Writing Again…

Finally! I have a new WIP!

My local writer’s group is working on a new anthology with a Mardi Gras theme. How awesome is that?  I’ve written a very rough 3500 words. After a bit of research, I can now go back and flesh the story out. My goal is at least 5500 words. It’s very skinny at the moment.

My WIP is set in Mobile (the home of Mardi Gras) and involves an actual Mystic society. The setting is also historically linked to our Carnival season. Which means…I better get it right. The story is fictional. But I want to depict our traditions as true as possible.

There’s nothing worse than reading a book, set in your hometown and about an event you know well, and being pulled out because your brain yells it’s too fake. A reader unfamiliar with the city or events may not have an issue with the inconsistencies. But a native could be annoyed.

That is the problem I’m facing. The anthology will mainly be sold in town (and online) so I want it to feel authentic. Submissions open in October. I’m probably over thinking this a bit.

As usual– there’s a playlist…

Some of these may not seem like Mardi Gras tunes but trust me. It works.

  • Dancing Queen- ABBA
  • Born on the Bayou- CCR
  • Bourbon Street Parade- Preservation Hall Jazz Band
  • Celebration- Kool & the Gang
  • Chasing Pavement- Adele
  • Corrine, Corrina- Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton
  • Girls Just Wanna Have Fun- Cyndi Lauper
  • Jump, Jive, an’ Wail- The Brian Setzer Orchestra
  • Tailgate Ramble- The Dixieland Band
  • When the Saints Go Marching in – Louis Armstrong
  • Ol’ Slac by Grayson Capps
  • Lagniappe (parts1 & 2) – Trombone Shorty

There’s actually another couple of dozen song as well but this gives you a good idea.

Laissez les bon temps rouler.

-CK

Road Trip

I love a good road trip. Heck, I love a bad road trip.

Old school map.

I have fond memories from childhood of being stuffed in a car with my family, driving insane distances to view something amazing, and then stop at every odd road side attraction. So of course I wish to pass that on to my kids. But you first must prepare for a road trip. You can’t just hop in the car and go– that causes chaos.

Everyone knows to grab a map, cash, and clothes. But there are other things that are just as important for a long trek in the car. So he goes,

Road Trip Packing List

  • Popcorn– That’s right you heard me, popcorn. Not the store bought stuff on the chip aisle. Don’t get the microwave kind either unless you have a fancy SUV that comes with its own tiny microwave.  I’m talking about that really good popcorn at the local gourmet shop. Now, hold on. Here you can buy 2lbs of buttered popped corn for $10. 2Lbs of popcorn is the size of a toddler. That’s a lot of popcorn. It will last my family of four through an entire one week road trip. Granted when you get home you’ll be finding popcorn for weeks but it’s worth it.
  • Paper towels– You should know this. If you spend 6 hours or more in a car you will need paper towels. Especially if you have popcorn.
  • Red solo cups– They don’t have to be red. Solo cups make the perfect holder for popcorn. It allows you to eat it without getting your hands dirty. Genius! It also makes a great holder for small treasures you find along the way like shells, rocks, and gold doubloons.
  • Playlist/tunes– Every trips deserves its own playlist. I still take a few CDs’s along but most of the time I play mp3’s.  My favorite playlists for traveling are: Spring Break, Summer, and Road Trip. They have tunes specific for the season or long driving sessions. Yes, Radar Love is included. 🙂 Sometime I will make a list geared to the city. New Orleans would have a totally different list of music than Memphis.

    How am I old enough for a teen driver?

  • Reading material– I love to read so I take 2 or 3 paperbacks as well as my kindle. Hubby claims the kindle causes a glare 😦 I also tailor my reading to the trip. This last trip was to North Carolina so I had a handful of mysteries set in the Outer Banks.
  • Toys– That’s right. Take toys. I have teenagers but I still take playing cards, coloring books, and crosswords along for the ride. The girls each took books to read and have a phone but you never know…
  • Towels– It dosesn’t matter where you go. Take a towel. I have one kid who will “accidentally” fall in any bit of water they find. It pays to be prepared.
  • First-aid kit– Again, I have that one child who always needs a bandage or an x-ray.
  • Kites– This is specific to the trip we took. But if you are heading to the beach or an area with open spaces a kite is fun and relaxing. It ended up being too windy to fly our kites but we had them.

Make new friends.

 

Road trips are a great way to bond with the wee ones. It’s an adventure where all sorts of things can go wrong 🙂

What do you take on a road trip?

-CK

 

Haint Blue

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Life has been crazy, forcing me to put aside writing and focus on home and hearth. And read. I hope Spring will bring a little peace and time, and frame of mind, to write.

Haint Blue

Every Southerner knows what haint blue is and what it’s used for.

Haint Blue is a specific color traditionally used in the South to paint the ceiling of porches. I don’t have a porch. If I did I would paint it blue. A soft blue-green to be precise.

But why the name?

Haint means to haunt or ghost.

So haint blue means blue ghost…?

Why? If asked most will say the ceiling is painted blue becasue that’s just the way it is done. I’ve never seen any color other than blue.  A soft shade of blue brings to mind breezy summer days. It invites a body in to sit a spell and drink iced tea in a swing. I’m not entirely sure what a ghost has to do with it.

A bit of research…

Ah, here we go. Haint blue is protection from influence of restless spirits, much like our bottle trees.

Sherman Williams has a nice page on Haint blue if you are interested in reading a bit about it and browsing through the colors. Maybe after my kitchen is finished my honey will build me a porch.

The Land of Color also has a nice article full of lovely colors.

The Awl takes a more historical look at haint blue. I highly suggest this article.

There you go. Haint blue ceilings. What color is your porch?

-CK

2017 Goals Revisited

The goals for 2017 were short and simple.

Yet, I still managed to fail miserably at them.

2017

  • Write 200,000 words.- I wrote 38,145 new words.
  • Edit 600 pages.- I edited 449 pages.
  • Walk 2,600,000 steps. Really who knows. I gave up in February.
  • Read 80 books. My only real success. I read 96 books.
  • Find the shipwreck at Ft. Morgan. My wrist surgery kept me from the beach. I even failed at this. 🙂
  • Complete devotional. I did complete a devotional just not the one I intended to read.

2017 was not a good year for these goals.

Goals in themselves are of no value. To me, the value of goals is to see why or why not you succeeded. You learn something about yourself. I learn from my mistakes. Sad fact.

I learned I hate exercise. I knew this already. But I have no internal motivation to exercise. I just don’t have it. I’m not even sure what it would take to make me exercise on a regular basis. It’s not going to happen.

I’m also a creature of habit. If I’m going to do anything on a regular basis I must make it a scheduled event until it is habit. If I can write between 25,000 – 50,000 words in November why can’t I do that in January? Is it the little tracker I have marking the words? Is it the winner T-shirt? What is it? Or is it knowing that millions of people around the globe are like me and trying to write the novel in a month. It’s possible I’ve done it before.

The difference. I made it a priority. I sat down every day no  matter what and I wrote. In preparation for NaNo I spent October editing another story. So it wouldn’t sit on my desk staring at me. I edited over 80 pages that month.

So what do I do?

That’s the million dollar question isn’t it.

It boils down to priorities and motivation. I allow my family to take precedence over my writing. That’s not going to change. Family first. I also allow household issues to overshadow writing time. My house is old. It needs lots of work. At the moment we are working on the kitchen. At some point in the next millinia, we will be finished with that. But it takes time, money, and brain power from writing. Wrist surgery also kept me away from writing.

I’ve never treated my writing as a job. It’s a dream. A hobby. A desire. But in honesty I’ve never let my job overshadow my family life and responsibilities. I’ve alwasy been family first.

As I sit down and think about what I want to accomplish in 2018 the one thing I don’t want to do is let the fire for writing be smothered by the feeling of failure because I didn’t reach my goals. I knew when I made them that they were lofty goals.

Am I disappointed when I look over the numbers from last year? Yes I am. But I did make strides. I did make certain accomplishments. I know have two stories that need polishing before submitting. I’m happy with that.

Over the next few days I will be assesingmy goals before i comit to anything.

Happy New Year,

-CK