Category Archives: Books

Beach House Memories

12917577We recently purchased a condo in North Myrtle Beach South Carolina.  I’d never been there before we flew down to look at the unit and I love the area. This book is set on the Isles of Palms which is 95 miles from North Myrtle Beach so perfect timing for me to read it.

It opens with Lovie (Olivia Rutledge) again at her beloved beach cottage. She is an old lady and in the last stages of cancer. The story is designed like a sandwich with the first and last chapter in the present and the rest of the book mainly about the summer of 74 at the beach. A plus is the sub plot where they study loggerhead turtles and the newly hatched babies. We saw some nesting spots when we were in Florida. These creatures are amazing.

Lovie finds love this summer and she truly finds herself. We all face crossroads in life. Some us face more than others, but  I think we all wonder what our life would have been if we had taken the other road.

As I read this story I thought that everyone over maybe 60 should read this book. Choices were made that changed the course of life and in the end, if you believe in soul mates you can believe that these two will meet again.

Maybe it’s where I live, but I seem to be more aware of the life journey than I once was.  Here it’s 55 and older, and there have been a lot of changes on our street.  One couple downsizing to an apartment, another moving to a local assisted living, another choosing to move across the state to be closer to their daughter and they also chose assisted living.  One lady described it to me as turning to a new chapter.  This book made me look back and see more clearly the chapters of my own life story.

A recommended read for sure.

 

 

 

 

 

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July!

Jillian here. I’ve been indulging myself in reading some books this summer as well as watching a lot of older movies on TCM. I confess, I’ve let my writing fall a bit to the wayside. I did start a new story last week and am about 3500 words in- which is slow for me- but I’m okay with that since I am at least writing something after being in a slump.

I read a book this week which was a totally fictionalized account of the Dr. Crippen murder. This was a case in 1910 in London where the culprit and his companion took off on an ocean liner and were caught by a Scotland Yard detective by the first use of the Marconi telegraph machine when the captain thought he recognized Crippen.  The detective boarded a ship at Liverpool and chased the first liner across the ocean to get his man. The retelling was interesting in that the author (John Boyne) explored a different theory of the case. I liked the tale even though it wasn’t very likely to be the truth.

I also recently read The Silent Governess; Runaway; Orphan, Monster, Spy; and This House is Haunted. They were all very different, but I liked them all. Historical, contemporary thriller, 1940’s Germany and a spooky Gothic. I like lots of different genres – both to write and to read. No wonder I can’t seem to build a brand- I’m all over the place.  LOL

Some of the movies I watched this past week are North by Northwest; Jane Eyre; The Woman in Green; LauraThe Tattooed Stranger; and Treasure Island.

Oh well, I like who I am and so that’s that. I can’t change my eclectic nature now, can I?

Have a great July!!  How about an office cat pic to give you a smile?  This is Camo. Short for Camouflage- she blends in with the grass when it dies in the fall and winter. 🙂 She’s a great helper with the closed files destined for storage. IMG_4944 (2)

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Snow, Stories, and one very Ticked-Off Cat…

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Since everyone’s probably tired of hearing about (and seeing) snow, I’ll make this quick. We had over a foot of snow. That’s crazy for us. We usually get this shadow effect from the mountains around us and don’t get the … Continue reading

Paint and Snow

Apologies for being a little late with this month’s post. I blame Word 2010. It’s been playing up, crashing for no reason, changing fonts without my blessing and goodness knows what other mischief. It seems I’m not the only one either, from what I’ve gleaned on the internet. I was just about to load my post when it crashed again, so I gave up. Never mind. I’m here now.

What a busy month January turned out for me. If someone had told me a little over 12 years ago when I began painting that I would find myself being an art tutor, I would never have believed them. Likewise, when I accepted the opportunity to teach acrylic painting to a group in my art club, I never expected how much of my time it would take. Who would have thought teaching for 2 hours every Friday afternoon for 4 weeks would take over my life entirely.

