A Garden of Delights

Archive for the ‘Blog Hop’ Category

The second shoe dropped…  or something, and while nothing screamed End Of The World, the violent tipping of its axis said serious Change (note the capital C…  big stuff here) was in the works.

:-/ Okay, so nothing really that drastic happened.  But despite all my plans to be more consistent this Round of words with my blogging, and to get a bunch of writing done, my progress on those goals I set out at the beginning of January has been close to nil.  Earlier in the round, while I was writing somewhat, I could clearly sense my head was in a “I need to be refilled” state.  I stepped down my writing and creative output in favor of reading and discovery, and dealing as best I could with the seasonal cloud that hits me each November through January.

This was tiding me over mostly.  I did get a bit lax with my blogging.  A lot of little things started picking at my brain and while I love you all, blogging is always the second thing to fall short (Twitter loses the fastest…  maybe because it always flows the fastest, and I so often feel lost in the deluge of tweets) as far as social media goes.  I’ve slacked off in all my social media though.  Facebook and email…

Too many little bits to deal with.

The newest is a real job search.  I’m terrified.  I haven’t in the job market for years, having spent most of my time of late in volunteer positions with my son’s various schools or homeschooling him.  But things have happened…  and now, not only do I have to homeschool The Boodle again (as much as he’d like to stay in Catholic school, he is not suited to that environment), but we need a second income in the home.

The most recent copy of my résumé I could find was from when I still lived in downtown Albany…  almost 30 years ago.

Yeeeah….

I have my work cut out for me.

So, apologies for being a bit short here, and for having been absent so long.

Stuff happened.


Also, just a small reminder…

Though it’s a bit late to bring this up, especially when I’ve been so very out-of-touch recently, I did want to mention that the linky for the First Friday Photo is open for submissions.  I’d love to hear from you all.

And if you’re interested in lovely photoblogs, have you checked out the grand people at image-in-ing. A lot of wonderful artists there, with so many interesting perspectives on the world to savor.

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A whole month of 2018 down and once again it is time for

Another

2018 ROW80 Check-in IWSG WWW Wednesday Post

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(click below an image to go to the specific section you want if you don’t want to read the whole post)

As one of my ROW80 goals was to blog more consistently and as I want to become more active in the IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) and as I am reading (a lot of late) and wish to share my pleasure… this trio of hops has become a “thing”.

First things last and last things first, WWW Wednesday: where, according to the rules of the bloghop, I need to answer three main questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently? I am still plowing slowly through Cathedrals of England by Sir Nicholas Pevsner (a very information dense book, and as we’re going to England again this fall, also personal research).  In Like Flynn is the Molly Murphy mystery du jour, though I find the intrusive authorial voice very distracting…  (the books are set in 1st person POV, but Molly’s voice floats between her present and past, and often she knows things I cannot imagine her knowing…  and sometimes she doesn’t know things that seem quite impossible for her to not know!)  The historical detail is nice, but Bowen doesn’t hold as much to the history of the times, or at least I don’t feel as immersed in the period as much as I do with Thompson’s Gaslight series.  (The first book of the series was delightful, however!)

Recently? I have finished all but the last of the Gaslight Mysteries (so far…), as our local library system doesn’t have the newest book yet.  That’s okay.  Plenty of other reading to do.  I also finished my ARC of To Woo a Wicked Widow and posted my review to Goodreads.

Next? I still have plenty of Molly Murphys to go through, and a handful of other reads.  This past week wasn’t the binge session I’d planned.  It’s good I can renew the books.  A bunch are due today, and we’re nearly snowed in already.


Secondly, we have the Insecure Writers Support Group where writers share their doubts and concerns and just express how things may/may not be going in their writing careers. Optionally, there is a question we can answer, which presently fits a lot of my recent doubts and fears:

February 7 question – What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

Hmmm,  need some background for this, I think, as much because it’s not something I’d considered before.  I used to think I wanted to write science fiction, stories that would make readers think and question the way we are moving in society and political thinking.  The magic of fantasy however, with its touches of childhood fairy tales and themes of history and grand epics, fast out-paced my desire to “teach” the world anything.  The story was what mattered to me…  it was the bit that held me in my play as a child and drew me to explore new places (and look at old ones in a new light).

