What are the Signs?

Signs are everywhere, that is, if we take the time to see and listen. Have you ever heard someone say, “Signs of the times?” It refers to characteristics of a particular era or present time, or even alluding to certain events that are expected to happen, such as “end times” or other. Signs could also be warnings given to us from above before something is about to happen or we are about to make the wrong decision. Different from clues, which take us forward, from one to the next and so on, in order to reveal something or truth, signs serve more as a beacon, a warning just on time.

I have had signs before something is about to happen. For example, on one occasion, I gave a ride to a coworker who was sabotaging me at work, unbeknownst to me. A small glass blown angel that I had hanging from my backing-up mirror, suddenly broke in pieces and fell just as this person sat in the car. I could not explain why and how it happened because it was well secured with a sturdy chain, and the chain remained intact, not broken. Although I found the incident unusual at that time, I ignored it. It was a warning from above, which I understood later on.

In writing, sometimes we use signs and clues when creating a story. Mystery thrillers are a good example. However, one should separate one from the other. Clues take you to a destination, signs warn you about it. Many people refer to these as one and the same, but I view these as different in purpose. I made use of clues in my novel Moonlit Valley, as the main character Rose Carrigan follows a path that reveals the truth. I made use of signs also, such as a warning given to her by Black Hawk, one of her protectors. Signs and clues are sparingly used throughout my novels, which deal with the topics of the Divine and the supernatural. As a writer, I try not to center the story solely on clues and signs. I think these should enhance the story not become it.

Now, if we could only see a butterfly on top of the bird, we could make up a story.

Ladies in the Garden

I have been in awe over the last couple of days admiring these ladies (and gentlemen) in my garden. I had been telling my husband that this year I have not seen as many butterflies as other years past. It must be that everything has been so dry from the lack of rain, only a few showers here and there, but no significant amount. Other areas close by have enjoyed more showers. The flowers have withered, some that were ready to bloom as well, and the veggies are growing slow – no tomatoes yet; only four cucumbers made it to the table along with a few leaves of lettuce. If anything, we will have a late harvest. We have been watering every other day, but it does not seem to be enough. Just when my gardening enthusiasm was fading a bit, we were blessed with a couple of short heavy showers overnight, and also the butterflies have been visiting the only source of nectar that has been doing good around here during the season.

Absolutely gorgeous in her lovely attire.
Perfect color combinations and patterns.
Another one of God’s lovely creatures.
This one is similar to the other one but with one less row of color on the wings; a bit of a different pattern.
Thanks to this bush, they’ll have plenty to eat until early fall.

I am grateful that I can enjoy watching them, their beauty, and share it with you here. I hope you enjoy this post.

Whispering Wood

Sometimes, you just don’t know what pieces of wood are going to tell you. The other day, I was looking through some pieces of scrap wood that my husband saved for me to use in future projects. I came across a couple of pieces that whispered to me what they wanted to become. As soon as I looked at them an image in the wood grain appeared; so I listened.

This piece of wood was telling me a story, one of a seaside landscape, and happy summer days at the beach. If you look at the wood grain, it is almost painted there.
It became “Seaside Dreams.”
The second piece of scrap wood spoke of babbling brooks and mountains, of days in the wilderness. I listened, and a little house appeared at the mountain base. Soon, I was there.
It became “In the Wilderness.”
Here the wood is whispering of a place far away.

It became “Mountain of Hope.”

You never know what wood is going to whisper, might as well listen. Hope you enjoyed this post.

Moonlighting for a Buck

If you happened to look up last night, you saw a Buck Moon. It is a July moon named Buck because these animals grow new antlers about this time. It has other names as well. I was able to take some quick pictures of this gorgeous moon. By now, you know that I have been in love with the moon all my life, since I was a kid. I remember when I first saw the moon through a telescope. I was about six years old, and a Pastor who rented the house in front of my grandmother’s home had a telescope set up on his porch. One night, he let me look through it, and I was in awe, and remain in awe until this day. It is one of my fondest memories.

I love this one. The reflection on the window glass looks like there is a second moon. The clouds add to the charm and mystery.

Hope you enjoyed this post.

On Writing – Birthright, Destiny, and Free Will

Birthright – A right or privilege to which a person is entitled by birth.

Destiny – The seemingly preordained or inevitable course of events.

Free Will – The power or discretion to choose.

(American Heritage Dictionary)

These are topics/ideas that are common in many novels, whether paranormal, historical fiction or other. The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy presents the idea of birthright as central to the series from denial to acceptance to fulfillment. At first glance, these three concepts might appear different or even contradictory to each other, however, these fuel each other, and in the end, the character chooses (free will) to fulfill a birthright and/or what might be viewed as destiny. A birthright might be given but a destiny is chosen by the exercise of free will, whether that birthright is fulfilled or not. In the end, the character finds “self” or grows into the pursuit of knowledge.

