National Novel Editing Month (NaNoEdMo) Begins March 1


Affectionately known as NaNoEdMo, the 6th annual National Novel Editing Month is set to kick off tomorrow, March 1.

What is NaNoEdMo?

As per the official NaNoEdMo website:

“You have entered the portal to the crazy world of novel editing. Have you written a 50,000 word novel but haven’t edited it yet? Then you’ve come to the right place! It is here that people from all over the world gather together to spend 50 hours in March editing their novels. This is not as easy as it might sound but the forums are available to get advice and ask all the important questions you may have. Advice from real published authors will also be here to help you and a certificate of completion awaits each winner at the end of the month.
We know it’s a crazy thing to do, but it is loads of fun and we do hope you’ll stay. We’ve got many pots of strong coffee brewing to help keep you going as well as a store room full of sugary candied goodness just waiting for you to jump in and start editing!

Think you have what it takes to edit fifty hours in one month? Then sign up and get your red pen ready because on March 1st the fun begins!”
Anna, Queen of NaNoEdMo

If you participated in The National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) or if you have a manuscript you’ve toyed with editing, then wait no longer!  Join us for a month of hard, happy and satisfying work.

I will be participating in my first NaNoEdMo this year with my manuscript “Falling Up”.  According to the official countdown clock, the fun for me begins in just 32 minutes!  The downside of this is it’ll limit the amount of time I’ll have to blog and when I do, I’ll probably be obsessing over the editing process.  So bear with me, dear readers.  Hopefully, when all the dust settles, my very first novel will be crafted, polished, and ready to publish.

For more information about the National Novel Editing Month, go to NaNoEdMo.net.

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Make Leap Year Blogging History Today!


This goes out not only to my fellow bloggers, but to anyone out there who wishes to contribute to a very special commemoration to this Leap Year 2012.  Feb29th.net is a special blog created to carry this Leap Year into internet history.

What is Feb29th.net?

As per their website:

The aim of this project is simple – Stripped down blogging to its simplest form to record one special day in time across the globe. As soon as the first country’s time zone enters Feb29th.net this blog will be open to posts.

It’s simple.  All you need to do is complete a simple form, click “submit” and you’re part of it!  According to David Mitchell, Head Master at Heathfield Primary School in Bolton in the Northwest of England and creator of the project:

Feb29th.net is special because it is a stripped down version of blogging where people can post and leave an imprint in history with just one click. With help from the guys at CreativeBlogs.net this blog is here to capture posts from around the world on this extra day.

Originally aimed at students to familiarize them with a real live reading audience, this blog is open to people from all walks of life of all ages.  Please visit Feb29th.net and leave your special blog post.  Also be sure to comment on others.  It’s a great way to connect and share.

Happy Leap Year 2012!

Sun Tornadoes the Size of Earth Captured in Breathtaking Video


Last month I blogged about the remarkable solar storms we’ve been witnessing, in Solar  Storm January 2012 – How is it Changing You and the World.  The storms continue, producing some of the most spectacular aurora viewing the world has seen in a long time.  Thanks to technology and our ability to record images as never before, videos have become available of some pretty remarkable phenomena on the surface of the sun.

One such phenomena that’s captured my awe and interest are the solar tornadoes.  These vortexes caused by plasma eruptions are so immense they could contain entire earth-sized planets.  Unlike our earth-bound tornadoes, however, these aren’t driven by the wind.  What drives them is the powerful magnetic field of our star.  The particles are pulled this way and that by competing magnetic forces and then track along strands of magnetic field lines.

Watch this video, captured earlier this month, and consider these titans are whirling at about 300,000 mph.  It just leaves you awestruck.   The SDO spacecraft which captured this footage recorded the video in the extreme ultraviolet range of the light spectrum, giving the movie an eerie yellow hue.

NASA released the new SDO video to mark the second anniversary of the spacecraft’s mission, launched on Feb. 11, 2010. The $850 million spacecraft is on a five-year mission to record high-definition videos of the sun to help astronomers better understand how the sun’s solar weather cycle affects life on Earth.

The current solar activity is part of an 11-year weather cycle, known as Solar Cycle 24, and is expected to peak in 2013.

New Discoveries at the Pyramid of the Sun Include Greenstone Mask


According to Past Horizons:  Adventures in Archeology’s website, archeologists have unearthed some amazing finds at the Pyramid of the Sun.  One of the items discovered is what they believe to be a 1900-year-old green stone mask under the Temple of the Sun at Teotihuacan in Mexico.  They also believe the intended purpose of the pyramid may be something entirely different than they first suspected.  Read on.

The Pyramid of the Sun Project team, led by Alejandro Sarabia, reached their treasures by excavating a 116-meter long tunnel originally excavated in the 1930s by archaeologist Eduardo Noguera.  Their goal was to reach the bedrock layer the pyramid is anchored on to verify the presence of burials and offerings.

What they discovered wasn’t limited to just the stone mask.  Three structures were identified which were constructed prior to the Pyramid of the Sun.  The remains of 7 human burials were discovered which were also interred during a time prior to the pyramid’s construction.  Two votive deposits were also recovered:  one which was discovered in the inside the original foundation.  This suggests it was deposited as part of a consecration ceremony dating back more than 1900 years.

