My mother loved photography. Here are two of her pictures.
She drew and painted. Here is one of her sketches done while she was in Tranquille San with TB.
My mother loved photography. Here are two of her pictures.
She drew and painted. Here is one of her sketches done while she was in Tranquille San with TB.
I have a wonderful Mother’s Day blog ready but it won’t post. I’ll see if this one will.
I spent yesterday at this great workshop.
WRITING 21ST CENTURY FICTION: Based on Donald Maass’s forthcoming book (September 2012, Writers Digest Books), this intensive hands-on workshop teaches the techniques that give multi-year best selling novels their high impact, resulting in both strong story and beautiful writing regardless of category.
Author bio: A literary agent in New York, Donald Maass’s agency sells more than 150 novels every year to major publishers in the U.S. and overseas. He is the author of The Career Novelist (1996), Writing the Breakout Novel (2001), Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook (2004) and The Fire in Fiction (2009). He is a past president of the Association of Authors’ Representatives, Inc.
Donald Maass (DM in the future) stays great stories beautifully written are the successful ones in the 21st century.
He talked about how readers want an emotional experience when they read but we often make the emotions too generic. We need to put things on the page that are unexpected yet true. He says we all tend to write safe. I know I do. Instead, he suggested we write from our own personal depths and create emotions that are powerful, genuine and authentic. One neat little trick he gave us was to give the emotion a color or a sound. I loved this.
He led us to explore what makes a compelling, captivating character (which is more powerful than a sympathetic one). His provocative statement that we are drawn immediately to the longing in a character to change caught my attention.
There were so many valuable lessons learned at this workshop. It will take me days to digest it. In fact, my notes will be used over and over as I apply the lessons to stories in the future.
One thing I appreciate so much about DM is his teachings are so concrete and accessible. As I followed him through this workshop, my understanding of the characters in my story and their deepening layers grew. I am now excited to get back to the manuscript and add these layers.
The venue was in the beautiful Red Wood Meadow and the drive there took us down the Cowboy Trail, with spectacular views of the Rockies, draped in snowy fineness.
Bliss is a day surrounded by writers in a beautiful setting learning from a great teacher.
Thanks to Donald Maass for generously sharing his insights. Kudos to Calgary Romance Writers of America for hosting his event.
Or as my hubby would say during our courting days:
‘Spring is sprung, the grass is riz, where last year’s careless drivers is.’
I love spring–the sunshine, no snow, green grass, flowers emerging, walking in shoes instead of boots, no coats–everything except except the work.
The current trend is back to growing your own food, living naturally and additive, pesticide free. Organic they call it. Work, I call it having lived this way all my life.
This green grass does not magically happen. Oh wait, it does. It’s the mowing, etc. that aren’t quite so magical.
This is the result of hours and hours of weeding. But we eat like kings all summer and winter off the results. There are days I am tempted to give it up and buy from the grocery store especially those days when I ache all over from weeding or I’m tired because it’s 10 pm and I am still freezing peas or beans. But bottom line is, I enjoy the fresh produce too much to give it up.
So I look forward to fruit,
and the vegetables.
In the meantime, I am enjoying spring–the break before the garden is in full swing.
It’s amazing to think that the pioneers in my stories had to grow ALL their food although there were some canned item available. Plus they had to haul the water in and out to process them. Everything was canned–no freezers. The water was heated on a hot kitchen stove with only the breeze through the open door to cool the room.
It certainly makes me glad for modern conveniences. It also makes me admire my grandmothers and those who have gone before.
What about you? Are you enjoying spring? What’s your favorite thing about it? What are you most grateful for in our modern world, especially in the kitchen?
The cowboy hat is recognized around the world as an integral part of “cowboy” lore and truly is the defining item of clothing amongst all western wear. In the early days, it was primarily valued for it’s function with the wide brim protecting working cowboys from the sun and rain. It was very versatile and could also be used to signal others, fan a campfire, swat a horse or pull water out of a stream.
It is not clear when the cowboy hat began to be named as such. Westerners originally had no standard headwear. People moving West wore many styles of hat, including top hats and derbies, remains of Civil War headgear, sailor hats and everything else.
1865, with $100, John B. Stetson rented a small room, bought the tools he needed, bought $10 worth of fur and the John B. Stetson Hat Company was born. A year later the “Hat of the West” or the now famous “Boss of the Plains” hat was born and the name Stetson was on its way to becoming the mark of quality, durability, innovation and beauty
The original “Boss of the Plains,” manufactured by Stetson in 1865, was flat-brimmed, had a straight sided crown, with rounded corners. These light-weight, waterproof hats, were natural in color, with four inch crowns and brims. A plain hatband was fitted to adjust head size.. The sweatband bore Stetson’s name. While only making one style of hat, they came in different qualities ranging from one-grade material at five dollars apiece to pure beaver felt hats for thirty dollars each. Stetson focused on expensive, high-quality hats that represented both a real investment for the working cowboy and statement of success for the city dweller.
