Dreaming of Colorado

Buena Vista at the foot of the Collegiate Peaks

Buena Vista at the foot of the Collegiate Peaks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been dreaming about Colorado a lot lately.  At random moments, a John Denver song will pop into my head and I’m thinking about the Rockies and the way Colorado felt. I lived there for two years in my early teens, and while at the time I probably didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have, now I find myself missing it horribly.

Just recently I was watching a Tiny House, Big Living where a young couple converts a bus into a tiny home. The couple was out of Boulder, but they traveled to outside of Denver and Red Rocks. I watched the weather and the scenery wishing desperately that I could be there or go. Red Rocks has been one of those places I really want to go and see a concert played. Unfortunately, who I want to see play is either dead (John Denver) or won’t play the concert I want to see (Mumford & Sons version of “I Will Wait”. With all of those amazing lights strung across the stage.)

Recently I have started a story that takes place in Vail though I have never been there. In face, I have never been to Denver, Boulder, Red Rocks… I lived in the middle of the state, half an hour from Leadville (been there), an hour from Aspen (haven’t been there), and a few hours from Ryal Gorge and Canyon City (been there!). I wish I could have seen Aspen, but Mr. B didn’t want to see how it had changed from the 70s when he had seen it. I can understand that. But oh, Colorado aspens, can I rave?

English: Aspen trees near Aspen, Colorado

English: Aspen trees near Aspen, Colorado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But occasionally I dream of living where John Denver made his home. I love that he wrote songs about it, like Starwood in Aspen and his Christmas song, Aspenglow. Then there’s Rocky Mountain High. Seriously those songs sum up Colorado perfectly. (Ironically a John Denver song came on a the doctor’s while I sit here, but it’s Country Roads, so not technically about Colorado- and I wrote this two days ago and I’m just now typing it up. I’m not actually at the doctors right now)

Mount Princeton near Buena Vista, CO.

Mount Princeton near Buena Vista, CO. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not sure why Colorado is calling to me, except for lately not really feeling like I”m in the mountains. Strange since yesterday was one of those perfect stormy, mountain days. A day where the mountains were obliterated by clouds and we woke to snow all the way down. But since I live on the valley floor, I feel like I’m more in the country. Strange as well since I have to only walk fifteen to twenty minutes and I can be climbing up the mountains. I’m that close. But California mountains are different from Colorado mountains. I remember telling a boyfriend, who visited from Pennsylvania, that we did everything big out here, but our mountains are nothing compared to the amazing beauty of the Rockies. The sheer size of 14,000-foot peaks can’t be explained.

There is a wildness about Colorado. Still untamed. Still undiscovered, though I doubt that is the case. I just remember visiting Tincup and that had once been something, but was no more. Okay, there was sort of a town, but one place we stopped outside of Tincup was what you see in the pictures above. The way the wild had claimed everything again. The way the exploding brightness of the sun shone on the clear mountain streams, being so high up the air was crisp and clear. The air was so pure. So clean. So cold and brisk.

The mountains, lakes, and aspens were magic.

I love California with all of my heart. This is my state. This is where I come from. I’m a fifth generation and the Sierra Nevada mountains are my ‘home’. But there is something about colorado that just makes me want to come stay a bit and visit again. With my camera where I can take so many pictures I couldn’t possibly forget.

To visit St. Elmo where the hummingbirds take over the historical ghost town….. while across the street the chipmunks enthrall people…. that is one place I definitely want to see again.

Well, I’m dreaming of Colorado, wishing for a Rocky Mountain High…

Kate

 

Playing With Words, Or What I Found In An Anne Lindbergh Book

So I have become a frequent member of the local Saturday Writing Circle at my local library. I’ve mentioned it in passing with a short piece of Flash fiction I wrote recently.  One of our writing prompts comes from the mix mash of pieces of paper with either a word or a number on it. If you choose the number, you walk around the room, which happens to have all the books the Friends of the Library sell, pull off a book, turn to the page number you chose, and use a word from that to write from. I almost always choose this method because it’s broad and there are a bunch of words you can find in one page.

This last week I chose a book by Anne Morrow Lindbergh and who would have thought that a wealth of words could come from page 220 (the date of the day I was writing) of the book, “North to the Orient?” This book has a story behind it as well. I chose the book partly because a few years ago my family and I were going through our books, discarding what we were not going to read. Several of the books were Anne Lindbergh books my grandmother had gotten from her mentor years ago.  I kept a few and got rid of several. Well this dark blue book, sitting on the non fiction shelf, called to me. Just because I thought it would be familiar in that I knew the author. Well, after reading the page, I decided I HAD to take it home and read it. When I got home, I told Mrs. B about it, and she asked dryly if it was one of the books we had gotten rid of. Well, I flipped to the front cover and there was the nameplate with the name of my grandmother’s mentor.  Oh how things circle around. Ironic that I am now reading a book I discarded three years ago.

