A group of multi-genre authors blogging together
A group of authors writing interesting posts weekly and interacting with readers.
My Stress Relief Garden
It hasn’t been easy dealing with the pandemic, my day job, heath issues in the family and keeping up with writing, editing, and marketing. Too much stress can really take its toll.
To me it meant that I needed something not just to keep me busy, because I was already busy, but that could have taken me away from thinking about my busy schedule. From my experience, nothing beats the planning and remodeling the yard.
So, I took my chance starting from something that had bothered me for a long time: the small path that leads to the greenhouse. Ten years ago, I planned that path without many thoughts, and the slate tiles I arranged directly on the ground are hardly visible anymore.
Learning from the construction sites I am following, I took notes on how to do the job. So this is my starting point at the beginning of Spring (yes, I know there was still some snow LOL):
The idea was simple, to do the path again in a way that it wouldn’t sink into the soil with time. I needed 102 tiles for the border, gravel for the bottom, and coarse sand for the base under the slate tiles. This would have required unearthing the tiles, digging the earth until at least 10 cm deep, placing the landscaping fabric, the gravel (and settle it), the 102 tiles for the border, the sand and the slate tiles.
One thing came immediately to my mind was that this isn’t something one person alone should do unless… Of course, unless I divide the tasks to be done only during the weekends. Therefore, the first weekend I unearthed the slate, went to buy the material and started to dig.
I felt like an undertaker!
Then I would rest for one week and the next weekend I would have set up the gravel and border tiles.
The last weekend was the turn of the sand and the final slate tiles. The result was surprising me because the general outlook reminded me about the sinuous shapes of the Art Nuveau, Hector Guimard and the asymmetric smooth curves on his design. Some might call it imprecise, twisted. I call it art!
Oh, here’s the result of course, immediately after, and now with the Summer taking over the garden:
The best result was that I could keep my sanity and go through the most difficult period of my life so far. Now things seem to have settle and we’re on the path of normalization.
Now I started to get excited about garden jobs, and I have other plans for the summer. A building Summer!
© P.J. Mann
What is phobia?
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder defined by a persistent and excessive fear of an object or situation. Phobias typically, result in a rapid onset of fear and are present for more than six months. ~Wikipedia
Many phobias develop as a result of having a negative experience or panic attack related to a specific object or situation. Genetics and environment. There may be a link between your own specific phobia and the phobia or anxiety of your parents — this could be due to genetics or learned behavior.
I created some videos for you, enjoy!
Nyctophobia is fear of night or darkness
I have a healthy fear of darkness, just like most people. I'm fortunate that it didn't escalate to phobia when as a child, I imagined monsters in every closet and under the bed. Just like most kids, I quickly outgrew the fear of darkness.
Although I don't like posting selfies or self-videos, luckily, I don't have this problem.
Automatonophobia is fear of human-like figures
Well, with this, I do have a problem. I keep double social distance when I see dummies in stores. As a nurse, I struggled with this phobia every year when I had to take CPR refreshment courses. I was fortunate that the instructors saw me many times giving CPR to real people during codes, so they let me wear gloves and cover the creepy, plastic dummies with a bedsheet so I don't have to see or touch them.
Cynophobia is fear of dogs
I would feel devastated if I had this phobia, and my heart goes out to people who do. I couldn't imagine my life without having and hugging a furry friend.
Equinophobia is fear of horses
I'm so lucky not to be one of the 8% population who has irrational fear of horses. I love these majestic, intelligent animals.
Trypanophobia is fear of needles
Now that would be bizarre if a nurse had this phobia. However, even though I don't have a problem with needles, I prefer not to have tattoos.
Have you any phobia?
Share your experience with us.
Posted by Erika M Szabo
Click to visit Erika's page:
Hard to believe, but they all have something in common
Have a good look at the book covers in the image above.
They all have something in common.
Yes, I know it’s not easy to spot, after all, there’s a cookbook, a novel by a famous playwright, the original books from several top movies of the last seventy or so years, even one that was made into a superb TV series, starring House and Loki. Oh, and of course, a storybook and a novel for children.
Is it the colors, the style, the genre, the lettering fonts?
Last chance; any guesses?
Okay, I’ll put you out of your misery.
It’s the authors.
Still not figured it out?
