Daily Walk: Icy Reflections

Most of these photos were taken on Friday. It was such a gorgeous day, the temperature went up to 12oC, the snow was melting and the ice had the gorgeous, shiny and reflective glow to it! 

We crossed the brook, still quite frozen, but ice water was burbling on top and  just beneath the surface.  It was very calming and peaceful. Only the day before, this brook was a solid block of ice but now a fragile crust covers it.

See how slick the ice surface is? I love how the sun pops through the trees here. The reflections are beautiful!

The sun is a brighter here on the other side. So pretty!

Check out the difference between Friday and Monday! I took the picture below from the almost the same spot beside the same tree. It was pretty grey this morning but the reflections are still there. The snow is all gone, the pond is still frozen.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed the photos from our walk. Thanks for stopping by!

Jo-Ann and Burger

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ROW80 Week 2

ROW80

I’m a little late getting my Sunday report done. I had a busy Saturday, and these ROW80 reports have a way of sneaking up on you!

Novel Writing:  My writing group meeting was Wednesday night, so I thought I’d work on my short story that day instead of novel writing. We are working on putting together an anthology with a humorous theme. I got a reasonable first draft down that I was happy enough to share with the group. They laughed at the appropriate parts, so I’m taking that’s a good sign. I did a bit more editing on Friday but I’m still working out a few kinks.

Thursday I finished a chapter in my novel for a total of 750 words. I had hoped to edit a chapter a week. It took me two weeks to edit this chapter. So, I’m a bit slower than I expected but that’s okay. I’m still making progress and that’s a good thing.

 

Painting: I had planned on painting three afternoons a week. This week I painted one afternoon. That was on Monday, so you might already have seen this painting when I posted on Wednesday.

Nothing more done the rest of the week, hopefully next week I will get more painting time in!

 

 

 

YogaYoga: I had hoped to get to yoga class at least three times per week.Unfortunately, I only made it once this week. Between writer’s group and dinner with a friend (it was her birthday!) that was the best I could do. We shall see what this week brings!

 

 

I’m hoping next week will be more productive. Hopefully, I’ll have another chapter in my novel edited, plus I have a couple of reviews coming up on some books that were written locally and I’m excited to share them with you.

I was also thinking of doing some posts that relate to the novel that I’m writing. My novel is interlaced with legends and historical stories that link and weave the characters together. It’s a blend of modern realism with historical fantasy. If you enjoy time travel, evil queens, faeries and steampunk magic, then you might enjoy this.

Have a wonderful week!

Jo-Ann

It’s Friday: Rise of the Mudmen

Rise of the Mudmen by James FW Thompson

Blurb from Amazon: Alex used to believe that bad things didn’t happen on sunny days…but now he knows better. On an otherwise normal October day, his neighborhood becomes a place of horror. Missing parents, a chaotic evacuation and a school in flames are only the beginning of a nightmarish world overrun by bloodthirsty creatures–creatures who were once neighbours, friends, and family. Thrown together by chance with no adults coming to their rescue, Alex, Nicole, David and Kaitlyn must rely on themselves and each other to survive. As they struggle to defend themselves, create a safe haven, and learn to work together, they discover that there’s more than one kind of enemy…and that sometimes the worst ones come from within… Set in Cape Breton in 1986, Rise of the Mudmen will take you back to a time that never was.

View on Amazon

View on Goodreads

 

I was so excited to read this book! It is set in the year a graduated from high school, in the city I grew up in! It has a YA flavour to the writing, and there are some pretty gory parts. Review to follow, but I wanted to share some excerpts to give you a taste of this apocalyptic novel.

 

Book Beginnings on Fridays

Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted at Rose City Reader where you share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

 

 

 

 

The story starts off with description of creatures (we aren’t told what exactly) chasing a female in the forest, which turns out to be part of a TV show. I’ll jump in just after that part and get right into the story.

Just as suddenly as it began, it was over with a quick flip of the dial.

“Hey,” Alex said, “I was watching that!”

Shadow, his black lab, woke up with a jerk at the sudden noise, Alex had hoped she might take more of an interest in her canine relatives, but evidently the show was too long for her.

“Yeah, I noticed,” his dad replied. “But it’s supper time, and I don’t want you getting any ideas.”

The Friday 56

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted at Freda’s voice.

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

Here’s the blurb from page 56:

Occasionally people were released and sent through the tunnel to the Colby side. They came wrapped in splints, or with fresh stitches, or just bandaged and were sent to the sleeping areas that, earlier that day, had been elementary classrooms.

“I bet if I could just get in there,” Nicole said, motioning to the guarded door of St. Joseph’s, “I could find out whatever we wanted to know.”

“Wow,” David said flatly. “You are really going to figure this all out for us, huh? My hero.”

 

What do you think? Is this a book you’d be interested in reading?

