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Monday, April 20, 2015

Spring Nasties



Last month, I wrote how great it was that spring finally arrived. Spring also brings nasty stuff. Like rain. In moderation, rain is good. You know the old saying “April showers bring May flowers.” More rain and you have mud. With the house construction next door, the rain is washing dirt into the pond behind our houses. Of course, the pond helped that by flooding over its “bank” and when it receded dragged more dirt in. Poor ducks have to swim in all that muddy water. Too much rain and you have real floods that endanger lives and property. We’ve been fortunate that the spring flood of 2012 hasn’t been repeated here in West Michigan. Sorry, California. I wish we could send some rain to you.

Road Construction. The signs are out again. Winter is hard on roads in Michigan—as elsewhere. We know it’s spring when the orange barrels and warning signs come out. In between cussing at the delays and taking alternate routes, our mantra is “it’ll be great when it’s done.” We just have to learn to live with it.

End of regular television programming. The season for prime time shows is ending. You can see the episodes building to a crisis and you know they’re going to end on a cliff-hanger. Too bad we have to wait until almost October to find out what happens next. I used to hate the season’s end because that meant constant reruns. A whole summer of shows we’ve seen before. But thanks to the minor networks (that aren’t so minor anymore) we get to watch the new seasons of old programs or the advent of new ones. Thank goodness someone in marketing got the brilliant idea of filling the void.

Another spring nasty is the onset of allergies and the spring cold. How can a simple virus make you feel so bad? I apologize to all those people who are suffering diseases so much worse. A cold isn’t life threatening. It just makes you want to curl up and wish the world would leave you alone. I’ve only had this cold for four days. Four days when I didn’t even want to read. Me, not reading? Impossible. Yet, it was true. My eyes hurt too much to focus on words. Instead, I watched many episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise. Correction: I slept through many episodes. And took real naps—the kind where you get into bed and pulled the covers over your head. Then I slept through the night. I think I’ve stored up enough sleep to last several weeks.

Maybe it’s a good thing Hubs and I got our colds now (he so kindly shared his with me) instead of in a few weeks—when we get to meet our new granddaughter. She’s here! A few weeks early but healthy. Mom and baby are doing well. Dad can’t stop grinning. Through the wonders of technology, we’ve gotten to see her and hear her cry and laugh. She’s a real charmer.

I guess spring isn’t so nasty after all.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Authors in Bloom Hop

Dianne Venetta_AIB Logo_2015
CONGRATULATIONS TO SARAH M. WHO WON THE AMAZON GIFT CARD
Welcome to the 4th annual Authors in Bloom Blog Hop. This is my second time. Last year, I had a blast. I hope you’ll enjoy the blogs in this year’s hop. You’ll find the list of authors participating at the bottom of this post.

Spring is my favorite time of year. After a gloomy, snowy winter, seeing bits of green poking through the still brown grass and trees beginning to bud reminds me of renewal. Last spring was our first in our new house. We had no idea how entertaining the ducks would be. Talk about tame. I guess that’s what happens when people toss bits of bread to them. The best show is the duckling parade. We’ll watch those little balls of fur waddle after their mothers. As they grow, their feathers changed until you can tell the drakes from the hens. Then in the fall, those ducklings will learn to fly and they’ll be gone. All winter, we hoped they would return. The ice hadn’t even disappeared from the pond behind our house when they did. Already, our neighbors are sitting on the steps of their deck and throwing bread. Won’t be long before Hubs does, too. Then the babies will start following us everywhere we turn in the backyard.

Because winter lasted so long this year, my spring bulbs are still hibernating. Along with baseball opening day and the return of the ducks, nothing says spring like daffodils and tulips.

Happy Spring!

My only book (so far) that takes place in the spring is a romantic suspense ONE RED SHOE. You could describe it as It Happened One Night meets Knight and Day. (As you can tell, I love movies.)

When elementary teacher Daria Mason left Iowa for a writers’ conference in New York City, she didn’t expect to come home with a wounded spy. Sam Jozwiak works for a shadow agency that gathers intel vital to U.S. security. From the moment he steals digital files from a Russian Mafia kingpin, Murphy’s Law takes over. No matter how he covers his tracks, the kingpin’s assassins find him. What’s worse than getting shot in the butt? Accepting help from an Iowa tourist. Thus, begins a road trip that takes Sam and Daria cross country with the assassins right behind them.

ONE RED SHOE is available at Amazon ~ B&N ~ Kobo ~ iTunes

I will be giving away a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble e-Gift Card to a lucky commenter. For more chances to win, use the Rafflecopter below.


GRAND PRIZE
an ereader of your choice (up to $200 value)

2nd PRIZE
$25 gift card (winner's choice of ebook retailer)
available to INTL residents (VOID where prohibited by law)


To be eligible for the Grand and 2nd Prizes, you have to visit each participant and leave your email address with your comment.

Here's the list of participating authors.
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Monday, April 6, 2015

Interstellar

photo credit: IMDB


We watched Interstellar over the weekend. While I can’t say it’s one of my favorite movies, it does present an interesting premise. What if we stop spending money on space exploration and maintain the planet as is? If so, what happens if our planet becomes uninhabitable? How does mankind survive?

In the movie, Earth experiences such extreme temperatures, drought, and famine worse than the Dust Bowl of the 1930s that humanity faces extinction. A secret NASA (secret because nobody wants to spend money on space exploration when people are starving) sends a team of astronauts beyond our solar system to find an inhabitable planet. Of course, there are various crises and dilemmas. Wouldn’t be a good sci-fi action/adventure if there weren’t.

Much has been written lately about the discovery of new planets that appear to be capable of sustaining life. But it would be no quick trip to check out what telescopes and probes tell us. To get beyond our solar system we’d need either faster-than-light propulsion or wormholes (hypothetical shortcuts through spacetime). So far, we haven’t invented the former or discovered the latter.

Let’s say, scientists discover a wormhole that will let us travel to another part of our galaxy or into a different one. What would it take to get mankind to leave Earth? A global disaster? Would we see it coming? Would we heed the warnings in time? In Deep Impact (an asteroid will hit Earth), we hide underground until the Earth becomes safe again. In the movie 2012, we build an ark. But who is chosen to survive? How? A lottery? Your job? Bribes to officials?

I’ve written before about Mars One, the privately funded project to send a team on a one-way trip to establish a colony on Mars. NASA is also working on a plan to go to Mars. Progress is slow. Funding is always a challenge. If we knew that sometime in the future humanity would have to leave Earth, would we expedite that endeavor now? Or would we leave it up to future generations?

A lot of questions in this post. I love a good adventure movie. Disaster movies, not as much. But they do make me think. It’s that “what if” question that writers instinctively ask. It’s what makes a good story. But what if (see?) it’s not just a story? What if it’s real?

What do you think?