Monday, August 30, 2010

Ocean Idyll

After nine hours in the car I arrived in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Each moment of the drive was a celebration, crystalline memory material. Overcast skies meant blessed coolness rather than blistering heat.

I had a choice of three routes and decided on the one less travelled. To my delight, what followed were 478 miles of deserted roads mostly lined by forest. I kept the top up against the threatening sky. Only once did it rain.

The column of water was visible a half mile ahead, perfectly framing Hwy 19. I slowed, trepidatious, before passing through the visible wall. For five minutes the wind and rain rocked my Cabrio, then just as abruptly, were gone.

Danielle is out there, churning the waters. The first picture is the surf around 7:00 p.m. Sunday. Courtesy of Hurricane Danielle.

Sets of waves roll in, eager to break then race to catch the one before it. Yesterday I stood in the surf and watched, mesmerized by the constant churning of as many as ten curls in a line, breaking a hundred and more yards out. I hear the riptide is gnarly.

Saturday was the fifth anniversary of Katrina. No hurricanes on my forecast.

When I finally stepped on the beach my feet ahhhh'd. The white powder caressed my soles, fine as ash and as soft. Memories of years gone by raced through my body and gathered, solidified in the present moment.

Ahora. Now.

Then comes the hardpack: cool, damp, loose. Cars are allowed to drive here. I don't like this.

Past that and before the surf is a 20 - 30 foot green zone. Why is it green? Does anybody know?

I watched the clouds bunch and gather in groups, each hanging out with its own kind, forming layers that ripped in places. Patches of blue smiled behind billowing clouds that were backlit by a sun I couldn't see.

A boy, left alone by a father drinking at the Tiki Bar, played in the surf.

I kept an eye on him, unable not to.

A run to the produce market and Publix yielded fruit and a big block of Parmigiano Reggiano, Genoa salami, roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, marinated artichoke hearts, a head of garlic, olive oil and aged balsamic from Italy. And a sour dough baguette. I haven't had sour dough since California.

When at the beach eat fish. And Mediterranean.
Including canoli.

My Bugsy had to stay home. But this is my new buddy, Mage. He lives here at the resort, fed by residents and guests.

Quite striking, isn't he? All kinds of mysteries could be woven around that face and those markings.

Our Wifi extends to the pool. I sat out there last night until it was completely dark except for the pool and deck lights.

Mage patrols. But no one touches the Mage Man.

A light rain falls.

Time to take the laptop in.

Till another day, Olivia

Pictures from top: Atlantic waves courtesy of Danielle; green hardpack; clouds sillouette the lone boy with boogie board; off kilter clouds and resorts to the south; view from my table on the upper deck above the pool, looking out over the beach, night has fallen.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Finds myspace graphic comments
Myspace Friday Graphics

Mmm, real German chocolate and The Pasta Detectives. Alison Stevens at Wistful Wanderings is having a contest that ends on September 1. Go ahead, you know you want that chocolate to support a fellow blogger!

Save the Words is a fun site shared by Anastasia at Lobotomy of a Writer. I adopted four words which are included in this sentence: My grandma, the airgonaut, was barred from the ten-cent store by its pugnastic proprietor who took exception to her graocracy. Haha. Go adopt your own words and save the English language.

Today is the last day to enter Christine H.'s (The Writer's Hole) 100 follower contest. Click on over.

John Smith is doing his Follow Friday. Click on over and follow him, he'll follow you back. If you're not already, that is.

Don't forget to click over to Dawn Embers' blog to read the Word Paint Blogfest entries.

And, OMG, you HAVE to click over and read Postman's post today and listen to Beethovan's Fourth. I had tears streaming down my cheeks. Literally. I urged him to enter it in Dawn's blogfest. I hope he does.

And, last, but not least, Chuck Sambuchino shared that now has great rates on a one or two-year subscription. Hurry, the offer ends on August 31st.

Okay, my morning is gone so that's all angels!

