Friday, January 20, 2017

A Tidal Wave of Good Reading

Thought for the day: Life cannot be classified in terms of a simple neurological ladder, with human beings at the top; it is more accurate to talk of different forms of intelligence, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. This point was well demonstrated in the minutes before last December's tsunami, when tourists grabbed their digital cameras and ran after the ebbing surf, and all the 'dumb' animals made for the hills. [Brian Reynolds Myers]

[morguefile] 

It's a pleasure to be taking part in Chrys Fey's I Survived blog fest today, where in celebration of the release of her latest book, this lovely queen of disaster stories nudged participants into imagining how they might survive a tsunami. Yeah, I know. I've survived a LOT of things in my life, but a tsunami? Talk about a scary thought. Nonetheless, let's give it a go, shall we?

Chrys, take it away...

*********************



"This is Chrys Fey reporting for Disaster 5 news. I am on Fantasy Island, where a tsunami hit yesterday morning. I have Susan Swiderski with me, a survivor of the tsunami. Susan, can you tell our viewers what happened and how you survived?"

"Guardian angels."

"Excuse me? Did you say guardian angels?"

"Yes, ma'am, I did. That's exactly what I said. Guardian angels saved me."

"You're telling us that glowing white creatures with wings and halos swooped down out of the sky and whisked you away to safety?"

"Don't be silly. None of my guardian angels have ever looked like that."

"None of them? Are you saying this isn't the first time?"

"Of course not. Otherwise, I would've been pushing up daisies years ago."

"I see. Would you mind telling us how it happened this time?"

"I will if you stop smirking."

"I'm sorry. This isn't exactly the response I expected. Please go on."

"Well, my husband and I came here to celebrate our fiftieth anniversary. We both have arthritis, so sometimes we have good days, and sometimes we have bad. Yesterday was good for him, but not so much for me, so I told him to go on the tour into the mountains without me, while I stayed at the hotel and got some rest. I took my medicine and was sound asleep when something jolted me awake."

"An angel?"

"I don't know. Maybe, or maybe it was the hand of God. All I know for sure is something or somebody woke me up and forced me out of bed. I hobbled to the window and saw a sight I'll never forget as long as I live."

"Tell us about it."

"Instead of the surf rolling gently onto shore like usual, it was barreling out to sea like a bat outta hell. Some people were standing on the shore watching it like a bunch of dummies, and others were running every which way like a bunch of ants in a crumb factory."

"What did you do?"

"To tell the truth, at first I panicked. I'd seen the tsunami evacuation signs, so I knew that's probably what was happening, and I also knew there was no time to waste. I had to get to higher ground, or at least to a higher floor. So I went to the hallway. That's where my angels were waiting for me."

"And they whisked you away?"

"Not exactly. They helped me up the steps. There were two of them this time. Beefy guys with bald heads, hoop earrings, and tattoos. Lots of tattoos. A little scary-looking."

"But you weren't afraid?"

"Oh, no, I knew right away they were guardian angels. They always show up when I need them the most. I never know what they're going to look like, but I always know they'll take care of me."

"And they helped you up the stairs?"

"All the way to the roof. I never could have made it without them. They practically carried me. Used to be, it would only have taken one of them, but just between you and me, I'm afraid I've put on a few pounds."

"Then what? Did you see them after that?"

"No. I never do. They show up, they get me to safety, and then they're gone."

"Were there any other people on the roof?"

"Maybe twenty of us in all."

"But no beefy bald guys with hooped earrings and tattoos?"

"Nary a one."

"Well thank you, Susan. We're certainly glad you and your husband made it through the tsunami. I'm sure this is an anniversary you'll never forget. And there you have it, folks. Next time you run into some scary-looking tattooed guys with hoop earrings, don't be afraid. Who knows? They just might be guardian angels."

