Thursday, September 27, 2007

Raining Salvation

Well, temporarily it was this morning. The ground was wet and cool. The concrete of the road and sidewalk glistened with a wet glossy shine. The air was refreshing, with the musky smell of damp ground and leaves. It's was very nice out, even with the rain drops thumping down as if they couldn't hit the ground quickly enough. I know that it wasn't nearly as much rain as we could've had, but it was nice to actually hear thunder this morning and the winds dancing around the house.

The leaves are out in more of their fallen glory, and the day dawned without a sunrise, only gray overcast skies and my hope was for the rain to continue to soak into the ground and replenish our drought-ridden yards and countryside.

If only we could get more of this. It makes the outdoors and everything that comes in contact with it seem more alive than it's been all summer.

Even the neighbor's horses were enjoying grazing in the rain. Nothing like showering while you have breakfast I suppose. This one here was intrigued by what I was doing down near the fence so near to her. She watched me for a long while, I suppose just as interested in why I was standing in the rain with a little shiny box aimed at her as I was by her nonchalant attitude about standing right out there in the rain. Quite the beauty don't you think?

She has other buddies that were grazing as well, as you can see behind her there, but the other was so far down in the field I couldn't zoom in any further to get her picture.

Off in the distance you can barely see a cream colored horse among the misty rains and my new friend in front of one of her commrades in the photo to the left. Horses are just so beautiful and inspiring to behold.

I almost walked down to pet her, if I could've gotten her to come closer to the fence. Instead I entertained myself with taking pictures of how awful the kids pool is. We need to clean it out, but we have tadpoles, or as my stepson called them, tadipoles. I don't think I captured any on film though, I did nudge the edge of the pool and stirred up bubbles and waves in the water that reminded me a lot of abstract art(see below).

It's been a lovely partially rainy day. I feel revived, refreshed, but look forward to more of the same weather. I just hope hubby and stepson don't get rained on tomorrow night on the Cub Scout camping trip. That would be a sight to see, but more importantly, I just don't want them turning up sick, especially hubby since he had pnuemonia last year about this time.

Hope you have a wonderfully rainy day as well!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Riding Off Into The Sunset~

Don't all great stories end with riding off into the sunset? I'm not just talking literally, but figuratively as well. When I read a romance, no matter what setting, I always look for that "sunset sky" at the end.

That's the moment you know that everything is going to be fine, that even though we don't see what happens to the characters afterward, we still know that they "rode off" into that beautiful sunset together. It's the same when I write.

There's something about that skyline that holds hope for the days to come. The dreamy feeling that all the tomorrows that follow will be filled with beauty and happiness and goodness.

I mean, who can't help but stop and stare at the canvas of wonderous natural colors that usher out the sunshine before the darkness cloaks us in it's chilled embrace? I love how the lavenders and pinks, golden oranges and brilliant lemony yellows capture the eye.

The fingertips that reach up into the evening sky envelopes us in its grasp and reminds us not to take the small important things in life for granted. It reminds us to enjoy ourselves and to remember that we live our "happy endings" all the time, though they are not endings, but new beginnings every single day.

I tend to stare at the painted heavens and wonder at the beauty that's all around us. There are so many times in the rushing around of everyday life that we forget about nature, about living, about life.

Oh, we're living life, but we take a lot for granted. We forget about riding off into the sunset. We forget to enjoy it to the fullest. Even in day to day life, everything is a blur and sometimes I forget to stop and smell the roses, to stop and take in a sunset that not only beautifies my life in a small way, but also makes me more appreciative of everything else around me.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could ride off into the sunset with the one you love? How wonderful it would be to follow that sunset west across the land, watching how the colors change and shift and soften the landscape at dusk. To catch the first glimpse of the stars as they come out to dance and shimmy in the sky. To watch the moon rise to sit above the trees. To remember what love is really all about.

I still believe in happily ever afters and I still believe that all good love stories ride off into the sunset together.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The outdoors called to me today so my daughter and I took our leisure on a blanket in the yard for an hour or so. The noise, noise, noise of the indoors just finally got to me I suppose. I couldn't think for the tumbling of the clothes in the dryer and the chatter of daughter's cartoons. I needed the escape and the peace of quiet time (albeit, my daughter still jabbered up a storm as usual.)

It's was hard to tell which direction the wind was blowing on this fine warm September day. It seemed to swirl around me, first from the south, then north and east and west. I'm not really good with the directional points of my internal compass, but I believe it's mostly coming in out of the east.

