Keep the Peeps      

by Deborah Epperson  

Unlike my older brother, Gary, who can grow anything anywhere, I knew from an early age that my ability to nurture and grow any sort of flower, vegetable, or anything else that had to be planted was severely limited. So growing up, it seemed natural for our family of four to be divided into two separate but equal camps. Mom and Gary were the gardening duo, while my father and I were caretakers of all critters with paws, claws, and hooves.

There was some crossover. Gary loved feeding the chickens and gathering the eggs, and although I never gave a second thought to climbing on the bare back of a 1000 pound quarter horse, I knew his two-pound Bantam rooster was a demon chicken waiting to peck me to pieces. (I readily admit that in my youth, I was traumatized by the Hitchcock movie, The Birds)

Even those colorful Peeps, which are everywhere this time of the year, creepPeeps Easter candy me out. Chocolate bunnies are fine. It is chocolate after all. But marshmallow chicks? No thanks. Who wants a little yellow or pink chick’s head bobbing up and down in their hot chocolate? Yuck!

Over the years, I’ve had horses, cats, cows, rabbits, dogs, more dogs, and more dogs. I raised a baby armadillo whose mother had been run over by a car. Once, I rescued a snake before a guy who didn’t care that it was a harmless grass snake could chop it into pieces. Hubby and I even adopted three wild ducks who decided to homestead our four-year-old daughter’s blow up swimming pool. Sorry, Tara.

As a lover of omelets, I am grateful to all who do raise chickens and gather the eggs. Every species of animal, reptile, fish, and fowl must have its champions. Still, I have never had the urge to raise chickens. Come to think of it, Tara doesn’t have a great fondness for ducks either.

Thanks for stopping by,

Deborah

MWW blog post originally published:  03/24/2015 

 

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When Change Comes is it Man that Counts? The Wild? Or Both?

by Mary Frances Erler

Today I ran across a book of poetry and quotes about wilderness that I made in response to a canoe trek I took in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters back in 1970.  mn boundary watersNearly 50 years ago–hard to believe so much time has passed in my life since then.  It was a very formative time in my life, influencing much of what I have become.  As I was reading the quotes I chose from Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, Theodore Roosevelt, and others, I was surprised to find one unsigned poem.  I have a feeling I wrote it–otherwise it would be identified with the author’s name. It was a long time ago, 1970, but as I re-read it, I could tell the words had originally come from within me. And I was surprised to find that my 18-year-old mind had thought such deep things.  But then, maybe not so surprising, for I was a very philosophical person back then.  Maybe still am.  So here it is.

Its original title was “Is It Man That Counts?”

‘How can you be so no-caring?’ a boy demanded,
Staring into the old man’s eyes;
‘Do you want all our life to die
And leave nothing to show our lives ranged?’

‘Every animal dies,’ the old chief would say
And gaze with deep-seeing silent eyes
About the village around them.
‘Timeless is not changeless,’ he would repeat.

But a boy’s heart-strength is different
And his restless feet thus wandered,
Searching over forest-depth and countryside,
His mind straining with searches just as deep.

He drank in the wildness ’round him,
Knowing in his animal-part
It had no time, no beginning,
And no end?  Their village

Already was shrinking, the forest depths
Pricked by hard, cold disruption,
A steeling chill so unlike winter–
More senseless–as rape or pillage.

And as the Wild spread its winter
Blanket, with its natural death,
He prayed that this might be
The end–to die as wild things died.

Then as the cold and steel creeping in
On them increased its breath to a roar,
He knew it wasn’t death that was coming–
Just as the old man had tried

To tell.  It was what the Wild was really
Made of; so though their villages–
And all men–passed; the Wild would
Sustain itself–timeless because it changed.

April Book News

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LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Seriously, Spring, we are sooo happy to see you! On the other hand, a long cold winter meant plenty of time to read and write, right? And I have news!chai another day (cover without quote)

CHAI ANOTHER DAY, my 4th Spice Shop mystery, will be out in June from Seventh St. Books. When Seattle Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece overhears an argument in an antique shop, she finds herself drawn into a murder that could implicate an old enemy, or ensnare a new friend. Don’t you just love the dog on the cover? Read an excerpt and find out where to find it on my website.

