Monthly Archives: January 2012

Work in Progress. . . sorta . . .

I’ve been working on the fourth installment of the Saga of Will Fylbrigge for longer than I want to admit. I really do want to get that finished before the sun goes nova, but what I’ve got are just a bunch of small little episodic pearls, with no string to hold them together. It makes me wonder if there will ever be a string.

Anyway, I thought I’d share one of the pearls. You’ll be at a disadvantage if you haven’t read “In the Wake of Ashes” (note, shameless plug) so it wouldn’t hurt for you to go and get it at Amazon. (Kindle too!).

Ok, now for the excerpt. Think of it as a bridge to nowhere . . . just yet.




Sanctus…Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.” The lad looked hopefully to his teacher.

“Very good!” the instructor said gently, smiling. “Now, Seany, please tell me the translation.”

The boy heaved a heavy sigh, then caught the sight of the man standing in the doorway, silently mouthing the words behind the instructors back. The lad betrayed his helper with a grin.

Father Ian turned, catching William in the act of helping his son with his lessons. “Forgive me, Father I have . . .” William began, then shrugged. “Ah well, guilty. Name your penance.” He leaned on his canes, walking slowly into the lesson room, smiling innocently at his old friend.

Father Ian shook his head, chuckling under his breath as he made a chair ready for William to sit on. “I should think enduring one of my insufferable lessons with my esteemed young pupil should be penance enough.”

“You mean we’re not finished?” Seany moaned, resting his chin on his fist. “Why do I have to learn this boring old Latin anyway? I’ve no desire to be a stupid old priest.”

William cocked his brow to his son in warning. “Careful lad. Remember who your teacher is.”

Seany blushed. “I’m sorry, Ian.”

Father, Ian,” William corrected.

“Why must I call him Father Ian? He’s always just been Ian? And he’s not my father, you are Papa.”

“No harm, Will. Seany is right in this case. I may have taken back my collar and vows, but as far as he is concerned—and you as well—I prefer to remain simply Ian.” He mussed Seany’s hair affectionately, then closed the lesson book, much to the child’s delight. “And he’s absolutely right. Enough lessons for one day. Go on, enjoy the sunshine.”

“Really?” Seany perked up, grinning.

“Really,” Ian confirmed. “Now go before I change my mind.”

Seany was up and across the room and nearly out the door before he remembered William was in the room. He stopped, one hand on the knob. “Papa? May I go?”

“I’m not in charge in this room, lad,” William replied. “You heard him, go before he changes his mind.” He held his hand to the side of his face and grinned slyly. “You know how grumpy stupid old priests can be if you dinnae do as they say.”

Ian creased his brow, crossing his arms on his chest. “Very grumpy.”

Seany’s eyes went wide for a half-moment, before he broke into laughter. “Thank you!” he called, as he ran happily from the room.

Ian chuckled lightly, pouring some wine from a bottle on a nearby stand. He poured two goblets and brought one to William. “So much for being stern.” He clinked his glass against William’s. “Blessings…and all that,” he said, then gulped the contents down.

“Blessings,” William concurred before sipping at his, a bit slower than his friend. “I am sorry I interrupted your lesson. How is he doing all in all?”

Ian sat back in the chair, placing the goblet down lightly. “Let me show you something.” He shuffled through a pile of parchments on the table until he found the one he wanted, and handed it to William. “Take a look and judge for yourself.”

William looked at the parchment, confused at what he was seeing; a simple child’s drawing of the castle, a few scribbled illegible words scrawled across the bottom and another barn-like structure added to the left margin. “A drawing?”

“Don’t you recognize that?”

“Tis Drumoak, no…we have no barn—ah,” William sighed recognizing the structure. “The common barn back in Port Edin.”

“Yes. We have been back in Scotland nearly three years, yet he still insists that Port Edin is his home. I suppose there is no harm in it.”

“But it concerns you?”

“I know what is to long for a place you cannot return to,” Ian said quietly, finishing the last of his wine.

William looked to see the far-off look on his friend’s eyes. “Do you miss it?”

“Port Edin? No. I’ve put that entire episode far behind me. I was thinking of another time. When I was much younger when I decided to become a stupid old priest.” He gave William a wink.

“He meant no harm in that.”

Ian raised his hand, dismissing William’s concern. “I know. The truth is my friend, your son is very perceptive. He is, in many ways, his father’s son.”