But now onto page 220.  While I didn’t use all of these, what caught my eye were these words or phrases:

a small island of roofs, sea of flood, the two words were separated, the world of nightmare, the world of reality, the flash of waking, magic lamp, hair-bridge, the pull of a trigger…….

A sentence: ….magic rests on a knife-edge—a lam, a tinderbox, and “open sesame.”

Aren’t those wonderful? I continued on with my story of Reality of Dreams, which relates to The Magic Orb I wrote several years ago. C.B. Wentworth wanted me to finish that piece of flash fiction and I have sudden inspiration to finish the story. I now have a way to finish the story. I think. This is what I have been working on at my weekly writing group.

So while I won’t share all of the story yet, I am going to post bits and pieces at time. But do you play with words? Do you hunt for words in books? I have found it a really good way to find inspiration. The Reality of Dreams was inspired by words in Cannery Row, and a Tea Shop Mystery book by Laura Childs.

So, how do you get your word prompts? I’d love to know.

Kate

Emilie Loring’s Novels as a Film Guide

I was sitting there last night watching White Christmas, a film I love and should be a staple at Christmas, and as I watched Betty get all mad at Bob and storm off, I thought, wow, this is really like an Emilie Loring novel.

Now granted, there wasn’t much mystery involved, nor was there  a woman scorned trying to win back someone.  There wasn’t a whole exact specificity that made it like an Emilie Loring, but I still say it was.  The shenanigans and how everything was solved in the end.  Even to the misunderstanding of Betty and her running off to the Carousel Club, and Bob going to see her and trying to fix it.  It really is semi similar.  Maybe that’s why I love the story as I do.

And recently, watching the film Aloha with Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone, I thought the same thing.  The film has mystery, intrigue, romance, a woman who wants the hero back, a new woman, a new love interest, people wanting to settle down, a villain.  It’s all there. Updated, with some sex, but still, the premise of the film is very Loring-esque.

You have the guy that comes back home, to Hawaii, there’s the girl who’s his guide, and while she likes him, she’s cautious about him, there’s the ex  girlfriend who is kind of interested in the guy, there’s the business man who has sketchy business dealings…. Will the guy end up with the girl? Or go back to his ex? And what about that sketchy businessman? Did I mention that the guy used to be in the military?

I mean, really, could this be any closer to an Emilie Loring book?  I honestly don’t think so.

So now my new mission in life is to watch films with this style of storyline.  Technically, Pride and Prejudice is along these lines.  Okay, it’s a lot like an Emilie Loring.  And maybe that is what makes these such classic stories.  They have a specific theme that pits good against bad, and guy against girl.  And the guy always get the right girl.

A story isn’t any good with out a little intrigue and conflict.  While White Christmas doesn’t have much intrigue, it still has conflict.  And singing….. the singing makes up for the lack of intrigue.

Aloha has plenty of all things.  Romance and intrigue and conflict.

Does anyone else have some good films that have this story line?  Oh, Sabrina with Humphry Bogart and Audrey Hepburn is a lot like this story line as well!

Clearly I have a Loring vibe still.  I think part of that is because I am reading Patti Bender’s blog as she write’s Emilie Loring’s biography.  Could it be any better than that?  I love this. I’m so excited about it.  And she also has read Loring’s books over and over.  So I get to hear about one of my favorite subjects. Emilie Loring novels.  I think I’m in heaven.

Kate

One Word Prompts: Secret – Writing 101

5186_16e7I have secrets. I live with secrets. I’m filled with secrets. I love to keep secrets. I hate to keep secrets. Secrets are part of being a woman still living at home. Secrets are what make a writer considering we don’t have time, nor the inclination to discuss all of what is going on in our heads.

I exist sometimes on secrets. Things I have done that no one knows. Secrets I have shared with one person. Secrets of my own thoughts. I can’t share everything about me, nor do I want to, but when I have to, it’s very hard to keep a secret. Especially at Christmas or Birthdays. Then I feel like I need to explode.

In today’s prompt about a one word inspiration, there was a list of words to choose from, ‘Secret’ being the one I picked.   Then there was the suggestion :

If you like these one-word prompts, consider a Prompt Box: an offline well of inspiration that you can draw from on a rainy day. Andrea Badgley keeps prompts on slips of paper in a Chinese tea tin; I use an old jewelry box I bought from a market in Italy. In whatever vessel you choose, add slips of paper with single words, as we’ve practiced here. Short phrases work well, too.

