Blogger Bouquet #57

Happy Valentine’s Day, readers and bloggers!

It’s been quite a while since I tossed a blogger bouquet, but hey, today is the perfect time to share a little love.

In her own words, Evelyn Krieger – Inspiration for the Creative Soul – is a “word weaver, radical educator, dancer, and homeschooling pro.”

Her debut middle-grade novel, One is Not a Lonely Number, was a 2011 Sydney Taylor Honor Book from the Association of Jewish Libraries, a 2011 Next Generation Indie Finalist, and a PJ Library Our Way pick.

From her Welcome page:

“I grew up in Michigan. Today my home is Massachusetts, though I hope to move somewhere tropical one day. Sunlight makes me joyful. I’m allergic to snow.
My blog explores creativity, grief, resilience, and all things related to the writing life. I love connecting with my readers and making new friends. Please stop by and say hello.”

Check out Evelyn’s enjoyable post below, where she poses the popular writerly question: Does the change of season affect your creativity?


SEPTEMBER
SONG – CREATIVITY THROUGH THE SEASONS


Comments are closed here but you can leave a comment on the blogger’s page.

Have an inspired weekend, everyone!

Reflecting on the Little Things

For me, this winter has been a time of deep reflection. The dormant months are ideal for slowing down and looking inward, giving one a chance to rest, to heal, to quiet the mind and to focus on the spiritual side of life.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about and missing my mother more than usual. She has visited me in my dreams quite often in recent weeks.

I wonder why.

I suppose I could chalk it up to growing older and becoming infinitely more aware of my own mortality. Or maybe she knows I need her more right now.

Today, I dedicate this post to you, Mom. I wrote the following piece in January of 2012, ten months before our final goodbye.

 

The Little Things

 

You always hear people say that we shouldn’t love the material things in life, and usually I am inclined to agree. However, in one particular area of my life I must beg to differ. Sometimes we have certain items that are so very precious to us because they keep our memories bright.

My mother is now in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. She has changed so much in the past few years, from a vibrant, independent and beautiful woman, into a person who needs constant care. She can still smile in recognition at me but can no longer carry on a conversation of any sort. We are losing her, bit by bit, with every visit and every passing day. This is probably why I hold on so tightly to a few items that came from her.

As I write this, I am wearing a pair of wool slippers that my mother knitted for me. They are teal blue and white with little bows sewn on the top. I found them a couple of months ago when I was sorting out some storage items, and even though they are a little tight, which was the reason I had put them away in the first place, I’ve worn them ever since, stretching them so they would fit. Just knowing that she had made them for me gives me comfort.

While I was looking for Christmas baking inspiration a few weeks ago, I came across a recipe for cherry cake in my collection, written in Mom’s elegant handwriting. I remembered her making that recipe many times over the years. My heart ached with loss as I read it, but I knew I had to use it. Now that Christmas is behind us for another year, I still have some of that cake left, and I savour every bite.

And on my right hand, I am wearing my mother’s wedding band. It had been sitting in a little box in my dresser drawer for months, waiting until the day it would go on her finger for the last time. So for now I am wearing it because it makes me feel closer to her, and to Dad as well.

So please don’t try to tell me that things aren’t important. Sometimes it’s the little things that we need to hold onto, the touchstones for our priceless memories. Sometimes it is all we have.

Our lovely mother in her younger days

Menopause…or “Perry” Menopause? An Update

Last week, while looking back on a few of my January posts from the past, I hit upon the following that I’d written exactly eight years ago. I thought the timing was perfect to provide an update as the last line suggested. I had mentioned that “The Change” can take anywhere from two to eight years. Thankfully, it didn’t last anywhere near eight years for me, and yes, Paul survived. 🙂

By the way, he still plays floor hockey on Monday nights and I never turn the heat off anymore in the dead of winter. I hope that brings a measure of comfort to those of you who are dealing with menopause or perimenopause at the moment.

January 30, 2012:
So here I am, on a frigid January evening. Outside, a bitter wind chill of minus 10 degrees Celsius (that’s 14+ degrees for you Fahrenheit folks) is blowing directly off the North Atlantic  just a few yards from our door. Husband Paul is gone playing floor hockey at the high school gym, so I’m alone, trying desperately to chill out. Not figuratively, mind you, but literally. I turned down the thermostats so there is no heat on in my house, simply because my body feels like a furnace turned up on cremate.

