Sunday, May 31, 2009

The leg bones connected to the thigh bone, and so the story goes...

One Day A Woman Was Feeling Quite Wondrous!

I am a wondrous being. My fingers type and I see my veins where my blood rushes. My fingers bend and release. My thumbs make me special. Travel up my arms, with muscle and sinew and tendon and skin and up to my shoulders, shoulders that can carry my stress by hunching up and inward, and my neck and my head and down to my beating heart, my lungs taking in the air, letting out the air, and my soft innards set about their jobs of keeping me alive and well. My legs and feet, carrying me forward forward. I am strong. I am a beautiful human machine. I am a scientific experiment, and a spiritual mystery. You can see my skin, but you cannot live in it; however, you can sense what it is like to move in my skin, since yours is similar – it is only my secret thoughts and dreams and wishes and desires you will never know. You cannot know the true heart of a man or of a woman, unless they give it to you as a gift. If you come close to me, look into my eyes, my dark brown eyes, you can sink there in my sorrow or you can swim in my happiness – you can see deep inside, you can dive into my eyes and know as much as I allow you to know. I can shutter my eyes against you. I can keep from revealing. I am a wondrous beautiful machine with the capacity for much giving and much taking away.

I am a mutated being. An evolutionary miracle. I am wondrous and strange and complex. My body is a scientific knowledge base, and a spiritual mystery. My innards are soft, protected by hard skeleton. My brain electrifies and snaps and whirrs and holds forth ideas and thoughts and tells me when I am cold or hot or sad or happy, but alas, it has not told me what is love and what is hate and why they both create such havoc. But it has given me the capacity to feel it all...wondrous!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

They're going to a chapel where they're going to be married...

Although I'm writing this before I even go, today, my son and his fiance are to be married!
I will stand in my pretty little suit, with a big fat smile of pride and love and happy.
There will be bagpipe music, my son and his groomsmen in Kilts.
Meanwhile, back at the little log house, where I am at this moment writing this in anticipation of flying to Portland for the wedding, Fat Lazy Labrador Jake is being adored by our house-sitters/friends. They say, "He's such a gentleman...." yes, that he is, that he is!
More later.....

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ring around the universe, pocket full of planets

One Fine Evening, A Woman Wanders The Universe...

Long ago and far away, a tiny atom Exploded—big Bang—and hurled matter out and beyond. Some of that matter became our galaxy. Not an infinite universe? But an infinite idea.

Without my awareness, Dark Energy pulls and tugs against the force of gravity, faster and faster. The universe is expanding, threatening to tear itself apart. Other galaxies pulling, or pushed away, from our galaxy: the red shift. Not quite anti-gravity, but, opposition. Would our galaxy one day be alone?

Dark Matter surrounds. Invisible, yet one can see the dark. No energy, but mass. Could right now dark matter be hovering near, over, above, through us? Would we feel it? Know it? Sense it? Can it move over us? Through us? The universe’s density: ratio of visible light to mass. Density mass is low—much of matter in universe is dark.

The universe, with a beginning, a middle, an end—just like any story, just like any living being. The universe—a great idea.

I feel my feet upon the ground. The ground is real. I am real. My dog is real. I breathe in the air. I let out the air. The sun touches the top of my head. There is a bird’s nest, abandoned, in the Poplar tree. On the ground, a dead worm, and underneath my foot, live ones I cannot see, but I know are there. The air is warm, then it will turn hot, then cool, and it will turn cold, soon it will turn warm again, soon it will turn hot again, soon it will turn cool, soon it will turn cold.

In my dream, I fly. I look down upon the cities with their lights on and their lights off. I see the sleepless man toss his sheets into knots. I see the woman who cried herself to sleep. I see the little boy sleeping peacefully with his teddy bear under his arm. I see the teenage girl reading a book she loved as a child. I see the dog bark. I see the wolf howl. I see the other side of daylight. Dark matter surrounds. Dark Energy pulls. I accept this. I accept the ways of life and of death. I had a beginning. I have middle. I will have an end…then a beginning and a middle and an end, and then round and round, outward and outward, faster and faster, until all is torn apart, until I am nothing but atoms swirling in a madness of other atoms. What an idea.

The mysteries surround me. I accept them. I want them. I am the idea. I am a great idea.

(Photo from The Daily Galaxy)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spring breeze, makes me feel fine....

Tulip Poplar Tree bloom
Can you believe it is almost the end of May? Which means the book give-away deadline is days away. If you want to be in the drawing for your pick from the books above, just email me at kmtrain at hotmail dot com your email address -Note: your email address is sent to BelleBooks to become a part of their newsletter mailing. That's it!

Oh, and if you could be on my mountain this morning: Cool mountain air through the windows--not blowing, not drifting, not wandering, but permeating! And the creek sings loud and happy from all our rains (you can hear it in the video below); WNC is no longer in D4 drought conditions, and I believe no longer in any drought conditions. The birds call and the squirrels chitter - ...a quiet that is not absolute, since nature announces -- oh! It is a morning to write: I could tell about how the sun works its way over the ridges and splashes gold over the green, and as I sit on my porch it is as if I am in a treehouse--have you ever seen a hummingbird light? I never had, until moving here--I'd always seen them in motion...but, when they rest, they are not-quite-perfectly-still since their little heads turn turn turn turn turn lift lower turn, but with their wings folded they don't seem as fairy-ish although still very small. Magic in the mountains, there is magic and mystery and beauty and this is my Home.
In the post below I had a video of the red squirrels chattering on the walnut tree, which is next to our beautiful tulip poplar tree. I took a video last night of when they are silent and all you can hear is the creek, and you can see one little flying squirrel watching me. The mists were to the right, the clouds from the recent rain still hovering.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Work, work, gotta get to work baby, work work, but I'm feeling a little lazy...

I leave you with this today, as I have so much to do! I am flying the skies this month and I DETEST flying.
We have friends coming to stay at the little log house while I'm gone and I'm preparing things for them as well. Fat Labrador loves that because he doesn't have to be sent to a kennel, but instead gets to stay home and be spoiled by people who think he's the greatest dog ever *laughing*. He's never had to be in a kennel other than when we had him "fixed" and he had to stay overnight at the vets. He's spoiled rotten, I think.
I will be in Portland, Oregon, but for now, I am still here and will be here until I leave, and when I leave is when I leave *teeheehee*.