I was spying on hummingbirds only a few feet away from where I was seated on a blanket in the yard, near the feeder. There was one sitting on a tree branch, swaying in the breeze.(see photo to the left) It looked as though it was bobbing its head back and forth to the music of nature.

It's any wonder that the poor little thing was able to hang onto the branch or the feeder as breezy as it was outside this afternoon. This is one of our "bully" hummingbirds who runs off all of them when they try to come get something to drink.

My last two giant sunflowers have hung their heads, given up to the last hazy days of summer, sacrificing seeds to birds and such. I heard the cawing of crows up high in the trees, calling to one another.

The crisp leaves rustled from the branches, rolling their way across the yard and I heard the clicking and repetitive call of grasshoppers, crickets, katydids and quite possibly the last few cicadas of the season.
A butterfly bravely, and without heed, fluttered by against the wind, which had kicked up a flurry of leaves. They shuddered down, abandoned by their parental units, to die amongst their fallen brothers on the dry faded grass. Mother Oak and Father Walnut kicked them from the nest. Gone from a flourishing life lived for a short time as maturity gave way to death and a spring that will come again without them.
"Caw caw caw" and "Tickity tickity tickity" called the crows and katydids, their song an infinite melody. The sweet smell of honeysuckle mingled with the musky aroma of dead leaves and mossy woods. The breeze caressed my skin, infiltrated my senses, the air thick with the heavy perfumes of Autumn.

The sky has been tempered with a grayish blue and though the trees are still green for the most part, they know it's coming...losing bits of themselves as these days wear on.

Our state flower, the goldenrod(right), is shining in all it's brilliant glory along the fence row at the back of our yard.

My sedum, or house leek, is still blooming in beautiful white with pink tinted centers, the some of the heads already turned burgundy as they begin to die off. The little bees still love the blossoms though.

As I wandered the yard with my camera, I tried to capture some of nature to bring indoors, to enjoy and share. I was not quite quick enough to catch the orange and black and brown and blue and bright yellow butterflies that zipped by in their wild and random paths across the sky and I missed a good opportunity to capture the leaf storm that flurried down from the silver poplar behind the house. Maybe next time.

I hope that everyone is able to get out and enjoy these wonderful days we're having. It's such a sweet release from the hot and humid dry days of summer we've had this year. Autumn is feeling good, giving us the ability to spend our time in quiet contemplation and reflection. I plan to embrace these gentler days before the cold weather sets in, for I have a feeling winter's chilly breath will be breathing down our necks sooner than expected.

Plus, I hope that the quiet time will also help me open up the creative lines so that I can dig into my novels with more enthusiasm, more perspective and more clarity.

Monday, September 17, 2007

There Was A Little Girl....

Who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. And when she was good she was very very good but when she was bad she was horrid. Yep, that would be me. Little bitty, red hair, and trouble.

No, not really, but I just wanted to laugh at myself for a bit. Why, in fact, I barely recognize myself nowadays.

I was actually a pretty good kid. Very shy and unassuming. I ran and hid when we had company. I would hole up under a table with a table cloth on it or hide in another room. I was the worst kind of shy.

As I've mentioned before, my grandfather had a lot of mules, ponies, donkeys, burros and a horse. I wasn't shy about my love of those. My favorite was the horse. She was mine and for a while, she was my sounding board. Most Saturdays I would be currying her in her stall and telling her tales. Midnight Lady will never be forgotten so long as I remember her and so long as I pass down stories to my daughter. Hopefully she'll show my pictures of me on Midnight Lady to her kids and someday those photos will be in her children's and grandchildren's photo albums or scrapbooks.

I hope that my grandchildren and great grandchildren can appreciate the simplicity of what I enjoyed. I'm sure it will seem foreign to them. I grew up half in town and half in the country...suburbs meets junk yards and farm animals.

Technology is moving us so quickly into the future, it's sometimes hard to believe that it wasn't that long ago that horses were the main mode of transportation, be it on horseback or by horse-drawn buggies and such.

Yes, I can imagine how much more difficult life was back in the days of colonists and settlers, outlaws and renegades, but though times were tough, there was simplicity in that toughness.

People weren't soft like they are now. That's thanks in part to the technology we take for granted. We have been softened by it, I'm certain. We couldn't hack it nowadays without the warm fuzzy comforts of home- heating and air and fans. Without phones, televisions and computers and all the little gizmos, most people would be lost. Or at least they'd feel that way.

I usually take this stuff for granted as well, but there are times, in the quiet cool of my backyard when the traffic up and down our road is at a minimum out here in the country that I can still feel the earth's wild days calling me. I feel it in the wind that breezes past me, teasing and taunting me to run and skip and play like I did as a child. I see it in the blue skies, white skiffs of clouds, towering trees and green grass. I am tempted by the fluttering of a butterfly to give way to chase and follow wherever it may lead me.

