Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Let's celebrate, come on

a tidy green tree
celebrates springtime with rouged
cheeks and saucy skirts
Okay, a little dose of flowers and haiku to set the mood, because there's some celebrating to do.
Moonrat at Editorial Ass is holding a contest with a fabulous prize to mark a milestone of massive proportion--500,000 hits! Hurry on over and you may win a critique from this "recovering editorial assistant."
Shannon Whitney Messenger has signed with Laura Rennert at Andrea Brown Literary, and she has wrangled six signed books from fellow authors to give away as a thank-you to her readers. Way to go, Shannon!
And I find myself with two more awards. My newly-found blog friend, Claire Dawn at Points of Claire-ification-- who is currently reading books in Japanese and Spanish, watching a movie in French and editing her own work in English--handed on the Picasso bouquet award to me. Since I have it already (in that mantle that is my sidebar) I thank her profusely and say, please go check out her blog. You will enjoy.
Also, there is the Prolific Blogger Award, which was bestowed on me by the talented Yvonne Osborne at The Organic Writer. Yvonne is never afraid of a writing challenge--she dives in, takes risks. As a result I've read some memorable snippets of her work that have stayed with me. If you haven't visited her yet, take this opportunity to click on over.

The Prolific Blogger comes with rules. Those who've read my blog know I'm creative with rules, but this time I'll try to stay inside the lines and prove I can be a prolific and rule-abiding blogger.
1) Pass it on to seven prolific bloggers. 2) Link to the person who gave it. 3 & 4) Link to the Advance Booking post where it originated and sign into Mr. Linky there.
(More than 250 people have received it and signed. It's fun to watch the widening ripples in the blogging pool, isn't it?)
So here are seven nominated bloggers who may wear the Prolific Blogger cape if they please. Nobody's going to check your word count. *grins*

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dancing With the Starfish

On my vacation what did I see?
Dancing Stars!

Jellies Gone Wild!

and, drum roll....

Octopus on the Move!

These fabulous marine specimens are at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, Calif. It isn't an aquarium but an educational facility that teaches more than 100,000 students a year about the biology, geology, ecology and maritime history of the ocean. They have a research boat and two tall ships--replicas of an 1800's brig and schooner.
I learned that lobsters shed their skin. I saw skates and rays that looked tie-dyed, and I found out that elusive blue whales (at around 100 feet in length they are the largest creatures on our planet) have been visiting the coast off Dana Point for the last six years. It is thought that changes in the ocean have brought them in close to land to feed on krill. Gray whales, who are half the length of blues, are seen along here every year because they migrate about 12,000 miles from the Arctic to their nursery lagoons in Mexico.
My trip included contemplative moments and splashes of sunny delights. I walked barefoot in sand, scrambled over rocky cliffs, poked around tide pools, drank margaritas, made a shell bracelet, ate clam chowder and crepes filled with melted chocolate and topped with berries. Did I write, you may ask? Did I complete Sea Daughters? I didn't finish, but I did write 3,000 words and inched up closer to the end. It was a fine way to spend a week.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The sea calls

From here you can hear the hollow bark-barking of sea lions coming from that tiny rock in the ocean. You see it? The sun poking a hole through the clouds has illuminated it, for the moment, in a spotlight.
There is a trail that runs parallel to the railroad tracks south of San Clemente's pier and sometimes the trains come while you walk. First, they hoot and toot to warn the unwary off the tracks. Then they clatter and rattle and whoosh in passing. Through the windows you see holiday travelers on their way to any number of beach cities or commuters who prefer to avoid the infamous Southern California freeways. I like to look in the windows and wonder who they are, and I'm sure those who gaze out are thinking how grand it would be to be walking along the shore like me.

There is a strange phenomenon that occurs along a stretch of sandstone cliffs, eroded by wind and water and topped by bushes and trees and lots of houses with Spanish-style tile roofs.