I hope you have fun with these, Olivia J. Herrell

P.S. I'm leaving for Jimmy Buffet Land (Florida) in the morning. I'm taking ye old laptop but won't know the internet 411 till I get to New Smyrna Beach. Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thankful Thursday

I have an award to acknowledge and pass on. Yeehaa!

Thank you to Jules at Trying to Get Over the Rainbow for the Circle of Friends Award. She is one of the people who always reads and comments on my posts, even when I'm whining. Which has been a lot lately. Thank you, Jules!

She also has a wonderful blog and does a Just So You Know... post that I love. Jules has 60something followers, so if you aren't already following her, be an angel and click on over and help her out. You'll be glad you did.

Now, I believe all I have to do is pass this one on to five friends. Which will be kinda hard because I'd like to give it to every single one of you. So I'm going to give it to some friends who are always, always (yes, that was two alwayses) there for me no matter what.

First, is Roland at Writing in the Crosshairs. Not only is Roland one of the most talented writers I know, he generously gives to the blogging community on a daily basis. He has been an inspiration and a friend in the first degree. Thank you, Roland. I checked and you (amazingly) don't have this one. So let me be the first.

Next, is Eric W. Trant at Digging with the Worms. Eric, too is an amazing writer and consistently delivers pointed, sometimes petulant, and perpetually ponderable posts. He's also hilarious, both in his posts and his comments. He has been my lifesaver more than once. And he's from Texas so he's a fellow rebel. Thank you, Eric!

Then there's Postman aka The Sententious Vaunter who was one of my first ever blogger friends. He's one of my links to California and if he was 30 years older I'd want to marry him. You would never know by the depth of his vocabulary and writing skills that he's still a baby. (Said in the nicest possible way, Postie!)

Now, for my friend, the Words Crafter at The Rainy Day Wanderer. She is sweet, kind, generous and loving. I not only love what she says in her posts, but also in her comments to all of us. Which is how I met her in the first place. So go on over and make her acquaintance and give her a follow. Make sure and scroll down a few posts and watch the Simon's Cat video. It's hysterical!

Finally, there's Ivy at every head I've had the pleasure to have known, who was my friend even before Blogger. She's been kinda scarce lately because she has a new feller. And she moved. And life is crazy. I believe she's even in the midst of starting a new blog. But I love her writing style and I always relate to her posts. Plus, she loves classic rock as much as I do. Maybe more.

There you have it, angels. Each of these bloggers are Very Special People and Wonderful Writers. And I am honored to count them as my friends.

As I do you.

Gosh, I wish I could keep going. But that's my five. And my manuscript is actually calling to me for the first time in a while. So I'm going to bow out now and go visit her. Wish me luck.

Love to each and every one of you (not just these five), Olivia

P.S. A late addition. I remembered Edie singing "Circle of Friends" and it seemed appropo for this post. For two reasons. One, WE are the new bohemians. And two, how many times have I wanted to just quit. But you won't let me. And that's a good thing. So here, for you, is Edie and The New Bohemians, courtesy of

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New York State of Mind

My cousin is quite possibly the only person I've ever met who actually feeds the squirrels. Yes, angels, his squirrels rate their very own food dish. He says it's the only way they will leave the birds' food alone. Makes sense to me.

We managed to sneak in a trip to Letchworth State Park on Sunday, the day after the big party. Letchworth Park is seventeen miles long and follows the path of the gorge carved the Genessee River. This is a shot of the Upper Falls with the railroad trestle in the background. The falls were tumultuous cascades of muddy water after the recent rains.

The mightly Middle Falls. There was a stone platform overlooking it and another one facing it. Standing on the facing platform was like being out on the Maid of the Mist under Niagara. Minus the rain coats.

The sun broke through just long enough to coax out the intense colors of a magnificent rainbow in the mist of the Middle Falls. To the right you can see the shear gorge walls which rise up to 550 feet.

From Wikipedia:

The three major waterfalls — called the Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls — are located in Portage Canyon, the southern section of the park. The Seneca called the land around this canyon "Seh-ga-hun-da", the "Vale of the three falls"; the Middle Falls ("Ska-ga-dee") was believed to be so wondrous it made the sun stop at midday.

