This is a marvelous week! It’s Spring Break with Jaz, Tabby, and Patches!Read More
Winter is a cherished season for me; though I appreciate that many people don’t like the cold weather. As I have a warm place to hold up, I don’t mind the cold. It gives me yet another good reason to stay home and huddle up with my hobbies, interests, and distractions…including my cat, Tabby. She appreciates me being home to spend time with her, of course. During the past seven years, my home has been the creative nexus for my novel writing; a place where my ideas have taken root and come to fruition. Add one more reason why my home is truly my castle…my fortress of solitude…the place where stay-cation dreams are realized.
It’s because I value my home so much – and the wonderful memories within – that I was given pause upon reading that famed science fiction author Ray Bradbury’s house is being demolished. You can read the complete article HERE. Granted, the historic 1937-era Cheviot Hills house, located in Los Angeles, California, had a much more dated sort of layout and design than contemporary home buyers prefer to live in. Yet, it was the nostalgic location where “dreams were made” and creative visions were brought to life for generations of readers and fans. The home was interspersed with bookshelves, particularly the den where the room was lined with a Hodge-podge of rickety shelving that held the multitudes of books that Mr. Bradbury collected. If you click on the link that I provided above, at the lower portion of the article, there’s a nice 12-shot slideshow of photos taken from the interior of the house that illustrate what I’m referring to. There’s also a six-image slideshow at the top of the article displaying the external demolition.
Suffice to say, the demolition of the historic house made me feel momentarily glum.
Then I considered a number of things surrounding the event. For one, when the house was sold following Mr. Bradbury’s in 2012, the personal belongings and all of his memorabilia contained therein was removed by the family, leaving only the shell of where a famous author once called home. Essentially, it was the skeletal remains of a former complete entity. Second, there’s no magical creative dust that remains in Mr. Bradbury’s former study that future tenants could absorb to become great writers themselves. It was Ray himself that brought the magic to the room and into reality; the room was merely the setting for magic to occur. In that sense, and with consumerism being what it is, there’s little reason why a dated-looking home would harbor much intrigue for the average home buyer today. Instead, the now-demolished site will serve as the birthplace for a modern, more energy-efficient dwelling with mass curb appeal.
However, Americans have a long-standing tradition of attempting to preserve locations where famous people either grew up or resided in for much of their lives. It made me wonder: why didn’t Mr. Bradbury’s home make the grade for historic significance? He lived in that home for more than 50 years leading up to his death. I don’t believe that George Washington lived in Mount Vernon for more than 50 years before he died. Okay, that’s quite a stretch to compare Ray Bradbury to George Washington, but do you see where my train of thought is headed? Anyway, perhaps people are merely too sensitive about such topics.
Fortunately, for those who value nostalgia and preservation of great settings, materials and artifacts from Mr. Bradbury’s home office have been donated to The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies in Indiana, and there’s an initiative in play to re-create the author’s den as it appeared in the mid-1960s. That’s something that I might have to make a trip to Indiana for in the future.
Happy New Year! Welcome to 2015!
Wow, what happened to 2014? It feels like it was October just a few weeks ago. The days and weeks seem to fly by as time proceeds, doesn’t it?
How did you spend your New Year’s Eve? My cat, Tabby, and I relaxed at home together. It was bitterly cold outside, so I remained toasty warm indoors. I also watched a Doctor Who marathon on BBC America, and later toasted the New Year with a bottle of Sweet Bitch Chardonnay wine (very tasty!). Today, we’re experiencing freezing rain and drizzle, so I’m happily spending New Year’s Day inside, as well.
Now that the New Year has arrived, tis the time for New Year’s resolutions. Frankly, I’ve never been much on them. Statistics show that most people who make resolutions rarely adhere to them for more than a few weeks or months before giving them up entirely. There are a number of reasons why. For some, their resolutions weren’t realistic. For others, it’s a matter of not mastering the art of self-discipline. For others, their hearts simply weren’t into it. Many times, the resolution wasn’t measurable; there was no defined way to establish milestones for success.
