Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


We are presently on South Africa's West Coast enjoying the sun, sand, and sea. It's actually the cold Atlantic Ocean. I don't even go into the water, but I love taking photos of it. A highlight was seeing two people horseback riding on the beach. I'm including the individual pics below.

This is my final post for the year. I'm leaving the blog hop open until the last day of December. I hope that you will end 2020 well and that 2021 will be blessed. See you next year!






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I hope you are enjoying the weekly dose of my Romantic Fantasy set in the Medieval period. This week's snippet is Myra learning to survive in the forest with her "borrowed" mare. You can follow my writing journey on the blog and in my new Facebook group, C.A. Morley's Wayfinders. I'd love to have you join me!



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Here's a peek at
my latest post
on 1camera1mom:

Beautiful Breede Valley Winelands



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Come link up your Wordless Wednesday
(with or without words) or any picture post
at this Picture Perfect Party Linky.
Join me on this fun and easy blog hop!

I would love for you to follow me on
and
Follow on Bloglovin

Here are the easy rules:
  • Follow me on one or more links above or via email.
  • Link-up any family-friendly post with a picture and follow as many new blogs as you like.
  • If possible, copy the button code below and add it to your linked post or blog's side-bar.
  • And, I'd love it if you could share about this hop on social media.
The Button Code:

Amanda’s Books and More

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Click here to enter
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Saturday, December 19, 2020

My Writing Journey - Part 7


Today I am sharing the second half of Chapter 4. This scene is Myra learning to survive alone in the woods with her "borrowed" mare. It's a work-in-progress and things might change.

This is my last sneak peek of the year. I have included links below if you missed any of my previous posts. If you think you would like to be part of a future street team and receive ARCs (advanced reader copies) for honest reviews, then please join my private Facebook group. I will also eventually set up a newsletter and then you can follow me there too. I appreciate you guys following along on my journey. Thanks!

P.S. All the photos you see are mine. It's nice being able to combine my photography with my writing.

Follow my new group
on Facebook!


Check out today's excerpt below!

Here are the previous posts:

Here is today's sneak peek:
Chapter 4 - Part 2

Myra turned her thoughts back to riding. It was slow-going, riding at a walk without a road through unfamiliar terrain. Her horse seemed to take an interest in their new surroundings. Myra regretted not knowing the mare’s name. Earlier that morning, she was so distracted with the task at hand and her nausea a constant reminder of what was at stake that she had forgotten to ask what the horse’s name was.

Her mare was a general-purpose horse. She was a good horse for riding but also for working on the farms. When the Livanians had closed themselves off from the rest of the world, they had been selective in which animals to keep. The rest of their animals were sold or traded.

Myra was glad that she knew how to ride. There were many living in the Walled City who couldn’t. Myra and Nula had to learn several skills like horse-riding and music, being of noble birth. It’s funny how some things never change, even when the world was no longer watching.

Myra rode her mare at a steady walk through the mixed forest of broadleaf and coniferous trees. To the west was the cold ocean. To the south was the warm sea. She had seen the ocean once and knew about the sea from her geography lessons.

Her parents had taken them to the ocean when she was fifteen and Nula seventeen. They had gone on horseback with a small entourage. It was an educational excursion. King Ronan wanted his girls to learn more about the land and to see the ocean. He knew that reading about these things was good, but experiencing them was even better.

All that riding made them sore, but Myra didn’t mind too much. Being adventurous, she enjoyed it for the most part. Nula, on the other hand, was out of her comfort zone and pensive. She was similar to their mother in that regard, both being quiet for most of the trip. Myra was glad that her father and some of his advisors were good conversationalists. They were also willing to answer her questions about the forest. At the time, she had no idea to the extent that she would be relying on that information in her future.

