#weekendcoffeeshare 5/13/2017

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It has been a long time since I have hosted a #weekendcoffeeshare and I am so happy to see all of you walking up my driveway this morning! Please come right in. I’ve been excited all week, knowing that I could see my blogging friends today and Jenn and I could serve you some goodies. I can’t wait for us to be able to talk!

Please come to the kitchen island and help yourselves. We have various blends of coffee beginning with Columbian, both regular and decaf. We also have tea, both green and black, and my special favorite, a black flavored tea called Hot Cinnamon that I think is delicious. Help yourselves to some of the pastries. I love the scones we have. We even have a few donuts. The Boston Creme are especially good though I shouldn’t be eating them! Try the cinnamon buns!

When you’re ready, please join us in my writing studio.

Make yourselves comfortable. I’m so glad to see you. I hope everyone has been well and that the writing muse has been with you. I’ve been reading your stuff in our little writing challenges and everyone is so good it blows my mind! I hardly know how to comment.

Up until this week, I haven’t written as much in the writing challenges as I normally do for the last few months. You might have read that I have been busy relocating to South Florida, but only part time. We aren’t staying there in the summer. Really from the end of March until the first of November or thereabouts. It’s just too hot and there is a terrible mosquito problem where we live. One day when we were there, moving into our place, in April, I stepped outside and a helicopter made a pass over our place and dumped mosquito spray on my head! They are fighting what I fear is a losing battle against the zika mosquito and really all mosquitos.

I so love where our tiny little place is in South Florida. We’re on an island in the Gulf and it’s an awesome place with great people. I so look forward to being there in the winter though lack of space where we live makes me feel claustrophobic. It’s a good thing I can be outside most of the time!

The last time we talked, I think I told you about my book. It’s a psychological thriller. I have written about one-third of it. Part of that one-third is part one of the novel. I’m writing it using the three-part model. I had someone read Part 1 and got positive reviews so I am happy about that. I’m into part two and still enjoying writing.

We are now back in Kentucky and I have a good writing atmosphere where we live. We don’t have any plans this summer except to be at home, so I’m actually going to have time to write. I hope to finish the first draft and edit it this summer. Then, go through it and finish the second draft before we leave for Florida very late in the fall. In a few weeks, I’ll be trying to find an agent. If you have an tips for me on finding an agent, I’d love to hear them!

After being in Florida, where there is a terrible drought, Kentucky looks like a jungle. It is so green and lush. There has been a lot of rain. But everything is foliage because of the rain and there hasn’t been much foliage by the flowering plants. The weather report looks like this week will be summer and I’m looking forward to being out in the sun.

I’ve talked too long. I’ll let all of you chat now. Good luck with your writing and I hope to see you next week for another #weekendcoffeeshare!

 

 

 

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Protecting the Environment


I’ve always been an environmentalist. I will soon be living, at least part of each year, in an area where protecting wetlands, and the plants and animals that live within them, is of vital importance. This may be difficult since there is a movement in the nation’s capitol to abandon environmental regulations and concerns. 

The current budget, presented to the U.S. Congress by President Donald Trump, abandons most, if not all, environmental regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency has essentially been defunded. The Keystone XL Pipeline has been approved. The waste water of coal mine operations is going to be allowed to pollute the water around the coal mines of West Virginia and Kentucky. This is not an exhaustive list of the effect of the proposed federal budget on our environment. 

My area wetlands in Southwest Florida support a large variety of tropical plants, birds, and animals. Part of the area has recently been rehabilitated and the wetlands restored. Wetlands only exist if there is symbiosis between the species of plants and animals within them. The Florida Everglades are an example of wetlands where the symbiosis of the area is not only being disturbed, but destroyed.  Snakes that people have kept as pets and that have gotten too large have been dumped into the Everglades. Pythons, boa constrictors, and others. They are not native to the area and are upsetting the symbiotic balance in this very important wetland area in the United States.

Another environmental issue that is particularly important to me is in the state of Kentucky and its coal mining operations. I, of course, want the people of the state that I have called home for many years to have jobs. Many people in the eastern part of the state work in mining. They blame federal regulations for the loss of their jobs. To increase his popularity, President Trump has dropped the regulatory requirement that coal waste water not be dumped into local waterways. In reality, federal regulations are a small part of the coal miners’ problems. They will simply end up with polluted water and jobs that won’t last very long, if they are rehired at all. 

The Keystone XL Pipeline will run the width of the United States. The chances of a disaster of epic proportions regarding oil spills is high. That is one reason that environmental groups have protested against the construction of this pipeline.

