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Church this morning, but I like church, so that’s a freebie. It’s a small congregation, and Disciples of Christ are next door to anarchists, so it hangs pretty loose there. I love the hymns, I love the socializing, and God’s there as much as anywhere else. And if I don’t agree with something in the sermon… well… I’m DofC–I don’t HAVE to agree with it. We do Christ, we do conscience. Cool.

I say the day is free, but I hope to use it to work on my Culinary Chronicles for World Wide Recipes. If I can get them all done today, the whole week is free. THAT would be something to lalala about.

Mom and I went to an open house for supper last night, so I didn’t get to cook. The other night, I boiled some our-garden potatoes and farmers’ market cabbage and had plenty left over. Tonight, I think I’ll reheat that and put some smoked sausage (store-bought, alas!) with it. Maybe make some more cornbread.

I would love to bake some more bread, but it’s been so ungodly HOT! It’s supposed to cool down this week, so maybe I can get up and bake in the morning.

There was a piece in the paper this morning about bloggers pulling down $800/week by touting products. I wish. Sometimes I SOUND like a commercial, but here is official notice that I’m not: I WISH. I just stand on the ground and watch my money sprout wings and fly away and shout, “Hey! Where you goin’? Hey!! Come back here and answer me when I’m talkin’ to you! HEY!” So if you ever see some crazy lady standing around shouting at nothing you can see, it’s probably me calling after my long-lost cash.


writing prompt: How do your main characters spend Sunday? If you have no main characters, invent one and follow him/her through a Sunday, typical or not typical for him/her.

Cold last night, chilly today, but BEAUTIFUL. The sky is clear and richly blue, and I have nowhere to go until I take Mom to the doctor for a regular checkup after lunch. Imagine you see mecrocus-mix dancing. Imagine I can dance.

I had a headache the past two days and part of last night, but it’s <whisper> gone for now </whisper> so I feel wonderful by comparison.

I didn’t go to the Southern Indiana Writers Group meeting last night because my head hurted and I was very very tired. Meh. I know I missed a good time and a great meeting.

So this morning I’m supposed to be working on my Culinary Chronicles for World Wide Recipes, and I’m blogging, instead. Well, well, to work I go, and I do love it.


Writing prompt: What do you do to postpone work? Stop it!

Three happy things happened yesterday:

  1. I got a refund from a hospital I had overpaid by $20 about nine years ago.
  2. I got an email from a reader of World Wide Recipes who said he loved my Culinary Chronicles.
  3. Tony Burton, editor at Wolfmont Press, sent this:

DYING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND made the Top Ten bestsellers for 2008 for the IMBA (Independent Mystery Booksellers Association)!
1 – Lisa Lutz, The Spellman Files, Simon & Schuster
2 – Tana French, In the Woods, Penguin
3 – Brent Ghelfi, Volk’s Game, Picador
4 – Lorna Garrett, Murder is Binding, Berkley
5 – Louise Penny, Still Life, St. Martin’s
6 – tie
Christopher Fowler, Full Dark House, Bantam
Leonie Swann, Three Bags Full, Flying Dolphin
8 – Tony Burton, ed., Dying in a Winter Wonderland, Wolfmont
9 – Clare Langley-Hawthorne, Consequences of Sin, Penguin
10 – Jacqueline Winspear, Masie Dobbs, Penguin

Note position #8!!!

That, my friends, is the IMBA’s list of bestselling titles for 2008,
for softcover books.

It’s SOOOOOO cool to see a book from Wolfmont in there with
books from Simon & Schuster, Penguin, Berkley, Bantam…
and not at the end of the list, either!

Here’s the link to the page:

Wheeeeee! Today, it’s worth being alive!


writing prompt: Go to a bookstore, real or online, and pick out ten books at random. Create a character with that list as his/her top ten favorite books.

First, I went to Louisville yesterday to have lunch with Jane. We at at Shiraz Mediterranean Grill, a wonderful place on Frankfort Avenue, where we got shish kebabs that melt in your mouth and crispy rice stuff off the bottom of the pan and baklava to die for. The rice stuff used to be really good–they would bring it out to you fresh and hot, but now they collect it and bring it out cold. Next time, I’m going to ask if they can heat mine up. It’s delicious and full of oil–can’t be good for you. I like that in a food.