When thinking what to write about for this week’s article, I decided to take a hint from the recent publication as a Kindle Short Read of my tale ‘Death of a Sparrowman’, and yes, the title is a direct reference to Arthur Miller’s play. For those of you who may not be familiar with Miller’s famous work, ‘Death of a Salesman’, it is the story, heavily laced with irony, of the last day in the life of Willy Loman, the salesman of the title. It is a very American work, with great depth and insight regarding a man’s inability to accept change and his loss of individual identity as he pursues the American Dream.
I decided my short story would take these two themes (identity loss and change of circumstances), set them in an environment outside the States, and in a world with which I was familiar. Thus, the salesman became the Sparrowman, the profession became that of a covert courier for the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), and, in case readers were familiar with Miller’s play, I drove the tale toward a similar tragic conclusion.
Just a minute, you cry. What’s all this got to do with the book covers and their authors?
Well, one of the three great influences on my own writing is Ian Fleming, one of the authors above. I also wrote ‘Sparrowman’ as a low-key tale, with a slow-building underlying tension, in a similar vein to the novels of David Cornwell, better known as John Le Carré.
There’s another clue.
Le Carré and Fleming were both intelligence agents, the former working for both MI5 (British counterintelligence) and MI6, whilst James Bond’s creator, and also the author of ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’, was active in British Naval Intelligence prior to embarking upon his writing career.
Got it, yet?
Yes, all of the authors in the above images were, at one time or another, intelligence agents!
I wonder what it is about the life of a spy that results in so many evolving into top authors. Perhaps the intensity, the loneliness, the experiences? Next time you pick up a cookbook or children’s tale, ask yourself about the secret life of the writers.
Click to read about Eric's books:
Is grammar important?
The simplest definition of grammar
When we read posts, emails, or articles with bad grammar, it can make us laugh or feeling annoyed. But it can also ruin someone's reputation and business. I came across a comment from an editor who advertises her service in every author group: "Their totally nuts!"
Do I want to hire her to edit my book? I don't think so!
Simply moving a comma and adding a colon changes the meaning of the sentence, doesn't it?
Adding a small comma makes a huge difference.
When combining two words just doesn't work.
Spelling the word correctly makes things clear and precise.
You don't want to fill a cattle with water and sit it on the stove, right?
How many times do you come across sentences such as:
Kudos to you my friends!
Yup, and those:
The confusing to, too, and two.
Texting or commenting on social sites
When people misspell words and don't use proper grammar on social sites, we laugh because some of the misspelled words or sentences sound hilarious.
When you see bad grammar, what irks you enough to turn into a Grammar Nazi?
The Mom Sprint
“Was it a regular sprint or a Mom Sprint?”
Silly me. I hadn’t realized there was a difference.
Last night I took my eleven year old daughter to her softball game. The whole team was there, in their uniforms, ready to play. Unfortunately, the other team never showed. So instead of going home disappointed, they decided to divide the team in half so they could play each other. They filled the empty spaces with coaches, umpires and... parents.
I don’t really know how to play softball. I know you hit that round thing with the stick, and then go for a run, but that’s about it. “Play Second Base,” the coach told me. So I went to second. But I warned everyone. “I can’t throw, and I can’t catch, but other than that... I’ve got you covered!”
Eventually my turn to bat rolled around. I stood next to the plate and held up the bat. “Keep your elbow up!” the coach advised. I did. “No. The other elbow.”
Good thing the kids were pitching to me. The ball came, and I took a swing and hit it. I took off for first base, but by the time I got there, the ball had arrived first and I was out.
This morning, I woke up and realized I was really sore. What happened? I told my daughter I was sore, and she reminded me of the game. “Did you sprint last night? Did you really run?” How fast did I go? I didn’t realize there was such a thing as a Mom Sprint. Apparently it’s used by people who don’t often try to run very fast, and is sort of... a jog.
Having not been recently chased by anything, it made me wonder how long it’s actually been since I tried to move that quickly. The good news is, that I must have actually run for it, or I wouldn’t be so sore. The bad news is, it must have been a long time since I tried to sprint— Or I wouldn’t be so sore.
I wish the best of everything to all the moms out there! You deserve an award, and you do so much for your families, no matter how fast you can sprint.
© A.J. Park
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