Motivational Monday…or Motivational Life?

Reading Black.Bunched.Mass.Mom‘s latest post has put me in a reflective mood.

The images she has posted regarding her favorite quiet spot (by the water!) are so stirring.  They are bountiful pictures of Nature that feed my city-dweller’s soul.

From KC Wise’s Black.Bunched.Mass.Mom blog. Click picture to be taken to the original post post referred to in this post. Thank you KC for the peace!

What are we grateful for today?  Why are we grateful?  For waking up?  For having a fabulous cup of Pumpkin Spice latte from Starbucks because it’s finally Fall?

There are so many things to be thankful for — the big things, and the the little things.  We can be thankful/grateful for the train conductor who held the doors open for that extra 5 seconds so we could scoot on.  We can be thankful for that ingenious little stray cat in our neighborhood that has chased away rodents/vermin making our apartments/condos/homes that much more germ-free.  We can be thankful for the landscaper realizing they made a mistake on the invoice from last season and we’re due a credit/refund.  We can be thankful that the leak that we found some weeks ago is not as serious as we thought.  It’s a loose valve in the wall as opposed to a break in the pipe!

We can go on and on about the things we can be thankful for. (Like the extra words of words we writers were able to pen in the last few weeks as the summer comes to a close…)

Thank you Black.Bunched.Mass.Mom for making me STOP on my crazy forward driven city movement and having me smell the proverbial flowers.  (Wish I could smell the ones you picked!  They look so beautiful on your window sill.)

For other motivational quotes and thoughts try The Daily Grind.

Ta-ta for now,


#FridayReads: A Lovely Double Time Slip Moment

I’m reading Witches on the Road Tonight by Sheri Holman.

For the first 6% of the book (reading on a Kindle), I kept falling asleep.  The point of view kept changing and the story trying to be relayed was unclear.  By the time I advanced to approximately 16% read THEN it made sense.  The connections between the characters and who the major players was crystal clear by this point.  By 25%, I had it and I was enthused to see where and how the author was going to transport me (as I understand she did for many other readers).

I, too, am keen on this story and am enjoying this author’s bold voice and firm grip on language, style and her amazing ability to interweave the present and past in a single line, or paragraph.  The best part?  It makes sense and is thoroughly fabulous as a reader to “be” in two points of view (well, three actually!) simultaneously.

Here’s one such passage at 43% (Kindle Fire) from Sheri Holman’s Witches on the Road Tonight:

Then, wanting him to kiss her but not knowing how to make the request, Ann had stopped and, with eyes full of trust and complicity and something just a little challenging, asked Eddie the question Jasper now poses like a smart-ass, here, years later, in place of her whom they had left alone with guests, humiliated and drunk now, asking Cary once more what time he left, if Eddie had ordered dessert.  Jasper asks the question Wallis knew had been her mother’s part of the script that night, Are we supposed to believe this? and her father answers it int he same way he had answered her mother that night, as they stood int he center of the railroad tracks that disappeared in each direction off into the woods; he said, and he says: Now, once a year, on this very night, the conductor walks these lonely tracks, swinging his lantern, searching for his missing head…

As if on cue, far away, a point of light appears in the woods.  And as her mother and father watched, as they watch, it advances slowly, flirtatiously, bobbing like a cork on the water.  Wallis has heard of will-o’-wisps and swamp lights, but nothing prepares her for this inexplicable thing coming straight toward her, growing larger with each bounce.  It is a light like a rubber-band ball with no edge or ending, luminous, diffuse, just a brilliant exhalation of the night.


This book is my #FridayReads suggestion.  If you’re in-between books, think about this one.  You just might enjoy it.

Until next time — ta-ta for now,


Thursday Zen

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.

No one is listening until you fart.

Always remember you’re unique. Just like everyone else.
Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

If you think nobody cares whether you’re alive or dead, try missing a couple of mortgage payments.

If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably well worth it.

Some days you are the bug; some days you are the wind screen.

Good judgment comes from bad experience, and most of that comes from bad judgment.

A closed mouth gathers no foot.

Generally speaking, you aren’t learning much when your lips are moving.

Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.

We are born naked, wet and hungry, and get slapped on our ass.  Then things just keep getting worse.

