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.
Find me at:
YOU TUBE CHANNEL:
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 thought I'd take a look at paranormal romance today. Paranormal romance is a very popular subgenre of romantic fiction. It finds its roots in gothic fiction. (Victoria Holt, anyone?) (Side note: I think I'll do a Victoria Holt day coming up. That sounds like fun. But I digress)
Elements of gothic fiction include spooky castles or mansions, secrets, and events that, while appear supernatural, have very natural causes. (that's the gothic twist!) In a paranormal romance, however, events occur that are outside the range of natural explanations, thus allowing for the supernatural.
Common the paranormal genre are those entities of a "fantastic" or "otherworldly" nature – vampires, witches, shape shifters, and werewolves. Stories that feature characters with psychic abilities such as telekinesis or telepathy are also included in the paranormal.
Time travel romance also falls under paranormal since it is still beyond scientific explanation. What makes a time travel successful is their ability to have the characters react logically to their experiences.
Paranormal stories also tend to organically blend elements of the suspense and mystery genres due to their fantastic plots allowing for a wide variety within the genre itself.
What are some of your favorite paranormal stories?
|I love the presidential libraries. They really give you a feel for the man and his times during his presidency. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library is in Boston, Massachusetts on Columbia Point in the Dorchester neighborhood. The library is easy to find and has a gorgeous view overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. I had an opportunity to visit it in October 2001. However, getting it built was quite a challenge.
Before he died, JFK expressed a desire to build his presidential library "near scholarly resources." A month before he was assassinated, he chose a plot of land facing the Charles River next to Harvard's Graduate School.
In December 1964, Jackie Kennedy picked architect I.M. Pei to design the library. She liked that he had a variety of ideas and that he didn't seem to have just one way to solve a problem.
Unfortunately, the project stalled. The Mass Bay Transit Authority delayed in selling the land. Then Pei needed to study the soil, which took 6 months. In 1971, the school changed its mind. They saw the library as attracting such unsavorys like tourists, fast food franchises, and souvenir shops.
A new (and current location) was chosen, but it was on the site of a landfill. That took time to clear. Pei designed a simple geometric structure with a large glass pavilion. Construction began in June 1977.
In October 1979, President Jimmy Carter dedicated the library. The library highlights the Cuban Missile Crisis and the US Space program along with Kennedy's presidential campaign. Ernest Hemingway's memorial library is also there.
One of the neatest artifacts the museum has is a coconut shell dating from Kennedy's World War II military service as the Commander of PT 109. Kennedy was also fond of scrimshaw and sailing ship models.
The library gives out the Profile in Courage award. Kennedy's intent with his novel, "Profile in Courage" was to show 8 U.S. Senators who risked their carrier by taking principled stands for unpopular positions. The award itself is presented to those public officials who have demonstrated politically courageous leadership.
Has anyone visited the library? I'd love to hear your thoughts. What was your favorite exhibit?
|Point Reyes is actually a very prominent cape on the Pacific Coast in Marin County, California, approx. 30 miles west of San Francisco. I've enclosed a map so you can picture it. If you ask me, you can't get any more west than the Point Reyes Cape on mainland USA.
Spanish explorer, Sebastian Vizcaino, anchored his ship in Drake's Bay on 3 Kings Day, 6 Jan 1603, giving the name Punto de los Reyes (King's Point/Point Reyes) to the peninsula. In Fact, the region is known as a peninsula due to Tomales Bay on the northeast and the Bolinas Lagoon on the southeast.
Interesting Side Note: Drake's Bay was named after the famous English explorer, Sir Francis Drake in 1579.
Picture a ridge running down the peninsula's nw/se spine with forested peaks. That's the topography. The lighthouse is found on a cliff and to reach it, one has to walk down 300 steps.
Point Reyes is known for its heavy fog. Because of this, the light from the lighthouse is the only light visible to ships. Nowadays, its fully automated. What's really cool about the lighthouse is that it still houses the first order Frenzel lens built for it. It produces a flash every five seconds.
NOTE: A Frenzel lens is an unique type of lens which is found in lighthouses.
The lighthouse is anchored to the cliff by large bolts. Two terraces were built into the cliff when construction finally began. One at 100 feet for the fog building (weather station) and one 150 feet higher for the light tower. 300 steps were carved into the cliff form the top of the bluff to reach the light tower.
