Sunday, February 22, 2015

Tips for good writing habits

Here's a post from my friend D. Jean Quarles on how to establish good writing habits.  If you're a writer, take a look.  #6 is my Achilles' Heel.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Cross-Country Skiing in the Czech Republic

My friend ReEnna and I had an awesome day cross-country skiing in Velké Karlovice in the Czech Republic.  The skies were blue, the company was great, the snow was only a little too icy for my skill, and the falling didn't hurt much.

Skiing near Hotel Galik, Velke Karlovice
Me and ReEnna
The sun was so beautiful!
Just like the whole day.
Look carefully and you'll see me skiing down the hill right under the sun.
This is what happened after the hill, when I relaxed and tried to look at the camera.  

Lesson One:  Don't try to look at the camera.  

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Cabinet of Wonders, by Marie Rutkoski

In novels, I don’t generally like my fantasy mixed with history, because then I never know what’s real, and I don’t know if I’m actually learning anything.  I also have more problems suspending my disbelief.  This is true of urban fantasy, science fantasy, supernatural, etc.  If something’s set in the real world, I have a hard time believing in monsters and magic.  If it’s set in a fake world, I have no problem believing the same things.  Call me weird.

So, Cabinet of Wonders takes place in the Czech Republic during the Renaissance.  I LOVE the Czech setting and all the Czech names, the foods I’ve eaten and places I’ve actually walked.   But then there’s magic too, which for me dilutes the pleasure of the setting a little.  However, this is my personal issue, and if you don’t mind the mix, you’ll love The Cabinet of Wonders.  The author, in her “Author’s note” confesses:  “I’m a little worried that someone, somewhere is going to object to the way I’ve manhandled history.”  So she asks Astrophil, the tin spider in her novel, and he reminds her that she never made any promises to be historically accurate so she doesn’t need to worry.  “After all,” he says, “I am not historically accurate.  But I exist.”  So there you go.

The magic in the book is perhaps unrealistically powerful, but highly imaginative and interesting.  The pacing of the story is good, the events interesting, the writing smooth, the characters fun (I love the tin spider).  It’s a very enjoyable book.  And, of course, I love that it is set in the Czech Republic and that it takes the legend of Prague’s astronomical clock and twists it. 

I will certainly read the rest of the Kronos Chronicles.

4 Stars

Click here to buy The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Happiness Is...

We all have different definitions of happiness.  
This is one of mine.  :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Magic of Winter in Vsetin, Czech Republic

It's been such a fantastic snowy week in my world.  This is one of the reasons why I keep coming back to the Czech Republic.

First was my hike in the Hostýnské vrchy:  a world turned to lace, snow on each branch like iron filings on a magnet, drifts like Sahara sand dunes, some up to my thighs, gentle snowfall all day.  

Then I took a hike up my favorite trail right from my apartment and saw at least seven deer--stalked them a little, watched them bound so gracefully through the snow.  

Thursday was a day off, so I caught a bus up to Dušná and hiked down the blue trail to Vsetin, slogging happily through drifts that covered the gaiters Dad made, sliding around on the steep parts.  Snow everywhere, gorgeous views.    

Friday I watched the huge flakes drift down outside my window as I wrote, then went out and made a snowman, shoveled snow (for the first time in 5 years), and took a night-time walk around the neighborhood where I kept stopping to just gaze in wonder at the huge flakes drifting up and down and sideways in the glow of the streetlights.  People must have thought me crazy, standing there trying to catch the puffs of snow in my gloves--each mass made up of dozens of individual flakes clinging together.  

Saturday morning all the trees had turned to cotton balls--shades of gray and white so surreal I almost cried with the beauty of it.  

The sky turned blue.  I thought I'd take a little walk around the neighborhood, and ended up on a hike to what I call the meadow at the top of the world, through a wonderland of cotton ball trees glowing in the sun, all the world blue and white.  

Then, today:  crosscountry skiing at Velké Karlovice on another brilliant blue-sky day, all the trees still flocked, roofs thick with snow, icicles in rows on eaves, and me gliding (slowly and rather ungracefully) through it all.  

I am so happy to be here!