Apr 30, 2013

Poetry Month - Conclusion

This being the last day of National Poetry month, I decided to do something special. I wrote a poem. And not just any poem, I wrote a Sestina.

Several years ago I participated in the PAD Challenge where I wrote a poem a day for the month of April according to prompts given by the PAD website. One of these prompts was to write a Sestina. I had never heard of a Sestina before and it made me wonder how many other forms were out there that I'd never heard of before. So then I spent the next couple of years exploring over a hundred different forms of poetry.

When I wrote my first Sestina, I thought it was the most heinous form in existence. It does not rhyme, but the last word of each of the first six lines are repeated in a specific pattern and you should try and keep the lines to the same syllable length. There are six verses of six lines each plus a three line envoi at the end that uses two of the key words per line.

Of course then I discovered the Coded Welsh forms and I realized the Sestina wasn't so bad after all. ;-)

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Black Dog

There is never a warning -
a whisper in the distance -
ashes falling from the sky;
like a priest of confusion
on a descent through madness,
he appears with no welcome.

He's rarely given welcome -
arriving without warning -
a life burning with madness,
a storm cloud in the distance
bringing only confusion -
shadows in a crystal sky.

Surrendering to the sky
some answers would be welcome.
A net cast in confusion
hits a wall without warning,
and always in the distance
dark feelings writ in madness.

A thought travels in madness,
shooting star in the night sky.
A life time's worth of distance
has never been so welcome,
when stars fall without warning
and lead you to confusion.

A lifetime of confusion,
like fuel igniting madness -
resolves into a warning
beneath a lowering sky
where reason would be welcome,
no matter what the distance.

His laughter in the distance
holds nothing of confusion.
Black dog you are not welcome.
You cast me down in madness,
lost in the evening sky,
your presence like a warning.

A cold welcome to madness
of distance and confusion -
the black dog sky a warning.

If you'd like to learn more about the Sestina, go HERE

Apr 29, 2013

Manicate Monday

manicate ~ having a woolly growth that can be peeled off

Dare I believe that Spring is truly here? The weekend was beautiful, weather-wise. So beautiful in fact that I had the deck door open both days. In fact, this is Sunday night after midnight as I write this, and the deck door is still open.

My feathered friends have been spending a lot of time in my back yard lately. When they're not swimming in the water on the pool cover they're perched on the edge of the pool or napping under the birch tree that grows beside the pool. They've even napped on the deck a time or two.

Sunday afternoon there was a great disturbance in the Force when a third duck intruded on the happy couple. He was chasing her around the deck, biting the top of her head, with her mate squawking and flapping along her other side. I went out on the deck and scared them into the water where the intruder gave up and flew away. Then I went back inside and got a crust of bread to feed my friends. (Shh! Don't tell my hubby! He doesn't like it when I feed the ducks LOL).

Deleting those three posts that were getting spammed so badly was a stroke of genius. Now I'm only getting two or three notifications of spam in my inbox a day, rather than the ten or twelve I was getting.

I actually made it to my poetry group meeting last Tuesday. I think this was the second time this year. I've been having a dry spell with poetry this year and I was really hoping that it would recharge my poetical batteries. But while I enjoyed the poems my fellow CPW members read, I didn't come away with any more inspiration than I started with.

Wednesday's writer's group was a tad more interesting . . . We had a lively discussion (the three of us who were there) on what makes a scene, and from the research we did as individuals we came to the conclusion that it's anyone's guess - our sources seemed to conflict with each other.

I made absolutely no progress on organizing my electronic files, but I did finish my first round edits on Magical Misfire. I checked over my dialogue, made some changes, changed the name of my minstrel, read it over from the beginning and changed the name of the minstrel again. By this time I was starting to really dislike the story, so I knew I was done. LOL

Feeling nostalgic last week, I looked up my old blog. Not my first blog - I can't remember its name or address - but the one before this one. Back before I took my writing seriously and basically posted whatever popped into my head whenever I felt like it.

Aside from providing some great entertainment, it gave me an idea for my Friday feature - Random Ramblings. Starting this Friday I am going to post whatever pops into my head. It might be an opinion, it might be a fact, it might be a pet peeve, it might even be fiction - hence the Random in the name.

Blog Stuff For the Week:

Tuesday: My last entry for National Poetry Month. I'd like to say I'll post something new, but I've been having a dry spell as far as poetry goes this year, so we'll have to see.
A new Hump Day Hunk for your viewing pleasure.
Thursday: Chapter 64 of Water - Let's see if Ravi can get his element under control before he and Taja end up drenched. ;-)
Friday: Today is the first day of my new feature, Random Ramblings.

Other Stuff For the Week

Today I have been invited to help teach a group of ladies to crochet snowflakes. Doesn't that sound like a fun way to spend an afternoon?

Get those darned story files organized and then compare them to my paper files. I know I have more complete stories kicking around - I just don't have them in an electronic version.

Go through my flash fiction to see if there's enough for an anthology or do I need to write more of them.

Ditto for my poetry. I've pretty much given up the idea of an all dark poetry anthology - some of those poems are way too personal to share - but a mixture of light and dark poems may be feasible. I also need to pull out my parodies - I've been toying with the idea of an all parody anthology and I want to see just where I stand with that. I actually have been attempting to write a parody of The Raven but between the funky syllable count and rhyme scheme it's slow going.

Apr 26, 2013

Mom’s In the Treehouse

After much hemming and hawing, I finally decided to post this little story. It hails from way back in the days when I took a course in writing for children, and it's told from a child's point of view. If nothing else, it should give you a chuckle. :-)

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

The whole thing was Robert’s fault. It was his turn to feed the dog and my turn to take out the garbage, but I was late for a ball game so I was going to take the garbage out later, only by then it was too late.

