It's about adventure! Life, Scouting, Family, writing what else is there?
UPDATED INTRO 4 JULY 2019:
Just a little about me. I've been married for 27 years and currently live in Southern California, but I grew up in New Hampshire.
I've got 2 kids, a 17 yrs old and a 12 yr old. Both are boys. Nuff said.
I work as a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. I enjoy my job a lot.
I love to write, but since I've been so involved with the Boy Scouts program since 2015 (now Scouts BSA since girls were invited to come on board) I haven't written much. I hope to get back to more writing soon, as I'm scaling back my BSA commitment.
I like to get out in nature, take walks around Castaic Lake, drink coffee and watch football.
Here's a little bi about my zodiac.
GEMINI: Gemini, the sign of the Twins, is dual-natured, elusive, complex and contradictory. On the one hand it produces the virtue of versatility, and on the other the vices of two-facedness and flightiness. The sign is linked with Mercury, the planet of childhood and youth, and its subjects tend to have the graces and faults of the young. When they are good, they are very attractive; when they are bad they are more the worse for being the charmers they are. Like children they are lively, and happy, if circumstances are right for them, or egocentric, imaginative and restless.
Their good qualities are attractive and come easily to them. They are affectionate, courteous, kind, generous, and thoughtful towards the poor and suffering - provided none of the activities resulting from expressing these traits interferes too greatly with their own lives and comforts.
Geminians can be successful in many walks of life though their general characteristics tend to make them unreliable. They are often skilled manipulators of language, in speech and writing, and may be: debaters, diplomats (though in politics they are more interested in theory than practice), orators, preachers (brilliant rather than profound), teachers, authors, poets, journalists, or lawyers.
This is me. I am a Gemini. Pure, Raw, passionate.
The NEW focus of this blog is to share my adventures, scouting adventures, book reviews, thoughts, opinions, and writing adventures from actual writing, writing/editing tips, marketing, research. I'll get there.
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Previous GRATITIOUS Warning, that I decided to keep in case I post about something that might offend.
I intend to be open, honest, and forthright. No topic is off limits from religion to you name it, I'm going there. If you think you might be offended...back up now - this blog isn't for you. For those who "dare" check out the "Gemini Rising..."
|I'm a big fan of Jillian Hunter. Need I say more?
Book Review for “Wicked as Sin”
Written by: Jillian Hunter
Hunter spins a tale of passion which has lasted seven long years with “Wicked as Sin.” As a young boy, Gabriel Boscastle was put in the local pillory to be disgraced. The only person who showed him an ounce of compassion was the graceful Lady Aletha Claridge. Her compassion remained with Gabriel after he left Helbourne and stayed buried in his heart for seven long years. When he finally returns to the place of his upbringing, he’s a celebrated cavalry officer and a rake. Aletha is still graceful and compassionate, awakening the love that Gabriel has harbored in his heart for her after seven long, hard years.
The novel opens with Gabriel’s return to Helbourne. He’s crossing a condemned bridge. Aletha spies him from her estate and goes to help. Gabriel makes it across, but seeing Aletha again has ignited his long dormant passion he had for her. To his surprise, Aletha is still single. Her fiancé was killed in the war. Unknown to Gabriel, her fiancé, Jeremy Hazlett, had raped her before he left. Aletha harbors no fondness for Jeremy’s memory. Jeremy’s brother, Guy, makes a proposal to Aletha to be her protector, but Gabriel shows up and kicks the married man of four out of the house. Aletha is grateful. Gabriel and Aletha share a kiss that reawakens the passion between them.
Gabriel initially intends to sell Helbourne Hall, but decides to hold onto it for a little longer. Over the course of five weeks, Aletha invites Gabriel over for Friday night dinner parties and the parties fan the flames of their desires. Finally, Gabriel returns after leaving late one night and the couple make love.
Gabriel proposes to Aletha. She accepts. He takes her to London to announce his engagement to the London Boscastles, but on the night of the engagement party, he learns that Aletha has met the acquaintance of Audrey Watson, a woman who runs a bordello. Gabriel thinks Aletha is a courtesan. He leaves without announcing his engagement, making Aletha look bad. Aletha is heartbroken.
