Monday, December 31, 2018

On the Cusp of the New Beginnings

Just as Friday was the time for recapping last year’s goals (and how I did on them), today is the time for setting new goals for the year ahead.

This year’s goals started out as a list I made in my writing journal. When I was done I looked them over and then grouped them into categories, each category having several goals. Call me crazy, but I think presenting them this way will make it easier for me to follow – I can pick and choose and do a bit at a time at different things instead of doing the whole goal at once.

The one goal that is not included here is to set up a workable writing routine. This is something that’s been my goal for several years now, and every year it’s a fail. A regular routine would be a lovely thing, but it never lasts for more than a week or two, maybe a month, before something comes along and upsets the applecart. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that planning on something invariably leads to disappointment, if not outright disaster.

Without further ado, my goals for 2019:

Wandering Wizards should have been out two Christmases ago. That’s the first on my list to get done. And for Christmas 2019 I want to have an anthology of my short stories finished. Also under this category is sending out my short fiction and/or poetry to be published. Friends and fellow writers tell me they enjoy my work, let’s see if magazines do too.

Organizing and indexing
Both my poetry and my fiction files are scattered hither and yon between different computers, USB sticks, and hard copy files. I want to set up a searchable database for my poetry, complete with cross indexing, and have only one hard copy and one electronic copy of each poem. I probably won’t do hard copies of my short fiction (or maybe I’ll do a hard copy when I consider a story finished), but I do need to gather up all my electronic copies of various stories and start deleting the repeats that occurred during my “when in doubt, save every draft” phase. Perhaps I might dedicate a writing journal just for story notes. It wouldn’t hurt to finish moving my files off my old computer and organize my photos too.

More writing – kinda goes without saying, doesn’t it? Previously I’ve set myself word goals, anywhere from 250 to 1,000 words a day. This year I’m setting myself a time goal of a minimum 30 minutes a day. It’s surprising how much you can do in 30 minutes – or even two sets of 15 minutes. As well as finishing Wandering Wizards and getting an anthology together, I also want to finish at least the first draft of my NaNo novel, Shattered, and I really need to make a start on the final elemental book, An Elemental Spirit.

Here’s where I remind myself to do more reading and less mindless surfing/socializing/gaming. To spend some time doing things that don’t involve the computer. And to give my health more of a priority. This last one is especially important. I started out last year with my weight down by 10 pounds and my A1C (diabetic glucose level) down a whole point. 2019 is starting out with that 10 pounds back and my A1C back up. My eating habits aren’t to blame, it’s the lack of exercise, which I think is a problem most writer’s face.

So there you have it, my list of goals for the coming year. The betting is now open as to how many of these will be wins. ;-)

Friday, December 28, 2018

Almost the End

2018 was a pretty up and down year, mostly down, and I can’t say as I’m unhappy to have it almost over with.

Now’s the time I take a look at my goals for year and how close I came to reaching them. And just so you know, I’m not feeling very optimistic. ;-)

The goals for 2018 and how I did on them:

1. Write every day - at least 500 words
Not only did I not write 500 words a day, there were many days when I wrote 0 words.

2. Less time gaming and checking social media
Both gaming and social media still take up a large part of my time – mostly doing online jigsaw puzzles and checking email and Facebook. It’s like an addiction.

3. Shut down by 11 p.m., 12 at the latest
Easy win
I went to visit my sister in New Brunswick in the spring and ever since I got back I’ve been going to bed earlier. So not only do I shut down by 11 p.m., I also go to bed around then.

4. Spend more time doing crafts
The idea here was to spend more time doing crafts in the evening instead of playing games and this just didn’t happen.

5. Make better use of my Neo
I forget, at times, now much quicker the writing goes on the Neo, but I used it a lot more over the course of the year and I credit the use of it for my NaNo win.

6. Organize my poetry
I did, somewhere along the way, make a half-hearted attempt, but there’s so much of it and it’s so disorganized that I didn’t get very far.

