Monday, November 26, 2012

All Creation Sings Praise

As we enter the season of Advent, I give you this thought:

Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights.

Praise him, all you his angels;
give praise, all you his hosts. 

Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all shining stars.
Praise him, highest heavens,
you waters above the heavens.

Let them all praise the LORD’s name;
for he commanded and they were created

Psalm 148: 1-5

In September, reported on the sounds of the magnetosphere, and how they sound like birds:

So, it seems in its own way, even the magnetosphere sings praises to God.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Top Ten Things I'm Thankful for This Year


Top Ten Things I'm Thankful for This Year

Dear Lord,

This has been a crazy year!  I've been confronted with what I feel are failures in a couple of areas of my life; my best friend and true love is halfway around the world; our wonderful dog died; and I have the Cold that Won't End.  Sometimes, I wonder that I don't spend my days bawling my eyes out.

I can't; I have too much to be thankful for.

My daughter was accepted to her first choice college, one that will definitely boost her in the career she loves.  She also got an internship at a video game company--something few high school seniors acheive.

My eldest is loving college life, just like I thought he would, and we can see the change in him as he grows up.

My husband gets to mark off the last thing in his military bucket list--deployment in support of a war--and while we are not at war with Iraq, he feels he's doing some real good there advising the Iraqi military leaders.  Even better for us at home; he's safe.

While others are worrying about where their next meal or mortgage payment is coming from, my biggest financial gripe is the credit card bill.  Of course, this also means that I can relax as far as my writing is concerned.

We lost Layla, but now we have two terrific, loving dogs.  Toby si soft and big and loves to lean on you, and Beaux is as sweet a basset as you can get.

Despite the hanger-on cold, I am in good health.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Review: A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy by Sarah Reinhard

Summary:  Popular Catholic blogger and speaker Sarah A. Reinhard presents the first book to accompany expectant mothers from conception to baptism with weekly reflections and prayers rooted in the mysteries of the Rosary and related to the baby's physical development.
Designed to help expectant mothers embrace pregnancy as an opportunity for spiritual growth, A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy prepares mothers for the trials and joys of pregnancy, childbirth, baptism, and, ultimately, motherhood. Each week of pregnancy is paired with a mystery of the Rosary, a personal, down-to-earth reflection from Reinhard, advice for living the sacramental life, and a prayer to help the reader grow in faith as she bonds with her unborn child.

Mini Review:  Informative, personal, and delightful, A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy by Sarah Reinhard covers all the bases, and she brings in others to share their experiences as well, making it a very all-encompassing book..  I'm long gone from my pregnancy years, but I enjoyed Sarah's honesty, and some of her stories (like her discussion with her husband about pregnancy fears) brought tears to my eyes.  I loved how the chapters started with a discussion of the baby's size and development.

My favorite part about this point in pregnancy is that the baby may be sucking her thumb. Though I know the baby is human from the point of conception, it's when she starts sucking her thumb that I start to picture an actual baby instead of just a formless mass.
Pg 62, week 15

The Walks with Mary had lovely meditations on pregnancy and Jesus' life, and the prayers speak from the heart.  I wish I'd had this book when I was pregnant, and I especially wish I'd had the Spiritual Practices for labor.  (I'm going to try to remember them for other occasions when I might be in prolonged pain!)

Now, if you don't want to take my word for it, let me share this experience I had.  I was reading this at a book fair, and the person I was working with is an OB/GYN.  She asked to see it, and opened to the section on eating disorders.  Kate Wicker's frank discussion and helpful advice excited her.  She knew someone dealing with that same issue while pregnant.  I gave her the book, and a couple of weeks later, she told me she'd read it, loved it, and passed it on to her sister and sister-in-law who were both expecting. 

Highly Recommended.  Too bad I can't send it back in time to myself.


Ave Maria Press:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Just a Few More Days 'till Coprsickle Time!

Many thanks to Frr Malory for making this cool cover.

Hey, are you ready for zombies on skis?  I've been writing "Shambling in a Winter Wonderland" to go live November 19.  Neeta and Ted go on a ski trip and to help advertise a ski/snowboard contest that raises money for Operation Homefront.  But when a ski team from last year's contest who died in an avalanche come back to finish the runs themselves, Neeta and Ted will be shredding with the Undead!