This time though, Myra was heading away from the ocean in a south-easterly direction. She used the sun’s path to guide her, as well as the moss and spider webs. She knew that moss usually grew on the north side of trees and spider webs on the south. The journey was relatively peaceful. The days were warm and somewhat humid. Every day she saw squirrels running up trees and sometimes deer or a hare scampering away. She could hear the birds chirping, the wind rustling the leaves, and the crunching of dried underbrush beneath her mare’s hooves. Ordinarily, she loved nature, but not this much. Its vastness reminded her of just how small and alone she was. She found talking to her mare soothing, and it reassured them both. It still irked her that she didn’t know what to call her. She would have to remedy that soon.

Myra had brought some bread for the first few days and enough dried fruit, nuts, cheese, and cured meat to last her for a while. At this point, cooking wasn’t necessary. She could always find nuts, berries, and other edible plants like wild asparagus and dandelion flowers. These could be eaten raw, but the dandelion roots would require boiling in water to reduce the bitter taste.

Her horse also needed to eat, so she put her knowledge of plants to use. She was well-aware that grass didn’t grow in forests. Once a day, when it grew warmest, Myra would take a rest stop. While she ate, she allowed her mare to move about freely to graze and browse. Myra would also encourage her to eat by feeding her out of her hand. When she closed her eyes to take a nap, she would tether her horse near the edible plants.

She did the same at the end of the day, except, instead of tethering her horse, she would tie a highline. It gave her horse more room for browsing on edible trees and bushes and grazing on wildflowers. She had learned about tying a highline when she was making preparations to ride off with Damien. She had even practiced the knots ahead of time.

Every evening, after removing the saddlebags and saddle, she would brush her mare and clean her hooves. Then she would put up the highline by stringing a rope at about five feet high around two sturdy trees. When she finished eating and was ready to sleep, she would fasten the mare to the line using the halter rope, making sure the halter rope was long enough to allow for eating and sleeping.

Nights under the stars were unnerving. Unfamiliar sounds felt threatening, especially with everything shrouded in darkness. Myra didn’t dare risk making a fire, which could alert scouts of her presence. At least the moonlight was comforting when its light filtered through gaps in the trees.

Before lying down for the night, she would first place the broad hemp sheet that her blanket was rolled in on the ground and then her blanket on top of that. The hemp sheet protected her from the damp ground. It was also good insulation and resistant to mold. It even repelled insects. She rather liked not waking up in the night with something crawling on her face.

It was exhaustion that caused her to sleep soundly every night. She would fall asleep with her face wet from tears and awake wet from dew. Getting up was the worst. She always felt stiff and sore from hours in the saddle and sleeping on the ground. Her nausea was also more pronounced in the mornings. She found that eating dry bread while she still had some, as well as nuts and dried peach slices, helped her stomach to settle.

Myra sat on her blanket on such a morning, a couple of days into their journey. She was slowly chewing on a peach slice to settle her queasy stomach when her mare sniffed what was in her hand and then nibbled at it. Myra giggled, which caused her mare to feel uncertain and pull her head away. “It’s okay, girl. Here, try another one,” she said encouragingly and held out another slice. The mare tentatively reached for it. Myra gently stroked her head. She seemed to enjoy the treat and attention.

“You know, since we’re going to be spending a lot of time together, I’ve been thinking of giving you a name. How about Peaches?” The mare pushed her head against Myra affectionately. “Okay, it’s Peaches then,” Myra said with a smile.

The days were warm, with some humidity, and the nights cool. Every morning a glistening layer of dew covered the forest, carrying the scents of decaying logs, damp soil, fresh wet trees, and sharp pine. Oddly, these scents never made Myra feel queasy. She even found the pungent earthy smells comforting. The early morning air filled her with a sense of new beginnings and possibilities.

When Myra rose and began moving about, the dew-covered leaves would inadvertently drip down onto any exposed skin. Sometimes cold water droplets would run down her neck, causing her to shiver. Being hit by wet leaves while riding was unavoidable. At least the forest didn’t stay wet for long, and she could always cover up with her hooded cloak. Myra preferred wearing linen in the summer, as it was a breathable material that didn’t cling to the skin. In her bags was a set of woolen clothes for when the weather turned cold.