7. Journal more often
I’m very pleased with the amount of journaling I did last year, and it should be even better this year because my last Speculative Fiction class was all about keeping a journal.

So there you have it, the goals for 2018 and how I did. There were more fails than wins, but the nice part about the new year is it’s a good time to reset and start again.

Join me Monday when I lay out the goals for 2019.

Monday, December 24, 2018

It’s the Night Before Christmas … Literally

In keeping with my personal holiday tradition, today I’m posting Christmas videos from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. If you’ve never seen them before then you’re in for a treat.

And just to save you the trouble of checking out my other blog, I’m posting this to both of them so no one misses out. :-D

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Wizards of Winter

Christmas Canon

Christmas Eve in Sarajevo

Friday, December 21, 2018

Counting Down

It’s the Friday before Christmas and all through the house . . .

People were watching Christmas videos!

Today we have a few not as humorous Christmas songs, and come back Monday for my all time favourites.

Faith Hill – Where Are you Christmas

Carol of the Bells – Celtic Woman

Baby It’s Cold Outside – Bing Crosby and Doris Day (couldn’t resist!)

The Little Drummer Boy – Bowie and Crosby (one of my all time favourite Christmas videos)

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Almost There…

It’s not quite the night before Christmas, but we’re getting close. So what better poem to offer today than the most famous Christmas poem of all? But that’s not all. Right after the original version is the one I came up with about ten years ago. Plus I’ve provided a link to more parodies.

A Visit from St. Nicholas

By Clement Clarke Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle,
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

A Visit From the Computer Tech

By Carol R. Ward

’Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, just the optical mouse;
The cords were all strung to the PC with care
In hopes the technician soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of interwebs danced in their heads;
The wife couldn’t take any more of this crap
So she went to bed while I took a nap.
When there on the screen there arose such a clatter
I sprang from the chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the keyboard I flew like a flash,
Grabbed up the mouse and gave it a bash.
The monitor gleamed with a brilliant blue glow
Seeming to mock me as I loudly moaned, “No!”
And what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a security warning that made my eyes tear.
With an attack on my drivers, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment my computer was sick.
More rapid than eagles the popups they came,
And I whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now Trojan, now Wormy, now BankerFox vixen!
A technician’s coming, my computer he’s fixin’
By installing protection, a router, a wall!
And then he’ll delete you, delete one and all!”
And then, in a twinkling, as I thought to despair,
A van entered my driveway and parked with a flair.
I opened the door with a feeling profound,
And into the house came the tech with a bound.
He was dressed all in blue from his head to his toe
And his jacket was covered with a sprinkling of snow.
A box full of tools was grasped in his hand
And he looked like an angel, come down to land.
His eyes, they were bloodshot, his face was unshaven
From his pocket he pulled a business card graven.
He was balding and old, and he started to sneeze,
Then, spotting the cat said, “I’ve got allergies.”
The stump of a cigar he held tight in his teeth
And he caught his hat on the door, in the wreath.
A squint of his eye and a shake of his head
Soon gave me to know the bill I would dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to work,
And in a few moments pulled the plug with a jerk.
“The mother board’s fried,” he said, shaking his head.
“And the rest of your hard drive looks like it’s dead.”
Then he packed up the tower and picked up his tools
“Gotta watch these old ‘puters, they’re stubborn as mules.”
He walked to his van, my computer in hand
I had to admit, this did not go as planned.
And I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, no more surfing to-night.”

If you love a good parody as much as I do, then you’ll want to check out the poems found HERE.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Ho Ho Humbug!

It’s really hard to get into the Christmas spirit when it’s so warm you’re forced to wear a tee-shirt instead of a flannel shirt, and you look outside and see rain instead of snow.

The tree is up and decorated, the presents have been bought and wrapped and the out of town ones were sent out last week. All that’s left is the baking, which I have procrastinated against doing by writing instead. LOL

Yes, that’s right. I’ve been using the writing as an excuse not to get any baking done, although Christmas is coming fast so I don’t know how much actual writing I’ll get done this week. The big bag of baking supplies I keep tripping over in my kitchen says it’s time to take off the writing hat and put on the chef’s hat, at least temporarily.