Looking back you can see the Middle Falls and the mist rising from the Upper Falls behind it. You do NOT want to get to close to the edge of the gorge walls. I found out yesterday that my cousin and her friends saw a car fly off the the high road (they were in a car on the lower road) in to the gorge a la Thelma and Louise. Only this was for real and not a movie.

And finally, here is a shot of the happy couple after they reaffirmed their vows for their 30th wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary, Steve and Nancy. And thanks for being such great hosts. As always. I love you both!

~Olivia J. Herrell

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Truth Revealed

Hi Y'all! My cousin has a 17" HP laptop but they haven't set up the wireless yet. I wanted to check in and let you know that EACH of the seven holds a kernel of truth. Six are exaggerated.

1) I DO love cemeteries, but sorry Wally, not so much at night. Probably has something to do with all those scary movies I watched as a child.

2) To Stephen and The Words Crafter: I currently only hold a chiropractic license (in both GA and CA), but have held each of these licenses at different times in the past.

3) I have moved 19 times in the last twelve years (one shy of 20!), plus I've moved my office four times in that same time period. Kobico, you were close! The link is a post I did a while back about being a vagabond.

4) Until Bugsy, my current companion, all of my cats have been either black or some derivation. Bugsy, however, is white with black spots and tail and a tiger head. I never had cat hair all over everything until him, either!

5) I worked for Yancey Bros. Co., the Georgia Caterpillar Dealer, for eight years doing special accounting projects, then as Accounting Manager/Asst Controller, then as the Advertising Mgr. I would have LOVED to sell tractors but in the south at that time there were NO female sales people. (There probably still aren't.) Kathy, I was in Peoria a couple of times and still love Cats.

6) Jemi, Melanie and Angela all guessed this one. And YES, I am a direct descendent of William whether you call him Conqueror, the Great, the Bastard or the Redeemer on my paternal grandmother Willoughby's side. Melanie, I'm actually at a reunion on my mom's side. Not sure who all is up this ladder. :)

7)  Ed Tuleja of King Harvest was the cousin of one of my best friends. They played at Six Flags and stayed with her family for several days while there. We all did hang out, including Sherman, who actually wrote their hit song "Dancing in the Moodlight". They were much older, though, so though I had a bit of a crush, I never had a date with him.

I'm having a wonderful time in Rochester. Today we have blue skies and low humidity, temps in the 70's, ahhhhh. Tomorrow is the reunion/all day party for my cousins' 30th anniversary/vow renewal. Another cousin is performing the ceremony.

Thank you for guessing which was what. I'll see you guys in a few days. Till then, have a great weekend wherever you are. And, for your listening pleasure, here is a recording of "Dancing in the Moonlight".

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Award and Away With Me

Okay angels, I have two awards to accept and pass on. First is the "Creative Writer" Blogger Award given to me by the lovely JC Martin at The Fighter Writer. She has a wonderful new blog and I believe she'll be hosting a Fight Blogfest soon. Please check her out and give her a follow. Thank you, JC!
The rules? To accept this award, I must now do the following:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link to them. (check)
2. Add the award to your blog. (check)
3. Tell six outrageous lies about yourself and one truth. (check)
4. Nominate four creative liars–I mean writers–and post links to them. (check)
5. Let your nominees know that they have been nominated. (on my way)

Okay, here are six lies and one truth about me. Can you guess which one is true?
1) I love cemeteries, especially at night.
2) I currently hold licenses to be a CPA, a stock broker, a real estate agent and a chiropractor.
3) I have moved twenty times in the last twelve years.
4) All my cats have been black or some derivative of black.
5) I was a heavy equipment salesperson for a Caterpillar Dealer for eight years.
6) I am a direct descendent of William the Conquerer.
7) I once dated Sherman Kelly, of King Harvest, of "Dancing in the Moonlight" fame.
There you have it folks. Which one is true?

