Glad you stopped by. I hope you'll stop by again for Monday Morning Musings, Meet the Author Thursday, and Saturday Sampler.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Double Duty

Since today is my regular turn at The Roses of Prose blog, that's where you'll find me. Come on over to http://rosesofprose.blogspot.com/2016/02/helping-each-other-out-by-diane-burton.html

See you here next Monday. Have a great week.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

#IWSG: Doldrums

It's the first Wednesday of a new year.  It's time for the Insecure Writers Support Group, whose mission is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! IWSG is the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh Thanks, Alex, for starting this group and keeping it going. And thanks to this month's awesome hosts:  Allison Gammons, Tamara Narayan, Eva E. Solar, Rachel Pattison, and Ann V. Friend

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.
Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

You may recognize the above from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In maritime terms, the doldrums refer to calm periods when the wind disappears. The doldrums also refer to listlessness, inactivity, stagnation. Since before Christmas, I’ve been in the doldrums with my writing. I’ve written the blogs I’m committed to, but the work on my WIP is in a holding pattern.

First, I blamed it on the six weeks I spent in Arizona, visiting my son and his family. Hubs says I have a permanent crick in my arm from holding Baby Girl so much. He might be right on that. I took every chance I got to hold her, especially since we won’t see her again until August. She called more to me than my WIP. Then I blamed it on jet lag from returning home and all that being gone for so long entails. Whatever, the doldrums have me in their grasp.

I may have mentioned before that my writing chapter (Mid-Michigan RWA) promotes our own version of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Each month we publicize our goal for the month then encourage each other on progress. This month I said I needed some butt-kicking to get my WIP back on track. Our organizer, Alyssa Alexander, gave me the first kick. But after two days, I still haven’t even opened the file.

I can support others, kick others, encourage them, but what can I do to get myself going?

Click here to find others on the Insecure Writers Support Group Blog Hop. Or go to IWSG on Facebook to see who’s blogging today.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Anniversary of a Tragedy

Thirty years ago last Thursday, I walked into my kids’ school. A television on a cart had been set up in the hall. Kids siting on the floor and teachers leaning against walls watched intently. I’d forgotten the shuttle launch was that morning. Which only shows how complacent I’d become over space launches.

For years, ever since the first rocket launch into space, I always stopped whatever I was doing and sat glued to the TV. Every channel broadcast the launches and, like millions of Americans, I eagerly watched. Then, sorry to say, the launches became almost commonplace. Ho-hum. Americans had walked on the moon—several times. The first shuttle launch was exciting, mainly because Hubs and I had taken our kids to Cape Kennedy Space Center and watched a demonstration on the tiles that covered the shuttle. But then interest dwindled. Even for me, who used to know the names of the original astronauts.

So that morning, when I saw the television, I joined the others to watch a space launch. How exciting that a teacher had been chosen to join the crew, especially that she would broadcast to classrooms from space. Then 73 seconds into the launch, the Challenger exploded. Right before our eyes.

Silence. Then gasps of horror. Followed by the realization of what had just happened. Tears and sobs. Even though 30 years have passed, I still remember the adults looking at each other in disbelief. Someone, I assume the principal, turned off the television and sent everyone back to their rooms. The teachers, still in shock, were left to deal with the children—their questions, their fears—while trying to deal with their own disbelief and grief.

What followed was an investigation with lots of finger-pointing. What happened, how did it happen, who was to blame.

Those who thought space exploration was a waste of money had more ammunition for their arguments. I’m reminded of the 2014 movie Interstellar. Because of drought and famine, all technology (including NASA) has ceased. Farming is all that matters. Forget exploration, find a cure for the drought. Ironically, only space exploration will help the inhabitants of a dying Earth.