While Gabriel is gone, he learns the truth about Aletha from Guy Hazlett – that his brother raped Aletha. Gabriel feels guilty for treating Aletha so poorly. He goes to the Claridge townhouse and the couple have a passionate argument before making up. The wedding is back on and the couple marry, but not before Gabriel has an encounter with his long, lost brother Sebastien.
This is the seventh of the Boscastle series and just as enjoyable as the others. The novel is fast paced. The plot is tight and consistent. It was nice to see how the other Boscastle women (Jane, Julia, Chloe, Emma) were doing, but I missed the presence of Eloise and Jocelyn in this book. I enjoyed Aletha’s character. She was very warm and compassionate – very earthy. I also liked how freely Gabriel and Aletha admitted and embraced their love.
Hunter’s love scenes are graphic, yet tasteful. The dialogue is sharp and witty between Aletha and Gabriel. The introduction of Sebastien seemed a little forced, and I think I’d like to see a novel taking a second look a few of the previous Boscastles romances instead of moving onto to a new romance. Overall, “Wicked as Sin,” is a sinful delight to read.
|Literary Agents guard the door the traditional publishing world. They don't have an easy job. While most of us authors are kind hearted, some are miserable. What I find is that writers who are just starting out are more sensitive about their work and it's harder for them to take criticism, even well meaning. I can honestly say I was a bit like that.
It's not easy to take criticism about your "baby."
But I'm talking about querying and literary agents. Here's my tip for day.
TIP -- Don't query until you've edited the manuscript an inch from it's life.
Why? Because you don't want to send the agent a project that's full of mechanical mistakes. That doesn't impress. Make your project is FINISHED before you start to look for agents to represent you. And make sure it is polished and shined. Do an edit for mechanical issues before sending it off. Remember, you want to impress and the best way to do that is to have a FINISHED project that is SHINY and WELL EDITED.
|Well, today I thought I'd share an excerpt from my upcoming Official Newsletter about romance and the romantic man. The article discusses how to craft the perfect romantic man for your story.
If you'd like to sign up for my Official Newsletter, I put it out monthly and this month the newsletter is due out in two days. (it was a little delayed this month because of my vacation)
To subscribe go to my Official website at:
and go to the bottom of my home page. There you will see a link to sign up for the newsletter.
The newsletter covers genre writing tips, offers excerpts of my stories, lists upcoming events and announcements, gives my writing credits, has book reviews, a look at the news in the publishing industry which effects writers and takes a peek a literary agent blogs. There's a lot of stuff in there for the aspiring writer.
Here's my excerpt:
The Picture of a Romantic Man
When we think of what a romantic man looks like, both alpha and beta heroes share traits. They’re strong, broad shouldered, well toned, with long legs and thin hips. The alpha usually takes on a few more “darker” characteristics, such as a feral gleam or a mercurial stare, as they tend to be more dominant. Imagery can include that of a majestic lion, or the king of his pride. Alpha heroes may tend to take on a more saturnine appearance as well. For alphas, mercurial eyes, feral smiles and saturnine cheeks all tend to show dominance.
|It's been a busy week. Writing wise, I'm been working hard on my edits for my WIP, "The Hungarian," a paranormal romance and I'm about 1/2 done. I'm very pleased with the edits and as soon as I'm done I'll be ready to query. However, Jillian Hunter's Boscastle series has been a distraction. I've really become engrossed with it. It's a romance series, but I'm impressed with Hunter's writing. I picked up "The Wicked Games of a Gentleman" on a lark and I was hooked. Over the course of the next couple of blog entries, I'll share my Product Reviews on the series. Here's my 1st one to share:
I've also just finished putting together my next Angel Army Newsletter and my Official Newsletter. My official newsletter has some good stuff. If you get a chance, check out BookEnds Literary Agency & Blog online. The agents there are Jessica Faust, Jacky Sach, and Kim Lionetti and their blog is a great tool for aspiring writers who are looking to query. Just the other day Jessica lamented that one author sent her a query on a project over 20 times from 20 different emails, after she passed on it. Poor thing! What amazes me is how ignorant some people can be when they are querying. That ignorance, laced with a touch of arrogance will never get them an agent.