Mom was having some ladies over. She spent months cleaning the house and baked all kinds of fancy stuff and then made sure we all had places to go. I was at my ball game, Emily went to Nancy’s house, and Robert was going to the beach with his friends.

Anyway, mom went out and got her hair done, and she was already mad ‘cause she had to help me find my ball glove and Robert couldn’t find his bathing suit so she was going to be late. When she got home she found out that Ralph, he’s our dog, had gotten garbage all over the place and then he was sick in the front hall. I guess it was pretty gross ‘cause mom and her friends ended up sitting in the back yard.

Boy was mom mad by the time we got home. She had this big list of things we’re all supposed to do but never get around to and hands it to Robert, ‘cause he’s the oldest. Then she says that until people around here start listening to her she’s going to be living in the treehouse. So then she takes this bag with her out to the back yard.

Mom’s always saying that she’s going to go on strike and live in the treehouse. She only ever lets us sleep up there on really nice summer nights so we knew she was just fooling.

Everything was fine until Dad came home for supper, only there wasn’t any supper. We sent Emily out to talk to mom ‘cause she’s the littliest. She came back and said that mom said that we can have whatever we liked for supper, ‘cause she was on strike.

Dad phoned for pizza and then he went out and talked to mom. He didn’t stay long. Then he told us that mom needed a little vacation so she was going to be staying in the treehouse for awhile and we weren’t to bother her.

It was kind of cool at first. We got to eat in the family room and we stayed up as late as we wanted to. I didn’t even brush my teeth before going to bed.

Dad was already at work when we got up in the morning so I went out and asked mom what she was making us for breakfast. She told me that we could have whatever we wanted, she was on strike. She didn’t look like she was on strike. She looked like she was reading sappy romances and drinking that fancy coffee she won’t let us try.

Robert and Emily had cold pizza and orange pop for breakfast. Emily threw up. I had ice cream and cookies. That’s what I had for lunch too.

At suppertime we were kinda hoping Dad would take us out for burgers or something, but he decided he was going to cook. We’ve never seen him cook before and boy did we find out why. Dad’s a real stinky cook.

I don’t know about Robert and Emily, but I had a tummy ache when I went to bed that night. In the morning I didn’t feel like ice cream and cookies again, so I had cereal. Robert made toast for him and Emily.

After lunch, which we had to get ourselves, Robert called a family meeting in his room - him, me and Emily. He pulled out the list and said he’s been looking at it and mom was right, we have been slacking off a lot. He also said that there’s three of us and it’s not like there’s that much mom wants us to do.

Emily went back to her room and got some paper, then Robert made up a chart to stick on the bulletin board in the kitchen so we wouldn’t forget who’s turn it was to do what. Then we picked some flowers from mom’s front garden and sent Emily out to ask mom to come in.

Mom really liked our chart. We told her we were sorry we were such butt heads and that her party had been ruined. She said it was okay, that those ladies were kind of stuffy anyway and that she loved us a lot, even if we were butt heads.

So, the end is, mom’s back on the job and we’ve got the chart now to tell us who forgot to do what. But what I’d like to know is, is dad really a rotten cook, or did he just pretend to be so we’d work things out with mom?

Apr 24, 2013

Hump Day Hunk

I think today would be a good day to just lounge around in bed. What do you think? ;-)

Apr 23, 2013

Coded Welsh Forms

There are 24 traditional Welsh forms of poetry, divided into the Awdl, the Cywyddau, and the Englynion. Some day I would like to master all 24 Welsh forms, or at the very least the pronunciation of them all.

The two poems I'm going to share with you today are both from the Awdl class. In ancient times the Awdls were the territory of the chief or master bard.

First we have the Clogyrnach (clog-ír-nach), the 16th form, which is rarely used by today's poets.

The Clogyrnach contains thirty-two syllables in a six-line stanza. The first two lines have eight syllables each; the second two, five; the third two, three. The last two lines may be written as a single, six-syllable line. There are only two rhymes per stanza, and there can be any number of stanzas.


An earthen sky of amber hue
A canvas on which dreams may brew
A zephyr blowing
Past rivers flowing
You pass through.

A stormy sea of hopes and dreams
Where nothing is quite like it seems
Reality skewed
Sanity unglued
Changing mood
Endless themes.

No order to the chaos here
Where wisdom’s just a thin veneer
Passions are higher
Truth is a liar
Wake from here.

The second is the Gwawdodyn (gwow-doed-in-heer) and is, as near as I can determine, the 21st of the coded meters. It is a six line poem consisting of a quatrain of nine syllable lines, followed by a Toddaid (toeth-eyed), a couplet of one ten syllable line and one nine syllable line.


Pray, what is it that you dream at night
That shreds your rest with so much delight
Leaving you poised on the verge of flight
Wrapping you up in its talons tight;
With eyes open wide and nowhere to hide
Cower in fear until the first light.

If you're interested in learning more about Welsh poetry, a good place to start would be AllPoetry and their three part article by Julia H. West.

You can also check out The Poet's Garret for many fine examples of all the coded forms.

Apr 22, 2013

Micropalaeontology Monday

micropalaeontology ~ study of microscopic fossils

Remember last week where I said Mother Nature isn't done messing with us? Yeah, well apparently I wasn't kidding. Saturday morning we had a snow storm. In the middle of April. Granted it was mostly gone by around 10 a.m., but still . . .

And no, I did not take a picture, although I was tempted to photograph the pair of mallards huddled on the edge of our above ground pool as the wind and snow buffeted them. Poor birdies. They stayed there pretty much the whole day.

It was a quiet week last week. The only thing I did outside of the house was accompanying a fellow poet while he held a workshop on being a poet at one of the local high schools. The kids were lucky to have him, he did an amazing job.