As you pass them, the waves swooshing to shore and back on the other side of the railroad tracks get caught in some magical alternate space so that the echo of their swish and roar seems to come from the cliffs themselves.

This is a beautiful and magical place. And I get to go there this week for awhile. I'm going to inhale salt air and watch the sun sink into the sea and eat chowder. I'm also going to work on finishing my novel, Sea Daughters, which is partly set here.

So, my friends, I expect to be unplugged this week. I don't even know if I will check e-mail. We shall see where the magic takes me. See you after awhile!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Why Beth Revis inspires me

With all the news of downsizing in publishing, of people stacking up rejections, of people leaning toward self-publishing, of advice on how to keep your spirits up, of how bad the odds are, there have still been moments of uplift when a blogging friend signs with an agent or another gets a book deal.

But nothing has sent my heart racing like the news that Beth Revis has a three-book, "major" deal. Here is a snippet from Publishers Weekly: "In another major YA acquisition before the Bologna Book Fair, Ben Schrank at Razorbill pre-empted North American rights to the debut novel by high school teacher Beth Revis, Across the Universe...Schrank said he thinks the book will do for popular sci-fi what The Hunger Games did for post-apocalyptic fiction."

Wow. Double Wow. Get the heart monitor.

In celebration, Beth has a contest you don't want to miss--for both writers and readers.

But I'm going back to a quieter time, when I met Beth online. Over and over, she inspired me with her posts. Plus, she loves art and music, sharing wonderful pictures and videos--so, triple interest for me.

In June, she wrote about finishing the above-mentioned YA--and that she had written 10,000 words the day before to do it! This has a lot to do with Beth being a teacher who has limited time for writing. So two wows in that.

In July, she held online critique sessions for any of her readers who wanted to go public. I did it as did many others, including Beth. It was scary and helpful for me and generous of her.

Skipping ahead to October, she did an overlook of her revision process, which was insightful and useful, for sure.

In November, she talked of how time-consuming the query process can be. But she approached querying the smart way, having done her research, and she'd bookmarked helpful sites And, as always, she thanked other bloggers who helped along the way.

In December, *wild dancing* she signed with Merrilee Heifetz at Writers House. Holy Toledo.

On Jan. 1, Beth made some wishes to the universe--like for a book deal, maybe several, and a chance to write full-time. Um, I think the Universe listened.

But I really want to point out the Dec. 15 post when she honored books that inspired her on the journey to writing this one. She mentioned how THE THIEF by Megan Whalen Turner has an unreliable narrator, and this gave Beth ideas for one of her own narrators, and how THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX by Mary Pearson freed her to write sci-fi based more on characters than science.

So this is a little bit of why Beth inspires me. Follow her, read her. I think you'll be inspired, too.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A little St. Pat's Day gift