But writing fantasy, at least for me, always fell short somehow.  As my characters became more real, they stopped being the mythical heroes of yore, stopped becoming archetypes in a bardic yarn.  And they didn’t fit…  the setting might still be fantasy, the situations are often fantastic, but they were much more about people living in this world I saw in my head.  People who lived emotional, full and often romantic lives.  And the happiness in those romantic moments constantly drew me (as well as the conflicts that often revolved around those romantic moments). It seemed pretty obvious once one of my local writing group friends pointed out the elements, that I was already writing romances…  just romances in a fantasy-based world.

So…  the genre is fantasy romance, stories built on a world of magic (and some machinery, though that’s not always apparent) of grand wars, political upheavals, and brave-hearted people (I wouldn’t call them heroes, since they wouldn’t call themselves that either) who are just trying to find some joy in the midst of the upheaval and do the right thing for those they love and care about.

I love how convoluted that can get.  Even when we think we’re all on the same side…  how we achieve a goal (and how we want to achieve it) is usually not the same as the people we are working with.

As for hopes and fears….

Well, I hope now that I’m feeling this reading binge coming to a close, that I will soon find myself filling pages with all the ideas that I’ve tossed about.  Better the page than my dreams…  because I haven’t been sleeping well.  My characters have been talking up storms (nothing they’ve told me to write yet, drat them!) these past few nights.  It’s time for the bunch of us to start earning our tea and biscuits.


And lastly, but not least, here is the ROW80 check-in (which has been somewhat answered by the prior two sections). For those who didn’t see my goals for the upcoming 12-weeks of ROWing, you can see them here. And you can find our very supportive and helpful group here, if you want to know more about the ROW80 in general.

I haven’t been writing much at all.  There have been space issues and then there was being sick and there was the reading obsession…  None of these helped my head to be all that creative when it came to output.  But I did keep up with my blogging, and I have found sparks of inspiration and feeling a need to jot ideas down here and there.  More sense of setting and place…  my characters are stubbornly turning aside and whispering when they think I might be listening in on their conversations.  Maybe they don’t want to talk with the characters from the books I’ve read?

As far as sponsor posts and visits, I’m keeping up…  though I really do need to get on the ball and start changing the ROW80 website.  I’d hoped to get together this week with Shan Jeniah to talk design and layout a bit.  The weather isn’t cooperating at the moment however, and with a very whuffly Boodle home from school today, I don’t know if it’ll happen all week.

One of these days!  Until then…  time to read some more people’s works and see what comes to me when I set a pen to paper (well, stylus to phone).  750 words… today

Here I was, all excited about starting up my First Friday Photo bloghop, and what would you know…  the cray-cray and brain drain made me forget to post my link on time!

Well, here it is anyway…

This past Wednesday was a very special sort of full moon.  In two ways…  (Three if you were closer to California, but sadly we weren’t.)

  1. It was a Blue Moon, what they call it when there is a second full moon in a month’s time
  2. It was a Blood Moon (when atmospheric conditions give the full moon has a reddish tinge)
  3. …  it was a partial lunar eclipse

None of these are all that unusual, but they do make for a lovely effect.  I do wish our weather here in Upstate NY had been more agreeable, but we got snow that night, and the skies were grey and cloudy from well before nightfall set.

Still, a snapshot from the deck just before my son went to bed didn’t come out too bad….  or so I think.

Taken with my Samsung Note 5 phone

I added some extra days to the linky, because I realized I’d messed up. Hope you all would like to join the hop.

Wednesdays seems to be flying by this year.  Here’s another one and time for…


Just Another

2018 ROW80 Check-in WWW Wednesday Post First Friday Photo

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(click below an image to go to the specific section you want if you don’t want to read the whole post)

Since one of my new ROW80 goals was to start blogging more consistently and since I’ve wanted to become more active in the IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) and since I have read a lot and wished I had a way to share my recent pleasure… this seemed like a great place (and great time) to start.

