Monthly Archives: December 2013

No novel progress, but the needlework project is done

Crows day 3 — progress progresses

Crows Day 2 progress

Public commitment: finish Crows!

I need to finish Crows by the end of the month, and so far it has not been going well. So I signed up for a end-of-year challenge at Forward Motion (, the writing site to which I belong, and I’m posting it here as well. If I don’t do the writing, I will have to endure public humiliation. 

I need to write at a rate of about 1200 words a day, more if I don’t want to be writing over my vacation, and I will be posting my progress here daily. If you don’t see an update, feel free to nag me. If I’m falling behind, feel free to prod me. If I’m keeping up, please feel free to cheer 😀

Here’s to a completed draft and a happy new year!


Happy holidays!

A bit of a different look for the holiday season: not nearly as spooky 🙂 

I hope everyone is enjoying whatever holiday they celebrate and making good memories to keep you warm. I know many people have bad memories and bad situations, with too much stress and too many expectations. I wish you peace, or at least survival. 

And whoever you are, wherever you are, I hope the season and the coming year bring you love, peace, health, prosperity, spiritual growth, and most of all your heart’s desire. 

Book memories: Frank Yerby

On Facebook, there’s a meme asking people to list ten books that influenced them, without putting too much thought into it. Yeah, like I can limit it to ten 😀

The ensuing conversations reminded me that when I was about 12, we got a couple of boxes of books from my grandfather — mostly Louis L’Amour westerns, but a few tucked in the bottom were, ahem, totally unsuitable for a girl my age, like Frank Yerby’s The Golden Hawk, which I hid under my bed so my mother wouldn’t find out I was reading it and brought out to read at night by flashlight when I was supposed to be sleeping.

Talk about eye-opening! I can honestly say that I learned more about the complexities and ambiguities about love, hate, sex, and revenge from that book than from any other single source. I must have read it several dozen times over the next few years, until I left for college.

I don’t think I want to go back to read that book. I’ve moved to far along. But I’m thinking I might want to read more of Yerby’s writing one of these days.

Baroque Big Band: my kind of Christmas music

Yesterday we went with friends to the annual Christmas concert from Mistral, formerly Andover Chamber Music, featuring ensemble pieces from the baroque era. This year’s program included Vivaldi, Telemann, and JS Bach before intermission and CPE Bach’s flute concerto and Corelli’s Christmas Concerto after.

The JS Bach concerto for violin and strings let the three violinists really show off, but I enjoyed the Telemann Tafelmusic in D minor the most. It’s a beautiful piece for flute and recorder. We’ve been going to ACM concerts for several years now and it was fun to see founder Julie Scolnik’s son Sasha, who is a fine young cellist, take on a major role in the ensemble. The first time we saw him perform with the group, he was barely in high school.

After the concert, the pianists in our group wanted to take a look at the harpsichord, so we went up front to peek. Harsichordist Dylan Sauerwald gave us a delightful tour and explanation of how the harpsichord works, even pulling off the cover so we could see how the plectrum worked. They’re made of plastic now, not bird quills. Neil and Diana took turns playing brief passages on it, and I picked a few notes to feel what he was telling us about the touch. It wasn’t like pressing a piano key; it felt much more like using a pick to play a guitar string. Very cool. Thank you, Mr. Sauerwald!

NaNoWriMo results

In the rush to finish my 50K words by the end of November, I forgot to keep my blog updated. I did make it, with a day to spare, and I have a fairly complete draft of Crows, a paranormal mystery featuring a no-nonsense cop, ghost, a psychic crown named Wotan, and a nice guy who finishes first. Oh, and lots of sex 😀

Now I need to fill in the holes in the draft, then clean it up before it’s ready to go. It’s one of the cleanest most coherent stories I’ve ever written. As I continue to work, I’m afraid I’ll find some deep flaw that I didn’t notice before. But more often, I find myself thinking, “Hey, this isn’t bad at all!”




This fall, Neil and I took a class at the Boston MFA in beginning acrylics. I had worked with acrylics briefly a few years ago before switching to watercolor. Our instructor, Justin Life, was really good at showing us different options and encouraging us to go for them. So I had a hand at some rather abstract stuff. I guess it’s not a lot different from what I was doing in watercolor, but with the thicker paint and the larger format, I could be more…more. This is the last piece I did. I’m quite happy with it. I felt like I had a big breakthrough and I’m reaching to something deeper and stronger in me.

Next up, I think I’m going to try painting something really big, not just sort of big.