Halloween Adventures


I’ve been working on a short story for an anthology call that’s closing tomorrow, but I had time for a quick walk around the neighborhood to have a look at the Halloween decorations.  These are some of the pretty cool ones.  Enjoy!

This is a ghost over a garden entrance. It’ll be pretty spooky at night with all the shadows from the garden.

Ghost over a garden entrance

I found Stonehenge!  It’s down the street!

Stonehenge for Halloween

Heeelllppp meee!

Two half buried skeletons on a lawn, gravestones behind them.

Clearly waiting for public transportation.

Skeleton laying on a bench with cobwebs all over it.

Only in Washington DC…  Note the bottles of booze (which I did not see when I took the picture).

Skeleton with a couple of bottles of booze next to a sign about politics

Adventures Around the Web Octber 21-26


This week, the colder temperatures marched in, and then bounced around.  Pretty typical for DC, but it’s hard when your sinuses are going, “I’m not happy”…

Lulu the dog flunked out of CIA bomb-sniffer school because she just didn’t care

Spy dog fails classes at CIA!  Lots of very cute dog pictures for Friday.  Labs have a gentleness about them that’s just fun to look at.  Link courtesy of Day Al-Mohamed.

Serialized television has become a disease

I’ve of mixed feelings about serialization.  Early on, I did think it gave shows a continuity they desperately needed.  On the show Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, it was like the writers hit a reset button each time they wrote a new episode.  If aliens invaded the ship, it was treated as if it was the first time, even when it wasn’t.  Characters come into our lives and become something more, just like in books.  But serialization does not allow episodes to stand out.  What if the serialization for the year is poor?

Adding Tags in OneNote

This one’s a software tool I’ve been using for my research library.  I was on Evernote, but I switched over over because I don’t need extra software to confuse things.  I already had OneNote as part of the 365 subscription–why pay for a second program?  I know Scrivener had notes for projects, but I always thought research notes should be available for reuse. That’s a little hard if it’s done by project.  I also heard someone say that OneNote doesn’t have tagging.  I don’t use it myself, but the link explains to to tag.  And a photo of my research library …

A screenshot of my index pages showing headers for Ocean Liners and links underneath.

 

 

Writing in Public, Story 6, Scene 16


15 (continued)

Nikki opened her mouth to retort.

Stopped as the air chilled.

The day darkened as if a shadow passed in front of the sun.

Brian got out of the truck, pulling off his sun glasses.  People were coming out of their houses to see what was happening.

Pressure tightened its grip around Nikki.

It was hard to breathe.

The air turned tubulent. Smelled rancid.  Yellows, oranges, and black swirled up into the currents, a macabre version of Monet.

A current caught a plastic trash can and hurled it away.  Papers were snatched up by the current.

“Into the truck!” Brian yelled.

Nikki yanked at the door handle.  It was locked!

16

Before heading over to talk to Father, Randy stopped to drop Molly off inside his house.  Especially since she’d been so patient while he and Nikki were eating lunch.

He went into the kitchen to raid the dog biscuits.  He kept them on the windowsill overlooking the backyard.  The moment he touched the container, Molly started bouncing.  Barked once, to make sure he knew she was hungry.

She scuttled around his feet, so excited.  Could not wait for him to open the container.  Now, now, now!

“C’mon,” he told her, amuzement pressing at his lips.  “I do feed you.”

He fumbled in the container for one of the biscuits.  He’d have to buy a new container soon.

Molly yipped, too high.  He turned in time to see her flee into the living room like she’d tangled with a cat.

He was about to go after her when the light through the window changed abruptly.

Felt. It.

The portal.

Something was trying to get through.

Nikki.

More Adventures at the Book Sale


This week’s book sale was the big one at the library.  They have one in October and another in April.

The sale itself is located on a floor in the garage.  It’s a permanent fixture in the garage, but closed off behind a gate except when there’s a sale.  The sale was advertised as having 75,000 books!

