Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Flash

Happy Meal Horror

A ghost plunked gobs of worms into the All Soul's decay stew. The witch stirred her delicacy. It simmered, deadly toxins wafted through the dreary unforsaken mansion. The lid clanked. "I must slay a man tonight," she cackled. "Conjured from alleyways, an insalubrious alcoholic."

Daemons reassured her, "We'll add toadstools in one hour." She nodded, whisked her broom to the docks plucking a ripe sailor. She returned. Goblins contributed nightshade salad to the impending feast.

Brandishing razor sharp fingernails, the witch slashed her victim's neck. "Bloody rum toddies for all." Midnight chimed. Vampires raised goblets. "To death."

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Game 5 2011 World Series. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington Texas. Rangers versus Cardinals. Series tied 2-2. This is a huge game, the final one in Arlington. The stadium is a sea of red. The crowd is loud. Palpable energy. To be good, you've gotta have a lot of little boy in you. Roy Campanella.

Good pitching will always stop good hitting and vice-versa. Casey Stengel. St. Louis was up 2-0 and the crowd noise diminished. Then Ranger bats heated up, silly mistakes were corrected, pitching held it together. Talk about ratcheting tension. The plot thickened and Rangers leaped ahead 4 - 2.

Most ball games are lost, not won - Casey Stengel. Have to say, the Rangers held it together, and the Cards made some dubious moves.

Everyone on their feet. Towels waving, hands clapping, cheers and groans. World Series baseball is a whole 'nother beast.

It's the Year of the Napoli. Mike Napoli, Ranger catcher, has done everything right. Big loud home runs, zooming pick-off throws. The stadium's collective chant Napoli, Napoli, Napoli sums it up. The man behind me wore a t-shirt, ...and they lived Napoli ever after ... Let's hope that's true for the Texas Rangers as they head to St.Louis for Game 6 on Wednesday. Up 3 -2 in a best of 7 series. Drama, tension, and characters. Baseball literature is alive.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Recital : Di Wu

I'll be honest. I know nothing about classical music. Wish I'd taken a music appreciation class in college. But, the City of Bedford brought a world class Van Cliburn finalist to the Old Bedford School. Small venue. Amazing acoustics. And WOW! The young lady's fingers were a blur as she played a very French theme of her choosing. As a graduate of Juilliard, Di Wu has presence and passion. She explained our journey with the composers she chose, and it was a revelation for me.

Sad birds chirping in the trees - her fingers transformed the feelings to notes. A boat on the ocean - adrift with waves pounding and then under control. Fireworks - oh, yeah - the fingers flew for the explosion of sound. This was an extremely entertaining evening. Creativity abounded. All I can do is stand and applaud.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I wonder if Gutenberg had as much trouble with his press as I've had with my format issues for my book. Self publishing is an adventure, a challenge, and yes I do appreciate the big NY brickhouses more. However, I soldier on and (shameless plug here), I am on Amazon Kindle - My Zoo World is available for download. Print edition coming soon (fingers crossed).

Back to Gutenberg. An article caught my eye (Dallas Morning News 10/15/11 p. 14A) about Germans in Cologne who have set up free-for-all libraries. Street corners, city squares, and super markets - shelves are available and books are donated and shared. Very cool concept. No questions asked. Take a book, leave a book, read and enjoy.

The project is open and financed by donations. Volunteer groups care for the shelves. The branch manager of Cologne's Mayersche Buchhandlung book store, Elmar Muether, said, "If books are present everywhere, it helps our business, too.". It's promotion versus competition. If someone gets hooked on an author, he or she is more likely to seek out and buy other books.

Anything to promote reading has to be a positive for society as a whole. Das ist gut!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bronte: Not the Sisters

Bronte, Texas - far from the Bronte sisters' treks on the moors. No Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre here. I volunteered to help my husband at his deer lease. City girl in the country. I was "useless with an opinion." Also, I don't do gates. For those in trucks at deer leases, you'll know what I mean .

Hardscrabble land. We saw no critters. Just shadows on dirt. I liked the name of the Frosty blind. Apparently it can be a bit chilly on a November morn.

Water. That says it all in west Texas. This stick looked like a claw and I could picture a poor frontier pioneer scratching his last words. Brutal.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Book Review: Portrait of a Spy

Daniel Silva is back with Gabriel Allon and crew, in another exciting thriller, Portrait of a Spy, that spans the globe.

Just when Gabriel thinks his life is calm again, restoring a rare painting, walking the Italian coastline near his home, and loving his beautiful wife, terrorist attacks occur. The old team of top Israeli agents is reassembled, and this time Gabriel recruits a billionaire Saudi woman to penetrate the terrorist organization. Her money is the lure, but her beauty and negotiation skills prove resourceful. One more kicker, Gabriel assassinated her father years ago.