****************************************





Title: Tsunami Crimes
Series: Disaster Crimes #3
Author: Chrys Fey
Genre: Romantic-Suspense
Page Count: 272


BLURB: Beth and Donovan have come a long way from Hurricane
Sabrina and the San Francisco earthquake. Now they are approaching their
wedding day and anxiously waiting to promise each other a lifetime of love. The
journey down the aisle isn’t smooth, though, as they receive threats from the
followers of the notorious criminal, Jackson Storm. They think they’ll be safe
in Hawaii, but distance can’t stop these killers. Not even a tsunami can.

This monstrous wave is the most devastating disaster Beth
has ever faced. It leaves her beaten, frightened. Is she a widow on her
honeymoon? As she struggles to hold herself together and find Donovan, she’s
kidnapped by Jackson's men.

Fearing her dead, Donovan searches the rubble and shelters
with no luck. The thought of her being swept out to sea is almost too much for
him to bear, but the reality is much worse. She’s being used as bait to get him
to fall into a deadly trap.


If they live through this disaster, they may never be the
same again. 




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If you haven't read any of Chrys' books yet, what are you waiting for? There's no time like the present. I mean... NINETY-NINE CENTS, people!!! Catch the wave.

                          Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.




















Friday, January 13, 2017

Good Thing I'm Not Superstitious

Thought for the day:  My surgeon is really funny; he always has me in stitches.



Sheesh. Leave it to me to schedule surgery for a Friday the 13th, huh? Good thing I'm not superstitious... and hopefully, neither is Dr. Lee.

Not a biggie. After my cataract surgery in 2001, my eyelids were pretty stretched and saggy. C'est la vie. But in the past couple of years, since I've had to do the daily drops for glaucoma, the eyelids have gotten so saggy, they're interfering with my field of vision. (sigh) So the doc said, "Fix 'em!"

My eyelids have fallen, and they can't get up!

So I'm fixing them. Today. For a while, I'll probably look like Smarticus beat me up, but once the swelling goes down, I should be able to see a lot better. But just because I'm gonna be out of it today doesn't mean I shouldn't leave you guys a post, though, right? So here's a Friday the 13th re-run. Seeya next Friday.

                      Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

                                                             



****************************

Thought for the day:  Why in the world do people think an amputated rabbit's foot will bring them luck? The way I see it, it sure didn't bring any luck to the rabbit...


[morguefile]
I'm not at all superstitious. Friday the thirteenth is just like any other day, knock on wood. But don't worry. For those of you who are superstitious, I've got my fingers crossed that you encounter nothing but good luck today.

I do NOT believe the act of washing a car will make it rain. Well, actually, maybe it will, but as everyone knows, that's due to science, not superstition... Murphy's law and all that.

I say NO to the notion that breaking a mirror will bring seven years' bad luck. True, I have a peculiar propensity for avoiding mirrors as much as possible, but that has nothing to do with a fear of breaking them. I just don't wanta give that old-gray-mare-who-ain't-what-she-used-to-be who stares back at me the satisfaction. Why let that old broad spoil an otherwise great day?

I do NOT believe garlic will keep away vampires and evil spirits; I just happen to LIKE eating it. I also enjoy eating an apple every day, and it has absolutely nothing to do with that silly old saying about keeping the doctor away. Sure, I pick up pennies when I spot them lying on the ground, but it has nothing to do with that old Find a penny, pick it up, and all the day you'll have good luck. Nothing at all. I'm simply cheap frugal.

We do NOT have any lucky horseshoes hanging in our house, but if we did, I'd be sure they were hanging properly. You know, so it looks like the letter U. And that has nothing to do with that blather about not letting the luck run out. They simply... look better... that way.

Oh, I could go on and on, like about how unlucky it's supposed to be to walk under a ladder, to rock an empty rocking chair, to open an umbrella in the house, or for a black cat to cross your path. (Like Groucho Marx said, A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere.) But I won't. Instead, we're gonna concentrate on Friday the thirteenth. Ever wonder why that date makes some superstitious people fairly tremble in fear? Well, then, you've come to the right place. I'm gonna tell ya.

The following post originally appeared on May 13, 2011... a Friday the 13th, of course, and it had the original title of Friggatriskaidekaphobia, Anyone? I hope you enjoy it.
********************************

Thought for the day:  Luck is the idol of the idle.


