New Authors for me

Saturday or Sunday we went to the library and I checked out 17 books.

Note: if you are a military wife, these are probably not good books to read.

Bring Him Home by Karina Bliss was a beautifully told tale about a woman whose husband was killed as the result of an IED and her husband’s best friend (and her own friend), their grief, and their love. It was a well-told tale and believable.

The Other Soldier by Kathy Altman is also a good story. A friendly-fire incident kills the woman’s husband and the man who deployed the drone goes to see her to try and make amends in some way. She is not happy about that.

Really enjoyed Cara Colter and Brenda Minton.

Too Nice

For a class I am teaching for the first time this semester, I think I have tried to be too nice. The students are pushing and pushing and I finally had to step back and say, “No. You can’t do that.”

I assigned two books. The total cost for those books is $14 plus tax. This is not an onerous sum, but I offered students the option to come read one book (fairly short and an easy read) in my office during office hours.

This is the week the other book is due. Several people asked for other books to read instead of those on the syllabus.

“I have this one I need to read.”
“I own one I haven’t had time to read.”
“I can’t afford to buy this book.”

During class, I said, “Okay, you can read that book you have.” I also said, “Go to this source for free books.”

However, after class I realized that one person already cheated on last week’s homework, which was to watch a movie they’d never seen. Instead he watched his favorite movie. (He’s the second quote up there.)

I also remembered, as I was getting frustrated about that, that the point of this class was to look at overt presentations of a topic in the texts. I have no idea whether their books are overt, but I know not all the free books are.

So I just sent a note saying, you can read the books on the list or you can read this free book. If you want to read anything else at all, you must send an email about it–even though I may have given approval during class.

Hopefully people will just go with the books I’ve approved.

Bookstore in Fayetteville

Buzzfeed has an article 17 Bookstores that Will Literally Change Your Life. One is in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Dickson Street Bookshop

Specializing in out of print and rare books, you’ll step off the main Fayetteville drag into this cozy shop filled with rows and rows of books old and new. The rare and more leather-bound options are right up front and absolutely stunning, while if you head into the back you can find anything from Southern cookbooks to music biographies.

Books Nearby

This past Saturday Ron would talk about a book for a while and then I would ask about another book. This happened twice. Both times it turns out that the book I asked about is next to the one he was talking about in our bookshelves.

bookshelf under daybed metapicture

I guess I have finally organized our library in my head. (And to think it was after 15 years of marriage that I finally merged our SFF books.)


When I first came to my new position, I was asked for a six-word autobiography. My teaching blog is down, but it had to do with coincidence being God’s working in my life. It was beautiful and succinct. This will be far more rambling, but it also is a weaving of God in my life.

First, I visited with my good friend AB in Weatherford, halfway between our two homes. I spoke of “being the answer to Jesus’ prayers,” an idea I learned in the preaching of Phil Ware. She spoke of a recent sermon/talk which said that the fields are white for the harvest when we are willing to be used in the harvest–that, in fact, our willingness to be used by God makes the harvest white.

Then I was reading Popular Religion in Late Saxon England and Jolly spoke about salvation as an event and a process. It is/was, she said, a one-time thing and in the same way was a metaphorical spiritual journey.

While reading God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy Fiction in an Ivy League Classroom by Tumminio, I texted AB this quote: “When humans follow that example (of Christ) and commit to love the way Jesus loves–caring for all people and not just those for whom it is convenient–they help to bring about the reign of peace God hopes to create on earth” (Location 1786 of 2877).

God tied the Yale story and AB’s teaching into a thread.

He also tied Jolly’s book to Tumminio’s book. I highlighted the following: “The first part (of salvation) is recognizing there is a problem that affects all humans–sin.” I wrote Event. Then I highlighted: “The second is a solution that corrects that flaw, and that solution results in salvation.” I noted Process. (Location 1758 of 2877) The author did not use those words in the discussion. But in the “Questions for Your Reflection” at the end of this chapter, she wrote: “Is salvation an event or a process? Which characters are saved over time in the story and which ones receive salvation in a moment?”