I can’t even use my sinus cold as an excuse because the antibiotics the doctor gave me are finally starting to kick in.

However, I’ve been thinking a lot about the year ahead, and I’ve got a few ideas percolating. Plus I have something that promises to be fun (I hope!) coming up near the end of February, but I’m keeping it a secret for now. So there’s your incentive to come back in the new year even though I’m all doom and gloom right now. :-D

So in an effort to keep things merry and bright, I have a couple of funny Christmas videos for you today. Wednesday I’ll once again have a couple of Christmas poems, and Friday I’ll be switching to some more traditional Christmas videos.

12 Pains of Christmas

Chimpmunks Roasting on an Open Fire

And one of my personal favorites: I Am Santa Claus

Friday, December 14, 2018

Christmas is Coming…

And that means this is the last Fiction Friday post for the year. Next week I’ll be posting Christmas videos and the week after that I’ll be exploring goals for the new year.

So once again, you’re getting an excerpt from my NaNo novel. This scene is about halfway through the book. The hero, Ethan (whom you met last week) has been the reluctant host to Bella, who crashed on the moon where he’d fled to recuperate from his injuries.

This is just after an extremely powerful electrical space storm has passed over the area. The house they’re staying was protected by an energy field, but Bella’s ship was too far away. Now they’re off to check out the damage.

In less time than he expected, Bella joined him.

“This is an EX903,” she said, delight in her voice. “I was reading the technical manual on this last night.”

“You read technical manuals for fun?”

“When I can hide them from my mother.” She ran her hand over the side of the land skimmer and then flashed him a smile. “Technical manuals are not proper reading material for ladies.”

“I take it you were raised to be a lady,” he said. Somehow that didn’t surprise him in the least. Although what was a lady doing flying a star jumper?

“My sister and I both.” She was back to admiring the skimmer.

“No sense putting it off,” he said, gesturing to the passenger seat.

She nodded and climbed aboard. He waited until she was settled in her seat before taking off.

“How far is it to my ship?” she asked over the noise of the engine.

Ethan was only half listening to her; the engine was sounding a little rough. “It’s about 20 minutes out, more or less.”

Thankfully she lapsed into silence after that.

Just in case the ship still had a residual charge from the storm, Ethan took the precaution of parking on the other side of the clearing. They got out of the skimmer and Bella looked at the ship, a look of relief on her face.

“Thank the lords,” she said fervently. “I was almost afraid it wouldn’t be here.” She looked at him a little sheepishly. “This ship means a great deal to me.”

“I can see that,” Ethan said, suddenly filled with misgivings. There was scoring along one side and a large burn mark near the nose of the ship. It was obvious the ship had suffered multiple lightning strikes. And it wasn’t a good sign that the hatch was still open, even if the computer was offline it should have closed automatically.

“How can we tell if it’s safe?”

Ethan looked around and then bent down and picked up a stick. Straightening up again, he tossed it at the ship. It bounced off the side and dropped to the ground. “Seems all right,” he said.

Bella stared at him open mouthed. “What kind of test is that?”

He shrugged. “It worked, didn’t it? There was no shock when the stick hit the ship, that means it’s safe.”

Shaking her head in amusement, she moved forward and headed into the ship. He had to give her credit, she didn’t even hesitate. He followed slowly at her heels. He had a bad feeling about this.

“Computer.” Bella said from just inside. She started up the corridor. “Computer?”

There was no answer. Ethan followed her to the cockpit and almost ran right into her back when she stopped suddenly.

“By all the lords,” she whispered.

He peered over her shoulder and gave a low whistle. The cockpit looked like a fireball had been bouncing around in it.

“By all the lords,” she repeated, a little numbly.

“Maybe it’s not as bad as it looks,” he said, sounding lame even to himself. It wasn’t as bad as he feared, it was worse.