Perhaps the most troubling action against the environment is the dismantling of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in this President’s budget. When we think about the advances in cleaning up our air and water since the federal government established the EPA, it is shocking to think of what dismantling it might mean. The symbiosis between species of plants and animals within the environment will disappear as environmental regulations are dropped. Entire species will vanish as well. We don’t know what effect that will have on our environment and, ultimately, on the human population.

#SoCS – 03/25/2017

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What is it about eccentric personalities? I’ve known my share and liked most of them. When I met a person once who was to become one of my best friends, he didn’t immediately strike me as an eccentric. It was only over time that I found he marched to the beat of a different drummer. I admire people who can do that and get away with it, but having known many people with eccentric personalities, I’ve found most don’t really get away with it. They may march to that different drummer, but they pay a price for it. They get to maintain their marching beat, out of time with the drum major, but they are looked at with skepticism by their community at large. Whatever that community may be. They seem vaguely suspicious to everyone who values marching in step. You might even say they can be the outcasts of society.

Some professions welcome eccentric personalities. Why? They tend to be original thinkers and come up with inventive ideas. Academia is one such profession. Original research is required in academia. Inventive ideas are a necessity in order to excel and even to keep one’s job in all but the smallest of colleges. Even there, inventive teaching ideas are welcomed. That slightly (or not so slightly) out of step marcher is welcomed. Think Stephen Hawking to call upon an extreme example.

Some industries, at least those that actually invent products which are rare in the U.S. these days, welcome eccentric personalities as they tend to think big and develop the products that are cutting edge. Think Steve Jobs and Apple Computer. Steve Jobs was certainly an eccentric and imagine someone never having conceived of Apple products.

I haven’t seen that churches particularly welcome eccentrics. Church goers seem to enjoy like-minded people. There hasn’t ever been much room for different ideas or ways of looking at things in my experiences. Or for people who march a bit out of step.

Artist’s colonies. Eccentrics with tendencies toward the arts – writing, painting, sculpting, theatre – are often comfortable in artist’s colonies. There are some artist’s retreats to be found and even some permanent artist’s colonies. Fewer and fewer that I see.

There are Stephen Hawking’s and Steve Job’s everywhere you look. Many people just don’t give those who march to the beat of a different drummer a chance. They laugh at them. Pretend to look down on them when they may actually envy them for going their own way. Even try to make them throwaway members of society for not fitting into the cliques, clubs, and gossip circles. All because their marching speed or steps are a little different than theirs. Think of what others may be missing by not knowing them. Think of what the world may be missing. Shameful really.

Copyright Rosemary Carlson 2017

 

Journaling #1

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This is not my usual story, but just my thoughts this morning. It’s a nice morning in Kentucky. It’s 55F degrees at 8 a.m. It’s supposed to warm up to 70F degrees today which is going to be a wonderful change from two weeks of bitter cold. The cardinal, in the picture above, is a bird of spring in Kentucky. We love our cardinals!

I woke up thinking about writing as I do most mornings. I’m wondering about you – my bogging friends. Do you sell your writing? Do you want to? I did for years. If you write non-fiction, polish up some of your pieces, research the markets where you would like to place them, and query those markets. If you’re rejected, just keep on trying. You’ll break through. Some publications don’t even require a query letter. Don’t just automatically think you can’t do it. You can. It is hard work. Some of the Writer’s Digest publications can help you. No, I don’t work for them. Aim high! Don’t be ordinary.

Fiction is tougher to sell, but there are markets out there. Find them, query them, same process. Try short stories or flash fiction. Flash fiction, in my opinion, is an amazing tool to help you learn to write only what is necessary.

Can you make a living writing? Absolutely. I did for years at one time. I’m not trying to right now as I am semi-retired, but I may try it again. I don’t much like retirement. 🙂 I’m focusing on a book.

Writing a book? So am I. First research how to write a book! The elements that make a book good. It’s not as simple as telling a story.

Another topic. It’s busy around here this weekend. We’re getting ready to go to my favorite place in the sun in Florida where we have a little home. Two months this time.

I’m going to the city today for lunch. Looking forward to that. Writing is a solitary profession. You live inside your own head. Take breaks, get out, see your friends, have new experiences. You can’t write without new experiences. Our home in Florida is in an artist’s colony. I get inspired in many ways there.

Have a great day!

Rosemary

#weekendcoffeeshare 03/18/2017

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Stages in our Lives

Good morning and welcome to the #weekendcoffeeshare! It’s been cold this week, especially cold for mid-March. I have both Arabica and Robusta coffee for you today! Also decaf, of course. I have some special black tea, a flavored black currant tea and a darjeeling tea. So pour a cup of whatever you want and join me in my writing room!

