Apple Exec Takes Sharp Turn. Have You?

Even after this Apple Exec was on her chosen path, she still took a sharp turn after someone sent her on a detour.

No matter what path we’re on, we sometimes need a reminder to stay authentic. Angela Ahrendts reminds us to stay true to ourselves in this post from Inc.

Alternate pathsLike Ahrendts, sometimes we are forced to turn. Other times, we are our own worst enemy.

Distracted by the latest trend or a new idea, I’ve sometimes made the mistake of taking a detour. After realizing my error, I turned around. Regaining lost momentum can be difficult. Think before you leap!

A lesson I learned early on my sailboat: Even when the wind is in your favor, give a thought to how you can turn around. You may be on the right tack, but a slight course correction might improve things.

No matter what you do in life, you always have options. Some will be easy, some will be difficult. Choose wisely.

Beware Hollywood Contracts

Beware: Not all the horror coming out of Hollywood this days is in the form of film.

Some film option contracts being offered to writers these days are a crime. OK, not legally, but ethically. This post from Kristine Kathryn Rusch will enlighten you.

I knew Hollywood often purchased film options to literary work but never actually produce a movie. Now I understand why they might do that. I also never knew that some in Tinsel Town even try to grab the income from your book!

Different Perspectives

When children tour the Maritime Museum in Beaufort, NC, they often have a different perspective on the exhibits.

A favorite with many children is the Blackbeard’s Queen Anne Revenge exhibit and conservation lab. When the conservator said that the ship had sunk 300 years ago, one young boy had difficulty imagining how long ago that was.

“Is 300 more than 200?” he asked.

When the conservator confirmed that it was, the boy asked, “Did you know him?”



Free Indie Author Fringe Is Coming!

The next free online author’s conference (aka Indie Author Fringe) sponsored by the Alliance of Independent Authors is scheduled for October 14.

The Fringe runs for 24 hours and sessions will be recorded. If you register for this free author conference, you’ll be informed of any changes or additions by email. You’ll also get an email telling you how to listen to the recordings which are available free long after the conference No spam!

The advantage to listening during the actual conference is finding out how to be in the drawings for free prizes.

Check out the list of presenters. For info about the Alliance itself, click here.

I’m in my second year as a member and find this group very helpful, especially the Facebook members only group where you can ask questions and get help from people who have walked the walk. Members can also download free ebooks on various topics.

Why people say, “Hit the hay”

While writing my historical novel, American Gold, I often need to check history. Unfortunately, that may lead to reading other interesting things that have nothing to do with what I’m writing.

Today, for example, I checked my references on what Christmas was like in 1911 in America. Somehow, that lead to an article about beds and sleeping habits.

It took a long time for people to invent what we would consider proper beds. In the old, old days, nothing more than a blanket separated the sleeper from the ground or the floor.

Privacy? Forget it! Sleep used to be a group activity until Victorian times. For many, group sleeping continued after that.

To find out more about the evolution of beds and curious sleep habits, read “The Once-Common Practice of Communal Sleeping” on Atlas Obscura.

Is it nap time yet?





Gardening Dummy Solves Yard Mystery

In case you did not already know, I confess that I am a gardening dummy. I’ve unwittingly killed many a plant in my time. Even my lawn of centipede grass, which I’m told is really a weed but is one of the few grasses that survive the intense southern sun, has a few bare patches.

I’ve been puzzled but the smooth, shallow-bowl-shaped depressions in those bare spots. They are perfect circles.

I found the answer today when I was staring out the window waiting for inspiration this afternoon. The shapes are formed by birds taking dust baths!

So what should I do now? I can’t put seed in there, because the next time a bird takes a bath the seeds will scatter. Do I deprive the birds and rake up the patches and put down sod?

Is trying to decide the answer to this question a good excuse to not write? Maybe I should go back inside and work on my novel.

Easier than pie Monkey Bread

Today brought a welcome break from the heat and humidity here in coastal North Carolina.With no need for air conditioning, I may even turn the oven on to make this easy Monkey Bread.

One thing living on a boat for six years taught me is, the simpler the better. Space is limited for the typical cruiser. Now that I’m back on shore, simpler leaves more time for writing.

(For the eagle-eyed among you, I know the bread in the picture is braided, but I couldn’t find a picture of true Monkey Bread and after I make and bake mine, I’ll be too busy eating to take and post a picture.)




What is a strong woman?

woman on a ridge staring at skyDoes a strong woman act “more like a man?”

What motivates her?

Is she physically stronger than our perception of the average woman? Is she courageous? Domineering? Independent?

What do you think?

The NY Book Editors recently posted this Guide to Writing Women characters. Although it’s aimed at writers, the points it mentions are worth anyone’s time to ponder and talk about.



Summarize your story in one sentence? Impossible? No!

Whether you’re writing a short story or a novel, can you summarize your story in one sentence?

Having a one-sentence summary when you begin writing helps keep you focused. That one sentence may also help you pitch your work to an agent or publisher later on.

Are you in panic because you’ve finished your novel and now a publisher or agent you queried wants a one-sentence plot summary? Calm down. We have the answer.

So how do you summarize a complete novel, including the ending, in one sentence? In the July 6, 2017 issue of The Writer, Jeff Lyons uses Twilight and Jaws as examples in his excellent article on how to know if you have a situation or a plot, plus how to craft that sentence. My English teachers would criticize his run-on sentence examples, but they do the job and force you to keep reading.

Beaufort Old Homes Tour

Last weekend (June 23, 2017) I served as a docent for the 57th annual Beaufort Old Homes Tour. I’ve done this a number of times because it’s always fun.

Rated one of the top tourist events in the South, the Tour attracts people from all over the country. Some people come to see historical homes. Others come to get ideas on interior decorating. Everyone enjoys the brief stories about the individual homes and the people who lived there.

Not everyone enjoys history, however, so I always include a touch of humor to lighten things up. One of the former owners of the house I was assigned was a jeweler. He installed unique locks on each bedroom door. When the current owners moved in, they found a bag of old keys. “Good thing,” I said. “You can’t find keys like that at Ace Hardware.” I’m no comedian, but that little line always brought smiles and a few chuckles.

My novel, American Gold, is far from a comedy, but I’ve sprinkled in bits of humor. Sometimes they show immigrant optimism, other times they contrast with challenges yet to come. Not only does a reader get a break, the characters who voice the comment show a different side of themselves.