Friday, March 27, 2020

A Moss Walk--by T.K. Thorne

Writer, humanist,
          dog-mom, horse servant and cat-slave,
       Lover of solitude
          and the company of good friends,
        New places, new ideas
           and old wisdom.

About 35 years ago, on a trip to Japan, I had the opportunity to visit a Buddhist monastery. I’m sure there were many beautiful objects there, but what has remained in my memory over all those years was a moss garden off a patio looking down the forested mountainside. Made of many different types and shades of moss, it was perfect, not a leaf, a stick or a non-moss plant disturbed the emerald carpet. “How does that happen?” I asked.

“It is tended by hand every morning,” was the reply. 

There is something about moss I find calming and, hence, I’m reluctant to clean it off the old bricks of our walkway. But it is far from perfect. Today, with the coronavirus raging through our world and lives, I decided to put on my monk hat and tend the walkway. It was very slow going because if you just rip out the plants growing in the moss, you rip out chunks of moss as well.  It usually requires two hands, one to hold down the moss and the other to gently extract the opportunist clump of grass or florae.

As I worked, I didn’t think about anything but the patch in front of me, getting satisfaction as each one cleared. I have no idea how long it took because it wasn’t about time.

I say I didn’t think about anything. Not quite true. It occurred to me—not for the first time—that in order to bring about my goal, I had to destroy what was not wanted. Moving toward what we want in life requires dedication, patience, and being willing to pull out the unwanted, even when its roots are wrapped deep.

T.K. is a retired police captain who writes BOOKS, which, like this blog, go wherever her interest and imagination take her. Want a heads up on news about her writing and adventures (and receive two free short stories)? Go HERE.  Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Review of A Very Stable Genius by Juliana Aragón Fatula

Here is a link to a review by the Washington Post writer, Joe Klein, the author of seven books, including Primary Colors” and, most recently, “Charlie Mike.”

Dear Reader,

I admit, I've been doing more reading than writing lately. I've taken a break from writing to read some really great books on Audible. I love books read to me by great actors, journalists, or the author.

In order to keep up with the politics of the nation during this historic time in our lives, I've begun listening to books about the leader and very stable genius, Donald Trump. I try to keep an open mind and listen and learn. I've learned a great deal about this man and I have to report, I don't like him.

If he invited me to the White House, I'd have to respond, with thanks, but no thanks, I'll wait until a make America united president comes into office. The books I've read have led me to make a judgment about a man I've never met and never want to meet. He's a pussy grabber after all.

The journalists who wrote A Very Stable Genius, Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig, are both Pulitzer Prize Winners for their previous work. I respect them and their dedication to telling the facts about the state of the union. I enjoyed the book very much, but I kept asking myself, "who told them that?" or "where did they get that information?" questions like, "if you weren't in the room with the President, how do you know what he said?"

I admit, I fell asleep a couple of times but only because I put on the headphones and went to bed and set the alarm for thirty minutes and fell asleep after fifteen. If I didn't set an alarm, I'd wake up and be way ahead and have to rewind a few chapters. I find it very relaxing to read books and they also put me to sleep if I get too comfortable. But during the day I can listen while I do housework and use Bluetooth technology to go wireless. I love the freedom.  It's a tough choice between listening to Reggae and dancing while I cook and clean, or listening to a historical political book. I try to balance between getting some groove on and learning something new.

I'd recommend reading A Very Stable Genius if you are interested in hearing about the Mueller Report if you haven't read that, but I had read the report and found the information redundant. I enjoyed being a fly on the wall while Trump's kids bullied their way into the oval office and into the nepotism of having national security information clearance.

I'm concerned about the good ol' USA and the world for that matter, Climate Change, Global Warming, Corona Virus, but I know that everything is going to be ok, or not and there's only one thing to change the outcome and that is to vote for change.