I'm almost finished with Magical Misfire. I made the changes to the electronic copy, but there's one scene I want to expand a bit before I send it out to my readers. And I want to double check my dialogue - there are places where I'm trying to convey a medieval speech and I want to make sure it works.

Remember how I whined about, complained about mentioned I was having problems with spam in my comments? Well the spammer seemed to be focused on two or three specific posts from 2010, so I finally removed the posts in question and the amount of spam has been greatly reduced. I have no idea why those particular posts were targeted, but we'll see if they jump to something else this week.

Time for a little promoting here. The amazing Dolly Garland has decided she doesn't have enough to do between volunteering for a literacy program in Ecuador and running various workshops on her journaling blog Kaizen Journaling. She has started a new blog called Kaizen Reading where she shares her love of reading. You definitely don't want to miss her post: 43 Readers Reveal How Literature Has Contributed to Their Individual Potential.

Blog Stuff For the Week:

Tuesday: Another poem. Maybe even another form, but don't count on it. :-)
A new Hump Day Hunk for your viewing pleasure.
Thursday: Chapter 63 of Water - looks like no one can keep a secret. I wonder how the revelation about Ravi's sister is going to go over . . .
Friday: I have no idea what I'm going to do here. Cold Cure turned out a little shorter than I had planned. At this rate I'm going to run out of old stories rather quickly, so I might have to come up with something different this week.

Other Stuff For the Week

I have a friend stopping by for afternoon tea on Tuesday - guess that means I'd better bake something, 'cause everyone knows you can't have tea without a treat to go with it. ;-)

Also on Tuesday I have a poetry group meeting which I'd really like to make an effort to attend. I think I've mentioned that I've hit a dry spell as far as my poetry goes this year, but that doesn't mean I can't attend my poetry meetings. I might even go so far as to make an effort to do the 'poemwork' for it.

Wednesday I have a writer's group meeting.

Other than that I'll be finishing up Magical Misfire and then getting back to work on its sequel, Lucky Dog. It was my NaNo novel for 2012, but it still has quite a way to go before I can call it finished. As I recall, Jessica had just been kidnapped and she's going to need rescuing . . .

I'd also like to finish organizing my short fiction, with the idea of putting out an anthology this summer. My electronic document files are such a mess that it's not a job I'm looking forward to.

Apr 19, 2013

Cold Cure - Conclusion

Late to the story? You can read the rest of it here: Part I and Part II

The wizard's lair was a large, well-lit chamber crammed to capacity with an astounding array of junk. Books cascaded from a bookcase onto the chairs and floor around it, a variety of plants and herbs hung drying from the ceiling, shelves held crocks and jars of varying sizes, a small brazier glowed in a corner with a foul-smelling concoction brewing over it, a large table was piled high with books, papers, amulets, bones, pieces of rock and strings, and off to the side there was a curious contraption of copper tubing and clear glass jars that had a blue liquid bubbling inside it.

A fit of coughing from a side tunnel sent the twins flat to the floor. Nothing untoward followed. They exchanged a glance and cautiously got to their feet.

"I think we should leave," Meg whispered.

"Let go of my sleeve!"

"Who's making all that racket? Well? Speak up!"

The twins backed up a step as the wizard appeared in the passage. He was not the tall, imposing figure they had expected. He was short and dumpy with long, scraggly white hair and matching beard. His large nose was red and dripping and his blue robe was torn and soiled. Watery blue eyes stared at the intruders.

"You are the wizard we've sought for so long?" Peg asked, stepping forward. Meg put a restraining hand on her arm. "Wait 'till he speaks, you might be wrong."

The man in question drew himself up to his full five feet. "I am not a wizard, I am a full sorcerer. Mellatron the Sorcerer. There is a difference you know."

His speech ended in a spasm of coughing. He sniffed loudly and wipe his nose on his sleeve.

"We meant no offense, Great Magnificence."

"A great many leagues we've had to traverse in search of a mage to lift our grave curse."

"Save the heart-rending tale of woe. If you've not yet noticed, I have a head cold. I'll work no magic until I'm cured. Now, begone."

"We came all this way and you can't cast a spell? We're to live with our curse because you're not well?" Peg stood, fists on her hips, glaring at the wizard.

Mellatron glare back at her. "Young fool, a head cold throws magic out of whack. Something to do with the sinuses I believe. Now, I suggest you leave unless you want me to sneeze in your direction."

Meg pulled at her sister's sleeve. "Best go while we still can, and anyway, I have a plan."

To Mellatron it was as if they no longer existed. He went back to his work table without further thought. Meg had to practically drag Peg out of the cave with her. She didn't stop until they were well away from the cave, and out of the line of fire.

Peg demanded an explanation. Meg smiled at her.

"We cure his cold, this man we nurse, and in return he lifts our curse."

"And how are we to do this deed?"

Meg shrugged, "I know not, but with all speed."

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Three days late found them once again outside the sorcerer's cave, knowing more about curing colds than either of them would have though possible. They were armed with herbs for teas, evil-smelling poultices and questionable brews pilfered from the various wise-women, herbalists and farm-wives they had consulted.

"If none of this affects a cure, we'll kill him quick, that's for sure," Peg muttered pessimistically.

"Hello in the cave, Mellatron are you there?" Meg called. "We have returned with potions most rare."

"Go away." This was followed by a succession of sneezes which in turn was followed by a succession of fireballs whizzing erratically out of the cave. One chanced to hit an apple tree, which absorbed it, dropped all its leaves and walked slowly away.

Peg sighed as she and Meg rose from the ground and dusted themselves off. Fortunately, none of the vessels containing their remedies broke open. They found Mellatron in his workshop grinding something dark to dust with a mortar and pestle.

"You two again? How would you like to spend the rest of your lives as bats? I need more bat wings."