Slowly she moved to the central panel that housed the computer core. Taking a deep breath she opened it up. The unconscious moan she made told him all he needed to know. The computer core was fried. And without a working computer core, the ship was never going to get off the ground again.

“You didn’t have shielding around the computer core?” he asked gently.

She shook her head. “This is an older model star jumper and it wasn’t part of the original specs. I was going to upgrade it but never got around to it.”

“I’m sorry,” he said, sincerely. “I’ll wait outside if you want to take a few minutes.”

“Thank you,” she said.

He was sitting on a fallen tree at the edge of the clearing when she finally exited her ship, surreptitiously wiping her tears away. Noticing him watching, she came over and sat beside him, facing her disabled ship.

“It’s not so bad really,” Ethan told her, trying to be reassuring. “There are a lot of salvageable parts in there. With what you get for the metal alone you could buy a newer, safer ship.”

She was on her feet in an instant, whirling to face him, hands balled up into fists. “I built that ship practically from scratch. I had to sneak away from my family and work in secret and you have no idea what that ship means to me.”

“It’s just a ship,” he protested. “It’s easy enough to replace it.”

“You entitled rich boys are all the same. You think every problem can be solved if you throw enough money at it. Maybe if you actually had to work at something for a change you’d realize there’s more to life than getting your own way.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Just look at yourself, hiding out here on a deserted moon, making your masks and feeling sorry for yourself.”

“Now wait just a minute!”

“So the universe threw something unexpected at you, does that mean your life is over? No! It means you need to take a good look at what you’ve got and then do something with the rest of your life, preferably something meaningful. Just because you’ve had one setback doesn’t mean you can’t have a good life.”

“I don’t have to sit here and take this!” Ethan was on his feet as well, with no real idea how he got there.

“Then don’t. Go hide in your house the way you’ve been hiding from reality.” She turned and stalked away, body stiff with anger.

Ethan couldn’t believe her audacity. Who was she to judge him? She knew nothing of what he’d suffered. Angrily to stalked over to the skimmer and climbed in, pushing the vehicle beyond its safety limits as he took her advice and went back to the house. She could damn well walk.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Waxing Poetic About Christmas

I don’t know about you, but I really love the old, traditional Christmas carols. They remind me of my childhood, and going to the midnight service on Christmas Eve with my mother. They just evoke a lot of good memories of Christmases past.

Perhaps it’s because I remember Christmas through a child’s eyes, but Christmas these days just isn’t the same. The trees are more artificial and come in a variety of colours (seriously, who needs a black Christmas tree?) and the persnickety lights my father used to fight with every year have been replaced by tiny twinkling ones. And does anyone remember putting icicles on the tree? I’m not talking about the plasticky one either. I’m talking about the real foil ones that would break apart if you looked at them the wrong way. My mother would place each strand carefully and had such a gentle touch we’d be able to use the same icicles year after year.

In keeping with the fading traditions of Christmas, I’d like to share another couple of more traditional Christmas poems.

Christmas Carol

By Sara Teasdale

The kings they came from out the south,
All dressed in ermine fine;
They bore Him gold and chrysoprase,
And gifts of precious wine.

The shepherds came from out the north,
Their coats were brown and old;
They brought Him little new-born lambs—
They had not any gold.

The wise men came from out the east,
And they were wrapped in white;
The star that led them all the way
Did glorify the night.

The angels came from heaven high,
And they were clad with wings;
And lo, they brought a joyful song
The host of heaven sings.

The kings they knocked upon the door,
The wise men entered in,
The shepherds followed after them
To hear the song begin.

The angels sang through all the night
Until the rising sun,
But little Jesus fell asleep
Before the song was done.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *~ *

The Three Kings

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Three Kings came riding from far away,
Melchior and Gaspar and Baltasar;
Three Wise Men out of the East were they,
And they travelled by night and they slept by day,
For their guide was a beautiful, wonderful star.