For St. Patrick's Day, I wrote a short story, prompted by Jon Paul at Where Sky Meets Ground. His idea? The Drunk at First Sight Blogfest, a playful twist on recent blogfests all about smoochies. I hope you enjoy this fairytale, and I wish you all a happy day filled with stories and good cheer.
The Selkie and the Thief
The morning after a fierce storm howled its way over water and earth, Hugh McCafferty stood at the place where sea met land.
"What's that?" he said to no one but himself.
A person floated lifelessly along the rocky coast. Hugh scrambled and slid down to where he could see it was a woman of uncommon appearance. She was naked, but a silky coat drifted by her side.
"Selkie!" Hugh gasped.
He was not a man given to industriousness, but, on this occasion, he found a piece of driftwood and used it to snag the coat. He pulled up the heavy mass, squeezed out cupfuls of water and tucked the coat under his arm.
The selkie's eyes opened at that moment and looked straight into his. They were golden brown and luminous as moonlight.
"You seem to have caught me, Man."
"Yes, and that means you must come and be my wife."
"As you wish." She slithered from the water and stood gleaming before him.
Hugh took a step backward. He put the coat in a sack he carried and unbuttoned his shirt.
"I can't cover you with your coat or you will return to sea, so you shall wear my shirt."
He was so proud of himself after taking the selkie to his cold, stone cottage, he left her there and went to his brother's pub to brag about his fine, new wife.
Eyebrows rose and tongues wagged: "Hugh McCafferty couldn't get a wife unless he tricked the poor lass." "Who'd marry that lay-about, I ask you?"
He raised his voice above the din. "I said I have a fine wife, and I should think you'd be buying me a pint then."
Hugh's brother, Cornelius, set down a glass of nut-brown stout topped with an inch of creamy foam. "Here you go, brother. Now don't you be bothering folks."
"What about a sip of whiskey, as well? It's not every day your brother gets married."
"Just how is it you got married? I don't recall you courting anyone." Cornelius poured the whiskey and shoved it at Hugh.
"I stumbled upon her, and she couldn't resist my charms."
Cornelius rolled his eyes and went back to pouring drinks for his paying customers.
Hugh savored the fire of the whiskey along with the creamy stout. As his insides warmed, he thought of the fine night ahead with the selkie. Perhaps he would show her off another night, and folks would have to buy him a few pints to be sociable.
When he returned to his stone cottage with its poorly-thatched roof, he found the selkie huddled in a corner.
"Have you no fire, Man? I am freezing in your cold house."
"You live in the icy sea. How can you be cold?"
"You took my coat."
Indeed, and he intended to keep the sack it was in with him at all times. So, he found some peat in his bin and built a meager fire.
"You should come to my bed," he said.
"You should have a home warm enough to keep a wife." The selkie would not move from the hearth.
It wasn't the sort of wedding night Hugh envisioned. Next morning, he went in search of something to burn. He didn't feel like going all the way to the peat bog. As he walked, he chanced upon a hawthorn tree. He shivered, knowing the hawthorn was favored by fairies. But maybe they wouldn't begrudge him one small branch.
Later, gazing into the flickering flame, he thought he saw something. A figure dancing? Perhaps he was dozing, dreaming--nothing more.
The following day he looked for more firewood, because the selkie wasn't satisfied. He searched up dale and down, but wood was scarce. The hawthorn, though, still had some branches to warm them. He hesitated, but nothing had happened the night before, had it? Surely, it was all right to take a bit more.
He went home and built a robust fire, demanding that the selkie cook his evening meal and boil water for tea. He dozed and woke with a start. In the flames he was sure he saw a face grinning. Disturbed, he wrapped himself in the selkie's coat and went to bed.
The morning dawned bright and clear. As nothing bad had happened, Hugh went straight to the hawthorn and gathered an armload of branches, whistling as returned home.
His eyes grew heavy as he rested in his chair before the crackling hearth.
"One, two, three times you stole from our tree, and one, two, three times you must pay," said a voice.
Hugh's eyes snapped open to see a grinning face in the flames.
"One: You must return the wood you stole. Two: You must make the tree whole. Three: You must dance with the fairies of the tree."
Hugh broke into a sweat. "But how can I return wood already burned? How can I repair a tree? And everyone knows if you dance with fairies, you never come back."
But the face was gone. Hugh turned to the selkie. "What should I do?"
She shrugged, putting the finishing touches on a dress she'd fashioned from scraps of cloth. "I'm not a wood fairy."