"Great Mellatron," Meg began before Peg could voice her angry retort. "We bring you aid, we're here to help all unafraid."

"Aid? Help? I don't need either. But you two will if you don't leave me alone."

"We trespass it's true, but we wish to cure you."

"How?" he watched them suspiciously.

"Now don't make a fuss," Peg said, taking him by the arm. "Just leave it to us."

Though Mellatron did not quite trust the twins, neither their characters nor their motives, his own methods of ridding himself of the cold had been unsuccessful. In short, he had nothing to loose. Or not much, at any rate.

Each person the twins had visited assured them that this remedy alone would cure even the most stubborn of colds. From their vast store of knowledge they selected the three most likely remedies -- three being their lucky number.

Mellatron suffered their help for two days, then declared he could stand the stench no longer. When Meg pointed out that his sinuses had cleared to the point that he could distinguish smells, he agreed that another day of their "cure" wouldn't kill him.

After the third day Mellatron's cold was all but gone, which did much to improve his temper. The twins watched, very impressed, as he righted all the mischief his sneezing had caused his neighbours. That done, he told the twins grandly to come back the next day for their reward. They got little sleep that night and were at the cave just after sun-up.

At last Mellatron appeared, looking every inch a sorcerer in his fresh black robe with its boarder of silver stars and moons. Peg opened her mouth, but Mellatron held up a hand for silence.

"I have given a great deal of thought to the manner of reward for your services. You are far from home, with no prospects, and I have decided upon a reward that shall be greater than money." He paused for effect. "I have decided to take you both on as apprentices."

Meg and Peg stared at each other.

"Of course I realize it's more than you could have possibly hoped for, but I'm not as young as I used to be and I need to think about passing my knowledge on."

"Such generosity makes me weak," Meg ventured, not wanting to insult the temperamental old man by refusing outright. "But what about the way we speak?"

"Your rhyming? Why that's the best part. It sets you apart from the more ordinary folk. One might say it almost makes you worthy of the honour. Now, come along. We have work to do."

He disappeared back inside.

"What should we do? I leave it to you," Peg said.

Meg looked thoughtfully towards the road, then into the cave. "My choice is that we stay to learn the wizard's way."

"Well," said Peg as they prepared to follow Mellatron. "I do suppose it could have been worse. Maybe someday we'll learn to break our own curse."

Apr 17, 2013

It's April, You Fool!

Once again it's time for the Absolute Write blog chain. This month's theme is April Fools.

Now I have to be honest here. I had fully intended to write a light, fluffy little romance story about a man who was a fool for a woman named April. Catchy, right? Yeah. Well, that story didn't really pan out the way I wanted and the more I thought about it the longer it got. So I decided to go with something completely different.

I started to do some research (I like doing research) on April Fools' day, and then fools in general. However the origins of April Fools' day were somewhat murky, and the fools themselves were usually thought of as idiots. But then I remember the good old days when I read Tarot cards and I finally settled on doing my piece on The Fool card from the Major Arcana of the Tarot deck.

The Fool is one of the most controversial cards in the Tarot deck. Traditionally, the Major Arcana in the Tarot are numbered with Roman numerals. The Fool, however, is numbered with a zero, the only card with Arabic numerals. Without the zero our system of mathematics cannot work. Once the Arabic system included the zero (sometime between 400 and 600 AD), the sciences of algebra and geometry were invented and put into practical application - measuring, trading, and building all experienced a rapid advancement.

The origin of The Fool is somewhat of a mystery. Some translations of the card believe it should be more properly labeled "The Idiot", while other research shows its origin to be that of "The Troubadour," an entertainer traveling to play at the court of a king in a far off land.

The Fool is normally depicted walking or dancing along the edge of an abyss, seemingly unaware of his danger, with the sun high in the sky behind him. On his shoulder rests a stick, from which hangs a bag that holds the tools of life. In his hand he carries a white rose, denoting his pure intentions. Often he is accompanied by an animal companion who is jumping beside him, but is this companion warning him away from the edge, or attempting to push him over?

The Fool represents new beginnings, new experiences and new choices. But as with anything new there's always an element of risk, which is why the Fool is shown not paying attention to where he is walking. He is the spirit in search of experience.

He is neither a positive nor a negative card, but holds the potential for both. He doesn't care what others may think or say about him because he has total faith in himself, he does what's right for him. Because of this, his approach to life is unconventional and he has the innocence of a child. With this innocence comes trust, fearlessness, and the ability to see the world with new eyes.

In a Tarot spread, The Fool is at its most powerful when it appears in the present position. You can literally move mountains with your will alone at this moment in time. The Fool is both the beginning and the end. The message being given you is the old catch phrase, carpe diem (seize the day).

Please check all the other links in this month's blog chain and leave a comment for these wonderful writers!

Participants and posts:
orion_mk3 - http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com ~ From “¡Noitacsufbo!”
Ralph Pines - http://ralfast.wordpress.com ~ Weekend Roundup and April's Blog Chain
Angyl78 - http://jelyzabeth.wordpress.com/ ~ April Fools
Araenvo - http://www.simonpclark.com/ ~ April Fools
MsLaylaCakes - http://www.taraquan.com/ ~ April Fools
Lady Cat - http://randomwriterlythoughts.blogspot.ca (You Are Here)
LanaK - http://lanaketrick.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
Lyra Jean - http://beyondtourism.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
Sudo_One - http://sudoone.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
articshark - http://www.drslaten.com/blog (link to post)
Ghostwriter-Mom - http://www.fictionblueprints.com/ (link to post)
AngelaGreenfield - http://www.becomingawriterblog.com/ (link to post)

Bloo - http://www.emergencyroomproductions.net/ (link to post)
in_one - http://quirkythomas.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
egoodlett - http://ellengoodlett.com/blog/ (link to post)

Hump Day Hunk

"April showers bring May flowers" . . . I wonder if this is the kind of shower they had in mind? ;-)

Apr 16, 2013

the Flarf

For this week's tribute to National Poetry Month, I chose another fun form. This one is called the Flarf.

