Archive for April, 2020

So I Figured

April 29, 2020

Clarence In His Burrow

When the time came to write this week’s Wednesday Wanderings, I had no idea what to wander on about.

I did, however, have ample ideas as to what to write on my current work-in-progress, the yet-untitled fourth book in the Star Kingdom (aka Stephanie Harrington or Treecat) series that I am writing with David Weber.

So I figured as follows…

Most of you who read these wanderings do so because you’re interested in my fiction writing or, perhaps, in snippets from the life of the person who has written fiction that you have enjoyed.  In that case, you’d be glad that I was spending my time writing fiction.

Those of you who look these up because you’re family or friends and want to know what’s going on at Chez Lindskold/Moore would know that a Jane Who Is Writing Fiction is a happy and contented Jane.  Therefore, you’d rather have me writing on SK4 than staring at the screen, trying to figure out what clever thing I could wander on about.

As for the rest of you, those who are reading this for reasons I cannot fathom, here is a picture of Clarence the Toad in his burrow.  I’ll add to it an invitation to ask questions that might plant the seeds for future Wednesday Wanderings.

Now, off to the planet Sphinx, in the Star Kingdom of Manticore, where…  No, I’m not teasing, I won’t know what happens until I write it!

FF: Peeking Out

April 24, 2020

Mei-Ling Peeks

This week I’ve been writing more, reading less, but I’m still immersed in story, from which vantage I peek out at the world.

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

Recently Completed:

Tied Up in Tinsel by Ngaio Marsh.  Audiobook.  Once again Alleyne’s name is pronounced “Al-ay-n”) throughout.  It’s pronounced “Allen.”   Oddly enough, Marsh doesn’t mentions how his name is pronounced in some books, but in some she does.   If I was wearing my English prof hat, I’d be tempted to read the series in order and see if there is a pattern.

But I think I’ll write about the denizens of the planet Sphinx instead.

DreamForge, Issue Five.  Coincidentally, many of the stories deal with parallel worlds, but it works.

In Progress:

Last Ditch by Ngaio Marsh.  Audiobook.  Largely from the POV of Alleyne’s now-grown son.

David Bowie: The Oral History compiled by Dylan Jones.  The big question of whether Let’s Dance was selling out or not.  Sometimes Bowie is taken way to seriously.  This is the man whose first major single was “The Laughing Gnome.”

Also:

Archeology magazine.

Thyme For Irony

April 22, 2020

Pink Chintz Thyme

I’ve had a twist in my stay-at-home, work-from-home, whatever you want to call it, lifestyle.  Before I tell you about that, an update.

The cover for Wolf’s Soul,  the sequel to Wolf’s Search, is still not right, so I’ve ordered Proof Three.  So I don’t bore the folks who tuned in last week, here’s a link to a mysterious masked writer and a copy of Proof One.

I’m thinking about using the proofs as one-of-a-kind giveaways.  Does that sound interesting?

(If you’re really eager, sign up for my mailing list, because at least one giveaway is going to be exclusively offered there.  There’s a link on my website.)

So, now for the twist….

I’ve been very careful about self-isolation because I have allergy-related asthma.  For five days of the week, not much changed.  My office is in my home.  I work for myself.  Jim is retired and took over most of the errands about a year ago.

Weekends changed, absolutely.  That’s when Jim and I would go out, see friends, host our gaming group.  Going anywhere or having guests ended for me over a month ago.

This year, maybe because of our wet (for us) winter, allergens are at a high level.  So despite my being careful, my asthma ramped up.  About two weeks ago, I had to add a medication that has taken about half my voice.  The half that remains sounds as if I’ve swallowed a rusty scrubbing pad.

Okay.  Maybe not that bad.  Well, not all the time.  However, if I talk for more than a few sentences, my throat gets tight.  So here I am, now properly self-isolated because I can’t even take a phone call without scaring the person on the other end.

But I’ll manage.

Two more weeks to go on the meds (which are helping a lot) and I should be back to what passes for normal.  Meantime, our gaming group is now experimenting with meeting on-line via Zoom.  When we did, I kept the hot drinks on tap and managed all right but, later, my throat called me a few choice names.

So there you have it.

Oh, the picture?  That’s pink chintz creeping thyme.  To me creeping thyme is a great plant to illustrate irony because—ironically—it doesn’t much mind being stepped on.

