Friday, August 29, 2014

Overheard #293

"The instructor already sent about six emails saying that if we missed one homework assignment we'd be banished to the shadow realm."

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Catching the Light

This morning while I was making muffins, my husband told me there was light on my plants. The light patterns in our yard change quickly due to the dense tree cover, so still wearing my cooking apron, I grabbed my camera, slipped my feet into my husband's boots (that happened to be by the sliding door) and went out to see what I could get. Tiptoeing through the tulips in my husband's size-13 hiking boots isn't easy, but the morning light on the caladium was worth it. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Overheard #292

"Focusing on yourself is hard on everyone involved."

Friday, August 15, 2014

First Lines

Recently I was tagged in a Facebook game that challenged writers to post the first lines of the first three chapters in their work –in-progress then name other writers to do the same. I didn't play because I have a personal rule about not doing chain-letter type things. But I did examine the first lines of the chapters in my new project. They needed work.

It’s easy to begin a chapter with the time and place and a description of what the character is doing, but this game got me thinking about sentences that I wouldn't mind posting for all of cyberspace to read. Several of my first lines could be modified to become more compelling. A dull first line gives busy readers a chance to put the book down.

There is much written about ending chapters with a cliffhanger, a poignant moment or an unresolved subplot. That’s great, but an interesting chapter ending is only half the job. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Overheard #291

"If you're not interrupted at least ten times, you're not really talking." 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Choosing Favorites

Recently, a gardening survey asked me to name my favorite plant. That’s difficult because I think hard about all my garden purchases. Between the shady conditions in my yard and the abundant local fauna, very few plants survive here. I considered naming something brief and showy like a stargazer lily, or something romantic and rambling like deep purple clematis. Perhaps my favorite plants are the reliable foundations of my flowerbeds, like fairy roses, that produce pale pink blooms all summer while their brighter companions have a moment of glory then fade. The appearance of many plants is enhanced by what is growing next to them.

A few days later, I found an online form that asked writers to post their favorite sentence in their manuscripts. Every sentence in my manuscript has faced numerous revisions. Only the necessary survive. Should I choose a straightforward hook or a poetic enticement? Some sentences provide necessary structure. Every sentence relies on the ones around it.

In the end, I took different approaches. For the garden survey, I chose a reliable steady-bloomer, and for the literary questionnaire, I used a poetic enticement. Perhaps I would make different decisions if asked again. 

Monday, August 4, 2014


I probably should have used this as a mystery photo, but I already posted it on Facebook as my cover picture and spilled the beans about what it is. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Last winter in the depths of the polar vortex, I mushed the dogsled to the trading post to get supplies. They had a garden display that caught me hook, line and sinker. I bought fourteen caladium bulbs for $10. When I got home, I researched caladium and learned the bulbs cannot be planted until the ground temperature reaches 60o. I put the bulbs in a plastic bowl and settled in to wait five months until the frozen Michigan turf warmed. During that time, my husband almost threw them away, thinking they were spoiling food. 

I planted them a couple weeks into June and waited. At first, only one came up. I thought it was an expensive annual. Then a few more sprouted, and a few more. One even produced a flower. They look gorgeous among the ferns and astilbe. Next winter, I’m going to start them inside, so I have a longer time to enjoy them.