Ireland Is For Writers #3: Ashford Castle & Cong

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Writing in Ireland
stone wolfhound chained at the front door

wolfhound chained at front door

We went on to Ashford Castle, which you’ve probably seen without knowing it. Ashford was founded in 1228 as the principle stronghold for the de Burgo family, and throughout the centuries the new owners (Bingham, Browne, Guinness) extended in contemporary style. In 1939 it was purchased and converted to a classy hotel. How classy, you ask? Well, there’s a heliport beside the front drive, and the rooms are the kind that start at about $350 US per night and continue to the range where you have to have your people call for a quote. It’s a favorite site for society and celebrity weddings, as well as for television and film locations (I hear Reign is shot there now). Continue reading

Ireland Is For Writers #2: Headford & Stone Circle

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Writing in Ireland

(I’m talking about my writing week with Ireland Writer Tours in August 2015. Catch up with part #1.)

We arrived at the village of Headford and settled at the Angler’s Rest, which secretly pleased me because The Scarlet Pimpernel’s secret way-stop was the Fisherman’s Rest, and it was close enough. (I’m such a nerd.) The pub was downstairs, our rooms above. I was on the top floor.

Then we set off past stone walls keeping flocks of sheep for the Ross Errily Friary, the best-preserved Franciscan ruins in Ireland. Founded in 1351, the friary was once one of the larger Franciscan establishments in the country. The monastery is a fantastic view into a self-sufficient medieval life. There was even a tank for keeping live fish in the kitchen! Continue reading

Ireland is for Writers #1: Galway

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Writing in Ireland

Last August I took a week in Ireland at a writers’ retreat of sorts. It wasn’t just a writing retreat, though I did do some writing. It was also a mini-workshop, with writing classes led by authors Susan Spann (The Shinobi Mysteries) and Heather Webb (Becoming Josephine, Rodin’s Lover). And it was also a tour of western Ireland.

Let me tell you about it.

First off, I landed in Dublin and immediately spied what I knew would be waiting: Continue reading

Why We Train, a sort of guest post

Today’s post is shared from my training and behavior blog. It references a previous post here — I love it when my jobs work together — and so I thought I’d share it here.

We’ve posted several times on training for when life catches you off-guard, like when you forget to put the meat in the fridge instead of on the floor. I had one of those moments today.

Over the weekend I was offered a big mirror, salvaged from a dressing room in the type of expensive store where I don’t usually find myself. I took it, because I didn’t have a full-length mirror, and put it behind my bedroom door. It didn’t have hanging brackets yet, but it was pretty secure in its place and I figured I’d get brackets this week. The dogs had seen it, knew it wasn’t a window to a new playmate, and generally they ignored it behind the door.

Until today, when the bedroom door was closed, exposing the mirror, and for some reason Undómiel decided to desultorily paw it — just once, and not particularly strongly. I saw and called her, but it was already moving. What followed was one of the longest seconds of my life, as the mirror tipped forward over my puppy who was looking back at me and couldn’t see it coming. I was on the opposite side of the room on the bed, with my feet up and a computer on my lap, and there was no possible way for me to intervene in time. Continue reading

Thanks, Tangent! (A Brag)

Scarecrow anthology Rhonda Parrish

“Judge and Jury”

Is it okay to start the new year with a brag? Is that okay?

I might do it anyway.

I just got an email pointing me to Tangent‘s 2015 Recommended Reading List and I’m on it. Twice. Both stories with three stars (in their 0-3 star system). Continue reading

Writing RPG Scenes

“A little help?” called Angie. “I’m down sixty-four hit points! This thing is killing me!”

Cassandra didn’t even look up from the figures on the table. “I know! That’s why I’m about to hit it in the head with a mace!”

“Cassandra, you’re the cleric! I want some healing.”

Cassandra glanced at her character sheet. Morningstar or broadsword? She should have buffed the sword. “Quit your whining, I’m busy.”

Angie’s voice was insistent. “Healing?”

“Fine, fine.” Cassandra raised a hand overhead and pointed at Angie. “Cure moderate. Take—” she rolled two dice— “twenty-two points back.”

The GM frowned. “Hold on, her character’s twenty feet away from you. You can’t cure from there.”

“Faith’s reach! I took that feat. I can touch from range distances.”

“Thanks,” said Angie. “Now I can run away screaming.”

“And leave the cleric alone in the front line?”

“There shouldn’t be a cleric in the front line!”

“Shut up, you.”

“Right, then.” The GM sighed. “You’re that kind of cleric. This is going to be a rough game.”

Writing RPG sessions feels like cheating, because I basically just polish our own game transcripts.

I am that terrible non-healing healer. You may commence empathy for my party.

News: I Have a Tesla

20151205_135738 It was roughly three years of observing and dreaming, before I had finally realized I’d saved enough. And lemme tell you, there’s no feeling like achieving a dream.

Word got out this weekend, when I picked up the car itself. I have become the very pleased owner of a Tesla Model S.

And the key point for this blog is, my books are buying it. (Thank you, thank you, thank you!) Continue reading

Colors.

So I was picking up around the house, and I noticed a theme to my personal accessories….

red and black everything!

It’s been no secret that I like red, and black, and red and black together, but this was a fairly solid example. At least shopping is easy!

 

Wordless Wednesday: Skeleton

I made the mystery trail/maze as promised, but I uncovered a significant hole left by some bank robber retrieving his stolen loot. As the trail is walked in the dark, this was a real hazard, so it had to be marked.

So we enlisted McCoy. McCoy (Star Trek fans will appreciate his name) joined us three years ago when we sponsored the 1959 The House on Haunted Hill with Vincent Price at my favorite Historic Artcraft Theater.

By the way, I’m terrible at Wordless Wednesday. I freely confess to word count issues. Let’s call this, mostly wordless.

skeleton pushes woman into acid trap

“That Friend” and FOMO

Okay, I’ve seen a number of people post this now. Many are people who don’t know each other. And I’ve seen the sentiment echoed from all demographics, people getting student discounts and people getting senior discounts. It’s everywhere. Here’s the thing:

I'm that friend that has to walk behind the group when the path isn't big enough. I'm that friend that gets cut off in the conversation. I'm that friend that gets left behind when I asked for them to wait for me. I'm that friend that doesn't get invited to hang out a lot. I'm that friend that if I want to go tot he mall or some place with a friend I have to be the one to invite people to make sure I get included. I'll always be that friend.

 

And I’m going to step into the Old Ben mentor trope for a moment and pontificate, because it seems there’s something critical being missed.

Guys, this is not “that friend.” This is EVERYONE. Continue reading