I took this video with my camera, but can't get the video on the blog itself. There were six or seven of the little buggers on there at one time yesterday morning. Sometimes they'd get up on their hind legs and box each other, fighting. They are fighting again this morning, but not as many. You can see in the view that the fog and mists are there to where you can't see the distant mountains or ridges, but only the closest ridge across the cove.
UPDATE! I just had my first ever facial; had never had one in my life- a "mini facial" I received from GMR for Christmas and just now used it - he knew not to get me an extended facial because I'm too restless and jittery. My face feels so .... facialed *laughing* Now, on to work with my facialed face.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Come with me, my friends, to the sea, the sea of ....imagination

One Night Not So Very Long Ago, A Woman Once Thought:

I lay my head upon my pillow, and thought, "Enough!" And I forced myself to think of other things, things other than novels and short stories and editors and publishers. So, I thought of sunflowers first - big-headed, bright yellow with their deeply brownish black centers, faces bending from the weight of those great heads upon their long stalks. I once saw a field of them, in Kansas, breaking up the acres and acres of corn, and in that field those sunflowers' heads bent, each one facing the same direction--save for one I noticed, whose great round bright and dark head was facing the opposite way, and I thought, "that is me. I am that sunflower," and wondered at the metaphor, the imagery, the analogy for myself I had chosen by relating to that one sunflower who was turned away from the rest, without any other sign of difference, without show of wear or tear, looking quite the same as the others, save for that turned away countenance. Dreams were then dreamed....the night flew by...rushing with images and thoughts and surreal imaginings of my synapses...

and then, awakening, I saw the distant Smoky Mountains, with Mt Pisgah rising up, Cold Mountain not quite visible, and in the valley and above the valley, the serenity swirl of ethereal mists, and as the sun shines within, the mists are as a glowing ghostly lake, a white lake, and I imagine great sea monsters of ancient-old rising their hoary heads from the mist-lake, and great strange and beautiful fish jumping up and over and through, and mermaids and mermen peeking at me before they hurl themselves back into the deep, and whales with opening blowholes forcing air and misty clouds out and up and with a flip of their awesome tails; they too disappear into the white-glow lake. And I imagine I stand upon the ridge, looking into the mists, and I curl my toes, wondering if I should jump in, jump jump into the surreal-silver-white lake, jump and swim with the ancient-old sea monsters, whales, fish, mermaid, mermen, but I know I am not destined for that, but instead, to step back, and back, and write it for you, write it all down for you so that you can see it feel it touch it wish it real and it becomes real for I will make it real for you as best I can.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Time, keeps flowing to the river, and the sea to the sea...

A Woman Once Said:

There is something about pain that can seemingly purify thoughts. Seemingly. For if you reach a level of pain, it sharpens the senses. One can't know if the sharpened senses are real, or surreal, or only knows that the world takes on a reddened hue. I am speaking of physical pain, for when you have emotional pain, the senses seem to become sluggish and the haze is yellow or brownish blackish brackish. With physical pain, I have lifted from my body and hovered above and watched my weakness with disdain.

I have dreamed without sleeping, and wached the Shadow Man stare at me as I lay floating in a sea of nerve endings glowing red. I have tossed about words and truths and lies and wondered if and when I could write about them-shouldn't I just get up from the bed or couch and relate all my genius? For, I pretend I am a genius sometimes--a brilliant mind trapped in a silly human body. But when morning comes, and the pain abated with sleep, I revert to plain me--seeker of the soulbeing of you. Yes, I said seeker of the soulbeing of You. Because, though I seem reclusive, though I stay inside my cave more than I venture out, I am hovering around you, reading the aura that surrounds You. My eyes flick over you or your words or your images, and I seem to dismiss, but I do not. For what I "See" is filed away, deep inside of me, in this spot I use just for You. And when even I am most unaware, You come back, and out from my fingertips You fly, and there You are, a character acting out life's terrible beauty in a story or paragraph or phrase or sentence or word. A beautiful idea of you all encased in language.

Pain can make one feel as if they are unique. As if everyone else is nubile as a deer leaping across the field towards something she sees in the distance-a bit of corn, or maybe a dew-filled flower, or to her special hiding place. In the night hours, when all is dark, and as last night when the rain fell hard -droplets pounding the roof in a fury, I did not pity the part of me that demanded attention to the fiery parts racing down my spine and legs and feet. No, for isn't there a You-the one who knows the true meaning of Pain? Yes, I think of You, and my pain grows small, even in its frustratingly bad parts, even as I toss and turn and wish it would just stop. Does pain alter me? Does it make me unaware of larger things or hyperaware of everything?

One night, I woke and Pain said, "Hello, sorry to offend you, truly I don't wish to be here anymore than you wish me to. I would rather be called something else at times, just as you do. Do you think it's easy being hated and feared? I do my job and that is what I do, so, pardon me while I zip through you for a while, doing my job, being what I need to be." I answered, "Do your worst! I am strong." Pain sighed through me and I felt sorry for it.

I thought about how one day I would be a very old woman. And how I'd walk crooked to the coffee pot, pour a cup, holding the cup with trembly hands, and then, from there, I'd shuffle to the porch, carefully sit in my rocker, pull a throw over my knees, and rock rock rock rock and think about the days when I was young and leaping to the dew filled flower. I would rock rock and remember all my yesterdays. And I would drink every bit of my strong black coffee and think, "Today I will write, and then I will rock some more, and then I will read, and then I will rock some more and then nap, then eat, then rock then sleep." I hope that happens--I hope I have that gift of growing to be a very old rocking chair woman.

And in the dark, I smiled, and I lay there, and I felt Pain, but I didn't care. Who guarantees this life is supposed to be pain-free? I can imagine I was once this being of light in the heavens, and as I looked down, I said, "I want to visit the earth as a human." And, some greater being of greater light said, "So it shall be, but, how do you want to live?" And I, being fearless said, "I don't care, I just want to live on the earth for a time as a solid body with nerve endings in and out." And there I went, shot down to earth, come out squalling and red-faced into the world--first entrance was pain and light and noise and freedom. And everything that happens I have felt it and every pain physical and emotional and even when I railed against it, the being who was the light where I will return will think, "I felt it all! I was human. I knew things." And it won't seem but a minute that I was here, just a minute. Just a minute. A minute. Minute

Sunday, May 24, 2009

You put your left foot in Canada, and then your right foot is out of America, shake it all about!

