What I’m Reading…

Journaling - IndulgesLife is so busy, yet my heart-strings pull me to reading. I read many things, not just books, and listen to many things too. Lately, I’ve read a lot of magazine and newspaper articles and listened to podcasts of books and short stories and radio classic broadcasts.

A few years back, a dear friend, George, passed away unexpectedly. During the cleaning, clearing, and redistribution of his things, I was lucky enough to receive a pile of old magazines. I have thought about digging into those mags and seeing what treasures are buried there. But, that idea keeps getting pushed back on the “never-ending-to-do” list.

Then, yesterday, while skimming the New York Times, I came across this article about a serious collection of magazines owned by James Hyman of The Hyman Archive – All Good Magazines Go to Heaven. A fascinating read and as I read, I realized a visit to this archive would probably cause me to lose months from my life as I would get lost reading. Do yourself a favor, read this article and learn about The Hyman Archive.

During the free book give-away of The Fire Within, a reader reached out to me on my FaceBook Author page and asked me about the idea of exchanging reviews. The reader, Gino Cox, is an author too.

I’m a slow reader and its mainly due to the huge amount of reading I must do for my technical writing gigs that pay for my writing habit. Gino Cox is the author of Ice Cold. It is a good read. I’m about twenty percent through. Gino is patiently waiting on my review. As a sneak peek…get the book! It is one hell-of-a-ride. The Iceman is Ice Cold with revenge on his mind. The narrative is full of twists and turns. Just the kind of book you would enjoy.

Recently, while sitting in the Martin room, it dawned on me why I’m not checking off as many books on my reading list as I’ve done in the past. I’m no longer driving an hour back-n-forth from work every day. When I drove to work, I’d listen to books on tape. I miss that. It saved me all kinds of time and I was able to ‘hear’ many good books.

A good book I’ve ticked away at reading in small chunks is by one of my favorite authors, Sue Grafton. The book is W – W is for Wasted. Kinsey is at it again and it is such a good escape. Sadly, my slow reading has me several letters behind in Grafton’s series. If you’ve not read her series featuring private investigator Kinsey Millhone, you are in for a treat.

A writing book I picked up and have found not only informative to read but a fun read too is James Scott Bell’s How to Write Pulp Fiction. His opening description:

“Type Hard. Type Fast. Make Dough. That was the formula of old-school pulp fiction—plot-driven, popular and gobbled up by a reading public hungry for more.”

sets the stage for an excellent learning experience. Of course, I’m very partial to his writing and love his fiction work as well. The link to his Pulp Fiction book will open doors to all of his work. If you enjoy a good thriller, his Mike Romeo thriller series is a must read.

As for audio listening, I do love listening to Radio Classics on Sirius-XM radio following Greg Bell’s wonderful playlists as well as a variety of podcasts, such as Myths and Legends by Jason Weiser.


The Owl, the Sword, & the Efil Stone – Book One of The Chronicles of Eldershire

The countdown continues — today is 184!

Read & Write On!
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Mr Scruffy’s News – May

Mr. Scruffy
Mr. Scruffy, a dedicated owl who is Pam’s Muse.

Mr Scruffy here. How have you been? It has been a couple of months since I last visited Pam’s Blog. She’s been fighting a horrible cold, cough, and laryngitis for three weeks now. Ugh! This past weekend, she was finally able to get back into writing her latest novel, The Owl, The Sword, & The Efil Stone — Book One of The Chronicles of Eldershire. She’s making progress; she’s at about 40,000 words. Send her happy writing vibes so she can get more words written and catch up on reaching her goal of finishing the book before the end of the month! And, now…

On with the news

1. Find ways to help you write — Are you a writer? How do you find ways to help you stay on task when you have a writing goal? Let me recommend – Pursue your writing by writing in a journal. You know all “creatives” need a jolt to get them back on track, stay on track, or just walk the track. Here are a couple of writing support groups, people, and other links you may find useful:

  • Visit Sara Frandina – at her website: https://sarafrandina.com or on her FB page. Either way, check out her #justwrite offering! Amazing! It will help you to do as the name says — just write!
  • Find things that are good for you to learn and learn about them. What do you enjoy learning? Share in the comments section. I’ve fallen in love with TED Talks. Recently, I watched a very interesting one by Lisa Genova on things you can do now to help reduce the effects of developing Alzheimer’s. It is worth your time to have a listen!
  • Find foods you enjoy eating, and if new, give them a try. Pam loves to cook. She explores making different kinds of bread, making unique meals, and finding quick meals when her writing life is under deadline. Cooking from scratch takes gobs of time. Finding a good meal that is quick and healthy is the name of the game. Recently, she tried Eating Well frozen micro dinners. Generally, Pam is not a fan of eating frozen meals, but will use them when time is tight. Eating Well may have made her a convert. Her favorite one is the Chicken Pesto. As she said to me, “I couldn’t make this as good if I had cooked it myself from scratch, froze it, and then reheated it! Delish!”

2. Watching Bosch! It doesn’t matter if you like murder-mystery-crime-cop stories, you will love this series. I promise. Harry Bosch is the fictional character created by Michael Connelly and brought to life by Titus Welliver in the Amazon Prime series. Seasons 1 and 2 were exceptional, but I must say, Season 3 was outstanding! Pam said that she sure would love to develop a character as Mr. Connelly has done–keeping over 21 novels alive. She said she would definitely love to have an actor, such as Mr. Welliver play the fictional character she created. Powerful!