There is the famous “ten gallon” hats. The term came into use about 1925. There are multiple theories for how the concept arose. Stetson said his hats had been made sufficiently waterproof they could be used as a bucket. Early print advertising by Stetson showed a cowboy giving his horse a drink of water from a hat. However, even the Stetson company notes that a “ten gallon” hat only holds 3 quarts
The durability and water-resistance of the original Stetson obtained additional publicity in 1912, when the battleship USS Maine was raised from Havana harbor, where it had sunk in 1898. A Stetson hat was found in the wreck, which had been submerged in seawater for 14 years. The hat had been exposed to ooze, mud, and plant growth. However, the hat was cleaned off, and appeared to be undamaged.
Interestingly enough, the Mounties, now famous for their dress Stetson, completed their cross-country march in a pillbox that offered no protection from the sun and rain.
There is lots of individuality in a cowboy hat.
There are numerous styles as provided by this chart from Utah-based Western wear and tack company A.A Callister .
Even creases are used to give hats individual character and to help users identify with a particular subculture. Creases and dents make it easier to don or remove the hat by grasping it by the crown rather than the brim.
For everything you ever wanted to know about a cowboy hat, check out this site. http://www.thecowboyhatguide.com/ This site is broken out into several main sections:
Buying a cowboy hat:The basics of what you need to know when buying a new hat.
Cowboy hat care: How to take care of the hat once you you get it home
Wearing and etiquette: How to wear the hat in public
Videos: A compilation of many great cowboy hat videos I’ve run across
Cowboy hat FAQ’s: A collection of questions I’ve been asked over the years
Blog: More of a news feed about cowboy hats.
So what do you think? Does a cowboy hat look good on a man or woman?
Do you know what I am grateful for? Sleep. What would we do without it? A good sleep makes the world brighter, the work lighter.
As Samuel Taylor Coleridge said in The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing,
Beloved from pole to pole!
To Mary Queen the praise be given!
She sent the gentle sleep from Heaven,
That slid into my soul.
“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”
? Ernest Hemingway
“I’ve always envied people who sleep easily. Their brains must be cleaner, the floorboards of the skull well swept, all the little monsters closed up in a steamer trunk at the foot of the bed.”
? David Benioff, City of Thieves
Sleep is a symptom of caffeine deprivation. ~Author Unknown
REASONS I LOVE SLEEP:
1. I can forget the daily problems.
A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book. ~Irish Proverb
2. Conversely, I usually think of how to solve problems as I fall asleep. I keep pen and paper by my bedside, and a little book light, so I can write down things I remember need to happen in my story.
If a man had as many ideas during the day as he does when he has insomnia, he’d make a fortune. ~Griff Niblack
3. The house is quiet (unless someone is crying or puking or going to the bathroom.)
For sleep, one needs endless depths of blackness to sink into; daylight is too shallow, it will not cover one. ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh
4. Problems seem less problematic after a good night’s sleep.
As it says in Psalm 30:5 Joy comes in the morning.
In fact, I am thinking I might have a nice long sleep right now. I think the bears have it right. They hibernate through the winter. Maybe if I sleep long enough winter will be over and spring will be here.
It amazes me to think that during the majority of the gold rush era gold was worth less than $20 an ounce. Not it’s around $1500 an ounce. It didn’t make significant increases in price until the 1970s. I wish I could lay my hands on a gold vein somewhere. Did you know they still haven’t found the source of the Klondike gold? Hmm. Maybe I should move.
But I digress. I am seriously looking for gold but in the 1800s. I have a series of stories I am considering based on a gold rush.
I’m thinking Montana. I normally don’t think of mining when I think of that state but according to a book, Montana’s historical Markers, a newspaper headline of1910 read, Mining Places Second Fiddle–For the First Time in Montana’s History Agricultural Products Take the Lead.
It is part living museum and part modern shopping. It has never been a ghost town–its residents will make sure you understand that.
Unlike Nevada City which is next door and qualifies as a ghost town restored to be a tourist attraction.
Some of Lonesome Dove was filmed in Nevada City.
