wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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The Competition

It turns out that the hazelnut trees in my front yard had some nuts on them after all this year, although many fruit trees were nearly empty.

Under cover of darkness, the raccoons visit regularly, filling their boots with all they can eat. I’ve tried to lighten the photos so we can see the raccoons, but you may have to use your imagination a fair bit. The spot under the tree on the left is where the flashlight found the raccoons.

They get right up into the trees and knock down what they can.

Then they crack the nuts open with their sharp teeth. I find the shells in the morning. They don’t bother to clean up after themselves.

Over the next few days I frantically pick as many hazelnuts as I can. There is still plenty for the raccoons.  Today, two squirrels had a chattering spat in one of the nut trees just six feet away from me – probably telling me to scram.

“WHA-A-A-T?” says Dickie (Lincoln’s grandson). “Do you see what they’re doing? Get away from my hazelnuts! First the raccoons, and now the people!”

I’ve been robbed, I’m so upset.

All those nuts I’ve yet to get.

First those robbers with their masks,

Dedicated to their tasks.

 

Climbing up, they shake it all,

Causing all those nuts to fall.

Daylight comes, they run and hide,

Leaving shell bits far and wide.

 

Now it’s my turn, so I think,

But I can’t so much as blink

And the humans start to pick

Filling boxes quick, quick, quick.

 

Seems I have to pour on steam,

Get a buddy, make a team,

We can find enough for all,

Long as we work hard this fall.

 


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Planning Ahead

This is perfect. Close to my woodshed where I can sleep out of the wind and rain. Old stack of landscape ties nearby for my root cellar and temporary stash….

Fall is in the air, and I have to fill the larder. I have hazelnut trees right here in the yard, but what I’m looking forward to is the brand new hazelnut tree across the street with sweet young hazelnuts this year. They’re smaller than the ones here, but they should be tasty.

Decisions, decisions. What to do? Well, I might just have to go for both.

First a little taste test. I stashed these young nuts here this morning, but after all that running back and forth and climbing the tree, I’ve worked up quite an appetite.

Yup! They’re good. Now to stash them under the landscape ties until I have time to bury the nuts here and there for my winter snacks.

But wait! I’d better check and make sure no one sees where I’m putting the nuts temporarily.

Okay, I think it’s safe enough. It’s only that kooky old lady with her camera. She’s harmless.

 

It’s so hard to gather nuts,

Every day is precious.

Later I can fill my guts,

With a snack delicious.

 

Sleet and cold may coat the ground,

Hard times lie ahead,

I will eat what I have found,

Hazelnuts in bed.

 

All the work will be worthwhile,

Though I’m tired today,

When it’s cold I’ll live in style,

I’ll just eat and play.

 

 


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Dialect in Writing

 

Dialect 

If one or more of your characters have a dialect or accent that you feel is important to note in your novel, I would suggest that unless you are very familiar with those regional speech patterns or accents, use them sparsely so they don’t distract from the story. The safer way to do it would be to choose a few instances of the dialect and use them in dialogue. Try as much as possible to have the rest of the writing in plain English.

Falling out of character by messing up the dialect is going to do damage to your credibility as a writer and to the credibility of the character.

I’d like to give you some examples of how I have used dialect and accent of a character in my novels.

One of my secondary characters in The Wind Weeps is Monique, a French-Canadian girl. I wanted to show that she spoke with a French-Canadian accent, but I didn’t want the phonetic spelling of every word of her speech become a chore for the reader. My solution was to limit Monique’s dialect and accent to a few of the most obvious speech habits that were typical of French speakers of English.

Saying the soft sound of “th” (as in “they”) is often difficult for speakers of French origin,  so, for example, instead of saying “there,” Monique would say “dere.”  For the hard sound of “th,” she might say “somet’ing” instead of “something.”

In French the sound of “h” is not used, so in English, Monique would have a habit of dropping the sound of the letter “h.” I showed this by placing an apostrophe in its place.  If she were saying, “It’s time to have something to eat,” she would say, “It is time to ’ave somet’ing to eat.”