First things last and last things first, got a picture you’d like to share, a thought on photography or even a piece of digital art…

The First Friday Photo blog hop is open for submissions.  All creative images* welcome as long as you link your post up this Friday.

I created this blog hop to make a space to enjoy art in my busy life, even when it’s only once a month and to share my love of photography with others.

The rules are simple (quoted from my original First Friday Photo post Still Motion):

  • post a photo (one you took, please don’t post other people’s work) on your blog
  • include a link to the linky (so visitors can visit each other’s work)
  • add the link to your post to the above linky (so we can find your work)
  • visit other people’s posts
  • enjoy

I had to put that “enjoy” there.  Every time I open a package of instant ramen, I giggle because of that.  I mean, of course I am going to enjoy…  yummy ramen is, well, yummy.  😀

Hope to see you there!

(*if your image is explicit, please use discretion and an NSFW warning)

Now, let’s go with WWW Wednesday where, according to the rules of the bloghop, I need to answer three main questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently? I’ve been plowing through the Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson.  Since my last WWW Wednesday post, I am now reading Murder on Amsterdam Avenue.  This is book #17 of the series.  At my last post, I was on book #5.  I’m a short ways into In Like Flynn, another Molly Murphy mystery by Rhys Bowen, but I confess to setting it aside to fully invest myself into the lives of Sarah Brandt and Frank Malloy.  My ARC of To Woo a Wicked Widow is nearly done (review next week), and despite the cray-cray I made some progress on the beta read I accepted.

Recently? It’s been two weeks since my last WWW Wednesday post, so it looks like I’ve read a lot of books.  I won’t bother to list all the Gaslight Mysteries titles I’ve read.  I read twelve of them.  I’ve also read two Molly Murphy mysteries (Death of Riley and For the Love of Mike).  Dear Life by Alice Munro presented a welcome though-provoking serious note here and there.

Next? This Monday I turned in books and took out another twelve.  In bag…  Kindred by Octavia Butler, the next Deep Fried Mystery by Linda Reilly, Angel of Darkness by Caleb Carr, and so many others.  Oh, and all but the latest Gaslight Mystery.  But I do have the next six Molly Murphy’s…  That should keep me busy a while.


And lastly, here is my ROW80 check-in. For those who didn’t see my goals for the upcoming 12-weeks of ROWing, you can see them here. You can find our very supportive and helpful group here, as well as some history and “rules” if you want to know more about the ROW80 in general.

My creative writing has been pretty staggered.  I did manage a Stream of Consciousness post (on Sunday instead of Saturday) and a WIPpet Wednesday post today.  But I hadn’t even looked at 750words.com until today.  I did keep up the ROW80 blog well enough, although I am behind on my sponsor visits.  (Actually, I’m behind on all my blogging visits…  last week was…  difficult, and this week, when I wasn’t reading, I was recovering or sick.)

So it’s been a pretty off few weeks in my writing life.  But the mind is starting to demand something other than staring at little black marks on a white page.  It’s demanding I make some of them myself at least.  And the body is demanding I get up and move and do.  So I have started some.  Even if it’s just reading  while pacing in the living room.

Small steps…

I could have written my ROW80 (and my WWW Wednesday) check-in yesterday.  Instead…  I hit the library almost first thing in the morning, and by the time 6:30pm had passed, I’d already read the next of the Victoria Thompson Gaslight Mysteries that I’d picked up and had started the next one (I have 15 pages left on that).

Clearly, I’ve been on a huge reading binge lately.

Not so much a writing one.  Except for my blogging progress and a few new words on Courting and Marche (the 1st and 3rd books of the Swan Song Series), I haven’t written much of anything.  Haven’t even touched 750words since last Wednesday.  Have opened Scrivener and looked through stuff, read some research articles…

And had a lot of sick-kid and now kid-school related things to deal with since last Thursday night.

I could have written my post yesterday, but I needed to escape a bit.  And while reading about NYC murders in the late 1890s might not seem like escapism…  it was a divine one.

I have another six books fresh from the library waiting for me, calling my name.

I probably should have written those posts.  But I didn’t.

