Tuesday, January 25, 2011

   “I find that singing makes the time pass, Doctor.  Not gloomy songs, but cheerful ones.  Don’t you know any songs?  Isn’t there some Scotsman named Brown, or Bowen who wrote some songs?”
    He stopped cleaning the fish and looked at her with an expression of deep pain. 
    “Might you be referring to Rabbie Burns, the bard of Scotland?”
    Daphne thought about it for a moment. 
    “That sounds right.  He wrote a song about a red rose, and one about a hag.”  Her brow scrunched.  “Though why someone would want to write a song about a hag is beyond me.”
    Dr. Murray closed his eyes, then opened them and looked at her.
    “Not a hag, Miss Farnham, a haggis.  A haggis is a dish enjoyed by the people of Scotland.”
    “Really? What is it?”
    Dr. Murray described, with loving detail, the inner workings of the mysterious haggis. Daphne looked at him, speechless for a long moment.
    “Dr. Murray, I would think raw fish a treat after that!”

--Castaway Dreams, (WIP) Darlene Marshall

Today is the birthday of Robert Burns, the bard of Scotland.  I will forgo the haggis but raise a dram of Scotland's finest product (no, not haggis, that other product) tonight and toast the man who gave us so much wonderful poetry and music.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rand opened the cabin door and spied Julia up on the center of the table, skirt hiked up in her hand, a shapely pair of ankles distracting him from what she was saying.
"Snake!" she whispered, pointing with her shaking free hand to a darkened corner of the cabin.
Rand dropped his bag and fetched the lamp and the broom. When he raised the lamp and peered into the corner, there was a faint susurrus--a sound like sand falling on the floor. He looked closer, set down the lamp and broom and said, "C'mon outta there, fella." He crouched down and waved his fingers in front of the snake, and when it coiled to leap he grabbed it behind its head. The snake wrapped itself around his arm and gave it a good squeeze, but Rand didn't let go of the snake's head.
He straightened and turned to Julia, the snake clinging to his arm, tongue darting in and out in agitation.
"This ain't nothin' but a corn snake, darlin'. He's likely more scared of you than you are of him." He held the snake up, admiring the red, gold, and brown stripes and chevrons patterning the reptile's body as the snake squirmed in Rand's grasp. "This is a frisky one, too. Bet he could help with those rats in the corn field. C'mon, fella, let's put you to work out back."

--Smuggler's Bride, Darlene Marshall

I blogged about finding lizards in my house and some of you wrote me and said, "Euwwww!  How can you live with lizards?"

In Florida, you learn that not all critters that live outdoors and sometimes come indoors are pests.  I leave spiders alone, because they kill and eat other, more invasive insects.  Same with the little lizards.  Finding the lizards where I feared I would find mice put my mind at ease.  Mice are detrimental--they chew up wiring and carry disease.  Lizards eat insects and don't chew up wiring.

Then there are the snakes.  Not all snakes 'round here are evil.  Some, like the corn snakes (also known as rat snakes) eat rodents.  Last week there was a beautiful black racer snake sunning itself in my backyard and I was glad to see it.  They too love to snack on mice and rats.

I learned a great deal about Florida wildlife, including how to cook a possum, while writing Smuggler's Bride.  I still describe it to people as my "Cracker novel" since it's set in the backwoods, and not along the coast or on the water like my other novels.  I don't know if I'll ever write another ode to Florida quite like that book, but when I see a helpful snake in the backyard it reminds me of the fun I had researching Smuggler's Bride.   It's also a good reminder to whack the woodpile before you fetch your firewood on these cold winter nights, because you just don't know what might have taken up residence out there when you weren't looking.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The sun came out midway through my walk this afternoon, which was a delight, as was the walk itself.  I worked out a couple sticky plot points for (working title) The Hot Pirate's Secret Baby, realized I needed a name change for one of the characters (thank you, "find & replace") and for the first time felt like I was into the rhythm of my newest work in progress. 

I often get mental breakthroughs on my daily walk, but this was the first time the WIP and its plot was foremost in my mind.  I can't force it.  I've tried that and it doesn't work for me, but when I realize that it's happening and the creative brain synapses are firing, it's a good feeling.  I returned to the work this afternoon with a renewed sense of commitment, and some excitement at seeing the characters taking shape. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hotel booking is now open for Renovation 2011, Worldcon in Reno, Nevada.  You can get more information here.  See you in Reno!

Friday, January 07, 2011

Boskone 48

Thinking about going to Boskone 48? The list of program participants is up (Yay! I made the cut!) and you can read an interview with Special Guest Charlaine Harris, here.

It takes a lot to get this Florida gal to fly up to Boston in February, but Boskone always delivers the goods. If you want to attend a regional science fiction and fantasy convention with great programming and hospitable hosts, this is the one.

I hope I'll see you there!
My talk last night went well, and book sales showed my 2011 balance sheet in the black!  Yeah, I know, it's only six days into the year, but it's the thought that counts.  Ideally I'll have another book out before 2012 and that'll give the bottom line a boost.