Of course what gives a lighthouse its personality is the history and the Point Reyes lighthouse can tell a few tales.
In 1595, a Spanish galleon, San Augustin, sought to avoid a storm. Thinking Point Reyes was an island, the ship's captain miscalculated and ran the ship aground. It was the first recorded shipwreck on the West Coast.
In 1855, a lighthouse was authorized for Point Reyes, but it took 15 years before it was actually built. The Lighthouse Board spent the time haggling over what it was to offer the landowners for their land. During this time, 14 shipwrecks occurred.
The environment is hard on the lighthouse. High winds around 40 mphs are the norm and the fog is heavy.
Perhaps the most suspenseful story occurred in 1927. Lighthouse keeper, Fred Kreth, discovered three fisherman stranded at the bottom of the cliff. Due to the surf being too high, the Coast Guard couldn't manage a rescue. Kreth rappelled 200 feet down the cliff, braced himself on a thin ledge, untied the rope around his waist and threw it 50 yards down, pulling each man to safety.
Interesting note: electricity finally came to the lighthouse in 1938. The station was automated in 1975.
Visit Point Reyes between JAN – APR and you might see a couple of grey whales as they journey on their annual Alaska-Mexico migration.
|Astrologers have explored the heavens since early Greek and Roman times – as even far back as ancient Babylonia. They gave those constellations that follow the sun’s ecliptic a zodiac name to help identify them. But why those constellations? What inspired them? I thought I’d take a look at the myths and legends that are behind the zodiac we see in the sky today.
Ah, the zodiac! We know it well. There are twelve signs, and surprisingly, their basic descriptions seem to fit the type of personality we exhibit.
The night sky is a dark presence in paranormal writing, often times taking on its own personality. After all, vampires come out at night, men transform into werewolves during a full moon, even zombies and ghosts are known to do their haunting at night.
When blending paranormal and romantic elements, looking to the night sky and the dynamic zodiac, can give you, the writer, the inspiration you need.
In my novel, “The Hungarian,” my hero, Matthias, is a werewolf who uses the constellations in the night sky to keep him company. He learned the myths behind the zodiac in the stars. I thought I’d share a few of them with you today.
Pisces is well known as representing two fish, but did you know those fish were Venus and Cupid who disguised themselves as fish to escape from Typhon?
Aries has always been represented as a ram. In fact, Aries was a golden ram rescued by Phrixos who took him to the land Colchis.
Taurus is a bull. What I love about Taurus is the stuff you can find in the constellation. Aldebaran is a red giant star that acts as the bull’s eye. The Pleiades, a star cluster, can also be found in the bull’s shoulder. In myth, Taurus represents Zeus/Jupiter who turned himself into a bull to carry off Europa, the daughter of the king of Crete.
Gemini represents the twin brothers, Castor and Pollux, who helped to protect ships and sailors.
Cancer represents a crab. Juno sent a crab to kill Hercules, who squashed it with his foot. Poor crab! Juno lost out with that idea.
Leo is usually associated with royalty. I believe it has Babylonian roots.
Virgo is usually represented as a maiden. She’s the goddess of the farm and harvest and she typically holds a shock of wheat. Again, I believe her origins are Babylonian in nature.
The sun usually find the autumnal equinox in Libria. The constellation is comprised of a set of scales, representing balance. Interestingly, the Romans chopped off Scorpio’s claws to make part of Libria.
Juno/Gaia sent the scorpion to kill Orion, who boasted he would kill all the animals on Earth! Poor Juno. She can’t catch a break. Scorpio and Orion are on opposite side of the sky, destined to never find each other, but always in search of the other.
Sagittarius is a centaur, a half-man, half-horse archer named Chiron, who is shooting an arrow and comes from Roman myth.
Capricorn is usually represented as a seagoat. Pan used it as a disguise.
Aquarius is a water carrier. Again, this constellation has Babylonian origins.
When you look at the constellations in this light, you have a lot of paranormal romantic potential. Keep in mind the myths that the night sky possess, and see if you can’t apply them to your romantic paranormal creatures. You’ll add depth to your stories without realizing it.
|STEPH: Tell us a little about you. Where do you live? How long have you been writing?