What makes a Flarf both fun and easy is the fact you take your raw material from the internet, specifically a Google search. Simply use two unrelated terms, like "anarchy + tuna melt" or "beautiful + corpse" and piece together your poem by cutting and pasting from the search results page.

You can also write a Flarf based on your Twitter or Facebook feeds, but I chose the more traditional Google search. The terms I used were "kitten + apocalypse".

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Kitten Apocalypse

The world will end by kittens
and I want to explain how this will happen
in a lot of depth but
I have not made the video!

Mass resurrection
brings all dead party
and raid members back to life.
Beware.. The kittens have gone crazy!
To me, they are truly evil.

Do you see kittens staring at you?
Do they look sinister/evil!?
Avoid the radioactive zombie kittens
in a post apocalyptic nightmare!
Zombies, don't mess with angry kittens!

Kittens are the new ninjas.
Check out this vicious cat killing spree!
Meet Hiromi, the shy artist;
her cat Vince, who has a secret;
her best friend Kitty with all the visions

It's the kitten apocalypse!
Animated zombie kittens!
Zombie kittens are attacking!
Why the hell are you still reading?

Apocalypse warning,
kittens involved.
If you see these,
you're probably screwed.

No one suspected
the zombie apocalypse
would look so cute.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Would you survive the Kitten Apocalypse? Take the test and find out.

Would you survive the kitten apocolypse? -- Make and Take a Fun Quiz @ NerdTests.com's User Tests!
My Result: You're alive!
-= click to take @ NerdTests.com =-

Apr 15, 2013

Musteline Monday

musteline ~ of, like or pertaining to weasels, martens and badgers

Apparently Mother Nature is not done messing with us. I don't know about you folks, but in my little corner of the world we got slammed pretty good with an ice storm on Thursday last week. And I have proof!

That's the view from my back deck. And actually, we got off pretty lucky. There were trees down everywhere - massive amounts of damage. Just north of us people were without power all weekend. It was crazy! Then yesterday was sunny (for the most part) and today the temperature is supposed to be on the rise again.

I honestly don't know where my week went last week - other than plugging away at the edits on Magical Misfire and working on the tax returns for my family . . . I definitely made up for it on the weekend though.

Saturday morning I had to get up early to drive my son-in-law to Oshawa so he could write a couple of exams. And what better place to wait for him than in the Starbucks attached the Chapters bookstore in the mall? All the tea I could drink (as long as my money held out) and I finished the hard copy edits of Magical Misfire. Now I just have to make the changes on the electronic version.

Sunday I was determined to finish the family's income tax returns. I was up early and by mid-afternoon I had finished and filed the forms for everyone but me. Mine kept showing an error.

However, I had no more time to spend on them. I had filled my crock pot with kidney beans the night before and I needed to turn them into chili for supper. We were also having taco salad and taco pie, which meant a crap load of peeling, shredding and dicing. It seemed like a good idea at the time. ;-)

Then late in the evening I got back to my taxes and finally pulled out my return from last year to see if I could figure out what the problem was. There was only one difference between the two returns so I made an adjustment and boom - I was able to netfile. Have I mentioned how much I hate taxes?

Blog Stuff For the Week:

Tuesday: Another poem. Maybe even another form, but don't count on it. :-)
A new Hump Day Hunk for your viewing pleasure.
Thursday: Chapter 62 of Water - what's next for Ravi and Taja?
Friday: Part three of my short story Cold Cure.

Other Stuff For the Week

There is a Poetry Festival in my town this week, and although I can't afford to go to the main events, I hope to make it to the young poets reading on Thursday, which is free.

I'm pretty sure my turn for the Absolute Write Blog Chain will be coming up this week. The topic is April Fool and although I said I had an idea last week, it's way too long so I'm back to square one. I might do a non-fiction piece instead of my usual fiction.

Now that the odious taxes are behind me, it's time to turn my attention to my business website. There's a few changes to be made and some promoting to be done. And speaking of promoting . . .

The lovely and prolific Jamie DeBree has just release her fabulous new book, Sleep With Me.

Falling in love isn't easy and for Kathrine Gibson, neither is falling asleep. Her insomnia has gotten so bad that when her friend suggests an unconventional treatment plan Katherine is just desperate enough to try it. But the execution is harder than she expected, and soon she finds herself stranded on a deserted island with the one man on earth intent on resisting her pleas for help. Sleep, love, and life itself hang in the balance in this stormy tropical romance from the author of Tempest and The Biker's Wench.

You can purchase your e-copy for $2.99 from Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance Books, Smashwords, and Kobo.

Apr 12, 2013

Cold Cure - Part Two

The twins spent the next three days holed up in the warehouse arguing and planning their course of action. They were twelve years old, still shapeless enough to pass for boys, an ability with both its good and bad points. Meg was all for attaching themselves to a trading party as water boys or whatever lowly position offered itself. Peg, on the other hand, was adamant about finding a wizard to break their curse.

"Fine! Have it your way," Peg finally snapped. "You go seek work, but here I'll stay."

Meg stalked away, head held high and bristling with self-importance. When she returned at sunset, however, her feet were dragging and her shoulders were slumped.

"Jobs there are, but none for us as cursed we are to speak as thus. They fear our curse, the cowards all, and fear the same to them befall."

"I'm sorry Meg, I feared as much when first we felt the wizard's touch. Though magic spreads not like disease, still most folk feel a great unease. Unless the curse can be undone, I fear our trouble's just begun," Peg said gently.

"It seems you are to have your way, we seek a wizard at break of day."

