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It’s a gorgeous day today, and I don’t have a thing on my calendar until this afternoon! I finished the edits on EEL’S REVERENCE for Echelon Press yesterday and it’ll take a couple of days for them to go over them and see if everything’s copacetic. So guess what I’m doing today?

Going to hunt mushrooms
Going to try to set up a fan page on FaceBook for Uncle Phineas, one of the mercenary priests in EEL.

I check the garden every day. The rhubarb is leafed up and the stalks are starting to lengthen. We usually have enough to eat by the middle of April. YUM! The asparagus isn’t up yet, but I’m looking for it. I saw some other stuff sprouting, but I don’t know what Charlie planted where, so I don’t know what it is. Not potatoes–not yet. I love to see potatoes coming up–looks like tiny green fists punching through the earth. SO COOL!

Charlie started kale inside a month or so ago and has the pots out on the porch to “harden off” before he transplants them to the garden. Our #4 daughter used to call seedlings “seed plants” when she was small, I guess because they were plants she watched grow from seed.

So I’m happy today. 🙂 The only problem is, I could enjoy browsing the woods, away from all contact, except that my mother worries that I might fall and be helpless out there (a reasonable concern), so I have to take my cell phone. Hmmmm….I could turn off the ringer, so I could call out but nobody could call in. Hmmmm….

writing prompt: Write a bit about a character who cares deeply about seasonal changes.

My husband and I went to Natural Bridge State Park for our honeymoon, and back for our 25th anniversary. It’s a gorgeous place, with a lodge on the river. Every morning we woke up to thick mist which burned off as soon as the sun rose. Now, whenever we have a thick fog, we call it a Natural Bridge day. This is one. The sun isn’t burning it off, though–it looks like it’s settled in to stay.

I took a picture of the playhouse. If you could see this in full size, you’d see that the picture looks grainy. It isn’t grainy, though–those “grains” are the flash reflecting from the water droplets in the mist close to the camera. Is that cool or what?!?

Mom and I actually don’t have any plans today! I guess I’ll work on a short story and/or marketing and/or my novel from NaNoWriMo last year. I’m getting my act together for the Almost Famous Authors Faire in Clarksville on March 27. I want to take some little giveaways to try to lure people into buying some copies of Sword and Sorceress XXIII. I was a bit overoptimistic when I bought copies for resale, and have a bundle of them left.

Well, the day has begun
and I must be gone.
My coffee and paper await.
It’s Friday and I
have fishes to fry.
I hope that your weekend is great!


writing prompt: What weather has strong connections to a memory for your character?

Mom used to say this poem to me, which I think she got from her mother:

Spring has sprung,
The grass has riz.
I wonder where
The flowers is?

Well, they is here. I already posted pictures of the snowdrops and the crocuseseses. I went around snapping snappies of buds on this and that yesterday, but most of the pics were not good. You can snap a shot of a bud, but it takes a better photog than I am to capture the juice. Nevertheless, I got a shot I’m not too unhappy with of buds on the snowball bush. I also got down on the bricks to get a picture of soldier moss, and got one behind the playhouse of some spiky green moss. I’m uploading them to Flickr, and they should show up sometime today in my Flickr stream here.

And here is one of the sad remains of a wasp nest, which I think is extremely beautiful, in its way. Sic transit gloria mundi.

It’s supposed to rain here sometime soon and be warm, so I’ll be out in the woods later this week with my mushroom bag, a couple of cats and at least two dogs. It’s probably too early, but I’d rather be too early than miss any!


writing prompt: Go out and take a picture of something that catches your attention. Come in and write about it.

This is about Al, who has been banished to the basement for spreading his Precious Bodily Fluids around upstairs.

by Marian Allen

Al (The Incredibly Bad One)

Who’s happy now?
Who’s happy now?
Who’s purring big ’cause I gave him his chow?
Who couldn’t wait
Behind the gate
Until at least–let’s say–eight?
You broke my deep
REM sleep
Until I gave you some chow.
At seven A
You got your way.
Who cares that you’re happy now?

It’s clear and blue in the sky today, and supposed to get up to 60. We had a little sprinkle of rain in the early evening, and saw a rainbow! It was too pale to photograph, alas.

Hope your day is sunny and bright, in your world and in your heart.


writing prompt: A character has a clash of wills with a pet.

Besides, if I posted every single day, I’d feel like I had to post every single day, and then it wouldn’t be fun. For me, I mean–I don’t expect it to be fun for anybody else.

Anyway, I am a happy camper, because it’s been sunny and blue-skied for three days now. *danse-danse, danse-danse* And these little guys are here now. Popping up all over, keeping the snowdrops company. This is March—–Oh. My. God. That means the morel mushrooms will be coming up soon!!!!! Be still, my rioting tastebuds!

So one of the things I was doing yesterday was setting up new Cafe Press shops to make the prizes for my contest winners, Mark Brown and Diane Miller. The winner got his and her choices of Hot Flash on a coffee mug. Mark chose May, 2006 and Diane chose October 2009. I was like, “Diane–you don’t want that on a coffee mug, do you?” And she was like, “You don’t know me as well as you think you do–bwa-ha-ha-ha-ah!” Okay, now I’m scared.

So I set up the stores and ordered the prizes and when they come, if they look okay, I’ll give them and link to them so everybody can see them.

Our #4 daughter came to visit Thursday and stayed for supper. I made potato-mushroom soup and she said, “Aren’t you going to take a picture of it? You always take a picture of your supper.” I said, “I do not always take a picture of my supper.” Then I got my camera and took a picture. It does look pretty, doesn’t it? Well, I think it does.

