Friday Night Fun

Tonight I was left to my own devices, so I took myself for a spin out on the town. I headed for Jacksonville, the home of Camp Lejune Marine Base. Also home to best used bookstore that I know, The Bookend. 

I have been visiting and drooling over the Bookend books for about half of my life. Mr. James is the owner and he is awesome. He knows every book he has in stock and if he doesn’t haven’t it, you probably don’t need it. (That may be a slightly stretching it but not much.) For tonight’s viewing pleasure he had the leather bound editions of the Louis L’Amour westerns released back in the mid-90s, and the more mundane books. He showed me some orginal paperbacks of Kull, Conan, and Soloman Kane. Now if you don’t reconize those names they are all characters written by the late Robert E. Howard. 

Mr. Howard is most famous for Conan and the creation of the whole sword and socery genre. Impressed yet? Kull was Conan’s great 2 or 3 times back grandfather. And then the strangest and leaser known Soloman Kane. A purtain do-gooder/evil banisher, Kane is at war with himself over turning the other check and being the avenging Hand of God. Very interesting fellow. There was a movie done a few years back that didn’t quite do him justice. Anyway that is a discussion for another day. 

Mr. James normally closes up at 7pm and I got there a couple mins before 7 pm. I know what you’re thinking, there isn’t anyway you could have looked books in 5 minutes. Well see it pays to have been an iregular regular of the best used bookstore in Jville. Mr. James stayed open and let me look for about 20 mins beyond his closing. (See told you it is the best.) 

So after making my purchase, I headed on to other locales of interest. Namely Staples to see if they had a fountain pen with my name on it. I looked at the pens and the notebooks and other stuff and wondered how much longer we will be able to shop at a physical store. Compared to the pre-Amazon days, there was very little stuff in there. Most all the desks were gone. I loved going and looking and the desks and trying to pick “the one” that was going to be the home of my writing. (A girl can dream.) Trying out the chairs and looking at the cool stuff we thought would keep us organized and on track. (Still dreaming) I don’t know brick and morter seems to becoming a less sure thing in the future. Also discussion for another day. 

After Staples I took a gander through 2nd & Charles. Count ’em that is two bookstores in less than 1 hour. Do I know how to party or what? I browsed, hunted and meandered through the store until I realized it was almost 9pm. The mall closes at 9pm and I was supposed to be picking up some stuff for Hubby. Oops. 

So I dash out with my new to me books and headed for the mall. I walked in Barnes & Noble just to hear the mall is now closed and the gate will be locked blah blah. Catch that did you, bookstore number three. I pursued and browsed and looked and drooled. I did heed the siren call of a cup of Earl Grey and a blueberry scone. Now if I had properly prepared myself, pen and paper would have joined the party. Alas they remained in the car with my newly aquired books. 

After B&N shut down, I headed over to 5 Guys Burgers. They do a meaty real burger that is so tasty. They too were closing but nice enough to let me order. The food was awesome, thank you again. So I happily drove home to take pups out and wait for Hubby to get a load of his burger. It is huge!

And that, dear friend, is how to party in eastern North Carolina on a Friday night. Cheers, james

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Outlines and Writing

“Outlines are the blueprints of your story.” Terry Brooks, Sometimes the Magic Works

I read Mr. Brooks’ aforementioned book on his method of writing and that quote stands out to me. Outlines have always been dreaded monsters that had to be defeated in school. However blueprints make sense, you have to know what your story is constructed of and how certain pieces fit together. Unless its NaNoWriMo, I started with nothing but a fuzzy idea and a name. 

I won’t say since reading Mr. Brooks’s tome of writing has turned me into a grand writing wizard., (I wish.) There are no shortcuts to writing and we all know the struggles. But it has certainly given me things to look for and apply in my own writing. 

Now on to figuring out to blueprint MEI, maybe I will finally get it finished. Cheers, james

Snow Days

Eastern North Carolina got the first snowfall of the winter. Kinda hoping the only snowfall of this winter. Normal winters usually see temps in the 40s maybe the 30s but not in the teens and single digits. This week saw both single digits and a negative windchill. I heard someone say it hasn’t been this cold in over 50 years.

So on  Wednesday afternoon, we received sleet and then it turned into snow. And snowed through the night until Thursday morning was a frosty, glittering winter wonder. My car was enveloped in snow a good 3 to 4 inches thick. I haven’t had to dig a car out of snow since college in Boone. Needless to say I called my boss to explain I was going to be late. Instead she said “stay home, we are having a snow day. We’ll try again tomorrow.” 

A snow day, a free say to goof off and play in the snow, to snooze and do as I please. Yay! I took the dogs out. One was disgusted it was cold and the ground was covered. She has seen snow before and didn’t like when she was a puppy. As an 8 year old grouchy adult, she really doesn’t like it. On the other hand, the 1.5 year old was amazed and had a ball. This is his first time seeing snow. If I could have turned him loose to play I would have. He hasn’t learned to stay in the yard. He wants to travel all over town and that is bad. 

So Thursday came and went in a happy daze of napping, playing, knitting and writting. I finally picked up the reins on this blog since November. (That is another story) I retouched with old blogging friends and made some new ones. Friday morning saw no real improvement to the road and my boss declared us closed on Friday too. So an unexpected treat in the form of snow days for some much needed time off and a reminder to stay in touch with my inner child.

