Wednesday, 6 May 2015 10:19
partlyopenbook: Not me. :) (read)
It's about time we had a cloudy day! The humidity is wicked high, and that's brought a nice change.

Blooming trees are blooming. Some look like giant sticks full of cotton candy tufts. Some look like they're riddled with fuchsia jewels, important from exotic, foreign lands perhaps not of this world.

Violets have been spotted, little puddles of them here and there at the edges of pathways, growing wild. They give the impression of being rather pugnacious, as if they've fought for their territory and won't have it taken from them. Their tenacity is as enjoyable as their wee purple faces.

It's too bad all of this is pretty fleeting. But I'm looking forward to the sound of leaves rattling in a breeze.

Back at the park I passed one of the ponds, and upon almost every surface was a turtle. Turtles everywhere! Big turtles, little baby turtles. I'll have to get a better look at them, but I think they might've been red-eared slider turtles. Turtles are cute, but they have a tendency to resemble grumpy octogenarians who've consumed a disagreeable food and are now suffering from a bout of dyspepsia. And they will STARE at you until you recognize how awesome they are for putting up with everything.

In the world of employment, I think the job-change will be better for me. It seems like the kind of work I can do while I'm there and proceed to leave behind me when I go home at the end of my shift. This is entirely like my current job, which is very hard on me mentally/emotionally, and I've had a problem letting go of it — as in, I don't let go of it and it continues to haunt me like a bad song (I shouldn't mention that Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" gets stuck in my head a lot). I don't know when/if I'll ever get a chance to actually make this position change, but the transition shouldn't be too awful. It really amuses me how often I run into employees who "used to" have my position. "She used to do what you do..." That should tell corporate that there's something wrong with what they're doing. Such as having only one of us work at weekends, and expect us to do a fantastic and flawless job. No, that's not going to happen. Ever. Because there is ONE of me. Yes, the sooner I get rid of this job, the better. I might even start to feel like me again!

Despite the few days of personal peace, I haven't been writing. I might, later, or I might just sit and read, or go watch the turtles...

Iris Murdoch - The Sea, the Sea
Virginia Woolf - Mrs Dalloway
Henry James - The Reverberator

Sherlock (rewatch)
The Road to El Dorado
Family Ties

A Puddle of Violets
partlyopenbook: Not me. :) (Default)

The Pickled Pirate is still a work-in-progress. It's now over 50,000 words in length. I've been working very hard on it... Nearing the end, however, but now I kind of wish I had the solid ambition to make a series out of it. Maybe it will be, one day! 

Also, the story has a new title. The title will be a secret until ... until it isn't a secret anymore! (Evil cackle here.)

//Writing Coincidence//

One of my favorite things in life are those potholes of space and time and words I call A Writing Coincidence. In which I will write something, somehow slip into a Jungian consciousness in which I know things that all others know, whether they're dead or alive, and it will appear in my story. This has happened before. There's even a tag for it on this journal.

The Pickled Pirate takes place in May, 1931 in Toronto, Canada. While writing yesterday, which I figured was about the 31st of May in the story, the characters kept complaining about how hot it was. Edmond, the protagonist, said to his boss, "It's unseasonably warm." Meanwhile, all our wee constable Edmond wants to do is get out of his uniform to stop the unfortunate but natural occurrence of ass-sweat (poor Edmond). Or stick his feet in Lake Ontario...

So I wondered... Was it really that hot in Toronto in May, 1931?

Yes. Yes, it was.

According to the weather archives, which I accessed using this site, on May 28th and 29th of 1931, it was 28.9C (about 84F) degrees both days. On the 30th and 31st, the temperature returned to a more comfortable and average 17.8C and 19.4C.

That's pretty interesting. I say, stroking my somewhat imaginary goatee.

What's even more interesting is that two days before in the story, it'd rained a little. According to the archives, it rained a little two days before. And it was foggy one evening, but fog isn't mentioned in the archives... We will never know if it was!

I'm more accurate at predicting the weather in 1931 than I am the proper dates in my story, it seems. I might have to make some edits so it ties together well! 

Whenever I write historical stories, I always try to use proper dates. For instance, I say in the story that May 26, 1931 is a Tuesday: I will check and make sure that May 26, 1931 was, in fact, a Tuesday. It was. (Not that I'm implying I'm the only one who does this, or that I am, to borrow from Snape, "an insufferable know-it-all...")

I try to do this with weather, too. This might stem from the fact that I'm a weather nerd. Or it's a druid thing, IDK... Or both!

If you ever read The Information Man, you'll see that they argue a little about the uncertainty of Thanksgiving. Even in Canada, like their southern neighbor the USA, they hadn't decided on a proper date for Thanksgiving.

I've also noticed lately that, when I'm writing (like actually sitting down for hours and working on something), I tend to look up a bit of research about six times during that writing span. It might be anything. A word. Whether Sweden was in World War I (no, they weren't). What color of fedora was popular in 1931 (Detective Ferris's is "fawn" colored). But, yeah, I'll have about six items of research on any given writing day...

