Daily Prompt: Morton’s Fork

If you had to choose between being able to write a blog (but not read others’) and being able to read others’ blogs (but not write your own), which would you pick? Why?

Read others’ blogs.

Of course, that’s not what I am doing now, is it? Let’s ignore that fact.

Like everyone else, my time spent on the internet is finite. Yes, I have a life and much of it is not spent browsing the intertubes, but now and then, I get the urge to share my thoughts with the world. So, I go to WordPress.

The first thing I check is my Reader page. It has all the recent posts of the blogs I am subscribed to. If I haven’t had a chance to visit for a day or so, there are a lot of posts to catch up on. I often forget whatever inane thought I had that prompted me to come to WordPress as I immerse myself into your worlds.

I don’t mind you all distracting me. I simply read (sometimes “like”, rarely comment) until my time is up and I move on – enriched with some new insight or knowledge gleamed from my blogger-friends.

Don’t get me wrong, I like folks to read my complaints or look at my pictures, but I’d rather read about what you all are doing or nattering about. Because, frankly, I already know what’s in my head.

I find it much more interesting to find out what’s going on in yours.😀

(A response to the Daily Post Daily Prompt.)

Moving along

Hey, how do you like the new duds?

I changed the theme on my blog. If you read via something other than a browser, you might want to come take a look. It is called Sunspot, and is the latest free offering from WordPress. I thought the colors matched my old and current Gravatar picture. Plus it seemed to match a lot of my sunset/sunrise pictures and my old fire photos. Sweet! I think I’ll stick with this for a while.

New Zealand Sunset

Seeing as I kept it for almost a year, I really enjoyed using the Chateau theme, but sometimes a girl just has to move on.

In the spirit of moving forward, here are some updates in my writing life:

What I’ve read

Yes, writers read. Or they should. I’ve read and enjoyed Mike Shevdon‘s Court of the Feyre series. I’ve reviewed Sixty-One Nails and The Road to Bedlam, and I’ve even managed to sneak into Mr. Shevdon’s busy schedule and interview him. He’s a great guy and the series is a lot of fun with plenty of intrigue. In my humble opinion, the cool factor is ramped up in this series, and I can’t wait for the eARC to come out so I can read the next installment: Strangeness and Charm.

I have taken up Jon Sprunk‘s series again with the second book, Shadow’s Lure. You can read my review of Shadow’s Son and see that I had some reservations about the book. Which is one reason it has taken me some time to get back to it. Still, Ciam, our hero assassin in this series, has lured me back. Be sure to subscribe to my blog The Atheist’s Quill for my upcoming review.

I’ve also finished reading a few unpublished works (both novels and short stories) over on Critters and for critter-friends. Man, is there a lot of talented writers out there. I am humbled and thoughts of quitting my own efforts are strong, but only so that I can have more time to READ! There’s just so much good stuff out there.

On the non-fiction front, I’m reading Sam HarrisFree Will at the moment. Like Gladwell‘s Blink and The Tipping Point, Free Will has some very interesting ideas that will have you re-thinking everything.

What I’ve written

I am almost 20,000 words into my re-write of Devil’s Blood, now called The Denouncer. My other projects are limping along (or shelved) as I dedicate most of my free time (do I have any?) to The Denouncer.

My writing coach sessions are going well. I am trying my best to absorb everything, but new concepts and skills are not miraculously turning my crap into readable prose. What I am discovering more and more each day is how much I truly suck, even as I rush to reach my daily word count goal.

I once met a woman who said she wrote. I asked her about her stories and how she was going about getting them published. She said, “Oh no. I’ll never publish them.” I asked, “Why not? If you enjoy writing them, I bet there are folks out there that will enjoy reading them.” She explained to me that yes, she enjoyed writing them, but she didn’t want anyone else judging her work. Content to just enjoy the writing process, she promptly put her stories in a drawer when she was finished – never to be read again.

Wow, I had thought, what a waste.

But now, as I realize that my writing may not be everyone else’s cup of tea, but that I really do enjoy the process of writing, her methods do not seem so outlandish. Maybe my stories are just for me. Maybe I can be content with enjoying the act of creating, and foregoing any of my half-baked dreams of publication. It is a tempting thought.

Until later, don’t forget to read.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Egret Ready

This is not the best picture of an egret (specially, a great egret or Casmerodius albus). But it does fit the WordPress photo challenge topic, ready, and the next letter in the alphabet, ‘e‘.

The bike paths that run through Santa Rosa, CA are part of the old canal maintenance roads that run along the upper banks of the creeks. As many creeks as there are in the county, that’s how many bike paths there are to explore and commute on. I use the super-highway of them all: the Santa Rosa Creek Trail. It’s paved and runs across the center of Santa Rosa in a mostly east-west orientation. But most of these creek trails are unpaved and remote, great for taking your dog on a run.

They also have something else in common (other than the trash): the great egrets.

They are everywhere! I never realized. We rarely saw these majestic birds up in my former home in the Sierra mountains, so I just figured these bright white creatures were rare. Well, I’m wrong. There’s a healthy population living in Santa Rosa.

They are skittish, and I am often on my bike when on the bike paths so rarely do I get a chance to take a picture of them. One day, I happened to be walking with my dog on a leash and I had a camera. I tried to get close before snapping a picture, but I scared her off before I could settled down. I managed to get this one shot.