I have something on my mind that I’ve been thinking a lot about. I’ve been thinking about the stages of our lives and how we pass those different stages. I’m thinking about this as I think I’ve entered a different stage in my life over the last few months. Have any of you ever been aware of entering a completely different stage in your life?

I’m not sure I know exactly what’s caused this…..what can I call it…..revelation to occur, but something has. I find myself wanting to change my life. Not completely change it. I will still be a writer. I will still value my friends. I will still, essentially, be me. But I don’t much like the current version of “me.” I’m tense, stressed, and under constant strain. I don’t have the life I want to have.

As many of you know, I’m going to be moving to Florida on a half-time basis and that is the only thing happening in my life that feels right to me. I feel the need to make a radical change in my life. Florida feels right. I don’t like the commercialized, touristy parts of Florida, but where I am going, it’s “old Florida.” What I want to do is sell my house in Kentucky, and soon, and move to Florida full time. I don’t want to waste any time doing it. The money from the house will be put in the bank. It will not be used to buy a comparable house.

Not only that, but I want to drastically downside. I’m not interested in “stuff” anymore. Almost out of the blue. By stuff, I mean the trappings of prosperity such as furniture, household goods, clothes, and such. Also housing arrangements. I want to live in something very small. I can’t take care of a large place anymore and just don’t want to. I have no interest in anything large. I want a small home, very small, with little in it. I want to be able to walk out my door and to the beach in the morning and not worry about my house or anything in it. I want to buy it with a very little bit of cash.

Have any of you ever felt like this? Am I losing my mind? 🙂

I’m going to accomplish this by first buying something a little larger than we already own in Florida. Not large. Still very small. Maybe under 800 square feet. I want minimalist furniture and little of it. This means selling almost everything I have, which is fine with me. I’ve lost any emotional attachment I had to it. I’ll have to have an antique dealer help me. Until I sell everything, it will be put in storage and sold from there.

I want to be free of the trappings of success and prosperity. I want to be just me, with my family and dog and cat and very little else. I love to write and will write my novel….and another after that….and another after that. I’ll keep up with my blog and write magazine articles. I”ll spend a lot of time enjoying myself on my island in Florida, hopefully entertaining friends occasionally.

Maybe the stress, strain, and worries…..and nightmares……will cease. I hope so.

So come with me on my journey to change my life. It should be interesting and will start very soon.

Thanks for coming to my #weekendcoffeeshare!

 

The Moonshiners

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“Barney, be quiet, for God’s sake. Don’t alert the whole county that we’re out here,” Lester whispered.

“I’m trying, Lester, but the leaves and limbs on this forest floor make noise when you walk on them.”

“The moonshine still is right over here, Barney. Behind the old car. Just stand right there.”

Lester grabs the something that turns out to be a camouflage tarp and pulls it loose. A moonshine still was under it. Barney got the supplies for the mash to make the ‘shine out of the truck and they went to work. A combination of water, cracked corn, sugar, and yeast. Lester told Barney to go on home.

Lester was serving as the guard of the still that night. Before Barney left, he got Lester’s guns out of the truck. A pistol and an automatic rifle, an AR-15. That should take care of snoops and lawmen.

#weekendcoffeeshare 3/11/2017

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Good morning, everyone! Come right in and let’s drink a hot beverage together! In honor of Mardi Gras which is happening right now in New Orleans, I have a special ground pecan praline coffee for you this morning. Also a french roast. The very special people of New Orleans would love both! I also have a couple of specialty teas. I am a tea drinker, of course. There are often Mardi Gras Tea Parties held in New Orleans and a favorite tea there is Mango Sunny Passion. It’s here for you to enjoy this morning! Grab a cup of whatever you want and let’s go to my writing studio and chat!

I’m so glad to see and talk to all of you this morning. It seems we’re having a Mardi Gras coffee and tea party! I hope everyone has been well this week and successful at whatever you have attempted. I ended the week very tired. As you know, we are trying to accomplish a move to Florida for six months a year. We leave for what is called the Florida Creative Coast in just a couple of weeks with a UHaul and it’s a lot of hard work to get everything boxed up.

I also have things to do for my house in Kentucky – to get it ready to leave. I am working on these things way too hard and, last night, I hit the wall and crashed. Got some good sleep and I feel a bit better this morning. I think it inspires me that the part of Florida to which we are moving is called the Creative Coast!