Thanks for reading and Happy Weekend!

Jo-Ann

 

 

 

The Best Gift from one Writer Friend to Another

Love this…an amazing gift from my amazing friend The Geeky Book Lady!

A GIFT FOR ONE OF THE WRITERS IN MY LIFE

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Last Christmas I was trying to get creative with my gift giving as well as shopping local as much as possible.

I am lucky to have other writers in my life, and two of them are my closest friends. When trying to come up with gift ideas for them, I decided to do something “writerly” for them. Now, I won’t share my original idea as I might do that for Christmas 2018 for both of them. 😉But I would like to share a part of  what I made for one of them.

My friend Jo-ann from Inspiration Pie and I had been out for coffee one afternoon, and she was talking about feeling stuck, being in a rut and whatnot. Later that day I was in my office looking through craft supplies when an idea struck!

I found a mini Smashbook I had bought ages ago. I was saving it for the perfect project. And I found it! I am a sucker for a homemade gift.

writer gift 1

With the help of stickers, washi tape, printouts I had and *Pinterest, I made her a mini survival kit. 🙂

I tried to include as much as I could. One important thing was inspirational quotes, to help keep her motivated on a bad day. 🙂

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Another important thing I wanted to include was some writing prompts. Some I made up, while others I found online. I did several pages with prompts.

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Of coarse, I also included various writing tips for getting unstuck.

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I searched old hand outs from writers group and online for other tips for world building, characters, etc…

 

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I had a lot of fun making this for her, and she was genuinely thrilled when I gave it to her. I used to make handmade gifts a lot, but got out of the habit. I think I will get back into that old habit, at least a little bit.

What writer themed gifts have you given/gotten?

*Pinterest is my Google. I give full credit to those whose posts I printed.

ROW80 Week 2

ROW80

Monday wasn’t a too bad day for writing. I normally do my writing in the morning, but it didn’t quite happen that way.

Instead, Monday was a day for having lunch with the girls. It was so nice to get caught up with friends after the holidays! And they were writer friends, my inspiration! So that totally justifies it, right?

It was later in the evening when I got 460 words edited. I was happy with that, though I seemed to have added an incredible amount more story to the memory being recalled by the main character. I might be off on a tangent but I will go with it for now and cut it later if I have to.

Tuesday, I’ve edited 544 words and still going strong on the memory…only it’s way better. I think. We’ll see!

Painting:  I found a pack of small canvasses in my studio, around 5 x 5 inches. What to paint, though? I don’t normally work on landscapes, but I thought I’d do a painting from a picture that I took on my daily walk. If you’d like to see the original photo, it’s here, second one down.

Winter Reflections

I’m not really happy with the way the reflected trees on the right hand side look. They’re more like sticks than trees. Aaaand I might have overworked it a bit but overall I was reasonably happy with it. I might try to do something about the trees. I’m getting comments from family that the painting looks upside  down. Hmmmm….

Yoga

Yoga: Oh, I so did not want to go to yoga tonight. I was tired. It was busy, my son wanted to visit my mother. It was so tempting to skip it. But, I did not! I went to yoga and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m so glad I went! Yay!

 

So that’s my update for this week! Did you have goals? 

Thanks so much for stopping by,

Jo-Ann

 

Daily Walk: Fresh Snow!

When I looked outside this morning and saw freshly fallen snow, I was a bit worried. I hoped it wouldn’t be too cold for a walk and I really hoped there was no wind to add to the windchill. As it turned out, it was a gorgeous morning. Only -3oC and no wind.

There were no dogs around, but Burger didn’t seem to mind. He kept after me to make snowballs and throw them! He’d chase them down and ‘eat’ them. It was hilarious watching him to to find the snowball when he didn’t see where it landed!

The sky was a bit overcast, but the view over the hill was still a pretty one.

I’m linking this post up with the First Friday Photo bloghop hosted by Eden Mabee. Please drop by her blog and have a look around and leave your link in the linky if you wish to participate! The actual posts go live on the first Friday of each month.  In the case of this session, the posting day will be Feb 2.

Anyone and everyone is welcome to join in.  This isn’t a contest…  just a way to share a bit of love to the art of pictures.

Hoped you enjoyed our walk! Thanks for stopping by.

Jo-Ann and Burger

Review: Cell by Stephen King

Blurb from Amazon: On October 1, God is in His heaven, the stock market stands at 10,140, most of the planes are on time, and Clayton Riddell, an artist from Maine, is almost bouncing up Boylston Street in Boston. He’s just landed a comic book deal that might finally enable him to support his family by making art instead of teaching it. He’s already picked up a small (but expensive!) gift for his long-suffering wife, and he knows just what he’ll get for his boy Johnny. Why not a little treat for himself? Clay’s feeling good about the future.