The books:

  1. Close to Shore: A True Story of Terror in an Age of Innocence (it’s about shark attacks)
  2. Drilling Through Time: 75 Years with California’s Division of Oil and Gas
  3. Espionage: The Greatest Spy Operations of the 20th Century
  4. The Island of the Colorblind (about a place where everyone is colorblind)
  5. The Man Behind the Magic: The Story of Walt Disney
  6. Law and Order: The Unofficial Companion
  7. Looking for a Ship: U.S. Merchant Marine
  8. My Secret Life as a CIA assassin
  9. The Raging Sea: The Powerful Account of the Worst Tsunami in U.S. History
  10. Plot
  11. Shirley Jones: A Memoir
  12. Star Trek Memories
  13. Star Trek Movie Memories

I had to be creative about where to look for these books.  Military was where I found the spy books, though I don’t think they have anything to do with military.  I found the California one in the science section.  Plot showed up in the Performing Arts.

The one that caught my attention the most was the Law and Order book.  It’s just got the first 10 seasons of the show.  But in scanning through it, the book made me realize why I like the show. It’s a lot like Star Trek, and also The Orville  It presents stories that don’t always have easy answers, and often have a lot of differing opinions.  It’s entertaining and makes you think a little.

Adventures around the web October 14-20, 2017


The Washington DC weather is doing what it’s famous for: Hot, hot, cool, hot, hot, cold!  I have no heat yet, and it’s freezing!  We got frost last night.

Using Universal Links to Sell Your Books

If you’re not using these, they’re a cool discovery.  One link, and it goes to a page where all the places your book is sold are listed.  So much better than trying to track down different links!

What Makes You Stop Reading a Book?

Some different comments from readers.  I’ll put down a book because it simply doesn’t grab me for reasons I can’t explain. But I’ve also put down a book for too much dialect, which makes it hard to read; too much profanity (as in multiple ones in a few pages), because it signals a taste level I’m not going to like; and anything that happens to annoy me.  Reading is always very personal.

The Prosperous Writer’s Guide to Making More Money: Habits, Tactics, and Strategies for Making a Living as a Writer

I ran across this book purely by accident, but it talked about data analytics (what I do at work), so I got it.  I was hooked by the chapter on keywords.  I’m terrible at keywords, so I was trying out something new to see what results will be.

 

Adventures at the book sale


I went to my second book sale of the month this weekend.  This was a fluke that I discovered this one…it wasn’t at a library.

It was at the State Department!

Yes, that State Department.

I actually didn’t expect to find much. As a result of my research class, I’m looking for used books to build my research library.  My topics are:

  • Hollywood (40s and 50s)
  • the sea
  • ghosts
  • military
  • Science Fiction

Given that the books were donated by state department employees, I expected a lot of politics.  But who knows?

So hoofed it down on Metro with a backpack to carry my books.  Little did I realize how much of a challenge my trek was going to be.  The site said the sale was near the Foggy Bottom metro stop.

Yeah, wellllll…

I had show my ID to get into the building and passed by at least six police officers to get to the sale inside.  It was a pretty building for a government building, and there were historic pictures of diplomats up on the walls. Also a very cool statue outside of a man with a globe.

The sale was in a large room with an extension of a tent off the room.  Just tables with the books on top of it.  I had to look pretty carefully in different categories to find books.  Three was a section for the Hollywood type books, but I find all of the ones I bought in other areas.

I accumulated a small stack of about six of the books and one of the volunteers came over to put the books into a book check for me.  After a few minutes, the book check lady came over and asked me where I had found the spy books (2&3).  She thought they were great titles.

I accumulated more books, and by now I was hoping I could actually get them back to the Foggy Bottom Metro.  I ended up with two bags of books (we do not discuss how much I paid; I wished I’d checked the price on one book.  I would have passed on it as too much!).

Book check person commented that I had a lot of books.

Check out person commented that I had a lot of books.

Bag check person commented that I had a lot of books.  I did ask her if everyone was just buying only a few.  I’ve seen people at the county library sale get boxes of books.  She said I was the biggest buyer of the day.

I packed most of the books in my backpack and carried the partially full second back.

Guard #1-5 commented that I had a lot of books.