[morguefile]
Friggatriskaidikaphobia is a freaky cool word that means fear of Friday the 13th. Since Friday is considered by some to be an unlucky day, and thirteen is feared by some as an unlucky number, it should come as no surprise that when the two converge, superstitious fears multiply accordingly. We could say that

Unlucky Friday + Unlucky Thirteen = Unluckier Friday

The word superstition means a belief or practice resulting from ignorance and fear of the unknown, a trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation. Although I have no statistics to back me up, I'll hazard a guess that there are far more superstitious males than females. I mean, really, have you ever heard of a woman refusing to change her lucky drawers or socks? No, of course not. Although I will concede that this peculiar attachment to one's dirty socks and undies and by extension, one's aversion to donning clean ones, may in fact be rooted in something entirely different than a belief in their ability to prolong a streak of good luck. For any gentlemen with a proclivity to wear said scuzzy skivvies, be forewarned: No matter how much  luck you believe those skivvies may bring you in games of chance or sport, I double dog guarantee you that wearing them will NOT lead to any semblance of luck with the ladies.

[morguefile]
Most of us are familiar with superstitions dealing with black cats, spilling salt, breaking mirrors, and walking under ladders, but have you ever wondered where those superstitions originated?

And why FRIDAYS, for goodness sake?

And why the number THIRTEEN?

Because...

WHY FRIDAY  : In ancient Rome, Friday was the designated day for executions, which certainly ended a streak of good luck for anyone whacked by the authorities, whether he was wearing his lucky bowling shirt or not. Witches' covens allegedly gather on Fridays, too, and in the Middle Ages, Friday was actually dubbed "Witches' Sabbath". The Good Friday crucifixion of Christ casts the greatest stigma on the day for Christians, but other Biblical events are also attributed to Friday: the day Eve gave Adam the apple, the day they were expelled from Eden, the day God struck the Tower of Babel, and the day Solomon's Temple was destroyed.

Some of the strange superstitions regarding Friday are:
  • Clothing made on a Friday will never fit properly.
  • Visiting a doctor on a Friday will lead to no good news.
  • Changing bedclothes on a Friday will lead to nightmares.
  • Marrying or moving on a Friday will come to a bad end.
  • Cutting your nails on a Friday will lead to sorrow.
  • Receiving bad news on a Friday will cause more wrinkles than receiving them on any other day of the week.
  • Starting a trip on a Friday will lead to misfortune.
  • Ships that set sail on a Friday are doomed to suffer bad luck.
About a hundred years ago, to disprove the superstition about ships, the Brits commissioned H.M.S. Friday. The crew was selected on a Friday, the keel was set on a Friday,  the ship was launched on a Friday, and the man chosen to captain the ship was even named Friday. The ship set sail on its maiden voyage on a Friday, too. And was never heard from again.

[morguefile]
WHY THIRTEEN: You're probably more familiar with this word: triskaidekaphobia. That's the fear of the number thirteen, and it's no secret that many buildings don't acknowledge a thirteenth floor, and many cities opt to skip Thirteenth Street. But, WHY? 

For one thing, a witch's coven has thirteen members. There are also thirteen steps leading to the gallows, and thirteen knots in a hangman's noose. The blade of a guillotine falls thirteen feet, and at her trial, Lizzie Borden spoke thirteen words. There were thirteen people at the Last Supper, and the thirteenth card in a deck of tarot cards? Death.

Apollo 13, the thirteenth mission to be launched from pad #39, (13 X 3)  was aborted after an explosion in the fuel cell of the service module, after leaving the launching pad at 13:13 CST. The date? April thirteenth.

One theory about the root of triskaidekaphobia lays it at the feet of ancient man. It claims that when man was first learning to count, he counted on ten fingers and two feet, so anything beyond twelve was considered frightening and mysterious. On the other hand, what I find mysterious is why he didn't count on his ten toes, too. It's highly possible that he refused to take off his lucky socks.