3. Make a wish. It is a fact that any author dreaming of hitting the big time has dreams and wishes. Pam’s wish is that an author, famous or not, finds her work and decides it is good enough to contact her, and strike up a conversation. How cool would that be? Who would she like to connect with? Oh, Michael Connelly, J. K. Rowling, David Hewson, and Ursula Le Guin to name just a few.

4. News from Hobbit’s Bend: Pam spent the last three weeks fighting a horrible cold/cough/laryngitis. Here’s her latest report—

“Since I began work on the first book of my speculative trilogy The Chronicles of Eldershire, I’ve re-read several fantasy novels I loved as a child. Books by Tolkien, Lewis, and L. Frank Baum. I’ve also read or am reading Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quintet, Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series, and Ransom Riggs latest series Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children. Reading these books helps me see the creative juices of some great authors. My first book The Owl, The Sword, & The Efil Stone is set in the land of Eldershire. A parallel universe ruled by trees and plants. A wicked witch, Nukpana Fraener, is the antagonist. And, Kay “KC” Carson is the leading lady. I’m in the midst of the action of the novel now. I’m finding it exciting and scary at the same time. I can’t wait for my reading friends – beta readers – have a chance to give me their reaction!”

Pam went on to say she plans to have the first draft completed by the end of May. She will then be sending it out to her beta readers after it has been edited and revised. Stay tuned! Book One is getting closer!

Book One - Chronicles of Eldershire - Mr Scruffy's News

Thanks for reading…see ya soon!

Mr. Scruffy

This post Mr. Scruffy News - May 03, 2017 first appeared on Pam's Blog.

Hey! If you like what I’m sharing, leave a comment. Share what news you can use in the comment section below. Thanks and come back soon! Woot! Woot!

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Mr. Scruffy’s Happy News – January 10, 2017

Mr. Scruffy's News - Happy
Mr. Scruffy, a dedicated owl who offers news and advice for those who want to read it.

Mr. Scruffy here. How have you been? It’s been cold. We got about three or four inches of snow here at Hobbit’s Bend, and then the deep chill came on. Sunday morning it got down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. That be cold, for sure. Burr. Am I glad I was snuggled up close to the wood stove. The warmth of a fire can not be beat. And, it makes me happy. Enough of my dribble…

On with the news

1. Stop Chasing After What You Think Will Make You Happy — How do you help yourself to be happy? Let me recommend – Pursue the things you love. You know all “creatives” need a jolt to get them back on track, stay on track, or just walk the track. Pursuing what you love, helps you stay on track. At least, it does me. What do you love? What do you wish you had time to do? Where would you go? Do you have places you’ve dreamed of visiting? Where would you go if you only had one trip you could make? This past Sunday, Pam shared about how she returned to doodling and it was helping her be more creative (See Bullet 3). Not that she hasn’t been creative lately. She thought me up. Hahaha. Besides doodling, I’ve found some other things you might want to try:

  • Find a website or blog that offers suggestions you can wrap your mind around. One such site is http://www.lifehack.org <– Life Hack offers a variety of resources besides a blog and you can get daily briefings sent to your e-mail to ponder.
  • Find things that are fun for you and do them. What do I enjoy? Watching the snow fall while sitting on a glassed-in porch with a blazing wood stove keeping me warm. My mind wonders as I watch the birds flying around outside, the bald eagles soar, the creek frozen from the temperature dipping below 15 degrees. I’m happy, warm, and content.
  • Find things that you enjoy listening to from poetry to songs you can sing along with because you know the words from years of singing along with the radio. Hearing Poetry Out Loud is a fine example. Music is another matter. I’m not sure there is enough room for all the songs I’ve come to love to listen to while Pam works. She’s made YouTube listings for her songs. For, The Fire Within – she has this YouTube song list, while for her current writing The Chronicles of Eldershire — this is a YouTube song list in progress (See point below for an update on her progress).

2. Watching PBS anything. It doesn’t matter what you watch, or if you have a favorite – support the public broadcasting because the service is worth it. A couple of favorites of mine – Masterpiece — many of its shows, but especially Sherlock – Season 4 – Episode 1 – The Six Thatchers are down right fun and some are maddening. America’s Test Kitchen with Christopher Kimbell is not only informative, but entertaining. Pam loves cooking. I love eating her food. It’s a win-win. Need I say more?

3. Enjoy good comedy. Cartoons are a must. Shaun the Sheep is so funny. I almost fall off my perch each time I watch an episode. There is even a Shaun the Sheep movie. I can’t wait to watch it with my human protectors. “Oh, it’s Shaun the Sheep; It’s Shaun the Sheep…” duh, duh, duhahahaha. Love it!

4. News from Hobbit’s Bend: Pam has been hard at work. Here’s her latest report—

“I’m writing, editing, erasing, blogging, journaling, and doodling. Trying to get my second trilogy written. A few snapshots of the story in the first book: A magical hat. A sixty-three year old woman wants to die after she caused the deaths of her family. Wood sprites. Tree spirits. Crazy, wicked witch who thinks she’s a dragon, of all things. An owl that talks (Shhhh…that’s me). A boy who should be a man. Will KC help save the Elderwians and the Brooks Forest? How will she get home?”

Now that Twelfth Night is over, we’ve also been slowly putting up our Christmas decorations. Do you celebrate Twelfth Night? I never knew it was a very old British folk custom. Shakespeare wrote about it in this way:

“…no spirit dare stir abroad;

The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike;

No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,

So hallow’d, and so gracious is the time…” (Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 1)

Thanks for reading…see ya next week!

Mr. Scruffy


This post Mr. Scruffy News - January 10, 2017 first appeared on Pam's Blog.


Hey! If you like what I’m sharing, leave a comment. Share what news you can use in the comment section below. Thanks and come back soon! Woot! Woot!

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