Hugh ran to his sister, who had seven children and the ability to sort out troubles. He told her what the fairy said.
"Tch, you foolish man," she said. "You may as well face your punishment. There's not getting around the fey."
Hugh ran to his brother, who listened to many tales of woe from his customers.
"Tch," said Cornelius. "You've made a right mess. I never heard a sure way to get out of a fairy curse."
Finally, Hugh ran to the tinker who told fortunes.
The gypsy didn't say "tch," for which Hugh was grateful. The man threw down handfuls of sticks and stared at them before speaking.
"You can return the wood and make the tree whole if you scrape every bit of ash from your hearth and bury it around the tree. But, mind you, do not let a single ash fly away."
Hugh was relieved. "What about the dancing?"
The gypsy turned away. "If the tree is whole, you will dance free."
So Hugh set to work. He scraped and brushed every ash into a bucket, but ash is not easy to capture. It flew in the air and crept into corners. Hugh had never worked so hard, but finally he had the cleanest hearth in the county.
On a still morning with no breeze, Hugh hid the sack with the selkie's coat behind his cottage so he wouldn't be encumbered, and carried the bucket with great care to the hawthorn. First, he dug a trench around the trunk. Finally, he poured the ashes in. With a sigh of relief, he reached for his shovel to cover the ash. But, just then, a playful breeze lifted half the ash and carried it away.
"No!" He sank to his knees.
Laughter burst from the tree--many voices making merry. Soon there was dancing, wild and dizzying, until like a whirlpool, Hugh was drawn down into Faerie beneath the tree.
The selkie watched from a nearby hill. A smile played on her lips as she threw her retrieved coat upon her shoulders. She wore it as a cloak and didn't change shape. Instead, she wandered to the pub, coveted by her husband and never shared with her.
When she entered, all heads turned.
"Hello. I'm a lone traveler. Might I have a pint in exchange for a tale?"
Indeed, everyone wanted to hear what stories she could tell.
She settled on a stool by the fire and took a long drink from her pint, licking the cream foam from her lips and smiling brightly as sun on water.
The room was hushed, waiting.
"Have you heard the tale of the Hawthorn and the Thief? It's an old favorite of mine." She drank deeply again.
The people watched her lick away the foam and pictured waves licking the shore, sliding in and gathering, sliding in and gathering in a never-ending dance.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring has sprung and a blogfest is coming

The poppies are here! The poppies are here! They don't call California the Golden State for nothing. Well, there was the Gold Rush, sure, but our state flower, the California poppy, is a vivid splash of bobbing, waving yellow and orange. They are hard to find when Mother Nature has been miserly with rain. Not this year.
I found this patch while on a walk on a windy day. They danced so much and the sun was so brilliant that I think it makes the photo slightly surreal.
I expect the poppy fields in the Antelope Valley will be carpeted--hill after hill of orange poppies and yellow goldfields. It's seems like magic when it happens, but it's really just the right recipe of sun and rain. It's still too early to know, because the poppy reserve is at higher, colder elevation than where I am.
And, as promised, this is also a spring of spectacular green.

I found this patch of moss nestled in the shadowy recesses of a boulder. In Southern California that is a small miracle. It reminds me of Ireland, and they don't call it the Emerald Isle for nothing. (conscious repetition, here)

I can't resist this fun play on all the lovey-themed blogfests of late. And, um, Irish, you know. So sign up on the widget and write something related to St. Patrick's Day, Ireland, pubs and relationships. His rules are loose. Just post something by next Wednesday, so we can all indulge in a little writerly wearing of the green.
And, finally, a big thank you to two sunshiney, stylish sweethearts who bestowed two new awards upon me.

Thank you, Tamika at The Write Worship, for the Stylish Blogger Award. Tamika has the most beautiful smile and attitude! I'm supposed to share five things: 1) I'm in two fantastic crit groups. 2) I have long fingers and big feet (sigh). 3) I can't travel without a book. 4) I eat chocolate. Every. Day. 5) I talk to plants.