There were scouts permanently patrolling the land on foot. They had shelters where they could sleep at night, but sometimes they patrolled a wider area and then slept outside. Well-maintained dirt roads led to each shelter. A pair of horses pulling a wagon would arrive at each to restock the food, water, and other supplies weekly. Fresh scouts would drive the supply wagons in, unhitch the horses for the night, and then take over scout duty the following day. The following morning, the scouts being replaced would harness the horses and drive the wagons back to the city.

Myra avoided these dirt roads as best as she could. If she came across one, she would take the time to sweep her mare’s hoof marks off the path. Myra didn’t want to invite trouble. Hopefully, she didn’t encounter Livanian scouts that were good at running long distances. It’s the only way one would be able to catch her on horseback. She didn’t know what would happen if she got caught, but she didn’t want to find out.

Twice it happened that a scout did spot her. Both times it was Myra’s fear that spurred her horse into a run. Myra had no time to think, only to feel panic. Peaches sensed her fear, and being an animal of prey, assumed that a predator was after them. Thankfully, they were never injured beyond a few scratches as Peaches ran, and they never got caught.

One of the most challenging parts of the journey was crossing the river. Thankfully, it was summertime, so the water level was low in places. Crossing the river in the winter would have been impossible with the melting snow and winter rains.

Myra rode for some distance, looking for a safe place to cross. The more frustrated she grew, the more unsettled Peaches became. Myra had to remind herself to remain calm. Eventually, she discovered deer tracks in the damp soil leading into the river. This discovery encouraged her. At this point, it was a gradual descent into the river.

Peaches lived to please, and Myra was grateful for it. She was going to need her mare’s cooperation to get them across. Having made up her mind, Myra mustered all of her confidence and kicked her horse forward. Peaches picked up her feet and snorted disapprovingly, but after much coaxing, she obeyed and stepped into the water. It took her a few moments to find her footing and to adjust to the sensation of the cold water pushing against her front and hind legs. Myra could feel her horse beneath her trying to maintain her balance. The smooth river stones were shifting underfoot, and she could hear the muffled sound coming from the water as her mare’s hooves clacked against them.

Peaches carefully picked her way across, snorting her displeasure, while Myra used a reassuring tone to keep her calm. She was relieved that the river never rose so high as to touch Peaches’ belly, which would have frightened her further. When they reached the other side, they climbed up the incline. She leaned forward in the saddle to assist her mare, and they made it safely onto Bariny land. That feat awarded Peaches lots of praise and pats on the neck.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Cloudy Sky and a Linky


These photos show the panoramic view from our balcony. We usually experience blue skies here in South Africa with some white clouds. This day was a particularly cloudy day. I also have a shot of the full moon that I took a couple of months ago and never shared. The pic was also taken from my balcony.




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I hope you are enjoying the weekly dose of my Romantic Fantasy set in the Medieval period. I'm sharing snippets of my novel on the blog and in my new Facebook group, C.A. Morley's Wayfinders. I'd love to have you join me!




My Latest Book Post:


 
***************************

Here's a peek at
my latest post
on 1camera1mom:

Leipzig in the Nuy Valley



***************************

Come link up your Wordless Wednesday
(with or without words) or any picture post
at this Picture Perfect Party Linky.
Join me on this fun and easy blog hop!

I would love for you to follow me on
and
Follow on Bloglovin

Here are the easy rules:
  • Follow me on one or more links above or via email.
  • Link-up any family-friendly post with a picture and follow as many new blogs as you like.
  • If possible, copy the button code below and add it to your linked post or blog's side-bar.
  • And, I'd love it if you could share about this hop on social media.
The Button Code:

Amanda’s Books and More

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
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Saturday, December 12, 2020

My Writing Journey - Part 6


I hope you enjoyed reading all of Chapter 1 last week. Today I am sharing the first half of Chapter 4. I have included links below if you missed any of my previous sneak peeks.

