a stolen tag & I LOVE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 SO MUCH!

coffee, classics, and craziness

Rachel was recently awarded the Sunshine Blogger Award over at Hamlette’s Soliliquy and her questions were so fun that I’m answering them (even though she didn’t tag me). Since I’m not an official participant, I’m not going to bother creating my own questions, tagging fellow bloggers, etc. I’ll just be answering the questions.

Oh, and that Guardians thing? We’ll get to that. But first, the tag!

Fantasy or sci-fi?

This is difficult for me because I don’t think I love pure fantasy or pure sci-fi (at least not in the way I understand the genre). I prefer stories that mesh the two, and right now I’m thinking specifically of Agents of Shield. There’s a lot of sciencey stuff in that show, but there’s also some things that can’t be explained by science. Fantastical elements. (Though I think AoS would be considered sci-fi.) I guess sci-fi would win out over…

View original post 970 more words

scattered thoughts on ‘the moon-spinners’ (1964).

coffee, classics, and craziness

The Moon-Spinners & Others Lot (Buena Vista, 1964). Trimmed Poster | Lot  #50322 | Heritage Auctions

For the life of me, I can’t remember the book I read where the main character mentions going to see this movie. (I think it was set in the sixties and he/she went to see it in the movie theatre.) I wish I could remember, because that bit in the book made me watch the movie on Disney Plus. And what a movie it was! Not perfect, not an absolute favorite, but very good for a live-action sixties Disney movie nonetheless. (I know that’s a very specific criteria, lol.)

As I share some of my ‘scattered thoughts’, let’s start with the fact that the theme song SLAPS.

The basic plot is as follows: Nikky (Hayley Mills), a tourist who’s come to Greece, stumbles upon a plot to sell stolen emeralds (and a desperate attempt to thwart that sale) that involves three or four menacing villains, a cute British guy…

View original post 380 more words

Today’s Pictures: 17 Dec 20

Today is really special. I’ve been clear of cancer for fives years! I won, Cancer lost. No more hospital appointments! I’m free!

Stuart Aken

From the shadows into the light.

Share this post widely on social media and it will let those who are stuck indoors, due to Covid 19, enjoy it. It’ll also reach more people and, hopefully, show them the wonderful place our world is. With luck, between us, we’ll restore some love and respect for nature and slow down the damage to our environment. Thank you.

On a summer evening, people gather on the harbour wall on the island of Crete to watch the sunset. Taken August 2008

Late afternoon sun in December in a grove of oaks in the Forest of Dean

If you like my pictures, why not have a look at my gallery? You can find it here or through the ‘Gallery’ tab at the top of the page.

View original post

Today’s Pictures: 13 Dec 20

Stuart Aken

December sun casts shadows across a forest path.

Sharing this post widely on social media will allow those who are stuck indoors, due to Covid 19, to enjoy it. It will also reach more people and, hopefully, illustrate what a wonderful place our world is. With luck, between us, we might restore love and respect for nature and slow down the destructive urge to ruin our environment. Thank you.

And, in contrast, a rocky path clings to a steep hill on the Greek island of Santorini. Taken September 2013.

And another slope in the Forest of Dean on the shaded side of the valley.

If you enjoy my pictures, you may be interested in my gallery, which you can find here or through the ‘Gallery’ tab at the top of the page.

View original post

twenty-five reasons Christmas time is the best time

coffee, classics, and craziness

1. The Christmas season feels like hope and light and everything good in the world. It lightens your heart and shakes up your life–and in a good way, not like a certain stupid virus.

2. The mall is Christmas-themed. In fact, everything is Christmas-themed. AWESOME.

3. It’s time to break out all those movies you only watch in December.Home Alone! How the Grinch Stole Christmas! It’s a Wonderful Life! Nobody’s going to blame you for doing a little bingeing, so go for it.

4. And you’ll probably have a bunch of new Christmas flicks to enjoy as well. Each Christmas season, streaming services, film companies, and even TV channels (Hallmark!) put out fresh Christmas content for their consumers. Sure, most of them won’t become hugely popular classics, but they’re fun for an afternoon or evening.