As usual, we've been busy at the house. I'm looking into gymnastics programs for Joe to help channel his enegry. I'm trying to listen to Breaking Dawn on Audio book on my way to work, but it's been hard because while I think the reader embodies, Bella, the tone tends to grate on my nerves and I can only listen in doses.
I'm also a little disappointed to hear Manny Ramierz was taking HcG, a female hormone that stimulates the natural production of testorone in the male body. You take after you come off steriods. Steriods STOPS the natural production of testosterone in the male body so when you come off, you have to take HcG to jumpstart your body into stimulating testosterone use. It's sad, really. It can also be taken for thyroid problems, and I'd like to think that was why Manny took it, being the optimist that I am, but I need to be real here. Steroids is a problem in baseball. Manny on steriods is not a stretch for me. I'm disappointed, but I am impressed with how Manny has handled it, taking responsibility and taking his suspension.
Just some miscellenous thoughts
LISTENING TO: Nothing really - Sirius XM Radio.
READING: Guilty as Sin by Jillian Hunter
DVD: Last one I saw was BOTTLE SHOCK
MOVIE: Brent and I are going to movies on Monday! I think we'll see Star Trek, but we'll have to go in shifts because of the kids. I also want to see Wolverine, but we'll have to see how that goes.
MOTHER'S DAY: I just want to hang out and BBQ, but we'll playing it by ear.
|This is a French form of poetry similiar to the Kyrielle.
There are 16 lines, 4 quatrains.
A refrain is in a different line each quatrain. In the 1st quatrian it is in line 1, in the 2nd quatrain, it is in line 2. in the 3rd quatrain, it is in line 3, in the 4th quatrain, it is in line 4.
There are 8 syllables per line.
It does not follow a set rythme scheme.
Shattered by the light of the Moon
Shattered by the light of the moon,
I dropped to the forest ground.
His words were icy and bitter.
Heartbreak's cold arrow would not come out.
I shivered, stung, pricked by ice,
shattered by the light of the moon.
Once done, my nocturnal lover
walked away, no compassion
splayed upon his face, no cold grace.
My brittle bones ached, my skin quaked,
shattered by the light of the moon.
Rejection, so cooly done rent.
Dark hours past, sunrise's twilight peeks
out over an obsidian cloud.
My doomed heart, beating still, was
shattered by the light of the moon.
|I just saw an article written by Mary W. Walters, author of "Bitters" and "The Woman Upstairs," called "THE TALENT KILLERS" where she disparages literary agents. I thought the article, mechanically, was well written. She obviously thought about what she wanted to write and then composed it. However it does "slam" literary agents. Writers have to get an agent to get a publisher to publish their work to be successful. (In the traditional model) Well, there's a reason literary agents are "keepers" of the gate, so to speak. I hate to be frank, but there is a lot of written material out there that just isn't that good. Authors and Writers can take years to really develop their craft. "First time Wonders" are rare, but they are there. Honestly, I'm not a "first time wonder." I've been plugging away and learning how to write.
Mary also talks about literary vs. commerical fiction. Well, let's be honest, commerical fiction sells. Your product should be commerical. If it is literary, it needs to be outstanding. It needs to stand above the rest.
My thoughts on Mary: She's got an interesting spin on literary agents. I don't agree. I think they are needed.
You can find the article by Googling "The Talent Killers."
|MUSIC: Currently enjoying the "Twilight" Soundtrack, but I'm looking for new stuff.
SATELITE RADIO: Fav channels: 80's on 8, The Pulse, Classic Rewind, and 1st Wave
BOOKS: Currently reading: "Eclipse" by Stephenie Meyer
MOVIES: Last one saw: Underworld III, The Rise of the Lycans
RENTALS: Sideways - which takes place in the backdrop of the Santa Barabara Wine Country in California. It's a GREAT character driven movie that was lots of fun to watch - especially for wine enthustists.
