I’m going to try something different! I have been talking with you every week for about six months, and I hope you enjoyed the topics I shared with you.
Starting with the next phase of posting, I will focus more deeply on topics relating to subjects I find interesting, like action and adventure, archaeology, archaeological action and adventure, expeditions and discoveries, explorers, ghosts, magic, time travel, the supernatural and paranormal, myths and legends, fiction and non-fiction authors’ books, TV shows and movies relating to the topic of the month. You get the idea!
My blogs will be more in-depth, longer, and (more…)
I have a wonderful new book to share with you. It’s called The Tenth Island, written by Pulitzer Prize winner Diana Marcum. It is well written, funny, poignant, and thought provoking – in a good way!
Diana tells of her own personal journey, beginning at a difficult time when she’s at a crossroads in her life. A freelance newspaper journalist, she has no money, no steady job, but a longing to visit and write about the Azores, a group of small islands in the middle of the Atlantic. She has no family, no tribe, of her own, but she has connections with many Azoreans who have settled in California’s Central Valley, and she tells us some of their stories, as well.
When she takes the leap to visit Terceira, she is taken in and accepted by an Armenian family. They and their friends become her tribe, as she gets to know them, and shares their stories with us. We are given an insider’s view into a small and private world, with descriptions of the volcanic island and its traditions, from men standing in a line to let an enraged bull charge them head-on, to the hardships of forcing girls to marry against their wishes.
The islands of the Azores belong to Portugal, but the islanders are fiercely independent, and share strong bonds with emigrants who left their island homes to settle in America and Canada. Many of those who emigrated to other countries, return every year to celebrate their ties with family and their island. We are privy to many celebrations and given a glimpse into another, very different and interesting culture.
There is joy at new relationships, sadness for things lost and what might have been; and yes, a love story too. The Tenth Island drew me in with well-defined characters; so interesting and believable they made me want to know them. I loved the descriptions of the many, many festas and another Azorean-style bullfight with bulls on the loose running through crowded streets. I could almost feel what is was like, sitting on the wall in front of a friend’s house, watching the bull charge past.
Her stories about the undependable, big, purple, American car called “Barney” and her unruly Labrador “Murphy” were funny and made for enjoyable reading. The longing for home felt by those who left, is heart-felt. Their untranslatable Portuguese word for that feeling is saudade (pronounced sau-da-je). As her friend Chef said, The Tenth Island for the Azoreans is the home you always carry with you, no matter where you live.
The Tenth Island was so good, I read it in little bits to make the stories last, and I was sorry to see the stories end.
I thoroughly enjoyed Diana Marcum’s story about her adventures on Terceira. I think you will, too.
Usually, I try to include a picture reflecting each week’s blog, but I saw this carefree photo and it made me happy, so I’m sharing it.
I was thinking about a good topic to talk about with you this week, and I ran across some “sayings” that I thought were funny, or clever, or inspirational when I found them. I thought I’d share a few of them with you, and if any of them strike you as interesting or thought-provoking, send me a comment and tell me what you think.
Here’s the first one: I always thought the name “Bluetooth” was unusual, and I wondered how (more…)
It’s time for us to get together again! This week I’d like to talk about writer’s block and what happens to make our minds go as blank as the white page in front of us. Plus, I present a possible writer’s block cure!
Now, for me, so far, that hasn’t been a problem. I am blessed with a vivid imagination and lots of stories I want to tell. But what happens when that well of stories dries up? Take these blogs, for instance. Every week, I must find (more…)
I appreciate all the kind remarks and comments I’ve received over the past few months since the launch of my weekly blog. Thank you all, very much.
I’ve been doing all the talking lately, so this week—and into the future if you feel the notion—I would love to hear more from you. Tell me what you think about hummingbirds being so trusting when they are trapped that they’ll let a person hold them and carry them to safety. Do you have any stories about wild birds or animals who trusted you? Tame ones, too.
What about people who inspired you? I had people in my life who encouraged me, made me believe I could, when I thought I probably couldn’t. Do you, or did you, have a friend, a teacher, a mentor, anyone to show you the way, so you wouldn’t have to carve a new path on your own? Those people are blessings in our life we might not even recognize or appreciate at the time. If they are still available to you, now might be a good time to thank them. I mean this sincerely, don’t wait until it’s too late. I have learned never to let words of appreciation go unsaid.