The star was so beautiful, large and clear,
That all the other stars of the sky
Became a white mist in the atmosphere,
And by this they knew that the coming was near
Of the Prince foretold in the prophecy.

Three caskets they bore on their saddle-bows,
Three caskets of gold with golden keys;
Their robes were of crimson silk with rows
Of bells and pomegranates and furbelows,
Their turbans like blossoming almond-trees.

And so the Three Kings rode into the West,
Through the dusk of the night, over hill and dell,
And sometimes they nodded with beard on breast,
And sometimes talked, as they paused to rest,
With the people they met at some wayside well.

“Of the child that is born,” said Baltasar,
“Good people, I pray you, tell us the news;
For we in the East have seen his star,
And have ridden fast, and have ridden far,
To find and worship the King of the Jews.”

And the people answered, “You ask in vain;
We know of no King but Herod the Great!”
They thought the Wise Men were men insane,
As they spurred their horses across the plain,
Like riders in haste, who cannot wait.

And when they came to Jerusalem,
Herod the Great, who had heard this thing,
Sent for the Wise Men and questioned them;
And said, “Go down unto Bethlehem,
And bring me tidings of this new king.”

So they rode away; and the star stood still,
The only one in the grey of morn;
Yes, it stopped—it stood still of its own free will,
Right over Bethlehem on the hill,
The city of David, where Christ was born.

And the Three Kings rode through the gate and the guard,
Through the silent street, till their horses turned
And neighed as they entered the great inn-yard;
But the windows were closed, and the doors were barred,
And only a light in the stable burned.

And cradled there in the scented hay,
In the air made sweet by the breath of kine,
The little child in the manger lay,
The child, that would be king one day
Of a kingdom not human, but divine.

His mother Mary of Nazareth
Sat watching beside his place of rest,
Watching the even flow of his breath,
For the joy of life and the terror of death
Were mingled together in her breast.

They laid their offerings at his feet:
The gold was their tribute to a King,
The frankincense, with its odor sweet,
Was for the Priest, the Paraclete,
The myrrh for the body’s burying.

And the mother wondered and bowed her head,
And sat as still as a statue of stone,
Her heart was troubled yet comforted,
Remembering what the Angel had said
Of an endless reign and of David’s throne.

Then the Kings rode out of the city gate,
With a clatter of hoofs in proud array;
But they went not back to Herod the Great,
For they knew his malice and feared his hate,
And returned to their homes by another way.

Monday, December 10, 2018

All Good Plans…

Let me start by saying I did get some writing in last week, just not enough to include in a proper wordage report. And as I promised to be honest here I have to admit it wasn’t so much that I was busy (which I was) it was more that I got lazy and doing online jigsaw puzzles is much more fun than writing.

Plus I’m sick. *cough, cough* I have a really bad, over the counter medicine resistant sinus infection and a dry cough. But the good news is that I already had an appointment scheduled with my doctor for Wednesday so hopefully she’ll give me some antibiotics to knock it right out of me.

I am also forced to admit that despite my vow not to worry about how messy my office was I spent the first couple of days last week cleaning it up. But after shopping and doing a minimalist indoor decorating job for Christmas, it now looks like this again:

Here’s my white flag of surrender office, I promise not to try and clean you up again until the holidays are over.

But I hope you noticed that I did get all my blog posts done last week, so I think I deserve a pat on the back for that, don’t you? And I didn’t once revert to my old stand-by for December and fill my post with holiday music videos. I’ll save that for next week. :-D

I’ve already started thinking of a few goals for next year. One is to finish Shattered, another is to finish Wandering Wizards which really should have been out for last Christmas. I’m also determined to gather up some of my shorter stuff (and there’s a lot of it because I’m a sucker for a good writing prompt) and put together an anthology.

