IWSG: Happy May!


This post is for the Insecure Writers Support Group where once a month, on the first Wednesday, we come together to share our hopes, dreams, fears, and various reassurances. This month’s optional question is: What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

That’s tough, like what’s your favorite book/movie tough. The last cool/weird thing I researched is for a fantasy story. I wanted to know how it was possible for a habitable planet to orbit a binary star system, and if so, how that would work. Yes, by the way, it is possible according to the wise Wikipedia . This is weird research to me, because this novel is *fantasy* not sci-fi, but I had to know.

The weirdest things I can remember aren’t in books or online, though. One time, I was writing a novel set in Minneapolis MN, and because I was living in St. Louis at the time (about 4 hours away), I decided to drive up. Along the way, I kept seeing signs for Avenue of the Saints. The signs seemed to be following me wherever I went, even though the roads changed from time to time. And this really started to weird me out. (Was this some kind of church thing? If so, what church? Bear in mind there’s not a whole lot out there.)

Later, I looked it up and found out, yes, there is a continuous, four-lane route (including older roads, upgraded as necessary) between St. Louis and St. Paul / Minneapolis. Hence the name.


Later, I decided to use both that route and the Mississippi River as magical routes between the two cities, because it sounds so magical. (So is the Mississippi River, but it has the downside of gossipy water nymphs who my MC would rather avoid.)

What about you? What is some fun research you’ve done? Happy May!

Celebrate the Small Things


Source: http://drjimnicolai.com/home-sweet-home/

This Friday, I am literally celebrating the small things, being back home after a whirlwind trip around the U.S., with a brief foray into Canada. I literally got home a week ago pulling an all-nighter for the last leg of my trip and getting home at 7:30 in the morning last Friday.

So, that’s the number one thing I’m celebrating this week.

Writing wise I’m celebrating finishing yet another novel draft, this being the gazillionth draft of an on-going project where I’m doing substantial editing to get my characters working together. I’m really happy with this end-to-end revision and am now determined to leave it alone for a while so I can come back with fresh perspective. I’ve sold one business writing article this week also and really need to write more. Got a couple solid days of cardio in despite not feeling so well. My body is still not accepting East Coast time despite having been home for a week.

Enjoying some really great weather here. It was really great to see the world. It is also really great to be home again.

How was your week?

Celebrate the Small Things #6

Celebrate blog hop

For this week’s Celebrate the Small Things, I am scheduling this one ahead of time because on Friday – yes! – I’ll be heading to Philadelphia for a pre-conference conference. (I’m super excited about this one even though it means leaving early in the morning!)

Other things I’ve accomplished this week are finishing a draft of a short story and getting roofer and landscaper scheduled. Got circuit breaker box repaired – and well lots of house stuff. But everything should be good to go before winter! Even if it’s costing – a lot of money. I really need to get a lot of freelancing done and/or snag a permanent position to keep up with the bills, cuz yikes!

How has your week been? Will likely be incommunicado for most of this coming week but will respond to comments asap!



PHOTO PROMPT – © Dee Lovering

PHOTO PROMPT – © Dee Lovering

My very last cross-post for Friday Fictioneers and A-Z Challenge. I’m feeling a little mixed-feeling-ish. This photo reminded me a little of Baltimore, MD, where I was visiting last Friday. The city is in my thoughts and prayers.


The time has come for us to part ways, but that’s okay. Wind tousles my hair, hand wrapped around the mast for balance as waves gently rock the boat.

How long will you be gone? I don’t know.

You are the one person who always understood me, the one I could always count on. I don’t want to go, but the sea winds call.

You step forward. Words, daggers on the wind, pierce my heart.

“I’m pregnant.”

Fully clothed, heedless, I sprint across the deck, jumping down into the water, headed back to the shore, to you.

Symmetry: The World’s Largest Wind Chime

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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Symmetry.”

World’s largest exhibits are fairly popular in the Midwestern United States. I often passed this one, the World’s Largest Wind Chime on my way to St. Louis and one day I decided to stop and take a picture. It was a pretty gloomy day but worth stopping.

The next time I visited with my sister who came to help me move back to Pennsylvania and she decided to ring the chimes.

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A couple pictures from Berlin and my travels farther afield that I thought of when reflecting on symmetry. Brandbenberg Gate during the Festival of Lights and the Berlin Dome…

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Friday Fictioneers: My Favorite Song


PHOTO PROMPT – © Copyright Jean L. Hays

get the InLinkz code

This is my submission for Friday Fictioneers, a weekly 100-word story project helmed by the gracious Rochelle. I’m feeling a but nutty this week, a smidge more than usual, probably because I may be coming down with something. 🙂 I apologize if this is unfunny and I look back on this when I’m feeling better and think – why oh why did that seem like a good idea? This story is inspired from real-life, pre-GPS experiences with the enigmatic and mysterious Route 1 whose presence like a ghost in the night is often hinted at more than seen – especially when you’re trying really hard to find it. I am NOT making this up!


For our first get-together, I decided to take the scenic route: Route 1 from Southeast Philly through to North Jersey and then upstate New York. Simple, I thought. Just follow the signs, I thought.

Maybe it’s a conspiracy or bad luck, but every single Route 1 sign was overgrown, knocked over or in one case simply not there.

By the time I reached the restaurant, a half hour late, I had decided two things:1) from now on I was going to find my own way and 2) my new favorite song was Signs by Five Man Electrical Band.

IWSG: Nobody’s Perfect (Including Me)


I just got back from a somewhat whirlwind tour in Europe, which I desperately needed, and am trying to keep it all together. I have books to send out, reviews to ignore, and other important things I should definitely do but sort of forgot, like my IWSG post for this month! (Is it November already? On some level, I knew that….)

This will probably sound crazy considering I am doing this full time, but November  remains a hallowed month to me, the time to benefit from the positive energy of NaNoWriMo, which I’ve been doing for the past three years now. This year I’ve decided to try drafting (*drafting only*) the last two novels that are on my heart to write. I’ve gotten almost to the end of an initial draft for one so far. Yes, I know it is only the 5th and yes I’ve been flogging myself for taking this long to do it. I am like that.

After this, I think I’m ready for … whatever is next. I’m still not sure about that part.

But I am plugging ahead, as bravely as I can. And, yeah, I really needed that trip.

I keep mentally falling back on moments like – a snowfall in Austria, Festival of Lights at the Brandenberg Gate – and finding out that despite German rail strikes I’d get there eventually. Oh, and my tablet was not in fact stolen in Italy. I left it in a shop where the shop owner returned it to me, with some good-hearted, Italian chiding. Things have a way of working out in the end and there is never any need to panic.

How is everyone else doing? Bene? Hope so!

Ciao! For now.