REGINA: Hi Stephanie, thank you for having me today on your fabulous blog! A resident of Providence, RI, now, I grew up in nearby Barrington. The Ocean State has a lot of appeal for me!
My wonderful mother read to me as far back as I can remember and I am sure that’s why I love reading so much. Loving reading, and being a natural talker, I think writing became the next logical step. It came in handy when I didn’t have an audience to tell my stories to, I could just keep going, and write everything down. That began early on, and I just never stopped. The publishing came later.
STEPH: I don't know much about "Light of the Heart." What's it about?
REGINA: “Light of the Heart” deals with the effects of a difficult childhood on the heroine, Cascade Preston, now a very successful stained-glass artist. As a child she knew her father was abusing her mother but was powerless to stop it. She was aware as a child that the town knew of the trouble in her house, yet did nothing to stop it. Her anger and resentment are so intense that she refuses to return to Sterling Lakes. However, circumstances take a turn and the project to redo the stained-glass windows in the town church becomes hers. As she is challenged to let the light of God’s love shine into her heart, she also meets the hero, Dan McQuay.
STEPH: What was the inspiration behind the story?
REGINA: That's an interesting question. I have always written pretty 'safe' Inspirationals, and I searched in my heart to hear a story that might needed to be told. Many years ago, I knew the hero and heroine of this story (in my mind) but Cascade's back story only came to me recently. I was not sure about it when I stopped and thought about the theme, it seemed so edgy...so I didn't stop, I just kept writing what was in my heart. After all, I had waited a long time for Cascade to tell me her story! I'm so glad the story incubated and now has the depth and substance her story really deserves. Sometimes, a writer has to be patient, and wait for the story to get to them. I'm not patient, at all! But I am so glad I waited!
STEPH: How important was the setting to the story?
REGINA: Oh, setting is always critical to my stories. Here, it is an absolute 'must'! Sterling Lakes, with all the problems the town has had in the past, and all the natural gifts they enjoy, typifies the dichotomy of the human experience: it's beautiful and ugly, good and evil all at the same time...just like the human soul.
STEPH: If you could cast the movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?
REGINA: OOOH! Okay, Cascade Preston: Amy Adams and Dan McQuay: Let me get back to you, Steph!!
STEPH: How long did it take you to write?
REGINA: Well, it's funny, I really ruminate...and I've been 'hatching' this one since way back when lol! The real work for me is thinking, plotting and envisioning the book. Once I sit down, it does not take too long. This was done in a few months, then delivered to a great editor who I must say really seemed to 'get it' quicker than I did, sometimes! Bless her!
STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?
REGINA: Yes, I have a Kindle that I love love love!!
STEPH Do you belong to any writing groups or writing afflilations? How helpful have they been to you?
REGINA: In the past I belonged to RWA and was in the NE chap of RWA, in fact, I was the librarian for a while. I can't tell you how wonderful that was! What a great group! I am still friends with lots of the writers and count their encouragement as one reason I ever had the confidence to send my work out to publishers!
STEPH: Can you tell us a little about the state you live in?
REGINA: Shakespeare asked "What's in a name?" in Romeo and Juliette and Little Rhody is a good example of a really powerful answer to that query! Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country, but nestled into a section of ocean, mountains and forest, it has incomparable natural beauty. On top of that, we are the nucleus of several world-renowned Universities and Colleges, so our intellectual community is vibrant and ever-evolving. An outgrowth of that is the Arts community, with museums, theaters and -yay - restaurants. Plus, we are a real cultural crossroads, with folks of all nations finding their homes here and propelling the life of the entire community into ever-enriched levels of shared experiences.
STEPH: If you could visit one country, what country would be on your bucket list?
REGINA: In a heartbeat, I'd go back to Greece. I had a trip to Egypt booked for May...I will get there some day!
Thank you, Stephanie!
STEPH: Thanks for being here today, Regina! It was great to have you.
|A look at Romantic Suspense
Romantic suspense is a very popular sub-genre of romance. It is also used to transition from romance to more mainstream genres. In order to have a good, solid, romantic suspense, the story must blend suspense and romance in equal proportions and do two things in equal proportions – 1) solve the mystery/suspense 2) have the hero/heroine fall in love.