Barry: this is for you! *laugh*

This morning I found something I'd written on how the summer my son, my two brothers, and I tried to get into Canada, and could not - because we didn't have the correct credentials, which is either a passport, or birth certificate with license. We're told by the really nice woman in Blaine Washington (right near the border of Canada and America) that we could get IN to Canada with what we had (our driver's licenses), but we would not be able to get back into America. Wow. That was a bit surprising! Indeed, the American side of customs sported a very very long line, reaching farther back than we could see.

So, we were directed to a park called "The Peach Arch Park," which the Tourism Woman said was "half in America and half in Canada." Ohh! So, we park, get out, and start walking about. It's beautiful; this park is, with flowers growing everywhere, green green grass (much of the grass in Portland and parts of Washington was very dry and brown for they're having their "dry" season). There were the customs buildings (with the cars entering exiting exiting entering) on the American and Canadian sides, and we gawked at those a while. Then, we walked, looking for signs that we were approaching "the Canadian side" of the park.

We crossed over to the Common's Area, which had a large white monument in the middle, and the Canadian and American flags flying together overhead, in the sky, waving waving. We then started towards the monument, towards Canada.

I turned to look behind me to the American Flag that was created by red, white, and blue flowers, in our stars and stripes, and in front of me, the Canadian Flag in red and white flowers, with their maple leaf (and we first walked to admire the American Flag, before turning to the monument). There was in front of us, the large white monument called the "Peace Arch," which divided America and Canada, and as we got inside the monument, we saw the inscription on the U.S. side of the Peace Arch that reads "Children of a common mother", and the on the Canadian side reads, "Brethren dwelling together in unity.” Inside the archway, there's an iron gate that's connected on either side of the border with an inscription above it that reads, "May these gates never be closed," signifying that both countries would have agree for the border to be closed. I smiled at that, and Tommy snapped some photos.

I will note that before I reached the monument, while admiring the American flag in colors, and looking forward to admiring the Canadian flag in colors, and then turning to take in the entire commons area, I, we, saw many different nationalities, most of them making a point to walk through the monument, instead of around it. It made me feel as if I were a part of something much larger than myself, something historic, even though nothing special was happening; I felt it all the same. I felt as if I were very American right then, and had an awareness of myself that I couldn't quite define.

We walked through the monument and to the Canadian flag, and I said, "We're in Canada!" and my son said, "No we aren't, mom, not really," and he laughed. I said, "Yes we are, we're in Canada!" and Tommy said, "Yeah!" and snapped photos. Johnny just laughed.

We made our way back through the monument, to the commons area in America, and walked across the road, back to Peach Arch Park. We decided to find Canada in the Park, so we made our way to the Canadian side of Peace Arch Park, and I said, "we're walking in the Canadian side of the park!" and my son said, "Sure we are!" in a false high voice, making good natured fun at his mom. I answered, "Okay, so it's faux Canada, psuedo-Canada, but it's still Canada!" He laughed, my brothers laughed, and Tommy snapped photos. Johnny pointed out an electrical maintenance box, which had a Canadian "address" on it, and I pointed at it, like a five year old, and said, "Nya nya nya, we ARE in Canada! Because this is owned by the Canadians! They wouldn't take the electricity and pay for it if it were American! HA!" Daniel just laughed and shook his head, said, "Okay, Mom..." Tommy found a sign on a building and snapped photos, and we all laughed, reading aloud, "Parking for Italians Only."

We walked along a street, and the signs had changed to kilometers, and of course, I said, "See, KM instead of Miles! We are definitely in Canada!" and then Tommy started singing the Canadian national anthem (hey, how'd he know it?), and I joined in (I knew it?). Finally, Tommy and Daniel went exploring, and Johnny and I walked along the Canadian street again, or I should say, I dragged him along, "So I could walk along in Canada one more time..." We saw a Canadian police search a car, and then it's trunk and I wanted to snap a photo, but felt too intrusive and rude doing this, so of course, my brother Johnny grabbed my disposable camera and snapped one. I pretended I didn't know him, and then laughed and grabbed my camera back.

The four of us met up and walked back to America, and then Tommy pointed to a marker that read it was the International Border Marker, and of course I said, "Nya nya Told you So, nya, we are right on the border of Canada and America, seeeee, told you seee!" And Daniel said, "Okay, mom, we're in Canada." I laughed, and knew that really it wasn't the same as actually going into Canada and walking about, but it was all I had. We took photos, just like tourists, of each of us in front of the marker, and then made our way back to the rental car.

I said, "I've been to Canada," and then I said, "Well, sort of anyway," then sighed. We all agreed it was beautiful, though, and quite the experience. I kept thinking about the man we passed, while walking that quaint little street, with the quaint little houses, and how I said, "Oh, this is Canada, I'm in Canada," like a fool tourist and the man, overhearing me, smiling at me, and I waved at him, and he waved back, and I wondered how many times he'd seen some silly person like me saying "Oh, I'm in Canada, that sign is Canadian, that house is Canadian, this street is Canadian, oh and look, a Canadian dog chasing a Canadian cat up a Canadian tree, and there's THE PROOF! -right THERE---a Canadian car license plate! NYA!" because, "If the Government says it's true, then it must be! ha!" My son and brothers, shaking their heads, then laughing. And I, shaking my head and laughing, too, because sometimes you just have to believe and you are there.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Send in the cloud, don't bother it's heerreeeeeeee

