Archive | August 2015

Kitschy Family Fun

Last weekend we went on a family outing that was far closer to those from my childhood. It was my brother’s turn to pick, and his main destination was Albert the Bull – a giant bull statue in Audubon, Iowa. It was another thing we’d seen as children, so a re-visit seemed like a good idea. But it wouldn’t take all day for a picnic, so I found some other things. Only the museum I had in mind didn’t open until one p.m. Oddly enough, we arrived early, so we did a quick drive through of Audubon – which has some very interesting buildings:

At one p.m. We headed to the Nathaniel Hamlin Museum and Park. Despite the information on the website, the museum was closed with a sign that said weekends were available by “appointment or chance”. hubby called the provided number and we contented ourselves with looking at the elks.

The momma wandered over for a bit, and after some snaps we were ready to head off to Albert when a car pulled up and a lady who works for the historical society got out to do a couple of things. Though it hadn’t been her intention (she had not gotten our message yet) she was awesome enough to show us around the house and grounds.

Besides the house there’s a blacksmith shop, a one room schoolhouse that is fully furnished (even down to books and slate pencils! It’s like a movie set!), and a huge machine shed full of random stuff, such as the flintstone car above, as well as lots of antique farm equipment, old stoves, and other things of interest. The whole site exists on goodwill donations, so it’s a very good value. We could have spent a lot more time looking at everything, but we didn’t want to keep the lady too long, since we didn’t have an appointment and she was taking unplanned time out of her Saturday.

Oh, and after the tour we finally got to see daddy elk.

Elk family

Elk family

I have a better photo on the real camera but the *&^%ing eye-fi card keeps freezing the laptop and I’m out of patience.

Anyway, after that we bought lunchmeat and cheese at the grocery store then headed to the Albert the Bull park for a picnic dinner and some photo posing with a giant bull statue. It’s free, of course, and the little kiosk talks to you (which is pretty cool IMHO) so it was an enjoyable experience and worth a stop if you’re in the area, or of you like giant things, or bulls.

Clouds rolled in, so we packed up early. However as we passed Exira, we decided to backtrack to the plow in the tree park. This was yet another kitschy reminiscent stop. The story goes that a man was plowing his field when union soldiers walked by. At seeing them he unhitched his horse, leaned his plow against the tree, and immediately joined up. In some versions he is then killed, and in others he returns to find the plow already being eaten by the tree. Probably none of it is true, but it’s a fun story, and one of those old tourist traps that aren’t a trap anymore because modern people want to see more than a bit of metal sticking out of a tree.

From there we stopped in Griswold to buy circus tickets (for the show tomorrow), and came home through a storm.

All in all it was a good day, and pretty cheap, too! Now to go see the little mermaid one of these days!

Have a good one!

Jo 🙂

Have you published a book lately?

Check out lots of new books in the comments!

Tales from the Shattered Crystal

My mother is a poet of exceptional caliber. She’s written several poetry books. When I was a kid, she submitted to publishers who all rejected it on the grounds that “poetry doesn’t sell”. And maybe it doesn’t, but we have finally formatted one of her books into paperback.



It came out beautifully, and she is as happy with it as I am. If you’d like to take a look at it, you can check it out on Amazon.
Go on. You know you want to.
Have a good one!
Jo 🙂

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Guess Again

No one guessed yesterday’s song, which was Blind by Korn. (click the link for a youtube video)  I shall eat the secret reward cookie myself (I deserve a reward for doing nothing all day) and give you another chance.

I got a book cover sent off, cleaned, and… and…Oh. And set up my wattpad account. I’ve evidently been a member for years but have never done anything on it, so I guess it’s time I did. I have a bunch of short stories I can stick on there. It’s become kind of a craze with authors lately, though no one has shown how the free stories on wattpad translate into sales. Probably because most readers on wattpad are there because they want to read things for FREE – not buy something. But, anyway, if you’re on wattpad feel free to say hi. 

BELDRENI did some work on my Beldren short story. It’s set in 1687 (thanks to previous idiocy on my part) in Virginia. I know pretty much zero about this, so I’ve spent days researching tidbits, which is always fun. The hardest part is not the research now, but the language. I don’t want to be authentic 1600s or readers will gnash their teeth, but I hate, hate, hate historical stories that use 100% modern language, too. So I’m trying for something in the middle. See what you think:

“It is time to take what we are owed,” Matthias cried, and slammed his fist on the rough table.  His German accent lent a learned quality to his words, but Beldren only shook his head.

“What good would come from such an action? What will you do with the goods you steal?” He looked to Duncan and Patrick. “What say you?”

“They could be taken to the frontier,” Duncan said slowly.

“Or kept for ourselves,” Patrick added.

“And what would the frontiersman give us for them? What use have they for fine things? What use have we?” Beldren made an irritated noise. “The promises of such a life were lies.”