Speaking of teamwork, have you learned it’s better to cooperate with others of like mind rather than struggle alone to re-invent the wheel? That one takes some doing if you like to work on your own, but trust me, brainstorming opened new avenues of possibilities I couldn’t imagine before. Plus, you get the added bonus of friendships. I would love to hear how you accomplished something greater by working in partnership with someone else.
Do you have a favorite story or legend that captured your imagination? I loved the stories of Merlin and King Arthur when I was growing up. How about you?
Last month, I wrote about my favorite pet names. I forgot that it was two generations ago (yikes!) that I saw the movie A Streetcar Named Desire. It’s the one where Marlon Brando yelled “Stella!” I thought it was a pretty good name for calling a dog to come back to me, but I realized that many of you probably never heard of the author, Tennessee Williams, or the 1950s movie. Time does fly!
So, these are my thoughts for this week’s posting. I hope you enjoyed spending this time with me, and I would very much like to hear what you have to say.
As a Special Giveaway to you for sharing your views and your interests, I would like to offer the following:
Add your comments and input below, and I will be happy to email the first two chapters of my first book, A Shadow Away, to you for free. Plus, I offer you early access to purchase the 6 books of my series “Alex Cort Action Adventures” before they’re available to the public! Once you add your comment, you will hear from me shortly with your freebie!
Also, please use the sign up form below to be added to my email list so you never miss a post or update.
Hello again. I hope you had a fantastic Labor Day Weekend Holiday!
I included a video this week where I talk about my life in metaphysics, and why I like to write about the supernatural.
If you’ve read A Shadow Away, my mission statement, or my weekly blogs, you will notice I have a very positive outlook on life. Things happen to us, of course, but if we dig deeply enough into the underlying causes of most accidents, coincidences, or unhappy events — happy ones, too — an explanation will usually present itself.
“They” say, “Nothing happens in life without a reason.” I’ve also been told, and found out for myself, that “Every problem that comes to you, comes with a gift in its hands.” Which means, we always learn something from what life hands us. I believe it was Richard Bach, in his book Jonathan Livingston Seagull, who wrote this piece of wisdom. I’ve turned to that thought often in my life.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I was brought up with a metaphysical outlook on life, and it gives me a great deal of comfort to know that things usually turn out for the good, or how they were meant to be, even though it doesn’t look that way to me at the time.
Our world is experiencing a great deal of tumult on many levels in this new Age of Aquarius. We no longer live in the safe world I knew growing up, and I don’t envy young people the problems they are facing today. But the interesting thing is that the young people of today give me a great deal of encouragement. They are stronger, smarter, more gifted than the kids I knew growing up. We had different problems to deal with, and we handled them the best way we could. Kids today seem ready to face their challenges and rise to them with intelligence and grace. I do believe what was said about the idea that we are not given more to bear than we can handle.
There are exceptions to that idea, of course. But even perceived failures or losses can, with some introspection, become learning experiences for us.
Anyway, that’s why I like to write about other dimensions, science, and magic, and the supernatural, because I want to share the idea that there is no end to life. Forms change, but life goes on. Science is even proving that energy and matter are the same thing at the quantum level. Nothing is lost. That gives me comfort when I think of loved ones who have moved on.
I like to write positive stories that take you, and me too, on adventures with exciting action, a touch of magic, and a bit of romance as adventurer Alex Cort joins eccentric archaeologist Andrew Seaton and Angel, a young woman with her own kind of magic.
Join me on adventures to explore lost cities of legends like El Dorado and Atlantis. It’s a lot of fun!
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This week I’ve been thinking about fascinating logos. They are everywhere around us, and some are so recognizable we don’t even need to read the company name to know exactly who they are.
My all-time favorite has got to be the opening scene of almost any Disney movie. The one with Sleeping Beauty’s castle — with a cascade of stars streaming overhead in a magical arc at a touch of Tinkerbell’s wand. When I see that image, I know I’m going to be going on a magical adventure.