This is a new and fresh hell for yours truly, only making itself known within the last couple of weeks. Somehow, I had let myself believe I’d be lucky enough to escape the discomfort of “tropical moments” at this time of my life. How I used to chuckle when one of my friends or coworkers complained of a hot flash. Ha! The joke is now on me. And for the uninitiated, it doesn’t feel like a source of external heat that hits you. It’s more like internal spontaneous combustion, where you think you just might suddenly burst into flames.

pexels-photo-207353Stripped down to a tank top and appropriately, sweat pants, eating blueberries out of the freezer (still frozen), I’m trying to hold it together. I made the mistake earlier of googling other menopause symptoms, and started ticking off other lovely ailments I’ve been experiencing. Brain fog? Check. Anxiety? Check. Night sweats? Check. Mood swings? Okay, that one is just me, can’t blame that on The Change.

The website also warned that the whole process could take anywhere from two to eight years before it is done. That’s just terrific. Think I’ll go out and stick my head in a snow bank.

And now Paul is home. “It’s freezing here!” he says. He looks at my red face. “Is it alright if I turn up the heat?”

“If you must,” I bark, fanning myself with a throw cushion.

Then I realize something. In our house, PMS always stood for Paul Must Suffer. Well, the PMS might be coming to an end for me, but it won’t be ending for him any time soon. Will he survive? Will I?

Check back in two to eight years.

*Images courtesy of Pexels

Calmer Girls FREE on Kindle

Calmer Girls is free on Kindle until January 22.

Grab this edgy coming-of-age novel here: http://getbook.at/CalmerGirls

#CalmerGirls  #NewfoundlandBooks  #CanadianAuthor  #EdgyYAFiction  #ComingofAge

Tree in Autumn*


On the cusp of her dark autumn

November gathers and descends
once bright in October’s glow
her fallen raiment of gold
now flies upon the wind.

Stiff limbs scrape the starless sky
mute shadows fill her spaces
so no one sees the cracks
wrought by her many seasons
of frost and limp regret.

©J.K. Perry

***

*Photo taken November 14, 2019 in Grand Falls-Windsor

Nighttime and Here I Stand:
2 titles in #2019picoftheweek challenge. For details see MariaAntonia

The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction – how many have you read?

Barbara Vitelli, a.k.a. Book Club Mom, compiled this list of Pulitzer Prize winners for Fiction two years ago and updated it this year. By 2017, I had read only 10 of them, but since then I’ve added 5 and hope to read more. How many of these novels have you read?

Book Club Mom

Someday I’d like to say I have read all the Pulitzer Prize winners for fiction. I took a look at the all-time list, and discovered I have a long way to go!

2019: The Overstory by Richard Powers

2018: Less by Andrew Sean Greer(read and reviewed)

2017:  The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

2016:  The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

2015:  All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (read and reviewed)

2014:  The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

2013:  The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

2012:  No award

2011:  A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

2010:  Tinkers by Paul Harding

2009:  Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (read and reviewed)

2008:  The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

2007:  The Road by Cormac McCarthy (read and reviewed)

2006:  March by Geraldine Brooks

2005:  Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

2004:  The Known World

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Sunday Snaps: Tuckered Out (but in a good way)

Hey friends! It’s been longer than usual since I’ve blogged or shared a snap, but I think I had a good excuse. I’ve been going over the final draft of my latest novel manuscript with a fine-toothed comb in recent weeks—a little snip and tighten here, an extra fleshing out there—and I’m happy to say it is finally in the hands of its first beta reader.

Due to a few changes made, it took longer to get to this point than planned when I blogged about the final draft in June, but between the jigs and the reels and the hope that feedback is mostly positive, here we are.

Much has fallen by the wayside getting to this stage, so I’ll take the coming week to finish reading Jacqui Murray’s latest novel, and begin another one for my online book club. Along with that I’ll catch up on neglected chores and, of course, all my favorite blogs. (Sorry for not commenting much lately, bloggers!)