And I’m delighted that my first historical short story, “All God’s Sparrows,” is nominated for the Agatha Award for Best Short Story. Awards will be given at the Malice Domestic convention, celebrating the traditional mystery, in early May. You can read it on my website, too.

By May, spring should be truly sprung in these parts. I hope you’re feeling a spring in your step, wherever you are!

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Author Mary F. Ehrler

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When the World Grows Cold, Book 4 in her YA series The Peaks Saga will be released April 25th. Its available for preorder now on Amazon, B&N, First Steps Publishing, and other bookstore outlets.

Twenty-five years have passed on Earth, in both the 21st and 31st Centuries.  Two women, Ginna and Martina, who were once connected across the GAP, now have daughters of their own, but Annemarie and Celestia have taken very different paths.  MOCK-Book-Cover-4-revisionSoon, however, all four will be taken into another GAP with many unanswered questions–including who is Annemarie’s mysterious father, why has the System returned to Earth, and why has the world suddenly gone cold? Now it’s time for the next generation to seek their own answers to the questions that have plagued their elders.

 

WHAT EVERY WRITER NEEDS TO KNOW

 

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by Catherine Browning

Writing novels didn’t start for me until after my teaching career came to a successful close. That’s when I purchased a Kindle and started reading everything I could find of interest. In judging the merit of novels, one of the major criteria is grammar. It was a shock to find that many modern day writers didn’t know the rules of English grammar or word usage. Here are some recent examples:

. . . or whomever he was.

He indicated she was to proceed him into the room.

What were you thinking of?

My brother came between Carlos and I.

You may be thinking, what is wrong with those quotes? Allow me to explain. The verb to be is a grammatical equal sign. Subject and object are the same, so the first example should read:  

. . . or whoever he was.

The second example is confusing the two verbs proceed and precede. Proceed means to continue or move forward. Precede means to go before. So, that example should read:

He indicated she was to precede him into the room.

In the next example, the basic rule is to never end a sentence with a preposition. There are multiple ways to fix this example.

  1. What were you thinking?
  2. Of what were you thinking?
  3. What were you contemplating?
  4. What were you considering?

In the last example between is a preposition and requires the object form of the pronoun I.

The example should read:

My brother came between Carlos and me.

Numerous books on grammatical usage are available. Chicago Manual of Style is one that many editors use. Another that I have found helpful is Essentials of English by Hopper, Gale, Foote, and Griffith. Or go to your local Community College and take a basic class. No matter what your answer is, using good grammar can only enhance your writing.

Thanks for reading my thoughts . . . and may your next novel be a bestseller!

 

 

 

 

Tally the Writing Dog

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By Kathy Dunnehoff

I have a writing friend who calls his muse Becky. Sure, it made us all smile when he said it, but whatever works for a writer is nothing but good!

I thought what worked for me was silence. It was in very short supply when I began writing novels. My daughters were young and fun and noisy. I would set a timer when I needed to go into my home office, and when it was about to go off, I would hear them breathing at the door. Needless to say, I did my most productive writing away from the house. On Saturday mornings, for years, my husband Thom would shoo me out the door to a nearby café, and I would get several productive hours in.

When our girls were older, there was less need for leaving the house to write and wonderful silence during the day to get my work done. So, when the idea of getting a puppy was raised, I was reluctant, to say the least. Sure, I wanted one, but I was afraid the “company” during the day would slow me down.

What I found when that little Yorkie came into my life, was a muse, a writing companion. Tally would sit at my feet when I wrote, and her warmth and quiet sleep made me feel like I had just the right kind of company for the lone work of writing.

Five years later, we’ve gotten into the habit of writing first thing in the morning in bed. As soon as Thom leaves for work, I fire up the laptop, and Tally moves from my lap to curl up beside the computer screen.

My muse isn’t named Becky, but I have been thinking about getting another puppy…