This is one of those strange mornings. The kind of morning where you awake and things feel just a little surreal. I think it is how I went to bed last night. I was brushing my teeth and suddenly it was as if the suffering and sadness of many people were a cloud behind me. I know why: first because I was watching the news and saw the piece about those children who were accused of being witches and were being horribly abused (It was on ABC news last night). I wanted to jump in the screen and kick ass - that's what I said to GMR: "Let me in that screen so I can kick some ass!" I ground my teeth. Then I said to the reporter standing there talking to the man responsible for it, "Kick his ass! Come it!" You could tell he wanted to, how he was restraining himself, standing there in his almost-crisp white shirt, his handsome face pulled in upon itself, his brows meeting in the middle. Of course, that is not what happened and would happen. If it were here in the States, the authorities would be called in (we hope) and those children would be taken away - to where? To safety we'd all hope and assume; though sometimes even a perfect world is not perfect at all. I knew I shouldn't have watched that segment, though. But I felt somehow as if I should; as if I shouldn't always shield myself from the ways of the world outside my beautiful cove. But, I also know my powers of empathy are very strong - strong enough to cause that cloud of emotion and people, children, to press against my back.
I made it worse by watching the movie "Seven Pounds..." with Wil Smith. I told Good Man Roger: "That looks like an uplifting movie!" Well, maybe the message was supposed to be uplifting, but instead it was depressing to me. Yes, there came some "good" from it, but, there also was suffering and sadness and the movie felt too heavy instead of "uplifting." After the movie, that is when I went to ready myself for bed, exhausted at my empathy cloud around me. Faces, feelings, pressing. And I brushed my teeth and tried not to let the cloud press too hard or surround me too much.
In bed, I opened a new book I was going to read: Anna Quindlen's "One True Thing...." Oh crud. It's about cancer and death...I could almost laugh at that! What timing! Lawdy be!

So, this morning I awoke feeling a bit surreal, as I will do when I feel those empathy clouds surround me. I wake to a beautiful morning on the mountain, in my cove at Killian Knob. The creek singing, birds calling, squirrels chattering, tourists here for Memorial Day waking and making their sounds--not unpleasant, the canopy of the greening trees, a soft rain falling, the ridgetops reaching, the distant mountains ancient -- all this superimposed over the sights and sounds of last night.

Soon, I'll settle in to work on VK2 and I will center myself again, but last night I thought "how are you affecting change with your work and life?" I thought, "there you go, worrying about sales and amazon and B&N and indie booksellers and rankings and blah blah blah - you you you me me me me, when there are those children's eyes haunting...." And I know that really this is just How It Is. Oh Dear. Did I say that? That is just How It Is? I know that I'll get back to work and do what I do. I know that I'll hope in some small way I contribute something to someone somewhere. That is just How It Is.
Do you ever wonder if you'd be brave if bravery was called for? I do. I wonder that. Would I enter a burning building even though I have an obsessive fear of fire. Would I save someone from drowning even though I can't swim. Would I intervene in some way that would cause grave danger for me but with the possibility it would save another human life? My answer is, how could I know; I only hope I'd be brave. I can think back to times I've done things out of a sense of "bravery" - so maybe that is my hint, but then I think of times I've done nothing because those things seem too far away or too hard or too scary to think about.

What about you? Do you ever wonder if you could be brave? Do you ever feel the empathy cloud and want to ignore it, and that seems a most un-brave thing to do? Do you sometimes just have to think, "It's all to much - there is too much and I can't take it all in... it is How It Is."

It is suddenly very quiet outside - and the beauty here is evident. I feel very lucky. Safe. Loved. Needed. Wanted. The world turns and turns and turns. We all think of death as being Special, but if you think of the world in terms of how long it has been here and the millions of humans who have gone before us, well, really, there is a comfort in that. For it is a Natural Thing....death is not special. It is not its own special entity in black garb and sycle with a skeletal hand. It is as part of nature as those trees out there, as the birds and squirrels. We come we go and that is how it is supposed to be. There is a beauty in it, but we can't see that from close up, only from a distance that is too hard for us to grasp....only if we look at it from far far away, only if we look at it when it doesn't touch us, come near us....but we come, we go we come we go we come we go....I find a comfort in that because that is the way I have to find comfort in those kinds of things; in those truths.

Oh!~ such heavy thoughts for a lovely serene Saturday morning! I had to get that out, though, as writing things down is how I deal with my thoughts. Writing things down is what I do. This is what I do, who I am. I suppose I could affect/effect some global change by my writing, but then that is not what I do. I write what I write. I hope it somehow touches you.
What do you do to deal with the empathy cloud that can come upon you?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Scattered Pic-turreess....

my big brother and me on a summer day in Fort Worth...

thank you Anita for the blog love!

Hi all - I came a visiting many of you last night, but Blogville seemed to have having troubles - it would kick me out of your blog over and over - so, if you did not see me leave a wave or hello or comment, but see me somewhere else, then you know it was only because I couldn't get in (argh!). I suppose that could have happened to some of you coming by here, as well? Who knows. Have a wonderful weekend. I'll try again to visit once they fix things. But this begs the question: what would you do if you didn't have your internet connection for a day? Two days? A week! What would you do....I mean, there was a time we didn't have internet and a time when our tv had only about 3 stations! On for a mountain walk....namaste.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Color my world....with words....

Our handsome and gifted Adnan Mahmutovic has written a review that I said somewhere else is "so organic I could plant it in the ground and up would sprout a forest..." *smiling* Beautifully done. He has a novella out, ILLEGITIIMATE that is a stunner. I should save all this for a "Presenting!" day, though. Yes.

I've been so very lucky with reviews....or maybe I shouldn't say lucky. Maybe luck has nothing to do with it and there is something else, another word, to use.
Now, I leave you with a post taken from the Year of Gratitude post that Angie Gumbo Writer and I, along with Nannette Croce, Barb Quinn, and Patresa Hartman, were writing last year.

I awake with the colors of hovering just above my face, twisting and turning and shifting and waiting for me to pull them into myself where they mix with my blood, swift through my veins, and out they’ll come, through my fingertips, from deep inside of me, mixed with my own juices the colors are both yours and mine and the universe’s. I arise, full of color, full to the spilling point, full to the overrunning waters point, full and bloated with color, and I float to my writer’s room and spill the colors out for you to see, right onto the page I pour myself out to you.

As I write, my synapses fire off, pulse alive with energy in reds, pinks, yellows, oranges, all the colors of a blazing sunrise against an appearing blue sky, all the colors of the universe bend towards me in fractured kaleidoscopic beauty. My world in images compose the five senses—all explode about me in shattered prisms of dark and light, words drip and ooze, deep mysterious endless as a heavenly black hole where things are lost, and then hope-to-be found again by the bright intense white that rip my retinas with intensity, brilliant as any distant star flaring alive.