Writers have to read as we all know. I got a book this week on the Southwest Florida Gulf Coast. It is fascinating to read about the flora and fauna – so unfamiliar to me. I hope to write a lot about it. I’m going to have a couple of cameras with me at all times and do a lot of exploring. I’m excited!

The reason that this part of Florida is called the Creative Coast is because our area is partly an artist’s colony which will be to my liking. Many writers and other creative types live where I’m going to live.

How is your writing going this week? I’ve been fairly prolific and the good news is that I’ve gotten several thousand words written on my novel. Some of the chapters weren’t making sense to me and I did some rewrites as well. Moved some stuff around. Now, I think it’s in good shape. I know most say that you shouldn’t edit as you write but I can’t NOT edit. I don’t edit for grammar, but I do edit for content. I’m using two voices in the novel and that tends to be hard for a first-time novelist like me. I am using the voice of both the protagonist and the antagonist. I have to constantly re-read and work on that.

It’s been such a warm winter in Kentucky, but Mother Nature decided to drop some real winter weather on us here in mid-March. It’s 29 degrees here this morning.

On top of everything else, I’ve had a sick puppy to nurse back to health this week. My little dog is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. They tend to be a bit fragile. She rolled off the couch (they are a little silly!) and hurt her back. So, off we went to my very good vet. Several hundred dollars later, Betsy is doing just fine. I think her back is healing as last night, for the first time, she started to play again. Cavaliers are such wonderful, docile companion dogs! I’ve had many breeds of dogs in my life, including pound puppies, and Betsy has the best temperament of any dog I’ve ever had.

I hope the writing muse is with you. Tell me how you’re doing in the comments. I’d love to hear about YOU.

#weekendcoffeeshare – 3/4/2017

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Good morning, everyone. Please come in and share coffee and tea with me. I have a new and wonderful Earl Grey Tea for you to try and my regular coffee from Jamaica, both regular and decaf. Help yourself and let’s go to my writing studio to talk!

If we were having coffee,  I would ask you how you have been this week? How is your writing going? I have written some for my blog, but more on my novel than on the blog. I’ve added about 5,000 words to my novel which pleases me! I have put part of one chapter from my novel on this blog in order to get feedback from other writers. If you’re so inclined, please help me out by providing some feedback. It is not a finished chapter. But it is part of the backstory of the protagonist.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that, yes, the muse has been with me this week. I’m really into writing my novel right now. Unfortunately, we are also getting ready for our move to Florida, so the rest of the weekend, after I finish this blog post, will have to be devoted to that. It is a huge job to divide our stuff up to take enough to Florida and pack it. I’ve never been very good at this kind of thing.

It’s not such a hard job to divide up household stuff. I find that dividing up clothes is the hardest part.

If we were having coffee, I don’t think I could help but mention the political situation in the U.S. I don’t think it matters which side you’re on – Republican or Democrat Everyone seems worried about what is going on with the Executive Branch of government, including me. I find myself watching Cable News way too much. It seems like there is a disaster or two daily. We aren’t a very good example of a functioning democracy these days. Unless things get better, I think some changes are going to have to be made. Can the U.S. continue to be “the shining city on the hill?” Have we already fallen from grace?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that since I got back to Kentucky from Florida, I am not handling the cold very well. There is a 40F degree difference and it has really bothered me. I’ve been sick twice since I’ve been here. At this point in my life, I crave a warm environment. Last I heard, it was 92F and dry where we live in Florida. It is 41F degrees where I live in Kentucky and wet most of the time. I don’t think this climate is good for me. Since my friends also seem to be sick, I could draw the conclusion it isn’t good for anyone!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that since I am writing a psychological thriller, I’ve decided I should be reading some psychological thrillers. Of course, I have in the past but I need to be now. One I chose and am reading now is “The Couple Next Door” by Shari Lapena. It’s a New York Times best seller and it is, indeed, a psychological thriller. I’m enjoying it, but I think it drags a little. A thriller has to be fast-moving.

We’ve had little winter, a really cold winter, here in Kentucky. The foliage is starting to bloom and blossom. I so hope everything doesn’t get killed back. It really is such a beautiful state. I just need something different in my life. Does that make sense? Have a wonderful week!

The Project of Writing a Novel – #SoCS 3/4/2017

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I’ve mentioned in these stream of consciousness posts that I’m writing a novel. I suspect it is a little like giving birth. This project is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but one of the most fulfilling.