AUDIO BOOKS: Just finished THE BOLEYN INHERITENCE. I enjoyed it very much. I loved hearing the 3 narrations of Anne of Cleaves, Jane Boleyn, and Katherine Howard. The girl reading Katherine Howard was a lot of fun. The girl reading Anne of Cleaves was very authentic. The reader for Jane Boleyn really captured the "angst" of the character.
FAN OF: Philippa Gregory. Her historical fiction is great. It wrapes you up in history and never lets go. Here's a review:
Book Review for: “The Other Boleyn Girl”
Written by: Philippa Gregory
Gregory crafts a masterful tale of ambition, lies, deceit, and heartbreak in “The Other Boleyn Girl.” As a young girl, Mary Boleyn becomes Henry VIII’s mistress. It’s a sweet relationship, but not without its price. Mary loses her innocence as the Boleyn family travels down a path which will force the members of it to lose their souls. Gregory’s characters are rich and vivid. Her account of Henry and Anne’s relationship will keep the reader riveted to the page. Gregory starts her story in 1521. Mary Boleyn, newly married to William Carey, is fourteen, but she soon captures the king’s eye. This does not escape the notice of her family, headed by the Duke of Norfolk who conspires with the Howard and Boleyn sides to have Mary become Henry’s mistress. William Carey takes the family decision well, and soon Mary becomes Henry’s lover. Henry is initially besotted with Mary, even naming one of the royal ships after her. Young Mary falls in love as a teenage girl would fall in love with an older man. During the period Mary is Henry’s mistress, she has two children which Gregory implies was sired by the king.
As Mary recovers from the birth of her son in 1525, the family conspires to have Anne hold his attention until Mary can resume her duties. Anne performs her task all too well, sparking Henry’s complete fascination with her. Soon, Anne takes over Mary’s role in Henry’s life and Mary is allowed to go back to her husband. Initially, Mary’s relationship is strained with William, but as the months go by they become reacquainted. Unfortunately, William dies of “the sweat” and Mary loses her chance at happiness. As Anne’s star ascends in Henry’s life, Mary is all too happy to watch. Soon, she falls in love with a commoner, William Stafford. Sadly, Mary has a ringside seat to her sister’s fall from grace. Mary, however, by bucking her family’s orders and marrying for love, manages to escape the devastation brought on her family by Anne’s fall.
Gregory tells the story in the first person from Mary’s perspective. She captures a rich voice which allows Mary to endear herself to the reader. The book is full of lush descriptions and gripping emotions proving Gregory’s done her homework. The dialogue is easy to read and doesn’t slow the reader down. “The Other Boleyn Girl” will leave the reader with a unique perspective of Anne Boleyn’s rise and fall in Tudor England.
|Sometimes at work, usually around 3 in the morning, when I'm really dragging I pull out my romance novels and read to get me through. It's easy, light reading and I don't have to think that hard - just enjoy. Here's a romance book that's just "fun."
Book Review for “The Seduction of an English Scoundrel”
Written by: Jillian Hunter
Hunter dives into regency England, weaving a delightful heart-warming romp of seduction and romance. Set in 1815 England, Hunter introduces the roguish Boscastle family – four men and one girl full of passion and a desire to live life to its fullest. “The Seduction of an English Scoundrel” tells the story of Grayson Boscastle, the fifth Marquess of Sedgecroft. Grayson has it all – charm, wit, and style, yet he wants to set an example for his roguish siblings and he’s not quite sure where to start.
The novel opens with Grayson hosting a wedding between his cousin, Nigel, and Lady Jane Belshire. Unfortunately, Nigel never shows up. As Jane waits at the bleak altar, Grayson notices her and is impressed by her ability to weather such a devasting event. He admires her fortitude and her physical attributes. His heart goes out to the jilted bride and he offers to save her reputation with the ton by being seen with her. Her parents agree. Jane, who had conspired with Nigel to be jilted at the altar so neither of them would be forced to enter into a loveless marriage, is stunned by Grayson’s offer. She has no recourse but to agree to his plan.