Now, on to the Chaos Award:

This was passed to me by Jules over at Trying to Get Over The Rainbow, because she knows how chaotic it is in my head. Thank you, Jules, I love your blog! Hmm, what were the instructions for this one? Answer some questions and then what?

What is your signature color? Kiwi green. Or red. Depending on the day.

What is your most embarrassing moment? You're kidding, right? This one I'll think about and get back to you.

Would you ever get anything pierced other than your ears. If so, what? Don't think so, but never say never!

Are you a social butterfly or a homebody? These days? Very much a homebody.
Are you done having babies or do you want more? There was a time in my life when I wanted at least one. That time passed so no, I'm not looking for any babies unless they're of the furry variety.
Are you loyal to your hairstylist or do you try every salon in town? I'm loyal. To my hairdresser. My dentist. My pedicurist. Unless I'm dissatisfied or have moved, then I jump around till I find MY person. Like Jules, I try to find people who like to barter. 

How many times have you moved in your life? I can't answer this yet without giving away one of the answers for the first award.

If you could plan your vacation with just you and your love where would it be? First off I'd have to find him and then I'd want to consult him. But, there are lots of places still on my bucket list: Alaska, Hawaii and Italy for starters. Belize. Peru. So many places. Key West.
I am passing both awards on to four creative writers whose blogs I have recently discovered:
1) Terry @ Gardner West - Private Eye
2) Francine @ Romancing the Blog
3) Elliot @ So close, but...
4) Amanda @ All That Good Jazz
Finally, I'm catching a plane tomorrow morning for a family reunion in Rochester, NY. I'm taking my laptop but don't know what the internet situation is there so this may be it until next Tuesday. If so, I'll miss you all. Miss me, too!

Golden Slumbers has been stuck in my head, waking and sleeping, for a week now. I love this video. It has some great pics of the fab four as kids. It's actually three songs, but Golden Slumbers is first. Enjoy!

~Yeehaaa, that rebel, Olivia

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Weather Blogfest

Nick over at A Little Slice of Nothing is having a Weather Blogfest today and in his honor, I am posting an excerpt from my work in progress, "Churches, Chickens and ChiChi's".

Sammy, the main character, just rode to the emergency room in the ambulance with her mother who had a heart attack. I hope you enjoy.
Sammy wished she had her earphones so she could listen to some music on her iPhone. And she really wished she could have a beer.

She wasn’t in the mood for a magazine full of yesterday’s news, so she tried watching television. That held no interest, either.

Restless, she wandered to the emergency room door. The sky was darkening. A storm was brewing. Stepping outside, she leaned against the sturdy brick and watched the thunderheads sweep in from the east. It would rain soon.

The wind rose, thrashing the trees and their tender leaf buds. It was going to be a good one. Sammy’s heart thrilled in anticipation and she pulled her coat tighter around her. She was glad she had grabbed it before leaving the house. The temperature had dropped and the wind was bitter.

A jagged streak of lightning split the sky. One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand, she counted before the boom and the rumble of thunder. The storm was close. A grin split her wind-whipped face. God, she’d missed this.

Another streak followed the first. One one thousand, two one thousand, boom crash roll. Sammy chuckled and opened her arms to the black clouded sky. Her cares fell away as the storm raced toward her. Its first raindrops, big and fat, splattered her face as the wind delivered the storm to her. Soon the sky would let loose in a deluge. She inhaled the bitter sweetness of lightning-induced ozone.

A purple streak of lightning cracked nearby, followed by an immediate boom and several rolls. Sammy ran back in to the hospital, wet and grinning, barely escaping the pelting raindrops. She leaned her forehead on the door to watch the fury of the storm break against the glass.

Feeling someone beside her she glanced over to see Barry Rakestraw. He stood looking at the storm, dressed in eggplant scrubs, his face as brooding as the sky.

She pounced on him. “Thank God you’re here. How’s Mama?”

“Come on, I will tell you both at the same time,” he said and reached for her hand.

Her hands fluttered to her mouth. Whatever it was, it wasn’t good. For an instant Barry’s solemn face was lit by a flash of lightning. Then a deafening clap of thunder rattled the door, startling them both. What if Mama was dead?

