Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

It's an oldie, but it always makes me laugh. Happy holidays!

(From Jim's Joke Repository)

 HOLIDAY FRUITCAKE RECIPE.

You'll need the following:1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
4 large brown eggs
2 cups of dried fruit
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of brown sugar
Lemon juice
1 cup of nuts
1 bottle of whiskey.  

Sample the whiskey to check for quality. 
Take a large bowl. Check the whiskey again. To be sure it's the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink. Repeat. Turn on the electric mixer, beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar and beat again. 
Make sure the whiskey is still okay. Cry another tup. Turn off the mixer. Beat two leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit. Mix on the tuner. If the fired druit gets stuck in the beaterers, pry it loose with a drewscriver. 
Sample the whiskey to check for tonsisticity. Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Who cares? Check the whiskey. Now sift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Spoon. Of sugar or something. Whatever you can find. 
Grease the oven. Turn the cake tin to 350 degrees. Don't forget to beat off the turner. Throw the bowl out of the window. Check the whiskey again and go to bed. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Who was Ad van Berchum?

Ad and me celebrating the completion of the fence's
first panel.
Many things: father, husband, friend, DIY master, harbinger of good humor and incisive wit. The saddest, by far, is that he now Was. That he Is no more.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I'm in print. Again.

January, Vol. 1

Or will be, Dec. 1st. For this week it's just the e-book. But I'm over the moon.

The Pure Slush project I've been working on since April this year is out, ladies and gentlemen. The e-book version of 2014 January and 2014 February is available (.mobi and .epub), and the POD will be available starting December 1st from Lulu.


Tip: Lulu orders placed before Dec. 10th get free shipping (code FREESHIP) and are delivered by Christmas. I'd love to be your Christmas gift ;)



Monday, November 11, 2013

The myth of productive weekends

Lots of my NaNo buddies said last week they'd be catching up on their word counts over the weekend. Makes sense, right? More free time. Stay in pajamas, write all day--and all night! No alarm clocks to interrupt that creativity-restoring slumber from 3:00 to 9:00 am.

(You didn't know? Yep. Beauty sleep before midnight, creative refresh after 3:00. But it only counts if you go to bed at 3:00.)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

NaNo isn't just about winning. Is it?

We Wrimos get pep talks every day during November (and beyond). Catherynne M. Valente (who?), James Patterson (oh, I know him), Rainbow Rowell (who?). Today's is from Patrick Rothfuss, another who? for me and an author whose genre I normally read only if I'm stranded in an airport and I've already read everything else in the bookstore. 

I'm not kidding. I haven't read Games of Thrones. No plans to remedy that. The TV series is enough for me.

But Pat is wise. So much, indeed, that I might give the first book of his trilogy a try (assuming I can find it in this literary poverty zone that is my island).

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

One chance at redemption, 2013

I've been horribly delinquent on this blog. Every single blog-related commitment I've made this year--the A-Z challenge, Write1Sub1, the Perú series, the Curaçao series, the Accountability Reports--has sputtered and died before ever roaring into life.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Imagiste Manifesto


  1. To use the language of common speech, but to employ the exact word, not the nearly-exact, not the merely decorative word.
  2. We believe that the individuality of a poet may often be better expressed in free verse than in conventional forms. In poetry, a new cadence means a new idea.
  3. Absolute freedom in the choice of subject.
  4. To present an image. We are not a school of painters, but we believe that poetry should render particulars exactly and not deal in vague generalities, however magnificent and sonorous. It is for this reason that we oppose the cosmic poet, who seems to us to shirk the real difficulties of his art.
  5. To produce a poetry that is hard and clear, never blurred or indefinite.
  6. Finally, most of us believe that concentration is of the very essence of poetry.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

On Fear & Other Crutches

We hold on to our fears because they define us. They, we believe, keep us safe. Overcoming fear--of the dark, of scorpions, of speaking in public, of change, of no change--isn't easy, but we make it harder.

Because we hold on.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Thing About Camouflage

It can save you, certainly. But--save you for what?

Original image here.
Mimesis is your thing, right? Pavement gray, autumn-leaf brown, technicolor lawn green, even the occasional metallic Honda or Toyota hue.

You're so good at this that even people who have you pointed out at them still can't see you. Takes them a minute to go, "Ah--there!"

Presumably your predators do not have you pointed out at them, which means you get to live long and prosper.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Because I'm not busy enough as it is...

I joined a Coursera course. Modern & Contemporary Poetry. Exactly--the same one I joined last year and ended up abandoning. Because I was too busy.


If you've been following this blog, specially the Accountability Reports herein, you're probably scratching your head. What is this woman doing? Doesn't she have enough on her plate with trying to finish editing that damn novel, with the Pure Slush 2014 project?