I want to have jars of prompts. And jars of secrets. Jars of places I want to go. Jars of quotes  important to me. Jars of things I want to do with a man…. That’s where the secrets come in. A wish jar. Jars of wishes, hopes and dreams. Jars of secrets.

ce0623ea7abe8a8aebe6a5ba4384d8a0_2_largeIt sounds exotic and wonderful. A little bit sexy, a little bit naughty, and a whole lot of magical. Can you imagine if you, my reader could reach your hand into any one of these jars and pull out a slip and read what I had written? There would be all kinds of things you could find out. Thank goodness for my secrets.

My journal is filled with secrets. Things I would never tell anyone. My journal is dangerous and I would hate for it to get out. But at the same time, sometimes I wish I could share my secrets with someone. Ah, someday.

Secrets are a thing I like so much that I have several songs with the word in the title.  My favorite would be One Republic’s ‘Secrets’, and The Piano Guys cover of the same song.  Second favorite is Maroon 5’s ‘Secret.  That one. Whew… steamy.  But there are several others that have just hit me over the years.

One day I think I’ll have a row of apothecary jars filled with all my secrets. They will be lined up on a mirrored shelf, behind locked glass doors.  One can look and get a glimpse of the secret, but not the whole thing…..

Hermione – Day No. 30

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Keeping with the theme of almost Halloween, and girls, and reading…… I love Hermione. I’ve loved her from the getgo. I love that she reads, and thank goodness she did. Hermione is the best witch ever, in my opinion. Better than Samantha (Bewitched) Better than the Halliwell sisters…..Better than a lot of other witches.

Kate

Death by Poison – Day No. 28

behold here's poisonPoison: a woman’s weapon, as it has been said.  Poison is a crafty art. It takes much more premeditation to murder by poison. Guns, knives, blunt force…… All can be used in the heat of passion, something men are more likely to use as their emotions tend to be more volatile. But poison is a slow process. Unless you are going for insta-kill, in that case, just pour the arsenic on like sugar.

I love to think of poisoning like the Brewster sisters in Arsenic and Old Lace. Their potion was certainly effective. All those poor, lonely, old men never know what hit them! As Martha Brewster’s recipe goes:” Well, Mortimer, for a gallon of elderberry wine I take a teaspoonful of arsenic, and add a half-teaspoonful of strychnine, and then just a pinch of cyanide.”

Mortimer: “Should have quite a kick.”

1897716_10153608284891291_1671472435308598067_nNo kidding. Quite a kick is putting it mildly. And now days, I’m not sure you could get any of those poisons easily. But then why would you want to?  And plus, do you really want to Google those searches to find said poisons?  As this image illustrates ———->   You have to really be careful out there. I found these comments from Facebook that people made in regards to this picture. I think they are accurate.

I especially worry about my googling for ways to poison someone with a plant. And… how long does it take someone to die if they’ve been poisoned.”

And “I actually worry about this sometimes. I mean…one minute I’m looking up knock-off recipes for Arby’s sauce and the next I’ve googled how much TNT it takes to blow up a city block. Kind of….um….odd.

And  “Lol well, on the bright side, should they google our names we’ll all be on one list & our overnight stay in jail will be one filled with stories”

617VA903KVL51Is9yESLoL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_So, yeah, looking up how to poison your character might not be wise.

For years I’ve wanted this book,   to the left. And the one  to the right is perfect. You could find out all kinds of things to kill off your characters in those books.  And in England there is ‘The Deadly Garden.’ Alnwick Garden, it’s called. I guess that’s to make it sound…. less deadly. Hmmph! Sure. Now that would be a fun place to visit. The Deadly Garden

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Poison a la Carte with Timothy Hutton as Archie Goodwin

I’ve always thought it would be fun to kill off a character with poison. Especially ever since there was the Nero Wolfe episode “Poison a la Carte”. ( I can’t ever seem to read the books, but anyhow).  So there was murder by arsenic in that episode and from that point on, it’s like I just wanted to write a story where someone murdered someone by poison. But having to do all the research and writing a mystery is not my forte. The mystery is my issue. But writing about poison is still in my mind.

And yeah, the murderer would be a woman. Clearly.

So…. a woman’s poison…….

Do you ever want to write about poisoning a character? And do you google it? And do you worry about the NSA/CIA/FBI?

Kate

 

Things As Women We Should All Know – Day No. 27

We are four days from being done. I said D-O-N-E with this Write 31 Days.  Someone recently (and since I know you are probably reading this, you will know who I’m talking to…) told Mrs. B that I needed to suck it up and quit complaining about writing every day.  I’d like to see you write every day and come up with fresh content….. Now that I have that off my chest…. LOL.

