Personal Skill Set   4 comments

What part of writing are you best at? Not compared to everyone else, but compared to you?

Rules:1. Link your blog to this hop.2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.<!– start InLinkz code –><div class=”inlinkz-widget” data-uuid=”6c7aafcef4a04786bad7ccad7c47dc64″ style=”width:100%;margin:30px 0;background-color:#eceff1;border-radius:7px;text-align:center;font-size:16px;font-family:’Helvetica Neue’,Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif”><div style=”padding:8px;”><p style=”margin-bottom:15px;”>You are invited to the <strong>Inlinkz</strong> link party!</p><a href=”https://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/6c7aafcef4a04786bad7ccad7c47dc64” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” style=”padding:5px 20px;background:#209cee;text-decoration:none;color:#efefef;border-radius:4px;”>Click here to enter</a></div></div><span style=”display: none;”><script async=”true” src=”https://fresh.inlinkz.com/js/widget/load.js…“></script></span><!– end InLinkz code –>[fresh_inlinkz_code id=”6c7aafcef4a04786bad7ccad7c47dc64”]https://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/6c7aafcef4a04786bad7ccad7c47dc64

That’s Good

I have no idea how I compare to other writers in any part of the writer skillset, so this is easier to write when I don’t have to make that comparison.

The Two Ds

I think I excel at dialogue and description. Certainly, those are the two parts of the writing process I enjoy the most, which might be why I’m good at them.

Dialogue comes easy because my characters tell me their story and I’m allowed to listen to their conversations. Sometimes they engage in too much jawing and I need to edit down their chatter, but that’s not such a bad thing because, in the draft phase, more is better than less. I can always prune it, but if I can’t get my characters to talk to one another, I don’t really have a novel. Some scenes only have dialogue and dialogue tags when I write the draft. Since I try to eliminate dialogue tags when I can, I start in the second draft to replace them with description or the inner thoughts of the character. So in a very real way, dialogue and description walk hand in hand in my writing process.

Description is a little different because my characters don’t appear to care about their surroundings. Infidels! So I have to build a world around them that fits who they are. This usually happens during the second draft. Sometimes the scenes just pop into my head and other times I need to ask the world-brain to show me photos that evoke certain scenes. The other day I wrote a description of Lily’s bedroom in Book 3 of What If Wasn’t — “Pocketful of Rocks.” What would a teenaged girl’s bedroom look like in today’s world? I wouldn’t know. My daughter (now 29, but her stuff still lives at our house) is an artist, so her bedroom is painted dark red and embellished with weird art. One wall is dominated by a Bri-painted tree that used to have constantly changing leaves that were themselves smaller and removable art projects. Assuming Lily isn’t Bri, I had to ask Google what’s trending in girls’ bedrooms these days. I found a room I thought matched Lily’s personality and I described it. Then I scaled it back a bit because it was Ben doing the description. Guys don’t see colors the same as girls and don’t usually care about decorating, so I needed to be careful not to turn Ben into a girl. Ben is studying to be an engineer, so I actually showed the photo to an engineer coworker (I work for a road design agency) and asked him to describe it. I pretty much nailed Ben, although I decided to ignore the observation that the roof above that bedroom might have been leaking. Engineers, they’re so mechanical!

“Pocketful of Rocks” should be out sometime this spring – tentatively April. maybe May.

I wonder what my fellow authors have chosen as their primary skill.

Posted January 17, 2022 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Tear Jerker   3 comments

Do you remember the first book that made you cry? Or maybe the last one?

Rules:1. Link your blog to this hop.2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.<!– start InLinkz code –><div class=”inlinkz-widget” data-uuid=”cc5f4b78f782411eb03d848e83b19071″ style=”width:100%;margin:30px 0;background-color:#eceff1;border-radius:7px;text-align:center;font-size:16px;font-family:’Helvetica Neue’,Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif”><div style=”padding:8px;”><p style=”margin-bottom:15px;”>You are invited to the <strong>Inlinkz</strong> link party!</p><a href=”https://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/cc5f4b78f782411eb03d848e83b19071” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” style=”padding:5px 20px;background:#209cee;text-decoration:none;color:#efefef;border-radius:4px;”>Click here to enter</a></div></div><span style=”display: none;”>http://a%20rel=</span><!– end InLinkz code –>[fresh_inlinkz_code id=”cc5f4b78f782411eb03d848e83b19071″]https://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/cc5f4b78f782411eb03d848e83b19071

First Weep Fest

I admit I am not the most sentimental of women. I don’t read romances and traditional tearjerkers rarely make my TRB list. I’ve never, for example, read The Notebook, although I did watch the movie with my daughter…and didn’t cry.

