Celebrating, 11 March, 2016

11 March, 2016 Celebrate The Small Things

Welcome to this lovely blog hop, started by VikLit, bless her!
Lexa Cain and her two wonderful co-hosts L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge and Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits are presiding.

Check them out and be prepared to smile!

What am I celebrating?  Well, changes, comings and goings. I spoke of Jesse James (my darling old dog) earlier.  He’s left quite a hole in my household, but lots of smiles, as well.  And it appears that we may be having a new little presence in a couple months in the form of a puppy.  Jesse’s wisdom and humor linger.  We learned a lot from him, and the puppy will benefit from the years we had him.  Meanwhile, we’re remembering and smiling.

On another front, I am finishing two stories, a full-length novel set in Paris and a fable that I’ve mentioned before…  Or, I will be once I start up again in April.  I’ve been beta-reading (VERY enjoyable!) doing this and that.

And fiddling with things.

Large male saltwater crocodile, Australia

Which brings me to my celebration.  I have a cover nearly finished for the fable.  I’ve posted a version of it before.  It prominently features a magnificent crocodile that is a major force in the story.  The photo I found was perfect…  It had been printed in a newspaper.  If you are using photographs or other images, you must, if you are honest, verify that they are in the public domain and, if not, secure a license to use them.  As an amateur photographer, I understand what goes into taking what your eye sees and turning it into a work of art.

So, the crocodile.  I searched for the photographer…and I finally found him.  Or, rather, his name.  I looked him up by name and located his website.  At his website, I swallowed hard and took a deep breath.

The man was a superb photographer.  He did work for the National Geographic Society.  He was as good as Galen Rowell (if you know photography, you will know the name).  I couldn’t possibly afford him.

But one must ask.  I wrote to him, told him what I wanted the image for, explained how I had tracked him down, and inquired whether I might purchase a license to use the photograph.  Knowing his quality and my budget, I also started looking at stock images…

And I received this response:

Hi Diana
Thanks for your enquiry. I can confirm that the image of the crocodile is one I took in 2005. The Courier Mail published it without my permission (which is far from unheard of). I have full copyright over the image however I preference how I license images depending on the status/capacity of the use, and the user etc.

I would like to provide you use of this image as a courtesy, since I appreciate the demands on writers in bringing their work to completion. I also appreciate the obvious effort you have gone to contact me.

I have attached a higher res version of the image to assist you.

If you are able to publish your work it would be great to receive a copy.
Good luck.

Kind Regards

I looked at the image he had attached and reread the note.  The book will be published and he will receive a copy as well as credit for the image.

…and I am celebrating the nearly finalized cover that I can use now that I have cleared permissions:

(Stars are very important in the story)

What are you celebrating?

Celebrating the Small Things February 5, 2016

This is the Celebrating the Small Things blog hop, run by Lexa Cain and her two wonderful co-hosts L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge and Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits.
Check them out and be prepared to smile!

Today I am celebrating the fact that I am at home at this moment and watching the snow shift down.

I started out heading for work with the snow falling all around me like miniature stars speckling my windshield.  Snow is so pretty, but you have to understand and respect it if you are in an automobile.

I made it safely to work and found one other person there.  No one else.  My employer had declared a ‘snow day’ but had sent the announcement rather late.  My coworker and I had a good laugh, I shook the snow from my hair and my boots, settled down at my desk, and started working.

Only a fool would try to drive back during rush hour among a pack of people who forget, from snowstorm to snowstorm, that snow/slush/ice exist and are dangerous.

I accomplished a great many things and then, at lunch time, headed home to enjoy my Snow Day.

Celebrations 20 March 2015 – Skipping (Reading Essentials)

Welcome to the March 20 edition of the Celebrating the Small Things blog hop, started by VikLit and now run by Lexa Cain, our fearless new leader and her two wonderful co-hosts L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge
Katie @ TheCyborgMom

Today I am celebrating a wonderful reading (and writing) tip:


Skipping Through Books…

I have a terrible confession to make.   It has required a lot of courage on my part to take this step, especially on a public forum (more or less, since mine is not the most widely read blog by a long shot).   I don’t know too many people who would willingly admit to it, at least not in this modern world where people take pride in reading every single word of a book.  Certainly, only one other person I know will admit to this particular practice.

The thing is, the practice has enabled me to circumvent unpleasant things and get to the meat of a book and then, armed with confirmation of the book’s quality, go back and have another go at the unpleasant parts.  Since I have seen the whole of the book, I can now inspect its separate parts.

What am I talking about?


