Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Kitty Drama





As some of you may know, I have a diabetic cat I've been treating every twelve hours with insulin injections for the past year and a half. Monday morning, I gave Whisper his shot as usual, and within five minutes, he was staggering around the house, confused and dazed and unable to figure out how to get out of a corner. I realized this was what the vet had told me to watch for -- he was in shock.

I called the Burlington Emergency Veterinary Services immediately, and they told me to rush him in. And of course, he promptly disappeared. We found him under a bed, and the only way we could get to him fast was to dismantle the bed. Ten minutes later, the house in chaos with mattress thrown down the hall out of the way, my back was in a spasm, and he and I were off. I fully expected that this was the end.

But the wonderful doctors at BEVS quickly got him stabilized with an IV with a sugar solution and then began a series of tests to see what had caused the sudden, dangerous drop. A kidney infection was soon revealed and initially thought to be the culprit. And then, as we were discussing treatments, a doctor asked me how long he'd been blind.

You could have scooped me off the floor. Blind? I told them he wasn't blind. The doctor smiled and said that Whisper had just walked right off the exam table. Huh. It must have been a very gradual vision loss and he'd adapted smoothly. So much for my sense of being in touch with my cat.

After two days and a night at BEVS on his little kitty IV, Whisper was finally released yesterday, with some more staggering news. It is now looking like the real reason for the blood sugar drop is that he is no longer diabetic. His pancreas has decided to come back on line as suddenly as it went off. Only time will tell if this is permanent, or if he will need a lower dose of insulin .A trip to our vet this afternoon showed that his pancreas still seems to be working. Next week, we will test him again.

But for now, I have a diabetic-free, seventeen-year-old blind cat with a kidney infection and a lot less money in the bank, but I'll take it. And maybe, for the first time in a year and half, I'll be able to sleep past six o'clock in the morning next weekend!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Peregrine Falcon



This is the best photo I've gotten so far this summer of one of the Peregrines nesting on the cliff near our camp. They are a constant presence in our lives, swooping past the windows and fussing in great agitation whenever a boat comes too near. I've seen three in the air at one time. One of their favorite perches is a red pine just down the path to our deck, and they don't seem bothered at all by me standing there in awe photographing them. I got this shot a few days ago while one was feeding on something it had just caught. (Yes, the prey had feathers, too. I'm not sure what it was.) I'm pretty sure this is an immature. Fortunately, they aren't bothered by me swimming around beneath them, either.

This is video I took a few days ago. You can't really see the peregrines, but you can hear them. I have to admit, I'm the only one in the family who is enchanted by their voices.




Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Guest Post by Lori L. MacLaughlin

Today, I'm so excited to welcome my friend Lori MacLaughlin to my blog with a guest post that is perfect for St. Patrick's Day. Lori is celebrating the release of her first novel, Lady, Thy Name is Trouble. I am almost as excited about its release as she is. Lori and I are members of the same writer's group, and I have been watching this novel grow for many years. Reading the final version has been a wonderful and emotional experience, especially recognizing little details that I suggested Lori weave into her tale. For example (and Lori is probably going to kill me but I can't not mention it) the issue of bathing. I am a water-obsessed freak, and I was constantly pointing out how dirty her characters were getting, especially after wallowing around in the Bog for days. She insisted that readers would assume the characters would take advantage of opportunities to clean up and she didn't need to point it out every time. I brought up the fact that even Tolkien had the hobbits bathe when they reached Crickhollow. So you all can thank me for Lori adding the lovely bathing scene after they leave the bog!

Welcome, Lori!



The Magic of Names

In my new fantasy adventure novel, Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble, the heroine of the story is Tara. The name Tara, in Irish, means "rocky hill" or "tower." It refers to the ancient seat of Irish kings in County Meath, where stands the Lia Fial — the Stone of Destiny, which legend says was the coronation stone for the ancient High Kings of Ireland.


While this is all very fascinating and appropriate for a St. Patrick's Day post, I didn't think about any of it when I gave my main character her name. I named her Tara, because I loved the sound of it. I thought it beautiful and strong, yet feminine. To me, the name captured Tara's personality perfectly.

My habit always has been to choose names for my characters that sounded right to me. I never looked up the names to see their meanings beforehand. However, when it came time to choose names for my children, I went by both sound and meaning.

Since then, I've paid more attention to the meanings of names, but usually only after the fact. I'll pick a name or create one I like, and then sometime later, I'll look up what it means, just to make sure it's not something undesirable. For example, in my 35,000+ Baby Names book, the name Swinfen, listed in the boys' section, is said to mean "swine's mud." I mean no offense to anyone out there named Swinfen, but that would be a name I'd have to change.

Choosing a name that fits your character is not an easy task. An Internet search provides lots of advice. Two of the sites I found useful are listed below.


If you've picked first and last names for your characters, it's smart to search those name combinations online and see what comes up. I did that once and discovered that the name I'd made up belonged to an artist living in California. I changed my character's name slightly to avoid any conflict.

What's really uncanny, though, is when you choose a name, then look it up later and find it means exactly what you imagined for your character. In Book 2, Trouble By Any Other Name, there is an ancient race of magical people I named Kamarians. They are sky Aiykshaav'n, with elemental powers drawn from the aether and starlight and moonlight. A few months back, when I was double-checking names in Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble, I also checked the names in Book 2. According to my name book, "Kamaria," in Swahili, means "moonlight." Magical.