If I finally do finish The Pickled Pirate after months of working on it, we should all give our silent thanks to Misha Collins, who plays an impeccable Detective Ferris in my head. Before that started, I was really struggling to get a grip on the characters...


Sunday, 19 October 2014 22:47
partlyopenbook: (bluebirds)
Today... in the woods.


Friday, 10 October 2014 17:25
partlyopenbook: (bird)
Long time, no post... Things are better. Going to collect some wayward short stories into another collection. Release date TBD. As soon as I figure out if I can write the fifth and final addition to the collection...

In the meantime, enjoying what I can of the outdoors.

partlyopenbook: (bluebirds)
I saw the rare golden-winged warbler today. According to allaboutbirds.org...

Your best bet for spotting this increasingly rare species is to visit a shrubby, open area where there are known breeding birds. (Minnesota is the stronghold of the remaining Golden-winged Warbler population.)

I feel blessed that I got to see him sitting in a tree, singing away... I also was under the keen but cautious observation of a muskrat. While I'm fairly certain this isn't the creature that I've been mistaking for an otter, it is dishearteningly possible. Although that tail...

partlyopenbook: a raccoon looks like it's clapping (yay)
Photos taken with my slightly-better camera. Right click on any image and select "View Image" to see full size.

May + June 2014


Can you see the deer?

Turtle sunning itself. Possibly a Wood Turtle.


3 juvenile turtles with parent.


Blind shot I took of an Oriole. They're the shiest birds, so for me to be within 8 feet of it to get this photo, I was happy!

Another turtle. I don't know yet what kind of turtle this is. It could also be a Wood Turtle.

Meanwhile, I know there are snapping turtles in the pond: I've seen them sunning their carapaces in the water (and sticking their heads out of the water).

I also think there is some other creature living in this pond that I haven't been able to identify. I'd love to spend hours out there studying the pond, but it's coming on mosquito season.

partlyopenbook: Not me. :) (Default)
Noticeable flooding in the area. On my daily walk/run, I couldn't get very far down my usual path. Here's why:

The whole path was flooded after a certain low-lying point. About 110 ft or so from the Turtle Pond. It's hard to tell in the digipic, but it's flooded clear to the horizon!

On the plus side, when I turned around from taking this shot, something darted across the path in front of me. An American Mink, I think. Exciting! I've seen minks before at the park I visited at my former home, but it was just a little guy and it was pretty cute.

Also, the toads were making quite a racket! Much like Shirley Manson, they're only happy when it rains.

And there appears to be a beaver living in the city watershed area. It was eagerly repairing its hut this morning. Well, I guess it wasn't the only homeowner waking up to find a bit of flood damage! It's also possible that it was a North American River Otter. (I didn't have my glasses on and I really couldn't tell. But I'll try to get a better look at it next time. With my glasses on. Promise.)

Trying to work harder on the writing thing, now that I've grown a bit more calm and comfortable. A short-story submission has me spinning in circles. I'm on my third rewrite of it, and I think I'm finally able to tell the story that I want to tell, just not the way that I originally wanted to tell it — which would've become another novella. To paraphrase one of my friends when she heard I'd had short stories published: "You? Really? That'd definitely be a challenge for you." Some are less challenging than others. This submission call just happens to be right in my wheelhouse, and not only has it spawned three rewrites of the same story, but also two potential novella plots!

I need to write more if I'm ever going to write all that I want to! 

When in doubt, twirl.

At the pond.

Friday, 23 May 2014 10:29
partlyopenbook: (bluebirds)
 Passing by the pond on my daily constitutional this morning, I happened upon a charming sight!

Four baby turtles surrounded by a parent turtle! All were sitting on a log with their faces raised to the sun! 

After I snapped the really awful digi-pic below, I noticed the egret wading in the background. It's also in the picture, looking solemn and pale like some heroine from a long ago novel. All egrets should be named Isolde. 

I put circles around the objects because, as I said, the picture's not very good. 

at the pond with an egret, five turltes

On the log you can barely count the turtle heads left to right: three babies, parent turtle, one bigger baby on the far right. 

Still, a pretty sight to see on a pretty morning!

Also, this pond is monstrously loud with singing (breeding) toads! Probably a combination of American Toads and Fowler's Toads.


Thursday, 22 May 2014 14:31
partlyopenbook: a raccoon looks like it's clapping (yay)
After buying some new athletic shoes (finally!), I went for another walk in the park today. I know for certain that there is indeed a Kentucky Warbler wandering around. According to a few of the sites I've looked at, it isn't unlikely that they'd be here, but it's rare. I'm hoping to contribute to the e-bird database my sightings of Kentucky Warblers in the area! 

Yesterday, I saw a female wild turkey … keeping my distance … and for those of you who've never had the fortune to see a wild turkey, they're much larger than you might think! 