And I love the sun-is-out rainboots of the You Are My Sunshine Supportive Comments Award given me by Julie Dao at Silver Lining. Visiting Julie is always a treat, for her writing and the music she shares.
And, I got another, but, really! J.B. Chicoine on her other blog gave me a repeat of the Creative Blogger liar award. I'm all out of lies, and my nose needs to shrink. But since Bridget creates gorgeous paintings, full of natural light, I bestow the Stylish Award upon her. And, in addition, she gets My Sunshine for being a shiney-maker of comments. Smiles all around.
That's all, folks, except to say I managed to get my first chapter polished, a synopsis written and application off for a grant this week. I don't know how good any of it is, but I met the deadline and I'm still standing, so I count that as win.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

And the winner is

The winner of a personalized signed copy of MY LIFE WITH THE LINCOLNS by Gayle Brandeis is:

C. Lee McKenzie at Sliding on the Edge

Thank you so much everyone who entered, left comments, spread the word. You guys are the greatest! Lee, please email me your mailing address.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Contest and interview with Gayle Brandeis

Imagine your dad is Abraham Lincoln. Well, not the President and not the 1800s but in the 1960s and he owns a furniture store.

Author Gayle Brandeis has woven a funny, endearing but realistic story of a girl, Mina, who is convinced her family is the reincarnation of Lincoln's, and she must protect her father from assassination, her mother from insanity and herself from dying of fever at age twelve.

Albert Baruch Edelman (ABE) might not seem a likely target for assassination, but when he starts taking Mina to Civil Rights marches in Chicago and to fair housing protests, he increases her anxiety and forever changes their lives.

I loved Mina's voice, and the way Gayle doesn't flinch from painting Albert as well-intentioned but, at times, misguided. This story delivers three-dimensional characters, as well as easily- digested morsels about social justice and our history. This is Gayle's first book for a middle grade/teen audience. She is the winner of Barbara Kingsolver's Bellwether Prize for THE BOOK OF DEAD BIRDS. Disclosure: I have known Gayle for years, and we are friends.
Without further ado, here is an interview about writing MY LIFE WITH THE LINCOLNS. Gayle will check the comments section and answer questions when she can. Contest rules are at the bottom of this post.

Talespinning: How did this story come to you? Was it a place, a character, a concept?

Gayle: I actually wanted to write a memoir about my family called My Life With the Lincolns. Like my character Mina, I thought my dad was Lincoln reincarnated when I was young, and a few years ago, I learned that, like my mom, Mary Todd Lincoln had a lot of grandiose delusions around money. My mom had asked me not to write about her during her lifetime, though, so I decided to put this idea on hold. At some point, my editor and agent at the time asked if I could fictionalize my family's story; I didn't want to do that--I wanted to write a real memoir at some point--but then Mina started talking to me and I decided to listen. The novel ended up not being autobiographical at all aside from the Lincoln connection (and my own tendencies toward hypochondria as a girl, plus I wrote a neighborhood newspaper similar to Mina's Lincoln Log). My mom took her own life a few months ago, and I'm working on a non-Lincoln-related memoir about her now.
(Talespinning: I've condensed the interview here and am paraphrasing Gayle that the book initially was aimed at adults and Gayle attempted to write it in both Mina and her father's points of view.)
Gayle: The story was meant to be Mina's alone.
Talespinning: Did you do a lot of research, and where, on the culture of the Sixties? Any surprises or discoveries?
Gayle: I did a bunch of research online (especially at the website dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the Chicago Freedom Movement) as well as at the Chicago Historical Society, plus talked to people who had been there. I have to say that my biggest surprise was learning about the Chicago Freedom Movement to begin with! I have been an activist since I was pretty young, but even though I grew up in Chicago, I had never known about the Chicago Freedom Movement before I started working on this book. I only found it because I decided to do a Google search on "Chicago" and "civil rights." I knew I wanted to set the story in my home town and I wanted it to deal with issues of civil rights so it would have some resonance with Lincoln's time, but I had never known that Martin Luther King, Jr. had come to Chicago to spearhead marches for fair and open housing. That little Google search spawned the whole setting of the novel.
Talespinning: Lincoln has always been my favorite president for the strength of his convictions and compassion for others. Did you have a special place for him in your heart? And what of Dr. King?
Gayle: Lincoln has always been my favorite president, too! I grew up in the Land of Lincoln and went to Lincoln Elementary School, where I touched a life-sized bronze statue of Lincoln every day as I went up the stairs. Also, my birthday is on the anniversary of Lincoln's shooting (I never liked this fact), plus as I mentioned I thought my dad had been him! Lincoln was a wonderfully idealistic, poetic, committed man. As was Dr. King (who was killed ten days before I was born, and who I've always also felt a connection with.)
Talespinning: What does it say about Mina--her choice of Lincoln as a reincarnated father?
Gayle: I'm not sure! What does it say about me? I supposed both Mina and I are dreamers and optimists, girls who adore our fathers and believe that, like Lincoln, they can make the world a better place.
Talespinning: I was impressed with the way your characters had layers. Mina's father is an idealist who rushes in and risks too much at times. Mina's mother is materialistic, but cares for her family. Mina observes and muses but doesn't have the life experience to always understand. How do you balance their strengths, weaknesses and growth?
Gayle: That is a hard question to answer. So much of the writing process for me is intuitive and organic. I really didn't think about any of those things; I just let the characters unfold on the page. I do know that I had to tone the mother down a bit. In the earlier drafts she was almost primarily materialistic, and I realized that I needed to give her more of a heart--she was a bit of a cartoon at first and I definitely don't want any of my characters to be cartoons (but I find that they often are in my early drafts. It's through revision that they find all their dimensions).
Talespinning: How did you discover Mina's voice, and was writing through her eyes any different for you than adult characters?
Gayle: Mina's voice was pretty much there from the start. I think it came so naturally because I still feel like a kid inside. I often say that the inner me is around ten years old, even younger than Mina. It was a treat to tap into that young voice and let it flow.

