Giving Thanks 2014 Edition

I have so much to be thankful for in my life that most of the time I just thank God for blessing me. But as our yearly holiday approaches, I wanted to thank a few folks in my writing community:

  • FWC:
    I joined Fayetteville Writing Circle this year and have gotten to know some wonderfully talented and supportive writers. They have helped me see my writing in ways I never would have noticed on my own. And I’ve read some fantastic stories written by them which has helped me grow as a writer. I’m thankful this group is in my life and I pray we’ll continue to be supportive of each other for years to come.
  • PRA & PNW:
    Winning the OCW Poet Laureate Award in 2013 gave me confidence to continue my pursuit of excellence in poetry. I joined Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas and the local branch, Poets Northwest. It’s been a wholly new experience for me to hobnob with others who feel as passionate about poetry as I do. I’m thankful to be a part of these organizations.
  • Staci Troilo:
    I met Staci Troilo at the 2012 Ozark Creative Writers Conference and immediately liked her. We didn’t really get to know each other until the next year, but once we did she quickly became one of my favorite people. She’s also one of the most talented writers I’ve ever known personally and with her help, I’ve edited a few mediocre stories and turned them into very good ones. She’s been a blessing in my life and I’m thankful God put us in the same place at the same time.
  • Annie Neugebauer:
    Annie is a treasure. I’ve never met her personally, but we follow each others’ blogs and she is consistently kind and helpful. Sometimes I wonder why I blog at all and then she’ll leave a comment and I’m reminded that it’s worth the hard work. I’m very thankful to have Annie in my virtual writing community.
  • Tonya & Missy in Florida. Tonya had just finished Basic Training for the Navy.

    Tonya & Missy in Florida. Tonya had just finished Basic Training for the Navy.

  • Tonya Baker:
    Tonya and I have known each other since we were teenagers. She’s been my best friend through thick and thin and was my first writing fan (she’s a poet herself). 98% of what I write she sees and she doesn’t hesitate to tell me when something doesn’t work. She’s equally generous with her praise. The thing about Tonya is, she sees the bits and pieces of me in my stories no matter how thoroughly I distort them to fit the narrative. 30+ years of friendship and she still loves me. I’m very thankful this woman is in my life.

So, what or who are you thankful for this year?

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Posted in Arkansas Writers, FWC, Melissa 'Missy' Frye, Networking, NWA Writers, Ozark Creative Writers, PNW, Poetry, Poets' Roundtable of Arkansas, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Reader Opines: When by Victoria Laurie

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When by Victoria Laurie
Expected Publication: January 13th 2015 by Disney-Hyperion
Genre: Young Adult | Thriller | Paranormal
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Have you heard the saying my eyes are bigger than my stomach? I hear it a lot during the holidays. Friends and family load their plates with food because it all looks so good and then can’t eat it all. I’m that way about books. I go nuts in bookstores, libraries and at Netgalley. You could call me Veruka Salt when it comes to books. I want it all and I want it now. In an attempt to control my book acquiring urges I’ve limited my Netgalley requests. But When by Victoria Laurie intrigued me so much that I couldn’t resist.

Summary taken from Goodreads:
Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters. Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father’s premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one.

Forced by her alcoholic mother to use her ability to make extra money, Maddie identifies the quickly approaching death date of one client’s young son, but because her ability only allows her to see the when and not the how, she’s unable to offer any more insight. When the boy goes missing on that exact date, law enforcement turns to Maddie.

Soon, Maddie is entangled in a homicide investigation, and more young people disappear and are later found murdered. A suspect for the investigation, a target for the murderer, and attracting the attentions of a mysterious young admirer who may be connected to it all, Maddie’s whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it’s too late?

Can you imagine knowing the exact day your loved ones will die years before it happens? With one look you could see the date and yet have no idea of the how or why. What a burden! How eery!

When is a credible story. Truly. Victoria Laurie has written a tale in which I could easily suspend my disbelief and become engrossed in its unfolding. The plot consistently pitted red herrings against the culprit leaving doubt and certainty to dance around the perimeter of the story.