“They are only lies if one waits for good fortune to be handed to them,” Matthias insisted. “Those who came before us-”

“Those who came before us were given the things they were promised. Land, money. When my servitude expired I was given ten bushels of corn, a set of clothes and a musket, wished good luck, and told to settle ‘away’. The land owners are unwilling to part with a parcel of their domain, and they desire the competition we would create even less.”

“Yes, yes,” Matthias said impatiently. “It is this attitude that led Bacon in his rebellion, and it illustrates the need for us to take with our own hands those good things which should have been bestowed upon us. And I tell you, I have found just such a mansion, packed full of such wonders as your eyes have never beheld.”

I’ll give you three guesses who owns this “mansion”. Heh-heh. (Hint: They have fangs.)

And since no one guessed yesterday’s song, here’s a new one for you. No googling.

Nailed to the cross, together
As solitude begs us to stay
Disappear in the lie forever

Good luck!

Have a good one!

Jo 🙂

Can You Guess…

Too tired to be too clever. But scroll down to see the game we’re playing.

Meanwhile, I got a lot done today for a change. The first coat of paint is on the laundry cabinet


The previous layer was primer. I also finished the clipboard for the kitchen and started the paint on the second kitchen pull out shelf and finally got back to my birdfeeder.


And I weeded the Dahlia patch


So called because those are the only flowers in it, though most have moved to the sidewalk randomly.
And I started getting rid of that giant heap of yard waste.



Maybe I shouldn’t admit there was so much it’s going to take two loads… Anyway it’s looking better and my poke weed is HUGE! yes, it’s a poisonous weed, but I like it.
Now for the game. Guess the song that’s driving me crazy. Without Google. Hint:

This place inside my mind, a place I like to hide
You don’t know the chances. What if I should die?

Any guesses?

And now I must sleep. Have a good one.

Jo 🙂

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Sunday sunrise

Actually I think the sunrise was from Saturday, but let’s not be picky.
Yes, on Saturday I was up in time to watch the sun rise. Hubby took me out and then he tried to talk on the ham radio satellite that went over. He made a contact – sort of. They logged him but he couldn’t catch their call sign. Oh well, it was fun.

Then we spent the whole day watching book 1 & 2 of legend of Kora. It’s good, but different. I initially wanted her to hook up with Mako. Now I’m glad they split up. I guess it shows you what happens when you get your ship.
Sunday we didn’t go anywhere, but we did get that paneling put up:

It needs painted white and pollied still, but it’s looking good.
And now I leave you with a flower because I’m tired:


Have a good one!
Jo 🙂

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It’s Alive!

I don’t remember if I posted photos or not, but my roses had a mysterious malady.


That’s from early on. I tried a bunch of green, friendly remedies and by the fourth of July I had about six black, pockmarked leaves left.


The guys at Earl May said it was a fungus and sold me 30$ worth of spray. A month later, I am happy to report that it worked!!!


Not only are the leaves back and beautiful, but it finally flowered – which it hasn’t done since June.
Though it was the worst effected, all the roses except the brand new ones were in bad shape. The yellow rose was another one I was afraid of losing but…


It has a bloom too! Yes, I have now learned a valuable lesson: screw home remedies, just go for the real stuff to start with.
And now I have to get up at five a.m. – for a surprise – so I’m off to bed.
Have a good one!
Jo 🙂

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Zum Bars

I got mostly caught up on book covers today, did some file cleaning, and formatted the document and made a wrap around for one of my mother’s poetry books to be printed in paper back. Oh, and I typed up my great grandmother’s poetry – or the little bit of it we have. I thought about putting it on smashwords. I can’t imagine anyone else in the family having a problem with it, especially since I’d make it free. I’m also kicking around the idea of putting it in a book called “Generations of Verse” or “Legacy of Rhyme” or something cooler but along those lines, and including her poems, a selection of my mother’s, and some of mine. I haven’t mentioned it to mom yet, but I can’t see her objecting. Just haven’t decided on it all. It would also be free too. I don’t think poetry books are big sellers, anyway, and I’m not really known as a poet…
There’s no new house news. I broke down today and opened my zum bar. What is this? Zum bars are only the most awesome goat milk soap in the world!



I bought this last year at the super Hy-Vee in Springfield with the idea that we’d only open it when the bathroom was finished. Fast forward a year and the paneling is not up, nor are the vents swapped out. But I needed a freshly scented, creamy soap pick me up, so I caved and opened it anyway. Otherwise I may never get to enjoy it. (Yes. I enjoy soap. And showers.)
Hubby is concerned we may not go anywhere this weekend, though I didn’t tell him, I don’t think it would be a bad thing. Maybe we could FINALLY get the paneling cut and put up. Then we’d need to paint and poly. Or maybe we should cut, then paint, then poly, then hang. But that always means touch ups…. Hmmmm…
I need to get back to the laundry cabinet now that the cover rush is over. Speaking of covers, I’ll close with a few and then I am off to bed.
Have a good one!
Jo 🙂

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Blogger Recognition Award

wpid-wp-1439209007651I was lucky enough  to be nominated for this amazing award by Waffle Me This the other day. I’m late in posting it because I have been working on that short story which I’m happy to say is finished and off to the betas.

