Another Reason For My Absence

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A new arrival on February 11, Elias James. ‘Nuff said!

Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village

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I am re-posting this from Maureen Johnson, who writes on CRIME READS and who has this warning for all fans of Midsomer Murders. I found it on Nicholas Rossi’s blog.

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It’s happened. You’ve finally taken that dream trip to England. You have seen Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Hyde Park. You rode in a London cab and walked all over the Tower of London. Now you’ve decided to leave the hustle and bustle of the city and stretch your legs in the verdant countryside of these green and pleasant lands. You’ve seen all the shows. You know what to expect. You’ll drink a pint in the sunny courtyard of a local pub. You’ll wander down charming alleyways between stone cottages. Residents will tip their flat caps at you as they bicycle along cobblestone streets. It will be idyllic.

Unless you end up in an English Murder Village. It’s easy enough to do. You may not know you are in a Murder Village, as they look like all other villages. So when you visit Womble Hollow or Shrimpling or Pickles-in-the-Woods or Nasty Bottom or Wombat-on-Sea or wherever you are going, you must have a plan. Below is a list of sensible precautions you can take on any trip to an English village. Follow them and you may just live.

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PLACES TO AVOID

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The village fête

The village fête is a fair, a celebration on the village green. They toss coconuts, judge cakes, drink tea, and whack toy rats with mallets. It’s a nice way to spend a summer’s day and thin out the local population, because where there is a fête, there is murder. If you enter a town while the fête is happening, you are already dead. The tea urn is filled with poison. The sponge cakes are full of glass. There’s an axe in the fortune telling tent. The coconuts are bombs. It’s like the Hunger Games, but dangerous.

You can read the rest at:     It’s hilarious!

Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village

A Thank You to My New Followers

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I’ve been the beneficiary of a number of new followers in the last few months. Since I can’t thank them individually (as you know I am STILL editing my book), I decided I would tell you about them as a way of giving them a group hug.

                                        THANK YOU!

Abe Box Blog at https://abebox.wordpress.com/    A site about naturopathic medicinehttps://itinerant-scribe.com

RamblingGrandma – I couldn’t find her web site, but I think her for following me

https://eluminoracreations.wordpress.com a blog site whose author writes short stories, poety, reviews books and a talented pen and ink artist

Diego D. Loamx at https://ddlomax.wordpress.com who describes himself  as a child of the 80’s, a teenager of the 90’s, and a huge fanboy; a hopeful writer who has created a trilogy called Dream of Dragons.  I know some of my blog followers might like his books.

https://lifenvi.science.blog/ created in 2019 and covers broad topics such as science, economy, politics, entertainment, culture, and how they relate to the climate change (climate crisis) issues – and eco-conscious living.

https://violatogon.wordpress.com created to create awareness in its followers about living with epilepsy

https://eproductresearch.com which researches the best online shopping websites in India (Barb Taub might like this one!)

MJ on https://mjquotes.blog Inspirational quotes and writing

https://sivuyiledaniel.wordpress.com/ whose author is Sivuyile Daniel,a South African author of Rough Diamond in the Rain, music teacher and founder of Eight Notes Academy

Brainy Janey at https://anticipatience.home.blog  This blog specializes in book reviews – some pretty good ones from the looks of it. You might want to visit.

Rain Alchemist at https://creativepoetrycollection.com/ Its author is Vinayak and writing has been his passion from a long time. There is a collection of his poems there, quite lovely.

Abigail Mercy at https://abigailmercywrites.wordpress.com is a writer from Ghana. Her blog is also entitled Black Ink, and concerns technology, motivation,travel, and politics accompanied by some spectacular photographs.

Lou des Anges at https://spacetimebae.wordpress.com writes a very popular blog called Space Time Bae filled with poetry. She describes herself an insatiable poet, who likes writing, feeding her brain, cooking vegan recipes, nature, ducks, road trips, listening to the same song until her soul can’t take it anymore, funny people, authenticity, and throwing her soul into the cosmos.

Jehanne at https://itinerant-scribe.com. Her blog is a lot like mine, with offerings in history, events, family, and travel along with calligraphy, illumination, materials and tools (these last are not found in mine). Great medieval illustrations!