Sarah — thanks for sharing this today!  It is totally awesomely TRUE!


The Fever Pitch of Writing A Novel

Can you really be in a state of extreme excitement when writing a novel that will take possibly years to complete?  Absolutely!

That is, if you’re a writer.

Ray Bradbury Quote

Sure, there are going to be days when you will NEVER want to see your keyboard again.  There will also be days when you swear your characters are laughing AT YOU.  On a few other days you might hear voices and see shadows darting about from the corner of your eyes.  And on a few very special rare days, you will feel nothing be nirvana.  You will feel that your characters are perfect and perfectly flawed.  Your prose has hit the exact right tone.  Your story arc complex and literary yet commercial enough to be accepted by the general reading public.

These are the days you live in wait for — the fever pitch of writing!

Well, that’s my definition for it.

Book Review: The Ghost of the Mary Celeste by Valerie Martin

The Ghost of the Mary Celeste by Valerie Martin piqued my interest because it combined a ghost story along with the perils of the sea in the late 1800’s.  And, of course, took a real life nautical mystery and gave it — more mystery!

As other reviewers have pointed it, this book has numerous points of view which can make it a difficult read for some.  Here are a few of the narrators: a survivor who is close to the family, Arthur Conan Doyle (yes, the author), an interested outsider who also happens to be a female journalist in a time when working women was an oxymoron, etc.  In all, there are five different narrators and initially it is not clear how they all relate, or even if they relate.

Just past the middle of the book, the reader gets a glimmer of how all of the narratives converge and move forward to the story of the Mary Celeste, the actual historical ship that was found derelict but in perfect sailing shape.  There was not a soul on the ship when it was found.  And, no sign of mutinous struggle.

The characters lives and the depiction of their activities and thoughts fro this timem period (the late 1800’s) is fascinating.  It is a fly-on-the wall view of the life of early Americans.  Mores and societal norms were, of course, very different from today but the emotional arcs were more pronounced.

As the reader follows the lives of the five narrators and comes to the mystery of the Mary Celeste the intense curiosity the reader has is not quite quenched.  At the end, when you feel as if the mystery should have been wrapped up in a bow — it is not.

After reading the conclusion, which gives only a vague possibility of what could have transpired.  I had to go research the key element the author put forth as to how the crew disappeared with no trace.

I must admit the author’s train of thought is interesting.  I will not spoil the surprise ending for you but I will leave you this link that you can follow AFTER you read the book and are curious like I was.  I found the second heading to be most thought provoking.

If you’d like to share your thoughts about this book I would love to hear them!  Looking forward to discussing this book.

4 Blogairy Notebooks


Middling Book Thoughts: The Ghost of the Mary Celeste by Valerie Martin

This is the first time I have penned a middling Book Thoughts post.  However, The Ghost of the Mary CelesteI believe needs one.  I am reading this New York Times bestseller on my Kindle and I am 66% through the book.

The first portion thrilled me!  I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the imagery comparing the seas choppy waves being ‘kneaded like bread dough’.  Being an avid baker, I appreciated this particular comparison.  I also loved the poetic lilting prose of the opening tragic incident.

However, once in the second third of the book I became confused.  Where was the plot going?  Why did we start with a tragedy at sea then go to the loved ones left behind only to begin reading/seeing through the eyes of an as yet undiscovered writer — Arthur Conan Doyle (he had not written his famous series of books yet)?

Then, after we leave his point of view, then we jump back to one of the loved ones left behind but in much later years and there’s subterfuge!  After a few chapters deep in the middle of the book the plot that was begun at the beginning (as it should!) has made a peek outwards.  From approximately 55% into the book to this point (66%), the plot has been moving inexorably forward slowly.  I can see each plot point falling into place in a leisurely pace.  The Ghost of the Mary Celeste is most definitely high commercial fiction with literary leanings!

The characters are well rounded and depicted both in character and emotional arc with care.  The character of Violet Petra is wonderful!  She’s a minx, an overgrown child and an wise woman mature beyond her years all wrapped up in one small package of a woman-girl.  She also happens to be a clairvoyant.

If you love ghost stories, the high seas full of peril and storms, the dramatic backdrop of Olde World writing with modern twists I think you will enjoy this high art story with paranormal sweeps.