How do you choose your character names?
   

Photo source: Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hill_of_Tara




Lady, THY NAME IS TROUBLE

Trouble is Tara Triannon’s middle name. As swords for hire, Tara and her sister Laraina thrive on the danger. But a surprise invasion throws them into chaos... and trouble on a whole new level. Pursued by the Butcher, a terrifying assassin more wolf than man, Tara and Laraina must get a prince marked for death and a young, inept sorceress to safety. There’s only one problem – eluding the Butcher has never been done. Aided by a secretive soldier of fortune, they flee the relentless hunter.

Gifted with magic and cursed by nightmares that are all too real, Tara must stop an army led by a madman and fend off an evil Being caught in a centuries-old trap who seeks to control her magic and escape through her dreams – all while keeping one step ahead of the Butcher.

Amazon    Barnes & Noble     Kobo




Lori L. MacLaughlin traces her love of fantasy adventure to Tolkien and Terry Brooks, finding The Lord of the Rings and The Sword of Shannara particularly inspirational. She's been writing stories in her head since she was old enough to run wild through the forests on the farm on which she grew up.

She has been many things over the years – tree climber, dairy farmer, clothing salesperson, kids' shoe fitter, retail manager, medical transcriptionist, journalist, private pilot, traveler, wife and mother, Red Sox and New York Giants fan, muscle car enthusiast and NASCAR fan, and a lover of all things Scottish and Irish.

When she's not writing (or working), she can be found curled up somewhere dreaming up more story ideas, taking long walks in the countryside, or spending time with her kids. She lives with her family in northern Vermont.

Lori L. MacLaughlin 
Social Media Links:



Friday, February 27, 2015

Live Long and Prosper





I took this photo of the moon today. I thought it would be a fitting way to mark the passing of Leonard Nimoy, who had a deep and wise soul. Both of them.

Lori's Novel is Published!

Some novels are written in six months and are available for download within a year. Others are the work of a lifetime. Novels like these contain the joys and sorrows of the author's life, transposed into the life of a character who becomes an alter ego, a character who truly lives and breathes. When an author decides that a novel like this is ready, after years of work, to be published, it is a truly noteworthy event. I am beyond thrilled to announce that one such novel has just been released.

My friend Lori MacLaughlin's heroine, Tara, feels like a friend of mine, too. I have been watching her grow since I first met Lori thirty years ago, the sister of the best man in my wedding. Tara is the heroine of her own life: a swashbuckling, sword-wielding, magic-carrying lady in a fantasy novel in the tradition started by Tolkien. Tara fights inner and outer demons, learning to trust and love while on a quest to save her world. Sometimes, she will say something that makes me smile, knowing that is just how Lori would have put it. Sometimes, Lori will say something with a glint in her eye and a curl of her lip, and I will remember there is a whole other woman inside this quiet, restrained, mother of two.

Novels like this transcend their genre and speak of lives well led, of the deep joys and sorrows and loss and love of real life, where heroes are flawed and villains can be redeemed. I am so excited to announce that Lady, Thy Name is Trouble by Lori L. MacLaughlin will be available, at long last, on February 27. It can be purchased for download right now on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, and print copies will be available for purchase very shortly. To further whet your appetites, HERE is a link to the book trailer that Lori has made, and HERE is a link to her website.

I will be hosting a guest post from Lori about Tara on my blog soon -- watch for more details as this exciting event unfolds. 



Trouble is Tara Triannon’s middle name. As swords for hire, Tara and her sister Laraina thrive on the danger. But a surprise invasion throws them into chaos... and trouble on a whole new level. Pursued by the Butcher, a terrifying assassin more wolf than man, Tara and Laraina must get a prince marked for death and a young, inept sorceress to safety. There’s only one problem – eluding the Butcher has never been done. Aided by a secretive soldier of fortune, they flee the relentless hunter.

Gifted with magic and cursed by nightmares that are all too real, Tara must stop an army led by a madman and fend off an evil Being caught in a centuries-old trap who seeks to control her magic and escape through her dreams – all while keeping one step ahead of the Butcher.

Purchase from Amazon HERE
Purchase from Barnes and Noble HERE

Thanks so much, and spread the word!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Snow Rock









As I went for my usual walk up the road today (it's school vacation, yeah!) I had to stop and stare at this snow-capped rock for a while (the temp is in the teens, so I dared to stop walking for a moment and not risk freezing solid). The snow on top is frozen into layers like the rings of a tree. Since we haven't had a thaw in as long as I can remember, the layers go back to the first snow that stayed in November. You can see we haven't had any really huge snowfalls, just lots and lots of little ones, the kind that keep the roads nasty and the steps slippery. But it makes an interesting, and transitory, way of remembering time. Memories in my mind aren't layered like this -- they're all jumbled up and often come to the surface at the wrong times, sometimes unexpectedly. And sometimes I have to dig down for things I ought to be able to remember easily.

I know there will be more layers of snow on the rock before this cold winter comes to an end, but eventually it will be covered with green moss and lichens again and bask in the sun as I long to do.