R Duncanheart at https://heartsshare.blog/  who is the wife of a Software Engineering Director, mother of 3 grown daughters and recently a grandmother. She has a degree in Business Administration focusing on Organizational Management, and enjoys writing to encourage others with epilepsy and other chronic illnesses/ disorders to which she can relate.

paris100@orange.fr

Frank at https://frasecillas.com He write in Spanish and if my translation is correct his blog contains phrases, poetry, short stories and other writings.

Jack Black at https://jackblack.home.blog – a new blogger just blogging about his life.

Urban Vyass blogs at https://maharajagar.com. For more than ten years, he got around on a boat, but now he gets most of his utilities by magic just like everyone else who lives on land. He has published a book The Beginning: A Multicultural Tale of Transformation (The Maharajagar Book 1), a mash up of adventure, metaphysics, science and history. It sounds pretty interesting.

I come up for a breath and the cover reveal!

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My Scottish Gaelic class is challenging and when I’m not struggling with verbs and learning vocabulary, I am on a third edit of my book.

Here is a picture of the final, wrap-around cover:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And a teaser – an excerpt from a chapter in The Last Pilgrim, when the Plymouth colony is hit by a well-documented and destructive hurricane. I wrote this from personal experience, knowledge, because my family hunkered down in the living room when Hurricane Hazel passed over Plymouth, including  – if I remember the event correctly – the  eye.

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A great storm buffeted Plymouth in late August of that year. It began with a darkening of the sky with huge clouds rolling by at great speed, followed by steadily increasing winds. In anticipation of the storm, we drew buckets of water from the well to drink and brought our goats and the chickens inside along with their feed. We left the pigs and our new cow to fend for themselves. Soon the fierceness of the wind confined us within the house. We gathered by the hearth as the noise of the wind increased to where we couldn’t hear each other speak, and streams of air blew in through cracks and under the door.

How was Thomas? Where was he? I feared for his life with each buffet of wind that shook the house. We heard the ripping of splintering wood as the clapboards of our roof tore off. I wondered if the thatched roofs of some of our neighbors would survive at all.

Joseph cried out with the quakes of the house, and I tried to distract the children with stories from the Bible. We took turns praying for salvation. After some hours of terror, when the winds had calmed a little, Master Bradford ventured out, even as his wife implored him not to. He returned visibly shaken by what he had seen, telling us the water along the ocean shore was many meters higher than normal, and enormous waves pounded the sand. He had had to pick his way there, so many trees had fallen. This exited the boys and they pleaded to see for themselves, but Master Bradford settled them with a thunderous, “No!”

The winds then increased again, and until the storm passed, there was little to do but milk the goats and make sure the chickens were fed. Eventually, after a hasty meal of cornbread and dried meat, the children fell asleep, and eventually the rest of us did as well. During the night, we heard a crash when as part of our chimney fell into the fireplace, wind sweeping from the chimney hole into the house along with some rain. Master Bradford told us there was nothing we could do about it and to go back to sleep. Still, I slept fitfully, waking often with the noise of the wind and the fearful thought that Thomas may not have survived.

 When we arose the next morning, we walked out into a new world. Now longer did a palisade surround the farm, and the chicken house and lean-to for the goats, along with most of the fencing, had disappeared. The cow and the pigs were gone. Mistress Bradford’s garden lay flattened, and in the distance we saw the naked roots of many overturned trees. Pine trees had broken off at various heights. The roof had sustained serious damage with the loss of clapboards, and of course most of the chimney was missing. Viewing this destruction made us even more grateful for our survival. Before breaking our fast, we knelt and gave thanks to God for keeping us all safe.

Mistress Bradford expressed some unease about cooking over the hearth with the chimney gone, but her husband reassured her it was possible. After the boys removed what had fallen into the hearth, she lit a fire, but it generated so much smoke in the house that we all fled outside, coughing violently. After that, she had the boys build a fire-bed in the yard. Thomas Constant brought out the iron tripod from which to hang a large kettle, along with the smaller kettle with legs and a flat fry pan to place on the coals. For the next few weeks, rain or shine, this is where Mistress Bradford cooked, until the chimney was rebuilt.