Maybe the autobiography/idea was closer to –Connections: God weaving disparate life events.

Image was a tapestry once for sale at Grimalkin's Hearth.

Image was a tapestry once for sale at Grimalkin’s Hearth.

I am taking the gifts of interlacing that God is giving me in my life just now and celebrating them here. Thank you, God, for the time to read, the eyes to see, the mind to comprehend, and the grace of your connections.

I also had some interesting ideas for the research and creative projects for my students next semester. I will need to develop those before I forget them.

Reading Leechcraft

I finally pulled out the Anglo-Saxon Leechcraft book and started looking at it some more. I was working on writing poetry and I actually ended up with a poem about the visual rhetoric of the book as it is looked at from the outside and first few pages.

I discovered that it was published by Burroughs Wellcome, a company which has become GlaxoSmithKline much more recently. My dear friends B and J G from NC have worked there for years, though B is now homeschooling instead.

That made the book, already a jewel for its information–which I have been unable to access in modern English anywhere else, even more special.
anglo-saxon leechcraft cover image by ShD

Loving the Scottish Poem

It is so calling out to me to write something similar–even though my hand is not weary with writing.

My hand is weary with writing;
my sharp great point is not thick;
my slender-beaked pen juts forth
a beetle-hued draught of bright blue ink.

A steady stream of wisdom springs
from my well-coloured neat fair hand;
on the page it pours its draught of ink
of the green-skinned holly.

I send my little dripping pen unceasingly
over an assemblage of books of great beauty,
to enrich the possessions of men of art—
whence my hand is weary with writing.

from Mary Jones’ website


I found a book by Kate Danley on my iPad Kindle. Apparently I read a short story collection she wrote in and enjoyed it enough to purchase the book. However, I also apparently hadn’t had time to read it. Or I forgot to read it. Or something.

However, today I found it. I read it. I liked it–a lot. And I read the next two books in the series today as well. I like the fact that I can download books and read them instantaneously. I don’t even have to go to the bookstore.

I still like going to the bookstore, however. I still like holding real books and reading them. But I do enjoy the benefits of the Kindle, too.

This past week (during Thanksgiving break) I also rediscovered Jennifer Estep. Apparently I recently started reading her books but then ran out of time and thought I had read them all. Nope. I was only on number 5.5. (She has novellas.) In the last three days I have read the rest of the series through book 9. Book number 10 is coming out Christmas Eve. I should go order it.

I wonder WHEN I started reading Jennifer Estep. And when I purchased the Kate Danley book.

I looked on Amazon. I purchased the Kate Danley book on October 7th of this year. Interesting. I purchased the first Jennifer Estep book on October 23rd. I purchased 5.5 on October 26th. Took me three days to get through those.

Then we had Halloween–though really we were working on it that whole week. But I guess I got sidetracked by Halloween and didn’t remember there were other books. I’m glad I got bored over Thanksgiving and started re-reading books. … I actually got bored before that because I started re-reading the whole Safehold series. Most of those I own in hardback. I wonder how much they are in Kindle.

Maybe I should consider reading the Mythos Academy or Bigtime books by Estep next.

Reading About Beowulf

I read some of a book’s introduction to Beowulf to my son and he said “It’s a post-modernist reading” but when I explained to him that it was written in 1837, he said it was just crap. Hmm. What does that say about post-modernist readings in his viewpoint.

I think it’s just crap, but I didn’t consider it a postmodern reading.

Carrie Vaughn

Do not read this again.

I bought Kitty and the Midnight Hour in hardback and epub. What an idiot. I should have known why it looked familiar. She gets raped by her werewolf boss. There’s nothing in the book discussions that mentioned that.

I am not reading this author again.

Dielli Sunday

Went to a different church to visit this weekend and a young girl came on stage and spoke. She told the Dielli story from the Bible perspective, with “young” being 13 or so. That’s a lot younger than I had envisioned. It was so well done.

