Category Archives: News

A Glorious October Day, But No Biking for Me

Yesterday, we got much needed rain, but today the weather has cleared. The day is warm—ridiculously so for Maine in October—and the sky is blue. A perfect day for a bike ride, except that my leg is just not up to it. My right leg, which hit the bar of my bike as I fell, still has a bruise with the circumference of a small grapefruit.  (Fortunately it doesn’t have the mass, only the width. ) I hobble. I rest. I hobble some more. I rest some more.

I am grateful that I didn’t break anything, but I feel a bit glum about not being able to go on bike rides, and I suspect I won’t be able to go on any until next spring. As soon as my leg stops hurting so much, I’ll be riding the exercise bike, that road to nowhere.

Despite my sore leg, I was able to take some pictures this morning, of the sun streaming into the woods and onto the trees. The changing leaves have not been brilliant this year—too warm, too dry?—but still they are lovely.

As the ferns change from green to tan, they light up the woods.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, I hope to get into town, with the car, of course, and take some pictures of trees by the lake.

Spring and fall are such glorious seasons in Maine. Spring has the flush of youth, and it bursts upon us in a rush, with a froth of blossoms and an oh-so tender green. Spring never stays as long as we would like as she runs headlong into summer.

Fall, on the other hand, comes in an aching blaze, and on nice days, there is such a glory of bright leaves and blue sky that you can almost forgive fall for binging the shorter days that eventually lead to cold winter. Almost.

In the fall, our thoughts turn to soup, and I have two of Farmer Kev’s butternut squashes that are begging to be made into soup. I also have some of his onions and garlic. My little garden has a frenzy of herbs, with the oregano being completely out of control.

Clif will help me chop the vegetables and herbs, and who knows? If my leg isn’t too sore, maybe I’ll even make a batch of biscuits to go with the soup. My biscuit recipe comes from my mother, who surely made the best biscuits in Maine, if not New England.

Anyway, these are all things to perk me up. I still wish I could go on a bike ride, but these fine October days, with their beauty, along with the plan for soup and biscuits, chase my glum thoughts away.

 

 

 

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Sun, Sun, Sun, Here It Comes

Let’s just say that I’ve been busy. On Wednesday, I took a tumble from my bike, and while I got some lumps—one as big as a large orange—I didn’t break anything or get hit by the oncoming car that stopped for me. For that I am grateful. Very grateful.

Then, on Thursday, with sore legs, it was off to Railroad Square Cinema for a meeting and a movie to screen. Clif and I belong to the Cinema Explorations committee, and for the next month so we’ll be meeting regularly to discuss, watch, and select movies that will be featured at the snappy little film series—Cinema Explorations—which has been showing for at least ten years. So much fun to be a part of this group, and, if I do say so myself, we put together a wicked good film series.

All this is a somewhat lengthy explanation as to why I didn’t post my usual Three Things Thursday yesterday. But never fear. Barring another tumble from my bike, I plan to continue next week.

So, instead, today, I present you with a sunny flower for Friday. This beauty was taken in the little garden at Railroad Square. It might be October, but there are still some flowers in bloom. No really hard frosts yet, at least in central Maine.

And today, I’m off with my friend Dawna to Damariscotta to get some pictures along its pumpkin trail, an annual fall event for this little town and one that I’ve never been to.

I’ll report back with pictures.

 

A Great Time at the Great Falls Comic Expo (2017)

Last Saturday, right on the heels of all the birthday brouhaha, Clif and I had a table at the first ever Great Falls Comic Expo in Lewiston, Maine. Tired from all the festivities of the past two weeks, we weren’t sure what to expect at the Expo, but I am happy to report we had a great time. While the focus was on comic books and costumes, there was plenty of room for fantasy and horror and other overlapping genres.

First and very important, we sold enough books—Maya and the Book of Everything and The Wave of Time–to make the day worthwhile. This is always a very good thing. (How depressing to go to an event and barely make the table fee. Alas, this has happened to us a few times.)

Second, the other vendors were so friendly and wonderfully generous. They gave me tips about the many other comic book conventions in Maine. (I had no idea there were so many.) It didn’t take me long to realize I was among a group of kindred spirits who had a passion for fantasy and folderol.