I can’t give it a rating as I have not yet finished the book but stay tuned!

Ta-ta for now,


7 Sites You’ve Got to Check Out About Journaling!

It’s mid-year.  Okay, a squoosh past mid-year.  Are you where you want to be with your writing goals?  No?  Yes?  Then, why not keep a journal?  Even if you are where you should be/want to be with your writing goals, maybe there are some articles you can read, that can help you excel even more so your WIP can be completed that much faster.  [Dare you hope!]

Here are some great writing tips, blog posts and websites that can share some info that may just be the inspiration you need to get going better, faster and more efficiently via journal writing.  Or, maybe these posts can help you to just get going! 🙂

  1. Writing Forward: This eight-year-old website has TONS of great writerly information to share including a really wonderful piece about descriptive writing.
  2. A great post about the healthy psychological benefits of journal writing specifically for military veterans:
  3. Writing to Heal – more on the benefits of journal writing to help us build a healthier immune system by the American Psychological Association (APA). (Who would have thunk it? That thing we do instead of sleep is actually good for us in some way!)
  4. Keeping a Journal to Remember Events – ‘nuf said.
  5. Dawn Herring is a Journaling Guru! Follow her site Refresh so that you can receive prompts & find inspiration for journaling from a new and different perspective.
  6. How and Why You Should Start a Daily Positive Journal – This is just in case you don’t journal…
  7. And for the last one, I couldn’t leave out a nod to the age-old discussion of paper?  Or, computer/laptop?  Here’s a recent study that may shed some factual information that you may, or may not!, like –

Ta-ta for now,


Should We? Or, Shouldn’t We Keep Count of our Novels?

So, I am sitting here trying to figure out how exactly I should count the number of novels I ‘wrote’.  Do you count by number of outlines — complete outlines — you’ve completed?  Ah…no.

Should you count by the number of novels you outlined and wrote upwards of 130 pages…?  Quite possibly.

Should you count the novels you have ‘in the pipeline’ which is really just in your head? [Because those novels each have at least two fully fleshed out paragraphs on what they’re about…]  You can figure the answer to this one out.

Yes, I am being a bit facetious but there are times when you really get a bit confused as to what is the proper way to organize your body of work even if completed and polished output is a tiny fraction of the whole.

However, in a very real sense those ‘unfinished’ works in progress mean something.  If to no one else but to you, the writer, these works are invaluable.  Those works are the bars you used to practice and tone your writing muse and muscles to the point where you are today.  Without those books in their various stages of doneness you could not — dare not! — call yourself a writer.

I read the Q & A/FAQs page of author Sue Grafton (of the Alphabet series — i.e. ‘A’ is for Alibi) and she shares that she wrote seven (count ’em!) novels prior to writing her breakout blockbuster NY Times bestseller ‘A’ is for Alibi (which was her book #8).

“Of the first seven novels I wrote, numbers 4 and 5 were published.  Numbers one, two, three, six and seven, have never seen the light of day…and rightly so.” – Sue Grafton


It took me a few days to process this and really come to grips with the prodigious amount of work this author put towards her craft PRIOR to her success.  What if she had given up after book three?  You know, Three’s the charm?  In a way, you could say that since Sue’s book number for was published that…yeah, no.  She went ahead and wrote a book FOUR.  So, three was NOT the charm.  Sue’s hard work, dedication, and love for the written word is what took her to success.

Dont Stop Believing Sign

One cannot possibly be commercially successful as a writer of fiction without having serious writing chops (or, a serious story line and great editors!).

Can you believe that Jack London (author of White Fang and The Call of the Wild) received over 600 rejections before being published?? SIX HUNDRED.

Poet Emily Dickinson wrote over 1,800 poems in her life yet barely a dozen where published while she was alive.  Today, I think we know of a few more than a dozen of her works, don’t we?

Stephen King threw his manuscript entitled, Carrie, into the trash after 30 rejections.  Thankfully, his wife took it out of the garbage and encouraged him to try again…

You get my point.  Hard work, dedication to the craft and let’s just call it non-recognition are all parts of this thing we love — writing.

So, boot up your laptop.  Crack those knuckles.  Pop the lid on that ice cream and get to work!  We’ll see you when you reach your personal finish line!

Ta-ta for now,