Thank you so much, Gayle! One of you lucky readers can win a personalized signed hardcover copy of MY LIFE WITH THE LINCOLNS. I will leave the contest open until Wednesday 6 p.m. Pacific time. The winner will be announced Thursday. You get one entry for a comment, another for posting the link to this interview on your blog and a third if you Tweet it. Total up your entries and leave an email addy. And, don't forget that Gayle has kindly offered to answer questions in the comment section.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Coming Soon! Gayle Brandeis

Contest alert. Next week you can win a signed copy of Gayle Brandeis' latest book, MY LIFE WITH THE LINCOLNS (Henry Holt).
And you may also ask Gayle questions in the comment section about writing or about the process of researching Abraham Lincoln and the Chicago Freedom Movement.
The book jacket blurb reads:
Mina Edelman believes that she and her family are the Lincolns reincarnated. Her main tasks for the next three months: to protect her father from assassination, her mother from insanity, and herself--Willie Lincoln incarnate--from death at age twelve.
Apart from that, the summer of 1966 should be like any other. But Mina's dad begins taking Mina along to hear speeches by Martin Luther King Jr. in Chicago. And soon he brings the freedom movement to their own small town, with consequences for everyone.
Monday's post will feature an interview with Gayle about researching and writing this fascinating book. And Gayle graciously agreed to answer questions you ask.
This is Gayle's first novel aimed at younger readers. She is the winner of Barbara Kingsolver's Bellwether Prize for THE BOOK OF DEAD BIRDS. The prize is awarded to books that address social justice and the impact on culture and relationships.
Gayle's writing is at once lyrical and meaningful. Here is the opening from 'Dead Birds,' a story of a mixed-race girl whose Korean-born mother had been trapped into prostitution with American soldiers.
I remember the first time I flew.
I was four years old. My mother decided to take me to Balboa Park for the afternoon. I watched the back of her short-sleeved blouse as we crossed the parking lot to the playground; the sky-blue fabric tightened, then loosened, tightened, then loosened, across her shoulder blades, pointy as chicken wings. I tried to catch up, but my mother was too fast. Even then, I knew she didn't like to be seen with me in public.
From the beginning, the tone is set for this difficult mother-daughter relationship, for a child who doesn't fit, for the freedom of flight.
Gayle's other books include SELF STORAGE, a novel set in the year following the September 11 terrorist attacks, and FRUITFLESH: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write.
2010 also marks the release of another of Gayle's novels, DELTA GIRLS (Ballantine) on June 22.
Disclosure: The hardcover copy of MY LIFE WITH THE LINCOLNS is from the publisher, and I should note that I've known Gayle for years and we are friends.
The contest rules will be like most. You'll get one entry for a comment, an additional one for posting a link and another for tweeting. I hope you'll join us.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Behind the secret door