A meal is in front of me set on a white plate—alabaster yogurt piled high with delicate fresh raspberries and crunchy brown walnuts, along with black Deep Creek Blend coffee poured into a sea-green mug pitted with the potter’s fingerprints. I love the taste of color—round fat blueberries, strawberries bursting juice and tiny seed, crunchy peppery radishes, silky dark chocolate, sour limes, and the blackberries I pick on my mountain until my fingers are stained purple-black. I taste the colors; the shades coat my tongue and recall the hues of salty, tangy, sour, the bitter and the sweet.
I lift my head from the writing. Why, the evening is arriving! I’ve spent this day opening my veins and spilling colors. The sunset shouts into the sky, the seeming coming end, as all is fading to what is perceived as the absence of color—to black. Yet, the dark holds the colors within, as a backdrop for the swollen moon white and gray, the stars bright changling angels. In the dark, the day’s less apparent shine. But, I am ahead of myself, first the sunset amber, garnet, amethyst, coral blaze fire across the sky. The circle of life-colors, beginning with the sunrise and ending with the sunset. This is gratitude’s day; the color of life.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What goes up, must come down, spinning TG making its rounds....

I am excited because a few more bookstores are picking up Tender Graces. Malaprops in Asheville, Accent Books in Asheville, Blue Ridge Books & News in Waynesville, City Lights in Sylva...yay! My heart is with the indie bookseller and the libraries. Whenever my book is ordered for an indie bookseller, or placed in a library, I am happy and excited.

I am also excited because a large print publisher of books has bought the subrights or whatever it is called to Tender Graces, which means they will be printing large print hardcover versions of TG, mostly to go in libraries. Within about 6 months those books should be available. This is wonderful news!

In the continuing saga of "rankings" that I do not understand, my B&N ranking is at 569....which is really good. Now, folks, just as I said, I have not been tracking my ranking regularly - either someone tells me to go look, or once in a blue moon, I will go in to see if any new reviews are written and whilst there, I see my ranking. The Amazon and B&N rankings are confusing to me, but I do know that a ranking of 569 is pretty durn good. That means out of all the thousands of books, mine is 569! wheeeee! And my Library Thing numbers are in the 800's now - yay! So, I'm feeling my oats this morning *laugh* Of course, I realize that these numbers can go up and down like the old roller coaster, but I can bask in it for this morning at least *teehee* I'm also ranked on The Read on WNC - number 33 out of 75 - and only two down from Tommy Hayes...ohhhh! 33 out of 75 may not seem all that great, but considering this list is listing only 75 books out of many books, considering this list includes books that have been out for a while and by best-selling authors, by authors in big budget publishers, etc, I feel pretty good about that ranking too. So now I'm done talking about ranking...what must go up, usually goes down, and up and down and up and down! So, without hubris, I share my news of the moment and then go on and get back to work at what is the important thing: VkBook2!

So, now, on to work. I'm hoping it warms up enough to work outside. This surprise chill needs to go away so the warm can return.

How is the weather in your area? Did you get a surprise chill? Or is it hot and humid? Are you in shorts and flip flops, or still carrying around a sweater and jacket for cool mornings?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rain Rain went away, it'll come back another la la

Ah, my friends. The sun is out, even though this photo is of the coming rain. We had a frost advisory last night - I actually put on a little log on the fire to give the little log house a nice warm glow. It will warm up again, and I am glad, for I'm ready for the spring and summer warmth to return after this brief coming back of chill. Everything is greening out, flowering, shoving up from long sleep to burst up and out and over and 'round.

I checked my Libary Thing early reviewer list and saw 781 people have requested Tender Graces, wheeee! Thank you people whomever you are. I have stopped looking at everyone else's numbers because it is the same feeling as with Amazon - I will compare myself and worry and set myself up to feel as if I have to somehow "compete" - I'm a much more competitive person than I ever imagined myself to be! *teehee* I did see where one of the most requested was a Zombie book *laughing*

Two more Indie booksellers want to carry Tender Graces! Blue Ridge Books & News of Waynesville, NC and City Lights Bookstores of Sylva, NC! Yay! Both owners read TG and said they loved the book, and that's a recommendation I can feel good about *smiling*

The Ashville Citizen Times review has a comment by Stephen Craig Rowe. As with our dear Barry of An Explorer's Life, both are dear dear men who have captured my heart up in the palm of their hand - or maybe I have a bit of their heart that I carry around in my palm. Both have had that Bad Monster Cancer come sneaking around, and I hope you all will send your thoughts and however you pray or think or send vibes or wishes or ....however you do what you do, send them on or give them a visit to say hello.

I also invite you all to join The Read on WNC! Sign up for the newsletter, join in discussions about books, publishers/publishing, authors, reading, etcetera. It's a nice community there.

Guess that's it for now. I hope to take some time to come visiting you all this week. I miss reading your blogs and seeing what you are up to. But, I'm not happy with where I am in VKBook2 so I need to bury my head even deeper. Too many interruptions lately have kept me from writing as much on the book as I would like. I'm going to have to figure a way to keep at bay the interruptions. There are some things I can do immediately, and some things I'll have to do some thinking on how to move away from the distraction/interruption.

Thanks everyone, for your support and all you do. I've added some photos to the "TG Readers" - and have added those of you who've emailed me for the drawing. Thank you.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Presenting! Katrina at Stone Soup: Throw Everything into a pot and Simmer

Katrina Stonoff

From Katrina's biography on her website: Most people order an entrĂ©e. Me? I prefer the smorgasbord. I want it all. I want to taste every dish, hear all the music, try everything once. One of my dearest friends is a poet. She says one must search for the perfect word, that if you find it, you won’t need any others. But I say, there are 700,000 words in the English language! How could you choose just one? How, for example, does one decide between invigorating or enlivening? Enthralling or enchanting? Heck, between turquoise and ultramarine, for that matter?....for more, visit Katrina's website

Or go by her Stone Soup Blog, where she writes (from her "about stone soup" page): Stone Soup is dedicated to topics women are interested in: children, parenting, cooking, dieting, spousal abuse, whatever. Sometimes it’s meant to amuse, other times to educate, motivate or just strike a chord. Though my topics tend to be oriented toward women, men are certainly welcome. Especially men who empathize with women. Or need to learn about them. Or simply enjoy being around them.