Would you believe the number thirteen was once considered lucky? For one thing, some early religions considered the thirteenth step to be the one souls take to enter the eternal glory of the afterlife. And in the prehistoric goddess-worshiping cultures, the number thirteen represented femininity, and corresponded to the number of lunar (and menstrual) cycles in a year. The Earth Mother of Laussel, an ancient carving found in France, depicts a female holding a crescent-shaped horn with, you guessed it,  thirteen notches in it. Later, when society became male-dominated and the solar calendar replaced the lunar one, twelve became the "perfect" number, replacing the "imperfect" thirteen.

So, there ya have it. Now you know a little bit about the superstitions associated with Friday the thirteenth. Me? I still prefer the TGIF approach.

How about you? Do you have any superstitions or lucky socks? (Or saggy eyelids? HA!)

[Initially, I was going to turn off the comments, but I changed my mind. If you leave a comment, thank you. Honest, I do appreciate it, but please understand if I don't respond or stop by your blog this time. (Sorry!)]

                                  Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

In Support of Rules

Thought for the day:  Forget all the rules. Forget about being published. Write for yourself, and celebrate writing. [Melinda Haynes]

HAPPY NEW YEAR, y'all!!!

It's hard to believe, but here we are, dipping our toes into yet another brand new year. YOWZA! As we embark on this journey of new beginnings, let's hope we're all wise enough and fortunate enough to make the best of the year ahead of us. Cheers!

Today, like the first Wednesday of every month, is IWSG Day, when writers all over the world share their problems, air concerns, and celebrate successes. As always, thanks go to ninja writer Alex Cavanaugh for coming up with this nifty idea. To join the group and see links to other IWSG posts, please go here



Woo HOO! I don't have a single thing to complain about this month. Slowly but surely, we're crawling back from the flu, and my brain is starting to hum like a well-oiled rusty machine again. That means the words are finally starting to flow again, and I hope to get back into the groove again very soon. Every word I scribble in my notebook and type on the computer may not be keepers, but like Jodi Picault said, You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page. 

I do have a couple of other things to share, though. This first thing is painfully obvious to me now, so I'm probably the last writer on earth to figure it out, but just in case I'm not, here goes. When you sit down to write each day, don't complete the scene. That's right. Stop writing when you've still got a good head of steam and know exactly where you want to go next. That way, when you pick it up again the next day, you're revved up and ready to go. I've discovered that if I complete a scene, it's much more difficult to get going again. It's not quite as bad as coming up with the perfect opening sentence and paragraph for chapter one, but it's certainly in the same ballpark.

The other thing? It's a book by Don McNair: Editor-Proof Your Writing. Good stuff! (And I'm not just saying that because I already ascribed to most of his guidelines about writing clear prose, either.) Seriously. No matter where you are in your writing journey, there's a lot of helpful stuff in this book.

One last thing before going on to this month's question. Next month, I'll be (gulp) attending a book club for the first time... to talk about my book! That's kinda exciting, and kinda scary. It's being held in a private residence, and I have no idea how many members will be there. I've given speeches in front of hundreds of people before with no problems, but I must confess, I'm a tad nervous about how to proceed with this intimate gathering. Any suggestions???

Okay, now on to the question of the month: What writing rule do you wish you'd never heard?


Um... rules? There are... rules?

Seriously, it's not like the writing police are gonna swoop down out of the sky and slap a fine on us or throw us in the pokey if we break any of the traditional rules of writing, but I don't regret knowing the rules... even if I don't always choose to follow them.

In some cases, a strict adherence to rules results in prose that may be technically correct, but also stilted and unnatural-sounding. For example, we all learned it's improper to end a sentence with a preposition, but contorting a sentence with the explicit purpose of avoiding that dangling preposition can result in proper, but barely readable prose.



I think we should all know the rules, because grammar does matter. But I also think we should allow ourselves the freedom to create, and to bend the rules as we see fit. Or as Picasso put it, Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist. 

How about you? Has your creativity ever been stifled by adherence to the rules... or have you always been an artistic rebel?



Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.