Yes. Yes, she does.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ooops

It's Thursday. THURSDAY.

Do you see where this is going?

I forgot about the Monday Accountability Report. No wonder I get nothing done.

So--fast and easy. Last week's goals were, for Project #1, to finish editing 13 scenes (I finished 7), and for Project #2, to finish the final draft of the March story (finished the first draft).

Goals for this--ahem, almost-over--week:

STOP PROCRASTINATING

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The video Shell doesn't want you to see

I'm no militant activist. How could I, spending my days in front of the 106K words of the novel I'm (supposed to be) editing? Yeah, yeah, the pen is mightier than the sword, and my fiction will, one hopes, one day have the power to make people think, to change minds, to influence for good.

But in order to achieve that, I must first pay the price. Perfect the craft. Put in those 10,000 hours. (Are we there yet?)

And still. From this my laptop, as limited as the scope of influence might be, there are a few things I can do. One of them is sharing this video, which got taken down from YouTube by the F1 people. I have no sympathy for you, F1 guys. Those millions upon millions you spend every year on engines, suits, advertising, transport? How about you *do* something worthwhile with it? There's enough hunger in the world, enough suffering. Take your pick. For goodness' sake, leave the playing with cars for a time when every child has one healthy meal a day.




Sunday, August 25, 2013

A blog benchmark

Quiet Laughter has crossed the 50K-visits line. Thank you for every time you stop by, every comment, every share. You've made this happen, and I'm profoundly grateful.

You--yes, YOU--rock.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Accountability Week 3

I'm beginning to dread these #writemotivation posts. No, no epic fail like last week this time--I actually got quite a bit of writing time in. More than the allotted 4 hours a day most days.

But little to show for it.

So I'm celebrating--I stuck to the schedule (sort of), got into the discipline of sitting my meager butt down in front of the keyboard and starting. But I'm also moping, because in spite of this schedule and this discipline, both of which cost me a psychological arm and a leg, progress is slow.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

Accountability Week 2

So since I found #writemotivation via the awesome Damyanti (and thanks to K.T. Hanna for inventing it! I'll join the Roll Call in Sept, I promise), I moved these accountability posts to Monday. Hope you don't mind.

Epic fail this past week. Epic. Zero words written. Nada. Oh, we're counting emails? Okay, then log in my word count at +/- 1,000 for the week.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Embellishment--or insight?


Eternal gratitude, Janet Reid, for sharing this (a while back) and (more recently) this example on Spare and Elegant Writing.

Does this resonate as much with you as it did with me? How far are you along in the process of simplifying yourself? We all know adverbs must be avoided, substituted with stronger verbs. What other pitfalls have you discovered in your own writing?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Accountability Week One

Project 1--The Novel (A Mantra for Cats and Other Runaways)

This, my first novel, is finished... But perhaps it's a good idea to define "finished." The story is complete, from beginning to end. I've revised and re-revised, over and over. When I thought it was perfect, I pitched it at a writers' conference and got seven out of nine agents interested (one of which later turned me down). At said conference I met an awesome editor to whom I sent the MS (after another round of revisions). She came back with some powerful insights, which led me to a) cut the MS from 104K to 52K, and b) add entirely new material that heightened the stakes, made them clearer, that brought the word count back up to 103K.

*Sigh*

Friday, August 2, 2013

Writing? What writing?

I actually am writing--you know, besides the sporadic nonsense post here. But these posts are the model of regularity compared to that other writing.

What can one do, right?

Well, no. That's the point. I refuse to become another of those wanna-be writers that have five unfinished novels under the bed, which get dusted every now and then, get a couple of chapters reworked until said wanna-be runs out of steam.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Friendship in Curaçao: The Sad (Part IV)

This is the end of the series Friendship in Curaçao: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, The Sad.

If you've been following this Friendship Series, The Sad won't come as a surprise. The red line throughout these musings has been, after all, the temporary nature of an ex-pat's stint in Curaçao. Sooner for some, later for others, but inevitable for most: relocation.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Stephen King on Voice vs. Style & Opening Sentences

We interrupt the Friendship in Curaçao series to bring you a must-read article in The Atlantic. Stephen King talks about the difference between voice and style, and that demon that haunts all of us writers: opening sentences, and why he spends so long (months, years even) working on them.

Go read it. I'll wait.

Done? Now pray tell: how do *you* handle your first sentences? Are you King-ish in the time you spend on them? Do your stories bloom from a fabulous opening, or do you get the story down and then work on the opening? Like King, do you remember any exceptional ones you've written? Feel free to share if so inclined :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friendship in Curaçao: The Ugly (Part III)

This is Part III of the series Friendship in Curaçao: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, The Sad.