Then we went to Sister Dragonfly, the greatest stuff store I’ve been in for a long time. No web site, so you’ll have to take my word for it. The first place we head for in there is the half-price basket. The basket isn’t for sale, but the jewelry inside is. Last time, I got a gorgeous ceramic and glass bracelet. This time, I got some nifty wood bead earrings. Not in the sale basket, I found the perfect watch. Jane goes pricier than I do, and she got a ring of some semi-precious stone. I can’t remember what it is, but it was blue and translucent with all kinds of glow and fire in it. Not an opal. Anyway, it was most satisfactory.

I almost ran into a guy, when I was pulling into the parking lot I use when we go to Shiraz. Not a guy, actually, but the guy’s car with the guy in it. He wanted to chew me out for it, but I was in the wrong, turning too sharp and looking for traffic the other way, so I couldn’t argue with him. I think he was vaguely dissatisfied, but I’m not a nice enough person to disagree when I have to admit I’m wrong.

The pictures here were taken in the parking lot. I love these trees, and I love stuff growing on and over fences. I don’t know what this ivy stuff is–probably poison something–but I didn’t touch it, I just appreciated the color.

After we spent most of our money, we went to Java Brewing and got great cups of coffee.

Now–getting ready. I’ve finished my Chronicles for next week and I’ve started the ones for the week after. My goal is to do all of them for November and the first week of December so I can concentrate on writing for National Novel Writing Month. It would be good if I could also collect characters and do a rough outline, but that may not happen.

Wish me luck!


writing prompt: Your main character makes a driving mistake and is clearly in the wrong. Is the other person same gender, other gender–main character’s gender preference or not? Is the other person mad, scared, weepy, pompous, funny? How does your main character react?

I did my Chronicles yesterday. Haven’t uploaded them yet, but I got them written. Whew!

Mom and I are working at the Book Box today, the Friends of Harrison County Library’s book sale building. I bought a few books–of course–even though I’m supposed to be getting RID of books. I got a world almanac that is about fifteen years more recent that the one I have now, a reference book for my Chronicles and a WWII escape book. I love books about people surviving against great odds, probably because I doubt I could. You know the old pioneer slogan, “The cowards never started, and the weak died on the way”? Well, I wouldn’t have started. If somebody came up and suggested I climb into a covered wagon and travel across the country with no potty breaks, I would have given them A Look and said, “As if!”

So Mom said I should come over to the library and get started on my NEXT week’s Chronicles. And here I am, posting instead. That’s one of the benefits of getting older. If I get caught, I can claim I forgot what I came over here to do.


writing prompt: You’re offered the chance to do something dangerous, exciting, important and experimental. Do you do it or not? What are the consequences?

Okay, so we had this party Sunday. Charlie’s birthday was last Thursday, S-I-L’s birthday was last Friday, and mine is coming up, so we bundled all three together. We had apple crisp, brownies, Sock-it-to-me Cake (I meant to post the recipe, which is a little different from most, but I forgot to bring the recipe to town with me–duh!) and the leftovers of my vegetarian Mexican casserole from earlier in the day.

What I was given: My Mom gives me stuff all year and, when I object to her spoiling me, she says, “This is for your birthday.” But OF COURSE she also gave me something for my birthday. She bought be a GORGEOUS green glass bead necklace with a green shell pendant. When I can get to my scanner again, I’ll post a picture of it.  I’ve been mad (in the sense of obsessed) about green glass beads ever since I read this poem:

'Overheard on a Saltmarsh'

Nymph, nymph, what are your beads?

Green glass, goblin. Why do you stare at them?

Give them me.

Give them me. Give them me.

Then I will howl all night in the reeds,
Lie in the mud and howl for them.

Goblin, why do you love them so?

They are better than stars or water,
Better than voices of winds that sing,
Better than any man's fair daughter,
Your green glass beads on a silver ring.

Hush, I stole them out of the moon.

Give me your beads, I want them.

I will howl in the deep lagoon
For your green glass beads, I love them so.
Give them me. Give them.

 	-- Harold Monro

I used to have a wonderful string, but they fell apart and I used them to make bracelets and earrings. Now I have a new necklace–tra-la!