I've had a really slow start with this one, but once again, the answer came from the old adage, "Chase your characters up a tree.  Put vicious dogs at the base.  Throw rocks."  There are going to be tons of laughs and some comical zombie moments, but also some heavy stuff for Neeta and Ted.  It's also turning out WAY bigger than expected--definitely a novella when all done.

Mark your calendars to visit http:/ or contact me to get on the mailing list to get informed when the next episode is up.

In the meantime, here's a teaser:

“Zombies? On skis?” Ted’s squeal came loud and clear over her helmet as they followed the sheriff on snowmobiles up to the accident scene.  “If it weren’t so dangerous, it’d be core awesome!”

“Apparently, there was some kind of shrine set up with their skis and snowboards—except for Spars’.  The manager said someone stole his, so they replaced it with some from the lost and found—that doesn’t matter!  The point is, they were already fearless and skilled.  Now they’re mindless, fearless and skilled—and the only thing they have connection to here is the ski contest I’m supposed to pose at.    Are you sure you want to marry me?  I’m cursed.”  Neeta spoke through chattering teeth—even with all the layers she could pile on under her Hasmat suit and her ski mask making her helmet uncomfortable, the cold air cut through her.  Ahead of her Sheriff Buttons swerved to avoid a root that arched out of the snow and she followed.  She heard a thump, and guessed that Ted chose to jump the branch instead.

“Nah.  You’re interesting—and that’s what I love about you.  Come on.  If it weren’t for your so-called curse, we wouldn’t be snowmobiling in restricted territory right now.  How fuse is that?  Just go with it.  ‘Embrace the suck,’ as Gordon used to say.”

Their friend Gordon had been a Marine before being discharged for being too enthusiastic about his job.  “I’m not a Marine.”

“Your mom was.  Doesn’t any of that rub off?”

“She took shrapnel to the arm and was discharged before I was born.”

“You need to get into the spirit of this.  Sing with me: Oh, the zombies outside are frightful/but the napalm’s so delightful—

“You’re insane!  I’m marrying a crazy man.”  But she couldn’t keep the smile out of her voice.  He did make the job fun.

As long as you love me so…

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veteran's Day Prayer


Dear Lord,
Today we honor our veterans,
worthy men and women
who gave their best
when they were called upon
to serve and protect their country.
We pray that you will bless them, Lord,
for their unselfish service
in the continual struggle
to preserve our freedoms, our safety,
and our country’s heritage, for all of us.
Bless them abundantly
for the hardships they faced,
for the sacrifices they made
for their many different contributions
to America’s victories
over tyranny and oppression.
We respect them, we thank them,
we honor them, we are proud of them,
and we pray that you will watch over
these special people
and bless them with peace and happiness.
In Jesus’ name we pray; Amen.

By Joanna Fuchs

Thursday, November 08, 2012

A Little Taste of the Weird Noir

On the gritty backstreets of a crumbling city, tough dames and dangerous men trade barbs, witticisms and a few gunshots. But there’s a new twist where urban decay meets the eldritch borders of another world: WEIRD NOIR.

Featuring thugs who sprout claws and fangs, gangsters with tentacles and the occasional succubus siren. The ambiance is pure noir but the characters aren’t just your average molls and mugs—the vamps might just be vamps. It’s Patricia Highsmith meets Shirley Jackson or Dashiell Hammett filtered through H. P. Lovecraft. Mad, bad and truly dangerous to know, but irresistible all the same.

With stories from Chloë Yates, Richard Godwin, Karina Fabian, Hector Acosta, Jan Kozlowski, Andrez Bergen, Carol Borden, Paul D. Brazill, Jennifer Martin, Katherine Tomlinson, Jason Michel, Asher Wismer, Michael S. Chong, Leeyanne Moore, Christopher L. Irvin, Joyce Chng, W. P. Johnson and an introduction by K.A.Laity

Here's an excerpt from my story, "Sins of the Brother":