The Nature of Suspense
What does suspense bring to the table, you ask? It gives the story instant attention. Something dire has happened. Solving the dilemma is a must for our hero/heroine. Keep in mind with suspense that the hero/heroine finds out early on in the story who the villain is. Just how much damage will the villain do before he/she is stopped is the heart of the suspense. Suspense is different from mystery in that in a mystery the hero/heroine take the entire story to find out "whodunit." In suspense, it’s a matter of stopping the villain. Remember to use the setting to help create an element of suspense. Weather, also, can heighten suspense.
The villain isn't just plain nuts anymore. Readers are more savvy these days and can appreciate a complex villain. Don't be afraid to show the villain's motivation, which can include: ambition, blackmail, thrill, fear, jealousy and even self-defense. A good villain heightens the suspense.
The Nature of Romance
The nature of romantic suspense really necessitates a short time line. You don't have weeks or months to allow feelings to grow – you have days if that, so the chemistry between the hero/heroine needs to be immediate. Don't forget your internal conflict and those niggly little issues in the back of the hero/heroine's mind that makes them hesitant to jump into romance. Just remember you won't have a lot of time for long narratives or character introspection. Phobias work well, too. Think of what scares your hero/heroine and put them in that situation.
Your end has to accomplish two things –the villain is brought to justice and the hero/heroine commit to working things out. Remember a "high" commitment of marriage might seem out of place since the story takes place in a short period of time, but knowing the couple is on the right track will work for the reader.
|Located on the northern shore of Monterey Bay, the Santa Cruz lighthouse was originally built in 1868.
I've always enjoyed visiting the ocean, and while I've never seen too many lighthouses, I find them fascinating. They capture the ambience of the romance of the seas. Each lighthouse has it's own unique story which I hope to share with you during these series on California Lighthouses.
The Santa Cruz lighthouse has a rich, sentimental history. It was a wooden structure with a tower modeled after the light at Ediz Hook, WA. Originally, the light was white, but soon was changed to red, so it could be distinguished from the various residential lights in the area.
Interestingly only ten years after it was built, the lighthouse faced destruction from erosion. It was moved 300 feet to firmer ground by several horses. The mover was paid $750.00 for the job! (in 1879)
What gives a lighthouse its personality are the people who care for it though. Every lighthouse has a story.
The Santa Cruz lighthouse's first caretaker was Adna Hecox. He moved into the lighthouse with his family in 1870. He provided for his family by growing a garden and keeping chicken. He passed away in 1883 and his daughter, Laura, become the next caretaker.
Laura was paralyzed on one side of her body, but she didn't let that slow her down. She became an avid amateur marine biologist, well respected by her peers and professors around the country. She retired in 1916.
Arthur Anderson became the caretaker after Laura. Electricity made his job easier. He retired in November 1940 and in 1941, the Coast Guard assumed responsibility for the light. With World War II, the Coast Guard turned the lighthouse into a lookout and the 54th Coast Artillery Regiment, an all-African-American unit, was assigned to the lighthouse with the mission to protect the coastline.
In 1948, the lighthouse, was dismantled, and it's lumber was used for other projects. In 1965, a family tragedy would give Santa Cruz a new lighthouse.
Mark Abott was 18 and drowned while body surfing off the waters 3 miles east of Santa Cruz, Mark's family, knowing his love for the ocean and lighthouses, built the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse on the land the old lighthouse had stood on.
Since then, the lighthouse has been home to the Santa Cruz surfing museum. Currently the Santa Cruz Surfing Club Preservation Society runs the lighthouse museum. Bits of Laura's collection of shells can still be found today at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History.
Do you have a favorite lighthouse you like to visit?
|STEPH: Welcome to to my ebook reader series, Dani. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
DANIELLE: Hi, Steph. I've been working online for over twelve years in various capacities. Besides reviewing and editing, I'm the author of five published books. Most of my free time is spent reading when I'm not outside or volunteering for school and church.
STEPH: What ebook reader to you have? How long have you had it?
DANIELLE: I received the Sony eReader (PRS-600) for Christmas in 2009. It also came with a black leather cover and a reading light.
STEPH: What do you like the most about it?
DANIELLE: The two things I like best are first, the cover, which makes it look like a small, leather bound notebook. It's easy to carry around. As far as the features, I like the ability to turn pages by tapping the screen. There are very few buttons to the Sony.
STEPH: What do you like the least about it?