I believe that the key to a New Year’s resolution is not so much a resolution as a revolution.
If I want to make a permanent change in my life it’s got to be something that I’m committed to seeing to the very end. For me, that typically means it’s something that has affected me at an emotional and visceral level; something that stokes my passion for completion. In my experience, without passion, most things go unaccomplished or unfulfilled. Given that, did I make any commitments for personal resolutions in 2015?
The answer is yes. In fact, I have a number of objectives for 2015. The past year was rather challenging for me at a number of levels, the least of which involved a change in my publishing activities. Aside from the release of Sunrise at Sunset: Revamped – admittedly a major rewrite to the original novel – there weren’t any new material releases for me in 2014. I had hoped to release at least one new novel this past year, but it simply wasn’t in the cards. As such, I resolve that I shall release at least one new novel in 2015. Ah, but which one?
In 2015, you can expect to see the release of my fifth novel in my Sunset Vampire series, titled Sunset Rising. I’m excited about that! How about you? In addition, I plan to complete the manuscript for my long-awaited second installment in my Logan Bringer series. Bringer Unleashed will continue Logan Bringer’s search for the mysterious source of terrorists with extra-ordinary abilities like himself. So far, I’m very happy with the storyline and character developments. I know that you’ll be just as excited as me to see its release!
Have you considered any New Year’s resolutions yet? Leave a comment and let me know what yours are!
Twas’ Jaz’s day before Christmas
And all truth be told,
Poor Jaz was suffering
From a mighty head cold.
The medicines and fluids
Were lined up for use,
As warm soups and crackers
Were coupled with juice.
Jaz called upon helpers
Brought both from far and wide,
To aid in his comfort,
To stand by his side.
He called out to each of them,
One right after the next,
On DayQuil, on NightQuil,
On Advil, on Muscinex!
When finally relief came
In no time at all,
Jaz’s inspirations returned
Amidst the mail call!
*Pausing to Blow My Nose*
*Sipping Some Tea*
Okay, so that’s about all the rhyming I can do for now. I hope that your shopping was successful and you’re ready to enjoy the most important parts of the impending holidays: celebrating with family and eating tasty foods!
Fortunately, my shopping was successful well ahead of schedule, which was fortuitous because I was unhappily waylaid by a notoriously debilitating head cold/sinus infection.
While I’ve finally turned the corner on it, I’m still very tired and mildly miserable. However, I’m on the mend and I hope that by the weekend I’ll be well on my way to enjoying the remainder of the holiday season. Mind you, my mood is hardly down. In fact, given today’s mail delivery, my mood has greatly improved.
Just this afternoon, I received a mysterious package from wonderful new friends in the Janesville, Wisconsin area. Ms. Sara Heiss and a number of her students put together a marvelously kind and thoughtful Christmas gift package for me!
For those of you who aren’t aware, Ms. Heiss is one of our nation’s great public school educators who strives – quite successfully, in fact – to encourage her students through engaging reading comprehension assignments. One of the books offered in her reading assignment list is my award-winning young adult paranormal novel, Gwen Reaper. Many of Ms. Heiss’ students read my novel, after which, I had the absolute pleasure to take part in an online video conference with her and her students. It was such a blast!
*Fast Forward to Today*
A wonderful box of happiness arrived in my mailbox; a box that included individually wrapped gifts for both me and my cat, Tabby! Also included was a thoughtful Christmas card from Sara and individual letters from a number of her students. I can’t convey how HAPPY it made me feel to read each of those letters…Sara and her students are simply the most thoughtful and kind souls. They made my Christmas one of the most memorable in my life; one that I won’t forget.
As you can see from the photos, Tabby enjoyed helping me investigate and unwrap each of the gifts contained therein. I think my kitty had as much fun as I did!
Ultimately, it was a WONDERFUL and AMAZING box of gifts for Tabby and me!