Her knees wobbled and she almost went in to the shelter of Barry's arms. The thunder rolled, deep and long. Instead she settled for warm fingers around hers, leading her across the hall to her father.
Be an angel and leave a comment to let me know what you think of my snippet, then click on over to Nick's and read the other entries. If you haven't already, maybe you could join us with a weather scene of your own.

~Olivia J. Herrell

Friday, August 13, 2010

Strawberry Jam and Free Online Books

Yesterday I had a hankering for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I slathered the bread with peanut butter then dipped a knife in to the jar of Smucker's strawberry jam. As it jellied itself out on to my peanut-buttered slice, a lifetime of memories slid out with it.

Image courtesy of Never Enough Thyme
We lived on a dirt road in rural Georgia. In the early summer it was our (the kids) job to pick the wild strawberries growing across the road. When we had enough, Mama got out the jars, the pectin and the pressure cooker and made strawberry jam.

I lurked in the kitchen most of my growing up years, learning to cook. You can better believe I was underfoot when it was strawberry canning time. My favorite part of the jam was the frothy pink foam that Mama skimmed off the top. She let us gobble this down as soon as it cooled. I would watch as she scooped that steaming syrup full of strawberry chunks in to scalded mason jars. These were arranged in neat rows on a folded white towel.

Image courtesy of Never Enough Thyme
Next came the lids, screwed down tightly, the heat sucking them in. I would count them, then come by later and count them again. Within a day or two I would hear a 'pop' and know that one of the jars had sealed, and the lid had popped back out.

As these memories washed over me in the midst of making that sandwich, my upcoming trip to NY flashed in my head. Ahhh. The family reunion. Mama won't be making the trip. For the first time ever, we'll be going without her. My aunts and uncles won't be there, either. The generation that made us has passed.

The good news is that the newest generation is growing in leaps and bounds. At least three of my second cousins have new babies. And we'll 'get to' be the elders.

The other good news? By the time I finished eating that peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I felt lighter than I had felt all week. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thank you for hanging in here with me as I trudged that heavy road. Now for your reward! Noah Lukeman, President of Lukeman Literary Management and author of "The First Five Pages", is generously offering a free ebook on his blog, Ask a Literary Agent. Click on the excerpt from his latest post to read and follow his blog and to download his new ebook.
"This blog has now reached its one year mark, and I thought it would be convenient for readers to have all the information from year one easily at their fingertips. I have thus assembled all of the questions and answers from year one into a PDF file, so you can conveniently have all of this information in one place, and can read it at your leisure, whether it's on your computer, or on your favorite e-reader..."

AND, as if this weren't enough, at the bottom of his download page there is a link for The Gutenburg Project. Here you can download over 33,000 ebooks (in the U.S.), exciting news to me. These classics have expired copyrights. They're digitized with the help of volunteers and made available to the reading public. Meaning you and me!

So drop me a quick hello, then click on over to Noah Lukeman's blog. Follow him for his current articles and then download his free ebook. By the way, Noah invites us to ask questions of him in the comments section (but asks not to query him).

Happy reading!

~Olivia J Herrell

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Call Me Trahlyta

"May you always have a smile on your face and a song in your heart." ~ any body know?

Today I realized I am depressed. I looked at myself in the mirror, our eyes locked, and I said, "You're depressed."

My reaction? Tears of relief. This explains my inability to write. It also explains my recent hesitation to have interaction with other human beings.

Just naming the source of my malaise allowed me to answer the phone when it rang. And talk to my friend who declared that she and three others were coming to roust me. I assured her it wasn't necessary and that I would come to them.

It was no coincidence that the last address of my afternoon census run put me smack dab at the intersection of Highways 19 and 60. Here sits Trahlyta's grave. I had heard of it.

Last week Kimber, Funky Writer Girl, told me that when she lived in Dahlonega she put a stone on Trahlyta's grave every Sunday. It is tradition.

It turns out that I was passing this monument every time I drove to Walasi-Yi.