When I read Katrina's review of Tender Graces, I had to stop and take a few really deep breaths and do that rapid blinking thing people do when they have the urge to cry. I am often times emotionally overcome by the reviews of TG - and when the reviewer connects something from her life to Virginia Kate's story, then I feel as if I've somehow done something that goes beyond just storytelling and writing. Katrina's thoughts on TG, those memories and "mind-photographs" of her West Virginia Father touched me deeply, profoundly. I wonder if her mother has read TG yet and what she thought of it. I wonder if Katrina's father would approve of what I have written about his place there.

Beyond Katrina's review of TG, just stopping by her blog brings a smile - Katrina and her hats, Katrina's generous book give-aways, her love of life and writing and books, and go by there today and see those shoes and SHAZAM blue polish on those toes! I love it! Now those are some kind of shoes! *grinning*

Excerpt of what she said about Tender Graces ..
My father’s childhood was very much like Virginia Kate’s. Even the house — perched on the mountain, a long road going straight down in front to the holler, a neighbor on the hill to one side, a vacant house on the hill to the other side, the mountain rising straight up behind — could have been my grandmother’s. Poverty, meager gardens, alcoholism, soul-crushing neglect and casual abuse, even Native American heritage. It’s all familiar. This is the culture in which my father was raised, the culture in which *I* would have been raised but for the grace of my father leaving West Virginia to marry and raise his family

.All the characters in Tender Graces are complex, almost to the point of incomprehensibility. Not one character could I simply like or dislike. Virginia Kate’s mother is exotic and fascinating and freespirited, but … Her father is a devoted husband and loving father except … Rebekah is sweet and generous, yet …

These are characters I want to know, in real life, except I couldn’t live with them. People I want to be, though I know I’d never survive it. Real enough to clamber off the page and take up uncomfortable residence under my skin....for the rest of the review, click on Stone Soup TG Review

(PS - In today's, Sunday May 17 - Ashville Citizen Times newspaper is a wonderful Tender Graces review by Rob Neufeld - it can also be read online at ACT online... yay!)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Company on the mountain, lightning in the air....

Stopping by quickly. We are having out of town company to the little log house - just for tonight and part of tomorrow - so, I need to bury my head in VKbook2 and get a lot done before they arrive. It's always fun to have people come who have never been here -we can see things a-fresh through their eyes. I hope the rain or thunderstorms aren't too bad so they can see that distant view, but whatever the case, since they live in South Louisiana, any ridge or mountain or even a tiny hill is something to "ohhhhh!" over *smiling*
On The Read at WNC, Rod Neufeld (who writes about books and literatures and does reviews for the Asheville Citizen times) has reviewed Tender Graces, and as well done a profile on BelleBooks/Bell Bridge Books. If you go to that page, you'll see the links for the review and for the publisher - if you do go there, thank you and I appreciate your support! I was so happy with this review. He even compared Katie Ivene to Ava Gardner *love it!* So far, I have been quite lucky with the reviews - they have been wonderful, insightful, positive, glowing even. I've not had a "bad" or "negative" one and that's a great feeling (well, no 'bad' review yet? for I'm told I will get a bad or negative review and to just accept that as how it will be because most every writer does at some time get a 'bad' review - but maybe I will be one of those who do not get a bad one? *laugh* - hmmmm...let's hope so). It's been "one book at a time" in sales, but, frankly, I've decided I can't worry about "sales" and instead must just do what I do, just as I said yesterday so I won't repeat it. Although if my books began flying off shelves, I admit I'd probably go "whoohoo!" *laugh*

Have a wonderful Friday - enjoy your weekends. I'll be back on Sunday to have a "Presenting!" I won't be here tomorrow as I'll want to spend time with our lovely company of Steve and Betty from South Louisiana.
Oh PS! My review of Adnan Mahmutovic's novella ILLEGITIMATE is on R's & T's. He's a beautiful writer (a handsome fellow *teehee*) and a true and wonderful friend.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'm gonna have to face it, I'm addicted to (this kind of) love

This link was on my facebook page and I'm listening to it now. Interesting: Elizabeth Gilbert speaking about creativity.

My older brother read Tender Graces and said, "you know that part where Aunt Ruby cut Virginia Kate's hair all up?" I said, "Yeah?" He said, "Do you remember when that babysitter cut your hair all off? Your hair was way past your waist and she cut it really short and Daddy came to get us and he was mad as hell?" Shazam! I'd forgotten about that! Such is how some things end up in our books are memories drawn from some black hole of remembrance database. Makes me wonder what other things are memories that I've forgotten or blocked or didn't process because I was too young and they showed up on the page. But when he said that, I did have a memory come of a little-me standing there and my daddy fussing away because the babysitter had without permission wacked off many inches of my hair.

I was tee-heeing this morning because Octavia Books in New Orleans ordered Tender Graces for their shelf. Yay! One book, one bookstore at a time, eh? I like thinking of TG's nestled in bookshelves in people's homes, in bookstores, in libraries, on nightstands. *smiling*

Gilbert is right - I need to Just Do My Job - to Just Keep Showing Up. Yes. For that is all I can do. That is What I do. I write. I do it with a full and sincere heart. I do it for love, with love, and to love. I do it because that is who I am and where I am and why I am. It is the love of my life and that may be sad to some, but it is just how it is. It is the love that never fails me, the love that I sacrifice for, the love that tears me apart and then puts me back together again, the love that doesn't betray unless I am the betrayer, the love that is constant and sure and true, the love that will only die when I do and even then the children of that love will remain. So, no matter what happens with my books, my words....I will continue to do what I do and it is the only thing I've ever wanted to do, really. It is the one thing that calms me. Imagine the skitterish horse, tossing her head, the whites of her eyes showing, pawing at the ground - and then, the horse whisperer comes and she is calmed. The writing is the horse whisperer.
Thank you all for continuing to stop by here and for reading and for all you do.
[Don't forget to send me a photo of you with TG - you can get creative with it if you want. And above, the book give-away ends May 31. Now - I'm off to work on VK Book2.]