The Doctor Who t-shirt, Mad Libs book, and Tardis keychain will be treasured by me forever (as well as, worn and used with pride)! They were perfect for the dedicated Whovian that I am, and I was happy to know that some of Sara’s students are also fellow Whovians, as well. Tucked inside a mysterious black pouch were reaper sickle eraser heads, which will be excellent conversation pieces at the college where I work and teach. Of course, the alligator Gummy snacks are a highly amusing and tasty homage for the character Chewie from my Gwen Reaper novel. All in all, this was one of the BEST and most unexpected Christmas gifts I have ever received! Thank you!!
Finally, I hope that you have a marvelous, happy, and illness-free Merry Christmas! Enjoy your time with friends and family, and THANK YOU for your continued support, kindness, and encouragement. You made my year very special, indeed!
Wow, it feels like I just finished eating Thanksgiving dinner, and yet, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have also come and gone. And let’s not forget the other litany of pithy slogans for other days that give merchandisers another reason to draw you to their shops and websites for holiday promotions and discounts. There was Shop Local Saturday, for one. Did I leave any out? How about Tip-Toe-to-Our-Sale Tuesday? Or perhaps Sin-if-You-Miss-It Sunday? Wassailing Wednesday? Tinsel Thursday? Frosty Festival Friday? *shaking my head*
As for me, I’m keeping the holidays simple. Yes, I’m giving gifts to a number of people, though most likely it will be of the plastic gift card variety. Honestly, what can we all really need? And besides, who really knows what each other needs? In the end, I’d like to think that, health and food notwithstanding, most of us really only need the compassion, support, and fellowship of each other to make the holidays fulfilling and special. I’m planning get-togethers with family and friends to celebrate the holidays; time spent with those I care about is always a gift worth savoring, don’t you agree?
For many people, between the holiday sales, baking schedules, and preparing for social gatherings for relatives and friends, there’s not a lot of discretionary time left to really sit and bask in the warmth and magic of the season. And isn’t that really such a shame?
Well, not me, I tell you. I’m already relishing mugs of hot cocoa and hot tea, thanks to the unseasonably cool and drizzly weather conditions that we’ve had in recent days. I’ve started watching my favorite holiday films and specials, including the classic Charlie Brown Christmas Special. Oh, and I plan to re-watch each and every Doctor Who holiday special to date, all leading up to the Christmas Day Doctor Who special starring Peter Capaldi. This will be Capaldi’s first Christmas special as the 12th Doctor. Frankly, given how stoic Capaldi’s Doctor has been portrayed, I’m not sure how many warm fuzzies Steven Moffatt can believable sell in the script. As such, I’m not expecting many moments for either heartwarming dialogue or sentimental tears. *Suddenly missing David Tennant and Matt Smith*
Are you doing any reading right now? I recently finished reading a short novella by Neil Gaiman, Doctor Who: Nothing O'Clock: Eleventh Doctor. It involved Amy Pond and a mysterious entity called the Kin. It was highly satisfying and conveyed fantasy in a manner that is nearly magical for Mr. Gaiman. Suffice to say, I highly recommend it! You can read my review of it on Goodreads.com at <click here>
Well, best wishes on your holiday preparations and celebrations. I have some public events coming up later this month, so please check in on my website under EVENTS very soon. For now, I’m off to watch some college football while sipping some tasty hot cocoa. The weather outside is cool and overcast, as well as occasionally drizzly with rain. Ah, tis the season!
Oh, and Tabby my cat says, “Meow-lo!”
I recently watched the 1995 BBC six-part miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. It was my first exposure to any of the films and specials based upon Jane Austen’s books. And while I’d never read the actual novel in question, I absolutely loved the miniseries. The costume design and settings were wonderfully historical and the cast did a marvelous job immersing me in their characters and storyline. I particularly liked the nearly six-hour length miniseries format because it enabled a fuller introduction to each character and grounded me more fully in the central plot, subplots, and circumstances. Based upon a number of other viewer comments that I’ve read, I understand that this miniseries presented nearly every minute aspect from the original novel on-screen for the viewer. I really appreciate that level of detail, enabling a complete presentation of Austen’s material. I only wished that more films, especially those based upon full-length classic novels, did the same.
