Labor Day

This Monday will mark the first Labor Day and accompanying weekend that I have had off in four years. Working all the time has gotten me no closer to my goals and only served to distract me from working towards my best future.  All work and no play has made for a very unproductive writer.

Today, I cleaned most of my house; the bedroom and the bathroom remain.  The laundry is done and the dishes are finishing themselves.  Thank goodness for modern technology.  There are times when I think that it hurts us more than it helps, but tonight I am grateful for the assistance.  It means that tomorrow, I will be able to enjoy some quality time in the sanctuary of my church and some one on one time with my latest book.  Reading time is important because it lets my brain escape the  chaos of my daily life.  The start of school has only brought that chaos to the surface. (No matter what they say no teacher is really ready for the start of school.)

We all need a break from out labors. We all need time to rest and recoup ourselves.

This Labor Day I am finally doing that for myself.

I hope you do as well.

Love,

Lu

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Broken Beaches

The beach was broken.

There wasn’t much of a shore to explore

At least at first…

Further on the path

Around the bend

And through a mangrove forest

There was some sand for my toes.

And waves to rinse away

All the residue that has been clinging

To every step I take, weighing down

Thought, action and tainting feelings

I stood and laughed

Free

Cleansed the unvoiced anger

letting me breathe

for a time

unburdened.

July 018

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First Day of School

Today is the first day of school for my students.  The schedules are messed up, the bulletin boards are unfinished and no one not even the teachers knows that is about to happen. Hope your Monday goes well.

Mine is going to be interesting to say the least.

What was your most interesting first day?

 

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Book Review: Nation by Terry Pratchett

nationNation by Sir Terry Pratchett 

Available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle formats

As some of you may have heard, Sir Terry Pratchett has had to cancel an appearance at a UK  convention due to the embuggerance  catching up to him.  In 2007, Sir Pratchett was  diagnosed with an early form of Alzheimer. He made the announcement to his fan community on December 11th of that year.  In 2008, the Nation was released.  Over the course of his career, Sir Pratchett has published over 50 books, including his fantasy Discworld series.

Six years later, a helpful volunteer for the local library dropped off the paperback version at my school to spark the student’s interest. It was the end of the year by the time that noticed it sitting on a shelf. The  Nation‘s colorful cover drew me to it and I asked the teacher who had been gifted with the book if I could borrow it.  After all my years as a geek and book lover, I am a bit shy to admit that this is the first book of Sir Pratchett’s that I have read.  It did not disappoint in anyway.

The Nation tells the story of two young people who find themselves struggling to survive after a tsunami hits the South Pacific stranding them on the same island.  The bigger problem is that while Mau called the island home before the wave is that Daphane is a trouserman, an alien in his world.  As you might have guessed, they quickly form a bond that helps them transcend cultural and language differences.  It is then that the real action begins.  Throughout the novel, they will fight to protect the island and the people slowly begin to gather afterwards.

It is the novel’s approach to culture and how it explains both Daphane’s and Mau’s world, that really caught me. I knew that I could use this novel to teach culture and its intricacies in my classroom.  The potential for a love story would engage my classroom’s readers as well as its character’s logical approach to their world. The concepts of what it is to be adult and what defines community after  a disaster. Others have pointed out that this is a character driven story tackles themes of death and faith as well.   All of this is present in the novel and while that may should heavy, Sir Pratchetts’s narrative flows in a way that the reader absorbs the gravity of the situations faced by the characters, but is never overwhelmed by it.  It is as the Washington Post Book World said “A terrific thought provoking book.”

While this novel isn’t set his Discworld universe, it clearly demonstrates his gift for storytelling and why readers have been flocking to his books for years.

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Book Review: My Psychic Eye Addiction

lethaloutlook

Lethal Outlook by Victoria Laurie

Available in paperback and Kindle Formats on Amazon.

I love brain candy, but before you begin to think that Lethal Outlook by Victoria Laurie is a piece of fluff, let me give you my definition of brain candy.   My kind of brain candy is rich like Godiva chocolate.  Intense and absolutely delicious, something that keeps me coming back. A book where I am going along for the adventure and I don’t want it to end.

A book that keeps me up late into the night.

Lethal Outlook was as predicted an absolutely fabulous piece of brain candy. I didn’t want to put it down last night.  My brain wanted to continue, but my eyes finally closed on about 4 am.

After her last adventure, Abby aka Edgar, is slowly recovering from her injuries, a fracture pelvis.  She is determined to walk down the aisle without her cane.  Between physical therapy, running her business, dodging phone calls from sister who is obsessed with planning Abby the perfect wedding and her contractor, Dave,  she is in over her head as the book begins then she gets the case of a missing woman handed to her by a mystery woman.   A woman who is clearly in danger if anyone knew that she had come to happy for help.

Kendra Moreno, a young mother, has gone missing and investigators have no leads and suspect  her husband, Tristan, of doing away for his wife.  Abby and her partner Candice know they have  a case when Abby sees a picture of the missing woman and knows the she is dead. The only problem is that they don’t have a client.  When meetings with both the parents of the missing woman and her husband go wrong it doesn’t look like will be getting paid for their investigation.   The two persist and the action of books picks up and takes you in.