12027540_977067112352002_6221272141493101965_nOkay, so earlier this year I came across this list of 13 Things No One Tells You About Being A Woman By Chrissy Stockton, after listening to the Joy the Baker podcast.  After listening to some of the highlights of the list, I headed over and read the whole thing.

Whoa. Right on.  This list is so true it’s scary.  First off, before you finish reading this post, head over to the list and read it first. Just click that link highlighted above. ……..

 

Okay, so now that you have read it…. I am not a feminist. I may have a few feminist ideals, but I think more that they are just common sense and equality in certain aspects. But on the whole, I tend to believe that men are the superior sex when it comes to strength, logical thinking (though sometimes I have to revise that when Mr. B is talking) and general fighting and political tactics.  I will honestly say I don’t have what it takes to think like a man. Nor do I want to.

And for the most part, I don’t feel oppressed by a male dominated world, though in all reality, it’s not half as dominated by men as it used to be 30 years ago. Women have made amazing strides with their lives, jobs, and etcetera.  So, again, not really a feminist, but still I felt this list was something that called to me.  Things I have dealt with in the past and still haven’t come to terms with.

Reading off the list in order….. I have had guys say I should do this, or I should do that. I should get rid of glasses, I should change the glasses, I should do this job or that job. Don’t wear this color, don’t have your hair that way. Women telling me I need to marry this boy or that boy or do this job or that job….. It can be kind of stressful fending off these comments.

I like doing things for guys. I want to be the homemaker (sometimes. Sometimes I wouldn’t mind if he would cook…. and clean a little).  I like the “wife/mom” roles in life. I 12107167_1040926229275315_7022155848237296182_nsaw it, grew up with it, my entire family, extended and all, had this as an example. It’s what I know and I like it.  But everyone wants me to have a career and why would I want to be, gasp, a homemaker?

Yep, I’m emotional. Damn right I am. But so what?! So freaking what? That doesn’t mean I can’t think. Sure, I might not think as well when I am emotional, but you telling me that I am this way does not help your case. At all. Mr. B has not figured this out .

While I can’t really say one way or the other if my relationships are deeper with a girlfriend vs boyfriend, I do know one thing, I can talk to my gals about some things that guys just don’t get, or don’t want to know about. We can commiserate together about those ‘times’ we are ’emotional’.

The biological clock thing irks me. Right at this time in my life, I don’t plan to have kids. That seems to really bother people. Go figure.

Number 6. About Moms…. I’ll just leave that one alone for now, but yeah, I agree with it.

Can’t say as I have been in the number 7 category, but I do get it, and I can get a little overboard sometimes.

I am terrible at asserting myself, but sometimes I really need to. And because I’m not good at doing it, it comes out wrong or people are offended because I do say “no.” Sigh.

Well number 9 is a given. If you aren’t sorry, why say it? And I have had to learn that sometimes when people say they are sorry, that doesn’t mean that all is forgiven because they said sorry.

Oh, I am forever feeling like I am pitted against other women. I compare myself to them. But it’s a nasty habit. I am me, and they are them…. We can’t all be alike.

I have been called crazy, but I still feel sane.

And lastly, sometimes I feel like I won’t survive without a specific guy’s approval. Boris in particular. But at the same time, good grief, half of what he tells me I don’t agree with. Why should I need his approval?  It’s something I do, feeling like I need everyone’s approval. I want people to like me, but honestly, that’s where asserting one’s self and not being a doormat comes in as well.

So those are just some of my opinions on the list. I’d love to hear what you have to say. And if you are a feminist, good for you. I have nothing against you personally. I may not agree, but that’s an opinion.  So, who likes this list? Who agrees or associates themselves with what’s on it? Tell me.

Only a few more days to enter the DaySpring Giveaway.  I urge you to enter with the link here  and  follow the giveaway widget instructions. Good luck, and thanks for reading!

The Fashion of Steampunk – Day No. 26

felicia-day-steampunk-couture1

Felicia Day in Steampunked Gear

So yesterday was all about steampunk in the general sense, but today is the real reason I love steampunk. The clothing. Can a get a group choir angelic ‘Ahhhhhh’?  Okay, never mind, y’all might not get the fascination with this like I do.