That reminds me of the last clue to Monique’s speech being different; she would not use contractions. Instead of “can’t,” she would say “cannot,”  or she would say “it is” instead of “it’s, and “I ’ave” instead of “I’ve.”

By using these three changes in the dialogue, the reader could instantly identify that it was Monique who was speaking.  Just to be sure, I gave Monique two more habits of her own. I added the odd case of her swearing by having her say, “Tabernac,” once in a while. I also had her use an expression that was all her own by having her conflate two common phrases she had heard used in English. When she wanted to say “For sure” or “Sure thing,” as she had heard others say, she ended up saying, “For sure t’ing.”  Whenever this came up in the book, we would always know it was Monique speaking.

If you’d like to check it out yourself, you can find The Wind Weeps and its sequel, Reckoning Tide, at all amazon   (click on amazon) outlets and at smashwords.com (Click on smashwords.com).

My books are all marked down to 99 cents US so you can load your e-reader with bargain reading.

You can find a review of The Wind Weeps, by clicking on this blog post by Diana Wallace Peach.

P.S. For those who follow both my blogs, I have copied this post for both this one time. I don’t intend to make that a habit.

 

 


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Saving Seeds

It’s that time of year when the leaves of squashes die and the squashes are lying around waiting to be picked.

I think this one is called a green egg squash.

A friend gave us several varieties of squash last autumn  when he harvested his garden. They were so good that I decided to try growing some myself the next growing season. I saved the seeds of the gift squashes and planted them this spring.

I was thrilled to see the seeds sprout and turn into little squash plants. It wasn’t long before they were big squash plants. Then squashes grew where yellow flowers had attracted some bees. I was so happy to see the babies of the gift squashes growing in my garden.

It was time to harvest them and I saved the seeds of the second generation. Next spring I’ll plant those and hope to grow a third generation of these green egg squashes.

They are so tasty. I like to cook them two different ways. One way is to cut the squashes in half and peel them. Then I slice them into one-inch pieces that look like a crescent moon. I put all the pieces in the microwave for three or four minutes while I sautee some chopped onions in butter in a frying pan. Then I place the crescent-shaped pieces of squash in the pan with the onion bits and fry them to a golden brown colour.

The other way is more traditional. No peeling necessary, but I give the squash a good wash. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, clean the seeds out of the center, and cut each half crosswise.  Paint the inside surfaces with melted butter, sprinkle on salt and pepper, and bake at 350, peel side down, until the squash is tender. Depending on the size of the squash, it may take 45 minutes to an hour. I cover mine with tin foil for the first half hour. If they need more baking time, just keep the heat to them until they are tender.

I’m looking forward to planting the next generation of these squashes.

I have another kind of squash that a friend in Montana gave us in 2015. I saved those seeds and have kept them going year after year ever since. That was a buttercup squash. Here is a picture of one of its descendants.

Not only is it fun to watch continuing generations of plants growing, but saving seeds is a good habit to get into. You never know when we may have hard times ahead.


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The Man in the Moon

When we see the shadows on the moon, we are probably looking at craters, or so we’ve been told.

Sometimes when we look, we see eyes and a mouth that looks like a big O! Last night I couldn’t see the big O but I thought I saw eyes and a nose. Maybe he was wearing a Covid mask. Moments later the man in the moon was gone. But who was that masked man?

Well, we know he arrived in the spaceship Apollo 11.

I tried to make the face a likeness of Neil Armstrong, but I’m not much of an artist.

But sometimes, when I look at the moon, I see “el conejo en la luna,” the rabbit in the moon. Aztec legends tell several versions of the story of their god, Quetzalcoatl, who was responsible for the rabbit ending up in the moon.

In one version Quetzalcoatl is still a man on Earth. He is tired and hungry from wandering and a rabbit offers himself up as food for him. Quetzalcoatl lifts him up to the moon and then brings him down again, thanking the rabbit for his noble offer and saying that for this generosity his shadow will be displayed on the moon forever to remind people of the rabbit’s goodness.

(We don’t know if he ate the rabbit.)

