About Me

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Author of The Draca Wards Saga. Book One, Familiar Origins, is an award-winning YA fantasy novel. Book two, Plights, is currently available on Kindle.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

World poetry day - The Lotus Eaters

To honor World Poetry Day, I have to write about Lord Tennyson's poemThe Lotus Eaters. This poem has shaped much of my life in a wonderful way!

I first learned about the poem in one of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The book listed part of the poem. I don't remember how old I was; maybe nine. The poem intrigued me, and after two visits to the bookstore (I would roam the bookstore for hours while I waited for my parents at the mall), I was able to find a book with the entire poem in it. I was still rather young, so I did not quite grasp the story at the time, but the book mentioned it was based on The Odyssey. So I found a copy of that. And I didn't understand a word.

But, I found books about The Odyssey that were easier to read, and some short adaptations to parts of Odysseus' adventures. And those books got me into Greek and Roman mythology. Which got me into fantasy. Which got me into Sci-fi. Which got me into some really good, thought-provoking reading.

But also, The Lotus Eaters provided me with a once in a lifetime opportunity! In my junior year in high school, I was taking SAT prep courses before school. The teacher was going over vocabulary and literature, and she mentioned Tennyson. She asked if any of us knew any Tennyson poems, so I mentioned The Lotus Eaters and quoted a verse. She was so impressed that I was familiar with that poem (you need to understand that many of the kids in my prep class were considered disadvantaged) that a few weeks later she suggested I write an essay for a chance to be part of an exchange group to Israel, and she would write me a letter of recommendation. I did, and I was selected to go to Israel for a month.

I love reading poetry. I'm not a very talented poet, and I would much rather read poems than write them. There is just something about reading the right prose at the right time from the right poet. Maybe if I were a decent poet I would be able to explain. But for now you will just have to take my word for it.

Anyway, enough about me. Here's the poem:

The Lotus-Eaters
by Lord Alfred Tennyson

"Courage!" he said, and pointed toward the land,
"This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon."
In the afternoon they came unto a land
In which it seemed always afternoon.
All round the coast the languid air did swoon,
Breathing like one that hath a weary dream.
Full-faced above the valley stood the moon;
And like a downward smoke, the slender stream
Along the cliff to fall and pause and fall did seem.
A land of streams! some, like a downward smoke,
Slow-dropping veils of thinnest lawn, did go;
And some thro' wavering lights and shadows broke,
Rolling a slumbrous sheet of foam below.
They saw the gleaming river seaward flow
From the inner land: far off, three mountain-tops,
Three silent pinnacles of aged snow,
Stood sunset-flush'd: and, dew'd with showery drops,
Up-clomb the shadowy pine above the woven copse.
The charmed sunset linger'd low adown
In the red West: thro' mountain clefts the dale
Was seen far inland, and the yellow down
Border'd with palm, and many a winding vale
And meadow, set with slender galingale;
A land where all things always seem'd the same!
And round about the keel with faces pale,
Dark faces pale against that rosy flame,
The mild-eyed melancholy Lotos-eaters came.
Branches they bore of that enchanted stem,
Laden with flower and fruit, whereof they gave
To each, but whoso did receive of them,
And taste, to him the gushing of the wave
Far far away did seem to mourn and rave
On alien shores; and if his fellow spake,
His voice was thin, as voices from the grave;
And deep-asleep he seem'd, yet all awake,
And music in his ears his beating heart did make.
They sat them down upon the yellow sand,
Between the sun and moon upon the shore;
And sweet it was to dream of Fatherland,
Of child, and wife, and slave; but evermore
Most weary seem'd the sea, weary the oar,
Weary the wandering fields of barren foam.
Then some one said, "We will return no more";
And all at once they sang, "Our island home
Is far beyond the wave; we will no longer roam."

- Blogpress post from my iPad

Sunday, January 23, 2011

And so it begins...

I have been considering euthanasia for this blog. Ever since Google took over blogger.com, I have had a hard time with the layout, the pictures, and using the HTML. I have ditched several postings because I just have given up on tinkering with the site. The funny thing is, I seem to be the only person who is having these issues. Even my new blog, Writing Fantasy, is working fine. So I figured it would be best to just delete this blog and move on.

But then I began to read my old posts, and I became sentimental. It was as if the blog was staring at me with puppy-dog eyes, begging me to give it another chance. After all, I did put some TLC into it, and there are some nice memories involved. So I gave in to the awww, you poor thing feeling, and here I am, updating.

I will give you another chance, stubborn blog. I will go back and reflect on my past posts, and remember. I will update as best I can, but do not expect any earth-shattering prose or essays from me. See, I am busy, busier than even I expected to be, and my life is a classic case of ADD, where I am pulled away from my present tasks by either a rugrat, a phone call, an e-mail, or the doorbell. And once I am pulled away, I am adrift in an ocean of half-finished to-do items that I must get done.

