Mr. Scruffy's News

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 <– 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.


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14 Books I Read in 2016 – 5 Books I Plan to Read in 2017


14 Books I Read in 2016

The following 14 books I read in 2016 and it’s not a comprehensive list. If you are looking for a good book to cuddle up to during the pink-cheek days of January or you might want to use one of these for a birthday gift in the coming new year!

1. Rosa Lee Jude’s latest new book: I Still Do! — great love story
2. K. R. Thompson along with six other others — Once Upon a Time — and any book of her’s.
3. Paul Dillinger’s latest new book — Fuzzy with co-author Tom Angleberger – a great read for children
4. Elle Knowles latest new book — Coffee-Drunk or Blind — a wonderful personal journey with her folks to Alaska
5. Ransom Rigg’s latest book — Miss. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – a wonderful escape!
6. Ransom Rigg’s Book Two — Hollow City — I’m hoping to read Book Three real soon!
7. Ursula K. Le Guin — EarthSea – A Wizard of Earthsea — a great revisit! I love re-reading books.
8. David Colbert — The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter — what can I say? I love Potter-any-thing.
9. Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black — The Spiderwick Chronicles — Ah…another re-read.
10. Margot Edmonds & Ella E. Clark — Voices of the Winds — lovely capture of Native American legends.
11. Paul Curry — Organic Square Foot Gardening — not all books I read are fiction. LOL
12. David Hewson — Writing a novel with Scrivener — my favorite software for writing
13. Kristen Lamb — Rise of the Machines — a wonderful look at technology and how it affects us.
14. Kellie Honaker — Grandfather Hollow — an intriguing collection of short stories, all keep you reading.

Mr. Scruffy giving me inspiration while I read in 2016.
Mr. Scruffy

And, just incase, you would like to find one of my booksThe Letter: A Page of My Life and the Marine Letsco Trilogy–The Fire WithinThe Fire of Revenge, and A Time for Fire– they are on Amazon or Createspace. Locally, for that special gift, an autographed printed copy may be purchased from one of these fine locations:

Museum Gift Shop – Wytheville, VA

Big Walker Lookout – Wytheville, VA

The Farmer’s Daughter Boutique – Wytheville, VA

Black Horse Artisan Guild – Wytheville, VA


5 Books I Plan to Read in 2017

Now, this list is by no means complete. I’ll add books as the year progresses, but the following are books I had hoped to read last year and never got to them. I’ve put them at the top of my list:

  1. James Scott Bell — Romeo’s Way — this sounds like it will be such a good story.
  2. Sarah Addison Allen — The Peach Keeper — I had read her first book, Garden Spells. Looking forward to this.
  3. Lynnette Bonner — Rocky Mountain Oasis – The Shepherd’s Heart – Christian Historical Romance
  4. Marsha Canham — Across a Moonlit Sea — I loved the cover…what can I say.
  5. Mitch Albom — The First Phone Call from Heaven — I loved his book – The Five People you Meet in Heaven

There you have my beginning reading list for 2017. I’m sure this list will grow. If you have a book you’d like to recommend, please do.

How’s my writing going?

I’m plugging along on my next trilogy – The Chronicles of Eldershire – here’s a description with a little sneak peek:

Book One is tentatively titled The Brooks Forest. A depressed and lonely Kay “KC” Carson, at 63, recently lost her husband, son, daughter-n-law, and their pet dog in a traffic accident she believes she caused. While mourning their loss, KC wishes for a chance to go back to an earlier life where she thinks she made a decision that set her on a course to lose her family. Never believing wishes come true, KC is transported back to a time when she was sixteen to the strange and mystical land of Eldershire. A land filled with beautiful landscapes, magical mountains, and majestic forests and where wood spirits, nymphs, elves, and other beings co-exist. Until KC can retrieve the Efil Stone from Nukpana (the Evil Wicked-Dragon), the Elderwians and KC’s future is in peril.

Snip-it of Chapter 1:

My mother always told me not to wish for things—they might come true — and if they do, what you thought you wanted might not be what you want. I’d wished to be back to my old life, to be away from the life I had. Mother was right, KC thought as she peered through the tangled branches of what must be a brier patch, keeping still as a mouse, or trying too. The creatures on the other side were looking for her.  