So, when I looked back at my reading history, I was surprised to find a “first” book that made me cry. There might have been an earlier book, but I can’t remember the title, but when I was in 6th grade, I read The Young Unicorns by Madeleine L’Engle. There’s a scene toward the end when the character Dave must identify his father’s body. Dave’s 17 years old, lived through riots, has been abandoned by his mother as a small child, and doesn’t get along with his father, but he cries over his body. I didn’t like the character of Mr. Davidson, but I inexplicably found myself crying right along with Dave. Why?

Well, it wasn’t that I loved the character. Dave’s father wasn’t a good man and even at the tender age of 12, I knew he was an odious character — a drunk who collaborated with the forces of evil and nearly cost his son his own life. I was frankly embarrassed to find myself crying over this character’s death. I couldn’t explain it to myself and that felt wrong as if my psyche somehow betrayed me.

It was only when I reread the book a few years later with a little bit more maturity that I understood why I cried. It had nothing to do with Mr. Davidson and everything to do with Dave. I put myself into his skin and I felt his grief and it expressed itself in my tears. I’ve had that happen with a few books over the years. When I read Ordinary People, I cried with the main character as he remembered his brother’s death. When I read Berries Goodman, I shed a tear when his friend Sydney was so cruelly injured, again because I felt what Berries felt. As I’ve gotten older and gathered my own scar tissue, I cry less, but that feeling in the throat that I might is still there.

Most Recent Book to Make Me Cry?

One of my own. This happens to me when I’m writing certain scenes — that choked-up feeling of grief shared with my character. In the series What If Wasn’t, Peter’s drunken actions led to the death of his sister at the end of Dumpster Fire. The scene is viewed from his friend Ben’s perspective and his grief not just for the death of this young girl who he didn’t particularly like and yet had known since his young childhood, but also for what he knows is the loss of his friendship with Peter. They’ve struggled with their friendship in the past, but this will end it. I cried my way through writing it because I also disliked the character of Alyse, but I felt for Ben and Peter on a deeply visceral level.

Now I’m writing Pocketful of Rocks, the third book in the series, and having a tough time getting through scenes where Peter tries to cope with his sister’s death and his own guilt and grief. As he puts it in one scene —

Nobody wants to grieve with the murderer, not even me. I feel so guilty that I feel sorry for myself because she’s gone. It doesn’t align with hating myself and accepting responsibility for what I did as if I somehow haven’t earned the right to grieve. I loved her and I miss her and if I hadn’t killed her I could grieve. The counselors say I need to grieve to get to a healthy place, but nobody cares about my pain and rightfully, I shouldn’t share it. Grieving for her becomes grieving for myself and I haven’t earned that. I’ll never be able to earn that. My grief is my burden to carry and I will carry it alone because nobody else owns it. It’s all on me and it’s mine alone to bear.

Pocketful of Rocks – work in progress, due out later this year

I ugly cried through about three scenes at different stages of the rough draft, feeling what Peter feels and looking for redemption in the pages. I figure if I’m crying while writing it, readers will feel that pain when they read it.

I wonder if the authors who have caused me to cry over the years ago felt the tears burning their eyes as they wrote those scenes.

Posted January 10, 2022 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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My Rocker   3 comments

Do you have a favorite piece of furniture? Take a picture, show and tell!

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My rocker was bought at a garage sale for $130 about 30 years ago. It went through both kids and is definitely a piece of furniture that I would take with me if I moved.

Posted December 20, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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My Childhood Library   6 comments

What was your favorite young reader novel growing up?

By the Shores of Silver Lake (Little House on the Prairie Book 5) by [Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams]

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Hard Question

I didn’t grow up in a normal place or with normal parents. My dad (well, both my parents, but especially him) loved to read and he regularly bought books for me that he thought I should read. So I read Treasure Island, Oliver Twist, Litttle Women and numerous books people would consider serious literature right along with the “young reader” books the school recommended. I even had to look up the definition of “young reader” before I could write this blog post. My first thought at the question was My Friend Flicka. Most people are familiar with the movies and think the book must be pretty “young”, but I reread the book a while ago and it was written with adult language. So it’s not an easy question for me to answer. I didn’t grow up with the “young reader” emphasis that most people, including my children, grew up with. My daughter would say Harry Potter series and my son would say Rick Riordan, but they would both say Chronicles of Narnia played a huge role in their early reading life. I read it to my daughter one summer and then she read it to her brother one summer.