I breath it in like it's part of me, part of who I am, for surely it is.

Saturday afternoon I traipsed around the yard while my daughter played on the swing and I felt the calm surround me, embracing me in the moment. I watched the neighbors' horses grazing just a few feet away from our property line passed the fence row. It made me want to jump the fence, hop on one of the horses and ride like the wind. To be a child of earth, wind, and air would've been like tasting the sweet honey flavor of freedom.

Freedom from all the trappings of the technology that sometimes makes my house feel like it's buzzing with artificial life from all sides. When my husband and kids are home it seems the television MUST be though it would be blasphemous and cause for beheading. I myself prefer quiet time without the radio or the t.v. That's probably why I lean toward reading books and writing.

It calms my busy soul to hear quiet....My t.v.'s off and right now I hear nothing more than the hum of the fridge, the purr of the air conditioner and the swish of the ceiling fan spinning and spinning, lulling me into a kind of serenity. They are the few technological items I don't mind listening to, so long as they aren't sputtering and clanking and grinding.

Yes, our technology is wonderful, but I do have to admit that getting lost in a novel and blocking out all the noise and confusion of modern day is a sweet release from the stress and strain of all the electrical, popping, crackling static we live with on a daily basis. It clears my head to walk away from it sometimes.

I retreat to my memories of Midnight Lady and the fairytales I told her. And when I do so, it soothes that part of me that aches for simplicity. To center myself. To find the good feelings that get muffled by the noise, the static, the technology.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Saturday morning contemplation....

Yesterday I wrote about 4,000 more on that little "story" I've been cooking. I hadn't worked on it since the other day that I wrote so much on it. Just wasn't feeling well. Sinus pressure and headache, so it was too much strain on my eyes to do any serious writing. Heck, I've got a huge pile of TBR books now and not sure how I'll get them read until my sinus pressure lets up off my eyes. I've been reading Witchling by Yasmine Galenorn and it's slow going...not because it's not good cause I'm enjoying it, but because my eyes just aren't willing to work with me right now. LOL Sinus medicine's not helping much..ugh!

I got my autographed copy of Maureen McKade's A Reason To Believe that I won over on Petticoats and Pistols. I got it on Thursday I believe it was. She had included some bookmarks and postcards with her novels on them. Thought that was really cool.

Then just a few minutes ago when I went to the mailbox, I got my autographed copy of Pam Crooks' Untamed Cowboy along with a couple of cool sparkly Harlequin pens. I won them over on P&P too. And I also got two of the four books I ordered from Amazon. The Stranger by Elizabeth Lane and Maureen McKade's other book A Reason To Live that is part of the same series as the one she signed for me.

I'm hoping I REALLY start to feel better soon, not only for my own writing's sake, but so I can get lost inside all these new books! I swear I had forgotten how addictive reading was until just a few months back. I hadn't bought new books or read anything new in a long time. I had given up my book collecting for the most part(except for keeping up with my V.C. Andrews collection) when I moved down here. Since I was staying home and not bringing in money, I never made any point of asking my hubby if he minded if I indulged in buying books from time to time.

When I was making my own money before he and I met, I would occasionally go to Joseph-Beth in Lexington and just scroll the shelves, in search of something new and intriguing to read. At the end of April of this year I rediscovered my love of books. I started out saying I was just investing in some research of what's *new* out now to find out if my ideas would fit in, but I stumbled across other books that weren't even close to my writing and I LOVED it!

Now I'm devouring books like a starving man at an all-you-can-eat-buffet. I was so out of touch. (of course, I've also said that about myself before in the past in regard to poetry. I have written a LOT of poetry since I was a teenager.)

I thrive on books, words, the smell of a new book's pages. The ink, the crisp pages and binding. I love going into Barnes and Noble. There's just nothing like it in the world to rejuvenate my senses. It refreshes my writer's soul. There's poetic justice in finding a great book that brings tears and laughter that make you connect with the characters, their circumstances and their "world." The satisfaction at the end of a book beats a lot, too. It chases away the blues and leaves you feeling hopeful about life and relationships and just everything.

How do new books make you feel? What's the best thing about them to you, as a writer or reader? Does a trip to the bookstore revive you?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sleepy Gloomy Day...

It actually looks like rain outside. Boy isn't that a change!

That has been a rarity in these parts of Southern Kentucky all summer and the dark sky has me wanting to curl up into my cocoon, wrap my wings tightly around me and snuggle down with a good book or movie.

