Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sad News About CNYRW Founder Jane O'Connor

I got the news this afternoon that CNY Romance Writers founder Jane O'Connor (pictured in the center of the above photo) passed away. Given that if Jane hadn't had the foresight to found CNYRW in 1988 and gather such dedicated writers together, I wouldn't be published today, this is sad news indeed. Jane is largely responsible for the 55 members and 20+ years of good memories and great books that CNYRW comprises today. She will be missed, and remembered fondly for all her hard work and support, and the gift she gave the CNY Romance Writers. You can read more about Jane O'Connor's Memorial at the CNYRW website.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happy Summer!

Today is the official first day of summer, and appropriately enough, it's gonna be boiling in my neck of the woods. I hope this isn't a preview of the summer to come! Stay cool, wear light clothes, and drink lots and lots of water today. Be mindful of pets, children, and the elderly, as they're more susceptible to this kind of heat. Good day to hang out at the mall or pool (with sunscreen in the latter case, of course)!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to you Dads out there. Today, Papa Greenwood rolled out of bed and went fishing (Heaven, for him) and then the family spent some time at the park flying a kite. Hope you and your family had a great Father's Day!

Lots of Visitors Today!

Many visitors at Greenwood House today! Images are not my own. In order of appearance, they are: Downy Woodpecker, courtesy of stock.xchng; Question Mark Butterfly, courtesy of; Clouded Sulphur Butterfly, courtesy of Ecobirder. I really need to get a better camera, because all these critters are right in my backyard, and I don't have a decent camera anymore to snap a shot of them!

The Downy Woodpecker visited my suet feeders this morning. The Question Mark Butterfly was hanging out by my garden's compost heap, and the Clouded Sulphur Butterfly was flitting across the lawn. We also discovered that our Colorado Blue Spruce tree sports a nest of baby birds! I hope we didn't disturb them too much. Once we realized they were there - and alive - we kept our distance. I think they may be Purple Finch babies. I'll have to watch to see if Mom and Dad show up to feed them!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

More Glimpses From The Garden

My gardens are flourishing this spring, with a profusion of clematis blooms on the butterfly garden's trellis, and a fluttery visitor or two as well. All this with almost no effort on my part.

As the lazy gardener that I am, I purposely chose plants that require little to no care or watering. Native plants are best for this - plants which are at home in your planting zone and native to your corner of the world. Once they take root, they need very little attention, as long as they are situated in the right spot for sun exposure, drainage, and eventual plant size.

I checked, double checked, and re-checked everything before planting, so everything has come in beautifully, and I only have to pay my gardens the occasional visit for weeding, pruning, or watering. Nature does the rest, just as she should. Any other attention I give my plants is just from the pleasure of looking at them.

No monarchs in sight yet, but my Lamium did receive a visit from a male cabbage white butterfly, who let me get as close as six inches from him to take my photographs. What a shame my normal camera died. I had to take this with my iPod, and I'm sorry to say it came out a little grainy. All the same, a lovely shot, and I'm glad to see my plantings getting some good use by the local wildlife!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

In Praise of Rain

Most kids remember singing "Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day," me included. Rain used to mean staying indoors when all you wanted was to go outside and play ball, chase your friends, or ride a bike. As I got older, I found a whole new appreciation for rain.

One of the major reasons for this is that I have developed seasonal allergies. Grass, I think, because for a few weeks out of the year, I'm miserable, with a head like a cinder block. Spring is beautiful. Still my favorite season, when the flowers and bees and butterflies and birds all return to my yard. But it brings with it my allergies, which seem to be worsening each year. Yyyyyuck.

Rain is now my seasonal best friend. It washes the pollen out of the air, and I don't have a splitting headache on those days. It also helps water my gardens, which, yay. Yesterday, when it was 90-plus degrees and sunny, my allergies were at the worst they've ever been. Today, Mother Nature took pity, because I woke to a nice steady rain. I can only hope it lasts all day. Yay, rain. :)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Movie Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

So, apparently, the world needs more fairytales in its life (or perhaps more Chris Hemsworth, in which case, who can blame them?). "Snow White and the Huntsman" was the top box-office pick this past weekend, and grossed more in its first weekend than the similarly Snow-White-themed "Mirror, Mirror." (Granted, "Huntsman" had twice the budget.) Incidentally, Chris Hemsworth is also in "The Avengers," which is still at Number Three after five weeks' running (behind MIB 3). Maybe it is Chris Hemsworth.

There are some clunky moments in this film. I think I might have benefited from subtitles during the dwarves' speech, and there are some moments of dialogue/action with a forced feel. Kristen Stewart does a fine job as Snow, but I found her more believable as the sweet-but-wronged princess than the army-leading badass. Perhaps we're missing a scene or two where we see this growth and change. However, this was a return to the good old-fashioned fantasy films of my youth ("Legend," "Ladyhawke," "The Dark Crystal," "Willow," etc.). The special effects, scenery, and costuming are terrific. Fun, fun, fun!

The queen (-slash-wicked-witch) is interesting in that they went to pains to keep her from being two-dimensional. There's a reason she's wicked, instead of just "I wanna be." Charlize Theron does a nice job with this, although there are some tantrummy moments where she paces in her castle, shouting. These lines are clearly the writer's, and not Theron's. The lines ought to have been delivered in a whisper, where they would be much more sinister.

The real heart in this film is Hemsworth. He's believable as the broken-hearted widower who hides in a bottle, but can't resist helping a woman in need. There is a third wheel, in the form of Snow's childhood friend William. Both are likeable men, and both have good reason to be with her. I found myself wondering which she would choose, but I won't spoil it for you. *grin*

I give it a 3.8 of 5, for great visuals and a fun way to spend an afternoon. I might not spend the full evening price to see it, but it was certainly worth a matinee and popcorn.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

A Goose of a Different Color

Visited my mother today, and found she had a surprise on the pond behind her house: a white Canada Goose! We were unsure if it was, in fact, a Canada Goose at first, but it was the same size and shape (and likewise, still not fully fledged) as the goslings in the family of geese with whom it was eating. None of the others either chased it away or treated it any differently. Its bill and legs were orange, and from what I could tell, it was dark-eyed. In fact, it looked virtually the same as the gosling shown in this picture, taken by Flickr poster aerial2.

This is a condition called leucism, where the pigment in an animal's skin fails to develop properly. It's not to be confused with albinism, where the animal's eyes would be red or pink.

I hope the little guy grows up to be a strong, healthy bird. I can't wait to see him fully fledged. What an interesting anomaly. I'll have to keep track of him and see if progress through life is different for the "odd bird out" than for his siblings. So far, he seems to love life on Mom's pond. :)

Saturday, June 02, 2012

THE SERPENT IN THE STONE, or, Here We Are Again At Warp Speed

It happens every time: as soon as I get a book contract, my life goes from Zero to Lunatic in point-three seconds. Everything speeds up tenfold, and I agonize over details I've ironed out six times already. The finished product is always a gorgeous book, thanks to my publisher and wonderful editor. But the Getting There gives me power-headaches. *grin*

THE SERPENT IN THE STONE, Book One of The Gifted Series, is under contract and undergoing the first steps toward publication. This is "THE Book" - the one that started this whole snowball rolling. Its first incarnation is some twenty-two years old and counting. A labor of mistake, love, and revision. A paranormal romance written before paranormal romance was cool (or heard of, for that matter).

I have many, many people to thank for this book - friends and family who helped shape and grow the concept over the years, with their feedback and support - and I could never name you all. Just know I'm eternally grateful that you pointed me in the direction of notebook and pen, and kept on asking, "Did you write more?"

Love you guys. :)