One of my favorite authors (C. S. Lewis) has this to say:

It is a very silly idea that in reading a book you must never “skip.” All sensible people skip freely when they come to a chapter which they find is going to be no use to them. In this chapter I am going to talk about something which may be helpful to some readers, but which may seem to others merely an unnecessary complication. If you are one of the second sort of readers, then I advise you not to bother about this chapter at all but to turn on to the next.

Lewis was speaking of philosophical and theological subjects, but I have found that the advice is equally valid to those who are trying to plow through a passage of purple prose that threatens to derail them (Dickens has a lot of this), or who are having heavy going with a particular scene that has no apparent bearing on the rest of the book, (Melville’s digression on the history of whaling in Moby Dick, for example) or the discussion of gardening practices in Lady Chatterly’s Lover, per the reviewer in Field and Stream.

Just look at what not skipping does to your face!

I have gone skipping through most of Dickens, happily thumbing past his description of the nasty things that the law did to the fellow who they decided had killed the happily late Marquis de Saint-Evremond, and his various disquistions in all his books on society, injustice and the method a gentleman should employ while chasing a runaway hat on a windy day.

With this useful, and previously forgotten, technique, I am able to sit down, pick up The Pickwick Papers , and read what I enjoy, going back when I have more fortitude to suffer through enjoy  the parts I skipped.

That’s worth celebrating, don’tcha think??

So what are you  celebrating?  (And have a wonderful weekend!)


Celebrations January 16, 2015

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Welcome to the January 16 edition of the Celebrating the Small Things blog hop, started by VikLit and now run by Lexa Cain, our fearless new leader and her two wonderful co-hosts L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge
Katie @ TheCyborgMom

Do stop by and visit!

Today I am celebrating being a smart-aleck.  Or…  Oh, dear, that’s probably not something I should say.  Let’s just say that I am celebrating being given the opportunity to figuratively nail one of those people who call and try to persuade unknowing folks to part with their money because they have been trapped by a scam. 

Hi, there!  Come closer!

There are far too many of such people in the world.  I, having a strong streak of commonsense and dealing, in my professional life, with cheats and sneaks and liars on a far too common basis, can identify them a mile away.  Usually.  Once I fell for a scam, but I recognized it for what it was and backed out. I think I scared them, rather like the emotion you feel when what you thought was a pretty, longhaired black and white cat turns out to be a skunk.  

Anyhow, today I received a phone call.  The caller ID screen said it was a Skype caller.  I picked up, said hello, and the conversation went from there…

–Hello?  This is Diana Wilder?
I admitted that it was.
–I need to speak to you about your computer—
I gasped.  M-my computer?  You mean like fixing a problem?

(Note:  There is absolutely no reason for anyone but The Geek Squad to phone me about my computer.  Perhaps others, but not me.  This was a known scam that nearly caught me last year until I realized that the people who said they were part of Trend Microsoft – an excellent virus control software – were not, and backed out.  I checked with Trend Micro, who got the giggles when I showed them my screen prints of the ‘problems’ the scammers had pointed out.  In my case, I had encountered a problem and phoned what I thought was the group.  It was a lookalike phone number. I realized my mistake.  Others were not so fortunate.)

But they were game and motivated.  Yes!  If you give us control of your computer we can see problems in your computer—
(Yeah, right.  Uh Huh…  And I have a bridge to sell you.)  –And y-you can fix them? (quavering voice) You could w-walk me through it?  Oh, could you?
–Yes, we do.  So if you—

I gave a cry of dismay.  Oh, if only you had phoned me last week!
–Yes, but we—
I began to sob.  If I had only known about you—  If I had only known you could have helped me.
–But Madam, we—

Alas, too late! (sob)

–No—no— I wept.  It is too late!   My computer blew up and I just…  I just…  No (wept I) it is too late. Too late!  I c-can’t talk any more.  G-good-bye!

Well, I at least thought it was worth celebrating.

So what are you  celebrating today?


January 2, 2015 – Celebrations

This is the January 2, 2015 installment of the Small Celebrations blog hop founded by Vik Lit, the Hop she started and ran for two years while holding down a job, having a social life, and being an utterly delightful person.  I don’t know how she did it.

Managing a hop takes an awful lot of work and time (I know: I only helped out a very little) and this wonderful get-together has had an effect on me beyond having to try to think up something to post on a Friday.

It made me:

1.  Sit down and take stock of things

2.  Notice things

3.  Do what a friend called ‘Looking For The Blessing’

I would think, It’s Thursday: what will I post for Friday? or else I would think This is so nice!  I’ll talk about it on Friday. 

It was a way to really start noticing the good things.  I can lump along with the worst of them and find things to grouse about, but this hop made me look up.  It has been a blessing.