So you have Victorian fashion already. Bustles, corsets, high boots, buttons, lace, lace, more lace…… Gloves! Hats! Did I mention corsets?  I have this thing about corsets. I love them. Don’t have one, but seriously want one…

Then you add in the eclectic tastes of steampunk; brass buttons, goggles, wire-wrapped anything, top hats, lenses, clocks, gears, funky looking guns, knives, fans, and you have another whole dimension. Not to mention leather and lace and wire and metal in odd but surprisingly flattering places.  The fashion of steampunk, with the corsets, bustles and lace, flatter a woman’s body to no tomorrow and they look so utterly feminine and sexy wrapped up into one package.  The combinations are endless, and if you watched the video of Felicia Day yesterday, then you know kind of what I am talking about.  It’s unique and cool all in one place.

The jewelry consists of lots of copper, brass, springs, wire-wrapped stones, jewels that are big, bright and luminescent….

You can’t tell me that this stuff isn’t cool. Even flattering. Okay, yeah, some of it is strange, but not all of it is that bizarre. It’s just different. It’s taking on a whole genre of scifi fantasy. It’s a world unto it’s own.

One of these days I’ll steampunk it up for Halloween.  And if not that, I just might base a story in that time period. It’s rather cool.

Kate

Rockin’ The Steampunk – Day No. 25

STEAMPUNK by Olga Sova on Fivehundredpx

steam·punk

[ˈstēmˌpəNGk] NOUN

  1. a genre of science fiction that has a historical setting and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology:

    “if you like steampunk, this is a great book for you”

    • a style of design and fashion that combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction:

      “the essence of steampunk is homage to vintage fashion with a modern, sassy twist”

Steampunk is a subculture aspect that has taken hold more so in the past few years. From Sherlock Holmes to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, it’s slowly working its way into mainstream. Though honestly, just recently I was watching a show where two guys were trying to make something steampunk, had no clue what it was, and failed, in my opinion, miserably.  There is a right way, and a very serious wrong way to do steampunk.

I have to say…. I LOVE STEAMPUNK! Whew, did I say that loud enough? I could go on and on about the style, the setting, the fashion, the sexiness of it all….. I am seriously hooked on steampunk.

And while you could say cogs, gears, whistles, brass, copper, and clockworks would be a guy thing, personally I think it’s totally a girl thing. Oh sure, you have all the mechanical aspects that would be a guy thing, but all the shiny aspects of steampunk, scream Woman to me. Tomorrow I will delve into the fashion aspect, but today is broad aspects. You are taking total Victorian era, which is totally girl, and throwing in steam powered items, along with gas and beginning electricity, and gears and cogs, and clockworks. How could you go wrong?

More recently it has been something that has taken a hold of me, partly because of the Finishing School books by Gail Carriger and the Clockwork books by Cassandra Claire. Start talking all that steam and derrigibles and ooh la la I start daydreaming away about how I want to live in a steampunk world.

The corsets, the boots, the hats, the little rayguns to zap your foe…… I want a raygun… I NEED a raygun. I want to build the raygun below. Watch it and try to tell me you don’t think that’s cool.

I think all of Steampunk is a seriously feminine thing.  Maybe it’s because it’s actually kind of masculine, so throw a woman into it and she looks decidedly more feminine. Not sure I can explain why. But steampunk enhances a woman. Now this is all coming from someone that loves it, so if you don’t get it, you are not going to get why I say this.

 

 

 

I think these lamps are more girly because of the fact that they are not minimalist. And the cages like a bustle, and the shininess of it all.

Dirigibles and mechanimals (that word being strictly from Gail Garriger’s books). Underwater submarines (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne was one of our first forays into steampunk. He didn’t know how popular that was going to be, I bet.) Steam powered whatsits and whosits and thingamajigs.  Heck, in one of the Finishing School books, there is an oddjob….. a machine that spits out data. What is an oddjob?

Ray guns and gasses. Goggles and gears. The culture is so decidedly unique that me rattling on about it can’t encompass all that is Steampunk. Just go to Tumblr, or Pinterest and type in steampunk.  Then be prepared to be blown away by the amazing things out there. Go on. Check. I’ll wait…………

Okay, so you didn’t feel like looking that up? Fine, I’ll just load in a gallery right here and you can enjoy.

And lastly, check out this fun fashion video with Felicia Day when she goes steam punk… Which will lead us into tomorrow’s steampunk fashion.

Someone Amazing – Day No. 24

11048745_909527932422339_4813715533564715054_nThis isn’t to say I’m amazing. While I have my finer points, I still have a long way to go. But just remember, you are amazing too. You who is reading this, and wow, you showed up.:)

Hope you have had a great Saturday, writing away. I wasn’t writing. I wanted to write, but with regular things taking up time, I will have to write tomorrow.  Thank goodness I planned for one quote a week. A chance to ‘cheat’ with this writing thing.  Everyone needs a day off…. right?

Kate