Or maybe I should think of it as a thyme of fortitude.  Yeah, I like that!

Okay, I’m off to romp with the treecats.  The yet untitled Star Kingdom novel 4 (in collaboration with David Weber) is taking shape and I want to see what happens next.  Later!

FF: No Pattern At All

April 17, 2020

Inspired Hats for Dandy and Coco

Other than renewing my acquaintance with various classic British mysteries, there’s really no pattern to my reading right now.  Part of this is that I’m immersing myself in the Star Kingdom setting again.

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

Recently Completed:

A Guinea Pig ABC  by Kate Duke.  Sharyn November posted a page a day from this, and after we decided needed our own copy.

Death of a Fool by Ngaio Marsh.  Audiobook.  I love the folklore aspect of this one.

Artists in Jeopardy by Ngaio Marsh.  Audiobook.  Quirk in that Alleyne’s name is pronounced incorrectly throughout.  It’s just “Allen.”

In Progress:

David Bowie: The Oral History compiled by Dylan Jones.  Moving into the Berlin albums.

DreamForge, issue five.  About halfway.

Tied Up In Tinsel by Ngaio Marsh.  Audiobook.  Fans of the series will see I’m reading these as I can find them, not in order!

Also:

Magazines.  Only AARP and AAA (American Automobile) mentioned Covid-19 at all.  The others were written in an alternate universe.

Proof of Wolf’s Soul

April 15, 2020

Who Is That Masked Writer?

I’ve discovered a great additional advantage to masks…  Read on to find out what.

But first, the first proof copy of Wolf’s Soul arrived last week.  This is the immediate sequel to last July’s Wolf’s Search.  The cover art is adapted from “Three Hungry Wolves” by Julie Bell.  You can read the cover blurb here.

Mostly, I was happy with how the book came out.  However, because of issues with how the cover was aligned, we’re taking it back to press.  Therefore, it will be a few more weeks before the novel is ready for official release.  Then you’ll be able to get it as an e-book from Amazon, Barnes and Noble (Nook), Kobo, i-tunes, and GooglePlay.  The trade paperback will be available from Amazon.

Stay tuned for further updates.  If you don’t want to risk missing any, you can sign up for my mailing list at my website: www.janelindskold.com.

As to masks…  As many of you know, I’m rather camera shy.  Featured in the picture is my new mask, made by the talented Samantha Thompson.  It’s one of those that have an interior pocket into which an additional filter can be inserted.

I happened to be trying mine out when Jim asked me if I was ready to take the picture of the proof.  I decided to show off my new mask at the same time and discovered the bonus: I was no longer worried about the camera!

Funny…

Anyhow, I hope this finds all of you well, staying safe, protecting your packs.

Easter Egg Hunt

April 12, 2020

Easter Egg Hunt

Jim took this picture of some of the birds in our front yard.  The male quail really does look as if he’s hunting for Easter Eggs!

Saturday Silliness

April 11, 2020

Cat In A Box!

My friend, Yvonne, has always been a letter-writer.  In these days of isolation, she’s been sending “care packages” of columns and cartoons to cheer folks up.

The packet she sent me and Jim included the cartoon above.  We both immediately thought of our eleven month old kitten, Mei-Ling, who is rather shy.  I pulled out my colored pencils and dressed it up a little.  (Sorry it’s not a perfect job, but it was a rather small cartoon!)

So, here’s a smile for you…  Have a good Saturday!

FF: Time Capsule

April 10, 2020

Dandy: Rock n Roll Guinea Pig

Over the last week or so, quarterly magazines came in.  I was immediately struck by the time capsule aspect of them.  Only the one from AAA even mentioned Covid-19, which makes sense, since part of their business is travel.  All the rest belong to an alternate universe where travel is assumed, lock-downs aren’t even contemplated, and well…  You get it.

It will be interesting to see what next quarter brings.

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

Recently Completed:

Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton.  Audiobook.  Despite being weighed down by the need for a good edit (repetition and redundancy in particular plague this), there are moments that remind me why I’ve read this entire series.

David Bowie: A Photographic Memoir Through the Lens of Terry O’Neill.  Mostly photos, spiced with reprints of text from interviews that O’Neill provided the visual images for and some pithy quotes by O’Neill.

