live therein, buy an iPad so I could throw away my music binders, fix all the metadata for 2000 files, etc. Three weeks later, my obsessive nature is gratified, but not a word’s been written (sigh…).

Other interruptions are unforeseen.

A couple of days ago, a neighbor who was mowing for us caught sight of a mother woodcock on parade, taking her four babies on an outing across the newly cut grass behind the cabin. She flew off, dangling her wing in an attempt to lure the human predator away and her chicks obediently hunkered down, trusting to their camouflage. They didn’t move so much as a bit of down, but if you click on the picture you can see their beady eyes watching me.

Whereupon I tromped around with a camera for a few moments, before letting mom come back and take the chicks off into the woods.

I would have delivered photos sooner, but my dedicated photography computer decided not to start, the other copies of the software I use, on my laptop, failed to run, and there’s no help desk support on a Sunday. Grrr!

It’s not the event itself that takes the time, but all the technology wrapped around it that promises to make things faster. Three minutes to play a tune vs half an hour to set it in a score, label its metadata, and stick it on a website. One second to snap a photo, half an hour to flounder in a morass of “but it was just working!” technology. One minute to write a paragraph — how long to look for a virtual pencil to sharpen?

Woodcock-6451_DxO-CleanedWoodcock-6458_DxO-Cleaned

Brothers of another evolutionary line

Posted in A Writer's Desk

MSC-20150424-5993_DxO-RGBThe white turkey is back, and this time I have pictures.

It’s a buddy story. Seems clear to me that these two gobblers must be siblings. They’re of a size, and very friendly with each other, and it’s hilarious watching each of them behave as wing man (so to speak) to the other as they gobble speculatively into the woods, hoping to hear from some interested hens.

Now that I can see him better, I can see that this white turkey is certainly not an albino. He’s clearly marked, on a cream background, and his beard is black. A domestic turkey somewhere in the ancestry that expressed itself only in this individual, or some sort of natural color variant for wild turkeys?

[Update] It turns out there is a recessive color trait called “smoky gray“, and that’s what this turkey has. Much more common in hens, for some reason.

Read MoreBrothers of another evolutionary line

Nature naturing

Posted in A Writer's Desk

Would you be impressed, if you were a hen?
Would you be impressed, if you were a hen?

And in other news, today we were woken up by urgent, loud, gobbles echoing through the bedroom window from the lower slope of the orchard, where two wild turkey jakes, puffed up in full display, were following a couple of hens with clear, if stately, intent.

The slow procession wound its way back behind the root cellar. Don’t know how it will all come out, but I expect to see poults in a couple of months.

One of the jakes was completely white — a domestic turkey somewhere in the woodpile, no doubt, or perhaps an albino. Surprising that he survived his first year without the benefit of camouflage.

Decorative elements for The Chained Adept

Posted in Artwork, and The Chained Adept

One of the pleasures of working with a cover artist is that you can request extras as part of the arrangement.

For the series of which The Chained Adept is the eponymous first entry, I asked for my usual decorative bits for inside the book (ebook and print).

ChainedAdept-Extras-SketchesThe top one will get used for the Title page and for the End-of-Book marker, before any name index or other back matter.

The middle one will be used as a Chapter divider, and the bottom will be a Scene separator.

 

Tomboys

Posted in Characters, and Heroes

Jo March (left) & Family (Little Women, Louisa May Alcott)
Jo March (right) & family (Little Women, Louisa May Alcott)

What is a tomboy, exactly?

I participated in a discussion recently about the tomboy character in literature. We discovered that we all had very different opinions of what constituted a tomboy. If you search online these days, you’ll find definitions associating tomboys with lesbians and transgenders, which I think is wrongheaded and anachronistic.

I know what I mean when I say tomboy, and I think of it it as an example of a story character archetype which, like all archetypes, reflects something in real life.

Let’s try this definition:

A tomboy is a girl or young woman, typically pre-pubescent or at least virginal, who values highly the same male virtues that appeal to boys of her own age, and values less the virtues that appeal to girls of her own age.

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A Family Story

Posted in A Writer's Desk, and Research

StatueOfWisdom-regildedI’d like to introduce you to someone.

This is my great-grandmother, Clara Gasperov Mayerovich (Myers), as the Statue of Wisdom, freshly re-gilded in 2014, atop the Capitol Dome of the State of Maine, in Augusta.

(You can tell there has to be a good story behind this, right?)

Every now and then a family story is corroborated by external evidence. Clara and her husband Sam Myers left some things behind — newspaper articles and the work of their hands. And, of course, their descendents.

Samuel Nathan Mayerovich, first-born son of Nathan Meyerowitz, was born circa 1860 in Odessa, in the thriving Jewish community of that cosmopolitan city. The family stories that came down from my great-aunt Bertha, one of their daughters, remember a family that thought of themselves as native Odessans, and musicians were common.

Sam made the leap first, as so many Jews did, leaving the Russian Empire where strikes were disrupting life in the cities and arriving in Boston circa 1903, where he began a career as an artisan.

Clara stayed behind in Odessa with her three children (aged 9, 6, and 3 in 1905 — there would be two more later) and prepared to eventually join her husband. Bertha was the three-year-old, and the nine-year-old, Luzen, would become my grandfather, Louis Samuel Myers.

Perhaps you know what happened in Russia in 1905? In Odessa, a new wave of strikes began in sympathy with several cities, and the most important naval mutiny occurred, that of the Battleship Potemkin, in the port of Odessa, on June 27, 1905. (Which is really June 14, 1905 in the rest of the world, since Russia didn’t convert from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar until 1918.)
Read MoreA Family Story