5. You can listen to your favorite Christmas carol in a…

View original post 780 more words

Today’s Pictures: 4 Dec 20

Stuart Aken

A footbridge across the overflow of Cannop Ponds in the Forest of Dean.

Thanks for visiting this blog. Please be generous to those imprisoned by the Covid crisis by sharing this post widely with them on social media, so they can also enjoy it. It will then also reach more people and, hopefully, remind them what a wonderful place our world is. That might help restore some love and respect for nature and slow down our destructive urge to ruin the environment. Thank you.

View from the entrance to the historical site of the old leper colony on Spinalonga, Crete. Taken July 2008.

If you enjoy my pictures, you may be interested in my gallery, which you can find here or through the ‘Gallery’ tab at the top of the page.

View original post

Genres: NA, YA, MM, PNR

Vampires, Crime and Angels...Eclectic Me

Genres can be anything from NA, YA, MM, PNR and history, historical, mystery. What does it all mean?

I recently saw a list of literary genres on a website here, trying to help a writer define their genre and find out which one they belonged to. (NO genre definitions are from this site. I don’t agree with any of them!) I also had a conversation with someone online about how authors shouldn’t step outside of their ‘known’ genre because it was confusing for the reader. I, however, don’t agree. My genre is ‘romance’, so as long as I can create a believable romantic story then I don’t care if it’s paranormal, MM, YA or Contemporary. I will write what comes to me and what I think people want to read. But, let’s have a run down of the genres and discuss the options:

YA: Young Adult

This means the…

View original post 1,443 more words

If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything!

Those words really entered the American lexicon when they were spoken by Chris Kraft, the first space flight controller in the manned space program called Project Mercury. An underling didn’t know what to do during the simulation of an early space flight, was intimidated/terrified of Kraft, did something hoping he was right, wasn’t, caused a gigantic error, and incurred the wrath of Kraft.

190723-chris-kraft-nasa-rd_b76276ba88aef4a29caacbf6fa5853d1.nbcnews-fp-1200-630

(Kraft in Mercury Control in 1961 giving hell to someone)

And right now I don’t know what to do with “Blue Cottage”. I have five drafts, but it’s very hard to tell what’s missing.

I know…

Chapter 1 needs a lot of work. Description of most things is pretty pathetic. There is little to no description of the apartment or the hall. There is no physical description of either of the characters in chapter 1 and almost none on the police officer. I read what I had written then started wondering how to fix it.

I suspect that most of the pieces to this literary puzzle already exist in one of the five drafts. But it’s bloody frustrating knowing what has to be done, and not knowing how to do it. I’ve purchased books by Janice Hardy, Marcy Kennedy, Rayne Hall, and Natalie Goldberg to see if they could answer some questions. I’ve downloaded or printed out posts by Lorraine Ambers, Laurence MacNaughton and others and created a binder one inch thick of posts giving literary aid. I want to make it perfectly clear I am not blaming any of the above named authors for any of the short comings in my story “Blue Cottage”. But for all the reading I’ve done I’ve come to one conclusion: if you find ten author/coaches and ask them one simple question you’ll get ten very different answers.

Over thirty years ago I went through a medical event that almost killed me, and supremely messed up (and that’s being obscenely polite) my memory. Try to imagine there’s a brick wall in front of you. And each row of bricks represents a year of memories.  Now imagine there are over twenty rows of bricks in front of you. You’re now dealing with a lot of information. Now imagine a truck comes barrelling down the street, and smashes into that wall of bricks at high speed. Some of the bricks are totally destroyed – turned to dust, some are badly fragmented but can be used again, while others are so badly fractured only a fraction of them can ever be used again. Almost ten years of memories were totally destroyed –  completely erased , others were badly fragmented, and the remainder were just barely accessible. Everything I learned in elementary school with regard to the construction of a sentence was destroyed. I have no idea what a subject is, and for all I know a predicate could be related to a parakeet. A noun is nothing but a word to me, and the only thing I know about adverbs is that they should be avoided at all costs. I think adjectives are descriptive words but the frustrating aspect is I can look this information up in a dictionary, but I won’t remember what the blasted answer is.