In Progress:

David Bowie: The Oral History compiled by Dylan Jones.  An ambitious project, looking at David Bowie’s life through snippets from interviews with friends and family from childhood on.  Of interest is an afterword featuring material from Bowie’s cousin debunking the well-released theme that Bowie was haunted by the specter of familiar insanity. By contrast with the other, no photos other than those on the cover. Quite a long book, chronologically arranged.  I’m up to the Aladdin Sane period.

Death of a Fool by Ngaio Marsh.  Audiobook.  I love the folklore aspect of this one.

Also:

As mentioned, catching up on magazines.

Seeds of Hope

April 8, 2020

On The Edge of Hope

If there ever was a hobby—or craft or skill or activity, whatever you want to call it—that is based around hope it has to be…

No.  Not writing. (Although there are days…)

No.  I’m talking about Gardening.

There’s a traditional rhyme about why you plant four seeds.

One for the blackbird

One for the crow

One to rot

And one to grow

There are a lot of variations of this rhyme.  I’ve heard “mouse” instead of “blackbird.”  Or “pigeon.”  Or even “farmer.”  Or “for the wind” rather than “to rot.” But the message is always the same.  Plant four times what you hope to end up with, because three-quarters of your effort will not benefit you personally.

I know that every garden I plan is—when looked at statistically—a preordained failure.  Nonetheless, I keep on planting.  Four times the seeds.  Extra plants.  This past weekend, we planted the containers that will hold flowers.  Since my allergy-related asthma has been revved up, I spread a tarp on the kitchen table, and brought the window boxes inside.

Last night, waking up in the dark hours, I realized I’d seriously over-planted marigold seeds, even by the guidelines of the aforementioned verse.  Oh, well.  If too many come up, I can always transplant them and give marigold plants to my friends, right?

As you can see from the picture, my new copy of DreamForge magazine arrived this week.  I think editor Scot Noel must have precognition because, long before the current national emergency, he had chosen “Tales On the Edge of Hope” as the theme for this issue.

What people miss so often is that there are two things we call by the word “hope.”  There is the dangerous hope, what you might call a gambler’s hope.  Roll the dice and hope for the best.  Believe things will get better, but don’t do anything to assure that they will.

This last sort of “hope” is typified by the “gardener” who tosses seeds in unprepared soil or in where there is too much or too little light.  Then forgets to water.  Then floods.  And says, “I hope I get some nice tomatoes this year…”

Call it hope, but you know what it really is, don’t you?  It’s wishful thinking.

The hope I advocate isn’t some light fluffy warm-and-fuzzy belief in the best.  Real hope is a fighter.  Hope is facing that you’ll plant four seeds, get one plant—and even that plant might not make it.  Hope is doing what it takes to tilt the odds in your favor.  Hope builds a lighthouse, draws maps, patches the roof. Hope says “What four seeds I can plant to assure that I have flowers and fruit?”

Don’t be fooled by wishful thinking. Make the real hope your battle cry.

FF: Delving Into The TBR

April 3, 2020

Persephone Reaches For A Good Book

At Christmas I was given two very different books about David Bowie.  I put them aside for when I’d need a distraction and this week decided there would never be a better time.

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

What’s in  your TBR pile that’s getting air now?

Recently Completed:

Peasprout Chen: Battle of Champions by Henry Lien.  Second book in the series.  Unlike many series featuring a talented over-achiever as a protagonist, this one looks squarely how being better than just about everyone can make that person difficult to deal with. While at times Peasprout verges on unlikeable, I didn’t give up on her.

In Progress:

Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton.  Audiobook.  Despite being weighed down by the need for a good edit (repetition and redundancy in particular plague this), there are moments that remind me why I’ve read this entire series.

David Bowie: A Photographic Memoir Through the Lens of Terry O’Neill.  Mostly photos, spiced with reprints of text from interviews that O’Neill provided the visual images for and some pithy quotes by O’Neill.

David Bowie: The Oral History compiled by Dylan Jones.  An ambitious project, looking at David Bowie’s life through snippets from interviews with friends and family from childhood on.  Of interest is an afterword featuring material from Bowie’s cousin debunking the well-released theme that Bowie was haunted by the specter of familiar insanity. By contrast with the other, no photos other than those on the cover.

Also:

Dipping into short fiction…