Last year I embraced the Icelandic tradition of jólabókaflóð, or Christmas Book Flood. I sent a book and tea/hot chocolate to a select list of friends and family as a present to be opened before Christmas so they could enjoy both on Christmas Eve. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to send everyone on my list my own anthology next year? I just have to get it done in time. LOL

If you’d like to learn more about the Christmas Book Flood, go HERE.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Friday Already?

Is it just me or did the week just zip by? And now here we are with Fiction Friday. Good thing I just finished NaNo so I have an excerpt from my latest novel to offer. ;-)

To set this up…Ethan is a rich, entitled young adult. He and his mother (who’s the head of the family business and generally holds the purse strings) have just had a major argument about the way he’s living his life. She wants him to settle down and become a responsible citizen, he’d rather party and pretty much just have a good time. After the argument he flies off (literally) in his experimental air car and is involved in an accident.

Pain. So much pain.

Ethan struggled to come fully awake but it was as though a great weight was holding him down.

Sirens, voices – too indistinct to make out individual words.

Movement, sending a fresh wave of agony through him. Ethan gave up the struggle to make sense of it all and let the darkness carry him away.

“Shouldn’t he be awake by now?”

Ethan started to swim out of the darkness, hearing his brother’s voice. I’m awake, he wanted to say, but his voice and his body wouldn’t obey his mental commands.

“Dr. Alexander said it should be any time now, but not to be worried if it takes longer than we expect.”

Mother, that was his mother’s voice. Why were his mother and brother both here? And why did they sound so worried.

“There! Did you see that?” Douglas asked, excitement in his voice.


“I thought I saw his finger move.”

“I’ll call the nurse,” his mother said.

Nurse? Why would she need to call a nurse? Where was he?

There was a sound of movement, but before he could figure out what was happening, the pain hit again. Had he been able to, Ethan would have screamed.

“Ethan moved his finger.” His mother’s voice floated over top of the pain.

“It was probably just an involuntary nerve impulse,” a new voice said. There was a pause, then, “And no wonder. His pain blocker is wearing off. Just let me adjust this.”

Ethan felt a flood of warmth run through him, taking the excruciating pain with it.

“There, that should do it,” the strange woman’s voice said. “Dr. Alexander wants to keep him on pain blockers for another few days, to give the healing process a chance to get a good foothold, but then we’ll have to start weaning him off of them.”

“Is he going to be in a lot of pain?” Douglas asked.

“His injuries are very serious, he’s going to be a long time recovering.”

“Thank you nurse,” his mother said.

What injuries, Ethan wanted to ask. What’s happened to me? But he couldn’t break through the fog that was enveloping him. As he drifted off into the darkness again, the last thing he heard was his brother saying, “She never answered my question about the pain.”

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Merry Post-NaNo!

It’s Wednesday, which is poetry day, and it’s also post NaNo which means I have no excuse for not offering up a poem or two. But seeing as Christmas is just around the corner, I can use the busyness of the season as an excuse for not writing my own. ;-)

So I looked up Christmas poems on my good friend Google and imagine my surprise when it spat out a whole pile of them. Who knew some of my favourite dead poets waxed poetic about Christmas? Granted a few were the lyrics of Christmas Carols, and at least one of them (my favourite) was way too long to post on a blog, but I managed to find several others that fit the bill nicely.

We start off with E. E. Cummings and Robert Frost, both who write eloquently about Christmas trees.

[little tree]


little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid

look the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel"

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Christmas Trees


(A Christmas Circular Letter)
The city had withdrawn into itself
And left at last the country to the country;
When between whirls of snow not come to lie
And whirls of foliage not yet laid, there drove
A stranger to our yard, who looked the city,
Yet did in country fashion in that there
He sat and waited till he drew us out
A-buttoning coats to ask him who he was.
He proved to be the city come again
To look for something it had left behind
And could not do without and keep its Christmas.
He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees;
My woods—the young fir balsams like a place
Where houses all are churches and have spires.
I hadn’t thought of them as Christmas Trees.
I doubt if I was tempted for a moment
To sell them off their feet to go in cars
And leave the slope behind the house all bare,
Where the sun shines now no warmer than the moon.
I’d hate to have them know it if I was.
Yet more I’d hate to hold my trees except
As others hold theirs or refuse for them,
Beyond the time of profitable growth,
The trial by market everything must come to.
I dallied so much with the thought of selling.
Then whether from mistaken courtesy
And fear of seeming short of speech, or whether
From hope of hearing good of what was mine, I said,
“There aren’t enough to be worth while.”
“I could soon tell how many they would cut,
You let me look them over.”

