Monday, March 2, 2015


Just a reminder -- this terrific novel that I talked about HERE hits the shelves today.
It's a terrific read that will linger in your mind.

Two more recent reads -- children's books, courtesy of my nostalgic book-pushing friends on Facebook. HALF-MAGIC involves the discovery of a magic talisman that grants half of any wish. Great fun!

 And I am reminded that most of the best books where children are swept up in an adventure take place when the parents or guardians are absent or otherwise, preoccupied -- another argument against the helicopter style of parenting.

Imagine if Aunt Em  and Uncle Henry had been blown to Oz with Dorothy. Or if the Pevensey children's mother had come to Narnia with them. There would have be warnings and naptimes and the adventures would have died before they started.

THE GAMMAGE CUP  is a children's book about adults in a fantasy world. It has some really interesting things to say about conformity and individuality -- almost as if it were speaking to adults as well as children. 

Yesterday was balmy -- we sat outside on the porch in the afternoon and I went around straightening up all the solar lights that Bob and his leash have knocked over. There's still a fair amount of snow i the shady places but there's a definite feeling that spring may be on it's way.

To which I say HURRAH!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Friday, February 27, 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Weather Event . . .

A good time to stay in and write . . . or (groan) get the tax stuff sorted.

In the immortal words of the Beatles:

Let me tell you how it will be
There's one for you, nineteen for me
Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

Should five percent appear too small
Be thankful I don't take it all
Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

If you drive a car, I'll tax the street
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat
If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.

Don't ask me what I want it for
If you don't want to pay some more
Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
Cause I'm the taxman, yeah the taxman
And you're working for no one but me.

Exit humming . . .

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Down the Rabbit Hole with Mr. Google

We awoke to more snow and bad roads. My day rapidly became limited to taking/letting dogs in and out . . . Bob adores the snow and went off leash with John down to the chicken house  and down to the lower place.

But I'm in a hurry to get back to my writing and researching -- 
good old Mr. Google has so many answers.

A remark by Mario on Facebook, in response to my post about Civil War photographers, about the discarded glass plate negatives  being used to make greenhouses gave me an idea for a scene set some years after the war so off I went in search of more information.

said the following:

" Each photo left a negative plate, I mean a plate of glass like 8in x 10in. The question is what happen to these photo negative glass plates? 
If you go to a greenhouse built in the years following the civil war to 1900, you will find them. They were used as the glass the made up the greenhouse. The sun has faded most of the images away but if you go in the dark corners of these greenhouse, you will still see images on them from the civil war...."

But then some questions were raised as to whether this is factual. Evidently many of these glass negatives survive in collections.

Wikipedia had more on the subject:

Evidently nothing is proven.  But I'm writing fiction and it's such a lovely image, I'll probably use it -- perhaps not a whole green house, maybe just a bay window for house plants. And the wife of the disgraced Colonel will tend her indoor garden under the fading gaze of  Confederate and Union soldiers. . .

But what house plans would she tend? Mr. Google to the rescue!

Ferns, evidently, abutilon, citrus, palms, and aspidistra would have been popular.

And I learn that in the Victorian era, "houseplants became a moral issue. . . preachers and writers insisted that the beauty of nature could effectively lead people toward moral goodness. Plants provided the easy path toward salvation."

Ooh, I think I see how to  use this . . .  thanks, Mr. Google!