One of the best things about a Victorie Laurie mystery is that she weaves it so well that you won’t guess who the killer is until the end of the book. Her heroine is realistic and the rest of the cast of characters are genuine and lovable.

Lethal Outlook is the 10th book in the series.  Book 11 – Deadly Forecast is already out and I am happy to say downloaded onto my kindle.  The only reason that I am tearing into today is that I have work to do and I know if I get started I won’t stop.

 

 

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The day I really met you

So many times before you danced in and out of my life

making me laugh and dream

a wacky creature from beyond the stars

But the day I felt in love with you

the day knew I would forever love you

was the day

you gave meaning to dreams

and ripped pages out of books

and made a desk set fly

the day you told me

the meaning to poetry

was inside beyond the words

the day you gave a character life

doing a job

that no one but you could do

the day you won my heart

was the day that you

made meaning from nothingness

And taught me

about the magic of hope and opportunity

and to rage

rage

against the dying of my own light

And the shadows they have not offended

but given life to inspiration

to a generation

That screams “O’Captain, My Captain”

with tear filled eyes

 

 

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Are you ready?

There is one question that continually draws my ire.  Are you ready? No, I am not.

I am not ready for school to begin in a week. I am not ready for tomorrow or the next day. They are coming anyway.

Time slips past me and deadlines always loom.

So I am not ready for today or tomorrow, but they are coming anyway.

Good news, bad news. It is coming and I will deal with it when it comes.

That may be too late, but some days that is the best that any of us can do.

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Book Review: Dusk and Summer

DuskAndSummer_JosephAPinto_FrontCover_Large_zps307b1fc0

Dusk and Summer by Joseph A. Pinto

Available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats.

The first time I read this book, it held me captive, curled beneath my comforter until it was done with me.  Recently, it was released under a new publisher and with a new cover. Dusk and Summer kept me prisoner for a second time this afternoon.

The novella published by Pinto in 2008 is a deeply personal metaphysical journey that we are guests on.  The beginning of the novella brought out the English teacher in me;  I wanted to make some corrections.  It seemed to me like he was using to many words when fewer would have allowed the tale to flow more evenly. Don’t allow the rocky beginning to turn you off.  It has a purpose and if you let it, it will take a hold of you.  Pinto is a gifted storyteller knowing which elements of the story to share and which to hold back.

If you are tempted in novels to skip the forward and go straight to the meat of the book; don’t.  You will miss some much needed information about the author and how this book was birthed as well as the love behind it.  All books in one form or another are born of an author’s heart.  This one came from a love grown and nurtured over decades between a father and a son. It is also about letting go and following the wishes of a love one.

There is a villain, one that I have had personal experience with, cancer.  It claws and rakes families with misery.  Some survive, and others goes through what the Pinto family did.  They sit day after day with their love ones doing everything they can to make it though the next day, hour or minute with their sanity in tacked.   Hoping and praying for miracles that never come.  Searching for meaning.

This is a book about one man’s search for meaning; about a son looking for a way to fulfill his father’s last wish and finding strength in his father’s life and death.

For more information on the author please visit: www.josephpinto.wordpress.com

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The End of….

Blood Child

Coverart by Steven Warrick

The end of summer is rapidly approaching and I am worn out.  Summer isn’t really a restful time for me, like many teachers I try and squeeze too much into the school free days.

There is really never enough time to do everything.  Over planning and underfunded mean that most of my school free days were actually spent working.  Days off were spent with family and friends or the mundane tasks of of life.  My house elves have been on strike since I brought a foster kitten into the house.

I am adorable someone adopt me.

I am adorable someone adopt me.

So what I have gotten done this summer?

Most of the pre-production work for Blood Child.  My sister, Zee, is going back through the proof to double check everything, which has proved to be a blessing since her eyes are catching errors that I missed.  (Thank you, Zee-Mama)  I finished one short stories, wrote six book reviews and half a dozen poems.The important things is that I wrote.  I didn’t stop when things got hectic. I didn’t stop. I may have paused, but I didn’t let myself stop.

Even though my book isn’t out yet, I find that a lot of people tell me that they could never write one they don’t have the time or the patience. They have ideas.  Ideas are great. They won’t get a book written. It takes putting the words on paper. I don’t write fast. My best progress was about 2,000 words per week. Not day. Per week.  So finishing Blood Child took me a little over a year and a half.  I am aiming for my next project to be a longer and richer so attempting to finish it in the summer was a bit foolish.

Apollo Beach

Apollo Beach, Florida.

The summer has come to an end, but that doesn’t mean it is time to stop daydreaming.  On my last trip to Tampa, I took a picture of this staircase. Imagine all the stories that could begin with a staircase like this. Is it for Merfolk to come and visit ? Or does it have a more sinister purpose? I like to think of this staircase as being one where I am descending into the unknown creative space and taking each step at a time.  Eventually, I get to the bottom and it is time to stop planning and take the plunge.  The journey really doesn’t stop.

But it does have to begin.

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A Lammas Song

Raised a voice to heaven

Crying why. why…

must the clouds come to darken

our hearts

Sang and Sang until the song was right

And then sang no more

for the rest of the night.

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