And so it begins. My first novel of the Draca Wards saga is now for sale as an e-book on Kindle and Amazon. I will announce the print release as soon as it becomes available. And I can do a bit of shameless self-promotion here as well.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Time for some shameless self-promotion

So there is good news, and bad news. The good news: September (book launch time) is almost here. The bad news: I don't think I will see my book in print by September. I suppose delays are common but it is still disappointing. There is still a good possibility that the book will be released as an e-book this fall, so I am still holding out hope. In any case, the time has come to start pitching my first book.

My story is a fantasy novel about five children sought after by dragons. The dragons can bond with these children in a special way. I have a website that provides more information. Below is the caption on my homepage.

Five children...hunted by dragons for their special powers and their ability to bond with dragons.

Some dragons are good, some are not, but they all have the same goal: To find the children, bond them, and make them their own.

So if you like dragons and fantasy stories, or know someone who does, please check out my website: www.dracawards.com


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Home from vacation, and an online story

After a few days back home, I believe I have finally recuperated from our trip to the Turks & Caicos Islands. My sister had her wedding there, so we made it part of our long overdue family vacation.

Turks & Caicos has to be the Caribbean’s best kept secret. The residents are very nice and friendly, and the beaches are heavenly. It is hard not to fall in love with such a place. We stayed at the Beaches resort, which is absolutely magnificent! The wedding was beautiful and the food was great. It is impossible to be bored or hungry there, and there is something for everyone to do. My only regret is not having any time to myself. I had hoped to find a place to sit and watch the sun go down over the ocean, or to catch a few moments for some daydreaming and hopefully a bit of creative inspiration. That did not happen. The most I got was a few hours at the spa, which was relaxing, but a couple of ladies nearby with their senseless comments about how sorry they feel for the ‘natives’ spoiled the whole reflective moment. I am not quite sure what they meant by that, since I was trying hard to tune them out.

In any case, just because I was not able to snatch any selfish ‘me’ time does not mean that I feel it ruined my vacation. There were plenty of good moments, and I met some really cool people as well. This is what truly ruined the entire trip for me: I lost my wedding rings. I do not want to elaborate; let’s just say that I am back home, and my rings are not, and although I contacted the resort to see if anyone found them and turned them in, I don’t expect to get them back. 

Now on to a different subject. I have a URL where I plan to post installments of my science fiction story, titled Hyperspace. I have used this story mostly for practice, and I never intended to do much with it.  But the story is developing quite well, and hopefully if I can get some online interest in it I may be able to get some feedback on my writing style, or better yet, some online exposure! So far I have the background of the story posted, but soon I will start adding the story installments. The URL is www.bpinestories.com

Check it out!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A trip to the bookstore!

My hubby’s birthday was yesterday.  He took the day off, I baked him a cake, and we spent the day at home not doing much of anything as he tried to decide what to do for his special day.  That evening we went out for sushi, and he finally decided what he wanted to do for his special evening.  So we left the restaurant and drove over to the bookstore. Yay!
Now, aside from a quick trip to Barnes and Noble last week, I had not visited a bookstore in over a year.  I can thank Amazon for that.  It is just too easy to download a book from my Kindle.  And even if I want to get a certain book in print, all I have to do is pick up my laptop (or presently, my iPad).  Sample chapters and synopses are available online, and I can have a book shipped to me as soon as the following day, if I’m willing to pay for it.  It just makes it too easy to brush aside a bookstore trip, and now I think I am beginning to regret staying away.
Of course, having no kids in tow made strolling up and down the aisles quite peaceful, but even if they had been with us it would have been just as enjoyable.  Browsing through the books - so many books to choose from, too - is just plain fun. It is refreshing.  And it gives you something to look forward to when you get home.  You don’t really get that feeling from a digital book.  
We browsed around until closing time.  We went in different directions, bumping into each other here and there.  I started off at the new releases and hot sellers, mostly gardening books due to the time of year.  From there I meandered into the Fantasy/Sci-Fi section.  I found a book by Karin Lowachee, called The Gaslight Dogs.  I had read a review a few days before by The Fantasy Cafe blog, and it was not a bad review. I read a few pages, and the Charlaine Harris section caught my eye.  I haven’t read any of her books, but I am hooked on the HBO True Blood series, and my sister is an ardent Charlaine Harris fan.  Something else caught my attention before I could pick up her latest book, however.  There is something about the fantasy and science fiction book aisles that give me a weird case of ADD.
The ADD eased off once I hit the Humor section, and by the time I hit the General Reference section I was back in the real world, sort of.  By the time I heard the closing announcement, I was in the Children’s section, desperately trying to decide which books to choose.  Hubby already had his, tucked under his arm.  Finally, my practical side took over and I chose just one book- a book I could read to the little ones.  But that’s OK.  It gives me an excuse to go back.
I made it a point to blog about our bookstore trip so I could come back to this while I am clicking my way around blogs and hopefully remember how cool it is to go to a bookstore.  I am the quintessential gadget girl.  I love to play with electronic stuff.  I own a Kindle, a Sony E-reader, and an iPad.  I have plenty of e-books.  But I also love the feel of a nice thick tome.  I like to skim through pages and sometimes sneak a peek ahead.  I like to book shop; I like to scan and see which covers catch my attention and read the back cover to see if the story piques my curiosity.  I had forgotten how that feels during this past year, and I don’t want to forget again.  Besides, I have a book coming out sometime this fall, and I cannot wait to hold it in my hands.  And I really want people to buy my print book over my e-book.  If people stop buying books, they will become too expensive to print, and the bookstores will eventually go away.   And that would be horrible.  So I think I will back away from the e-books for a bit and go back to my local bookstore to buy some real books.  My publisher, Silver Leaf Books, has released several books this year that sound like an interesting read, so I shall start my book shopping spree by ordering some books from my fellow authors.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Writing in places I have never written before

The typos you may see in this post were left there deliberately.  I am on my patio steps tapping away on my touch screen keyboard on my almost 2 week old iPad. There are hundreds of reviews on this little (or should I say not that little) gadget, so I am not going to write a mini essay on the pros and cons of the iPad.  I have found some cool things, and some not-so-cool things about it.  however, I will get you guys in on how it delivers when it comes to the two reasons I decided to break open my piggy bank and invest in a first generation, likely overpriced model tablet 'computer'.

the main reason was to have something I could take with me and write. If you have read my earlier posts you probably remember my despair at how my iTouch did not quite cut it for me when it came to writing. The keyboard was just too small. The iPad seemed to be the right size, but early reviewers mostly hated the touch keyboard. I was waffling, but decided to pre-order it anyway.  Then I found out that shipments were delayed for Apple Store orders.  No biggie, I just dragged my sister off to the nearest Apple store on Saturday morning , about 40 minutes away.  At least I would be able to play with it before deciding if this was the right gadget for me.  As it turned out, it took me no time to get used to the keyboard.  My speed is about as fast as a regular keyboard.  i would say faster,  but I have to swith keyboards to get to the quotation marks, which I use a lot.  And as you can see, there are a few typos, but they are minor and my post is still quite legible (although I am sure it is a bit annoying for some).

My other reason was to be able to read e-books and surf the web easily from room to room and outside while chasing the rug rats.  Indoors it is awesome.  The size is pleasant, it feels nice to hold and it the e-books app is vry pretty and easy to use.  However, the Wifi keeps dropping, and I have to constantly reset the settings whenever I turn it off or it goes to sleep.  First generation glitch, most likely.  Also, and this is a biggie, the iPad does not support Flash.  So as far as web surfing, I will stick to my laptop for the most part.

Using it outdoors is not as nice. It is hard to see in the sun, an dit overheats easily on hot bright days, so I can only use it in the shade.  And another annoying thing I discovered: my polarized sunglasses makes the screen invisible.

Overall I am pleased with my latest toy.  the biggest benefit is to be able to read more.  i have been browsing through Blogspot and have found a few cool blogs. and I have been able to get some writing in as well.  Not to mention being able to finally find time to update my blog. :-/

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gadget Girl Fails!

As you can probably deduce from my last post, even after weeks of tinkering I still cannot get my apps to post exactly the way I want them to. But I do not blame the apps. I am under the delusion that I can immediately grasp any new technology and master it by simply playing around with it for a few days. Hello! McFly!!

That may have been true ten years ago when my brain was young and fit and didn’t have the strain of having to keep pace with three kids. My oldest son has several CompTIA certifications, so he officially knows more about computers than I do. That is humbling in itself. But deep down I fear that the Peter Principle applies to technology as well, and the day will come where I will no longer be able to grasp the concept of the latest and greatest invention since sliced bread. That thought has kept me awake at night more than once.

Aside from my paranoid thoughts of becoming too old and too stupid to work an iTouch, the device that I believed would be the solution to all my writing obstacles has in itself created a big one for me. I consider myself an average texter (though I can't hold a candle to my son) and I am comfortable enough with the touch keyboard on my iTouch, but when I use it to get some prose down, my writing slows to a virtual stop. At 50 wpm, my typing was never very fast, but the iTouch brings it down to 15-20. And even with the auto-correct function, I see the typos that I drop as I type, and the temptation to go back and fix is just too much for me. Yesterday I did some writing while waiting for my youngest son at martial arts class. Forty minutes. Eight sentences. FAIL!

I still love my iTouch, and I love to be able to write on my tiny device while I am out and about. I just have to get better at it. And I probably have to stop trying so hard. My blog has suffered because of it. And I have a map to finish, but more about that next time.