Stay tuned. .. or go buy my books and get caught up. If you read slow enough (um..really slow) I may be done writing by the time you’re done reading.




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Posted by on January 29, 2012 in Uncategorized




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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Uncategorized


Get off my lawn


The following essay was written a few years back, before I actually became old. Now it really makes me laugh . . .



About a month ago I was graduating from high school and then this morning I woke up 30 years later. Don’t you just HATE it when that happens? I used to laugh at all those “you’re old if you remember . . . ” things that used to go around, because well, for the most part they didn’t apply to me. I don’t remember watching “Your Hit Parade” or when Jack Parr ruled late night, and I certainly don’t remember life before TV – such as the list read when I was graduating.

Well now my youngest son is about graduate and there is a new list out now, and I was foolish enough to look at it the other day. Gads. I really am old. Oh the list has all the usual suspects we’ve seen over and over, starting with the phrase: “Today’s High School Graduates are too young to remember . . . ” and includes quaint concepts of antiquity such as “disco”. Disco?? I still have my flared skirt in the closet, thank you. That doesn’t make me old does it? Just because my son was born 10 years after John Travolta danced across that neon floor. (10 years??!) Heck I still considered my vinyl soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever to be one of my newer albums because I still have the sleeve.

Which brings us to CDs. My son was born after the advent of CDs. His understanding of vinyl LPs is that they make wicked good Frisbees and if you wobble them fast they make a funny sound. “You mean they make music?”

Ah, music. Remember music? Remember when singers used to actually sing without any electronic doohickey keeping them key and most of them could actually play an instrument and write songs and everything? Remember? Ok in this respect I do have to give my son credit for looking beyond his own lifetime back to ‘the golden era’ as he calls it (the 1970s) for his music. His song collection is astonishingly close to mine, however I actually remember when most of these bands were in ‘first run’, young, still good looking and, well, breathing. His musical tastes are very wide for a teenager of today. He enjoys the ‘classics’ and reveres the ‘league of dead guys’ Beethoven, Bach. . . and John Lennon. He commented proudly one day (a testament to his open-mindedness) that he shuns modern music, and as proof pointed out his mp3s are all ‘old or long dead’ – Jim Morrison, John Denver . . . ok, I’ll give you dead, but OLD??

The icons of my youth, still fresh in my mind, are now selling wrinkle cream on infomercials. Paul McCartney is approaching that 64th year he wondered about back when I was 4 years old. The Monkees are no longer the young generation and they don’t have much to say anymore.

I lamented to my son how I remember being younger than the pretty people in the posters, and found it startling to realize that I am old enough to be the parents of the current poster children – Orlando Bloom is younger than my oldest son, Hayden Christenson is younger than my second oldest son. If I admire their good looks I feel like a dirty old lady! But my son, bless his heart pointed out that there are still ‘old guys’ out there who are ‘legal’ for me to drool over. “Who?” I asked. “Johnny Depp is wicked old mom. . .he’s like. . 40 something”.

“40 something?”

“Yeah, wicked old, and he’s still cool.”

“40 something is wicked old?”

“Well . . . yeah. I mean he was born way back in like 1963 or something.”

I was born in 1961. Pass the bran flakes and get off my lawn.

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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Uncategorized


For all intensive porpoises, he’s the spitting image of his father. . . .

If that title made you cringe and shake your head, I’m glad! It means you know there’s something wrong. If you haven’t figured it out, then I invite you to visit

To be sure, I know I have made my share of malapropos statements in my day. I am notoriously bad at spelling and quite frankly would never survive in the wild without my spell checker. But I have learned not to blindly accept everything the squiggly line suggests without being certain it’s giving me good advice. The grammar checker on my word processer has done some really funky things to me over the years, so I have decided to turn the bloody thing off and learn proper usage on my own. I’ve also learned, when in doubt, look it up and if I am still uncertain, then I find another way to say the thing I was trying to say.

What distresses me is to see more and more badly written words, whether they be in blogs, news articles or even just status updates. Yeah, yeah I hear some of you. “It’s the Internet, get used to it. . . that’s how we write!” I reject that argument as lazy. The English language is a living and changing lexicon, but there are also rules that need to learned and followed. Rule number one: Words are spelled with letters only. No numbers allowed!

Learn! Your and you’re are different words that mean different things. An apostrophe designates a possessive or a missing letter — NOT a plural. There are three different words that sound like ‘there’ and they’re not the same in their meanings or spelling. Learn them. And even if you could care less about something I still couldn’t.