If ex-pat socialization is so damn limited, why not get some non-ex-pat friends? Join the local communities?



Ah, dushi grasshopper. Befriending Antilleans is easier said than done.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Friendship in Curaçao: The Bad (Part II)

This is Part II of the series Friendship in Curaçao: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, The Sad.

If you read The Good post, you might be thinking Curaçao is da place, at least for friendship (and if you happen to dislike 90-degree weather year-round).



But there's a flip side one doesn't discover until it's, well, too late.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Friendship in Curaçao: The Good (Part I)

This is the beginning of the series Friendship in Curaçao: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and The Sad.

Why would friendship be different in Curaçao? Friendship is friendship anywhere: trust, good times, a ready shoulder, a twisted mind to plot with, a silly sense of humor to render you helpless on a couch laughing like a five-year-old. No?

You're right. But the mechanics are a bit different here.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Joys of Procrastination

We're leaving tomorrow for a visit to Holland. Have I packed? Have I even done laundry--or cleaned out the refrigerator, or checked I have enough deodorant / shampoo / face cleanser, or gotten a haircut, or any of the other gazillion things one's invariably swamped with before traveling?

No.

Instead, I'm writing this post. And sorting photos (don't you just looooove finding old pics?). I just came back from the beach with the six-pack.

The six-pack. Minus one.
The joys of procrastination.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Have you been Liebstering?


Cheryl Rennels at We Bless Your Heart nominated me for the Liebster Award at the beginning of April--thanks, Cheryl!--and I'm so sorry I couldn't get around to it until now. 

For the award, Cheryl has asked me to answer a few questions:

1.  Who or what is Liebster?

No clue where the name comes from. Sorta-educated guess? Liebchen in German is "sweetie" or "dear", so maybe the Lieb- in Liebster comes from that same root? The Sweet Person Award?

2.  How long have you been blogging?


Since June of 2011. Happy anniversary to meeeee... 

3.  Do you have animals?


That's kind of like asking the Smithsonian if they happen to have a book lying around.

Monday, June 17, 2013

I've been reblogged!

(Image taken from this website)
In June 2011, when I began my blogger equivalent of an eight-month baby attempting to spoon beet purée into its mouth--unsupervised--I had no clue what I was in for. Two years later I can say, mouth overflowing sincerity, that my expectations about blogging were waaaaaay off.
I never imagined I'd have followers--let alone 200! Yep, we broke the bicentenary barrier this month. You guys--yeah, all of you--you rock.

A big HURRAH for you!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Perú, Perú!

Sometimes, delayed gratification is a good thing.

It took me close to 20 years to come to this mystic land of llamas and icy peaks that hem in the land, of soft-spoken people so very proud of their Inca ancestry; of food so varied, so fine, flavor so delicate, the only thing that comes close to it is

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A to Z: F is For Fun


So what does one do for fun in Curaçao?

Happy Hours!

I should probably clarify. You know how your neighborhood bar has "happy hour," with drinks two-for-one or something? And it usually happens like in the middle of the afternoon, or an otherwise slow time of the day? You walk in (by mistake, usually) and it's still pretty slow?

Happy hours in Curaçao are not like that.

Wet n' Wild. No, really. That's the name of the bar.


Friday, April 5, 2013

A to Z: E is for Ee-eh!

Two things will set you apart from regular (i.e. ignorant) foreigners in Curaçao: using Dushi,  which you learned about yesterday, and Ee-eh!

It sounds like this:




Ee-eh! That's a big-ass ship.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A to Z: D is for Dushi!

One of Curaçao's remarkable qualities is its inhabitants' flair for languages. Everyone speaks four--yes, four: Dutch, the official language; Papiamentu, the local language; Spanish, because of Venezuelan TV; and English, to communicate with the world. Some schools have the gall to teach German or French. Sometimes German and French.

It's almost too easy to integrate here.

But them locals do love their language, and the smile that lights up their faces when you, a foreigner, speaks even a mispronounced word in Papiamentu is well worth the effort.

That's why today Quiet Laughter offers you a Crash Course in Papiamentu!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A to Z: C is for Curaçao

Ah, finally: dushi Kòrsou. (More tomorrow on Dushi, for D day.)


The most popular question about Curaçao (besides where is it, which, if you read the A post, you're already among the elite 3%* of the world's population who can answer that) is about its name.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A to Z: B is for Bonaire



Bonaire. Boneiru, in Papiamentu (more on that for D day). Divers' paradise. Hippie haven. The most laid-back atmosphere in the ABC islands. And, as of 2012, a province of The Netherlands.

