Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wednesday's Words for April 18, 2018

Should I have known it was going to happen? I mean, it’s April, which is supposed to be springtime. That whole, “April showers bring May flowers” vibe is supposed to be doing it’s thing. Really, I think it was quite reasonable of me to remove the ice claw from the bottom of my cane. Aside from sometimes being a nuisance—when the claw is retracted, it’s on the outer side of my cane, and can catch on things if I’m not careful—it’s also heavy. Not ridiculously so, but just enough that it makes a difference.

So no, I don’t think I was out of line taking that thing off my cane a couple weeks ago. That said, we had an ice storm over the weekend just passed. I’d been certain, while it was happening, that by Tuesday night/Wednesday morning—this morning—all sign of that weather event would be gone. But alas, my hopes were dashed. The claw is back on my cane.

This storm was a different tempest for different people, depending upon location. In Toronto, which sits on the shores of Lake Ontario, they experienced the kind of ice storm I usually visualize whenever I hear those two words. They experienced ice coated trees and buildings and utility poles and streets, a clear glass-like casing which was perfectly transparent and ultimately really heavy. Trees came down, power lines came down, and car accidents abounded. Then the temperature rose a little, just enough to cause sheets of ice to cascade to the ground from the tallest of structures. 

Melting occurred, but not a total melting. There was plenty of ice to clog drainage grates, causing flooding and general misery. Falling ice from the CN Tower tore a hole in the dome of the stadium where the Toronto Blue Jays play, resulting in the game scheduled for Monday night to be canceled. More than a hundred thousand people lost electricity during the event, some for as much as thirty hours.

Here, about an hour’s drive west of the Greater Toronto Area, we had a different kind of ice storm. We had no solid ice covering over vehicles, trees, buildings, streets or sidewalks. Instead, it more or less rained ice pellets. From the time the storm began until it ended—practically the entire weekend—we were inundated with what looked like wet, icy snow. The temperature fluctuated, so some of it was rain, a bit was snow, but most of it was ice pellets. I

ce falling in pellet form makes a particular sound on the windows. It’s a sound that says, good thing you don’t have to go anywhere. And if you do, just send an email and cancel. We both stayed indoors throughout this event. We had all that we needed, and gratefully, we only suffered one tiny flicker of our power. The outage lasted less than five seconds. Of course, it was enough to turn off the television and the Keurig. The former then had to reboot, a process that is automatic and can’t be rushed. It takes about five minutes. It happened during the telecast of the ACM awards show—about ten or so minutes in—but we just shrugged and picked up our e-readers and read until the television came back on.

About two inches of white stuff was on the ground here by Monday and fully half of it remains this morning. It really looked like two inches of snow, but there was nothing fluffy about it. At night, it freezes almost solid; and then, during the day, as the temperature inches above freezing, it gets wet and sloppy.

I’m a bit worried about my poor spring flowers. Those tiny little shoots—narcissi, tulips, hyacinths and crocuses—had become fairly substantial before Mother Nature’s little hissy fit. I can still see the tips of them, so I will be hopeful that, being the hardy Canadian perennials that they are, they’ll simply dust themselves off and keep growing.

According to the weather network, the temperature will hit 43 today, and be above 40 and into the 50s over the next seven days. Fact or fiction? Only time will tell.

This has been a particularly long winter, despite having a few days clustered together here and there when it seemed positively balmy out. I did have one magnificent day, in February, I think, when I had my doors open, and fresh air filled my home. I really hate to think that one day was our early spring, come and then gone.

Yesterday my husband expressed the opinion that, because we had such a cold and long winter, we were likely in for a very hot summer. He shrugged his shoulders and said that if that was so, he might be tempted to have us go to the beach—something we haven’t done for a couple of years now.

If it does get very hot, I’ll show him this essay to remind him of his words, and then hold him to it. 