Some of the more egregious offenses I’ve come across while reading news articles just this past week: (Have all the journalists abandoned their Style Guides?) :

  • It’s a doggy dog world.
  • It could of / would of/ should of. . . (GAA!)
  • Hung where it should be hanged. (Pictures are hung, people are hanged! Get used to it, that’s how it works!)
  • Using ‘a’ and ‘of’ to frame ‘myriad’. Myriad does not mean ‘variety’. If it did, then ‘a myriad of’ would be correct. The word myriad literally means ‘many’ and should be used the same way the word many is used. You would not say “I have a many of choices to make.” If you’re not sure which way to go, then simply don’t use the word myriad. Choose many or variety instead and you’ll probably avoid the proper usage problem all together.

I know there are many arguments about how words change their meanings so I shouldn’t be so uptight about it. The trouble is that many words have their meanings changed because people don’t take the time or care to use them properly in the first place. Spitting image? Really? Is it too hard to comprehend that it should be “spit and image”? It makes a whole lot more sense that way and sounds a bit more intelligent.

Now, go out and write something!



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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in daily babble


Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY …

Tomorrow is a big day. I go back to normalcy.

By normalcy, I mean getting up the same time every day, performing the same morning routine, and going to work. Of course there will be a difference from the last time I was in normal mode. This time around, I will feel better. Hallelujah!

Two months post-op and I have to admit, I feel terrific. I’m proud of myself for not going rogue and trying to do it all while I was supposed to be doing nothing. I did nothing.

Therein lies the problem.

I did nothing. I didn’t get my novel re-edited as I had planned. I didn’t knit all the mittens I planned to knit. I didn’t organize my closet (though that one was sorta not allowed anyway because of the lifting involved — that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).

This past week I got the good news that all has healed, the pathology is still good, and I can now resume my interrupted life, and that of course means going back to the work-a-day world.

So the first thing I did was to try to fit in all the stuff I didn’t do over the past 9 weeks into one marathon weekend. The surprising thing is that I actually DID accomplish a few things on my list (not any of the stuff I listed up there, of other little projects – like restarting this blog). Which leads me to the conclusion that the less time I have, the more I get done. I’m no good with too much time on my hands. I need the structure and the deadlines. Without it, I’m a danger to myself and my scale. I stay up way to late and sleep in way to long. I forget to eat breakfast and lunch, and then over indulge at dinner.

Tomorrow morning I will hit the shower at 6:30, and the road by 7:45. I just hope I can get to sleep before 2:00am and don’t sleep through the alarm.

I should make a list too, of things I am likely to forget: make a lunch – AND TAKE IT WITH ME, remember where I put the badge — AND TAKE IT WITH ME, gather all the files of the work I’ve done from home — AND TAKE THEM WITH ME. . . (you see a trend?)

Wish me luck!




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Posted by on January 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


And so it begins . . .

One would think that four abandoned blogs for one writer would be more than enough. I certainly think that. But, in the spirit of jump starting my writing, and getting back on track with a daily entry of babble, here I am, starting a new one.

Let’s get a couple of things out of the way. What the heck does ‘the refeathering’ refer to? Well, one of the aforementioned abandoned blogs was my long lost Xanga blog: Songbird’s Nest. Why I ever killed that, I will never know. I was faithful to that blog for nearly five years, updating almost daily. I even had a modest following of faithful readers. Then, for no good reason, other than I was upset with some policy changes made by Xanga, in a fit of pique, I unceremoniously deleted the account. Five years of writing — zip. I was instantly aghast at my action. How could I?

I have not been successful in keeping a blog since. Blogger, Live Journal, and WordPress all have seen me come and go. The biggest culprit is not that I have nothing to write, but the fact that logging into them is a hassle. Xanga used to be easy. These others — not so much. There’s a lot of settings and programming and back door things to navigate. Ok, and I kept forgetting my logins and passwords. (I have more email addresses than I could ever need as well, and tend to forget which ones I’ve signed up with.)


The truth is, I’m using WordPress now because it comes with a lot of nice little applications that allow me to update the blog using MS Word, or my iPod. I can hook into my Facebook and Twitter accounts, and even add the little +1 thingy for Google+. No excuse now.

So there you are, all the information you didn’t want or need, and probably won’t read.

Here I go again.



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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in daily babble