Thomas Cushman arrived right after we ate our first meal cooked outside. He was out of breath and anxious, but broke into a smile when he saw me unhurt. He wrapped me tight in his arms, right in front of Mistress Bradford, telling me, “Thank God. I prayed you were unharmed and came as soon as I could.”

“Tsk,” I head from my mistress. “Did you not pray for us too, Thomas?” She smiled broadly as she said this. “And you should be more reserved in your affections in public.”

“I’m glad to see you all are well,” Thomas quickly replied. “And I will.”

“Have some food. You must have set out early to be here so soon.”

“Thank you, Mistress Bradford. I’ve not eaten since yesterday morning.” Taking me aside, he brought me close to his chest and whispered, “I feared for you, Mary. I didn’t sleep for worrying.”

His words had my emotions soaring. “You was worried for you as well, Thomas. But thanks be to God, we both survived.” I reached up and touched his cheek in affection.

After Thomas had eaten, the governor announced he was going to the Plymouth settlement to see how it had fared. Thomas proposed to go with him and promised they would return before nightfall. The governor had dragged the boat far up the bank when the storm first began, and it and its sail had survived, so we all went to the river bank to watch as Thomas rowed the boat down the swollen river and raised the sail.

Nathaniel, young William, and Constant and Thomas Southworth then left in search of remains of the palisade, fencing, and chicken shed. When they returned with some of it, they told us the wood had been scattered over a half mile. Nathaniel looked for the cow while the Constants looked for pigs, and after some hours they returned, herding the spooked and dirty animals into the yard.  I couldn’t imagine how and where they had survived. Mistress Bradford, Mercy, Elizabeth, and I spent the day cleaning the garden and yard of smaller branches and twigs to the tune of Elizabeth’s fretting over having no place to bake bread. The larger branches we encountered would need the strength of Master Bradford and Thomas to be cleared.

When the men came home that evening, they appeared very shaken. As we ate our evening meal, the governor told us, “The town has suffered terrible damage. A large number of houses have been destroyed and the roofs gone from others. The power of this storm left a long stretch where all the trees are down, like a wide open road.”

We realized again how good God had been to us. We could rebuild, and no lives were lost.

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Looking to have the book out by March. Preorders will be up on Amazon soon.

I’ve got my nose above water but that’s all

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Happy New Year to everyone and failte oirbk back to my blog.  That’s welcome in Gaelic.

I decided to take a class in beginning Gaelic at UNC and I must say the first class was daunting. It’s a challenge to find the significant amount of time each day required to  master the pronunciation and vocabulary. I’m just auditing but the class is full of linguistic majors who are very quick learners. Why did I do this?                                                                   I am nuts!

At the same time I am doing two edits of The Last Pilgrim – now finishing up the last third of the book following comment from my editor (thank you, Alison Williams)  and going over it yet again before I send a few chapters at a time to my copy editor.

So I’ve sort of dropped off the radar….sorry. I do read blog posts but have so little time to comment, even when I’m itching to do so.

I will post another clip for you to read shortly, but in the meantime, here is the beginning mock-up of the cover, FYI.

You may hear a HELP! from me soon!

Wishing you the peace of the season

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This is my favorite story of the birth of Christ. It is the Gospel of St. Luke, and I have heard it so many times I can recite it by heart. This Gospel fills me with peace and joy.

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In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

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Wishing you all the peace and joy of this season, no matter your religion.

Ani’s Advent Calendar 2019 ~ An Indie-Ani Christmas?

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I am re-blogging this from Sue Vincent’s blog, Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo:

Sue has a really charming dog named Ani, with whom hundreds if not thousands are in love. Ani writes books and posts, so check her out!

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Dear Santa, here’s my Christmas list,
It’s just about that time,
And as an Indie writer
Thought I’d submit mine in rhyme.
I know you’re overworking
And your mailbox must be full,
So maybe a poetic list
Might have that extra ‘pull’?

….You can read the rest at:

Ani’s Advent Calendar 2019 ~ An Indie-Ani Christmas?

Available from Amazon UK , Amazon US and worldwide for Kindle and in Paperback.

Happy Thanksgiving to All

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Happy Thanksgiving, all y’all. I am here in Utah where the snow is coming down heavily, a snow bomb, apparently. We made it here on Tuesday when it was just spitting a few flakes, and my daughter and son-in-law came in at midnight last night, via Denver!, just before the dump started. We are visiting my son who is posted to the university here.