–Oh, I just popped out the door. Leah was passing, and I had to talk to her about some projects. More about them anon (cool word meaning “later”, in case you’re not a Shakespeare fan). —

Okay, so I also was given a little ceramic turtle with ceramic tail, legs and head suspended from the shell by wires, so that they wiggle and clink. My 4-yr-old grandson promptly grabbed it and, just as I said, “Please be careful with that and don’t pull on his–” he pulled the head off. <sigh> He likes to test his limits. I got frustrated with him a couple of weeks ago and smacked his little paw, and he’ll never let me forget it. I don’t want to teach him violence, so I apologized to him and told him I was wrong, that this is NOT how we should treat each other and I offered to go into time out. So now he wants to see what I’ll do if he does things I don’t like. This time, we just put the breakables out of his reach, but when there isn’t such a crowd to show off for, he and I will have a quiet conversation about it and I’ll lay out the rules, which will include Time Out. I took the turtle home and used my jewelry-making needle-nose pliers to fix the head.

I also got a gorgeous desk lamp, a cork/magnet board and a padded push-pin board for my office wall. My precious husband is finishing my office and painting the walls and trim, and he’s worried that I’ll ruin his work because I pin things on the wall. So the daughters gave me stuff to “incentivize” me to do otherwise. I already promised him I wouldn’t stick pins in his pretty wall–I appreciate his work and like the new environment and know the difference between an unfinished room and a finished one and wouldn’t dream of spoiling it–but I don’t mind them thinking badly of me if it means I get pretties for my new space. –Grin–

Got a book on herbs and spices and one on the history of salt for use in writing my Culinary Chronicles. Got a book on story structure for use at writing workshops–Oh, that reminds me, I’m here at the library today, and the Adult Outreach Coordinator said that a former member of the Library Board asked her to look into setting up a creative writing class, so I’m going to get with the member and we’ll work out when and exactly what and I’m going to do it. Wheeee! Volunteer (like I need another thing on my schedule), but it’ll be doing something I love. 🙂

Our #2 daughter said she had bought me my presents, but then she found something else she KNEW I wanted, so she bought that and gave it to me “from the chickens”–she keeps chickens for the eggs and I love the little peepers. It was a bottle of my favorite perfume; I was totally out, and I don’t feel right without it. I only use a little bit, so nobody can smell it except people I hug. I like it that nobody knows I wear perfume except people I like.

Another daughter gave me a lap desk for my laptop, so I don’t roast my legs every time I work and a blank journal. I’ve never used a journal (except for this and LJ), so I don’t know what I’ll do with it. Oh, I tell a lie–I kept two journals after my depression hit me: one about my pain and sorrow and another one about my joys and delights. Both were equally effective in different ways. If anybody wants to leave a comment with suggestions about what to use my blank book for, I would appreciate it.

Well, that’s enough for one day. Hope I remember to hit Publish instead of Save this time!


Writing exercise: (I make these up myself; I don’t take them from my exercise books) You (when I say “you” it could also be one of your characters) have a birthday party. Let your presents from various people imply how they view you or feel about you. What would characters give each other? What would you give various characters? What would they give you?


My husband is outside, cutting up fallen tree limbs. We’ll have plenty of firewood this winter. Those winds took down a lot of deadwood, and a lot of wood that wasn’t dead until it went down. It’s weird, seeing what looks like bushes where no bushes were before, and knowing it’s really green leaves on fallen branches. I go to my mother’s every evening and she watches out the door until she sees my porch light go off, so she’ll know I got home without being mugged by a possum (we look out for each other), and she can’t see my light now because a broken tree trunk is in the way.

I’m trying to catch up with the writing I couldn’t do because there was no power here or in town and my laptop battery didn’t last long enough to do much. Yes, I remember how to write in longhand, but that doesn’t help much if a lot of your reference material, your medium and your market are all computer/online.

I still haven’t finished my Culinary Chronicles for World Wide Recipes for this coming week. It’s what I should be doing right now, instead of playing catchup with my blog. But I NEED my blog–I NEED it! I’ve come to depend on this as a jump-start for my writing day. It primes the pump–gets the words flowing.

And now to work!


writing exercise: write three paragraphs about recovering from a natural upheaval, large or small, without using the phrases “in the aftermath” or “in the wake”.


Here is where I ramble on about whatever happens to fall through my mind. I also have a professional site, where I post about my books, stories, news and appearances. Every month, I post a “Hot Flash” there–a story or prose poem of about 50 words. I hope you enjoy your visit. –Marian Allen

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