 


My apologies to all the bunnies out there for the lumpy, bumpy image I’ve posted. I’m sure the earthly rabbits look much better than el conejo en la luna.

 

 


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Student Teacher

I thought I’d try my hand at writing a sonnet. 14 lines in iambic pentameter (da-DAH, da-DAH, da-DAH, da-DAH, da-DAH), three stanzas of four lines and one of two. Rhyming pattern ABAB CDCD EFEF GG

It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.

A student teacher starting out anew,

Stood scared before a class of girls and boys,

She struggled to remember what to do,

And wondered how to teach with all that noise.

 

Her shaking hands, her quivering voice aside,

She took a breath and said to form a line.

“I’m happy to be teaching you,” she lied.

“It’s your first day of school, and also mine.”

 

“Please take your seats,” the bashful teacher said.

But one child called out loud, “I like your dress.”

“Why thank you dear. It seems we both like red.”

Her trepidation causing her distress.

 

And like a duck with feathers preened and neat,

Below her, hidden, paddled urgent feet.


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The Necromancer’s Daughter

Diana Wallace Peach has done it again. She has written a novel that you won’t be able to put down.

All the emotions of human nature play their part in this exciting novel. Love, adventure, and intrigue, with just enough of a touch of magic to be believable, all feature in this page turner.

 

A healer and dabbler in the dark arts of life and death, Barus is as gnarled as an ancient tree. Forgotten in the chaos of the dying queen’s chamber, he spirits away her stillborn infant, and in a hovel at the meadow’s edge, he breathes life into the wisp of a child. He names her Aster for the lea’s white flowers. Raised as his daughter, she learns to heal death.

Then the day arrives when the widowed king, his own life nearing its end, defies the Red Order’s warning. He summons the necromancer’s daughter, his only heir, and for his boldness, he falls to an assassin’s blade.

While Barus hides from the Order’s soldiers, Aster leads their masters beyond the wall into the Forest of Silvern Cats, a land of dragons and barbarian tribes. She seeks her mother’s people, the powerful rulers of Blackrock, uncertain whether she will find sanctuary or face a gallows’ noose.

Unprepared for a world rife with danger, a world divided by those who practice magic and those who hunt them, she must choose whether to trust the one man offering her aid, the one man most likely to betray her—her enemy’s son.

A healer with the talent to unravel death, a child reborn, a father lusting for vengeance, and a son torn between justice, faith, and love. Caught in a chase spanning kingdoms, each must decide the nature of good and evil, the lengths they will go to survive, and what they are willing to lose.

 

Please see my review of Diana Wallace Peach’s amazing new novel on my other blog: https://annelisplace.wordpress.com/

 

The Necromancer’s Daughter Links:

Amazon Global Link: http://a-fwd.com/asin=B0B92G7QZX

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-necromancers-daughter-d-wallce-peach/1142003172

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-necromancer-s-daughter-1

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-necromancers-daughter/id6443278849

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1160370

About the Author

A long-time reader, best-selling author D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life when years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books. She was instantly hooked.

In addition to fantasy books, Peach’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of the arts in her local community, organizing and publishing annual anthologies of Oregon prose, poetry, and photography.

Peach lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.

 

More about Diana Wallace Peach:

Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/D.-Wallace-Peach/e/B00CLKLXP8

Website/Blog: http://mythsofthemirror.com

Website/Books: http://dwallacepeachbooks.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dwallacepeach

 

***** Don’t forget the review of Diana Wallace Peach’s amazing new novel on my other blog: https://annelisplace.wordpress.com/

 


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Opportunists

Cloudy skies are welcome here,

Makes the heat wave less severe.

Look at this, it could be lunch,

If that guy can catch a bunch.

“How’s the fishing been today?”

Guy just stares with nought to say.

Looks like nothing in his creel.

Does he know the pain I feel?

“What? You had one, let it go?

I was wanting lunch, you know!”

Right! That’s it. I’m outta here,

Try to find another near.

I’ll find Joe, he’s down the shore,

How I hope he’s catching more.

Fisherman goes back to work,

Hoping soon his line will jerk.

PS I forgot to say these photos were taken by a friend on his cell phone.