The young people are becoming of age to vote and they will have to vote in droves to make a dent in society and the way politics are being operated out of this White House. I dare say, the world is in their hands and it's up to all of us to make sure we are well read and educated about the world before we vote. So I continue to read these books written by journalists who are covering the stories and I suggest you do the same so that we vote with the knowledge of history and what this country was built on and by, immigrants who came for a better life.

I want a president who doesn't grab pussies or cage babies or fire CDC officials or lie to the public about everything and hides his secrets like a mafia king. Not everyone agrees with me. Some of my readers might be upset that I write about Trump this way, but my readers are like me, educated, well read and hopeful for a bright future.

My father always told me the root of racism is ignorance. Reading for fun is relaxing, but reading about our country's history and politics can be illuminating.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Is My Life That Bad? (Asking for a friend)

by Bethany Maines

Originally I had planned on a post about how technology has impacted my writing, but COVID-19 has a way of derailing things. My long journey from Apple iMac in 1998 to laptops to ipads to composing huge swaths of a novel on my phone has been a constant evolution in an attempt to remove roadblocks in the process of creating stories. One such roadblock was born six years ago and we named her Zoe. She’s charming, but she does slow down the process and specializes in making it inconvenient to sit at a desk for extended periods of time. In fact, her birth escalated my search for technological shortcuts in the writing process.  I no longer have the luxury of futzing with finding the perfect moment to write. I get the moments I get and I’d better make them count because they won’t be coming back.

Which brings us to COVID-19, social distancing and sheltering in place, pausing or whatever else they’re using to mean “don’t leave the house.” All the social media is going on about how tragic it is to not leave the house and how they will at least be able to catch up on all their TV watching, write a novel and learn French because everyone will have so much MORE time. To which I say…

I work from home.  Grocery shopping is ALREADY my big going out event. Now I just have a child at home with me as I try to work. Staying at home didn't magically give me more time. I have monumentally LESS time.  So basically, my sheltering in place is the same as always except that the crazies have bought up the toilet paper I actually do need and now my child wants to steal all the phones to facetime her friends. Also, now I have to put on make-up in the morning because all the extroverts need to compensate and want to do video chats.  

I realize that my complaints are minimal in the greater scheme of things and I will happily wear mascara to ensure the continued health of my fellow human beings, but sigh…  could everyone either stop complaining about having to live my life or stop assuming that I’m going to roll out a novel next week? That would be great.

Although, I am working on a novel. On my phone.  Because I can “watch” Ducktales with one arm around Zoe and compose one handed. You know... during all my "free" time.

Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of the Carrie Mae Mysteries, San Juan Islands Mysteries, Shark Santoyo Crime Series, and numerous short stories. When she's not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and BookBub.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Spring forward!

By Lynn McPherson

Spring is emerging and I couldn’t be more grateful for it. No matter what is happening in the world, seasons change and time moves forward. Daffodils and tulips are coming up. Beauty surrounds us in spite of the dark days.

It is a great time to discover a new book, a new series, or a new author. Have you been looking? There are so many great new stories emerging, it may be time to peruse your local bookstore—online, of course.

Independent bookstores have been working hard to meet the demands of social distancing. You may be surprised to find that many are temporarily delivering right to your door.

My local independent book seller, A Different Drummer, has closed its doors, but is providing free delivery. As a big supporter of local authors like myself, it is important to keep them in mind.

Not sure what to read? Why not check out some of The Stiletto Gang members’ new books?  With so many fabulous options, it could take a whole day trying to choose which one.

We can all do our part to help each other. If staying home and reading a book is a start, you will not hear me complaining.

Take care of yourself and be well.

Lynn McPherson has worked for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, ran a small business, and taught English across the globe. She has travelled the world solo where her daring spirit has led her to jump out of airplanes, dive with sharks, and learn she would never master a surfboard. She now channels her lifelong love of adventure and history into her writing, where she is free to go anywhere, anytime. Her cozy series has three books out: The Girls' Weekend Murder and The Girls Whispered Murder, and The Girls Dressed For Murder.