And back.

I saw it, but didn't 'see' it. Trahlyta's grave sits in the middle of the Y and is a classic example of something that is hidden right under your nose.

The inscription on the marker says:

This pile of stones marks the grave of a Cherokee princess, Trahlyta. According to legend her tribe, living on Cedar Mountain north of here, knew the secret of the magic springs of eternal youth from the Witch of Cedar Mountain.

Trahlyta, kidnapped by a rejected suitor, Wahsega, was taken far away and lost her beauty. As she was dying, Wahsega promised to bury her here near her home and the magic springs. Custom arose among the Indians and later the Whites to drop stones, one for each passerby, on her grave for good fortune.

The magic springs, now known as Porter Springs, lie 3/4 miles northeast of here.

I left two stones. One for Kimber and one for me.

And Kimber, you're right. I felt different when I left.

This, my friends, is the beginning of the Appalachian Mountains, aka (down here) the Blue Ridge Mountains. See those blue ridges?

The resident German Shepherd was being protective of his territory, so I took this picture through my windshield from the top of Porter Springs Drive.


What do Trahlyta's grave and the Blue Ridge Mountains have to do with me being depressed and unable to write?

I feel Trahlyta's suffering.

No one kidnapped me and threw me on the back of a horse. No one made me leave my home.

But as beautiful as it is here in the North Georgia Mountains, my soul cries for California. The depression is her reminder.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sourwood Sunday with Swallowtail

Did you know that woodpeckers whine? I didn't either. This morning I was sitting on my deck soaking in the morning shade and semi-coolness before the heat of the day chased me inside. Close at hand, two woodpeckers whined.

I found one in the chestnut oak to my right. There it was, a Downy on a limb. Whining. Dude was looking right at me until he lost interest. Then he attacked the thick bark with his thorn beak, sending it flying.

The other was in front of me, hiding behind a veil of leaves. Whining. I spied her when she hopped on the trunk and hammered away. From her looks she was a Hairy Woodpecker. Interesting that both subspecies would whine.

The cicadas are chorusing. I had forgotten what it was like to live in the south and and experience their rhythmic song. Last week I started taking the time each day to just sit, close my eyes and let my body feel the the sound of the cicadas singing the earth's rhythm.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed scores of butterflies partaking of a blossoming sourwood tree about fifty yards from our deck. The sourwoods have been blooming for weeks and are waning. This lady still blooms, though the blossoms are fewer. So are the butterflies, mostly tiger swallowtails. They flutter then light, clinging to blooms that curl forward to receive, like hands in supplication.

Eric, in answer to your question, this is one way I create. I sit still, I watch, I listen. I hear. I feel. I see. When I'm feeling, senses engaged, the voices cease and my head quiets.

I let my mind be quiet. Or wander if it wants to.

I be.

Now for some pictures of me be-ing yesterday.

This is me.

Sun kissed.


Somewhere down that lazy River.

The Chestatee outside of Dahlonega.

Floating on a 'catamarran'.

With an oar.

Spinning stories in my head.

My two companions, Carolyn and Beau. Waiting patiently on moi.  

There were five turtles just before I snapped this, but one plopped off in to the water.

Notice how muddy the water is? We had heavy rain, two days in a row. The water is about two feet higher than usual.

It was a leisurely float, no real paddling other than to steer. Several class one rapids of the pre-K variety. Two class two. Maybe first grade. Nothing more strenuous.

Just a lazy be-ing day.

This looks like a black swallowtail, only it has no tails. So hmm...Anyone know?

She was hanging out on a sandy beach along the way.

We stopped here to stretch.

And eat an apple.

She graciously shared her beach.

This is Bugsy under my 'new' wicker thrift store chair this morning. He's always in to just Be-ing.

This song was stuck in my head as we floated down the river. I had never seen this video. My my. Would you stand in line for a kiss like this?

And who knew Robbie was such a hunk?