What Was My Favorite

So, setting aside the great literature my parents expected me to read to concentrate on the books the schools recommended I read….

My favorite book(s) in that realm were The Little House Books. They hadn’t been made into a television show yet. I didn’t read them in order. I read On the Banks of Plum Creek first. It was a required reading assignment in third grade. It wasn’t the first full-length book I’d read (My Life by Hellen Keller and My Friend Flicka came before). I then read the books that came after and then went back and read the whole series from The Little House in the Big Woods. My favorite of the series is On the Shores of Silver Lake.

Because my parents encouraged me to read books other than what was encouraged by the school, these books were my escape to read “easy” books and while I still enjoyed the weightier volumes, my favorites remain the ones that were age-appropriate for me.

What’s the Priority?   9 comments

Which part of your book do you spend the most time on? Beginning, middle or end? Something else?

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As The Wheel Turns

I tend to look at my books as a wheel that turns and different parts become important at different times. So I don’t know that I consistently work on just one part of my books. Because I write series (for the most part), the beginning of the book is often dictated by the ending of the previous book, in which case the works already been done. Am I concentrating on the ending or the beginning? That’s a puzzle and maybe I’m doing both at the same time.

Some books need more attention in the middle. There are pivotal scenes found there and some of them need a lot of attention while others don’t. Some write themselves and others are a struggle. Some rely heavily on previous books, which requires a lot of continuity research, while others are more stand-alone and fun to write because they sparkle like new diamonds.

Characterization

One thing that is always a priority for me are my characters. It’s THEIR story that they tell me which I put into a format for the readers to enjoy. So at the back of my mind is always the question of being true to their personalities and the stories they’ve told me. I have leeway to adjust their stories, but I can’t distort them or the characters will dry up as a story source. I’ve had that happen enough to know not to push it. Compelling characters need to be protected even from their creator and they especially need to be honored by me as their creator. They’re not just there to serve a purpose of my own design. They know that. It’s important for me to remember that or they’ll “walk off the set” and leave me unable to write the next book. Oh, my!

Settings

Although I tend to let my characters dictate the plot for themselves, I do like to include at least one or two striking descriptions in every book. That will often get a great deal of my attention, even though it is rarely even a page of published writing. I want the reader to feel like they’ve been there, but I don’t want to overwhelm them with too much detail, so I will write and then rewrite the section until I have it exactly how I want it in one, two or three paragraphs. There are some setting descriptions in Daermad Cycle for instance that took me a month to write.

The Story Dictates My Efforts

I think I don’t follow a standard pattern from book to book. The priority for each book may be slightly different. And that’s fine because the story should get the attention it deserves rather than some rote ritual I perform. Probably the only things I do for every book is do a word search for the helping verb “was” because it is indicative to passive voice construction which I see to minimize and then I also like to listen to a text-to-speech version of every book before I send it to my editor and after it comes back. It just catches errors my eyes don’t see. But that’s editing, not writing.

Good, better, best…eventually, you have to let a book rest.

Posted November 22, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Magic in the Air   4 comments

Nov 15 With the slew of holidays coming up at the end of the year, do you have a watch list of shows/movies you like to watch to celebrate? What are they?



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My Holiday Favs

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Holidays involve a lot of tradition and I love many of them. For me, it all starts around Thanksgiving which is my favorite holiday. Because I grew up in Alaska pre-TAPS construction, I actually grew up watching Thanksgiving television specials at Christmas and Christmas television specials sometime in January, which may be why many of the movies I’m going to mention play a dual purpose for Christmas and Thanksgiving for me.

Although a lot of people consider it to be a Christmas movie, I love to watch It’s a Wonderful Life during Thanksgiving weekend. I feel that it is a perfect message of “Be grateful for what you have and the contributions God allows you to make. You never know how much good you’re doing while you’re just living your life.” I think it’s a great way to set up the beginning of the lunatic commercial season and we usually would play it instead of going to Black Friday sales.