It was in this deposit that the greenstone mask was discovered.  Although three greenstone sculptures were discovered, according to studies conducted by Dr. Jose Luis Ruvalcaba, from the National University Physics Institute (IF UNAM), “the only greenstone mask discovered in the ritual context of Teotihuacan.”  The mask carved was from a single stone and only 11 cm high which makes it different than other Teotihuacan types.  Archeologists theorize it was actually a portrait. A seashell was found next to the sculpture.

A considerable number of artifacts were found.  Obsidian artifacts included projectile heads and small knives, as well as an anthropomorphic eccentric artefact and three anthropomorphic figurines with shell and pyrite eyes.  Eleven Tlaloc vessels, (dedicated to the God of Rain) were discovered too.  Most of them were broken.  Further objects included three pyrite discs, one with a 45 cm diameter and mounted on a slate slab – the largest ever recovered from Teotihuacan.

Of particular interest was the large quantity of animal skeletons discovered. The skull of a feline was placed to the northeast; a canine to the south, and an eagle covered with volcanic rock, to the southeast. The bird had been fed before the sacrifice with two rabbits, analysis has revealed. This kind of faunal deposition is similar to those found as offerings in the Pyramid of the Moon.

The archaeologists had long suggested the function of the pyramid was linked to the underworld because of the tunnel excavated by the inhabitants of Teotihuacan.  The objects found in this recent excavation, however, seem to indicate the Pyramid of the Sun was possibly connected to a rain deity, an early version of Tlaloc.

See original article here.

Hope in a Sklortch


Moribund The Shadow Thing hovered in the dusty gloom of the attic licking his wounds.  They were still raw after the Valentine’s Day Disaster.  He draped himself over the rafters like a sullen cob web and swore off females for the 302nd time.

“Love.  PAH!” he spat.

Something down in the darkness sklortched.

“Moribund?”

His heart flew into his throat and fluttered there like a moth.  It was Glenda Gloop.  She had come from the under the sink.  Up here.  Looking for him.  Conflicting emotions burned like a cinder.  What should he do?

Unexpected hope exploded.

“Glenda?”

Eyes closed, he leaped…

The above is my entry for the 100-Word-Challenge. The subject this week was “taking a leap of faith.”

Previous 100-word installments in the Moribund saga:

Sucking Swamps and Lotus Flowers


From The Age of Conan:  Hyborian AdventuresMy thoughts have wandered into the darkest part of the woods and waded through sucking swamps.  Now my soul sits like a stone, cold and dusty, and I wonder.  Why do I do this to myself?  I haven’t written anything worthwhile in more than two weeks.  It feels like I’ve lost a friend and maybe I have:  my muse has wandered on, tired and fed up with the journey I’ve dragged us through.

The mind is a funny thing.  It can be a grandiloquent ring master, illuminating wonders and delights, or it can be an insidious traitor:  an assassin of inner peace.  Mine has turned traitor.  All wonders it illuminates are quickly herded into the center ring tempest of self doubt and soul-eating guilt.  Again.

So I sit and I wait.  I poke at the keyboard with hopes it leads me into the sunshine instead of back into those woods and stinking swamps.  I long for a spring rain shower of words.

I remember last year’s monsoon:  the shush of the rain as it beat the pavement.  I watched this interminable dust that clings to everything run off in brown rivulets and reveal splendors hidden.  The air practically sang with the fragrance and sighed with brief relief in the shimmering heat.  The world was abluted.  This is how I feel when I write.

I need a word-monsoon.  But monsoons create mud and turn roads into swamps.  For a moment it seems defeatist to wish such things.  I don’t need more mud.  Ironically I recall, however, in the foulest, muddiest, most mosquito-ridden muck, grows the lotus.  Like a sudden surprise, it’s the shocking reminder that beauty and growth always bloom from what may seem something very unpleasant.  So, maybe instead of wishing for rains and word-monsoons I should look for my lotus in this mental muck and simply watch it bloom.  The monsoon will come when it will.  It always does.

The ABC Award and a Big Thank-You


I’ve had the honor of being awarded not one, but two ABC Awards by Heartwinds and Katrinanofear.   A very heartfelt “thank you” goes to both of these extraordinary ladies for their recognition.  If you take the time to visit their blogs you will see each is a dynamic writer with a very definitive voice.  Do stop by both of their blogs.  It’s worth it.

The rules for accepting the ABC (CBA) Award are:

1. Thank the person(s) who nominated you

2. There is no limit to how many fellow bloggers you can nominate so go crazy

3. Share some things about you but alphabetically just a word or two about you starting with each alphabet. (Or alternatively, just write the first word you think of.)

A – Antsy

B – Being (I’m very much into the word “be”)

C – Creative and curious

D – Dork (I’m a huge dork)

E – E-gads I can’t think of a “E” word!