The characters are well-developed and easy to identify with, even Maddie who possesses this strange ability. They are everyday people experiencing extraordinary events, sometimes reacting badly and other times being their regular old nasty selves. I became emotionally invested in the main characters with ease, however no one gained my full trust until the climax.

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Warrior Wednesday: Pvt. Sherman Lee Baker #NeverForgotten

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Pvt. Sherman Lee Baker

January 23, 1921 to July 6, 1944

Sherman Lee BakerToday’s warrior is my uncle. He was a U.S. Army, Private, in the 508 Parachute Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division, Company F.

During the D-Day invasion (6 Jul 1944) Baker and his Company was dropped on the Cherbourg peninsula, Normandy, France. The 82nd was to seize the bridges and halt an advance from the west. The pilots were unable to drop the paratroopers precisely as planned. The 101st Division suffered great losses. Only one sixth of the men reached their destination points. The first regiment of the 82nd Division fared better, but the second suffered heavy supply losses — much of the division was left without sufficient arms.(My Uncle Sherman was shot on his descent) Still, both divisions managed to form smaller improvised squads, and organized themselves to wage a fight. By 0430, the 82nd had captured the town of Ste-Mere-Eglise.

Though Sherman was shot on his descent he lived until July 6th. My grandmother (who was his step-mother) received a letter from him while he was in the hospital. Unfortunately, my grandparents’ home burned and the letter was just one of the treasures lost. I’ve often wondered if he wrote the letter himself or if a volunteer helped him.

If any of the information I’ve shared is incorrect or you have something to add, please comment or contact me through the link in the top menu or button on the bottom right of your screen. Verification of facts are always welcome.

The protagonist of my WIP is a physical therapist who works with wounded vets. Through my research I’ve discovered patriots that leave me awe-filled, many of whom gave their life for their country. If I’ve learned only one thing, it is that these soldiers don’t do what they do for notoriety, they love their job, their country and their brothers (and sisters) in arms. I encourage you to do a bit of research on these warriors, but keep in mind that initial media reports often contain unverified information and for security reasons many details of operations are never revealed.

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Poetry: Love After Love by Derek Walcott read by Tom Hiddleston

Love After Love by Derek Walcott
read by Tom Hiddleston

Love After Love
by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

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Warrior Wednesday: Second Lieutenant Charles W. Parker #NeverForgotten

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Second Lieutenant (Infantry) Charles W. Parker

Distinguished_Service_CrossAwarded for actions during World War I

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Second Lieutenant (Infantry) Charles W. Parker, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with Company L, 371st Infantry Regiment, 93d Division, A.E.F., near Ardeuil, France, September 29 to 1 October 1918. Severely wounded in the foot, 29 September Lieutenant Parker remained on duty and ably commanded his platoon until 1 October 1918.

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 21 (1919)
Action Date: September 29 – October 1, 1918
Service: Army
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Company: Company L
Regiment: 371st Infantry Regiment
Division: 93d Division, American Expeditionary Forces

Source: Military Times

If any of the information I’ve shared is incorrect or you have something to add, please comment or contact me through the link in the top menu or button on the bottom right of your screen. Verification of facts are always welcome.

The protagonist of my WIP is a physical therapist who works with wounded vets. Through my research I’ve discovered patriots that leave me awe-filled, many of whom gave their life for their country. If I’ve learned only one thing, it is that these soldiers don’t do what they do for notoriety, they love their job, their country and their brothers (and sisters) in arms. I encourage you to do a bit of research on these warriors, but keep in mind that initial media reports often contain unverified information and for security reasons many details of operations are never revealed.

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7 More Interjections and Their Origins

It’s November and I promised more interjections this month. So, here are a few found in Zounds! A Browser’s Dictionary of Interjections. If you missed out on the previous posts about interjections you can find them here and here.