Peg made no reply, merely put her arm around her sister's shoulders for a comforting hug, then delved into their supplies to put together something for them to eat.

They'd never been outside of the city before and since they left through the eastern gate they continued on in that direction. It was both frightening and exciting. Gone were the reassuring crowds they could lose themselves in, gone were the buildings with their sheltering alleys. It smelled all wrong and it was too quiet.

"My feet are sore, these boots are too tight," Meg complained when they finally stopped to eat.

"We'll have to find shelter before the night," Peg mused, ignoring her sister.

"Those woods look dark, who knows what's there."

"There might be snakes, so have a care."

"I've changed my mind."

"Not this time!"

The sisters glared at each other.

"I'd rather be cursed, than journey on."

"You agreed to this -"

"Well I was wrong!"

Peg, when she had to be, could be every bit as persuasive as Meg when she wanted something badly enough. And right now she wanted to continue on. She'd never known such freedom in the city, returning was out of the question. She appealed to Meg's adventurous spirit, flattering her leadership abilities. At last Peg allowed Meg to take charge and they were on their way once more.

Eventually they found themselves quite lost in a seemingly endless region of rolling farmland and sparse forest. Meg was the first to notice things were not quite right in this region. Cows gave wine instead of milk. Fish flew above the streams. Cats barked furiously while dogs meowed and hissed. People were seen walking and talking backwards. It could only be the work of a powerful wizard.

The twins began asking questions of those they met, unwilling to reveal their true intent but seeking clues to the peculiar magicks plaguing the area. The source seemed to lie in an unremarkable, hilly region of sparse woods.

Meg shook her head. "I like it not, the magic we've seen. This wizard is more than he would seem."

"Yon farmer's wife, whose roof we shared, said this magician can't compare. His magic's white, to the first degree and curse-lifting is his specialty."

"What recompense? How do we pay?"

"That is for the wizard to say."

Meg gave up. Together they cautiously entered the forest and found an old game trail to follow, starting at every twig snapping, cringing at every leaf that rustled.

The game trail petered out in a small clearing. The twins stared around them in dismay.

"That's the way I'm afraid to say," Peg pointed to a darker patch of forest that turned out to be the opening of a cave.

There was a loud sneeze within the cave followed by, "Hellfire!" Another sneeze. The twins fell back just in time as a gout of flame came blasting out of the cave.

"Tis a dragon's abode! I'm for the road!"

Peg shook her head. "Not far enough north, a dragon to seek, and I've never heard tell of any that speak." She peered cautiously into the cave and motioned to Meg to follow.

"Hello in the cave," she called. "Be you friend or knave?"

"Go away," the voice was oddly muffled.

Peg grinned. "Did you hear? Someone's here."

They crept into the cave. The passage widened just inside the entrance and they stayed well to the side of the main thoroughfare. And well they did, for a fit of sneezing by the wizard was followed by another fire-ball and a glowing red, screaming apparition that scorched them as it sizzled past.

Meg turned around, about to take to her heels after it, but Peg grabbed her collar and dragged her determinedly up the passage.

Apr 9, 2013

Blitz Poem

I actually wrote a new poem for today's tribute to National Poetry Month. It's a form called The Blitz and it's a lot of fun to do. It's 50 lines, but don't let that stop you from giving it a try.

To start jot down a phrase or image, just a couple of words. Line two starts with the same word as line one. Lines three and four start with the last word of line two and line five starts with the last word from line four. Continue in this fashion until you have 48 lines. Line 49 is the last word of line 48 and line 50 is the last word of line 47.

The title must be only three words, with some sort of preposition or conjunction joining the first word from the third line to the first word from the 47th line, in that order. There should be no punctuation.

When you're writing a Blitz poem, it helps if you write it as quickly as possible - think of it like one of those word association test psychiatrists use. Go ahead and give it a try . . . I dare you. :-)

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Write With You

can't think
can't write
write on
write away
away with you
away with it all
all right
all left
left of the middle
left alone
alone in space
alone in time
time is now
time and again
again I'm stuck
again I move
move away
move on
on the left
on the right
right is might
right is wrong
wrong word
wrong time
time is now
time fort tea
tea cosy
tea for two
two cups
two hearts
hearts aplenty
hearts apart
apart from me
apart from you
you are here
you are there
there you come
there you go
go for broke
go away
away with you now
away with you then
then it goes
then it comes
comes to me
come to you
you alone
you and I

Apr 8, 2013

Macon Monday

macon ~ smoked salted mutton

The first sign of spring has finally manifested itself. Yes, the ducks are back.

We have a pair of ducks (sometimes three of them) that return ever year to swim in the water on the pool cover. They usually arrive just before sunset, stay until it gets dark, and then disappear. They'll keep coming back for a couple of weeks and then we won't see them again until next year. And yesterday they staged a little MFM action in the back yard to entertain us while we were trying to eat our dinner. ;-)

I'm still getting spammed in the comments on my blogs, which means I'm getting a steady supply of these comments being sent to my email. It's a bit of a pain in the butt to have to deal with them, but it sure beats having them appear on my blogs. If you're looking into security measures for your blog, I highly recommend the comment moderation.

I spend a day in the wilds of Roseneath last week, getting some valuable business advice from my friend Shi Cheverie and her hubby. And as if that weren't enough, I got a bread maker and a treadmill out of the deal. Let's hear it for downsizing!

I took the bone from the ham we had for Easter, and the dried soup mix I got from the bulk food store a couple of weeks ago, and turned them into soup. I soaked the mix over night, added some shredded veggies, and cooked the soup all day. I've never tried a soup with ham before and I gotta say, it's one of the best soups I've ever made. Now it's one of the best soups in my freezer. :-)

It was a fairly quiet week last week, although I had lots of writing/editing to keep me busy. I'm at the halfway mark with the Magical Misfire edits. Feels good to finally be making some progress on it.