It was a baker’s dozen:

  1. The Final Dive: The Life and Death of Buster Crabb
  2. The Encyclopedia of World War II Spies
  3. The Catcher was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg
  4. The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea
  5. Rock Hudson: His Story
  6. Black Holes: A Traveler’s Guide
  7. The Ice Master: The Doomed 1913 Voyage of the Karluk
  8. Comet
  9. The Edge of the Sea
  10. In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whale Ship Essex (this was the higher priced book)
  11. You Must Remember this: Life and Style in Hollywood’s Golden Age
  12. The Untold Story of Getting from Here to There: Time and Navigation
  13. Exploring the Deep Blue Frontier

Uphill back to Foggy Bottom Metro.  Just in time to catch a train!  Yay!  I think I had my exercise for the day.  Now to figure out what to do with my books…

And then there’s another library sale locally next week.

 

 

Adventures around the web October 7-20


 Welcome to The Matrix: You Work for FREE & There IS No Payday

Wow.  This talks about the new way companies manipulate writers into writing for free.  It used to be for exposure because it was hard to get.  Now the tune has changed.

Write Like a Girl

Here’s How Not to Critique Romance Novels

A pair of articles on writing women characters.  I grew up wanting to see girls have a role in their own adventures besides being rescued.  I know that women aren’t as strong as men, but there’s a difference between sitting around waiting for help and doing something…anything.

Why Mary Tyler Moore’s Pants Were Such a Big Deal in the 1960s

We don’t see this as much today, but during the 1960s, TV shows had be reviewed by the studios for offensive material.  The studios were very nervous about the navels of women, how clothes fit women, and even a woman being seen in bed with her husband (this is why couples slept in separate beds in their bedrooms).  Somehow showing what the rest of the world was doing was off limits.

Truth Behind Marilyn’s History-Making JFK Dress Is Revealed As It Goes Up For Auction

Well worth looking at the video at the bottom of the article.  It’s an in-depth look at how the dress was made, and the impact on our culture and our memories of Marilyn Monroe.  My mother always liked Marilyn Monroe, so she has a special place for me (and my mother was also named Marilyn).

Adventures around the Web September 30-October 6, 2017


Story Bundle

2017 NaNoWriMo Writing Tools Bundle

As always, there’s a writing bundle in time for Nano.  I always like these bundles because the quality is pretty high.

I wouldn’t mind having either my military writer’s guide or my pantser’s guide show up in one of these…

Women in the Military Service for America Memorial Foundation

Women’s Army Corps

Women were recruited into the WACs because of a shortage of men.  They were initially on civilian status, but were later given military status.  The article gives some descriptions of the training, including how the clothes (didn’t) fit, and what it was like to be deployed.  Some things do not change, no matter the time in history!

June Rivers on Little Things

Dick Van Dyke 

The first movie I remember seeing is Dick Van Dyke’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (which I named a kitten after).  And, of course, the walnut episode of the Dick Van Dyke Show (if you haven’t seen that one, it has aliens from outer space).  This link is worth it for the video.  I’d like to be like that at 90!

Arlington County, Virginia

George Washington’s Forest

I’ve walked around all these places.  Had no idea about the mill–and I’ve walked under that bridge (though it looks better on the video. I always thought it looks like a place where you would get mugged). Have to check out the last stop and see the tree.

5 Fun Facts You Don’t Know About Me


  1. During a science fiction convention, two women and I ate lunch in the hotel restaurant with actor David Hedison (James Bond) and watched two cats play outside the window.
  2. I went to my first science fiction convention in 1976 costumed as Lieutenant Uhura and got trapped in a parking garage.
  3.  I’m a cat magnet.  When I visited my grandparents, I went outside and saw this beautiful white cat.  Started petting the cat, who acted like no one ever paid attention to.  Suddenly I was surrounded by cats!  And my grandfather hated cats.
  4. I’ve ridden in a pace car for a race.  It was just after the first Persian Gulf War ended, and a local race track in Washington State was looking for soldiers to ride in the pace car.  I went in my class A’s, and one of the guys was grabbed to join me.  I sat in the front seat and watched that speedometer.  We hit 100!
  5. The first computer I wrote a story on was a Heathkit H-89. Heathkit was known then as having kits of electronics you could put together in your house.  My father built the computer.  It was all one piece and booted off a 5 1/4 disk.  It’s hard to believe now that my tablet has more computing power than that big computer!