I also love the Disney scene with an old-fashioned steam engine train chugging through a mystical countryside where sometimes I wish I could live. Speaking of fantasy places I wish I could live, I often get that feeling when I see Thomas Kincade’s paintings of a house or cottage nestled by a stream with the windows ablaze with that special light he creates. But I digress!
Another of my favorite logos is the NBC peacock. I’ve watched it morph from a simply drawn colorful image in the beginning, many years ago, to more evolved and updated images through the years. But we always know that peacock means NBC.
I appreciate graphic artists and designers who can take the initials of a company’s name and make a clever logo out of them. I admire their imagination and creativity!
The San Diego Zoo publishes a magazine called ZOONOOZ. I like it because I love the zoo, but also because the name reads the same from front to back. A word like that is called a Palindrome. Radar, toot, and refer, are other palindromes. How many can you think of?
I’m also a fan of words with double meanings. The Alazo Press logo has a double meaning that I appreciate very much. The word “alazo” occurs in two different languages, and I find that fascinating. I first discovered alazo, in Greek, means “to change.” Like changing your life for the better. The second alazo is Spanish, and it means “a stroke of the wing,” like a bird in flight. Alazo Press’s logo is a hummingbird. How interesting is that!
How many creative and interesting logos have you noticed? It’s kind of like cars on the freeway, once you start noticing one you’ll see it everywhere. When you find some that appeal to you, let me know. I’d love to hear from you!
As always, you can reach me at email@example.com or visit my website at www.joanklacy.com to learn about all six stories of my “Alex Cort Action Adventures” series. Starting with A Shadow Away, each book is an action adventure connected with a myth or legend, with a touch of magic, and a bit of romance.
It’s time for my weekly blog again, and I’ve been thinking about pets I’ve known. We give them unusual names, or funny ones, or names that mean something to us. Before I go any further, I have to share the best dog name I ever heard. She’s so cute, I included her picture here, so you can see my favorite breed of all time. They are called Goldendoodles, and this is one combination that really stole my heart. They are smart, and inherited that from both sides of their doggie lineage: the Golden Retriever and the Standard Poodle. Goldendoodles are also sweet and gentle—which is what I look for in people as well as puppies!
I went on a bit about this wonderful “new” breed, but I wanted to introduce you before I told you how this puppy gets called for breakfast: “STELLA!” I laugh every time I think of that one.
I’ve had favorite names for my pets, and each one has a special meaning for me. A dog named Pal, who will always stay in my heart. A parakeet named “Babette,” who liked to sit on my head and play with my hair. A terrier my sister named Tammy, after the Debbie Reynolds movie that was made long before most of you were born. So many other names and pets through the years. I’m older now, so I have had the pleasure of being a Pet Parent to a wonderful series of animals of every type, and I remember them all fondly. Their memories still bring me joy.
We think we “own” them, but really, we are only given custody of animals who mostly give us unconditional love. I wish I had not taken so many of them for granted. That’s the benefit of hind-sight, which I am passing on to you.
My family’s first pets, a dog and a cat, were given Chinese names because my dad studied about that country and always loved it. And then later, a white cat named “Snowball” of course. So many animals to give me love. I was lucky to have known them all.
My greatest sadness is that our pets don’t live as long as we do. I didn’t think about that much when I was young. My pets were just there, and they followed me everywhere or sat on my lap in the evenings and purred, and I never took the time then to appreciate them as I do now.
If you would like to write me about pets you love, or have loved, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be very happy to talk with you about your stories and the names of your favorite pets.
If any of you reading this are allowed to have pets, can take care of your pet, and have the proper space and lifestyle for a pet, I highly recommend bringing a loving animal into your life. So many shelters are filled with possible pets of all kinds. Rescue one of them!
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I’ve been learning about compromise nearly all my life, as most of us have. A long time ago, I heard the phrase: “You must give a little to get a little.” It’s a hard lesson to learn sometimes, to give as well as take.
I’ve had some interesting teachers along the way, and most of them were animals. I learned about unconditional love from a small dog who was mistreated by the person who was supposed to be caring for it. That person made me mad, and I wanted to retaliate for the hurt he caused. And then I watched the little dog make friends with that person a few days later, as though all was forgiven. How could the little dog still be loving to that terrible person? It’s a compromise I still have trouble with when I see injustice.