Remember how this is my year for getting organized? Well, Saturday afternoon I was all set to get some editing done but decided to start organizing my document files instead. At first glance it seems a tad overwhelming - I write a lot and I save everything - so I thought I'd start simple and picked my short stories to organize. Holy crap I've got a lot of stories! And some of them are even finished. :-)

I spent the afternoon and on into the evening pulling my short stories off the USB keys and pasting them into a folder of their own, and by the time I'd finished with my last key my enthusiasm was waning. I have my flash fiction separated into its own folder, but the rest is just a big mess. I'll need a folder for ideas, and one for finished stories, and one for partially finished stories and ideas, and . . . I'm sure you get the picture.

Craft-wise . . . I never even gave my crafts a thought last week. This is not good. The first quarter of the year has passed and I'll need to step it up if I'm going to be making presents for Christmas this year.

I did make a half-hearted stab at the taxes last week, and I really need to just suck it up and get them over and done with. Then I won't have to worry about them until next year. ;-)

Blog Stuff For the Week:

Tuesday: A poem.
A new Hump Day Hunk for your viewing pleasure.
Thursday: Chapter 61 of Water - what's next for Ravi and Taja?
Friday: Part two of my short story Cold Cure.

Other Stuff For the Week

I've got a writer's group meeting on Wednesday afternoon

Once again I'm participating in the Absolute Write Blog Chain and I want to get a jump start on my contribution so I'm not forced to rush. The topic is April Fool and I've already got an idea, I just need to work it out in my head some more before I start writing it done.

Still not feeling very inspired to write poetry, but since I've committed myself to posting a poem a week, I feel like I really should make an effort. Maybe I could even finish one of the many, many poems I've started then abandoned.

As I've already mentioned, I'm at the halfway mark with the edits for Magical Misfire and I'd really like to get the edits done this week so I can send it out to my readers. And speaking of readers, I'm down one, so if you would like to beta test my novel, drop me a line at: carolrward(at)gmail(dot)com

Apr 5, 2013

Cold Cure

Once again I've jumped into the dusty vault and reappeared with one of my old stories to share. This one will probably only be four installments, but please don't hold me to that. You never know when inspiration might strike to expand it. :-)

This isn't, actually, the story I had in mind. I couldn't find an electronic copy of the story I intended to post. Apparently it's so old that I wrote it before I got a computer. Can you believe it?

At some point I will type it out on the computer so I have an electronic version, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy this (hopefully) humorous fantasy story in it's place.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Old Gorn was, by profession, a thief, with sixteen children to support and a wife whose constant nagging drove him to the taverns. He wasn't much liked at the best of times and when he'd been drinking it was best to stay out of his way.

Passersby on the Street of the Blue Bull lingered in anticipation of entertainment as Gorn staggered home from the tavern. They were not disappointed. There was a murmur of voices, the scurrying sound of rapidly moving bodies, then a thundering crash.

"You pustulant little blots on my manhood. Get out! And don't come back 'til you learn to talk proper!"

The yelling was accompanied by assorted rattles and bangs and a door bursting open. Two figures came tumbling out onto the street, two knap sacks landing in the dirt beside them. The door slammed shut again.

Excitement over, the audience dispersed in search of more interesting entertainment.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Peg stood up and held out her hand to her sister. "No humour, that one," she stated, picking up one of the knap sacks.

"What's done is done," Meg sighed.

"I warned you to keep silent, the only way to keep Gorn pliant."

"The fault's not mine we speak in rhyme," Meg snapped. She picked up her knap sack and started off down the street.

Peg glared at her back, then followed. Meg never let her forget that one little mistake. How was she to know the pocket she'd picked belonged to a wizard? A wizard with an unforgiving nature at that.

The twins headed for one of their regular haunts, the market square. They wandered between the stalls, fingering the merchandise, drawing angry looks from those who knew them. As the day wore on the market began to empty and the twins found themselves wandering aimlessly.

"We've no place to live unless Gorn will forgive."

Peg looked at her sister. "No more Gorn, no more scorn," she said emphatically.

"Then what will we do? It's almost curfew."

"We -"

"That's them! They're the ones who picked my lock! I'd know that rhyming anywhere."

The twins looked up to see a very irate tanner, flanked by two city guards, bearing down on them. Only last week they'd been in his shop. While Peg kept the man talking about the merits of pigskin as opposed to calfskin, Meg snuck into the back and picked the lock on the tanner's strong box. It was pretty slim pickings, but a theft's a theft.



They raced back the way they'd come and when they reached the center of the market they split up, Peg heading towards the temple district, Meg towards the docks. It was an all too familiar pattern to them. The tanner, being as big around as he was tall, was quickly left behind. The city guards were not so easily disposed of but theirs was not the world of hidey-holes and short cuts, and soon enough, they, too, gave up.

Meg reached the hidey first, a nest of empty crates in a forgotten corner of a dilapidated warehouse. She dumped her knapsack onto the floor and curled up on a heap of sacking, arms wrapped around her knees.

She and Peg had discovered this place a few weeks before the unfortunate incident with the wizard. Budding thieves, they decided they needed a hideaway and the warehouse district seemed perfect. They'd never accumulated enough loot to keep a cache, but they did pilfer several pillows and a couple of blankets to make themselves comfortable.

The warehouse was damp and chilly, and it smelled like old fish. Meg hoped they would not have to stay long. Her stomach rumbled. All that time spent wandering in the market, why hadn't she thought to steal some food? Finally, she curled up in a nest of pillows to nap until her sister joined her.

"The first thing we must do, is find a wizard, this curse undo," Peg stated, climbing down from a window. She threw a half-eaten loaf of bread and a heel of cheese to Meg.

