I was pleased this month to discover Milly Schmidt and her blog, The Cat’s Write.
A writer and a cat person – could I have picked a better blogger to follow?
From her About page:
“I’m a writer, blogger and crazy cat lady living in the New England, Australia. Some bloggers mistakenly think I’m from the New England in the US, but I really don’t mind, any way to bond is fine by me!
I’m currently working on my first crime novel, When She Goes, a psychological thriller set in rural NSW. When not writing or blogging, I work in the human resources sector and I have a Bachelor of Criminology from the University of New England. I am also a member of the New England Writers’ Centre and the Australian Crime Writers Association.”
I’m sharing a post where Milly tells about an exceptionally mean rejection letter she received for an article she submitted to one of her favourite online writing magazines. That same article that was criticized, 9 reasons why you should self-publish, went on to become one of the most popular she has ever written.
Comments are closed here but you can leave a comment on the blogger’s page.
Have an inspired weekend, everyone.
FYI: Sunday Snap will be back as usual next week.
Today, I’m delighted to welcome author and tech teacher Jacqui Murray from over at WordDreams. She has a brand new release out now in an unusual and fascinating genre.
Jennifer: Good morning, Jacqui. Born in a Treacherous Time sounds intriguing! Can you tell me a bit about it?
Jacqui: Thank you for having me, Jennifer. Here’s a short summary:
Lucy and her band of early humans struggle to survive in the harsh reality of a world where nature rules, survival is a daily challenge, and a violent band threatens to destroy everything Lucy thinks she understands.
If you like Man vs. Wild, you’ll love this book. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. It will bring that world – East Africa 1.8 million years ago – to life in a way never seen before.
Jennifer: I can’t wait to read it. I’ve never read prehistoric fiction before, but it has been of interest to me ever since I saw the movie Quest For Fire. What prompted you to write the book, and your switch to this niche genre?
Jacqui: Born in a Treacherous Time is a spin-off of my previous book, To Hunt a Sub.
More specifically, it is a spin-off of Lucy, the ancient female who mentored Kali Delamagente, the female protagonist of that series.
Jennifer: Lucy was such an interesting part of that story. But why did you write a book in such a tiny niche?
Jacqui: Born in a Treacherous Time is written in the sub-genre of historic fiction called prehistoric fiction, a time before recorded history. There aren’t a lot of readers in this genre but they are devoted!
Because the only records are rocks, world building has proven difficult but Lucy (the heroine) really didn’t give me a choice. She nagged me to tell her story from my first page twenty years ago to my final draft. Now maybe Lucy will leave me alone!
Jennifer: You have a couple of noteworthy reviews you’d like to share with our readers, including a Kirkus review. Here they are:
Kirkus review: “Murray’s lean prose is steeped in the characters’ brutal worldview, which lends a delightful otherness to the narration …The book’s plot is similar in key ways to other works in the genre, particularly Jean M. Auel’s The Clan of the Cave Bear. However, Murray weaves a taut, compelling narrative, building her story on timeless human concerns of survival, acceptance, and fear of the unknown. Even if readers have a general sense of where the plot is going, they’ll still find the specific twists and revelations to be highly entertaining throughout.
A well-executed tale of early man.” (Click here for the entire review)
An early reader’s review: “Born in a Treacherous Time sheds light on a period of time that gave birth to the human race, and allow us to bear witness to the harshness and tenacious spirit that is uniquely human—to survive and endure. Readers with a thirst for knowledge and who enjoy historical fiction, this is a must read. I am looking forward to reading book 2 when it is published. I devoured the book in 2 sittings.”– Luciana Cavallaro, author of Servant of the Gods series and webmaster of Eternal Atlantis
Jennifer: Those are wonderful reviews. I love that this book has a strong and unique female lead. Thank you so much for this, Jacqui!
To learn more about my guest today, check out the following:
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 series. She is also the author of over a hundred books on integrating technology into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.
Happy Thursday, everyone!
Here’s a throwback to July 2013, when I was in the thick of creating the first draft for Calmer Girls. At the time I was also blogging twice a week, but hey, when your muse is whispering in your ear to pen a poem and she won’t shut up, you pen a poem. There’s no getting out of it.
She wakes tangled in themes
through a cobweb of dreams
with gossamer remnants
that linger and tease,
pushes back dusty curtains
and on a page blank and white
She deletes the clichéd
yesterday she okayed
and contemplates words
like ephemeral and moonglade
they taste like confections
with her tangerine sections
and jolts of black coffee
She’s reminded of chores
she keeps trying to ignore
with the scatter of crumbs
that litter the floor,
shrugs her shoulders and thinks
it will be there tomorrow
The bills wait, unpaid
And the bed’s still not made
There’s this blog post to write
and it can’t be delayed
her novel must wait
it’s a musing or rhyme that
She reaches again
for the manuscript when
her mind can’t break free
from the plot line within
and it makes him uptight
there’s no dinner tonight
but he digests her flaws.