I changed careers in the middle of my life. I finished a career as a college professor after 27 years. I still felt young and strong and interested in the world around me. I wasn’t ready to quit work and retire to my rocking chair. I have been writing since I was a child. My first story was published in the Highlights for Children publication. Then, during my teaching career, I published many academic writings. Near the end of that career, I started writing for a financial brokerage and was writing for them, when I wasn’t at school, on 9/11. Writing about 9/11 gave me some serious writing chops. I was hired to write for the New York Times division, About.com. I was their Subject Matter Expert on finance and wrote, edited, and became the webmaster for their Business Finance website. I held that gig for five years. That gave way to writing for corporations, usually online learning materials for their executives. I also wrote many non-fiction articles for online and offline magazines.

So here I am. With my own blog where I started out writing well-researched non-fiction and I still write some of that. I took some writing classes through Udemy and read authors like Stephen King and Rayne Hall. I’ve studied writing extensively. I, then, started writing some of the fiction challenges here on WordPress which have helped me enormously and I decided to try my hand at my first novel. I knew the story I wanted to tell. I just had to figure out how to tell it, which is a daily process.

A good novel that you plan to hand to a publisher is about 80,000 words. That is long and hard and requires that you study all elements of writing fiction. I’m closing in on the first of three parts of this novel which is a psychological thriller. The first part, indeed all three parts, will be 26,000 words or thereabouts. It’s exhausting and very satisfying work. If you are interested in writing a novel, I’d recommend you read Stephen King’s book “On Writing” first.

I’d love to hear any comment you want to make or any advice! I’m a novice and still have a lot to learn!

SoCS 3/4/2017

#weekendcoffeeshare – 2/25/2017

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Good morning! It’s nice to see you. I can offer you coffee and tea this morning. I have some wonderful green tea, if you’re brave, and some Jamaician coffee which can’t be beat. Besides that, I have morning blend coffee and English Breakfast tea. Please help yourself. We’ll be meeting in my writing studio.

I’m so glad you’ve come this morning. I enjoy our #weekendcoffeeshares so very much! Can you believe our weather? Yesterday, we had record heat. Here, at my house, it was 78F degrees in February! Then the storm last night. Right now, it’s 47 degrees here and it’s supposed to freeze tonight! That’s Kentucky, I guess. If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I would love to hear how your writing is going? After taking what amounted to a writing break, I’m trying to get back into the swing of things. I’m writing a little on my novel every day. I have a paid writing gig that I’m working on – a guest blog post for a very interesting website. I’m also trying to keep up here, with my blog. I would like to find a few more challenges here on WordPress. If any of you know of some challenges that involve writing longer pieces than flash fiction, please clue me in.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m trying to learn to use Twitter to find writing resources and grow my business. Do any of you make use of Twitter? One thing I’ve found is that there is a vast array of writing resources out there in the ether! So many resources there is no way I can keep up but I’m making use of the ones I find as I can.

If we were having coffee, I would let you know that I’m getting ready to go back to Florida in a month and take possession of the little home I bought there. I have so much to do before I can do that like do my income taxes! It’s that time of year and I’m always late getting started. I’m gathering my material together now. I have to take household items with me to Florida this time for my home there along with clothes that I want to leave there. I’m planning on staying a couple of months and then coming back to Kentucky for the summer. No summers in South Florida!! At least not yet. I’ll go back for the winter in October or November.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my writing goal is to write 10,000 words on my novel while I am in Florida. It is not an unrealistic goal and it will not stress me too much. I feel like traveling enriches writing and even though the story for my novel is in my head, perhaps I can use my travels to enrich my novel. My guest blog post will also be due during the time I’m there. It will be a challenge to get my home in good shape and meet my writing goals at the same time while I’m in Florida.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about an author, Rayne Hall, who I encountered on Twitter. He has written some very helpful books on writing. They are short, to the point. They are on topics like finding your voice, characterization, and more. I’ve found them helpful. Check him out. I found his books on amazon.

If we were having coffee, I would remind you that I like science so I’ve been really excited by the discovery of the fairly nearby Earth-like planets that scientists just discovered. The planets orbiting the star called TRAPPIST-1, in the Constellation Aquarius. I think the fact that these planets lie in the Aquarius Constellation is pretty cool, considering I’m a former flower child. 🙂 Back to the discovery! The planets are a mere 40 light years away, which is very far. Three of them, scientists say, could be ready for habitation within 10 years. The challenge for scientists is to find out if any of the planets are, indeed, habitable. For example, is there enough oxygen in their atmosphere? That’s only one question they have to answer. I’ll be following this story!

I’ll have to tell you goodbye for today. I must get to work! I’d love to hear about your writing and anything else that’s important to you in the comments! I look forward to reading your #weekendcoffeeshare!