The snow is lovely and we rented a four wheel drive vehicle, so getting around is easy.

Growing up in Plymouth, I have always felt this particular holiday is special. During the writing of my new novel, The Last Pilgrim – the story of the longest living passenger on the Mayflower – I got to read a lot about how the native populations were treated by the settlers from England, the Netherlands and other European nations. At that time and with their customs, these immigrants did not see how devastating their settlement would become to the tribes of New England.

John Carver, the first governor of the Plymouth Colony, made a treaty with the sachem of the Wampanoags, Massasoit, of mutual defense for both the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags – which last fifty years. But during that time, many offenses against the natives occurred both in the expanding Plymouth Colony and the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Eventually, this resulted in King Philip’s War, begun by Metacomet, Massasoit’s younger son. So writing this book gave me a somewhat different view of the time – through my modern eyes.

History is what it is – you cannot change it, only understand it. The Pilgrims were helped in many ways by the Wampanoags during their first year on the New England coast, and a feast of thanksgiving was celebrated by both groups. Governor William Bradford gave thanks to God for their survival and for the many gifts the Pilgrims were given by the Wampanoags.

So that is how I see Thanksgiving today. A time to celebrate, give thanks to whatever Supreme Being a person worships for the life and gifts they have been given. Being an American, I realize those gifts are many, deriving from the doughty group of men and women who came here on the Mayflower but also from those people who already lived here.

Jean Leon Gerome Ferris’s 1912 illustration, The First Thanksgiving, 1621

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

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The month of November is a time for remembrance with Veteran’s Day, but there is another early November date that resonates with me, thanks to Gordon Lightfoot.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they called Gitche Gumee

The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy

With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty

That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the “Gales of November” came early

The SS Edmund Fitzgerald was a freighter on the Great Lakes, which sank in a Lake Superior storm on November 10, 1975, taking with her the entire crow of 29. She was the largest ship on the Great Lakes at the time, and she remains the largest to have sunk there.

The Edmund Fitzgerald carried set records for seasonal hauls of taconite iron ore from mines near Duluth, Minnesota to iron works in Great Lakes ports, often breaking her own previous record. Her Captain, Peter Pulcer, was known for piping music day or night over the ship’s intercom while passing through the St. Clair and Detroit between Lakes Huron and Erie and entertaining spectators at the Soo Locks between Lakes Superior and Huron with a running commentary about the ship.

 Carrying a full cargo of ore pellets, she embarked on her ill-fated voyage from Superior, Wisconsin, on the afternoon of November 9, 1975. En route to Detroit, the Edmund Fitzgerald was caught in a mighty storm on Lake Superior, with near hurricane force winds and waves up to 35 feet high. Shortly after 7:10 p.m., she suddenly sank in Canadian waters 530 feet deep, about 17 miles from Whitefish Bay, a distance Edmund Fitzgerald could have covered in just over an hour at her top speed.

No distress signals were sent before she sank; her Captain’s last was, “We are holding our own.” Her crew of 29 perished, and no bodies were recovered. The exact cause of the sinking remains unknown, although it has been conjectured that the Edmund Fitzgerald may have been swamped, suffered structural failure or topside damage, run onto a shoal or suffered from a combination of these. Underwater exploration of the ship found no bodies, but the pellets of taconite ore are still visible in the hold.

The sinking led to changes in Great Lakes shipping regulations and practices that included mandatory survival suits, depth finders, positioning systems, increased freeboard (the distance from the water line to the upper deck), and more frequent inspection of vessels.

Gordon Lightfoot’s song contains a few artistic omissions, errors and paraphrases, which Lightfoot has changed over the years. The words and the music convey the deep sense of tragedy.

Here is the song:

 

 

Out now! Doggerel: Life with the Small Dog… posted by Sue Vincent

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I dream of literary heights,
Of poetry and fancy’s flights…
Of philosophical debates
And tales the inner heart relates.

She dreams of tennis balls in flight,
Of sneaking cuddles in the night,
Of muddy walks and open gates
And chicken filling all her plates.

You can read the rest at:

Out now! Doggerel: Life with the Small Dog…

Can’t wait to read this!