Potato-Mushroom Soup

Peel and cube potatoes and cook in salted water at a low boil for about 20 minutes. I also add marjoram. Meanwhile, cut up mushrooms (she likes portobello) and fry in butter until browned. Add some flour and stir until flour and butter are incorporated. Add milk or cream and stir until thickened. Add to potatoes. Mish the potatoes up a little to thicken the soup. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.


writing prompt: Make a character who looks forward to spring. Why? What did/will Spring bring that’s so wonderful?

I hope you enjoyed D. B. Grady’s visit yesterday. I know I did. Now, alas, we’re back to what I had for supper and what the weather is like in Southern Indiana. (Hi, Mom!)

It’s sunny here–actually sunny! The sky is clear and as blue as David McCallum’s eyes. Trying to sucker me into going out without my coat. Ha–not likely!

What? What did I have for supper last night? I’m glad you asked. I had English roast potatoes (Thanks, Simon, for the recipe!) and layered pea salad and oven-fried cod (Thanks, World Wide Recipes!).

The pea salad was just Romaine lettuce, then diced celery, then defrosted green peas, then a mixture of mayonnaise, mild cheddar, freshly grated Parmesan, salt and onion powder.

English roast potatoes, in case you missed it first time around, is potatoes cut up and boiled partway done. Then drain them but leave them in the pan. Then add some olive oil (or, I guess, butter) and seasonings, cover and shake until the outsides of the potatoes are fluffy. Then dump the potatoes into a pre-heated oven at 450F (um…dump them into a PAN in a pre-heated oven….) and bake until crispy and browned on the outside.

Soak fish in milk for 10-15 minutes, then dredge in seasoned bread crumbs (Don’t drink the milk, by the way. Throw it out, okay? Promise?). Oil a pan and put the breaded fish in it. Spray or drizzle top with more oil or whatever. Bake or broil until browned on one side, then turn over and bake at 500F or broil until done on that side. The original recipe said it would take 4 to 5 minutes, but he must have used paper-thin fish. These big fat cod fillets took about 20 minutes, total. Good, though!


writing prompt: How do you feel when an enjoyable guest has gone?

If you guessed, “Being a beautiful, balmy, sunny day with birdies chirping Disney tunes and flowers having tea parties,” you are WRONG!

It’s doing that cold white thing again. For those of you who are saying, “Whur’s this global warming you’re always crying about?” here’s a good article. Part of it says:

Weather is local and short-term. If it snows in the town where you live next Tuesday, that’s weather. Climate is long-term and doesn’t relate to one small location. The climate of an area is the average weather conditions in a region over a long period of time.

So now you know.

Happily, I don’t have anywhere to go or anything outside to do today, so I can just hunker down and relax. I finished the story I was working on and did some rewriting. Got a second beta reader going over it, then I’ll let it rest for a week or two and give it a final polish before I submit it. Might poke around on GoodReads, might try to set up an Amazon author page. *stretching lazily* Might just kick back and read more of JOURNEY TO THE WEST, which I am enjoying very much, indeed.

Went to visit #3 daughter yesterday, and found her younger son watching a cartoon. I was like, “Why isn’t this child doing something creative instead of sitting around, glued to the television?” Then I saw he was watching a cartoon of Journey to the West! I was all like, “Cool! There’s Pigsy and there’s Tripitaka…. Oh, no! Those guys stole his compliant rod!” So I gained all kinds of cool points. *grin*


writing prompt: Have a character bond with an unexpected person over an unexpected commonality.

It snowed AGAIN, so we got up yesterday to an inch or so and school was on a two-hour delay and the back roads (we live on a BACK back road–back roads call their mamas before they turn onto OUR road and call again when they’re safely off of it)…. I forgot where I was. Oh, yeah–The back roads were treacherous. But things warmed up, and the snow melted off and the sun came out. Happy ending!

I finally got to take my picture of the snowdrops. They hadn’t opened for the day, but maybe you can see their little buds. I love these guys–first flowers of the season here.

#4 daughter came over and we went to dinner and then to the Southern Indiana Writers Group meeting. Ginny brought a SWELL story for our upcoming FUTURE PERFECT: TENSE IN SPACE anthology!

So, all in all, it was a lovely day.


writing prompt: Create a character who keeps track of the time of year by what flowers are in bloom. A real TOUGH character.

The morning has closed in on me. It SNOWED last night, but Charlie says it’s a light snow, and shouldn’t keep me from doing what I need to get out and do today.

I’m trying to get the hang of Goodreads and trying to sign up for Amazon’s Author pages. Not enough time or bandwidth…. I guess this will be a go-to-town project. Shall I go to the coffee house, where the broadband is reliable, but I’m constantly distracted by the wonderful people who come and go, or shall I go to the library, where I can hide in a corner but the broadband is sometimes great and sometimes droppy? I dunno. I dunno.

I’m excited about D. B. Grady coming to visit the BLAHG on March 3!

Oh, gosh, I have to go eat something and then start the day. No rest for the wicked.


writing prompt: Have a character meet an author whose book he/she just read and enjoyed.

I ain’t believing this! It’s freakin’ snowing again!

I was about to go out and take a picture of the snowdrops in bloom, but here it is dropping snow instead. BAH! That’s what we get for making plans–I was going to take the car in and get the windshield wipers repaired. You know, the ones I broke by trying to wipe the windows with them, fool that I am. But I can’t drive a car with no windshield wipers when it’s pouring down snow. Well, I could, but it would be kind of Blues Brothers, and it’s too damn cold for that.

Don’t forget that D. B. Grady, author of Red Planet Noir, will be my guest here on March 3!


writing prompt: Make a character have to drive with no windshield wipers when wipers are badly needed.


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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