She thought back to a few moments ago and wondered why she picked up that old, tattered hat sitting along the side of the road. I’m a sixty-three-year-old woman for Christ’s sake. I knew better—or at least I thought I did. From the ramblings on the other side of the brambles, she was thankful she was inside the brier patch and not out on the other side, where they were. She listened to the sounds. Their gruff and grunts sent chills down her spine. The odor of her surroundings was putrid. I wonder where I am. She could tell she was sitting on something soft and gooey. It was dark inside the brambles, but little specks of light made their way through the tangled shrub, which gave her little moments she could peer out to see what was happening.

A large mass of flesh moved passed where she was looking out. She moved back in fear. The mass of flesh stood inches away. She tried not to move or breathe.

May you and yours have a most glorious beginning to 2017! Please visit my website, join my newsletter list, and stay connected with me!

Happy New Year!
Pam's Signature




This post first appeared on on Saturday, December 31, 2016.

Honeybees, Update

Inactivity means a Busy Life

Hello Reading Fans!

“Inactivity means a busy life” with me, anyway. Gees, Hobbit King and I have been extra, extra busy this spring and early summer.

It all started with me helping Hobbit King with our honeybees. We are beekeepers (about five years now). We have six hives, well, actually, we have four hives and a half—one is a nuc and one isn’t in use yet. We had a hive to swarm, so we captured the swarm and moved it to a nuc box. (If you’d like to read more about our beekeeping adventures over the years, visit Honeybees and me.)

Hobbit King, my loving nickname for my hubby, read about building robbing screens to use to help young hives ward off potential honey robbers. During the dearth season, honeybees are very ingenious at taking advantage of weak hives. When a hive is young or older and weak, it is harder to fend off those who would steal honey. The idea of using robbing screens enables some protection.

Robbing Screens

Honeybee Hive Robbing Screen
Hobbit King’s design of robbing screens in use on Honeybee Hive No. Three.

This little front piece is a new addition, Hobbit King created based on some reading he has done. He decided that he was going to see how well he could help the bees protect their hives from robbing bees. This particular screen is his third iteration. The first two didn’t seem to help as much as it confused some bees.

This model looks to be doing the trick. The bees that live in this hive know how to leave and re-enter by going up and out or down and in.

The robbing bees congregate on the outside of the screen as they are not sure where the entrance is located and want to fly straight into the hive opening. They congregate on the screen trying to figure out how to move into the hive and steal the honey.


Trying out New Recipes

Hot Dog Reuben
Hot Dog Reuben – Yummy!

Lately, I’ve tried to organize my recipes. I have also been trying out new recipes that I have collected. Many of them have been fun to make, tasted good, but I wasn’t impressed enough to take a picture of the dish or consider making the dish again.

Recently, while going through my collection, cutting out the recipes from magazines I wanted to keep, and placing them into my binders (I’ll post how the binder collection looks when I get them done). I came across an issue of Bon Appetite magazine that had a section on hot dogs. Hobbit King loves hot dogs. Hobbit King loves Reubens. What could be better than a Hot Dog Reuben?

This recipe took the Reuben, which is an American hot sandwich composed of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing, grilled between slices of rye bread, and turned the hot dog into the delightful all-star favorite. Trust me, the taste is just as good as you would expect! Yummy, indeed!

Wisteria – Frost Bite to Re-bloom!

The late spring freeze this year had killed all of the blooms of our wisteria in late April. I had decided that it must have killed the plant, too. It looked awful. The blooms were withered and brown. Then, about two or so weeks later, I noticed leaves starting to emerge. There was hope. My wisteria is about fourteen years old and I didn’t want to have to start over with a new plant.

One day in mid-May, I was out walking around the property making plans of what I might plant this year. Was I surprised when I looked up and saw the blooms. My wisteria was making a show hidden from view unless I went under the pergola and took a breather by sitting and enjoying the view of Reed Creek. Gladly, I “popped a squat,” as our daughter says. Propped up my feet and enjoyed my surprise! Hobbit King soon found me enjoying the view and joined me.

Wisteria in bloom, May 2016
Wisteria in bloom over the pergola looking out at Reed Creek.