I like mysterious doors. I guess it's my need to wonder at the possibilities of what may dwell beyond. Anyway, I owe an answer to all you fabulous people who tried to guess the one truth in my last post's pack of lies.
More mystery awaits me, because tomorrow I have a jury summons, which means I have no idea if I may spend days in a courtroom in my near future. So I thought I best renounce my lies, tell the truth and post my big reveal now.
I was Astounded. Amused. Awestruck. that so many people thought it was #4, that I was forgotten in a medical examination room and the staff went home. I figured that y'all would think that one was an urban legend. I know I've imagined it could happen, and maybe it has to some poor soul. But not to me.
Nor was it #2. As a reporter I interviewed many people, some of them famous. But never Tiger Woods.
Although I surfed a bit years ago, I've never been to Fiji. I can't speed read and don't want to, since I love to linger over words. I've had several close encounters with rattlesnakes but never had one strike at me--although one did strike at my car! And, it grieves me to say, I do not have a secret agent. There would be fanfare, believe me.
So that leaves, *drum roll,* the African lion! Yup, roared right in my face. I was at a wild animal compound, and this particular male adult had a smooshed sort of face that reminded me of the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz. The lion was behind a chain link fence, resting on a ledge. Silly me, I knelt down and put my camera close to the fence so I could get a shot through an opening in the wire. But I didn't notice the dead chicken just a couple of feet on the other side of the fence. He made a stupendous leap, landing upon his dinner and roaring his immense displeasure. If you have never been close to that sound, all I can say is it knocked me over.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sweetness and lies

Call the carpenter! I need a new mantle for all the blog awards sending me sunshine, beauty, sweetness and lies.
Huge bouquets of thanks to Stephanie Thornton for the breath of spring and the stunning Gerber daisy, to Wen Prior for a swirl of beauty and to Laurel Garver for a spoonful of sugar.

I received the dubious bald-faced liar badge from Stephanie, Bish Denham and Catherine Denton.
My duty is to tell you six lies and one truth. And yours is to guess which one is real. This is a writer's paradise.
1) It was a scorching hot day, dust rising in small clouds under my feet. I knelt down and raised my camera. Within seconds, a full-grown African lion leaped from a perch, landing feet from me and roaring like a freight train in my face.
2) I wandered through the crowds, looking across the vast expanse of green grass that transformed the desert sands. Notebook in hand, surreptitiously mopping my brow, I approached the winner, and landed an interview with Tiger Woods.
3) After a body-cramping plane ride across the Pacific, I was ferried to a small, private island near Fiji where the sand was white as snow and the sea was clear as an aquamarine gem. I surfed perfect glassy waves for a week and never wanted to leave.
4) The medical assistant led me to a room, told me to strip and put on the paper gown and left. I waited and waited and waited. Nobody came and the sounds of doors opening and voices nearby finally ceased. Clutching my meager gown, I peeked out my door and called out, "Hello?" No one answered. They'd gone home, forgetting me.
5) I can speed read a book in a few hours. Last year, I read 245 novels.
6) A rattlesnake coiled on a boulder along a hiking trail escaped my notice until it flung itself like an arrow in my direction, barely missing me as I sprinted forward, my heart beating like a kettle drum.
7) I have a secret agent I never told you about.
Passing awards has become a challenge since so many of these go around and around. So I propose that anyone leaving a comment and making a guess as to which one of the seven is true may choose any or all of the awards above and make up your own rule about passing it on. Wishing sweetness and tall tales to everyone.