"Ch 1 Gulliver Grandville 08" by --Immanuel Giel 13:40, 30 April 2007 (UTC) - etchings for Gulliver's Travels by Grandville. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Ch 1 Gulliver Grandville 08” by –Immanuel Giel 13:40, 30 April 2007 (UTC) – etchings for Gulliver’s Travels by Grandville. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Hekinah Degul!
If you have read Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift you probably heard/read this interjection. It was shouted by the Lilliputians as they assaulted and tied Gulliver to the ground. According to Paul Odell, Hekinah Degul! is Lilliputian for “What the Devil!” Page 79

imbars bidbib
During WWII, British soldiers used this acronym for “I may be a rotten sod, but I don’t believe in bullshit.” They probably refrained from using the term in front of military superiors. Page 98

Jiminy Cricket
Most of us know that Jiminy Cricket is Pinocchio’s little buddy, but not everyone knows the name has a close connection to Jesus Christ.

“The Jiminy part of Jiminy Cricket goes back to 1664. It was spelled Gemini then and was more than likely derived from the Latin phrase Jesu domini—the inside joke being that Gemini, the third sign in the zodiac, means “twins,” and Jesus domini, which means “Jesus Lord,” is a double appellation. The Cricket part is almost surely a stand-in for Christ. The intent becomes even more evident in the less popular Jiminy Christmas.” Page 103

kan pei
Kan pei is a Japanese, Korean and Chinese drinking toast. American war veterans brought it to the United States. It literally means “dry cup.” It is customary for the toast maker to down his drink past the dregs, then suspend the empty glass upside down over his head to show that the glass is dry.” Page 107

Lord have mercy
This exclamation of surprise changes according to the speaker’s region. For example: lord-a-mercy, lordy mercy, lawsy, lawsy lawsy and lawsy mercy. Page 111

"Shinola". Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

Shinola“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

mox nix
This is another favorite among American soldiers who occupied Germany after WWII. It’s derived from German es machts nichts and means it makes little difference or it’s of no great importance. Page 114

no Shinola
“A euphemism for no shit” and is used to refer to someone stupid. Shinola was a well-known shoe polish in the mid twentieth century often referred to as dung paste. Have you ever heard someone say, “You don’t know shit from Shinola”? Page 119

How many of these are familiar to you? Were any of them unfamiliar? Did you know the origins of any of these interjections? Let me know in the comments.

Next month the schedule is packed with Christmas related posts, but fear not…Interjections will return in January along with more Cat Wisdom and books from the Tardis Library.

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A Reader Opines: 15 Days Without a Head by Dave Cousins

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15 Days Without a Head by Dave Cousins
Publication: May 8th 2013 by Flux (first published December 22nd 2011)
Genre: Young Adult | Coming of Age | Realistic Fiction
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

This is one of those books that appealed to me when I first heard of it, but other things got in the way. During my last visit to the library I could put it off no longer. It didn’t disappoint.

Summary taken from Goodreads:
Despite having a depressed alcoholic mother and a little brother who’s convinced he’s a dog, fifteen year-old Laurence Roach is trying to live a normal life. But when his mom doesn’t come home after work one night, Laurence is terrified that child services will find out she’s gone and separate him from his brother.

For two weeks, Laurence does whatever he can to keep her disappearance a secret. Spinning a web of complicated lies for friends, neighbors, and the authorities, Laurence even dresses like his mother to convince everyone she’s still around. By following clues, the brothers are finally able to track down their mother’s whereabouts. And that’s when the real trouble begins in this powerful story about what it means to be a family.

Sometimes the only way to survive your family is to love and forgive. That’s what the story is about and it is written with fluidity and brilliance. The plot unfolded one heartbreak at a time, making the reader despair along with the characters, and those characters are engaging.

Laurence claimed my sympathy, respect and a bit of my heart. The inner workings of his mind were heartbreaking and endearing. He faced distressing circumstances with maturity and while losing a bit of naiveté his innocence remained intact. His growth was beautiful to witness. His little brother and girlfriend added just enough levity to keep the story from being a complete downer. His Mum infuriated me even though I could see her weaknesses in myself.

Dave Cousins has made his mark and I look forward to his future books.

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