I did write this one.

Yet Another…

2018 ROW80 Check-in WWW Wednesday

Post

(click below an image to go to the specific section you want if you don’t want to read the whole post)

As is becoming the trend, first things last and last things first, the WWW Wednesday where, according to the rules of the bloghop, I need to answer three main questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently?  An odd mix here…  I just started an ARC of Jenna Jaxon’s To Woo a Wicked Widow.  I’m also almost done with Book #4 of the Victoria Thompson Gaslight mysteries Murder on Mulberry Bend.  And I’m delving into Cathedrals of England by Sir Nicholas Pevsner.  It’s an odd passion of mine…

Recently? I’ve set aside Gun, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond.  I just took on a beta read and an ARC (above) that I need to prioritize, and it’s a library book.  It’s back into my TBR list for another time.  Of course, I have indulged in a fair amount of escapism, having finished Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore by Rose Pressey.  By the end, I was actually glad I’d read the book, and definitely looking for the next one.  However, since I couldn’t find it (even at the local Barnes & Noble), I jumped into Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight series and plowed through books #3 and #4 (Murder on Granmercy Park and Murder on Washington Square.

Next? Let’s see, I have my beta read (sooper sekret! 😉 )to do, plus the next Molly Murphy mystery Death of Riley.  Though  went through another short in Dear Life by Alice Munro, I’m not sure I call it in my “I am reading” list because of where my head is right now.  I also picked up Tête-à-tête by Hazel Rowley at one of the local used bookstores because a glimpse of a few pages intrigued.


 My ROW80 progress has been bit less inspiring.  My 750words.com word counts are slowly increasing (averaging about 600, so I’m not on track yet, but the creative ideas are flying fast and furious).  In keeping with my theme of consistency (and because this was my week off from the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop) I’ve posted a WIPpet Wednesday post on Many Worlds and done my best to offer some thought-provoking posts to the ROW80 blog for our check-ins.  I’m still trying to figure out the exact rhythm our writing community performs best at now that I’ve taken over the blog from Kait Nolan.

I’ve also started work toward my upcoming First Friday Photo post.  This morning offered several of those remarkable post-snowstorm captures…  and one (though not my best shot) was of a gorgeous murder of crows I saw on the drive to bring my son to school (no buses were running today).   I love crows.  Last Friday we had one sitting on our deck.  Squee!

That’s it, I guess.  Signing off from my “office” at the Glenmont Applebee’s…

Check?

Posted on: January 16, 2018

I wasn’t going to post anything here for the ROW80, had planned to just make a brief check-in at the Facebook page.  Sometimes it’s hard to feel like I’ve accomplished anything real.  Or…  if I’ve felt any amount of excitement about things I’ve done, the fact that I was excited meant I’d already shared them somehow (such as my recent Stream of Consciousness Saturday post) or my excited FB post on Thursday about the awesome creative burst I’d had while writing my 750 words.

So…  what to write without becoming repetitive?

Well, there is the fact that I haven’t missed a day of writing at 750words.com since my Wednesday check-in.  Tr, I haven’t always achieved the full 750, but Thursday I exceeded with 803, and on no day did I achieve less than 300.  If I counted all the words I typed while blogging and visiting/commenting, I’d be well-over every day, but I don’t feel right adding those.

I’ve maintained consistency in my blogging as well.  And my reading (though that hasn’t been as fast as I’d like).  My real downfall though, is my creative writing output.

Some of this is a lack of “office”…  as in, I have a pretty nice computer and desk (and an “OK” chair), but my husband, who  works from home, now occupies the office.  He likes to listen to interviews and talk (or tv shows).  I need music…  particularly repetitive songs (usually loud) to zone out on and be with my characters.

Just a tree by a ditch

It’s not fair to ask him to leave, or even smart. He’s actually earning a paycheck with what he’s doing, while I’m struggling to connect with my characters most of the time, playing solitaire while I ponder plot points.

So…  I’m looking for that elusive creative space and working on what I can in the interim.


First Friday Photo

Something to inspire

obligatory “What I Allow”

Short Stuff

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