For Grayson, this offer is a bit out of character for him. He’s a scoundrel, not a knight on a white horse. He begins to escort Jane out on the town and quickly finds her alluring. The scoundrel in him can’t help himself – he boldly takes kisses from Jane – kisses that hint of a deeper hunger between them.
As Grayson “falsely” courts Jane for the ton, the courtship takes an unspoken deeper meaning for him. He aches to be with Jane, to show her how desirable she is, and Jane, despite herself, revels in his attention. The white-hot chemistry between the two leads Grayson to take indecent liberties with Jane who gives in with little protest. After all, she’s falling in love with him.
Grayson soon realizes his “false” courtship is real to him. He wants to make Jane his wife – even after discovering how she plotted with Nigel to bring about her wedding disaster. Jane wants to tell him or her duplicitous wedding plot, but fears Grayson will leave her if he does.
Grayson soon contracts with her parents to marry her. Then he takes her to his family’s villa near the sea. They consummate their relationship in a pleasure filled night of bliss. The next day, Jane realizes Grayson knows what she did to wreck her wedding to Nigel. She tries to disentangle herself from Grayson, but it proves a challenge. When Grayson finally admits to it, Jane says she wants him to court her for real or she won’t marry him.
Hunter’s writing is sharp. The plot moves at the right pace, keeping the reader turning the page. Grayson and Jane are perfectly matched and the supporting cast also have their own interesting stories to tell. The love scenes are tasteful and passionate.
Hunter writes in a point of view that shifts between characters within scenes. Known as a “Lonesome Dove” perspective, (after the same novel) this point of view can be confusing to readers, but the romance genre in general is forgiving of it.
“The Seduction of an English Scoundrel” is a wickedly sinful romance that the reader will enjoy.
|With my son, Joe, having SID, I had to educate myself on what SID was. Here's a great book I highly recommend.
Book Review for “Raising a Sensory Smart Child”
Written by: Lindsey Biel and Nancy Peske
Biel and Peske share their personal stories dealing with Sensory Integration Dysfunction in order to help other parents cope with sensory integration issues. SI Dysfunction is separate from autism, but often presents with autism and autistic spectrum disorders. In SI Dysfunction, a young child receives sensory input correctly, but misinterprets the information. The most likely cause is a neurological condition, but the authors spend a chapter discussing reasons why SI Dysfunction would present, including genetics, head trauma during birth, and fragile X syndrome.
Biel and Peske explain there are seven senses a young child uses: touch, taste, smell, hearing, vestibular, and proprioception. Vestibular involves one’s sense of balance and proprioception involves the compacting/expanding of joints. Without careful integration, a young child might seem a little off and in a child’s young development, they might present with speech and developmental delays. When SI Dysfunction presents by itself, a young child will usually make all their physical milestones on time, like sitting and walking, but when it comes time to start to use utensils and start talking, they’ll demonstrate delays.
Biel and Penske explain that children with SI Dysfunction have hypo or hyper sensitive symptoms. Hyper means they tend to avoid an activity and hypo means they seek out behaviors to calm themselves down. A hyperactive sensitivity to touch might have a child pulling the tags off his shirt because he can’t stand the way it feels against his skin. A hypoactive sensitivity to proprioception might have a child jumping up and down to feel the compression of her joints.
Biel and Penske’s explanations are easy to understand and help give the reader a sense of what the dysfunction is, how it’s caused, and what to look for in your child.
The book also discusses intervention options and how to best help those children with SI Dysfunction. An occupational therapist plays a crucial role in helping parents and children manage their sensory seeking or avoiding behaviors. Most children with SI Dysfunction can lead productive lives. There is also a list of resources and tips on how to create a sensory diet. A sensory diet is used to manage a child with sensory issues.
Biel and Penske write in a conversational style that’s easy to read and understand. The book is full of knowledge for parents who have children with sensory issues. The writing is crisp and sharp. The book is well organized. “Raising a Sensory Smart Child” is a good read to learn more about SI Dysfunction.