We'll leave the politics for G day (or maybe skip them altogether). This post is all about aaaaaahhhh--relaxation. Blissing out. Zen. It's in the air even as you board the mosquito plane that hops over from Curaçao.

Monday, April 1, 2013

A to Z: A is for Antilles

Welcome to the searing energy of the A to Z Blogging Challenge! This year Quiet Laughter has picked an A-to-Z of FAQs to unveil for you, beloved audience, the secrets of the island life.

Where--and what--the heck is Curaçao?

Because we've got to start somewhere, let's go with where.

Click on the image to enlarge it. Pretty cool map.
The Antilles (ant-EE-lees in English, antees in French) is just a fancy name for the Caribbean islands. You know, that archipelago that creates a curve from the tip of the Yucatan peninsula to Venezuela, and which encloses the Caribbean sea.

At the top you've got the Greater Antilles--that's to say, the big islands: Cuba, Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti), Puerto Rico, and Jamaica. The Cayman Islands are also included, although they're anything but big.

(Which, once again, proves that size has nothing to do with anything.)

Monday, March 25, 2013

A-Z Preview

The A-Z madness is almost upon us! And I'm waaaay behind on writing my posts. *Sigh* But I'm working hard at them, because I'm excited about my theme this year.

Image credit: Don Genaro Curaçao Appartements [sic]
Most of Quiet Laughter's regular readers have asked, at some point or another, the very normal question of where--and what--the heck is Curaçao? No reason to be ashamed; when I came to this island I literally had no clue where I was going. Somewhere in the Caribbean, yes, but where?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Steinbeck vs. Hemingway on Writing

Steinbeck:


Hemingway:


Perhaps this is nothing but the pantster vs. (sort of) plotter approach, but I think it goes deeper than that. What do you think? How do you do it? Do you start your writing day by "recapping" what you did the day before, or start fresh and unencumbered? Do you revise as you work, or leave it all for the end? What works best for you?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Oh, you grammar Nazis, you...

I'm one. I admit it. I'm even proud of it.

(Yeah, I taught English for ten years.)

I hate it when people misuse punctuation. Misspelled words--the classic affect vs. effect, for example, or confidant instead of confident, and the ever-present confusion of it's and its--make my teeth ache. My nerve endings cringe when I read sentences like, "If I would've seen it..."

And don't get me started on the new-generation text-type spellings of UR and THX and GR8. Hoo-hah, great time savers, those. What do people do with the thousands of hours saved by typing UR instead of you're, I wonder?


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Magical Realism Meets Disenchanted Science


I'm excited. My writer friend Edith Parzefall just released her second novel, Crumple Zone, a story of psychological suspense published by MuseItUp that has cultural clash--quite literally--at its center. And you know how culture clashes make me all warm and fuzzy inside... 

Oh, and the story was inspired by a real accident--one with Edith in it. I thought you might want to hear it from Edith herself.

~ - ~

Magical Realism Meets Disenchanted Science

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pixar's 22 Rules of Storytelling

Found this via Janet Reid's blog this morning--thank you, Janet!

Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coates shares tweets on storyteller wisdom at io9.com. Truly, *must* read.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

On child marriage--beyond the horror to understanding

The height of mental pleasure: to have my paradigms shifted. To feel the ground shake under my unshakeable convictions of right and wrong. To achieve a measure of empathy. This video did that for me today.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Florence Cassez, Freed

Ms. Florence Cassez, the French girl accused, incarcerated, found guilty, and sentenced to 60 years in prison in Mexico for kidnapping, was freed on Wednesday. Her appeal to the Supreme Court resulted in a three-to-two vote in favor of setting her free. The Supreme Court ruled Cassez's rights had been violated, due process had not been observed, and chére Florence is entitled to a new trial.

And Mexico has gone batshit over this. All over Facebook I see posts to the effect of "Mexican justice makes me sick," or "F*cking murderess, rot in hell," or "Hero welcome in France for a murdering kidnapper--WTF???"

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fail-Safe Cure for Depression

Feeling blue? Find one of these to hug, play with, or even just watch sleep. Guaranteed rise in serotonin levels :)


Monday, January 7, 2013

Copycat

The awesome editor at Pure Slush invited me to be their featured author this January. What does that mean, exactly? Well, I needed to provide four shorts (500 max) to be published in the Pure Slush e-mag, one per week, for their copycat theme.

Whoa. Copycat? Copycat?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My three copies of GORGE arrived!

I'm in bliss :) Writer heaven. Literary nirvana. 




You can get a copy through Lulu.com

"a novel in stories, 33 writers weave stories about a beachside restaurant, its customers and the people who work there, all in one action-packed, hunger-filled, testosterone-fuelled, hormonally crazy afternoon and evening."

54 stories, 33 writers--and one of them is ME!

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