So dear readers and friends, did you have a snow day? Cheers, james

Bosch 

Michael Connelly created the very memorable character of Harry Bosch, a dectective of the Hollywood Homicide Division of the famed LAPD. The first books were Black Ice, Black Echo and The Concrete Blond, these books and the ones that have followed firmly established Connelly and Bosch as a mainstay of the American mystery genre. Connelly has gone a step further in working with Amazon Prime to bring Bosch to life. 

Bosch on Amazon Prime is the best of the books and tv. Mr. Connelly has stayed involved with this project and it shows in the details and degree of story integrity. The actor playing Harry Bosch is Titus Welliver. Mr. Welliver gives breath and an understanding to Harry, his flaws and charming quirks. Jerry Edgar is Bosch’s long time partner played by Jamie Hector. Mr. Hector and Mr. Welliver play well with the relationship Connelly established in the books. Jamie Hector’s Edgar seems to be the perfect foil for Bosch’s quirks. 

If you like mystery or are already a Harry Bosch fan give this series a try. It has a lot going for it. Cheers, james

Dragons

Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten. — G. K. Chesterton, as quoted in Coraline (2004) by Neil Gaiman, epigraph.

In the above quote G.K. Chesterfirld gave us words of great wisdom and power. However dragons have always been creatures of wisdom and firece warriors if called to battle. My nightmare creatures were of man and mob, maddened uncaring and unreasoning. Hunted and chased without safe haven those were my terrors of the dark night. Dragons were never my enemies. I suppose should I sit with a dragon and become a tea time snack I will have been proven wrong. Dragons, in my thoughts would be more inclined to rise above the animal instincts we share. Dragons still exist in my world. Living in my imagination and my writing, soaring in my dreams, resting upon hoards of knowledge and books. Gems and a little gold to brighten things up a bit.

Dragons aren’t to be beaten, they are to teach us to soar above our animal instincts and let the pettiness go. Cheers, james


Museum Fright part 2

“Come to me.” 

Instinct had me grabbing for the gate. I felt a strange current where ever I touched the metal. Things looked clearer, the light less dim. The shadows of the statues seem to be shrinking, less threatening. 

“Shannon, honey, I need you. Won’t you come stand by me?” 

My thoughts raced, if she touched the gate would whatever possessed her leave. I tried to remember the stories dealing with magic and metal. Something about cold iron canceling out magic. I hesitated, what if it made it worse. 

I gripped the gate harder. “Babes I’m getting lonely by myself.” keep it light, I thought, flirt with her. 

“Mac? What’s going on I don’t feel so good.” Shannon sounded like Shannon.

“Come stand beside me Babes. The fresh air will make you feel better.” 

She took a couple of steps towards me. I started to relax when I noticed her eyes shinning red in the light. Her steps were a little off balance. Her stride brought her closer and she started to grin. That grin was more of a teeth baring snarl.

“That’s it Babes. Just a little farther and you will feel better.” I hope, I thought it but didn’t say it. I searched her face for the woman I knew and loved. Shadows danced hiding then revealing parts of her. 

She leaned into me, her skin was icy. I started to let go of the gate. I wanted to wrap her in my arms and protect her. Something held me back, a warm trickle from the side of my neck. 

“Shannon are you okay? Talk to me Babes.” Pain slammed into my body. 

“The sacrifice is ready.” Her lips were wet. I felt my strength fading. 

                 To Be Continued

 

Museum Fright

“Come on. The museum is closing in thirty minutes.” She grabbed my hand and pulled me toward revolving doors.

“Babes you know this is your thing, not mine.” 

She threw me a look over her shoulder before dashing through the doors and out of sight. I sighed and followed her. The museum was dark and cool after the glare of the day. A guard nodded at me and pointed toward a exhibit hall to the left. I nodded my thanks and set off in pursuit of my wife. 

The exhibit was dimmer than the main hall with spot lights illuminating the various exhibits. Some where near the back of the gallery I found her entranced in front of three statues. 

“Okay Babes. I’m here. They’re great let’s go.” 

“Shush. Just watch the shadows.”

I glanced up. Everything seemed normal, a shiver traced up my spine. The shadow of the middle figure was leaning to the statue on the left. I looked at the exhibit, nothing had changed they were standing straight in a line. I looked back up and swallowed hard. The left shadow was caressing the middle shadow. While the right statue had turned to face them. 

“Babes come on. Funny but let’s go.” I touched her shoulder and she snarled. I backed away, her face was different. I felt the stares of the shadows and statues, my hair was standing on end. 

“You would leave before the sacrifice” Her voice was husky and dark, old and not hers. 

“Shannon enough let’s go. Now. This isn’t right.” 

A jangle of keys caught my attention, and the scream of a metal gate shocked me into shouting. 

“Hey wait. We are still in here. Hey come back.” I jogged towards the gate, the lights dimmed and went dark. I rattled the gate, “Hey is anyone there?” 

The jingle of keys and footsteps echoed, the guard appeared in the gloom. “Funny I thought I heard somthing.” 

I rattled the gate, “Here. I’m right here.” 

The guard jumped staring at the gate. “Creeping bloody statues. They say the gates are to keep people out. I think they are trying to keep something in.” He turned and walked quickly away. He didn’t look back.

I looked towards Shannon, she was backlit by the only remaing light in the hall. There was something off putting about the way she stood, I glanced to the ceiling. A fourth shadow, her shadow had joined the three. Anticipation filled the air. Sweat ran down my back.

“Come to me. The sacrafice is ready.” She called to me in that old dark alien voice. My feet started to move as I fought to stay by the gate. 

                  To Be Continued…..