Anyway, a huge thank you for the nomination! It made my day.

The Rules:

Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to.
Do some digging if you must! Find those blogs. You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you.
Write a post to show off your award! Give a brief story of how your blog got started, and give a piece or two of advice to new bloggers.
Thank whoever nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
List who you’ve nominated in the post.
Make sure to also attach the award itself! (You can do this by right-clicking, saving, and uploading the image above).
Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them.
Provide a link to the award post you created.
Provide a link to the original post on edge of night. That way, anyone can find the original guidelines and post if needed, and we can keep it from mutating and becoming confusing!

My Blog Story:

This is actually a continuation of the blog I had on MySpace – at first I even copied some of the old posts over (I never got around to doing all of them.)- which was a continuation of my Yahoo blog. I don’t remember how I started on yahoo – i was heavy into a lot of the social aspects of it back in 2005. I was in a bunch of groups – which I discovered through a paper doll group – and I had the blog and spent a lot of time on messenger. In 2006 I moved to MySpace because I knew basic HTML and a friend of mine – who I’d met in a Harry Potter chat group and had gotten close to through a fan fiction/role play group – opened an account there and wanted help with her profile, so I thought “what the heck”. I was pretty active on MySpace until it went to hell in 2010, then I moved here.

But that doesn’t really say *why* I blog. I wish I had a really deep answer – something about sharing my inner soul or connecting with people, but in the end the real reason I blog is because I think it’s fun. I always wanted to write a newspaper column, and isn’t that what blogging is? We’re all unpaid columnists now, spewing our opinions, anecdotes, trials, and tribulations out into the void and hoping that someone, somewhere will read it and be amused, or touched, or entertained. Is that a good enough reason?

Which takes me to my advice to bloggers. Audience is great, but unless your blog is part of your business platform, blog for yourself – because it’s fun and you enjoy it. I know people who make it into a chore and hate it. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. If you’re not having a good time it shows, and your readers won’t be either.

And now for fifteen nominations. If I nominated you and you don’t participate in awards then please don’t feel obligated. I hope you view it as the compliment I mean it as.

And it’s now 4:30 a.m. and waaaaaaay past my bedtime, so have a good one, all!

Jo 🙂

Say You’ll Haunt Me

No, I don’t really want haunted, that’s just the song going through my head. I’m working on a short story for the Halloween anthology (where we’re still accepting submissions). I had two previously written ones I’d planned to use, but this one has been niggling at me for a bit (the opening is from a dream I had several weeks ago) so I’ll see how it turns out. I’m nearly 5,000 words in and finally have part of a plot figured out, though I am a bit stuck because I’m to the spot where I need to start working towards the end, and I don’t know what the end is yet.

Anyway, it’s late, so I’ll post a better blog tomorrow (I’ve been lucky enough to be given an award). Meanwhile, here’s the first 250 words of the unedited story:

Bugs chirped in thick grass and the sun descended in a pool of golden glow. A tiny car zipped down the country lane. The passenger leaned casually against the door, her broad brimmed hat  trimmed in fake flowers that almost matched the pattern on her dress. A large purse rested on the floorboard between her meaty feet, and a pair of mismatched suitcases took up the backseat. The driver, short sandy hair and pale complexion, gripped the steering wheel. His angry eyes darted back and forth between the road and his friend.

“You thought about throwing me to the wolves, didn’t you?”

Marjorie shrugged. “Didn’t you?”

Gordon’s wide eyes skipped from the road to her, then back again. “No! Of course not!”

“I find that hard to believe.” She lit a cigarette and cracked the window. “Any normal person would consider it with a detective breathing down their neck. Obviously I reconsidered. That’s the part that counts.”

“That’s jolly great. ‘It doesn’t count if I don’t do it.’ Of course it still counts! What do you think would happen to me if you just lumped it all at my feet?”

She blew out an aggravated stream of smoke. “I had a last minute throw of conscience, so it’s a moot point.”

“Until the next time they call us in for questioning,” he muttered.

“God willing there won’t be a next time.” She flicked ashes out the window and squinted at the countryside through the twilight gloom. “Your turn is coming up.”

“If I wanted GPS alerts, I’d install one of the damned things.”

Little bit different style than usual. It may end up getting fixed to the normal one, but we’ll see.

Have a good one!

Jo 🙂

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