Love,
Morgan
http://www.morganashbury.com
http://www.bookstrand.com/morgan-ashbury

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wednesday's Words for April 11, 2018

I spend a great deal of my time writing. Or at least, in writing mode. We authors have an acronym for that. It’s BICFOK. Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard.

I don’t produce words as fast as I used to, even just a few years ago. It often takes me longer now to write a book. These, as you know, aren’t massive tomes. Lately, my word count per novel has ranged from sixty to eighty thousand words. Some folks don’t even consider those full-length novels.

Sometimes, I have the best days. Those are the times when I am so into my story, when my characters are so there, it’s almost as if I’m a court stenographer, recording the action instead of being the writer creating it.

I have a lot of laugh out loud moments as I work. If I inadvertently write the wrong word—for example, wonton instead of wanton—it’s not unusual for me to burst out laughing. Yesterday my goof was “she held on for deer life”. Yeah, when I’m focused and reaching, and then I goof? I just have to giggle.

The biggest adjustment I aimed for in the days leading up to the date of my husband’s retirement, was trying to mentally prepare myself for what might be. I feared that I would suddenly have less time in which to write. I’m not generally one to look at the glass as half empty. But in my defense, in those months, my beloved was excited and anxious himself. It kind of was like when you come into a bit of a windfall and you discover you have a few extra dollars just for you. You might have trouble deciding what you’re going to do with that unexpected blessing. Maybe, I’ll buy this; maybe, I’ll buy that. Or, I could get this, and this. Or maybe….well, you get the idea. Yes, he had it in mind that he was going to spend his time writing—but that wasn’t real to him yet. So yes, based on the evidence at hand—all the ideas he had as to how he was going to spend his incoming surfeit of time, I worried.

Thankfully, instead of having less time to write, I actually have more. Our appointments are few and well spaced. We’ll both admit to having morphed, since November, into hermits. Especially during the not-quite-yet-departed winter months, neither one of us wants to go out and about.

Cold air and icy ground are not our friends, not at all. Part of the joy of neither of us having to go to work is we can both just hunker down when we want to. David and I were just discussing the subject of tires for the car. My winter tires are still on because we’re still getting snow and some black ice, and also because we need to buy new summer tires. The ones I currently have are done. Since we no longer drive very much, we’ve decided we’ll simply get four good all-season tires, and no longer bother with snow tires for the winter.

There’s one more adjustment we’ve made as well, another change in our day-to-day routine. And, in a way, this is a case of my becoming semi-retired. I used to make a good full supper every night. But since David no longer goes to work each day, he’s no longer as active as he was, and therefore, he’s no longer as hungry as he was. For the first couple of months, I carried on as I had always done, and was getting annoyed that I ended up tossing out so much food. So now I cook a full supper every other night, and in between we have plenty of food to eat—left overs, soups, lunch meat, salads and a few frozen entrees to choose from. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy cooking. But it doesn’t make sense to cook a full supper six nights a week (I did get Fridays off) and see only about half of it eaten.
That’s one of the reasons I have more time to write. Less scullery maid work for me.

But the other reason is that David is so absorbed in his own writing. He doesn’t want to go out just to get out of the house. He doesn’t want to go and see. He wants to stay and do. Stay, and write. For a man whose keyboard technique is hunt-and-peck, his production rate is phenomenal. His burgeoning novel is over one hundred and twenty thousand words to date.

The days don’t seem to have enough hours in them. There’s nothing I like more than being busy. I know that just as I’m not working as quickly as I used to, that more slowing down will be in my future. Getting older is a process after all, and it sure isn’t one for the faint of heart—but that’s another story.

For now, we are a household of two writers and a dog. We are busy doing all day long. And we’re having the times of our lives.

Love,
Morgan
http://www.morganashbury.com
http://www.bookstrand.com/morgan-ashbury

New Release: Carnal Sins Box Set by Jan Bowles

Look what's available now; a new Box Set, featuring all my sexy bad boy stories from the Carnal Sins series:

Blackmailed into the Billionaire's Bed

The Wicked Rancher's Indecent Proposal

The Secret Agent's Captive

Siren has made a lovely cover too. Thank you.