When our kids were young, we’d often watch Home Alone because it was a fun silly comedy and it had a similar message to Wonderful Life — “Don’t wish your world would change just because you’re annoyed over minor things. You might get your wish and come to regret it.”

We remain big fans of Peanuts’ holiday-themed cartoons – It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Christmas, as well as others. There are a number of perennial TV specials that played when I was a kid and still love when I can find them. We’re slowly adding them to our Vudu account as I rediscover their names. I wish I’d been able to locate them back when our kids were little. I like the older versions of classic Christmas tales like A Christmas Carol.

I don’t particularly care for more modern Christmas-themed movies as they often center around cruel humor or they lack an understanding of what Christmas (and Thanksgiving) are about. I clearly don’t require a religious theme, but an understanding of the cultural significance of these holidays is necessary for me.

One exception is my husband’s favorite “Christmas” movie – Die Hard. I enjoy it too, but not as a Christmas movie. He loves it, though, so we watch it just about every year.

Posted November 15, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Mouse in the House   10 comments

Do you still have a treasure from childhood, can you tell us about it? How about any of your characters?

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And The Water Rose Up

Remembering the historic Fairbanks flood of 1967 | Community Features |  newsminer.com
My parents’ trailer in the 67 Flood was just out of the upper right corner of the frame.

In 1967, Fairbanks experienced a massive flood. It had been a warm summer, the snowpack that often sticks around as glaciers from year to year melted and filled the rivers to higher than normal levels. Then a typhoon in the Pacific pushed a storm over the Alaska Range into the interior. It poured for a week and all the rivers flooded, including the Tanana River, which is a big wide braided river that normally floods all its islands before it comes over the banks.

My parents owned a trailer about 100 feet from the Chena River, a tributary of the Tanana, which actually ran backward as the Tanana swelled. The Chena was predicted to crest below the flood level, but the Tanana’s flood left the Chena’s water nowhere to go, but over the banks into my parents’ home.

Thus, my childhood mementos mostly got wet and had to be thrown out.

But I Do Have A Few Things

My dad worked about 50 miles away, so his room at the worksite didn’t get wet, so I have a few photos from when I was a child. My mom’s jewelry was in an upper drawer that never got wet, so she was able to retrieve that. Nothing valuable, but they mean something to me.

Of course, after the flood, life went on and I look around my house and see some things that matter to me. There’s an Eskimo doll dressed in real furs that a family friend brought back from Barrow. A pair of beaded moccasins (another gift from that same friend). A Russian nesting dolls’ set. A ceramic wishing well braced by boy and girl figurines. My mother’s modest collection of Depression glass. An ivory scrimshawed bracelet my dad bought on one of his trips. A stuffed mouse one of my brother’s mothers-in-law made for one of my birthdays.

He’s a craft-market kind of mouse. It might cost $15 to buy something like him at this year’s Christmas Market. Although he has sat on a bedroom shelf for many years, occasionally dusted, he doesn’t usually hang out center stage, but when my dad died, I remember hugging Mouse and crying. My husband’s mom died about 10 days ago and I found Brad in the bedroom, hugging Mouse and crying. He remembered me telling him about what I did when my dad died and he thought it would help with the big empty feeling he was experiencing. And it did.

My Characters Special Treasures

Daermad Cycle (The Willow Branch) is a medieval fantasy, so my people don’t have a lot of possessions and treasures as rare.

Peter in What If Wasn’t series doesn’t appreciate his treasures yet and I won’t reveal the future, so…

In Transformation Project, my characters live in a town that’s been around for more than a century and live in houses with long-established families. Since the EMP took out all the power, Shane wears a wind-up watch his grandfather Jacob gave him when he was a kid. It kicked around in a drawer for a long time, considered useless, but he dug it out after the other watches and phones died and he thinks about his grandfather when he checks the time. It’s not a supremely practical memento.

He also inherited his grandfather’s 1959 Dodge Ram, which was very well taken care of and highly coveted since the EMP destroyed most modern cars.

Jazz Tully owns her grandfather’s 30-06, a rifle he carried in World War 2 that he used as a hunting rifle for many years. She loves the connection she feels with her grandfather when she handles, cleans, loads, and shoots it. She took her first deer with it when she was 12.