If you think you would like to be part of a future street team and receive ARCs (advanced reader copies) for honest reviews, then please join my private Facebook group. I will also eventually set up a newsletter and then you can follow me there too. I appreciate you guys following along on my journey. Thanks!

P.S. All the photos you see are mine. It's nice being able to combine my photography with my writing.

Follow my new group
on Facebook!


Check out today's excerpt below!

Here are the previous posts:

Here is today's sneak peek:
Chapter 4 - Part 1

Myra didn’t have too many options ahead of her. Returning to the city was out of the question, not after meeting with Damien again. She thought of the letter that she had left in the solar that morning for her sister. In it, she spoke of how she needed her sister’s love but that she couldn’t live without Damien’s either. She didn’t realize then that she would be losing both.

She walked with defeated steps to where her horse was waiting. What would she do now? Thankfully, she had taken provision for a long journey, not knowing where Damien lived and how far they would need to travel. Hopefully, her preparedness would stand in good stead.

When she got to the mare, she double-checked to make sure everything was in place. Her two waterproof saddlebags were packed full with as many items of necessity as she could bring, such as an extra cloak, food, a small pot, flint, and kindling. Her axe head was wrapped in a protective leather cover. It was strapped on top of her blanket, which was rolled in a broad hemp sheet behind the saddle. At the moment, both saddlebags were unwieldy. The bags would lighten and become more manageable as she ate through her food.

She had two full waterskins that she would need to refill along the way. Her mare was also going to need fresh water to drink, preferably daily. One thing that she had read while preparing for this journey was that horses could find water. Myra would allow her mare a certain amount of freedom to lead the way. She knew that, as long as they were heading away from the Azure Mountains, they would arrive at some point along the Azure River. Its path began in the mountains and eventually emptied into Lake Sady, separating Livania from Fulsan and Bariny.

Fulsan was a savage country with dangerous animals, some unusually large like the sweeping eagle and long-toothed wolf. Livanian scouts had reported sightings of both over the years. Fulsan was also mostly uninhabitable except for a few fierce tribes. If they were anything like Livanians, then outsiders were not welcome. She decided that it would be best to ride toward Bariny, where she had a better chance at survival.

One problem that she would eventually have to figure out was a way to cross the wide river. She wasn’t looking forward to that. Her other problem was what to do once they crossed into Bariny. She decided there was no use in worrying about those things now. She would take one day at a time and figure things out as she faced them.

Myra lifted her leather purse, which was hanging at her hip near her knife. They were both fastened to her belt. The combined weight of the gold and silver pieces was reassuring. She felt better having the purse on her person, in case her horse ever bolted off with all of her things. Horses could scare easily, so she preferred taking precautions. If that ever did happen, the gold and silver she carried could replace anything she lost.

Livanians bought, sold, and traded with each other, but a law was passed three hundred years ago that, for the sake of survival, everyone worked for the common good. Whatever was necessary for their livelihood was shared. Many officials were overseeing labor and the fair distribution of necessities. If special needs arose, then people could write down their requests for consideration. Part of Nula’s job as queen was overseeing the officials, making sure they did their jobs well. Nula’s strength of character had shone through as she stepped into their father’s role much earlier than anyone had ever anticipated. She made sure that everyone was cared for and those who needed assistance were provided with support. Myra knew their parents would have been proud of her.

Running a country was her sister’s future, but not Myra’s. Her future lay ahead of her. She would face it with the same strength of character that her sister had. Myra didn’t only have her future to think about but also that of her baby’s. “I will do everything in my power to give you a good future,” she whispered assuringly.

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*** If you want to comment, then please make sure this page's permalink loads as http and not https! My blog is hosted by Blogger, which uses cookies to improve your browsing experience, and it's best viewed in Google Chrome. ***

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Thursday, December 10, 2020

Poetry by Annie Douglass Lima

 Across the Miles:

Poems of Fantasy, Faith, and Fun

by Annie Douglass Lima


Watch a violinist spin stars and snowflakes into existence and wake dragons. Step into a bookstore full of dusty treasures, and wander through a graveyard for poems that died before their birth. Join a solitary star treading the measures of its stately dance above a rainbow like a stream of dripping jewels. Then mourn with the alien who crash-landed on Earth and can’t get home - but be careful to avoid the deadly shadow creatures slinking through the darkness.