I had hoped to take part in NaNoWriMo this month, but instead my plan is to write a blurb, query letter and synopsis for submissions to publishers. I also hope to complete the outline for Book 2 of my speculative fiction trilogy by month’s end. That way, writing the first draft can begin on December 1.

I’m tuckered out, but also STOKED. I feel good about the book and am more focused than ever on my writing.

But first, I will follow Vivian’s lead: flake out, hang out, and recharge. See you next week.

Book Launch: The Quest For Home by Jacqui Murray

I am delighted once again to help fellow author Jacqui Murray  with the launch of her latest novel. The Quest for Home is the second in her Crossroads trilogy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first in the prehistoric fiction trilogy, Survival of the Fittest, and I highly recommend it. Jacqui is a masterful writer and researcher, and I can’t wait to read this next book in the series.

Summary:

Chased by a ruthless and powerful enemy, Xhosa flees with her People, leaving behind her African homeland, leading her People on a grueling journey through unknown and perilous lands. As they struggle to overcome treachery, lies, danger, tragedy, hidden secrets, and Nature herself, Xhosa must face the reality that her most dangerous enemy isn’t the one she expected. It may be one she trusts with her life.

The story is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, the one destined to obliterate any who came before.

Based on a true story, this is the unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion as early man makes his way across Eurasia, fleeing those who would kill him. He must be bigger-than-life, prepared time and again to do the impossible because nothing less than the future of mankind is at stake.

The Quest for Home info:

Series: Book 2 in the Crossroads series, part of the Man vs. Nature saga
Genre: Prehistoric fiction
Available at: Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU

I asked Jacqui a couple of questions about her book:

1. If I am not reading these books in order, does it matter?

Survival of the Fittest starts the Crossroads trilogy, The Quest for Home is Book 2. Crossroads itself the second trilogy in the Man vs. Nature saga. Each trilogy is a stand-alone story; each book in the trilogy fairly standalone in that I include details to catch you up on what occurred in prior books but without most of the drama. They can be read out of order, but you may find the experience enhanced if the three books in each trilogy are read consecutively.

2. Could Xhosa, the main character of The Quest for Home, really have traveled with a wolf companion?

Dogs weren’t domesticated until about 10-15,000 years ago, long after Xhosa lived 850,000 years ago. But her understanding of man and animal were not what ours is. To Xhosa, the line between man and animal was blurry. She didn’t think of animals as lesser creatures. Why would she? As far as she knew, like her, they could plan, think, problem-solve, and display emotions just as she did.
So, for Xhosa to partner with a wolf made perfect sense.

It does make perfect sense, especially for an animal lover like me.
Thanks so much, Jacqui, for letting me assist with your book launch!

Author Bio:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for  NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, In the Footsteps of Giants, Winter 2020, the final chapter in the Crossroads Trilogy.

Find out more and follow Jacqui Murray on Social Media:

Amazon Author Page
Blog
Twitter
Website

Evergreen Post: Snapshots from a Summer Day*

Now that summer has officially arrived–at least according to the calendar–I’m sharing an evergreen summer post from July 2015. Happy Sunday, everyone, and have a wonderful week!

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*Selected verses from Summer, a poem by Jennifer Kelland Perry, 2012
Photos ©2015 jenniferkellandperry.com 

Fridays and Final Drafts

Crunch time is here for my latest novel.

I’m nearing the end of the final draft, which means my beta readers will soon whisk away my manuscript for their constructive perusal. The timing couldn’t be better.

With the weather finally improving, I look forward to a couple of months to recharge and get ready for the next steps.

Friday turned out to be a super nice day. So mid-afternoon, I tore myself away from the laptop to step outside into sunshine, breathe the soft ocean breeze, and enjoy the view.

I think Maisie had the same idea.

“Does this camera angle make me look fat?”
Finally looking like summer around here!
“Stay out longer with me next time, please?”

It wasn’t easy to go back inside, but when you can see the finish line, it gives you more incentive to keep working. And once that line is crossed? Rest assured, Maisie–I will stay out with you much longer then.

“Best advice on writing I’ve ever received. Finish.”
~ Peter Mayle