A lot of information was destroyed to the point where I can just barely make use of it. If I were to meet Janice Hardy at a dinner party there is a good chance I would forget meeting her five minutes later. However, if I met Janice Hardy of Fiction University.Com there is a chance, a slim one, that I might remember her. Laurence MacNaughton might be remembered if he talked to me of his love for cars. I had to re-learn a great many things, and I have to constantly re-learn things I’ve already re-learned. Re-learning something by associating it with something sometimes helps, but not always.

I would dearly love to find is a comprehensive glossary of writing terms. A book that told me in very basic terms what a plot is, what POV is, what description is, etcetera. Just in case someone reads this and puts together a glossary like the one I just described do not use the word being defined in the answer. Apparently this sort of thing is a no-no.

I started writing Blue Cottage two years ago. Draft one appeared on this very blog. But if you were to compare draft one with draft 5 you would see very little resemblance.

Many writing coaches (legitimate and not so) suggest writing quickly. I can’t do that. My brain simply can’t handle the stress. I tried it once and ended up with a doozy of a headache. When I write my brain functions very quickly while my fingers are dead slow. Plus I have to watch my fingers actually press the key. The brain functions so quickly the fingers might not get the message to press a specific key.

I’ve finally decided who the audience for Blue Cottage is. Me. I’m writing it because I enjoy it. When I wrote draft one I felt somewhat “under the gun”, pressured, to produce 1500 words each week. But I kept going. The word count was the last thing I was paying attention to. Eventually I had 86,655 words by the end of draft one. Rayne Hall advocates that anybody finishing a first draft should scour it for words that simply aren’t needed. Her words of wisdom may be correct, but I found draft 2 getting fatter instead of slimmer. Draft 3 and 4 almost suffered from obesity. I stopped re-writing/re-vising shortly after I began draft 5. After reading all five drafts I decided to take a break from “Blue Cottage” and return to another story I abandoned a few years ago. “Second Chances”  is a story I started in 2006. It’s a Star Trek story. I saw the film “Generations” where the character of Captain Kirk is killed off. And I remember coming away from the film feeling somewhat cheated. I thought and felt the character could still be explored. Only this time James Tiberius Kirk would be retired, and the U.S.S. Enterprise would be gutted and mothballed. I didn’t want to deal with a large cast of characters so I thought about what I wanted to write. It started James T. Kirk, Tonia Barrows and Dr. Leonard McCoy and grew from there.

So I’ll distance myself from “Blue Cottage”, give it a rest, and work on “Second Chances”. Maybe I’ll return to “Blue Cottage” in the spring. Maybe later. But I’m not going to totally abandon it. I’ve too much time invested in it. Besides, I get a kick out of working on it.

Today’s Pictures: 21 Nov 20

More wonderful photos from photographer/writer Stuart Aken

Stuart Aken

An old lane in the Forest of Dean

Thanks for visiting this blog. Please be generous to those imprisoned by the Covid crisis at present, and share this post widely with them on social media, so they can enjoy it. It will also reach more people and, hopefully, remind them what a wonderful place this world is. Perhaps that might help restore some love and respect for nature and slow down our destructive urge to ruin the environment. Thank you.

The clear waters of a lake on the Greek island of Crete, with a mountain background. Taken July 2011.

If you enjoy my pictures, you may be interested in my gallery, which you can find here or through the ‘Gallery’ tab at the top of the page.

View original post

Today’s Pictures: 19 Nov 20

Stuart Aken

November mist among the trees of the Forest of Dean.

Thanks for visiting this blog. Please be generous to those imprisoned by the Covid crisis at present, and share this post widely with them on social media, so they can enjoy it. It will also reach more people and, hopefully, remind them what a wonderful place this world is. Perhaps that might help restore some love and respect for nature and slow down our destructive urge to ruin the environment. Thank you.

Walking in the Mountains of the Greek island of Samos. Taken September 2016

If you enjoy my pictures, you may be interested in my gallery, which you can find here or through the ‘Gallery’ tab at the top of the page.

View original post