That changes in a hurry. The cause of the devastation is a phenomenon that will come to be known as The Pulse, and the delivery method is a cell phone. Everyone’s cell phone. Clay and the few desperate survivors who join him suddenly find themselves in the pitch-black night of civilization’s darkest age, surrounded by chaos, carnage, and a human horde that has been reduced to its basest nature…and then begins to evolve.

There’s really no escaping this nightmare. But for Clay, an arrow points home to Maine, and as he and his fellow refugees make their harrowing journey north they begin to see crude signs confirming their direction. A promise, perhaps. Or a threat…

There are 193 million cell phones in the United States alone. Who doesn’t have one? Stephen King’s utterly gripping, gory, and fascinating novel doesn’t just ask the question “Can you hear me now?” It answers it with a vengeance.

My Thoughts:

From the time I started reading, I was immediately drawn into this novel, Cell. Right off the bat in the first couple of pages when the apocalypse began, I had a really hard time putting it down. We are introduced to Clay, the main character, who was immediately likeable. As the story progresses, his character was well rounded out, struggling with internal conflict as well as struggling to survive in the new world of phone crazies. I would have like to have seen the other characters developed in more depth as well. Alice and Tom were interesting in their own right and I think more background on them would have served them better.

The zombie apocalypse trope has been done before but King comes through with a brilliant and unique take. The phone crazies have strange and interesting behaviour, flocking, they called it. Not only that, the phone crazies began evolving, adding a whole new dimension to the story. As Clay and his group of refugees travel together to get to Clay’s home and find his son and estranged wife, they experience and witness many strange events, and strange characters.

The book started out amazing, as I said, especially the first half of the story,  but I have to say the ending did me in. I wanted to throw the book across the room and if it wasn’t a library book (overdue, at that) I probably would have. I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen in the end and I had nothing. I was left hanging.

Overall, I really enjoyed Cell. Stephen King is an amazing author, his writing is always fresh and different. If it wasn’t for the ending it would be five stars. Here, I am giving it 4 stars.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?

Thanks for stopping by!

Jo-Ann

 

 

 

 

 

Writing, Painting and Yoga: ROW80 Update Round 1 Sunday

Unfinished painting

ROW80Here’s my second update for ROW80! For those who have never heard of this, ROW80 stands for Round Of Words in 80 days. There are 4 rounds in the year, each running 80 days. There are twice weekly check-ins, on Wednesday and Sunday. The idea is to set out your goals of what you want to achieve during the 80 days, whether it is writing, personal goals, it can be anything as long as it’s measurable. You write it up on your blog twice weekly and cheer each other on.

I listed my goals on this post here, just in case you’re interested in checking them out.

Novel: As far as novel writing goes, I did fall short on finishing the editing on the chapter I was working on. I had planned on working on it on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but I’m too easily distracted apparently and/or I need more days to get the editing done. That being said, I did get 450 words edited on Monday, 750 on Tuesday and another 500 on Wednesday. I’m not going to complain about that.

Short Stories: In order to achieve my goal of writing three short stories this year, I set aside Thursday and Friday for that venture. I did some outlining on Thursday, and got in 480 words on Friday. Again, distraction got to me. I couldn’t stand seeing the Christmas tree, bare and naked in the corner. I had to put it away. Then I had to clean up the broken glass from a smashed ornament and by the time I was done I needed a nap. Does it sound like I’m making excuses?

Painting: I had decided that Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons would work well for painting. Monday was New Years day. That didn’t happen. Wednesday…I painted! Yes! I actually finished a painting that had been hanging on my wall half finished for the past year or so:

Unfinished painting
See the red leaves on the right? They aren’t supposed to be red. Need to finish this!

I spent Wednesday afternoon working on this and it’s finally finished! Here is the final product:

The red is gone and there are a few more leaves. It looks darker here than the original painting.

I was hoping to get some painting in on Friday but it didn’t happen. I took a much needed nap.

YogaYoga: I did it! I renewed my YMCA membership and went to a yoga class and it was amazingly relaxing.  All that stretching and deep breathing felt incredible. My muscles were sore for days after, which tells me I had a good (much needed!) workout too. I had planned to go to class on Thursday, but a major snow/windstorm got in the way of that. It just wasn’t safe to venture out. I got some exercise on Friday morning getting the driveway cleared of heavy, wet snow before the temperature dropped below freezing.

 

Cell by Stephen King Friday Post

Cell

Formats: Hardcover / Paperback / Audio / eBook / Kindle
First Edition Release Date:January, 2006
Synopsis:

Artist Clayton Riddell had been in Boston negotiating a successful deal to sell his comic book project. His joy at finally hitting it big is shattered by an event called The Pulse which causes all those who were using their cell phones at the time of The Pulse to become zombies attacking and killing anyone in their way. Fortunately for Clay, he does not own a cell phone. In the panic to get out of Boston and find his way home to his wife and son in Maine, he is joined by Tom McCourt, a man he meets in the meleé immediately following The Pulse and a young girl, Alice, who they rescue from being killed by one of the “crazies.” The story follows their terrifying journey, avoiding capture—and worse—by the “crazies” who are beginning to “flock” and are led by one they call Raggedy Man as they attempt to reach Maine and a place called Kashwak which they hope will be their salvation.