Available from Siren Bookstrand:

http://www.bookstrand.com/book/the-carnal-sins-trilogy

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Wednesday's Words for April 4, 2018

One of my favorite things to do in all the world is listening to my husband’s laughter.

The first time I really heard it, we’d been dating again for a short time. I say again, because we sort of dated when he was still in high school. Then we sort of broke up—or more accurately, drifted apart.

Then, the summer before my senior year, when he’d become a working man, he came knocking on my door…and the rest is history.

On one of our first dates, he took me to a movie. This would have been in 1971. The movie was The Summer of ’42. In those days, the “pre-show” consisted of a couple of ads for refreshments, previews of movies to come, and a cartoon. I remember how he laughed out loud at that silly cartoon. In fact, I do believe his was the only voice doing so. And that, friends, happened during any cartoon he watched.

These days, I hear his laughter fairly often. Usually, I’ll be at my computer, and he’ll either be on his, or watching television. I never know which, unless I look in the living room. He has a set of wireless headphones for the television, and the plug-in kind for his computer.

David loves to watch stand-up comics. When I hear him laughing on a continuous basis, I know he’s tuned in to one of the many comedy networks or is watching videos on YouTube. I can be in the worst mood, but when I hear him laughing, I always smile.

If anyone were to ask me what the one human trait is that they could develop that would serve them the most throughout their life, I would tell them to have a healthy and vibrant sense of humor.

I can recall years ago, and I may have mentioned this before, that my mom had an enormous reel-to-reel tape recorder. Actually, it had been my dad’s. There had been a little money left to him by his mother, when she passed. I was only small at the time, and I’m sure that they used the inheritance to its best advantage, but it was also very much like them to share what would have been considered “left over”. My mom bought a new sewing machine; my dad bought the tape recorder.

My father had the instincts of an entrepreneur. He used this piece of modern equipment (circa early 1960s) to start a business. He called it “Wedding Bells”, and what he did, was to set up the tape recorder local churches, to tape wedding ceremonies. He really was ahead of his time, and I know that a few couples took advantage of this service. I also recall that years after his death, when my brother was in his senior year of high school, he and his friends “taped” their own “radio shows”. I got to participate, too, at the young age of 9 or 10. I held the roast pan full of cutlery, and overturned it on cue, to resemble the sound of breaking glass.

I never recorded anything myself, but I did listen to a few tapes my mother had, and one was a lecture on the importance of a sense of humor. This lecture, by Dr. Murray Banks, really made an impression on me. He was a clinical psychologist, and one of his assertions was that it was physically impossible for the human body to produce laughter and ulcers at the same time. Now that right there is a sound and sufficient reason to get that sense of humor.

I know in my own life, laughter and holding onto my sense of humor have kept me relatively sane. Hard times come to everyone. You can give in to the stress and the worry and the heartache—or you can laugh.

I choose laughter. I choose to look for the silver lining, to exercise my facial muscles with a smile, and to take the next step forward, and then the next. Soon the heartache or stress fades; think back on a moment that was difficult, and in time, you may recall the moment, but you don’t feel the same heartache. Recall a joke, or a funny instance from years ago? You still smile, and probably laugh.

Of all the things that I’ve passed down to my children, that sense of humor is, in my mind, the greatest. And when things get really grim, I take a laugh break. I go to that wonderful resource, the Internet, and I look for videos of laughing babies. I honestly don’t think it’s possible to watch babies laughing with those deep belly laughs, and not at least smile in response.

If you remember to laugh, it won’t necessarily fix the challenges you face. But it will make your heart a little lighter as you face those challenges and overcome them.

Love,
Morgan
http://www.morganashbury.com
http://www.bookstrand.com/morgan-ashbury