After all, it’s because
First published here.
Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!
I’ve been reading various collections of short stories lately, the latest of which was written by Fred H. Rohn.
Encounters: Relationships in Conflict is a unique, insightful and entertaining read.
The preface alone is a treat, where Rohn explains how he came to create this collection from accumulated notes and short stories over the years, and how each of them exhibit relationships and the “conflict between people resulting from differing perceptions, often between men and women and between different generations.”
In his preface, he also sets forth the belief that creativity does not have to end as you age, and that many seniors like himself are productive in a variety of artistic and creative endeavors. After all, they’ve lived through some pretty tough experiences which, I surmise, affords them a better grasp and understanding of the human condition. Reading this book only further convinces me of that!
As I began each short story selection, I found myself immediately engaged by the author’s sublime writing style and smooth but compelling narrative and voice. Each piece has its own charm, but I do have my favourites. The Piano Recital, Reunion Deals, Jennifer (!), Doc Brunner (that one brought a tear) and Harry particularly resonated with me, while others, such as The Old Man, made me chuckle.
This book offers clever insight to young readers and familiar life experiences for older readers. I highly recommend this lovely collection.
Readers: do you enjoy short story collections?
Do you have any recommendations for a short fiction fan?
– Reunion –
He sees her
at the edge
of the crowded soiree
and knows her instantly.
It is a blow.
The first time
in thirteen years
Fate has brought them
years for her
were far from kind.
change can be from
Life’s random cruelties
and how no one
A nervous voyeur
he peeks into her eyes
at the brink
of unimaginable pain.
It frightens him
makes him wish
he hadn’t heard the rumors
the images evoked
and now the proof.
the same yet injured
from the inside of her trauma
haunted eyes far too mature
for her years
aspect stamped with the hurt
she tries to hide.
And he wonders
when she finds his broken smile
how it was ever possible
she swarmed his secret dreams.
She turns away.
It occurs to him
she read it in his heart
the Muse has passed.
*First published here.
Thanks for reading!
Friday Fiction appears on random Fridays as a place to share my writing in the form of short stories, flash fiction, poetry and vignettes.
TBT: to another lifetime ago. Maybe by sharing, it will help someone else know they are not alone.
If I have a choice, what do I choose
do I escape this place
do I run away
as far as no one can find me?
I have been struggling,
can’t settle down –
the cuts are deep. I try to heal
but it is hard to heal a hurt
deeper than the ocean.
I try but none of this is easy,
not as easy as bleeding words
angry, messed up,
stillborn on a white page.
How I feel nobody knows;
no one understands what
I have lived. Sometimes I hope
for a deep sleep and never
never wake up,
a kind of running away
from a sour reality.
But somehow I endure
suppress the hurts
pretend nothing is wrong.
Easy to say, isn’t it?
I cannot cry. I turn my face away
when he comes in,
hide the tears
hide the pain –
they will inflame
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I recently accepted an invitation to the blog of fellow author Connie Lacy for an enjoyable Q & A. Connie’s latest book is A Daffodil For Angie, a historical coming-of-age novel set in the sixties. I loved it and I highly recommend it.
What’s It Like To Be An Author?
Taking a Peek Behind the Curtain
with Jennifer Kelland Perry
Connie: One of the unexpected pleasures of being an indie author is making author friends around the world. Not that I’m flying off to far-flung places. I’ve made friends through online writer groups, including Jennifer Kelland Perry … read the rest here.
These are a few excerpts from my private journal in September 2010, shortly before I started this blog. We were living in Mike Perry’s summer house here in Newtown, while our future home’s interior was being renovated on Perry’s Point by Paul’s two handy cousins and by Paul himself.
Of note, this excerpt was written during Hurricane Igor and its aftermath. Also of note is my poem at the end.
Very slowly, the old house on the point is undergoing its planned metamorphosis. My emotions are mixed. To see the rot exposed, the peeling paint and wallpaper, the ancient cobwebs hanging from the now-bare and blackened rafters, the unbelievable mess in the yard created by demolition, and now reconstruction – all of this plays havoc with my need for cleanliness and order. Are we really going to live here, in this two-storey house on a piece of rock jutting out into the cold North Atlantic? And are we ever going to find carpenters to install the new windows and clapboard while the rest of the work is done?
But then on one occasion when I visited the point last week, I saw something. I caught an encouraging glimpse of what could be. Of what that old house could become. My eye is drawn to the sun shining in through the multi-coloured glass of the windows we are not replacing. I see promise in their dazzling jewel tones of green, pink and yellow.