Lesson learned: to get that perfect shot, one must always be ready (and carry a camera…and a tripod).

Photo Weekly Challenge: ‘A’ Launch

In 2011, WordPress had a daily challenge and a weekly photo challenge. Everyday a WordPress representative would post a topic for the public to use and abuse.  Likewise, every week they posted a topic for photographers (laymen and professionals alike) to interpret as they saw fit.

I didn’t discover either until late in the year.  I don’t think I ever used the daily prompts, but I did enjoy participating in the photo challenges.  That, along with SomethingNewPlease, inspired my Friday Fiction idea (wherein I use a picture to come up with a 100 word fictional story).

I had thought to continue using the WordPress photo challenge to incorporate into my Friday Fictions, but they have decided to do something different for 2012 and haven’t announced that might be – yet.  In the meantime, I will participate in FrizzText’s challenge instead.

His is quite simple.  The letter ‘A’.  For me that’s Attention.  And, yes, here’s a another picture of my dog (two sentence story to follow).

Alby paying attention to the ball

Ball high, descending – catch! Never take yours eyes off the ball.

Lo and behold, WordPress came out with a photo challenge today: Launch. Alby does double duty.

Up, up...and awaaaay!

All photos taken by me circa 2004.

Widget Nirvana

The wonderful WordPress wizards have answered our prayers: we have a GoodReads widget now!

Check it out!  Over there, on the left sidebar.  Cool, huh?  I got all three of my book shelves going.

GoodReads, an online community of readers, is a place where you can list all the books you’ve read, rate them, and then keep track of books you want to read or are reading.  You can also have friends and share comments on books.  I don’t participate much on the site (if you do, feel free to add me as a friend), but I do visit regularly to update my reading status.

Having all those cool book covers on my blog is something I have coveted since GoodReads came out with website widgets for members to use on their own blogs or web pages since, like, forever.  But!  As some of you know, WordPress works in the cloud, which means they restrict code to ensure that their platform doesn’t get bogged down by errant html or what-have-you.  So, for what seemed like ages, we WordPress users could not easily display our GoodReads bookshelves.

Fast forward to, well, today, and now we can!

Happy Reading!🙂

My very first blog award

I’ve blogged for some time now, but yesterday I encountered a first – an award!

Isn’t that sweet?

Bestowed upon me by a lovely WordPress blogger, what else can I do but wallow in its glow?

A few weeks ago, I started following Emmie Mears, who blogs about her writing adventures.  Her posts are honest, engaging and fun to read. She also seems to be at a similar junction in her writing career as myself (though I suspect she’ll be published sooner).  Either way, I’m sure we will all soon be fans of her work when her novels come out.

In the meantime, I’ve got to do something about passing on this here award!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Thank your nominator by linking to her or his blog.
  2. Pass the award on to 15 worthy bloggers. Share links to their sites and drop by to tell them you think they rock.
  3. List seven things about yourself.

I don’t get around much, so I only have seven worthy bloggers to list (who may or may not ignore this award – please feel free – no pressure).  Here they are:

  1. J.W. Manus – this woman rocks.  Ms. Manus has years of experience as a writer, penning stories for Harlequin and now for her own reader’s blog.  Check out her writer’s blog full of insider tips and useful writing exercises.
  2. Dan Bieger – this guy rocks.  Though he hasn’t been blogging much lately, Dan Bieger is wonderfully blunt, and offers a cynic’s perspective on the world and writing.  The man has a wealth of knowledge swirling around in his head.  If you ever manage to pin him down, mine it.
  3. Susan J. Boulton – this woman rocks (okay, I’ll try to come up with a different adjective/verb next time).  She will be famous one day.  I promise.  She posts irregular updates on her blog with the best title ever: Gentle, Parochial Horror.
  4. Learco Fink – this guy rocks is awesome.  I met Learco on SFFWorld.com when he lived in France, but he’s from Germany, and now he’s going to school in London – how cool is that?  A young, aspiring author that will win your heart (and make the young girls sigh).  Check him out on his magical journey.
  5. Todd Newton – this guy is not on WordPress.  However, he still rocks!  Check out his eblogging blog at Initial Draft.  Some great posts on writing and writers in general.
  6. Jo-Anne Odell – this gal is stupendous (and, also, not on WordPress).  Jo-Anne is a fellow Critter with a lovely style of writing I try to emulate.  She also does reviews for Tangent.  Check her out on her blog: J.M. Odell on Creative Writing in Fantasy and Science Fiction.
  7. Rich Dickson – this guy is amazing.  I love the way Rich writes on his DailyRich blog, featuring posts on life, entertainment, and sports.  His fiction is even better, and you can read samples of it on his blog.  One of these days when he manages to sit down and write a novel – from start to finish – he’ll win a Pulitzer.

Now the hard part; seven things about me:

  1. I was once smuggled into the U.C. Davis Primate Center in a mail bag.
  2. I’m five foot and a quarter-inch tall, and getting bigger.
  3. I’m 41 years old – at the moment.
  4. I’m a vegan that regularly lapses into wanton vegetarianism – damn those cream puffs!
  5. I used to burn down forests, and got paid for it – by the government.
  6. Backcountry ski-skating rocks! (Where on earth did this ‘rocks’ come from?)
  7. I run barefoot.

One of those is a lie.  Which one?