I had no idea of the abilities of those attending, and without this information, I had to structure the sessions to fit all comers.  I found out at the first session at least six had never painted before. Others were already members of the art group, but had either never used acrylics or had tried them without success. What was I going to say? What would we paint? Could I paint a half-decent picture in front of an audience? Did I know enough to fill up 8 hours.

I made copious notes, and wrote my opening dialogue out several times, so it at least sounded as if I knew what I was talking about. I then played it back using TextAloud, to check I didn’t waffle on for too long and to make sure it made sense. I had several sleepless nights pondering on everything. Worrying, not that I couldn’t pull it off, but whether my nerves and my voice would hold out. It goes croaky and quiet if I talk too much.

I need not have worried. I had a full class: 20 people. More than anticipated but I didn’t have time to give as much individual attention as I had planned to. We had laughs, we had questions, we had fun, and they came back the following week, so I must have been doing something right. But again, I spent hours working on my notes and dialogue and order of the day. And I didn’t mess up once. My thanks in all this go to my writing group (the Ivy Writers) who, over the years, have given me the confidence to read my work out aloud. A nervous, shaking wreck the first time I had to read out anything; now I have no problems doing so. It all comes with practice. A bit like painting, as I told my acrylic beginners.

The third week arrived and painting continued, but I realised I had chosen a too ambitious a painting for my class. I should have picked a much simpler piece, for them and for me. It’s not easy standing at an easel because I always sit when I’m painting. I had to paint large too, so those at the back could see, and I had to work almost sideways at the easel. If I stood in front they wouldn’t have seen anything. Another week working on my final notes, closing dialogue etc. It was all I could think about all week.

The fourth and final day dawned, heralded by 5 inches of snow, roads blocked, schools closed, as was the venue we use. Disappointment all round. I had hoped to have a photo of my entire group. Pictures of the paintings they produced, and some feedback on the entire course. At this point in time, I do not know if we can rearrange to this Friday.

I’ve enjoyed it all. Learned a lot myself. Gained confidence. Made new friends in the art group. My notes haven’t gone to waste. The art group has asked me to run the course again later this year. I will know what I’m doing. I won’t have to spend weeks working on my lessons. I have time to find a simple painting for them to work from. I know what to leave out, what to emphasise.  And out of the snow day, a new painting is emerging. Watch this space!

Kit’s Website and BlogKit’s Kitchen,  Kit’s Art  Site

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Merry New Year

Jillian here.  Sorry I missed December’s post. I was out of town and knew it was my day, but I figured I’d post some pictures when I got back. By the time I got back (after experiencing a flat tire … Continue reading

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Cracks In The Sidewalk

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This story is based on true life. The author, Bette Lee Crosby, interviewed the Grandparents extensively.  It’s an amazing story of courage, love and forgiveness.  It might not be an inspirational genre but it was for me as in the … Continue reading

Sorry and Questions about Book Series

Jillian here-  Sorry I’ve been AWOL but I am back now. I had my surgery (finally!) at the end of April and I was surprised to find that even though I felt much better after about a week, I continued to be really tired and had no energy. I also had no desire to write or do much of anything. I did go back to work part time after three weeks, but took care to leave early as I didn’t want to overdo it.

I finally started a new story last week and was very relieved that my creativity was back. Not being compelled to write was an odd feeling for me.

I read a lot while I was unmotivated to work on my own stuff and read a series called The Shades of Magic  by V. E. Schwab. The first one was very good and I inhaled it. The second one was all right, but not as great as the first. The thing ended on a cliffhanger (pet peeve for me) but I already had the third one (I got these for Mother’s Day). The third one went on way too long and pretty much could’ve been merged into book two very easily- they were each over 400 pages, but two and three could’ve been merged into one at around 550 and been a better story, I think. But perhaps the author had a three-book deal. 🙂

So, my questions are, “Do you think some series are too long? Do you think there is a tendency to pad the word count to get to three books? Do they usually get better or worse as the books go on? How do you feel about cliffhangers where the book stops in the middle of the action- not an overarching plot for the series but when the book just ends abruptly? I feel manipulated when that happens.  I like a beginning, middle and end.

Share your thoughts on book series! Happy July!