Third, it was just plain to fun see all the people in various costumes—Ghost Busters, many Doctor Whos, and lots of other wild and creative characters. There were various events to spice up the Expo, including a drawing smack-down where two artists on stage had to quickly draw a scenario suggested by members of the audience.  One particularly good rendition—I think it was of a dragon being analyzed by the Cat in the Hat—was immediately sold to someone in the audience.

Many thanks to Benjamin Santos of Cosplay Convention Center for organizing such a terrfic event. Thanks to Benjamin, Clif and I will be attending more comic book conventions.

High Summer in Maine

The end of July and the beginning of August is a very sweet time in Maine, and this year, with its warm days and cool nights, has been even sweeter than usual. It feels like an old-fashioned Maine summer, a welcome relief from the past few years where it has been blisteringly hot during July and August.

Clif and I have been soaking up this fine weather. On Friday, our friends Alice and Joel came over for drinks and appetizers on the patio. There were bike rides on Saturday and Sunday. We still don’t go far, but we figure it is better to go eight miles a ride rather than no miles a ride, and we feel as though we are gaining strength.

On Sunday, our friends Dawna and Jim invited us and another couple over for dinner. Dawna and Jim have a lovely home by the Upper Narrows Pond, which truly is large enough to pass as a lake. The Upper Narrows is no farm pond.

The food was terrific.

As was the view.

The company and conversation were, of course, superb.

I wish I could bottle these days and release them during the drear days of late February and March, when everything seems to be gray drizzle and hard, dirty snow.

Away with those thoughts! August, buzzing August, is just around the corner, and Clif and I intend to squeeze every bit of delight that we can out of this lovely month.

Why, on a recent ride down a back road, I even came up with a haiku in honor of this best time of year.

Queen Anne’s lace in bloom
White ducks waddling on green grass
High summer in Maine

Welcome, welcome, high summer!

Chick-a-dee-dee-dee!

For this year’s Maine International Film Festival (MIFF), the chickadee, Maine’s plucky state bird—plentiful but never common, as my friend Barbara observed—is being used on programs, T-shirts, and other material related to the festival.

This giant chickadee is in the park by the Opera House in Waterville, where many of the movies will be shown.

Our own ChickaDee is coming from New York today, and I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to post next week as we are looking forward to a fun and busy week of movies and even a play—Othello–slipped in.

As we Mainers like to say, it will be some week.

And, as a sad side note…the great director Jonathan Demme, who was a good and generous friend of the Maine International Film Festival, died this spring. This year’s MIFF is dedicated to him, and there will be several of his movies featured at the festival. One of them, Stop Making Sense, is my favorite. It’s a wild, rollicking documentary of The Talking Heads, the fabulous new-wave group that was popular in the 1980s.

Same as it ever was. So long, Jonathan Demme, and thanks for all the movies.

 

 

 

Maya and the Book of Everything at the Chapel Hill Library in North Carolina

Yesterday, I received a wonderful email from my daughter Shannon, who lives in North Carolina. She had put in a request for the Chapel Hill Library to carry my YA fantasy novel, Maya and the Book of Everything. And, by gum, they have! So now Maya and the Book of Everything is in a library in North Carolina.

Requesting that a library carry a book is a wonderful way to promote writers and to help spread the word about their books. (Some of you have also done this for Maya, and I thank you very much.)

Readers, if your library has Maya and the Book of Everything, be sure to let me know. After all, even though there is plenty of adventure and fantasy in my book, there are also some serious issues: the importance of libraries for spreading knowledge and the notion that facts do matter.

Perhaps in today’s world, that last notion seems a little quaint, but it is my belief that facts have always mattered and always will.

Maya and the Book of Everything at the Hartland Public Library

On Thursday, May 11 I’ll be going to the Hartland Public Library to give my presentation Threads of Realism in Fantasy: Maya, Maine, and the Franco-American Connection. It starts at 6 p.m., and I’m so looking forward to going to this library. After all, the Hartland Library is featured in Maya and the Book of Everything. So in a way, I’ll be going to one of my sources.

Please come if you can!