Do you know of any other extended-length period novel adaptations available in film out there? I’d really appreciate your recommendations, so please leave me a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Thanks! Oh, and way to go, Mr. Darcy!
On the way home from my day-career the other day, I stopped by Kohl’s to take advantage of a 20% off coupon and use the $20.00 Kohl’s Cash that I had accumulated. (I simply love Kohl’s Cash, don’t you?) I eagerly browsed through the store looking for something that I either needed or wanted. While passing the coats and shoes area (not many good sales on shoes, I noticed), I remembered that I wanted some entertainment dishes for my next social gathering. As I passed a number of stocking stuffer displays – which I had to dodge like the Millennium Falcon in an asteroid field – I made it to the kitchen and appliances area. As holiday music played overhead, I came upon the Food Network collections. Oh, the Food Network puts out some of the most marvelous pieces and sets of kitchenware and home entertainment dishware! I selected a set of four white porcelain Ramekins and a four-dish serving tray with square white stoneware serving dishes. Between the two sets, I’ll easily be able to serve finger snacks such as olives, nuts, fruits, dips, crackers, and maybe even a crème brulee, if I get the nerve. Heck, I’m still trying to take the time to bake some banana bread and pumpkin spice muffins. Hmm…maybe I’ll try that later this afternoon.
At any rate, now my home will be better prepared for guests who stop over for a visit during the holidays. Did I mention that I just love Kohl’s?
It’s the final stretch for the last week of NaNoWriMo. Did you take part? Regrettably, I wasn’t able to as I had too many day-career related obligations and special events. For those of you who did, my congratulations. For some, you’ll be able to create at least the primary written structure of a novel or novella. That being said, I realize that a number of you may only have written a portion of a project. However, there’s no need to feel discouraged. Take heart…you’ve made an impressive start. Before long, you’ll have a completed manuscript. As often as writing is a pleasure and an escape, many times it can also be a real grind. Take it in small efforts and reflect on how you’re doing so that you can make adjustments as you progress toward the finish line. Occasionally, you might even feel as though you’ve hit a brick wall with your creation. That’s when taking a brief break can open up new ideas and pathways. As only my kitty, Tabby, can convey from the photo above, there’s more than one way to accomplish your objective.
Rest assured, she finally snatched her toy, only to perch on her cat tree to cheerfully chew on it.
My thanks to Ms. Sara Heiss and her senior high school class for the marvelous video conference that I took part in last Wednesday afternoon. We talked about my novel, Gwen Reaper, which everyone read as part of their class reading assignment. Everyone made me feel very welcome and I especially appreciate Sara’s huge alligator, who represented the character Chewie from the novel. Way to go, Sara! I just love props. Oh, and Tabby made a period appearance throughout the conference. It was a LOT of fun and I hope that they invite me back again sometime!
Thanksgiving is almost here! I can’t wait for turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce. Oh, and let’s not forget those tasty pumpkin and pecan pies. Are you preparing for the upcoming holidays?
I particularly adore a cold winter-like November day.
Today is one of those days, complete with blowing snow flurries that melt onto the pavement but stick to the newly dormant grass. Ah, I feel very happy as I sit inside all warm and toasty and sipping on a steaming mug of hot cocoa while gazing out through my picture window. It’s moments such as these when the holidays come alive in beautiful and wondrous ways.
It is moments such as these when I’m not only feeling my happiest but also most contented. These are the truly lovely moments in life worth savoring.
Today, I’m remaining indoors to write on Sunset Rising, the fifth novel in my Sunset Vampire series. I’m also getting a head start on my Christmas shopping, including some gifts for myself. (Those are gifts from my cat, Tabby, of course. She said to order an item or two from my Christmas list. She’s so very kind. If only she had her own credit card and bank account…)
Tabby’s also appreciating the cold weather from the safe, warm interior of our home. You may notice in the photo that she’s comfortably lounging in the basket of her cat tree that I recently assembled for her. She’s really enjoying that cat tree of hers. I’m so happy that she likes it.
Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Thankfully, I have my list mostly completed, so I’m already beginning my purchases. Have you noticed how retailers are starting their online Christmas sales earlier and earlier each year? I recently heard on a world news report that retailers expect the weekend before Thanksgiving to be as busy as the typical Black Friday and Cyber Monday following Thanksgiving. In addition, more and more stores are opening earlier on that actual Thanksgiving Day either during the morning or by mid-day. Radio Shack opens at 8am on Thanksgiving morning. *pausing* Though I honestly don’t have a clue what I might need from them. Perhaps a spare set of batteries? *shrugging* I dunno…
One thing is for certain: I won’t be out fighting the crowds on Black Friday. For those of you who will, may the Goddess rest your souls and protect you. By contrast, I plan to be at home watching either some college football games or streaming some movies or Doctor Who episodes.
Have you seen the movie Interstellar yet? It’s really good! The storyline was compelling and engaging, and Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, and Jessica Chastain all did an excellent job with their roles, as well as the amazing supporting cast. The special effects were out of this world (pun intended) and the depiction of a black hole was impressive. I give it five stars and two thumbs up. It’s a must-see that I highly recommend. I particularly appreciate the manner in which the writers took the time to develop the situation on Earth and present the characters in a multi-dimensional manner without rushing either. It made for a much more immersive and sympathetic audience experience. Way to go, Christopher Nolan…you did it again!
How are you preparing for the upcoming holidays? I’d like to hear from you, so enter a comment and let me know.
Life can be filled with amazing surprises, don’t you agree?
Speaking of surprises, I’m happy to announce the adoption of my new furry companion, Tabby! She’s a two month old gray tabby cat that I adopted from my local animal shelter. She’s SO CUTE and ADORABLE! (Cray-cray adorbs!!)
Some of you may recall that my long-lived kitty, Selina, passed away last October. I’ve been mourning Selina for nearly a year, and was recently inspired by my dear friend, Jessica, to seek a new furry companion through my local animal shelter, thereby saving the life of an innocent kitty in need of a family.
We proceeded to the shelter where there was a meet-and-greet room containing numerous kittens and young cats. As soon as we walked into the room cats walked over to us to inspect their newest guests. While squatting on the floor petting a couple of young cats, a small gray female kitten quietly walked over to me and sat between my feet. I looked down at her and she gazed back up at me with endearing greenish eyes, quietly staring at me. I reached down to gently scratch her head and stroke my finger under her chin. She rolled her head slightly and I sensed she liked me, so I cupped her in my hand and lifted her close to my chest. She took to me immediately, nestling herself against me and purring, so I knew she was ‘the one.’
Jessica kept her company as I completed the adoption process, and I learned that only the day before she had been spayed. The shelter provided me with excellent medical information on her medications and post-operative care instructions, as well as a nice cardboard box to carry her home in. Of course, she was quickly in Jessica’s lap as we drove away. Following a quick stop at Petsmart to acquire some high-quality kitten food, we came home and got her settled in. It was on our drive to my home that the name Tabby came to mind. I think it really suits her.
She seems to be settling nicely in my home and her frequent little mews melt my heart. She has an entire room in my home for her use, as well as various cat climbing structures, scratching posts, a variety of kitty toys, and an easy-to-use mini-kitty litter box, which fortunately she took to immediately.
I anticipate many happy years ahead of us, and it feels really nice to have a new furry member of my family. Already, my home feels much warmer with her residing there. If you’re considering a new addition to your family, I strongly encourage you to go to your local animal shelter first. You’ll not only be saving the life of an innocent animal, you’ll be adding a grateful, loving new furry member to your own family. That’s something that has already enriched my world in heartfelt, satisfying ways.