Eclipse from Texas!

It was a spectacular show across the country and we had a little bit of fun here in Texas, too.  I’m a bit behind in posting, so I’ll just share the photos from today.

I walked outside as the eclipse was occurring and saw these shadows on the ground. The light diffused from the Pecan trees showed the partial eclipse we experienced perfectly.





So, I ran inside to create a pinprick projector out of two index cards. I put some holes in the top car with a needle and you can see that the shadow matches the ones created by the leaves on my driveway and everywhere else the shadows fell.


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And then the show was over and the shadows returned to normal.




The next Solar Eclipse that crosses the US will have it’s totality in middle of Texas (2024). Looking forward to that with the kids and grandkids (who were too little to enjoy this one).  Hope I’m still blogging  and writing then. We’ll see. 😉


Love and Beauty Among the Ruins (The Late Start: Advantage #2)


So you’re still worried about that late start as a writer.  I mean, what’s the point, right? Aren’t we running out of time? Time to write something big or something important?

I suppose it all has to do with what is important to you. Is fame important? Is it necessary to have a huge following or to gain acclaim before you die? It would be nice, I’m sure, but not everyone is going to achieve this – even those with remarkable talent.

For me, the thought that keeps me going is that I still have a lot to say to my family and friends and I find it’s easier to express these things through my writing than sitting down with them for long talks. I have things I want to say to my children, the lessons I’ve learned, but some of these things they are not ready to hear. First of all, they are young and they may understand the things about aging that I’ve told them about now, but they are far from experiencing them. I would like to leave them something for a time when I may not be there to reassure them.

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More on Prompts, Mood, and Music – Music and Character Studies

Blue Eyes Blind

By ZZ Ward

I feel the moon hitting the blacktop,
Just like a fuse, making the night so hot,
Forget the truth until tomorrow,
You’ll be my Hughes, I’ll be your Harlow,

All I know is you stole my eyes,
And was packaged to stone ’cause you put it down right,
All I know is you pull me through,
I don’t wanna see nothing if I ain’t seeing you

 As I wrote about in a previous post about writing and music, music is often used as an aid for setting a scene for writers, but it can so much more. Before I begin a new work I like to spend some time gathering music for each of my characters. I often use many songs for a character, but I’ve picked out only three to write about here to keep it brief.

In my novel, my heroine discovers that the man she’s loved for years is an undercover  intelligence agent. Even though this secret is kept for a good cause and for her own protection, it is still painful  to her when revealed. So, this song was helpful in writing her character. It’s hard enough write about someone who’s so much younger than I am and I find it captures the uncertainty of those years – full of passion and energy and yet – not quite knowing which is the right path to take. For my hero’s response to her pain, I chose Hosier’s Work Song. He’s at an age where he’s beginning to slow down and is beginning to feel his mortality. At the same time he’s  realized that he might be able to find rest in the love a young woman.

Work Song

By Hozier

That’s when my baby found me
I was three days on a drunken sin
I woke with her walls around me
Nothin’ in her room but an empty crib
And I was burnin’ up a fever
I didn’t care much how long I lived
But I swear I thought I dreamed her
She never asked me once about the wrong I did

When, my, time comes around
Lay me gently in the cold dark earth
No grave can hold my body down
I’ll crawl home to her

I find it’s helpful to keep track of where my story is going by having a song to put me right where they are – their mood, their internal thoughts and something of their character.

A clearer example of this is a song I played when  thinking about the heroine’s foster father – an Army Special Forces vet. He still feels the pull to be actively serving. (When the song was written there had been a devastating earthquake in Japan and a mass murderer in Norway). The video is beautifully done and conveys the sense of being overwhelmed by the pain in the world and feeling helpless to do much about it.

Flo Rida 
I Cry

(I know caught up in the middle) I cry, just a little when I think of letting go
(Oh no gave up on the riddle) I cry, just a little when I think of letting go

I know you wanna get behind the wheel but only one Rida
Eyes shut still got me swimming like a diver
Can’t let go i got fans in Okinawa
My heart to Japan quake losers and survivors
Norway no you didn’t get my flowers
No way to sound better but the killer was a coward
Face just showers, the minute in a hour
Heard about the news all day went sour
Lil mama got me feeling like a Lemonhead
Put you in the box just the presidents cigarettes
Give em my regards or regardless i get arrested
Ain’t worried about the killers just the young and restless

Songs help me to recall where I am in the story and can even help me transition to the next section I want to write while I am still putting down sketches of scenes. My goal is to have enough words on paper that I don’t need the songs anymore to fill in the empty spaces. I want my readers to experience the things I heard and felt in the music through my own words.

My advice is to use music to help find your story in the beginning of a project, but learn to let go of this wonderful aid as you progress in your writing project. Hopefully, you will be creating something that your readers can hear new music in the silence of your book’s pages.

Prompts, Mood, and Music

Baby, this is Russian roulette
And it ain’t my gun.
Hallelujah, I ain’t dead, yet
And I’m still going strong (oh, oh, oh)
I don’t know about tomorrow
But the battle ain’t done
They say losers are forgotten
And I just might hit the bottom
But we all gotta take the leap, and let it be

                                      – Labrinth

Many authors use mood music as an aid in fashioning their work. Music helps put you in a mood so that you can better express the emotions of a particular scene. However, there is so much music can help you with other than simply as a tool for mood setting.

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The Late Start: Advantage #1


Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
– George Bernard Shaw


There are many advantages to starting a writing career later in life. The first one on my list is that seniors have a lot of life experience and have had a lot of time to evaluate that experience. Whether he (or she) has made good decisions or bad ones in his youth, the senior writer has, hopefully, gathered some wisdom and insight to pass along. This may be about avoiding bad decisions or how to recover from them.

Continue reading “The Late Start: Advantage #1”