DANIELLE: I do wish the Sony was backlit, but most readers don't have this capability that I've seen. The biggest downside for me, is that it isn't Wi-Fi capable. I have to download books to my computer then transport them from the computer to the reader with the accessory cord.
The only problem I have had is on occasion, it doesn't charge. I'm never sure if it's me or the Reader, but I've read a couple places online that others have this problem. It may be the charger, I don't have details on that. However, whenever I reset it and recharge it, everything is fine.
STEPH: What features are unique to your Sony?
DANIELLE: Because I have an "older" model, I think most of today's readers have the same features such as enlarging the text, making bookmarks and notes, and a dictionary. This reader also comes with a stylus so handwritten notes are possible if you need to make some in a pinch. You can also load photos.
STEPH: Is loading books onto the Sony easy?
DANIELLE: Loading is easy once you are familiar with the "Sony Library" software, but it is time-consuming compared to the Wi-Fi click and buy process.
STEPH What are some of the pros to your book reader?
DANIELLE: I definitely feel it's a quality product. I also like that it doesn't tie me down to any particular bookstore like the Kindle does with Amazon. I can even download doc.'s to my Sony, so that's a nice perk. It opens several types of files. I prefer to use PDF's.
STEPH: Was price a factor when you bought it?
DANIELLE: Not at the time, but it would be for a future purchase if I replaced it.
STEPH: Anything else you'd like to tell us about the Sony?
DANIELLE: I'm still on the fence for which brand to buy for my next reader, but if Sony came out with a Wi-fi version like the Kindle, I'd buy it in a heartbeat.
STEPH: Thanks for popping in and sharing, Dani!
|STEPH: Welcome to to my ebook reader series, Gail. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
GAIL: Gail R. Delaney has been actively writing 'for publication' since 1996. The first novel she ever wrote is still sitting on her computer, waiting for the major rewrite that will make it acceptable. She says she has learned a great deal since writing that book, and it shows when she looks back at that rough draft.
Gail has had several novels published in the genres of contemporary romance, romantic suspense and futuristic romance. Her novels have received several nominations and awards since she was first published in 2005.
Gail and her family recently moved from the cold and blustry east coast to Southern California, and is loving every moment of sunshine she can soak in.
STEPH: What ebook reader to you have? How long have you had it?
GAIL: I have the first generation Nook from Barnes & Noble. It was a pre-order, and I received it as soon as they were ready to ship! ☺ So, I've had it about a year now.
STEPH: What do you like the most about it?
GAIL: I love that I have 67 books in my purse. ☺ I love that I can finish a book at work, and start another one. I love that I can read sitting in the sun wearing sunglasses. I love I can download samples of books before I purchase them. I love the selections I have. I love I can change my font -- make it larger or smaller -- or completely different. I love... okay, maybe that's enough.
STEPH: What do you like the least about it?
GAIL: Hmmmm... I suppose the only 'Kindle Envy' I have is the text-to-voice option that a Nook doesn't have. My Nook can work as an mp3 player if I buy an audiobook, but I love hearing how Kindle users can choose to either read or listen to a book.
STEPH: What features are unique to your Nook?
GAIL: Well, until recently, the whole 'sharing' option was unique, but now you can do that with Kindles. However, to the best of my knowledge, the Nook is the only reader with a fully expandable memory so you can hold a gagillion books rather than just a gazillion. ☺
Also, the Nook has a color/lcd touchpad for navigation, and I can turn the page with a slide of my thumb. ☺
STEPH: Is loading books onto the Nook easy?
GAIL: Exceptionally easy, whether I buy from BN.com or not. If I buy at BN.com, the next time I turn on my Nook... there they are. ☺ And I can also easily load epub files to my library, and read them as easily and efficiently as if they were bought from BN.com. I use Calibre, a free ebook library software program, and love it.
STEPH: What are some of the pros to your book reader?
GAIL: I think I rambled on about that in answer #3. LOL
STEPH: Was price a factor when you bought it?
GAIL: For me? In truth... no. It was given to me as a gift. I was asked "So, what do you want... a Kindle or a Nook." I loved the idea of the color touch screen, so I said Nook.
STEPH: Anything else you'd like to tell us about the Nook?
GAIL: Only that I love it, and if you're a 'reader', you deserve one of these.