Also yesterday, I saw many Yellow Warblers flitting round! They're pretty, sprightly birds… putting me in mind of butterflies, the way Restarts do… and completely unable to stand still! I have a feeling that Yellow Warblers are a bit more curious about people than most warblers, more along the lines of Chickadees. 

Of The Information Man, I can gladly report that I've done editing work on the first chapter! The character of Mr. Weatherstaff is now, I think, keeping more in line with the rest of the story. He seemed a bit off in the opening chapter, nothing that a little editing couldn't save. It's always interesting going back and working a bit on a piece that you haven't written in for quite a long time. Sometimes you still know the characters really well, and sometimes it takes a time or two to get the edits right. Or you're then required to edit your edits. 

I edit my edits, and then edit my edits again. Storytelling is two-thirds editing. I've said it before (and I'll probably say it again because I'm dull — and it's so true it hurts).  

This morning, I reached the rather sad conclusion that I have not finished writing a novel-length piece since my grandmother's death, and that was in 2012. I've finished a couple of novellas and short stories, and I did work on Dan and Steve for a really long time. Although I've somewhat given up on After Dan and Steve Saved the World. Not forever, just until I get my situation cleared up, and until I can find a way to get that missing notebook (with very valuable story information in it) back from the room in which I'd left it. That's what happens when you leave your living quarters in a hurry. But, in the meantime, I have plenty to work on. I haven't been getting a whole lot of writing done, as I seem to be having trouble with my health (for one thing), my keyboards (when is Apple going to put out a decent keyboard, when, WHEN??), and the location of my computer. Things have been better lately, and I hope to find some good routines that will enable me to spend a decent amount of time on writing work. 

Getting closer to releasing The Information Man. Just another edit, and perhaps one more after that on the Kindle so I know it looks all right, then the formatting … then the release. So, how many steps is that? Three, four? I'll try to keep this ole blog updated as a kind of countdown to the story's release… in case anyone is anticipating it or has just stumbled upon this journal and is curious. 

Latest Book Purchases
This Side of Paradise (F. Scott Fitzgerald) - My second copy. Other copy still at former residence. My favorite Fitzgerald.
Redwall (Brian Jacques) - Decided to pick it up, since I've read two of the prequels (Mossflower; Martin the Warrior).
Field Guide to the Birds of North America (National Geographic Society) - For obvious reasons. Have actually never had a North American field guide to birds before, only for certain regions.
The Thirty-Nine Steps/Greenmantle (John Buchan) - This is a very nice hardbound edition which features two of John Buchan's most famous works. I left a lot of unread John Buchan back at home. There's yet more unread John Buchan on my Kindle.

Still Reading
The Old Maids' Club (almost done!)
The Portrait of a Lady (stalled again)

Bird Watching

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 20:24
partlyopenbook: Not me. :) (Default)
 Yes, I'm still here. Been busy with doctors, cleaning, not sleeping, Ponies and Glee

Since finding myself in another part of the country, and within walking distance of a decent park, I've been keeping an eye out for a lot of birds I've never seen (or noticed) before. Living where I do now, birds can pass through here on their way to northern breeding grounds, and it's just the right time of the year to catch sight of them!

Here's a list of some exceptional birdies I've seen lately!

Tennessee Warbler
Kentucky Warbler (at least I'm pretty sure it was a Kentucky Warbler, but I don't know how it got so far West - so cute!)
American Redstart (both male and female)
various Wrens
Indigo Bunting
Some kind of weird Black Duck + Mallard (?!)
Northern Waterthrush
Black and White Warbler
Connecticut Warbler

And today I saw a Scarlet Tanager!
I've never seen one in my life, and today I just happened to be at the park at precisely the right time!


In other news, I'm still working on The Information Man. Really, I am! I want to do incorporate a few changes into the opening chapter. I don't know when it'll be released, though.

If you want something new of mine to read (wouldn't it be lovely to have fans?), Hyacinth Noir published a short story of mine earlier this month. The Hero and the Palace, a sequel to The Hero and the Chalice. I'll try to have The Information Man released soon.


Tuesday, 4 February 2014 19:38
partlyopenbook: (facepalm)
Really hurt myself today. Pulled a muscle around my sternum. Painful. Not fun.

Seems to be okay if I'm typing, though, so I don't think the [accidentally self-inflicted] injury will prevent me from reaching any writing goals this week.

I spent part of this evening looking up moon phases on the almanac site. I don't remember coming across any blue moons this year. Did I miss something?

But I did notice a strong New Moon presence in March. Look for lots of energy, strange dreams and an inability to sleep as well as you're used to.

Two planets, Mars and Saturn, go retrograde on the first and second of the month. This occurs at the time of the New Moon (also on the first), so expect to be frustrated about not being able to sleep, and an inability to use that extra energy wisely.

If anyone else is thinking of this right now... You are not alone.

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