…so today I’m celebrating her.  That’s a lot to be grateful for.

And we’ll see how things go.

What are you celebrating?


Celebrations, October 17, 2014 – of Sheep, knitters and heaven…

Welcome to our Celebration of the Small Things, a blog hop started by Viklit (address below) to pause to appreciate the small things that make us smile.  It doesn’t have to be something big, which is why she chose the name.  Whatever makes you smile, whatever has happened that you like to savor or share.  If you want to join, the details are at the bottom of tis page.

I’m celebrating a bit of anticipation:  I am attending the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival (click for the site), held in the pretty town of Rhinebeck NY.  I knit from time to time, have lots of friends who knit, crochet, weave, spin, raise sheep, shear sheep, always have knitting needles stuck behind their ears, and generally act like crazy people having a lot of fun. 

I enjoy strolling and watching the  people, and fingering yarn and dreaming of maybe taking some time from editing and polishing The Orphan’s Tale, Book II to take that gorgeous tone-on-tone RED yarn and actually KNIT something…  Sigh.  There’s a fairway with hot dogs and fries…  And I don’t have to drive there for the first time in years.

I’ve so enjoyed this hop, I decided to post a little photographic interpretation of a favorite quote.  I wish the photos were actually mine, but I hope they make you smile.

Have a wonderful weekend!

You gotta dance like there’s nobody looking…
Love like you’ll never be hurt…
Sing like there’s nobody listening
Live like it’s heaven on earth

– William R Purkey


Celebrations, October 10, 2014 – All things horses

Welcome to the latest Celebrate the Small Things blog hop, a brilliant idea conceived by Viklit (address below).  We post every Friday, and we tell of the things we are celebrating that week.  It can be something as small as not having to take a test and or as large as surviving cancer for yourself of a loved one.  The list of celebrations always makes me smile.   Why don’t you join?  it might make you smile (See the bottom of the page for details)

I have been going at a rum for the past several months.  That means I have been overcommitted and am spinning my wheels.  I’ve disengaged (gosh, sounds like psycho-babble, doesn’t it?) and am catching my breath.

This week I am celebrating one of the great loves of my life:  Horses.

Famous samurai with gray horse

Like a great many little girls, I fell in love with horses.  My first poem (which I am not posting here) had to do with a horse.  I remember I really wanted a dapple-gray horse with a white mane, which I would name Marigold.  Male?  Female?  I don’t recall.

I thought the gray was perttier

I love them, though, and I enjoyed riding them.  I have Japanese woodblock prints of horses in my house.

I said, once, that I thought they were beautifully proportioned.  My listener said “hah!  If they were beautifully proportioned, their legs would be as thick as their bodies!”  I thought it a silly retort.  Unfortunately, I was a very respectful child and the speaker was a grownup.  Otherwise, I might have suggested that he adjust his own proportions until everything matched his torso.

just a bit much, I think…

Surprisingly, though I love horses, I never had horsey print clothing, never wore jewelry with snaffle bit adornments…


One of my favorites is in the sky most times of the year, if you know where to look and can remember that he is galloping along upside-down.  You can only see his head, neck and forequarters, but the constellation is unmistakable:

I do have a favorite figurine of a Lipizzaner from Vienna by way of a generous friend:

Gift from generous Austrian friend

Anyhow, today I am celebrating horses, beautifully proportioned, and always, always elegant!

…Did I mention that they are truly, truly silly?


Celebrations – September 12, 2014

Today is the Celebrations blog hop by VikLit .  Come join us: the information is below. 

Some of the best celebrations I’ve had or enjoyed have been those that highlight others’ joys.  Today I am delighted to say that a good friend, Jerrie Brock, has a book that is free on Kindle, and it is doing very well, having reached the top 100 books free in all of Kindle after less than 24 hours.  It’s a wonderful story of the way love can handle the intrusion of the past.

I interviewed Jerrie on this blog, HERE

Something Returned is the sequel:

It is, for me, a wonderful story of the resilience of love.  You can pick up a copy on Amazon.  Here is a geotargeted link for you:

Now, as far as what I, myself, am celebrating in behalf of myself. would the fact that I idiotically did NOT back up my manuscripts on a cloud drive, but did on a 16 gb flash drive, and somehow, through my own stupidity managed to destroy that drive and lose all those manuscripts and yet, through the grace of God was able to retrieve them from a source I had not expected count as a celebration?

Yes, I thought so, too.  Stupidity is not always fatal.  But this was too close a call.

Champagne tonight!

(Yes, the files are all on various ‘clouds’ now)

What are YOU celebrating?  …I do hope it’s nothing stupid.  Mine was big enough for now.