A New Series Begins

And, yes, I’ve also been writing. Many of you know that besides writing fiction, I also am a technical writer. This past June, I managed to finish two different technical writing gigs. The additional time gave me what I needed to put finishing touches on the audio version of The Fire Within, which is in the final stages of post-production. Also Julie, our daughter, worked her magic on the audio cover as well as updating the print cover. Hobbit King was so helpful listening to the mp3s and helping critique the readings.

With the audio version of The Fire Within about complete, I’m working on final plotting plans for my new series. The new series is about Kay “KC” Carson, who is entering her elder years. One day, KC finds herself transported to a new world where she experiences mysticism, magic, and numerology and must learn how to solve some of the mysteries of her life.

As a V. I. P. Reader Club member, you’ll hear first how you can acquire a copy of the audio version and learn more about my new series. Look for an e-mail from me in mid-August.

May you have a gloriously fun July!

Write On!
Pam's Signature





The post “Inactivity means a Busy Life” was first posted on Pam’s Blog on Sunday, July 17, 2016.

New Novel

365 Days of Wants

Taming of the Shrew
Taming of the Shrew — Wikimedia Commons

The Last 365 Days

Where does one begin to figure out if the last 365 Days were what we wanted? More importantly, how on Earth do we decide what we want for the next 365 Days without forgetting something important.

It reminds me of the cliché of the girl who wants to be the beauty queen and she answers the interview question with “I want peace and love for everyone.”

Stage._Sleeping_Beauty_BAnQ_P48S1P12564Well, I want peace and love for everyone, too. But, I also want–

Need I say more?

I want my books that I published in 2014 to be read by people in 2015.
I want my next book to come out, The Fire of Revenge, to rock the socks off readers everywhere.
I want to be loved.
I want peace of mind.
I want…I want…I want…

But, what am I willing to do for it?

Now. There’s the question.

What are you willing to do for what you want in 2015?

The Next 365 Days

My next book, The Fire of Revenge, must involve evil and suffering. Why?

Well, because it wouldn’t be very revengeful, if it didn’t.

Writing about suffering and evil people is NOT easy.

Have you tried it?

The cartoon of the Taming of the Shrew (see above) shows Catherine II, faint and shying away from William Pitt, who appears as Petruchio, and Don Quixote on horseback (a lean and scarred George III whose authority has been usurped by Pitt). Seated behind Pitt are the King of Prussia and a figure representing Holland as Sancho Panza. Selim III kneels to kiss the horse’s tail; a gaunt figure representing the old order in France while Leopold II renders help to Catherine by preventing her from falling to the ground.

Back in its day, it was considered an unpleasant depiction of despicable people.

Even after looking at horrid pictures (like the cartoon), watching terrible news broadcasts, and having the flu the last two weeks of 2014, I still find it hard to think evil or to conjure up images of suffering. Trust me. An image of me vomiting my guts out would not be pretty.

Despite all the horrible news we seem to always see plastered everywhere, commercials that ever more seem to be full of the horrors of life, I can still find happiness. I guess it is the Pollyanna in me. Yes, another cliché.

I want light and cheery.

I want sun shine and lollipops.

But, I’m supposed to be seeing evil! Ugh!

Everything I read speaks about the need to avoid the squeaky, clean life of Beaver Cleaver or Doris Day.

Gees, McGees! Why?

Because they say it’s not entertaining enough. It’s not sad enough. It’s not grab you by the balls enough.

But, it is HARD to write! (Think of Snoopy and Woodstock sitting on top of Snoopy’s dog house screaming).

Yes, it is gut wrenching hard to write. I totally understand what the masters like Stephen King or J A Konrath mean.

Writing about suffering and evil changes my happiness quotient–I have to look inside myself and I don’t always like what I see.

Now what do I do?

How do I go on?

Must I keep on suffering?

Ah, the games a foot.

Stay tuned.

I must consider my wants!

 What are your wants for 2015?


There you have it. My “new” resolution for 2015. I need to learn how to write horrible, suffering involving evil people.

Before you go, consider signing up for my newsletter: The Newberry Tales and share this post with a friend. Spread the love, if you will. It will cut down on my suffering.

Always with Cheers and Smiles,

The 365 Days of Wants was first published on Pam B. Newberry’s Writing Adventure Blog on January 2, 2015.

Photo of Queen by Conrad Poirier [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons