Thursday, February 18, 2021

Ice Storm

An evergreen encased.

     I woke up to an ice storm this morning. It has just begun, and since we've been told we'll lose power, I thought I'd post some photos while I could.

The trees are decorated in ornaments of crystal.

The view from my office.

Has the ice ruined the dogwood blooms?

Duke power predicts 1 million people
will be without power when the storm is over.
We've prepared the best we can.

Now back to typing the completed outline of a new novel into my computer.
Hopefully, before we lose power.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Winter Comes Back

 Despite what Punxsutawney Phil said and the signs of spring in the garden, winter has not given up. Like the White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia, cold has settled into the Piedmont. This morning the lake behind our house iced over. And the patterns in the ice are beautiful.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Spring Showing Her Face

 My husband is recovering from covid. Today was his first day out of quarantine, so we no longer have to isolate ourselves from each other. And giving him a good morning kiss and holding his hand again--what a joy!

It reminded me winter will end soon, even though it’s in the 20s outside. So I went outside to our garden to see if spring is showing her face yet. She is!   

A crocus trying to bloom.
A hellebore soon to bloom.
A camellia hiding beneath the bush.

A tulip pushing through the soil.
 (The tent of sticks protect it from the deer.)

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Book Review: The Emotional Craft of Fiction

This is the first time I’ve written a book review before finishing a book. In fact, I’m only a third of the way into it. But I decided to write a review already because the first third is worth the price of the book.

What is the book? Donald Maass’s The Emotional Craft of Fiction: How to Write the Story Beneath the Surface. (It was published in 2016—I wish I’d read it then.) The purpose of the book is to teach writers how to engage the emotions of the reader, which is very different than merely showing the emotions of a character. Because if we’re honest, we’ve all read novels whose characters experience a major crisis and our response is…a yawn.

So how can we turn a passage from a yawn into a gripping scene?

Unlike many how-to books, Maass does more than tell his readers what needs to be done. He includes examples from published novels whose authors range from Avi to Bradbury to Stephen King to Harper Lee. These examples contextualize the lessons and show writers how to use the techniques successfully. And at the end of each section, Maass provides bullet points of questions and exercises to help a novelist incorporate these techniques into their own work.

I could go on, but honestly, I want to get back to reading the book—and taking notes, which I probably haven’t done since college.

Bottom line, buy the book. Here’s a link.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Painting Vacation

On vacation, my husband and I painted--our staircase, our bedroom, and our living room. Then, he began painting "for real."

He's a gifted watercolorist. (I love being his model.) Recently, he finished the watercolor below. My only regret is I don't have a better camera on my phone--the photo falls far short of the original.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

 Image may contain: text that says 'WESTPORT WRITERS WORKSHOP' 

Here's a great opportunity to learn more about creative writing!

Introduction to Creative Writing:

Beginner to Intermediate

Join us on Zoom this fall for a lively, interactive study of creative writing and critique with Adele Annesi for the Westport Writers’ Workshop. For more, visit Westport Writers’ Workshop.

I know Adele Annesi personally. She's a great writer and teacher with lots of experience in helping writers take their work to the next level.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Book Review: Children of Wrath

Children of Wrath by [T.A. Ward]This novel was a powerful thriller!

When you read a thriller, you expect suspense, anxiety, and a quick pace. This bio-terrorist thriller had all that, but it had even more—it had characters I loved. Ethan and Liz are a deftly nuanced couple who find and decide to love an Inexorable (a psychopathic child who wants to destroy them). And as they face the ramifications of that decision, the tension builds between Ethan and Liz, especially as Ethan searches for a way to heal their son and discovers others will stop at nothing to prevent it. In the end, a cure might cost their very lives.

Children of Wrath is a definite five-star novel, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.  

To see the novel on Amazon, click here.


Five years after working triage during America’s terrible Day of Destruction, Philadelphian Dr. Ethan King wants nothing more for himself and his wife than a normal life. In the aftermath, however, life is anything but normal. The mysterious nerve gas unleashed during the nationwide terrorist attack has left its disturbing mark among the millions of victims, namely brain abnormalities in unborn children. These children, dubbed Inexorables, live up to their name: they are ruthlessly violent, irrepressibly psychopathic—and incurable. They kill without thought or remorse, and inflict torment on their victims with childish glee.

In his pursuit of a normal, peaceful life, Ethan tries as best he can to put these grim realities to the back of his mind. But one cold night, when he comes face to face with an abandoned Inexorable freezing to death in the snow, he must make a choice that could cost him everything, and unravel a thread of dark woven secrets. As he races to find a cure for whatever is creating a generation of doomed children, Ethan discovers that doing the right thing in an evil world is never as clear and easy as it seems.