Easter was okay. We went to grandma's and had Easter dinner. I made an Italian Chopped Salad for the occasion. The highlight of my off days included watching Dancing with the Stars and watching the movie, "Sideways." Being a wine lover, and near the Santa Barbara wine area, I was so tickled to finally watch this movie! I loved seeing the familiar sights, as I've been to the area. "Sideways" itself is a very character driven movie, and I have to admit, I didn't care for Miles's friend. He was a big heel, to put it mildly. Two thumbs for a great movie.
|Hi, all, it's book review time! Enjoy!
Book Review for “New Moon”
Written by: Stephenie Meyer
Little, Brown, and Company
Meyer weaves a tale of true love, rejection, deceit, and suspense that gives “New Moon” a resounding bite and vibrant potency. Meyer’s crisp writing allows her supernatural world to encompass the reader, leaving them breathless and hungering for more.
The novel starts with Bella celebrating her eighteenth birthday. The Cullens have something planned for her at their house. As they shower her with gifts, Bella, in all her clumsiness, cuts herself. Jasper can barely contain himself and attacks her. Edward fends off his brother. Carlisle attends to Bella’s wounds, but Edward is shaken by what has happened. He becomes moody and after much thought, breaks up with Bella. The break up is swift and decisive, leaving Bella emotionally naked as she crumbles, lost in the forest that surrounds Forks. One of the local Native Americans from La Push finds her after an extensive search. Bella’s dad is grateful, but Bella is only a shell of her former self.
Months go by before Bella can even emotionally “feel” something again. Wanting to take up extreme sports to drive out the pain of losing Edward, she buys two motorcycles that don’t work. She seeks out Jacob Black at La Push to help her fix them so she can ride them. Bella and Jacob become quick friends. Soon Bella realizes that Jacob is essential to her – at least his friendship is, and she can’t lose it.
Unfortunately, Jacob gets sick and tries to alienate her. Bella is unrelenting. After confronting Jacob with his friends, Jacob is mean and Bella is forced to walk away from him. Jacob visits her room the following night and apologizes. He encourages Bella to guess his secret. She does – he’s a werewolf. The La Push Indians have a certain few tribe members who are bred to change when their tribe and land are threatened by vampires, and Jacob has changed.
Bella accepts him and is soon, reluctantly, accepted by the other wolves. They have a problem – a vampire has been attacking the area. Bella and the wolves quickly figure out it’s Victoria, wanting to avenge James’s death on Bella. The wolves manage to keep Bella safe, but they can’t catch Victoria. One day at La Push, Bella decides to go cliff diving. Jacob saves her, but this action was “seen” by Alice Cullen in her mind’s eye. Alice thinks Bella might have tried to commit suicide and rushes to Forks to find out.
Alice finds Bella alive and is grateful for it. Unfortunately, a misunderstanding between Alice’s vision, Rosalie, and Edward leave Edward believing Bella is dead. Edward goes to Italy in the hopes that an old vampire family, the Volterra, will kill him. Alice, with Bella in tow, rush to Italy to save Edward. They do so, but only after the vampire family captures them. The head vampire, Aro, agrees to let them all go after witnessing one of Alice’s visions. When Bella returns to Forks, Edward stays and Jacob is devastated by her romantic rejection.
“New Moon” offers what “Twilight” didn’t – tight characterization. Meyer knows her characters better in this sequel and it shows. Bella easily carries the novel. She’s less “whiney” as she deals with heartache, an emotion that many readers can connect with. Jacob’s development as a character is a delight to read.
What young adult readers will be able to relate to are the “Romeo and Juliet” comparisons throughout – this made it easier to understand why Bella is so set on Edward, despite Jacob’s consistency and friendship.
The book moves at a quick pace and the plot is tight. There’s plenty of action and mounds of suspense – especially on the trip to Italy. Meyer’s dialogue captures the essence of her characters. The book doesn’t dwell on a natural, sensual appeal that vampires and werewolves bring to a story, in fact there are only a couple of kissing scenes. It’s this innocent, yet, smoldering sensuality which will engage the reader’s imagination leaving the reader ready for Edward and Bella to take their relationship deeper.
While “New Moon” is lengthy, Meyer’s brisk writing will make it impossible to put down. “New Moon” is a sequel that delivers a charge which accelerates past “Twilight” faster than the moon’s light reaches Earth.