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Scattered Picturrreessss

The ceiling pics are one that shows "in progress" -and then Done!...finally at last changed the white sheetrock ceiling in the living/dining/kitchen area to wood. I likes it! Carpenters gone - and they did a beautiful job! I'd recommend them to anyone. The other photos are of the mists over the valley, and then flowers/baby ducks at Lake Junaluska. You can click on them to enlarge if you want. Enjoy! I'm focusing all my attention on VKbook2 today after a bad day yesterday...pooh pah! Thank you all for stopping by. And please take a moment to send your love and attention to Angie Gumbo Writer and her mom and family and Barry from Explorers View of Life. Now go DO THE DAY!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Beanntaichean arda is aillidh leacainnean...

Working....working work work working....carpenters just arrived, so I am off to work in the valley at the library. If you want, just scroll down and read the weekend's posts, and I'd love it if you'd look at the mountaintop removal information below- a horrid terrible thing. I look at my distant mountains and shudder to think something like that would happen to them. I turned to GMR and asked, "What if we came out on our porch and looked at these mountains and they weren't here as we've been seeing them but instead flat and ugly and ruined?" It can't be a thing of "Not in my backyard" it has to be a thing of "Beautiful things should be protected because people will destroy them for what lies inside...." It happens to nature; it happens to people.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

O chi, chi mi na morbheanna (Oh, roe, soon shall I see them, oh, )

Hi friends. The Blue Ridge Book & Author Book Fest was wonderful. Even though it was their first one, I'd never have known it - I thought they'd been doing this for longer. It was well-attended and well-coordinated. A success, and next year should be even better.

I met Carol from the Writer's Porch and she is something else! I just loved her energy, her laugh, her big ole smile, her peronality. I didn't know where she was, so I just wandered around the bookfest, attended some talks...yes, I had her phone number, but since I'm a phono-phobic kind of person, I didn't want to call - I figured I'd leave it all up to chance *teehee* -that's how I do I suppose. I wanted to see Gary Carden a wonderful gifted storyteller that I adore, and since Carol was seeing him as well, she saw me sitting there with my usual dazed expression of "All these people - I see Live People! auuughhh!" * Carol gave me the biggest dangest bear hug I've not felt the likes of since ....since I don't know when. Her personality is strong and lively and down to earth - you can't meet a better person. I was my usual dazed and confused and jittery self. I mostly just blinked in the headlights and laughed and mumbled, I think. Haw! Carol took Gary Carden, Vicki Lane, and me out to dinner that night - it was good to sit with a storyteller, a mystery author, and a lover of books and people and life (carol!).

The last speaker Carol and I saw was Jeff Biggers - WOW! I'll tell more about that later. If you look to the right on my sidebar, you'll see a widget thingee for I love the Mountains Mountaintop Removal....please, do check this out. More on that later, as well. But if you peruse those websites, you'll get an idea of what Jeff 's book is about, what mountaintop removal is - imagine that name: Mountaintop Removal...imagine it. Picture it. Think about it. Mountaintop Removal; roll it around on your tongue--how does it taste? Bitter? Nasty? Can you swallow it down easily? Does it lodge in your throat as it does mine? If you've read Tender Graces, you know how Virginia Kate (and I) love sweet sister mountain, the mountains of West Virginia - if you've known me, you know my love of our mountains. Look at the photo above--that is not "the Rocky Mountains" - that is a mountain that at one time had trees and birds and plants and soil and critters - bald, gone - 1000 feet blasted to hell and back - the impact of that photo isn't enough - nuff said (for now).

Happy Mother's Day to all you mom's ou there!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Somewhere, over the mountains, there's a Book Fair....

I'm looking forward to this. My only regret is that I didn't know about this in time to become involved as an author! However, I am going to support the other authors and those who support them.
This teaches me, however, that I need to find out what book fairs are out there for me to see about being a part of, or writers' conferences that perhaps I can be on a panel or whatevers - with in reason, of course; for, the best thing I can do now is to get the second book all ready for print for winter 2010! I am looking forward to the Louisiana Book Festival, where I will be involved in some capacity - yay!
I'll be seeing Carol from The Writer's Porch there! And fellow author/friend Susan Reinhardt - who we only meet face to face at these kinds of things and that's a shame, and Glenda will be there, and etcetera.
So, ta ta for now, and I will see you all later. Authors! Books! People who love books! And beautiful mountain surroundings.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Trade-Paperback writer, writer, writer, I'll be writing more in an hour or two...

The library sent me some magic, because I wrote and wrote yesterday. Today I will be back at the library, as the carpenters will still be here; besides, I loved sitting in the library, working on VK, smelling the books, being near all those many many many books! I wonder if the librarian from yesterday is reading Tender Graces and what she thinks....I wonder this every time someone tells me they are reading about Virginia Kate. She's become Our Virginia Kate, hasn't she? Angie Gumbo Writer and I used to talk about VK-isms all the time *laughing* - those things she says and whenever someone would read Tender Graces, they'd come away with some VK-ism....teeheehee.

Here is something really cool that happens to me and I wonder if it happens to any of you. When I am in the midst of working on something - like VKbook2 right now for instance - I will go to bed and then in the middle of the night, or maybe first thing in the morning, I will awaken and the Very First Thought will be a sentence or phrase that is highlighted in my brain, like a neon sign almost, and I immediately think: "No, that's not going to work...." or "Take that out...." or "Change that..." or "That's out of voice..." or whatever. It's the coolest thing because I won't have been thinking about that part of my writing at all - or not even thinking about the work exactly, but something in my brain is working out something I didn't even know was a problem while I'm sleeping and then wakes me up and tells me that something isn't right in the manuscript....