Fortunately, we’re not that short-sighted. Space exploration continues. Our probes have found many “Goldilocks” planets (ones where the conditions are “just right” for human habitation). But the takeaway from the Challenger tragedy is that we can’t give up. In school, we learned about the voyages of Columbus, Magellan, Marco Polo, Balboa. How many early explorers perished? No idea. Certainly, many did. As horrific as the Challenger disaster was, we learn from it and continue.

RIP the Challenger crew.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Surprises & Discoveries

I found out some wonderful things over the past few weeks.

Discovery #1: when it comes to grandchildren, I am such a softie. (Not exactly a big surprise.) In interviews, I’ve repeatedly mentioned that not much can tear me away from my writing except my grandchildren. Too true. I love playing with the kiddies ages 6 and 8½. We write stories (they talk, I type); we play cards and board games. When they play dress-up in old clothes and stage “plays” Hubs and I are their captive audience. I read bedtime stories (the same I read to their mother and uncle), we watch movies together, and sometimes we just talk.

What I’d (sort of) forgotten was their younger years—when they couldn’t talk but could still
communicate. Was that ever brought home while we visited with our son and his family. Baby Girl is now nine months old and can she communicate. LOL She chatters and I wonder what she’s saying/thinking. I’m not sure which is the best—her contagious smiles or the way she lifts up her arms to be picked up with a grin that melts my heart. Or maybe it’s the way she snuggles in, so trustingly. Or the way . . . Well, I’m sure you can tell I’m smitten.

Let me tell you how this came about. We went to Arizona to celebrate Christmas with our son’s family.

Discovery #2: we have a very smart son. Smart enough to give us THE most wonderful daughter-in-law. All right, I already knew she was terrific, even before he married her. But who would insist that her in-laws stay with them . . . for SIX weeks? Granted, she and Son work outside the home, and Baby Girl goes to daycare. However, Son works at a restaurant with godawful hours. Like leaving home at 6:30 am and returning around 9 pm. So even though DIL goes to work, she’s home evenings—with her in-laws! Every evening and on the weekends!!! What a sweetheart she is to make us feel comfortable—not like company.

Side note: prior to leaving for Arizona, Hubs and I tried to find a place to rent. Son & DIL wanted us to stay with them. Repeatedly, we said we didn’t want to impose. Repeatedly, they said they wanted us to stay with them. We caved. Before we left home, though, we decided we’d take 2- or 3-day trips to give all of us space. DIL and I agreed we’d make a schedule for cooking dinner. Hubs and I figured we’d find other ways to help out, too.

What happened was surprising. During our brief trip to San Diego, I really missed them. And they missed us, too. A lot. No meal-planning schedule was necessary. We fell into a natural rhythm.

Discovery #3: DIL and I are not only so much alike, we are good friends. How rare is that? She made things so easy for us. We’ve stayed with her and Son in the past—once, before they even became engaged and back in April after Baby Girl arrived. Each time, DIL made us feel welcome. No, it felt like we were at home. How great is that?

I tried to keep to my old routine of writing in the mornings, or at least reading/answering email. But when DIL came into the family room, saying “Who wants her?” I had to trample over Hubs to take Baby Girl. Not all the time. Okay, most of the time. I think I set a world record for how fast I could make my computer disappear.

We got to see several of Baby Girl’s “firsts” while we were there. She crawled for the first time. What a whiz! Her first tooth came in (along with a second). She’s feeding herself. Granted, it’s so messy Hubs wanted to take her outside to hose her off, especially after yogurt and fruit. Like he did for our kids, he taught her the old camp song “I’m bringing home a baby bumble bee” and she repeated the motions, often. I played “Pat-A-Cake” to big smiles and giggles.

I’m not enamored with her, mind you.

My best discovery was that I didn’t miss writing. I did have posts to write—for this blog as well as guest posts and my regular contributions to The Roses of Prose and Paranormal Romantics, which are way different from writing a novel.

Now that I’m home again, it’s back to work. The third book in the Alex O’Hara PI series has percolated in my mind long enough. Time to get those ideas into the computer.