Friday, August 6, 2010

No More Goodbyes, Please

Raymond Chandler made a guest appearance on my friend, Roland's blog. (If you don't believe me, click on over. You'll know from the writing that it's Chandler himself.) During this eloquent writing lesson, Raymond offered this little tidbit:
"The French have a saying that to say good-bye is to die a little."
If this is true I must be mostly dead.

My life has been a series of goodbyes. I even wrote a post about it last year, The Yellow Wood, in which I put a pretty spin on goodbye.

I understand why old people are ready to go on to the next plane of existence. They're sick and tired of saying goodbye to people one at a time. Better, maybe, to just get it all over with at once and be done with it.

Somebody killed Roland in the Shadowlands. And while I know it's only fiction (and darned good fiction at that) my heart is heavy over what feels like another goodbye. Damn you, Roland.

I want to write emotion like Roland. Like Elliot Grace. Between the two of you I was boo-hooing.

But dang, Roland. Stop killing yourself off. I'm tired of losing friends.

If you want to read "Ghost of a Chance" by Roland D. Yeomans, click Marlene Dietrich's picture. It will take you to Chapter One and you can follow from there.

~Olivia J Herrell

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Has Anybody Read Norman Mailer's "Ancient Evenings"?

"...and I believe...that the borders of our mind are ever shifting, and that many minds can flow into one another, as it were, and create or reveal a single mind, a single energy...and that our memories are part of one great memory, the memory of Nature herself." ~ W.B. Yeats

Has anybody read this book? I bought it a while back. According to the cover it is 'The National Bestseller'. Circa 1983. The above quote is part of an excerpt at the beginning that is attributed to W.B. Yeats in "Ideas of Good and Evil". It called to me so I bought it.

But daaaang. I read five or six chapters and still don't know who the mc is, whether he is dead or alive, and who all the people, dead and alive are that he keeps talking about.

If you've read it, should I pick it back up and slog on? Is Mr. Mailer going to make it worth my while? Or should I leave this on the dead pile?

On to picture #2.

This was taken at the top of the pass on Hwy 129. The Appalachian Trail crosses here, just 30 miles north of the southern terminus and a mere twenty-five miles from my cabin. This is my current favorite weekend jaunt.

We're going to 'raft' down the Chestatee River this Saturday. No whitewater, just a nice lazy float on a hot day.

Picture #3.

Sweet William peeking through the log fence at Walasyi-Yi.

Picture #4

Black-Eyed Susans dancing on the side of the road, somewhere on my meanderings.

Picture #5

A fern coming to life after losing all it's fronds. Not sure if it got too much sun, not enough water, or too much water. But thank goodness Nature is forgiving.

That's all. I just felt the need to share a little beauty.

And to get your opinion on "Ancient Evenings".

Hope you had a glorious day. I'm still hatching a new story so no writing (or much of anything else) is getting done at my house.

~Olivia J. Herrell

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Everybody's Talking At Me

I'm listening to my myspace playlist. It's the one I compiled last November while selling off my worldly goods and packing what was left for Georgia. My new leading lady is facing a move so I'm getting in to the mood. I need to remember what that franticity felt like.

And if the music doesn't get this scene kick started? I'm screwed. I feel like Harry when whoozit put a spell on his broomstick and it was hopping and leaping all over the place while he was barely hanging on. Or like a reluctant toddler with my mouth glued shut refusing that bite of peas.

But back to my story. Myspace. I apparently hadn't been over there in months because there was a message in my inbox from April that read:

I think I knew you in the 5th grade (no... really!). I use myspace as ******* so I'm sure you wouldn't want to add me, so I'll just say hello and I enjoyed reading your blog page. I always wonder how people I knew as a child turned out. I went to Villa Rica Elem. as a wee lad. And if you are who I think you are, I also know you from _______ _______s' birthday party (I was on the other end of the

Thank you for your time and I really enjoyed seeing your Picture.

Okay. First off, this was really sweet. Second. I don't remember being in to guys when I was eleven (euuww) but I do remember this party and I vaguely recall something or another. But my last social media re-hookup didn't work out so well. So call me leery.