I get a mental picture of the rooms, devoid of junk and sawdust. Instead, they are neatly decorated, warm and comfortable, the kitchen filled with welcoming smells, music playing, Paul laughing at our cat Vivian as she skitters across the floor after a pop bottle stopper. I see Paul in his home office working on design plans, and I see me typing another page in my new novel. I welcome a visitor, put the kettle on…
I pretty much wish we were already there, playing house. Patience has never been my strongest virtue, so time drags on.
So the house in Paradise didn’t close yesterday as planned. The buyers require a survey of the land…why did they wait until the last minute??
And now we are back in Newtown, enduring the wrath of Hurricane Igor as he sweeps over the province, the likes of which we have never witnessed. There’s a leak in the living-room here at Mike’s that started since Paul left to go out on the point. The wind is howling, the rain is hitting the windows in sheets. Mother Nature is showing her teeth today and she means business! The radio assures me that this storm is a record breaker, and I feel like I have three houses to worry about: this one, the one on the point, and our biggest investment up to now, the one in Paradise that is almost sold.
Even Maisie and Vivian look worried.
Everyone I love now has their power back. My sister Lynn got hers at 1 yesterday, my mother-in-law last evening, and daughter Denise at 4 this morning (no other family lost theirs). We had it gone for about seven minutes on the night of the storm. So I breathe a great sigh of relief that all is well once again. I smile to realize that many have no cable TV or internet access right now – just like us!
Of course, we still wait for a phone call from our real estate agent or our lawyer as to when the house will close. I pray the walk-thru goes well. We wait to see if the Trans Canada Highway will open later today. And we wait for our new windows to be delivered. Sometimes life feels like a long drawn-out waiting game.
I love cooking and baking. Sometimes it feels downright therapeutic. As I made cod au gratin and a strawberry-apple crumble yesterday, a feeling of such peace and contentment enveloped me, it made me think of the book Simple Abundance and how much truth is in it. Whenever I cook and there is lots of time to do it right, I adore it. Thinking of living on the point and cooking and baking in my brand new kitchen fills me with happiness. I taped some loose recipes into my personal cookbook just this morning, in anticipation of using them soon.
The only thing that hurts is to read the recipes that Mom dictated to me over the phone not that long ago.
And I wait for a call from Lynn to see if they have a new placement for Mom. I don’t think I will get over the hurt of her Alzheimer’s disease for a very long time, and the worst is yet to come. Right on the heels of Dad’s ALS and death in 2003, the dreaded condition swooped in on my precious mother and changed her forever. Why has this double whammy hit our family, I wonder. I fear that the knowledge of it and the pain of its aftermath have changed me forever too.
As a way of dealing with these feelings, I wrote a poem this morning.
God, give me back my mom, I beg you and I plead
we’ve lost her much too early, the pain will not recede
First we lose our father to a death no one should know
too young he was to leave us–my God! I miss him so..
The grief it proved a burden our mother couldn’t bear
her sadness turned to illness with a name I’ve always feared
I know not how her soul survives as her mind and body waste
she lives and yet she doesn’t; a stranger took her place
Where is my mother’s heart? Where is her winsome smile?
I miss the wisdom of her words, her gentle, caring style
God, give me back my mom, if it’s only in a dream
let her put her arms around me; let her hold me as she sings
Then please take her up to heaven, let her suffering be gone
reunite my precious parents–maybe then I can go on.
Clarence blinks and yawns, instantly awake at the sudden rattle of a latch. The door next to his own swings open, then closes, the metallic creak and slam echoing down the brightly lit hallway. His nap is over, thanks to the new arrival. Might as well face the day and deal with it!
While he does some quick stretches and washes his face, he steals sidelong glances at this latest stranger and wonders if he’s a loudmouth like so many of the others. Clarence’s head hurts from the constant din in this godforsaken purgatory. All the crying and complaining from the younger inmates last night had kept him awake, just as it did most nights since winter came and filled the place to near-capacity.
His stomach growls in protest. He wonders when breakfast will arrive, the high point of the morning. He knows he doesn’t belong in here, and he’s starting to forget exactly how long it has been since he’s known joy.
Is that food coming?
No, a woman, one he’s never seen before. She smiles in at him. The scent of her is delightful; it soothes him and makes him think of flowers.
His jailer is here now too. He’s opening the door! “Clarence here has been with us the longest. But he’s very quiet and well-behaved.”
“He’s beautiful,” the woman says, “and he reminds me of Leo, one I had as a child. He’s the one!” She reaches for him.
Nestled in a carrier on the passenger seat, Clarence purrs all the way to his new home.
Friday Fiction appears on random Fridays as a place to share my writing in the form of short stories, flash fiction, poetry and vignettes.