Grab your copy of this volume of poetry and embark on an unforgettable journey across the miles!

cover photography by Lisa Douglass

These poems touch on themes such as travel, friendship, nature, God, music, fantasy, animal encounters, and school. Some whimsical, some serious, they include specific, lesser-known varieties of poetry such as pantoum, rondeau, triolet, roundel, and villanelle.

Read on to sample two of the poems in Across the Miles!


Monopoly (a Pantoum)

A pantoum consists of four-line stanzas in which the second and fourth lines of one stanza become the first and third lines of the next stanza. It works well to describe noisy places or repetitive thoughts or conversations.


“Monopoly’s such a fun game.”

“So now how much more do I owe you?”

“Did you pay as much as you claim?”

“The rules are right here, let me show you.”

“So now how much more do I owe you?”

“You’re not getting Boardwalk from me!”

“The rules are right here, let me show you.”

“It’s ‘Get out of Jail for Free’.”

“You’re not getting Boardwalk from me!”

“Will all you guys please be more quiet?”

“It’s ‘Get out of Jail for Free’.”

“You landed on mine, don’t deny it.”

“Will all you guys please be more quiet?”

“I can’t hear a word that you say.”

“You landed on mine, don’t deny it.”

“Just pass me the dice, then I’ll play.”

“I can’t hear a word that you say.”

“Are Reading and Short Line for sale?”

“Just pass me the dice, then I’ll play.”

“So how do I get out of jail?”

“Are Reading and Short Line for sale?”

“She owes you nine hundred for rent.”

“So how do I get out of jail?”

“You know how much money I’ve spent?”

“She owes you nine hundred for rent.”

“Aha, he’s advancing my way now!”

“You know how much money I’ve spent?”

“You landed on Baltic, so pay now.”

“Aha, he’s advancing my way now.”

“Did she roll a three or a four?”

“You landed on Baltic, so pay now.”

“I don’t want to play anymore.”

“Did she roll a three or a four?”

“You owe me two hundred and twenty.”

“I don’t want to play anymore.”

“Don’t buy more hotels – you’ve got plenty!”

“You owe me two hundred and twenty.”

“Did you pay as much as you claim?”

“Don’t buy more hotels – you’ve got plenty!”

“Monopoly’s such a fun game.”


Flu

For best effect, read this poem aloud with a stuffy nose and hoarse voice.

I’ve decided I hate the flu – I really do!

The soreness and aching,

the temp’rature taking

which tries to make me a believer that I’ve only got a fever

of 99.2

but I’m pretty sure that thermometer’s a liar

’cause it feels way higher

and I think I may slowly be going insane

’cause my cough’s such a pain

with its racking and its hacking

while all of the drugs that I take are in vain

and my head and my chest

are both tight and congest-

ed, and I’m faced with issues

like running out of tissues

(’cause my drippy nose never stops)

and having to bring cough drops

everywhere I go

and my eyes getting runny

 – and NO! It’s not funny!

’cause I don’t like being in pain and congested and woozy

And inconvenienced and fevered and fluzy.


Want to enjoy nearly a hundred more poems like this? Click here to download your copy of Across the Miles as an eBook or paperback. You can even gift a copy to a poetry-loving friend or family member!



About the Author:
Annie Douglass Lima


Annie Douglass Lima considers herself fortunate to have traveled in twenty different countries and lived in four of them. A fifth-grade teacher in her “other” life, she loves reading to her students and sparking their imaginations. Her books include science fiction, fantasy, YA action and adventure novels, a puppet script, poetry, Bible verse coloring and activity books, and a fantasy-themed cookbook. When she isn’t teaching or writing, Annie can often be found sipping spiced chai or pomegranate green tea in exotic locations, some of which exist in this world.

Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com
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