Book Beginnings on Fridays

Book Beginnings on 

Fridays is a meme hosted at Rose City Reader where you share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

 

I just started reading this and already I’m excited about this story. I’m totally drawn in to the story of the main character. Here’s the first paragraph in the story:

The event that came to be known as The Pulse began at 3:03 p.m., eastern standard time, on the afternoon of October 1. The term was a misnomer, of course, but within ten hours of the event, most of the scientists capable of pointing this out were either dead or insane. The name hardly mattered, in any case. What mattered was the effect.

The Friday 56

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted at Freda’s voice.

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

Here’s the blurb from page 56:

“No,” Mr. Ricardi said, almost primly. “Employees have to leave them in their lockers while they’re on the job. One violation gets them a reprimand. Two and they can be fired. I tell them this when they’re taken on.” He lifted one thin shoulder in a half-shrug. “It’s management’s policy, not mine.”

“Would she have gone down to the second floor to investigate those sounds?” Alice asked.

“Possibly,” Mr. Ricardi said. “I have no way of knowing. I only know that I haven’t heard from her since she reported the wastebasket fire out, and she hasn’t answered her pages. I paged her twice.”

Clay didn’t want to say You see, it isn’t safe here, either right out loud, so he looked past Alice at Tom, trying to give him the basic idea with his eyes.

 

Amazon Giveaway Entry – Watching Glass Shatter

I loved this book and you will too! Here’s your opportunity to win a free copy!

If you’d like to see my review of this book, have a look at it here

Amazon Giveaway Entry – Watching Glass Shatter (By January 17th)

POSTED ON 

I’ve created an Amazon Giveaway for my novel, Watching Glass Shatter. You can enter at the link below to win a Kindle edition before January 17th. All you need to do is tweet about the book. Details @:

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/bda57ab492b95af9?ref_=pe_1771210_134854370#ts-dei

Watching-Glass-Shatter-Promo-Hardback-Ereader

Book Description

Watching Glass Shatter was published on October 8th, 2017 and is available for purchase in both electronic and physical print form. It has 300+ reviews, averaging 4.7 on Amazon & 4.3 on Goodreads in a 5 point scale.

The wealthy Glass family lost its patriarch, Benjamin Glass, sooner than expected. Benjamin’s widow, Olivia, and her 5 sons each react to his death in their own way while preparing for the reading of his will. Olivia receives a very unexpected confession from her late husband about one of their sons that could shatter the whole family.

Prior to revealing the secret to her children, Olivia must figure out which boy Ben refers to in the confession he left her in his will. While the family attorney searches for the mysterious Rowena Hector whom Ben says holds the answers, Olivia asks her sons to each spend a week with her as she isn’t ready to let go of the past. When Olivia visits her sons, she quickly learns that each one has been keeping his own secret from her. Olivia never expected her remaining years would be so complex and life-altering, but she will not rest until her family is reunited after Ben’s untimely death.

We all need family. We all want to fit in. We’re all a mix of quirky personalities. Will Olivia be able to fix them or will the whole family implode? What will she do when she discovers the son behind Ben’s secret? Check out this ensemble cast where each family member’s perspective is center stage, discovering along the way who might feel the biggest impact from all the secrets. Through various scenes and memories across a six-month period, you’ll get to know everyone, learning how and why they made certain decisions. Welcome to being an honorary member of the Glass family where the flair for over-the-top drama pushes everyone to their limits.

You can see sample chapters and descriptions at: https://jamesjcudney.com/

Buy the Kindle version from Amazon

Buy the paperback version from Amazon

 

Blog Tour

  • The book went on a 17-day blog tour from 11/5 thru 11/21. You can read all posts via this one location by clicking here.

Radio Interview

  • Jay was a guest on the Artist First radio segment on Tuesday, November 14th from 6 to 7pm. To listen to the recorded 1-hour broadcast for news on the book and author, click here.

Book Reviews & Interviews

  • In addition to Goodreads and Amazon, you can find a central link to some very fun and in-depth book reviews and author interviews here

2018 Short Story Collection

  • Polls closed on 11/20 and you selected ETHAN as your favorite character. He will be the focus of the first published short story in the 2018 collection (March 2018)

 


Sequel

  • A 2018 sequel for Watching Glass Shatter was announced; it’s too hard to let go of the Glass family — they have many more stories to share. More information on launch timing to be available in early 2018.