I learned another lesson in compromise when I introduced a female cocatiel, “Sweet Cheeks,” to the male, “Peaches,” which was my pet first. The male was pretty nasty to her, and I watched how she handled him. It was really very interesting, and taught me a big lesson in “getting along” with others. He started out by claiming his territory, instead of making friends with his new mate. I thought that was pretty selfish of him, as I watched him peck at her, and force her off their perch.
She didn’t fight back, as I would have done at the time. Instead of retaliating, she turned her back to him and stayed put when he acted belligerent. It took a week or two, but finally Peaches figured out she wasn’t a threat, and calmed down. When he became less hostile, Sweet Cheeks made an effort to be friendly. She would sidle over to him, closer, and a little closer, as time went on. When he still pecked at her, I talked to her sternly: “How can you be so forgiving when he treats you like that?!”
After another long while, I saw them sitting close together on the perch. He allowed her to groom his neck feathers, and before I knew it they were starting a family! Her non-reaction to his behavior showed me a lot about compromise and how to get along with others who are being difficult. I admit it has taken me longer than it took her to be forgiving in unforgiveable circumstances. It’s good to remember, though, that it might not always work, and the person being mistreated may have to pull away in truly difficult circumstances.
That being said, I’m still working on the valuable lessons a bird and a little dog taught me a long time ago! From them I learned that in a successful relationship, one person must be willing to change their mind about the difficult situation between them. If the relationship is worth keeping, choose compromise over retaliation, or avoidance—either of the subject or the other person involved.
We can learn a lot from the animals in our lives. For the most part, they love us unconditionally, forgive us when they need to, and trust us with their lives. If you have a pet, or there are animals in your life, watch them. Learn from them. They give back much more than they receive.
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I had an interesting experience last week at my first book cover photo shoot!
The publishing team for A Shadow Away, the first book of my Alex Cort Adventures series, decided we should create a new, more action-oriented image for the cover. A Shadow Away was written as an action adventure with a touch of magic, but I was told the cover looked more Young Adult and Fantasy. I wanted to appeal to a broad spectrum of readers, from a romance for women, to adventure for men, to something appealing to young readers, as well. Kind of like Indiana Jones, who everyone likes!
Anyway, the team experimented with new, more exciting backgrounds depicting action and the excitement of a chase through the jungles of Brazil, when a jeweled statue linked to the legend of El Dorado disappears under mysterious circumstances. It has been a long process, with suggestions analyzed, and portions accepted while other parts rejected.
Finding the right character to portray “Alex” took a while, too. Many long hours were spent searching for just the right model, who resembled most closely my imagined image of the hero of the series. And guess what—we found him!
Of course, my ideal image won’t match every girl’s or woman’s hero image, so that’s why you won’t see exactly what “Alex” looks like. You can imagine him for yourself!
Several days before the scheduled book cover photo shoot, I had to decide what I wanted “Alex” to be wearing on the expedition to find the lost city of El Dorado, as depicted in A Shadow Away (Book 1). I had a lot of fun choosing the right clothing—from shirt to jeans, to jacket/no jacket, to the right type of boot. I had no idea there would be so much involved. Lists of costumes were made, lists of possible action shot poses, lists of lists. It was all rather exciting.
The day of the shoot was actually pretty much all fun. The team works well together, and we all had brilliant ideas about what our action hero could be doing. Many, many photos were taken of multiple jumping, standing, crouching, leaping, climbing poses and actions. The best will be selected, then fit into the action sequence on the new cover.
The team was pretty tired after a full day of running and jumping by all of us, not just our hero. I give him credit though, because he was willing to wear a twenty-pound pea coat with a scarf wrapped around his neck in 90-degree weather, for a possible image I was thinking of for the fourth book, set in Ireland, The Black Horseman.
So much goes into the actual publishing of the stories we writers try so hard to bring to life. I’ve been very lucky to receive many positive and enthusiastic responses from the people who have read A Shadow Away. I am so happy that those of you who have read my book love it and can’t wait for the launch of All Under Heaven, the second book of the series. It’s coming!
I hope you enjoyed the images I wanted to create in your minds of all the work and the fun of publishing!
If you enjoyed this post, please remember to “like” and share it with your friends! And use the sign up form below to be added to Joan’s email list so you never miss a post or update!