What is precious to us is a very individual thing. My husband points out that among my mementos is a large freeform orange-red ashtray. Nobody in my household smokes and you’re not invited to smoke if you visit my house, but the ashtray belonged to my parents and I fill it with potpourri. It helps me to remember my parents. I also have their coffee cups. They only had one each — Brad and I have about two dozen. When I see those cups I remember the folks sitting at the table drinking their morning coffee and probably using that ashray. I also have my dad’s radio he took with him around the whole world when he was a merchant mariner. It still works, but one of these days I need to get it into a repair person to clean it up and replace the vacuum tubes. Brad, whose parents moved often and really weren’t that good of parents, didn’t leave him much. He has a seaman’s clock, which I’m thinking Richard Dee might be familiar with. Brad’s grandfather was a merchant mariner (we have a theme) and I guess that’s how he kept track of time. It still works, but we don’t wind it often because it goes off every 15 minutes in a complicated system of chimes that tell you what time it is. Since our reticular systems are not attuned to the meaning of the chimes, it just keeps us awake at night. But it looks beautiful sitting on Brad’s desk.

Posted November 8, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Who Am I?   4 comments

Did you write under a pseudonym? Why?

Rules:1. Link your blog to this hop.2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.<!– start InLinkz code –><div class=”inlinkz-widget” data-uuid=”ad7cf22cb5cc4893bd07ec71c7936b06″ style=”width:100%;margin:30px 0;background-color:#eceff1;border-radius:7px;text-align:center;font-size:16px;font-family:’Helvetica Neue’,Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif”><div style=”padding:8px;”><p style=”margin-bottom:15px;”>You are invited to the <strong>Inlinkz</strong> link party!</p><a href=”https://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/ad7cf22cb5cc4893bd07ec71c7936b06” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” style=”padding:5px 20px;background:#209cee;text-decoration:none;color:#efefef;border-radius:4px;”>Click here to enter</a></div></div><span style=”display: none;”><script async=”true” src=”https://fresh.inlinkz.com/js/widget/load.js…“></script></span><!– end InLinkz code –>[fresh_inlinkz_code id=”ad7cf22cb5cc4893bd07ec71c7936b06”]https://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/ad7cf22cb5cc4893bd07ec71c7936b06

Hiding In Plain Sight

Yes, I write under a pseudonym. Why?

I think I’ve used this maxim before. “It’s not that I have anything to hide, there’s just nothing I want you to see.”

Wise Advice

My husband is related to Ben Sliney, the National Operations Director who (on his first day in his new position, September 11, 2021) had to order all the airplanes in the country on the ground. A decade later, Ben, upon hearing I was planning to publish my first book, suggested I should use a pseudonym. “Don’t do anything to invite the public into your life. You’ll never get them out.” Also, my legal first name combined with my husband’s last name is a mouthful — not a public-facing kind of name. In fact, I don’t even use my legal first name among people I know face to face. My parents never called me by my legal first name–not even when they were mad at me. I got a combination of their nickname for me and my middle name.

So I took a family name with a famous writerly connection — my grandmother was cousin to the poet Edwin Markham — and a nickname given to me in college and became Lela Markham. It’s not that you couldn’t figure out how to peek behind the curtain to find my real identity, but it keeps the public out of my life so I don’t have to share details that I would rather keep private. Not that I’m in danger of becoming famous, but you never know. Following wise advice seemed like a good idea. You could find me, but hopefully, no fans will show up in my driveway…unlike Ben who has had people taking pictures of him through his bedroom window as well as receiving death threats from people who believe he was “in” on their favorite conspiracy theory.

It also allows me to say things on social media that my employer might not appreciate. I absolutely believe we have a right to speak our mind in public, but there are lots of people who don’t agree and that means a little anonymity protects our freedoms.

Posted November 1, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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New Release   Leave a comment

Fount of Wraiths, Book 3 of Daermad Cycle (an epic Celtic fantasy) now available on Amazon. Special price for the launch and free copies of the earlier books in the series.

Posted October 27, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

A Spot of Greenery   7 comments

Do any of your characters garden? Or keep houseplants? How about you?