“You could look.
But don’t expect I’m going to let you have them.”
Pasture they spring in, some in clumps too close
That lop each other of boughs, but not a few
Quite solitary and having equal boughs
All round and round. The latter he nodded “Yes” to,
Or paused to say beneath some lovelier one,
With a buyer’s moderation, “That would do.”
I thought so too, but wasn’t there to say so.
We climbed the pasture on the south, crossed over,
And came down on the north. He said, “A thousand.”

“A thousand Christmas trees!—at what apiece?”

He felt some need of softening that to me:
“A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars.”

Then I was certain I had never meant
To let him have them. Never show surprise!
But thirty dollars seemed so small beside
The extent of pasture I should strip, three cents
(For that was all they figured out apiece),
Three cents so small beside the dollar friends
I should be writing to within the hour
Would pay in cities for good trees like those,
Regular vestry-trees whole Sunday Schools
Could hang enough on to pick off enough.
A thousand Christmas trees I didn’t know I had!
Worth three cents more to give away than sell,
As may be shown by a simple calculation.
Too bad I couldn’t lay one in a letter.
I can’t help wishing I could send you one,
In wishing you herewith a Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Life After NaNo

Well, I did it. I finished my 50,000 words before midnight on November 30 and won the challenge. Actually, I reached my goal Thursday night but I wanted to add more words on Friday to get my "update your wordcount 30 days in a row" badge. And my reward? One more unfinished novel to add to my collection. LOL

That seems to be my pattern. I reach my 50,000 by the end of the month and…stop. NaNo’s over so I deserve a break right? My novels are usually in some stage of being close to finished. Some just need a scene or two, some more, but all of them need more work. Hence me my having 8 or 9 unfinished novels sitting around collecting dust.

The other thing I’m in the habit of is coming up for air at the end of NaNo, realizing Christmas is just three weeks away, and set the writing aside until the holidays are over. Inevitably, January rolls around and I’ve lost all desire to write and it takes weeks before I manage to get it back.

So this year I’ve decided two things.

First of all, I’m going to continue working on my NaNo novel. It’s one hot mess, and I’ve jumped around a bit, but I’m going to continue working on it until it is ready for editing. I figure another 15-20,000 words ought to do it.

When I ran into problems early on, I skipped ahead a couple of times, and then had some interesting ideas for the ending so I skipped to the end and wrote about 10,000 words for it. I did close the gaps in the first part, but there’s a good 15,000 words to bridge the beginning to the end. And then I just have to finish the very end – which may or may not include an epilogue.

The thing is, I like this story. And it’s a stand alone, not attached to any series, so there’s no reason I can’t make it available by next Christmas.

The second thing I’m going to do is keep writing throughout December. As in write every day. Magic II is going on the back burner for now – I don’t even have Magic I finished yet so there’s no rush for the sequel. It was more just to fill in the ‘what can I write’ gap when I ran out of steam with Wandering Wizards.

It’s always good to have more than one project on the go, that way if you just aren’t feeling it for one story, you can switch to the other. No sitting around trying to figure out what to write today.

So, that’s my plan, anyway. And that being said, I did no writing (except blog posts) on the weekend – I went Christmas shopping one day and present wrapping the next. But since this post and my other one were scheduled Sunday night, I’ll be starting my day off right – with time spent writing.

To do so I’ll have to ignore the mess my office has become. I’d hoped to get it cleaned up over the weekend but there just wasn’t time. But it doesn’t matter where I write, just so long as I write.