Celebrations, July 25, 2014 – Reading

Welcome to VikLit ‘s blog hop, celebrating the things we tend to overlook, that make our lives richer.

The information on the hop is below.  Why don’t you join us? 

Today I am celebrating catching up.  The past four weeks have been too crowded to accomplish many of the things I had wanted to do, including keeping up with my blogging friends and holding up my end of a promise. 

So I am celebrating sitting back and reading.  And commenting.

It should be most enjoyable.


Small Celebrations – June 6, 2014

Welcome to Friday and the weekly blog that Vikki at VikLit thought of well over a year ago.  It is a way we pause to celebrate the small things that together make our lives richer.  Reading the posts over the months will open your eyes to the many, many ways we touch delight and celebrate it.  The hop is still open if you want to join, and it has drawn a wonderful group that posts, remembers, celebrates and just generally supports and cheers you on.
.here are lovely people involved in posting, remembering, celebrating and being just generally awesome – rather like yourself, don’t you think?

The information on the hop is below.  Why don’t you join?  Or, at least, visit the various posts and smile.

…And today I am celebrating…Books!

I just ordered two books yesterday.  One of them is to replace a book that I had, that was lost during four moves.  It is a sourcebook and a picture book (don’t get me started on picture books…)  It is a collection of aerial photos of Paris, taken from close(r) to the ground.  This was done after years of negotiating with the French government, which does not allow flyovers.  One day was granted, and this book resulted. 
It was very useful, since I could visualize the buildings, see the terrain.  Besides, I loved my visit to Paris, and if I ever win a lottery or inherit an emerald mine, I will go back and stay a year in an apartment near the Pont Neuf with three – count ’em! -bathrooms complete with soaking tubs.
I ordered another book on Paris (I’m writing a story set there), and since it’s about urban planning (it is not polite to yawn), it should be good.  Besides, the sample I read rather thoroughly is beautifully written.
I ordered both of these in ‘hard copy’.  The first is a hardback.  It’s an oversized book, and they don’t do well in softcover.  The other is a paperback. 
I never got over my love for books.  The things you hold in your hands, the fresh pages that smell of ink or, if they are older, of library dust.  The dog-eared pages, the notes in the margin (mine), the tucked-in bookmarks that can be anything from a magazine advert cut out because it’s pretty or a receipt from some lunch enjoyed years ago.
I have an e-reader.  A Kindle Fire.  I bought my first Kindle under protest because while I am not a Luddite by any means, I don’t like to deal with something that might conk out in the middle of a page leaving me glaring at my reflection in a black screen and screeching “What is the matter with this blasted thing???  It’s gone black!  Gah!”  My friends and loved ones informing me in tones of sweet reason that shaking the thing isn’t going to help, nor is blunting the blade of the Navy cutlass willed to me by my father.

(I wouldn’t have done it anyhow.  I like the thing.  The cutlass, that is).  I will say that my review and corrections are being done, preliminarily, on my uploaded MS using the Fire.

But books have a feel, a sense of completeness.  If I hold my volume of Treasure Island (Stevenson) in my hands, I have a sense of holding the entire adventure between my two palms.  Jim Hawkins, Long John Silver (one of the most chilling villains I’ve encountered – and you never suspect him till the end), the parrot, Captain Flint, Captain Alexander Smollet, and the plague-ridden island.

You can hold a book, linger over it.  If you’re in the right place you can nearly bathe in it:

My library, such as it is, is not quite as palatial as this one, but the idea is the same.  I do have to dust it.  At least it is not as chaotic as this one:
Actually, that one might have a few too many books, and I’d be afraid that the shelves might come down.

Books are tangible in a way the electronic readers are not.  You can hold them, smell them…  Though I suppose that if an e-reader exploded there would certainly be a smell…
You can mark them up.  (My ms is marked up.  Little yellow squares with little blue boxes.  If I click on them successfully, up come my notes.  they *are* handy, but oh so unromantic.  Rather like emails instead of handwritten letters.  Written in fountain pen.  I am told, though, that my letters are eternal because they are hard to read.

But I digress.  I do like the fact that I can indulge my terror of being left without something to read but not wanting to do damage to my spine by trundling along a suitcase full of books simply by bringing my e-reader.  They have their uses…

This poem expresses it well:

“Who hath a book

The parking garage for the Kansas City public library
Hath friends at hand,
And gold and gear
At his command;
And rich estates,
If he but look,
Are held by him
Who hath a book.

“Who hath a book

Hath but to read

And he may be

A king, indeed.

His kingdom is

His inglenook-

All this is his

Who hath a book.”  

― Wilbur D. Nesbit