F – Follows no one

G – Galloping horses in my heart

H – Hero:  I need to become my own

I – Inspire

J – Joking  (can’t take yourself too seriously)

K – Knowledge is a misnomer

L – Love for the sake of loving, let the rest go

M – Moonshine (not the alcoholic kind)

N – Nonsense:  it’s fun to find the sense

O – Olives… little round heavenly goodness

P – Paranormal (it fascinates me)

Q – Quizzical

R – Radio silence!  (what I seek in my head)

S – Silly

T – Tai Chi, when I did it

U – Underground

V – Violets

W – Willow

X – …

Y – Yonder (I love that word)

Z – I wanted a zebra as a kid

My nominations for the ABC Award are:

Believe Anyway

Julia’s Place

The Laughing Housewife

Unwritten Truth

Enjoy and thank you again!

Toad Slide


The dwarves were under the wood pile again.  The Valentine’s Day disaster had passed but the tension had not.  The clammy moldiness was a comfort.

Herp poked a toad that stared at him blithely.

Derp sighed.  “I don’t think Moribund will ever forgive us, but if you look on the flip side…”

“A what slide?” Herp’s bad eye meandered toward Derp.

“Flip side.  Flip.  FLIP!”

Something warty wetly struck Derp in the side of the head.  It clung a moment before sliding down.

“What?  You said ‘flip!’”

“No, I said toad slide,” he spat shoving the toad down Herp’s pants.

The above is my entry for the 100-Word-Challenge. The prompt this week was “…the flip side…”

Previous 100-word installments in the Moribund saga:

 

“JAWS” the Ride is Officially History


The infamous “Jaws” ride and the big attraction at Universal Studios Theme Park in Florida sadly is no more.  When they opened their doors in 1990 “JAWS” was their premiere attraction. But, on January 2, 2012, the final excursion of the Amity Island tour and interactive movie experience set sail.  The next day the ride was walled off and dismantling started so a new attraction could take its place. Another summer rite of passage and memories of younger days to be tucked into a shoe box under the bed.

Photos courtesy of The Shark is Still Working

The attraction celebrated the movie “Jaws” based on Peter Benchley’s novel by the same name and directed by Steven Spielberg.  It was released to theaters in the summer of 1975 and was a blockbuster smash.  It’s since become the prototypical watershed of the summer blockbuster.  It was the highest grossing film of all time that summer and was nominated for several awards.

Wikipedia gives the synopsis:  In the story, the police chief of Amity Island, a fictional summer resort town, tries to protect beachgoers from a giant man-eating great white shark by closing the beach, only to be overruled by the town council, which wants the beach to remain open to draw revenue from tourists during the summer season. After several attacks, the police chief enlists the help of a marine biologist and a professional shark hunter. Roy Scheider stars as police chief Martin Brody, Richard Dreyfuss as oceanographer Matt Hooper, Robert Shaw as shark hunter Quint, Murray Hamilton as the mayor of Amity Island, and Lorraine Gary as Brody’s wife, Ellen.

I was just 13 years old that summer.  I had read the novel by Benchley the previous year.  Based on real life exploits of shark fishermen and the shark attacks on the Jersey Shore in 1916 it was ample fuel for my 13-year-old curiosity.  My thrill-seeking friends and I scurried to the local theater to see the monster shark and the havoc it wreaked on poor unsuspecting Amity Island.  As I recall, our parents cautioned us it might be too intense.

I have to laugh now.  I remember feeling so brave when the house lights went down, but by the time the thrum of the first few notes of that infamous first attack scene score vibrated my seat I was terrified.  I was so afraid I sat through the whole movie with my feet tucked safely under me on my seat.  I wasn’t going to risk having my legs bitten off by some unseen floor cruising shark!  I couldn’t even face the bathtub that night.

I’m sad to say I never experienced Jaws the Ride at Universal Studios but I remember wishing I could when the park opened.  Now it’s a thing of the past.  It was plagued with constant malfunctions, having been shut down several times during the 90s and then redesigned.  By 2005, the ride was shut down temporarily due to rising petroleum costs which fueled the pyrotechnics.  When it reopened months later, it was only as a seasonal attraction.  The Jaws attraction still remains open at Universal’s Osaka Japan location.

If, like me, you never experienced the attraction or you want to ride it one last time, here it is:

 

Love Dies an Ugly Death Under the Sink


Glenda Gloop, the Under the Sink Thing, rolled her one bulbous eye at Moribund the Shadow Thing.  She flutter-lashed and his belly trembled.

“You’re looking very… erm… gloppish today, Glenda.”

She giggled a drain-water gurgle.  Moribund fidgeted.  His valentine was being ignored after all he’d gone through.  He poked the box closer with a shadowy toe, hopeful.

To his horror, she yawned and began to snore.  He deflated like a punctured tire and glared at the two dwarves.

“It wasn’t my fault!” Derp squealed.  Herp fainted.

Exasperated, Moribund crammed his gift into her guzzawing mouth and swore off love forever.

The above is my entry for the 100-Word-Challenge.  The prompt was “It wasn’t my fault.”

Previous 100-word installments in the Moribund saga: