Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Age and Fandom: A Little Philosophy

Appearing in today's Frontstretch, my Sittin' in the Stands: A Fan's View column I pondered my mortality and the apparent lack of in a young athlete...namely Austin Dillon.  I think I'm falling for this kid.  Hope you enjoy!

"Wishing For Just a Bit of Austin Dillon's Youth"

Thursday, July 21, 2011

You Can't Get There From Here

Apparently Google Maps thinks the ocean is so beautiful that you should take a detour to look at it whenever possible.

This is perhaps the first vacation that we have taken utilizing our GPS on the phone rather than a pile of map books (Yes, it took me a long time to get past that.) And it works well, until you enter Ogunquit, ME. Google has an obsession with sending you down to the ocean to sit in beach traffic rather than leaving you on the straight path that leads you to your destination.

Should we have listened to Lola (That’s what we call the GPS…reference the movie RV) we’d still be going in a literal circle that includes the towns of Ogunquit, Wells and Arundel. Kennebunk wasn’t much better. We knew we wanted to stay on Rte 9…but Lola kept telling us in its mellifluous voice to take a right. WRONG!

This morning, we chopped a good twenty minutes off our drive to Bath by taking a simple left out of the campground, rather than the 5-mile detour Lola had mapped out for us on the phone.

I know we’re missing many views of beach homes, people padding about in flip flops and eroding beach walls, but that’s okay. Walker’s Point and the Maine Maritime Museum were much more of what we were looking for, at the moment.

The visit to the Maritime Museum included a demonstration of a boat launch, more fascinating details of ship manufacture in the final days of the great schooners and a lovely boat ride on the Kennebec River, highlighted by lighthouses, eagles, osprey, seals, cormorants and terns. Perfect weather, perfect topic, perfect day.

Unfortunately, it looks like we won’t escape the heat wave heading our way, but at least there is the ocean to cool our toes in. Enjoy the photos!

Post Script by Betty: q 1wacfju7nb

Sunday, July 17, 2011

And after the party is over...

Okay, so the image at left is not New Hampshire, but the sentiment is appropriate.

The sun has set, the engines are silent and all that is left is the purr of the generators in the camping lots, and oddly enough the haunting voice of Tammy Wynnette echoing among the RV's.  A bit surreal, if you ask me.  But soothing, in its own way.

We walked down to the track about 8pm, a mere 3 1/2 hours after the checkers dropped and...

The Sprint display was already loaded into its four haulers, the SPEED stage haulers were idling with lights on and...I admit to being impressed.  We walked up to the track and admired the piles of trash already neatly bagged up at the bottom of the stands.  It seems that those of us enjoying a late supper and chatting idly while the rest of the world rushes off to its own destinations are perhaps taking the lazy departure a bit too far.

This is the other end of the arc.  First there was last Sunday, with a few SCCA cars whizzing around the road course and but a few early RV's setting up in the lots.  A sprinkling arrived Thursday with FanFest and the arrival of the racing haulers.  A determined downpour of people started Friday night, culminating in the final furious storm that is Race Day in Sprint Cup world.  You can even call the race itself the eye of the storm, as just about everybody stills to watch the cars go in circles. 

But there is always the backside of the storm...when everybody runs for their cars and home.  We just take shelter and listen to whatever our neighbors are playing...at the moment some mexican guitar solo...it's intriguing.

Tomorrow morning, we'll take the last of the weather with us...more wailing mexican music...

Well, until we make it back to civilization, enjoy your week.  May it be not quite as overwhelming as a trip to the track :)


It might be the compulsive part of my personality, but I ask myself, "What's next?" about 30 times a day.  However, the moment that this question really hammers at my peace of mind is when I finish.

Finish what?  At this particular moment, reading a book.  It was awesome, and fun, sparked my imagination, took me to far off lands and times long ago.  And now...I want more.

This is when my better half, if that's what you want to call responsibility, wars with my more creative self.  I want to read another book full of kings, mistresses, war, politics, gowns, glory, deceit but I also have other projects that require attention.  There is The King's Mistress, a new novel, and now a Fairy Tale project--which is finally getting the seeds of imagination it requires to take flight.  There's racing, and commentary and editing.  My job--you know, the thing that pays the bills, gets in the way of all of this.  The house, my lord they really know how to plow you under, those piles of sticks which threaten to fall on top of you if you let them. 

And still, amidst all this reality, the call of whimsy remains.  I want to read another.  There are volumes in the To Be Read pile. Movies in the To Be Watched pile. An afghan in the To Be Crocheted pile.  Paint for the Finish the Living Room pile.

Read? Clean? Write? Play?

My fellow bookworms understand the call of the paperback. They draw you in and threaten to suck your life away, if you let them.

For today, I shall head off to the track, watch some racing, sort some photos and conjure a column for The Frontstretch.

Tomorrow?  Maybe there will be time to read, perchance to dream...

What did I just read? 

Saturday, July 09, 2011

The Sweet Sense of Anticipation

It's with great dread and anticipation that I look at the upcoming week. 

First there is the fun!  Richard dropped off the RV at NHMS this morning and tomorrow we'll drive up with a few more things and...just so we can wander around the track a bit.  Watch the incoming RV's.  Think about the great empty grounds that will be seething with humanity come next Saturday morning.  I've said it many times, the NASCAR circus is an amazing feat of organizing and promotion.  Seriously, Barnum & Bailey's train has nothing on the hauler parade that criss-crosses America continually for much of the year.  This is spectacle on the grandest scale.

Now, the not so fun...well, not entirely true.  Thursday night, come midnight, the final Harry Potter movie will open to thousands of dressed up muggles.  About 1,500 of them will be at my theatre.  In about one hour I will need to feed and seat these 1,500 patrons.  It is enough to make one shiver in their shoes.

It is in itself something of a spectacle, these midnight screenings of the latest and greatest film.  We will have capes, hats, wands, tattoos on foreheads, owls (fake) perching on arms and long, striped scarves wrapped around necks that would otherwise be bare in the summer heat.  By and large, everybody laughs, is very patient and mostly cooperates with those moving the cattle in and out of the holding pens.  And all the craziness will be over when the projector turns on and does its magic (yep--praying that the projector gremlins don't play any games on us).

So, you see, it's a big week.  But before there is the Harry Potter insanity followed by the sudden appearance of a major city in the midst of the New Hampshire forest, there is tomorrow:  Sunshine and 84, so says the Weather Channel.  We'll wander around the track and enjoy the rumble of various vehicles as track personnel scurry to ready for their own version of a movie opening. 

And I won't have to stress about a thing.

That's tomorrow.  I'll worry about the rest when it gets here.

See you at the races!

Friday, July 08, 2011

The Elements of Love Now Available


The Elements of Love

The Elements of Love

By: S.D. Grady | Other books by S.D. Grady
Published By: Purple Sword Publications, LLC
ISBN # 9781936165964

Word Count: 21932
Heat Index    

Available in: HTML, Adobe Acrobat, Rocket, Microsoft Reader, Palm DOC/iSolo, Mobipocket (.prc), Epub

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About the book

On a world at war, the Four Elements hold the key to balance and peace. An ancient prophecy first demands they surrender to undeniable passion.

Two tales of love and fantasy.

War rages between the Lands of the Moon and Sun. The Healer of Water, Arlynn, touches the scarred Fire mage Myrric. The steam of their passion alters Arlynn's powers forever, sending her on an odyssey to fulfill the ancient prophecy of peace for a world on the brink of destruction.

Village smith Grelig stops a slavegirl from stealing his lunch, but not his heart. Attempting to free Shayla from her cruel master, Grelig stumbles on a Trine of Evil and discovers that to spare one girl, he must first save his world.

An excerpt from the book

"Myrric?" she called softly.

He looked up.

As Arlynn's pale blue gaze locked on Myrric's black glare, a shockwave of power surged between them. Myrric looked stunned.

"What have you done to me?" he asked, his gravelly voice weary and scornful.

Arlynn looked up at the general present. "I need some time alone with the prisoner, sir."

The cynical, grizzled man with a short sword at his waist shook his head. "Your efforts to heal the High Mage would be wasted, Healer. Either Myrric will stand for us during the next battle or he will be executed for his crimes. Don't waste your powers on him."

Arlynn struggled to find an answer. She knew she had to have something from the beaten and bloody man before her. Even now, the power arced between them, invisible to the clerk and general. The spell he had begun to cast on the battlefield was not complete yet. Arlynn needed to finish it, or never heal another person again. Her powers, released during their kiss, were now locked up tight in the spell.

She settled for telling a half-truth. "Even so, general. I cast a healing spell on him, and it was incomplete. I must finish it before my powers can be used for the benefit of our troops. I was unaware of his identity when I began."

The general appeared to consider this. After only moments, he executed a short bow. "As you require, Healer. The clerk and I will leave you."

The door closed, and the heavy lock clicked into place. Myrric studied Arlynn closely.

"When I woke, I had no powers. What have you done to me?" he asked in a hard tone.

"Nothing more than what you did to me," she answered evenly. She reached towards his arm. He flinched, but his restraints held him in place.

"You were casting a spell before you passed out on the battlefield," she murmured as her hand settled above the burns on his arm. Power and passion erupted between them. The blue peace of healing waters lapped against the crimson sparks of fire.

Arlynn watched Myrric fight the odd effects of their melding.

"What were you casting?"

His mouth grimaced. "A fireball."

She considered. "So, you did not get the chance to send the power out from you. It now sits in me."

His black eyes watched her carefully.

"But my power lies in the oceans, not the fires." She paused seeking for a way to let him understand what was happening. "The surge of power I took from you ebbed away for a bit on the tide. Now it is a cresting wave, and it needs to be used somewhere." She bit her lip. "I could heal you. Your power would be restored, and our armies would not withstand the next blast you send our way."

He began to twist, pulling at his bindings.

She stood, settling her hand on his cheek. He stilled. "But then my powers would ultimately be used to hurt, not heal. I could not bear that." She bent over, his breath heating her lips. "But such power…it must be used for something." Sparks began to fly through the air.

Myrric eyed the temptress before him. Myths and legends were passed down at the School of Fire and War of a woman made of water, light and joy. Surely this could not be she, with eyes the color of the sea and a touch that set his blood boiling.

"Let me help you, Myrric," her moist lips whispered. "Let me take all the anger away. Let me give you joy."

"Joy?" he laughed roughly. "I have never known joy. It is not for men such as me."

Her fingers, soft and agile traced his cheek. Memories of heat and contentment surged forth.

"Nonsense, Myrric. What you have given me I am not sure. But I do know what I cannot do. I cannot allow you to take that power and kill more people." Her breath teased the small hairs near his left ear. "I can only heal." Her hands demanded more as they crossed his chest. "I can only love."

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Honoring the Medal of Honor Recipients: 2011

Last year during the Coke Zero 400, there was a tiny blip where cameras panned over a collection of men mentioned as Congressional Medal of Honor recipients...but no information given.  Just a, "Hey, isn't that nice!"  Then I felt compelled to share their stories of service and sacrifice.

Well, same thing happened again this year.  So, I wrote another column :)  If you ever wondered where all the stories from Hollywood came from...this is the real deal.  Please enjoy, and thank those around you that serve and have served our great country!


Sunday, July 03, 2011

900 Words

Well, that's what I managed to put down for The King's Mistress, today.  Not too bad.  Why the word count?  Ah, that's a writer thing.  Either you count words or you don't.  For me it's a way to feel like I've accomplished something, a bit of self-reward.

Since some of my stories are a mere 3,000 words, you can see why a number like 900 might get me all riled up.  Problem is, I don't know how long The Mistress will end up...right now it's feeling like a novel.  Oh, big sigh.  Really?  Another novel?  Something else I'll have difficulty editing and getting sold?  Why would I do such a silly thing?

And how long is a novel, you ask?  Start at the big 50k and work your way up from there.  With almost 3,500 in the bank for the Mistress, I am well on my way...and have no idea where I'm going.  That's the funny part.

Oh well.  Such is the whimsical nature of my muse.

And where did I get the inspiration this time?  Like all my historical fantasies, from a real life character.  In this case, Louis XV's long time mistress...what happened to her after he died?  How can a woman wield such fearful power in the court one day, and the next be cast into the street because she was not of noble birth?  That's the launching point.

Why do I do this? Only the muse knows...and she's not telling!

Until next time.

Friday, July 01, 2011

A busy day

I'm trying out a few things today, like writing 1500 words on a new story and working on an updated website. Although, the most hitech trick might be learning how to post to blogger from my Galaxy tablet.
What is the new story about, you ask? Oh, the usual. There's a princess, the old king's mistress, a regent and a whole lot of political intrigue. Fun!
I hope this blog post actually find its way to you, and that you are enjoying a beautiful 4th of July!

(Hey! It worked :) )