...So, I woke this morning and one sentence popped into my head and I know it has to come OUT. The other morning, or middle of the night, an image of a description about Micah popped into my head and I knew I had to go in and fix something there. It's really interesting how that happens, and I'm glad it happens, but it's also kind of amazing how my brain works something out on something I'm not even thinking about! Probably when I'm reading over it or writing it, something in my brain files it away in that black hole where my words come from, and it's all jumbled, but at night while I sleep, the jumbles organize and then start telling me what's what on some more obvious things? *I'm shrugging*

Okay...last night I had the sillies. So I was acting silly and Good Man Roger was just shaking his head. Then I began flopping about the room, with my head kind of leading the way - my head went this way and that-a-way and I was being jerked around by my head, and I hollered out to Roger: "Help! Help! My head has a mind of its own!" .....Then I laughed at my own joke - I laughed and laughed and GMR laughed, too -- but was he laughing at my joke or my silliness? Who knows - but don't you think that's pretty funny? Huh? Huh? ...My head has a mind of its own? Get it? huh? heeeheheheheheheehhe :0)

Now, tell me if your head has a mind of its own - do you wake up and a something "comes to you" like that? Either if you ask a question or pose a problem, or if like what happens to me sometimes with my writing, does something just Become Clear to you upon awakening?
(PS - Look at what I saw, by coincidence, on my home page this morning after I wrote this post: Scientific American's "Brain has 'Moving Parts'" laughing- yup my head has a mind of its own...teehee

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Someone left the quiet out in the rain, and I don't think I can take it, since it takes so long to write it...

Hello! The sun is out! We have had so much rain, much needed for our drought conditions so I am not complaining - in fact, I am happy. Our creek rushes rushes on to the bold creek to the river to the ocean, on on on the water will meet water, rush to water to water to water, circle circle, water finds water.
Today I'm taking myself to the little local library to write. We have carpenters here and bless them they are loud. Can't be helped. Yesterday I didn't hit a lick at a snake of work. I tried. But noise noise noise noise! So to the library I go.

Speaking of libraries. Have you heard of Library Thing? If you are a member and also a member of the "Early Reviewers" - Tender Graces is up for the May list of books to have review copies. There are 25 copies, and I think last I looked 382 were requesting it, but, since they are drawn randomly, you could be number 1 or number 380 and still have the same chance, from what I understand of it all.

A beautiful spring day to go into the valley and to my library. Oh! I should look for Tender Graces on the shelf! *big grin!* ...teehee. I donated copies to Haywood County Libraries, so it should be there. Authors, Readers, donate to your local library....they need our support.
HEY! I just strolled by my TG Amazon page (I SWEAR I don't do that often - no really, BelleBooks has said "It will drive you crazy; stay away from there -just write VK2!" And I am listening. I do go by every now and then, as I just did this morning...teehee) Anyway - Tender Graces is on KINDLE! haw! I didn't even know that! haw! And I have 11 reviews and they are all so beautiful - one gentleman said he compared it to Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn *laughing!* Okay, *ahem* - I'm not going back there again today. But, dang, I have to look at least once a least.

Don't forget to send me a photo of you reading Tender Graces - or, if you want to be creative, that's great, too. And the drawing for a book (see above) ends May 31. You can pick from any of the listed books (I added a copy of Tender Graces).
Is there noise in your life today? And where is it coming from: external or internal? And how will you deal with the Noise in your life? How will you find that quiet spot?
UPDATE! I am in the Haywood County Li-berry! And I have a brand-spanking new library card - it's so beautiful. AND! I asked the nice librarian if Tender Graces was on the shelf. She looked it up, said yes it is, and we walked over and there it was - my book (I'm choking up here....dang...) on the library shelf - with the library stamp and everything! I felt so happy and proud and all the thoughts of my childhood came rushing back to me - when the li-berry was my best friend, when it was my quiet sanctuary (as it will be today). The librarian said, "I'm reading this book!" and she took it with her back to her desk...*smiling warmly.* Friends, the library smells the same as always - like millions of beautiful words. Ahhhhh. LET'S SUPPORT OUR LIBRARIES! DONATE A BOOK OR...find out what else your library needs.
Now, I'm getting to work on VK2. Namaste.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Presenting: Children's/YA Book Author Kerry Madden

There are so many of you who have taken the time to write up a praise blurb, or post about Tender Graces, or write up a review, or email me your thoughts, et-cetera. I am overwhelmed with gratitude. So, I'm going to spend some time bragging and talking up all of you!

Someone, after reading a draft of Tender Graces before it went to print, said I should contact Kerry Madden, since she'd written childrens/YA books called "The Maggie Valley Trilogy" about a mountain family here in the Smoky Mountains where I live. I emailed Kerry and we talked about our books, writing, the mountains. I offered to review her MV Trilogy, and she offered to read and write up a blurb for Tender Graces. So began a friendship between two authors who love the mountains, love writing, love our characters, love language.

I read all three of her books: Gentle's Holler, Louisiana's Song, and Jessie's Mountain. The word that surfaced more often than any other is: Charming. Folks, if you have girls aged 10 and up, consider purchasing these three books for them. They are gentle, sweetly written, and Livy Two, the narrator of all three books, will steal their heart. Though they are for a younger audience, I was engaged enough to read all three with a happy heart. Their innocence, charm, and family-oriented theme will delight audiences young and "old."

About Kerry: I grew up the daughter of a football coach in football towns across the South and Midwest. I was the oldest of four children, so I spent a lot of time babysitting and making up stories for my younger brothers and sister to perform. I wrote my first novel, Offsides, about growing up in the world of football. I was also told to clean the kitchen a lot when I was a kid, and so I made up stories to escape in my head. My sister became an orphan scrubbing a stove or I became a nun, chopping vegetables—a train conductor, a sickly mother, an evil school matron— anything to escape the drudgery of my own life. ... for more about Kerry, go to her website About Kerry page.

What Kerry wrote about Tender Graces: Kathryn Magendie's TENDER GRACES leaves a ghostly trail of broken hearts from by-God West Virginia to Texas to the shimmering seasons of Louisiana where real love and an unexpected home is found for a lost child. Reminiscent of early Lee Smith and Silas House, Magendie's Virginia Kate Carey is the steady beating pulse of this beautiful narrative that sweeps through a lifetime of loss, grief, and ultimately redemption and what it means to go home again.
Kerry is the fourth in my "Presenting:" series. I've introduced: Deborah Leblanc, Barbara at Serenity Gate, and Diane from OCEAN Magazine. Go by and give them your support and love!