Then, whilest reading Fifth Grade's letter, I got flashed by Texas Boy:

 "ur sexy babe"

Really? Ur sexy babe? While I am flattered that you think I'm sexy, your approach is somewhat crass. And you can't spell. So no thanks.

Gardner West, in case you're still taking notes, I'm insulted. On the other hand, if I was interested in this dude, hot damn. It's all in the context.

Here's some Nilsson for you, Gardner. Straight from '69. Your stomping grounds. I hope you enjoy.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Are You An HSP?

In March, while researching my character, Sammy, I discovered that I am a Highly Sensitive Person. I share this with you because chances are, if you're a writer or an artist, you may be an HSP, too.

This is an excerpt from my post that was taken from the website

Pearl S. Buck, (1892-1973), recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 and of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1938, once said about highly sensitive people:

"The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this:
A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.

To him...

a touch is a blow,
a sound is a noise,
a misfortune is a tragedy,
a joy is an ecstasy,
a friend is a lover,
a lover is a god,
and failure is death.

Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create —— so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating."
—Pearl S. Buck
Do you relate? I do. It helped me to know that I really am different from 80% of the people. And that 20% of you are just like me. I am sensitive. I don't just think so. I am so. There is a biological difference in my nervous system. It's how I'm wired.

If you want to know more about this incredible gift that can often feel like a burden, read on. Find out if you, too, are a Highly Sensitive Person.

And, if you are? Yana. You are not alone.

~Olivia J. Herrell

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Transworld Summer Reading Challenge!

Do you love to review books? Do you post reviews on Amazon? Are you an avid blogger? If you answered yes to any of these questions then the Transworld Summer Reading Challenge is for you!

Hello Angels,

Just in case you hadn't already heard, there's a Summer Reading Challenge going on over at Between the Lines and they're looking for readers/reviewers. Click on over if you're interested!

Since I've recently decided to delve back in to the male psyche via books, I've chosen some doozies that sound fascinating!
  1. Exit Wound by Andy McNabb
  2. Bryant & May on the Loose by Christopher Fowler
  3. Amberville by Tim Davys
  4. 61 Hours by Lee Child
Each of these novels has a delightful twist. Stand by for reviews here at That Rebel with a Blog and at

In the meantime, I am reading novels by three other male types. Two I have met personally (by blog or in person), the other I haven't had the pleasure, though I do follow his blog.

  1. "America's Galactic Foreign Legion Book I, Feeling Lucky" by Walter Knight. I met Wally late one night on someone else's blog. I have no idea whose. When I clicked over I found out he wrote this 13-book series and it sounded like fun so I ordered #1. I'll tell you more when I get to THE END, but so far it is as advertised: fun, fast and fantastical.
  2. "Sandman Slim" by Richard Kadrey. I started following Richard's blog a while back after Colleen Lindsey (lord if it wasn't Colleen, I'm sorry to the person who did) mentioned him. After standing in the book aisle at Walmart reading bits and snatches of his writing, I had to buy this book. So far I've met Sandman and I am sorry to report that I fell in love before finishing the first chapter. I'll let you know if I'm still in love when I'm done.
  3. "Just Passin' Thru" by Winton Porter. I picked this up at Mountain Crossings at Walasi-Yi from the author/owner. Winton was charming and personalized the already-signed copy for me - "Welcome to Mountain Time!" His memoir is about the cast of unforgettable characters than show up and leave his little mountain store on the Appalachian Trail.
  4. "Ghost of a Chance" by Roland D. Yeomans. Many of you are probably following Roland and reading this, too. If not, click on over to Chapter One to catch up on the story and to follow along. Roland is sharing this work with us, a chapter at a time, as he writes himself in to a mystery filled with the incredible characters from his novels.
I'm looking forward to finishing these and getting my first new 'male' in the mail from Transworld Publishers.

Why am I on this all-male reading blitz frenzy thing? Seems one of my new main characters is an alpha male sort and I need to rub shoulders with some powerful dudes. I could think of much worse things to do.

~Olivia J Herrell
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