"Magic-workers are scarce these days, and how do you propose we pay?"

"Have no doubt, we'll work it out."

Meg snorted and attacked the bread and cheese.

Apr 2, 2013

Celebrating the Poem

As I mentioned yesterday, April is National Poetry Month. Poetry is all over the place, you just have to know where to look.

Writer's Digest has their sixth annual PAD Challenge, where you're invited to write a Poem A Day from their daily prompts throughout the month. Just post your poem in the comments for that day's post.

If you prefer something a little less intense, Poets.org has 30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month. There's lots of good suggestions on this list.

My own home town is holding the Cobourg Festival of Poetry, a three day event that includes guest poets as well as local poets.

My own tribute to National Poetry Month will be posting a poem here each Tuesday. Whether or not I keep this up after the month is over . . . it's anyone's guess.:-)

This week's poem is a little out of season, but it's one of my favorites that I've written lately.

Jack O'Lantern

Beware ye fool the devil, for the devil has his due
Beware ye lest the devi, should turn the tale on you
Stingy Jack was one who thought the devil he could best
For him his fate was worse than death, he wanders without rest

Now Jack was not a well-liked man, a mean and wretched soul,
He liked his drink, and that's a fact, be it bottle, keg, or bowl.
'Twas on a night that's such as this Jack bade the devil drink,
A guileless smile upon his face, his cheeks a ruddy pink.

They drank a toast to Samhain Eve and all the souls in hell.
Another, then another, till they heard the church bells' knell.
But Stingy Jack had not the coin 'twas needed then to pay,
He had a plan instead and this is what I heard him say:

"Old Scratch, into a coin ye must turn into straight away.
I'll pay our tab and ye'll change back without a long delay"
The fiend agreed not knowing that old Jack had tricked him well,
In a wallet with a cross beside, Jack put the coin to dwell.

The devil seethed, the devil raged, but all to no avail,
He tried to use his power, even knowing he would fail.
They struck a deal, that should Jack die, he'd not go straight to hell,
Instead he had a year of grace in which to say farewell.

Before his year of grace was up, Jack took the plague and died
But Heaven didn't want him, and the devil had his pride.
Because the year was not complete, he would not claim Jack's soul,
But sent him off into the night with just a burning coal.

A coal is just too hot to hold in nothing but your hand,
So Jack, he carved a turnip face to hold the burning brand.
On Samhain Eve he wanders now throughout the chilly night
A sad and lonely figure in the Jack 'O Lantern's light.

Beware ye fool the devil, for the devil has his due
Beware ye lest the devil, should turn the tale on you
Stingy Jack was one who thought the devil he could best
For him his fate was worse than death, he wanders without rest

Apr 1, 2013

Mysteriosophy Monday

mysteriosophy ~ system of knowledge concerning secrets and mysteries

Happy Easter Monday! And . . . when did Easter Monday stop being a holiday? I'm sure I remember getting a four day weekend for Easter when I was a kid. Am I wrong?

I've been getting spam comments on my blogs lately - not a flood, just enough to annoy me - so I finally decided to do something about it. As you know, I have two blogs that are mirroring each other while I make up my mind which one I'm going to keep and which one I'm going to archive or whether I'm going to archive both of them and start from scratch. Which I was totally going to decide for sure on yesterday because starting fresh on the first of the month appeals to my organizational side or something, only I got side tracked. As usual.

Anyway. On blog #1 I enabled the security measure where you have to type in the letters/numbers you see in a box (sorry, but I had to do what I had to do) and on blog #2 I enabled the comment moderation, which means comments are sent to my email for me to decide whether to allow them or not. Then I discovered you can go in and look at all the comments ever made on your blog in one nice, neat little list.

Boy has this been an eye opener! I can't believe the number of spam comments I haven't been aware of because they're being made on old posts. One post from 2010 had 156 spam comments on it! Seriously! What on earth is the point of spamming a post from three years ago?? So I deleted the spam out of the comments from both blogs and now all comments are being sent to me for a yea or nay.

I unfortunately missed my poetry group meeting last week, but I did make it to my writer's group. I also got together with a couple of old friends last week (separately and on two different days) and it was really nice to see them. It's been a while since I've seen them, although thanks to the internet we've never really lost touch.

I did finish up my editing projects and the novel and novella have been sent back to their respective authors and I'm back to having no excuse for leaving my own work unfinished. ;-)

Craft-wise . . . I got no crafting in last week. Again, not even so much as a row done on my sweater.

And I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I got nothing done on the taxes last week either. *sigh* Have I mentioned how much I hate doing taxes?

Blog Stuff For the Week:

Tuesday: A poem.
A new Hump Day Hunk for your viewing pleasure.
Thursday: Chapter 60 of Water - will Ravi and Taja finally go all the way? Maybe . . . maybe not. ;-)
Friday: I have no idea.

Other Stuff For the Week

No meetings this week, no poetry readings either. But I do have a date with a good friend who's also a business consultant and she's going to try and drag me kicking and screaming out of my hermit's cave to start self-promoting my books and my business. Good luck Shi! :-)

I finished up both my Muse series and my short story last week, so this has left me with holes to fill in my blogging schedule.

The month of April, as you may or may not be aware, is National Poetry Month. So I've decided that for the month of April, I will be posting a poem on Tuesdays. It may be one of mine, or if I'm really lazy busy it may be someone else's. But there will be a poem.

Fridays . . . now what can I do on Fridays? I don't want to get locked into the Flash thing again because that sucked all the fun out of doing them. Perhaps I will revisit the vaults and dust off another of my early short stories to post in as many parts as it takes.

I did get a little bit of editing done on Magical Misfire last week and I hope to get a lot more done this week. I'd really like to see this book released in May (in keeping with the whole M theme) but we will have to see . . .