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Dec 2007:
28th The Windmills of...
23rd Happy Holidays
21st Snow Falling on...
18th Holiday Travel
13th French Translation
11th Head Games
9th   Signing
7th   Surf's Up
6th   Technically Speak..
4th   Sunset
2nd  Bird Watching II
The Windmills of Amish Country
Posted by JVJ @ 11:21 am
Dec 28th : 2007
Yesterday I drove through Lowville in Upstate New York. Itís an interesting part of the world. One hundred and twenty windmills, each 320 feet high, dominate the landscape. Theyíre silent and beautiful. Their blades are 131 feet long and their tips spin at 138 mph. Raised on a ridge west of the Adirondacks, they tower over the small farming community.
What makes Lowville doubly interesting is the fact that itís also home to a small Amish community. I passed a man driving a horse-drawn buggy and this gentleman, walking down the road.
Happy Holidays
Posted by JVJ @ 9:30 am
Dec 23rd : 2007

Happy Holidays from me and my brother, Paul. We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a fine New Year.
Snow Falling on Runways
Posted by JVJ @ 9:28 am
Dec 21st : 2007

I landed in NY state late last night in the snow. Ice crystals were strafing past the plane window, glittering in the wing lights. I awoke in the morning to a world covered in snow. Quite a contrast from San Diego, donít you think?
Holiday Travel
Posted by JVJ @ 9:15 am
Dec 18th : 2007

Iím off to NY state this week for the Holidays. Iíll be taking my laptop and working. Hopefully Iíll be able to get to the mountains. At this time of year the Adirondacks are covered in snow and the lakes are freezing. Itís a good place to sit and imagine the clanholds.
Sadly I didnít spot any shooting stars at the weekend. It wasnít from lack of trying. Nor was it from lack of a clear sky. No, it was simply a short fall of stars.
French Translation
Posted by JVJ @ 11:28 am
Dec 13th : 2007

The French fantasy site has translated the interview I did with Patís Fantasy Hotlist. Anyone whoís read The Book of Words in French, pop over and take a look.
Now, onto matters galactic. The Geminid meteor shower peaks tonight. Look to the north-eastern sky to view as many as two shooting stars per minute. The source of the shower is the mysterious 3200 Phaethon asteroid, that may or may not be a burned out comet. Iíll be standing by with my camera. Donít forget to make a wish. One only per evening is permitted. Wish is rendered invalid if spoken out loud.
Head Games
Posted by JVJ @ 12:59 pm
Dec 11th : 2007

People have been commenting that I wear a lot of goofy hats. No way, not me, must be confusing me with someone else.
Posted by JVJ @ 10:30 am
Dec 9th : 2007

The book signing at Mysterious Galaxy on Friday night was a lot of fun. Even though it was raining we had a good turn out. The other wonderful writers in attendance were Celia May Hart, Jeanne Stein and Theresa Schwegel.
Celia, who writes erotic, historic romance, explained the problem of undressing in the Regency period. Apparently, women who wore drawers were considered more wanton than those who wore nothing. Jeanne writes vampire novels set in San Diego, and Theresa writes crime fiction set in her native Chicago.
Surfís Up
Posted by JVJ @ 8:04 am
Dec 7th : 2007

The highest surf in a year is currently hitting San Diego shores so the fearless reporter at decided to head to the beach to check it out. I was there at lunchtime and it was pretty cold and windy but the waves themselves were disappointing.
Undeterred, I headed south along the shore. Pretty soon the real story became clear to me. High tide green tomatoes. When I spotted the first one I assumed it was leftover from a beach picnic. A classic rookie mistake. I was wrong, dead wrong. Half a mile of shore was scattered with the unripe fruit/vegetable. What happened here? Illegal smuggling? Salsa experiment gone horribly wrong? Although Iím following leads as you read this, I fear we may never know the truth.
Technically Speaking
Posted by JVJ @ 0:03 am
Dec 6th : 2007

I attend a couple of writers groups, one of which is for aspiring writers. One of the recurring issues is technical stuff: sentence structure, grammar, word usage, punctuation, etc. My advice is if youíre serious about writing you have to master the technical side. Yes, there are brilliant writers who openly flout rules at every turn (Joyce and Eliot spring to mind) but they are the exceptions. You can tell the greatest story, featuring enough fiendish plot twists to confuse a quorum of cryptologists, but you'll lose an editor in the first paragraph if you fail to dot your Is and cross your Ts.
If youíre a beginning writer you need as much credibility as possible. Why spend a year writing a manuscript, pouring all your energy and creativity into the process, if youíre going to undermine yourself with poor grammar? No editor has the time or patience to line edit manuscripts. You might think your writing is brilliant, but professionals wonít see it that way if the punctuation is sloppy, the sentences are run-ons, participles are aídangling, and apostrophes are misplaced.

Learn the difference between ďlieĒ and ďlayĒ and ďmayĒ and ďmightĒ. Learn the collective noun for trees (stand) and effect (not affect) the appropriate changes. Go boldly, donít boldly go. Cut off bad grammar at the pass. Donít cut bad grammar off at the pass. Learn to discriminate between the colon and its half-brother the semi colon; itís easy once you get the hang of it. Aim to make your writing perfect, not very perfect. The ultimate goal is that each writer should bring his or her (not their) best efforts to the page.

By failing to learn correct usage you let yourself down. Grammar and vocabulary are essential tools--not unnecessary restrictions--and by mastering them you build strength, skill and credibility as a writer.
Posted by JVJ @ 0:42 am
Dec 4th : 2007

I was working on my laptop about 4pm when I looked up and noticed that the light in the house had turned a deep, brilliant red. Armed with my camera, I went outside to take a look. This is what I saw. As sunsets go this has got to rank as one of most spectacular Iíve seen.
Bird Watching II
Posted by JVJ @ 10:53 pm
Dec 2nd : 2007

We actually got some rain on Friday. Quite a lot of rain, two inches in all. It helped bring down the fire danger.
Today I spent some time bird watching at the Batiquitos Lagoon in Carlsbad. Itís a great place to spot waders and waterfowl. In recent years the channel has been dredged and the lagoon has been reopened to tides.
A few reminders from last month. Iím signing books at Mysterious Galaxy this coming Friday at 7pm. Also, the message board is now up and running--stop by and take a look.
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French Interview
Mysterious Galaxy