The Dinorah Chronicles is available via Amazon in eBook and paperback format.

On Writing – The Demise of Self For the Good of All

Most heroes accept their calling, even when they might hesitate at first. They choose to follow their purpose. Their purpose eventually becomes their identity, and if that purpose fails, ceases to exist, even momentarily, the hero/main character loses her/his identity. When the purpose , the calling, the birthright becomes the goal/the existence, it becomes more important than the hero or anyone else, and it usually translates (ironically) in the denial of self, the neglect of loved ones, all for the good of humanity – the ultimate goal. Just like a fire, it consumes the hero’s soul, and takes over everything around her/him quickly. Sometimes the hero finds balance, sometimes not; however, most likely, the hero finds the self along the way.

Photo by M.A.D.

On Writing – Resurrecting a Character

Sometimes, it happens that a character is brought back, whether from the dead, or back in a series. When resurrecting a character there is always motive, a purpose, and that motive has to be clear, defined, and essential to the story, otherwise, it might not make sense or have an impact in the story.

Why bring back what was once gone if there is no agenda? It is a risky maneuver for the writer, one that can upset readers more than the demise itself. Of course, for fans of the long gone soul, it is a heavenly gift, like breathing life into the pages once more. For the writer, a necessary duty, a risky endeavor, a solemn event.

Photo by M.A.D.

Life Goes On

Everywhere we look, there is life going on, even at the microscopic level. Spend a few minutes outdoors and look around. From foliage to tiny critters moving around and about, our existence is full of life; isn’t that wonderful? I have been observing a Mama Bird caring for her babies for the past three weeks or so, and I have avoided using the side entrance so I would not disturb them. At first, I thought there were two abandoned nests in each of the flower pots hanging at each side of the entrance, although one of the nests seemed as if it was started and left halfway through undone. It is a shady and cool area, and I have not been able to grow anything on those pots despite several attempts, so this year I placed artificial flowers inside. I noticed that the halfway done nest disappeared and the other one seemed bigger and fuller. I assumed it was being built, and the nest material was being used, so I let it be. Later on, I would see Mama Bird flying back and forth, and chirping; later on, I heard a few chirps but did not want to go near the area in fear that I would scare the birds. On Saturday, I did not hear anything, or see any movement, and on Sunday, I discovered an abandoned nest. Wanting to preserve this lovely memory, I sat down and attempted to paint the flower pot with a few watercolor pencils I have around.

The nest is behind the artificial foliage.
My rendition, although I did it by memory. I thought the flowers were purplish and fewer, and the pot ornament is the one on the opposite flower pot, which have fewer flowers. I guess age creeps on you.

It was relaxing, and I preserved a beautiful memory. I used to draw and paint when I was a kid, and for some reason that I cannot recall, I suddenly stopped. As a young adult, I tried to get back to it but was hesitant for some unexplained reason that puzzles me and I cannot comprehend. In my late twenties, I even bought an easel, several types of paints, and other materials but always felt something stopping me, and it all sat waiting for me to pick it up. I carried the stuff from place to place. On my last move, I got rid of 70 percent of my stuff, but for some reason, I could not let go of the painting materials. I had attempted a few drawings and paintings, on and off, but It wasn’t until a few years back before my last move that I started, and I pushed myself to paint something, despite my “hesitation.” It has been very diluted and sporadically, rudimentary, but I am feeling a bit more at ease with it. I cannot recall why I stopped, or anything negative associated with painting or drawing, other than a teacher in third grade making a big deal in front of the class because I painted blue hair on a coloring book. Another teacher telling me in class that it wasn’t me who did the drawing on a novel we were reading in 7th grade (we were supposed to draw or paint a scene), even when it was all me. So I have no clue as why I stopped painting suddenly, but I intend to keep on painting something from now on, and enjoying it. For some reason, it feels as if I picked up where I left off. No Picasso here, just the joy of it. Life goes on in ways more than one.

On Writing – Secondary/Tertiary Characters

Heroes are applauded. Main characters are beloved. Secondary/tertiary characters move the plot. Without these characters there is no story. They are the ones who carry the load, chapter to chapter, the bearers of good and bad news, and in truth, heroes and main characters are nothing without them. They support the main character throughout. Have you ever liked a secondary character more than the main? Are tertiary characters disposable? Do they serve a purpose, fill a hole, and are forgotten after their purpose is fulfilled? Are they neglected characters, in a sense? I don’t think so. Inside every tertiary character, however short lived, there is motive, truth, and purpose. It is that last piece of the puzzle, the one that completes the whole picture. Their existence is brief but not without meaning. After all, they appeared in the writer’s mind for a reason. Even if they are quickly out of mind and out of sight, they became part of a chain of events that if broken, disturbs the scene/story.

In these characters defense, they work for their keep, and unlike main characters/heroes, they are not handed a crown from the beginning.