Then the preacher got up and spoke on the same topic.

First, a Babylonian statement on what to do if someone got leprosy:
“He has been rejected by his god and so should be rejected by mankind.”

Note that Naaman was not rejected by his king (who was Syrian, not Babylonian, but…).

The servant girl could have been silent, made Naaman pay for his sins. Instead she said, “If only…”

She was the lowest of the low.
A woman.
A slave.
A foreigner.

And yet Naaman was desperate enough to listen to her.

A talent in money was as much as a man could carry. Naaman brought ten talents of silver. Shekels varied by year. Ten sets of clothing was a LOT. Most people owned one. Some owned two.

By writing the letter to the king of Israel, Naaman’s king was doing the normal thing. Talking to the person at his level. However, healing someone of leprosy was “a bit above the king’s pay grade.”

Naaman went as an important man, a military man, a rich man, to the prophet who did not even come out the door of his house, but instead sent a servant out to talk to him.

I would think that this would insult Naaman. He’s not good enough for the prophet to come out and talk to?

He expected the prophet not just to come out but to personally intervene in his life for his health. What is that saying? Pride. Certainly not the kind of humility the centurion showed to Jesus many centuries later.

The rivers’ listing is really a clash of gods. Gods were place limited. Listing his rivers meant that Rimmone (sp?) was his god.

Naaman listened to his servants (plural) when they advised him to go ahead and bathe in the Jordan.

He got his help from the help…

Naaman wasn’t just cured of his leprosy but his skin became as a young child’s. … I think this might be an interesting addition if Naaman is a lot older than the princess. His body and his life are rejuvenated by the Maker for trusting him enough to follow the directions.

Another point here is that he said he knew that God was the one true god. That means he has rejected the gods of place.

Yet he asks to take dirt back.


The minister said that he hopes that this means Naaman was thinking of Dielli. That he was bringing her part of her homeland back.

I don’t know why. What would be the point?

However, it would be interesting if there were a point.

Does Dielli come with Nakhaman when he goes to see the prophet? I always assumed she did. Figured she and the future husband were the servants who talked Nakhaman into the plan. If she did, then it wouldn’t be her the dirt was for.

Also, why would Nakhaman think of her enough to bring her dirt when he didn’t think of her enough to offer to free her? That is a very important question. I think it shows that Nakhaman (or Naaman) was still too aware of his own standing. He’s the prince of a country in the book. Why would a young slave want to be away from him? She would have more standing in his home than in her home country. And he’s never lost his standing, even with the leprosy.

So was the dirt to offer sacrifices on? Why would he need to do that when he recognizes God as the only god?

Hmm. I know where I can put dirt in. I can put it in the scene where the slaves are telling god stories. Toban and Dielli ask for dirt because the Maker made everything. So Nakhaman would be thinking of Dielli to bring the dirt back. Just not thinking much.

Interesting ideas.

Thanks, God.

Word Length

I wrote Dielli I and it was 140,000 words. I rewrote it significantly and shortened it to 114,000 words.

Today I am reading Mike Nappa’s 77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected and in “Reason No. 11” it says:

Typical adult nonfiction book: 45,000-55,000 words
Typical adult novel: 80,000-100,000 words
Typical young adult novel: 40,000-60,000 words
Typical juvenile book (fiction or non-fiction): 20,000-40,000 words

That would explain a lot. My book is too long.

Dielli Revisions

Using Robert’s Rules of Writing:
Start the book with Dielli crawling out of the bedroom to find her aunt and uncle, not with the dream. (Really?)
“Figure out what the action is … and then start writing just a fraction before that action begins.”
Maybe reorder, so that it starts with Dielli killing the spider? Not telling her folks about the problem? What?

Start with the spider on the window? Dielli grabbing the broom out of Jeska’s hand?

Perfect the Villain.
I introduced a bad guy and then just dropped him out of the story. I need to make him a more substantial character. Someone needs to overhear him telling about Dielli’s dream.