Layers of intrigue abound. Silva's writing heightens the pace and tension. You'll turn the pages, eager to root for Gabriel's crew of world weary richly drawn characters.

Portrait of a Spy captures today's world. Fortunately, the good guys (and gals) can still win.

Monday, October 10, 2011

ALCS: Rangers vs. Tigers

My writing career could be further ahead if I spent time writing instead of watching Texas Ranger baseball. But I'm hooked after last year, and they keep winning. It's stressful, heart attack producing baseball.

They conquered Tampa Bay in the ALDS. Now they face the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. We attended game one on my birthday. Aaahh - fair weather fans. We enjoyed tailgating in sunshine and blue skies. In the 5th inning we lived through one rain delay, and then left during the second. Came home to watch victory (well, Ray did. I sorta snoozed) at midnight.

It started out glorious. A sea of fans in red. Huge flag on the field. Soaring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Then the boys of summer playing in the fall. It's a cast of unique characters, tension filled moments, uneven pacing (hey, it's the Rangers), and the plot can change direction.

Re-live awesome moments and look forward to new heart palpitations.

Rangers as of Monday evening, October 10th, head to Detroit, up two games in a best of seven series. The saga continues in the Motor City - a backdrop of decay, and the largest beers I've ever seen. It could turn noir and gritty.

I'll be watching. Go Rangers!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

State Fair of Texas - 125 Years Young

Today's my birthday (and I'm not quite 125 years old). The self-publishing adventure went nowhere this week. I appear to be in format hell, and a password circle of preposterous responses on my trying-to-design-a-website project. So, the heck with it. Ray and I took vacation on Friday October 7th to visit The State Fair of Texas

Automobile building is always a must see. Nothing like a concept Corvette to get the heart racing. Write 'em a check, honey.

Cirque Shanghai - talented Chinese acrobats wowed the crowd with fabulous feats of balance and tumbling. They conquered the Texas blustery wind.

It's not the fair without a shot of Big Tex. Dressed in new duds, his booming voice welcomes crowds and describes the day's events. From dawn to dusk, enjoy frisbee catching trick dogs, pig races, Creative Arts - photos, drawings, quilts, and canned fruits & veggies, Food & Fiber Pavilion - free ice cream, USMC band, the Midway, and so much more. The grand finale for us was the Illumination Sensations fireworks/laser light/music/fountain spectacular.

Fried food heaven. Ray and I stuck with the Fletcher corny dogs, and later a funnel cake. However, the newcomer was Fried Bubblegum. It looked sweetly sickening to me. Plenty of other products for coronary thrombosis - fried s'mores, fried butter, fried autumn pie, fried margarita ... only in Texas.

2011 State Fair of Texas - 125 years and still going strong. The Art Deco buildings in Fair Park are restored gleaming gems. The Hall of State is magnificent. Kudos to the State Fair organizers for an extraordinary entertainment extravaganza.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Self-Publishing Adventure

I am a pumpkinhead. Total mush in the old brain cavity. I thought I could read and execute written instructions. Well, the Smashwords bible has proven me wrong. They said it would take approximately two hours for a conversion from Word document to the Smashwords meat word grinder. I'm on hour five with more to go. I did figure on double the number. Silly me.

Indeed, like this lily pond at the arboretum, tentacles reach into an unknown abyss causing strange formats. I've re-done some sections two or three times. Fix one thing. Ooops. Another goes awry. Fix that, and other sections are wonky. Close to tears at times, I forged on.

Why can't it line up all pretty, like this lovely arboretum display? My guess is that the horticulturist in charge sees a flaw somewhere in this display. Just like a misplaced comma, or weird line spacings, or ... argghhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'd ask this young man, but he's trying to figure out formatting too. Ha!

But seriously, I sorta figured out a cover through Createspace. It's on hold, and actually Ray doesn't care for the picture. I can see his point. We'll seek some new material Friday at the State Fair (don't ask, but it's gonna work, I swear).

In regards to Smashwords, I shall conquer it. Then onwards to my Wordpress website. For some reason, I can't seem to get the correct username/password to connect. I was in a circle of hell for hours today. No wonder computer geeks are pasty white. I can see how one doesn't emerge for days during a computer project.

This is a new author adventure. I now appreciate how easy the actual writing was to do. We have far more to discuss in this publishing crusade.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Third Prize - Bedford Library Short Story Contest

Fall. Pumpkin time at the arboretum. Also, Bedford Library/ annual author roundtable. Plus the announcement of short story contest winners.

It was a veritable potpourri of author styles. Rebecca Balcarcel - rich poetry. Sarah A. Hoyt writer under several names - science fiction, fantasy, and the furniture refinishing mysteries. Roni Loren erotic romance. She did read the family friendly version of a chapter.

Good eats. Good reads. Kick off to a fantastic fall season for authors. And ... ta da - 3rd prize for my story The Babysitters.