Rules:1. Link your blog to this hop.2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.<!– start InLinkz code –><div class=”inlinkz-widget” data-uuid=”1ea343d6a56a46b38667fbe3b57f2f87″ style=”width:100%;margin:30px 0;background-color:#eceff1;border-radius:7px;text-align:center;font-size:16px;font-family:’Helvetica Neue’,Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif”><div style=”padding:8px;”><p style=”margin-bottom:15px;”>You are invited to the <strong>Inlinkz</strong> link party!</p><a href=”https://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/1ea343d6a56a46b38667fbe3b57f2f87” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” style=”padding:5px 20px;background:#209cee;text-decoration:none;color:#efefef;border-radius:4px;”>Click here to enter</a></div></div><span style=”display: none;”>http://a%20rel=</span><!– end InLinkz code –>[fresh_inlinkz_code id=”1ea343d6a56a46b38667fbe3b57f2f87″]https://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/1ea343d6a56a46b38667fbe3b57f2f87

Fictional Gardening

Wow, I hadn’t really thought about gardens and my characters. I had to actually think about it. This is probably because I do a lot of my writing in the winters here when the weather precludes gardening.

In Daermad Cycle (Fount of Wraiths comes out tomorrow, October 26, getting it on pre-order only costs 99 cents, it goes up to regular price after the launch), Padraig does a lot of gardening because he’s an herbman. His job is to sell and prescribe herbs to people who are sick and injured. He spends the winter in Fount of Wraiths growing crops in the warm and rainy coastal plain. He enjoys watching the plants develop, knowing they will fill his saddlebags with the means to save lives.

Although Lord Howedd in Dun Llyr doesn’t get his own hands in the soil, his plans to grow vegetables under glass during the winter will have a powerful impact on the course of the ongoing war among the Celdryans, which will need to be resolved before the Svard fall on the kingdom.

Peter in What If Wasn’t actively hates the rose bushes his mother left behind when his father divorced her. This topic gives me something to think about for his future.

The town of Emmaus in Transformation Project is surrounded by corn fields. Many of the characters are farmers. Shane isn’t, but he owns two massive corn fields. His father Rob also isn’t a farmer (he’s mayor and he owns a feed store), but his family’s holdings include a Metis allotment that they grow corn on. Because of the EMP, they don’t have adequate heating in their houses, so house plants are mostly dead from the cold.

Welcome to My Life

My front window is filled with plants. Since everything else is icy white and gripped in an ice-nap for 5-6 months of the year, it really helps us to have hope for warmer days. I keep telling my husband we need to spread the greenery around, but he prefers them in one location, so whenever I put a plant somewhere else in the house, he moves it back. We have pothos (absolutely indestructible), spider plants (which spend the summers on our deck and are now HUGE), and a shamrock plant (very finnicky, but beautiful if you learn how to grow them). Pothos don’t mind growing in a northern window, even in the winter. They are like a foundation plant in most offices around here because they’ll even survive under fluorescent lights. I think our bedroom would look lovely with a plant on the corner of the highboy, but he keeps moving them back, so…. He loves his jungle window.

Pothos Plant Care 101: Meet the Vine That Thrives Just About Anywhere - Bob  Vila

In the summers we try to grow a garden. We have to start plants indoors in March and April. This year spring was late, meaning the plants didn’t get in the ground until the first week of June, so we really didn’t get a great harvest. We grew cabbages and broccoli. The broccoli bolted in the July heat and so we have a lot of stalks for soups in the freezer. We only got one meal of actual broccoli. The cabbages didn’t get big — they needed another two weeks when it snowed in mid-September. We literally harvested them in the snow. They’ll get added frozen to stirfry. We’re planning to try bokchoy next summer, probably with carrots. We usually only grow a handful of items because our garden area is only 20-30′ so we don’t have a lot of room. We either plant one half of the garden in peas or some years, we plant the whole garden. Peas are really good for the soil.

What we do grow a lot of are tomatoes and cucumbers on the deck. While our garden is on the shadier side of the house, the deck is in full sun about 15 hours in a 22-hour day. We start the plants indoors in March or April, then move the buckets out to deck in May. Usually, the tomatoes aren’t red by late August, so we move the buckets into the house. We pull them off as they redden. This year we harvested the last of the plants October 15 and we now have two huge bowls of red tomatoes and are eating my favorite sandwich – the BLT — every other lunch. The cucumbers plants this year were very pretty, but they didn’t produce any blossoms so our neighbors bees didn’t visit them and so there were no cukes. I have no idea why. We also accidentally grew some pepper plants, which also never produced blossoms or peppers. They were pretty, but sometimes gardening doesn’t work out.

So now I’m wondering what my fellow authors are up to about this topic. I suspect Richard Dee does some gardening.

Posted October 25, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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