Dante assigned Judas his own special place in Hell for betraying his Savior. What horrible sin had I committed to deserve my own unique inferno?
I slunk my way along the streets of the Faerie side of Los Lagos, trying to ignore how the glare of neon signs and pixie flash did nothing to dispel the gloom. A temperature inversion had trapped the noxious fumes of Mundane technology, shrouding the autumn afternoon in a dismal, dirty gray fog. People had been warned to stay indoors. The Mundanes, insular by nature anyway, gladly holed up with their televisions and Xboxes, but the Faerie were still too new to this dimension to give up their social ways. The many races that made their homes in this “brave new world” wouldn’t let a little smog get in the way of their gossip and shopping.
With my treasure left behind in the mountains of Caraparavalenciana, I didn’t have the means for shopping—even if dragons did shop—and I had hoped to avoid any gossip about why the resident undersized drake was prowling the streets. Unfortunately, the higher you got, the thicker the air; my nose balked at the idea of flying. I kept to the back alleys until I got to my destination, then flapped my way to the second story of a ramshackle hotel that dared to call itself The Ritz. It was putting someone on, that’s for sure.
I didn’t care about the digs. I’d come to visit another Judas in his hell.
The rusted fire escape made a precarious perch, but my friend saved me the effort of scratching at the window by flinging it open and stepping back to let me in.
“Vern! Thank God you got my message.”
I blinked. Brother Abel breaking his vow of silence? I gave him the dragoneye as I looked him and his flop over. The tiny room hardly rated the rats I’m sure he shared it with. Maybe I’d do him a favor and snack on them before I left. With a stylish Mundane haircut and civilian threads, he didn’t look like a religious, even with the second-hand clothes, and with his clean-shaven face, he could attract many a fair damsel despite his religious vows. Right now, those good looks were as clouded as the sky outside the filmy window. I knew what that meant.
“What’s Cain gone and done this time?”
Abel started to pace, wringing his hands like an old woman. Couldn’t blame him. This wasn’t the first time Little Brother had stuck his head in a noose that Abel—with my help—had to get him out of. In fact, the last time, it had almost been a literal noose. Guess the blood didn’t run so true in Abel’s family.
Still, even then, he hadn’t broken his vow of silence. Believe me, it put a crimp in our rescue mission. The fact that he’d break it now did not bode well.
“I don’t know. He was so excited at first—still is—but now, he feels afraid. Trapped.” Abel hugged himself.
I bit back a sigh. Corsican twins are the stuff of myth and comic books in your world, but in the Faerie, psychically linked twins are rare but real. Years of training had helped him block Cain’s emotions, but sometimes, love trumps training. He’d always know when his “little” brother, younger by mere minutes, had gotten himself in deep, and fishing him out was as much for himself as for Cain.
Of course, how’s a monk on the wrong side of the Interdimensional Gap going to save his wayward kin? That’s where I come in—DragonEye, PI, the professional problem solver for people on the right side of Good but the wrong side of the law, or who want to keep things off the Mundane lawman’s radar.

Monday, November 05, 2012

2010 Momoliths song!

When I saw this image, I immediately thought of the monoliths multiplying around Jupiter in 2010: Space Odyssey, and after a comment from my friend Theresa Henderson, I was inspired to write this song song. Don't ask why; it's just that kind of week. 

Photo: NASA

Oblah-de, Oblah-dah, monoliths ya!
Lalalala Life goes on.
Oblah-de, Oblah-dah, monoliths ya!
Lalalala Life goes on.

HAL is stuck in orbit around Jupiter
Earth sends out a team to bring him home
When they get there, they come across some crazy things
And Mankind discovers we are not alone

Oblah-de, Oblah-dah, monoliths ya!
Lalalala Life goes on.
Oblah-de, Oblah-dah, monoliths ya!
Lalalala Life goes on.

HAL is on collision course for Jupiter
Pushed the other ship back toward the Earth
And when that world explodes we’ll have a second sun
And Mankind will have a chance at second birth

Oblah-de, Oblah-dah, monoliths ya!
Lalalala Life goes on.
Oblah-de, Oblah-dah, monoliths ya!
Lalalala Life goes on.

It took millennia to create the human race
With a monolith and a bunch of apes dancing all o’er the place
Ook Ook Ook Ook

HAL repeats a message sent back to the Earth
Mankind will read it when he’s gone
All these worlds are yours now to settle on
But Europa, you had better leave alone

Oblah-de, Oblah-dah, monoliths ya!
Lalalala Life goes on.
Oblah-de, Oblah-dah, monoliths ya!
Lalalala Life goes on.

Of course, no sooner had I written and posed this on FB, some couple in Texas claimed to have seen a rectangular UFO.  Onder if the dimensions were 1 x 4 x 9? 

Thursday, November 01, 2012

"Zombie Idol" singing contest deader than zombies

I got no entries for the "Are you the next zombie idol?" contest, either on the blog or via YouTube, so nobody wins, including me.