Another area I am considering is Libby, Montana, in the NW, amidst mountains and stunning scenery. According to the Libby, MN official site,
Prospectors first tested the gravels of the Libby district in the early 1860s. John S. Fisher and several other men came through the area at that time looking for gold. They also named a number of the local creeks including Fisher River, Libby Creek (after Stephen Allen’s daughter Elizabeth or Libby), and Sherry Creek (after Jack Sherry), later changed to Cherry Creek. Activity increased during the summer of 1867 when a group of prospectors started placering along Libby Creek. Their success attracted as many as 500-600 men to the camp by September. Fortunes varied, however, with some making as much as $1.25 per pan while others washed only two cents per pan. Most men left for the winter, and those who stayed helped dig a ditch to bring water to some claims. While the camp increased again the following summer, the boom was brief and it was virtually deserted by the 1870s.
Chinese workers played an important role in the early placer mining on Libby Creek. In one incident, several Chinese workers were caught robbing sluice boxes of gold dust, and were driven out of the country. They lingered awhile at the rapids of the Kootenai, above the falls, to try their luck at washing gold, which is how China Rapids got its name.
I haven’t decided my destination but in the next year I will be panning for gold somewhere.
Instruments of learning come in many guises. The first thing that springs to mind is the tools of writing. Depending on one’s age, these can be as varied a slates, scribblers, typewriters or computers. Others think of musical instruments–a piano, a trumpet, or–heaven forbid, the favorite gift of aunts and uncles–drums.
But I think of a bike as being a serious instrument of learning.
I think it began the day my dad drove into the yard with a big black bike he’d bought from a neighbor. He offered it to my older-by-one-year brother. Brother got on. Dad gave a shove and off went Brother. His wheels wobbled across the rough ground but he kept riding until he circled back to Dad.
My lips deepened into a frown. Anything my brother could do, I could do. I would ride that bike too.
The bike was too big for me to reach the pedals, but not about to be deterred, I worked out a system. I leaned the bike away from me, stuck my leg under the bar and pedaled. I’m sure we were a strange sight–or would have been if I could make it work. All summer my knees had thick blackened scabs, but I was determined. If my brother could ride, I could ride. Or die trying. And eventually I did–learn to ride, that is. It was a year before my parents found an affordable bike with no bar for me to ride. In the meantime,I spend many enjoyable hours riding the bike beside me rather than under me. And I learned some life-long lessons.
Such as, anything worth doing, is worth doing to obsession.
Well, maybe that isn’t such a great lesson even if it has stuck with me through the years.
But I did learn if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And never let a little pain discourage you.
There were other lessons learned from the bike. Such as the time brother was riding down the sidewalk headed straight for me. I was ordered to get out of the way . Or Else! Being bigger and a boy, he thought I should be the one to move. I likewise reasoned that he was only a year older and boys are no better than girls so he would have to give in first. Now we aren’t really stubborn (and don’t listen to anyone who says otherwise) but neither of us was prepared to concede. I learned another valuable lesson. Don’t stand in the way of something bigger than you.
Now that I think of it, there were other important lessons. Don’t go too fast downhill. Avoid ruts. Take a leisurely pace and you can visit with your friends. Exercise doesn’t necessarily have to be torture.
No doubt about it, the bike has been a valuable tool in training me.
I’m amazed, amused and grateful for the Internet and all the information out there. It certainly makes checking facts as easy as a click of the mouse. I know I have to verify the information but it’s still so readily available. It almost makes my shelve and shelves of research books unnecessary. Not that I’m about to get rid of them. Gasp!
In the book I worked on this week I had to find the sort of hand gun a person would use in the 1880s. I chose a 44Colt Army Revolver because according to Wikipedia, “More than 200,000 were manufactured from 1860 through 1873. Colt’s biggest customer was the US Government with over 127,000 units being purchased and issued to the troops. The weapon was a single-action, six-shot weapon accurate up to 75 to 100 yards, where the fixed sights were typically set when manufactured. The rear sight was a notch in the hammer, clearly visible only when the revolver was cocked.”
(picture from Wikipedia site)
I had to research when bullets were first used and how to teach someone how to shoot a gun. All information I found on the Internet in a matter of a few minutes.
Yes, I’ve shot a gun. I know how. My father taught me and I spent many hours shooting gophers. You want proof? Here it is. You can tell I really liked the red-neck sport. lol
Do you enjoy the Internet? What things do you like using it for?
I’m trying to be patient about the arrival of spring. But it’s getting hard to appreciate the snow.
Yes, Mittens seems to enjoy the snow but honestly I’m ready for green grass and flowers.
In looking through some of my pictures I realize I have much to be thankful for. Look at the snow we dealt with after a major snow storm when I was a kid.
Nevertheless, I am anxious for flowers and grass.
How you enjoying your current season? Or are you waiting for a chance?