The sky is a hazy overcast gray, tempered by cooler weather than we've had in a long time. The trees are already losing leaves and I realize we're not really that far from the onset of Autumn. The ground is damp from the light rain we had through the night and the air is filled with the smell of fall. I can feel it in my bones and it sets my senses to tingling.

I've always found it funny. I can feel the changes in weather and seasons within a calling upon my soul that things are going into a transition, a different phase and mentality. It's darker earlier in the evenings as well as for longer in the mornings. And to think we don't even change the time until the beginning of November! I can only imagine how it will be come then.

My garden is done for, as are most of my flowers in the yard and there's a great urgency in the squirrels as they bounce across our yard with a walnut pooching their cheeks out to find a good hiding spot for them, stocking up. I actually found a walnut sitting on the stand next to our mailbox. Not sure how it got there considering there are no trees hanging over. The closest walnut tree is down the road on the opposite side in our yard. I honestly don't think the nut fell from the tree and landed that far away.

And here I am indoors, thinking about how it won't be long before I start decorating for Christmas on the porch and throughout the house. It will be upon us before you know it. This year has been full of ups and downs and what a ride it's been.

I'm also thinking about my writing, of course. The excerpt from my previous blog is turning into something quite different than just a short. Yesterday I almost reached 10,000 words and today I will pick back up at the beginning of the sixth chapter. I'm trying to decide if this should be a novella or a novel. I'm not really sure. I suppose I will write and just see where it carries me.

If anyone would like to read more of it, feel free to let me know and I'll be more than happy to share it.

Have a wonderful pre-autumn day.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Chugging Along and I'm A Winner!

I finally got all of my 1st novel moved to my new "rework" file. It still needs a lot more work though to pick up the pace at the beginning of the novel. No one wants to start a book that drags along at a snail's pace. It's hard to finish a book that is sluggish.

I've noticed the change in the story's strength in the end compared to the beginning as well. The ending holds up better than the beginning. I think I know the root of that though. When I first started writing it, I was in my early 20's and one of the main plot points that affects my character was something similar to an event that had recently occurred in my life.

Of course, what happened in my life wasn't nearly as severe as what I put my character through, but when I started writing this one, it was in the hope that I would find healing and strength through my character. She's close to my heart and always will be, even if this novel never makes it into print. She helped me discover my own strengths and grew as I grew, but I still need to strengthen her beginning so that the entire novel is strong in it's own right. All the way through.

So I'm going to open that file this morning and start again and see what else I can do to make this a powerful, moving novel.

Oh and I won a book! I have been going to Petticoats and Pistols reading the western romance writers' blogs and I commented on Pam Crooks' yesterday about strange foods. She was going to give away an autographed copy of her latest book Untamed Cowboy and a couple of cool sparkly Harlequin pens to a random poster. Well, she picked me! hehehe! I CANNOT wait to get it!

Well, I'm off and gone to immerse myself in Maplewood, Ky- the fictional town my novel is set in.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Bit By the Declutter Bug

I have to agree with my friend Maddie today....sometimes the writing part of me takes a break when the clutter around me is just too much. My house needs a good top to bottom cleaning, not just a lick and a promise.

Today I washed the living room and kitchen curtains. I'm also going to make a list of things I have to accomplish each day this week..dusting and cleaning and straightening and carpet cleaning and sweeping and mopping, etc. Whether I get to it is another story! LOL

I've let it go for a while. I mean, I keep the dishes and regular laundry done up, but it's been a LONG while since I actually "cleaned" the house. I'm thinking I'll wash the curtains in our room and my stepson's room tomorrow, change bed sheets as well and then just keep moving on to each task. And maybe if I'm a good little housekeeper, I'll give myself permission to work on rewrites/revisions each day once I'm done with the task at hand. These are things I have to get done because the clutter is EATING away at my brain so that I can't seem to concentrate on writing.

In know how unexpected company usually shows up when you HAVEN'T cleaned? Well, then there's my Muse. In my mind she's sort of this finicky but graceful half-catwoman, half-butterfly and well, she's ticked at me. Her name is Amethyst. Light complexion, dark hair, violet eyes to match her name, and blue, lavender and green almost transparent wings. She says my house is too dirty and that she refuses to come pay me a visit until I get the place straightened up for her "highness."

Oh, it's not as if she doesn't bring cat dander and feather dust with her when she comes to see me, but she says that's not her problem, that a good housekeep would take care of that. LOL Mind you, I love when she visits, especially if she makes it an extended stay. But for now, she's not coming. She says I have work that needs to be done and that I need to get my butt in gear.