Heroes are Imperfect.
What is Dielli’s flaw? It doesn’t have to be fatal, but she does have to have one. Insert it into the storyline. Make it something that does hurt her now and again and eventually becomes a huge deal.

That she keeps problems to herself? What?

What anecdotes do you tell best?
Use those in the story.

God’s intervention seems too fake, too deux ex machina. So what can you do instead? What will make it seem less strange? Tell stories that show the gods’ intervention outside of Dielli’s life too.

Make smaller mountains she has to climb.

Perhaps write the story of the power encounter as a short story. See where you go with that.

Revise the part on the scribe work.

Rework the standing outside the door waiting for K and L to open it. Maybe they can hear tears inside? What?

“[N]onfiction sells more easily than fiction. Newspapers… have a bottomless craving for news stories, features, trend pieces, profiles, travel essays, and humor columns. They don’t just want these things, they need them.”

Look at how your favorite writers catch your attention. What do they do with their characters? why do you like them so much? Scrutinize. Then try their tricks.

#96 When you pick a project, you find things everywhere that relate to it specifically. So you have to pick a project.

#97 “The more specific you become, the more generally felt your writing will be.”
Perhaps I should go back to Dielli and the guy at the door… but I wanted her to be unaware of what was happening, to not recognize it. How could I talk about the woman who was assaulted and how she felt while introducing Dielli? Perhaps she comes by to tell Dielli it’s not her fault and Dielli wonders why she thinks D doesn’t know that?

#99 “Writing is all about perseverance.

But it’s also a matter of knowing when to quit.”

#101 (Just because we were talking about wallowing earlier in class.)
“Writers wallow in words like pigs in a mud puddle, and the dirtier we get, the happier we are.”
Yes, exactly.

I was insufficiently English-nerdy as a mother.

Poetry, the First Milk has a mother who quoted poetry to her children all their lives.

When at age 4 my daughter Anna became increasingly anxious at bedtime, I tried coaxing her to sleep with the most melodious poems I knew.

“Come live with me and be my love,” I began as I sat on her bed in a triangle of hallway light, rubbing her back. “And we will all the pleasures prove, / That valleys, groves, hills and fields, / Woods, or steepy mountain yields.” She breathed a little more slowly, as did I.

Go read it all. It is amazing.

Sci Fi/Fantasy Books

We officially have too many science fiction and fantasy books.

I can’t fit them all into the three bookshelves in the dining room without double stacking and I don’t really like to do that. I know Chris does it, but I don’t like it. When I go in to find something to read, I have to be able to see it.

But the dining room is really full, so I’m not sure what I am going to do about more bookshelves.

Oh no.

My list of RSS feeds I read on a regular basis is gone as my computer crashed.

So what am I going to do? It will be hard to reconstruct that list. I have significant lists that I read to keep myself up on various streams of interest.

Update: Hurray! It’s so wonderful to have a tech genius husband. He saved my preferences and I was able to get NetNewsWire for my computer again. Didn’t lose any of my blogs.


I found the edition of my book with the mistakes all marked. That version did NOT make it to the printer.

So I have errors in my book. Errors I had already found. But somehow I lost the copy that those were noted on.

Maybe I won’t read my own book so I won’t see the errors. It’s not going to be such a hot seller that there are numerous editions where I could fix it, either.

Oy vay. Such is life.

I’m still happy it got printed and published.

Vegetable Pills

Discovery News has some information about medical practices of 2000 years ago. It turns out that ships carried vegetable pills with them.

Advanced DNA analysis of 2,000-year-old tablets has revealed that vegetable pills may have been part of an ancient travel medical kit, according to a new study.

The kit was recovered from a shipwreck found some 200 meters (656 feet) from one of the most beautiful beaches in Tuscany. The wreck is estimated to date back to 140-120 B.C. and was partly excavated in the 1980s and 1990s by a team of the Archeological Superintendency of Tuscany.

for Dielli