Friday, March 27, 2015

Introducing the Caves: Glow worms

This post will be brief but awesome.

Did you know that there are little insects that glow (like lightning bugs/fireflies) underground in caves?

Well, there are.

     They use a chemical process called bioluminescense, just like lightning bugs do.  See them?  They are clustered - hundreds of them - along the ceiling of this cave over the water.

My imagination is spinning with possibilities...

Yes, there will be glow worms in my story.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Creating Relationship Charts for Your Story

Actor Eli Wallach, seen here in in "For Whom The Bell Tolls" on CBS show Playhouse 90 in 1959, has died at age 98, according to reports.
Eli Wallach
via Pinterest
     I invented a chart last week to track my character's relationships.  It was awesome and really helped me with my story.  Here's what I did:

     I made myself a chart with columns and rows.  Each column was titled with the name of a character or group of characters.  For Droben's chart, the columns are titled: Calene, Petura, girlfriend, lords, commoners, rebels.  They are the people who Droben interacts with most in my story, and I want to mark how he sees his relationship with them.

     Here is part of Droben's relationship chart:

Irritated with controlling brother
Amused by greenhorn
Loves her (and others)
He can handle them.
Some have very real complaints.  Should be respected but not allowed to rule you.  Treat with respect and they will follow you
Bah!  Bunch of talk.
Feels that they are at peace
Eager to teach
Irritated with her

Irritated with controlling brother
Wanting acceptance by her
(Repeat cycle many times)

Disturbed by brother’s behavior
Irritated with what he sees as her religiosity

Mad at everybody
Mad at everybody.

Encouraging her talent

Mad at everybody


     So, let's just look at Calene's column.  It shows a timeline of how Droben feels about Calene.  First, he just irritated with him.  Then there is a time when Droben thinks everything is going well between him and his brother.  Then he's irritated again.  Then Droben is disturbed by something he sees in Calene.  Then, for his own personal reason, Droben is mad at everybody.  He's mad at Calene, but only because Droben suddenly sees the whole world in a dark light.  In the end, he views Calene with a sort of calm resignation.

     Right now, I don't have the columns lined up with each other on a timeline.  Petura's column is longer, not because it takes more time but because he goes through more changes in his relationship with her.

     The fun thing is that when I make Droben's column in Calene's chart (in other words, how Calene views his relationship with Droben) it is completely different.  It's pretty fun to see.

     Aside from the fun, though, it helps me to keep people "in character" in a realistic way.  Calene may come in with a smile and be greeted grumpily by Droben.  That's easy for me to write because I know that Calene is pleased with Droben's performance and that Droben is irritated with the way Calene is controlling him.

     I also know that Droben goes through drastic emotional rollercoasters.  He swings very quickly from irritation to approval and back again.  Calene, on the other hand, tends to build slowly from one to the least in his external expression.  Making this chart helps me keep track of that, making sure that they keep their patterns.

     What do you think?  Want to try it with your own characters?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Introducing the Caves: The Water Scenes

     Today is going to be a fun day.  We are going to look at water scenes deep underground.

There are several places in the Wheston caves that have still or running water.  Amos visits a few of them in his first few days in Wheston.

If you were wondering last week where the water (for the rock formations) comes from, well, here it is.

And it's just so gorgeous...

As you can see, in some places the ceiling vaults high above the water, and in other places it hovers low.

In places where the water flows near the surface, you may have bits of sunlight trickling down.

I love this picture!!!

But in other places, you are obviously deep underground.

How cool is this???

So, there you have it!  Water scenes from deep underground -- things like Amos might have seen in his years of caving.
Again, you cannot make up a more fantastic world than this one.

Join me next Friday so I can show you a unique creature that proves useful in Wheston caves.

And, just for fun, I will leave you with one more cool water picture:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Spying on the Grade Above You and Recipe for Good Surprise-Building

     Katie leaned her head against her locker and groaned.
     "Really? Your horse bucked you off?  Right in front of the judges?" Hannah stuffed her books into her locker.
     Katie nodded, rubbing her headed against the locker.  "I'm thinking about including 'my personal experience in aerodynamics' in my spring science project."
    "Wait!  There's a spring science project?" Hannah slammed her locker door shut.  "How come I don't know about a spring science project and you do?"
     Katie swiveled her head to one side, maintaining contact with the locker, and grinned at her friend.  "Because I have an older sister and you don't."
     "And she was in Mr. Goven's science class last year."


     I dropped in on Anne Elisabeth Stengl's blog on Saturday to see if she had posted any word of the F.E.R. progress.  I want to know what the winners are doing now.  Call it "spying on the grade above you," but I have hopes of winning next year...or the year after that...or...  And I can be better prepared if I know what I am getting into.  So I was absolutely delighted to hear that Anne worked hard all month with her team to flag necessary edits.  And I was excited to know that her winners now have roughly a month and a half to make all the necessary changes to their stories.  And it was thrilling to hear how the artists are working on each title page as we speak.  It all sounds like so much fun to me.

      Anne also dropped some word about the next contest...but not really.  She isn't giving away any new information -- no hints.  But she did say that she's working with the designer for the cover art for the next Five Something Something contest.

     I like the way she balances surprise with reveals.  If she says too much, you lose the suspense.  If she says too little, you either implode or lose interest.  I don't WANT to lose interest.  So it's sheer delight to me to hear little hints dropped.  Or to have some mention made.

     When I was little, one of the best things about Christmas was the anticipation of the gifts under the tree.  Every day, my little sister and I would crawl under the tree and count the packages with our names on them.  We didn't try to guess what was inside -- that would have ruined the anticipation and surprise.  But we had to count them.  Not that it mattered how many there were...or even which one had the most (we were almost always even).  It was just one way to stay connected to the delights awaiting us.

     Anne gives us an expected reveal date.  Even if it is not a specific date, we know she won't string us along forever.  And she carefully refrains from saying too much.  And yet she drops little tidbits that keep us involved.  That, my friends, is a recipe for success.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

March Chatterbox: Superstition

I am linking up with Rachel Heffington's Chatterbox Event.  You can see this month's Chatterbox post on her blog: 

Informative post on the health benefits of turmeric & ginger root & Making Golden Milk: Fresh Turmeric and Ginger with Mortar and Pestle

"Amos says that Wheston has a legend about you."  Grayun lowered himself onto a seat and breathed in the aroma of Hilma's herb room.

"The people of Wheston are fools."  Hilma crinkled her lips in scorn as she held a leaf over her fireball and watched the tips curl and blacken.

"No doubt the story has grown over the years."

"No doubt.  Such is the nature of legends."  Hilma carried her scorched leaf to the table.  With the precision of an artist, she touched the burnt tip with her forefinger.  It instantly powdered in a dusting of ash on the table.  "People know pieces of the whole; and they make up what they do not know, spreading the imaginary parts mixed into the truth as though they were one and the same.  Then, as each tries to outdo the previous, the story changes until very little of it resembles fact."  She cupped her hand and swept the fine ash from the table into a pottery vessel.  "Maybe none at all."

"The people of Wheston are terrified to enter the caves.  It's become a big, nameless horror -- a sort of taboo to them." Grayun waved his hands at the walls surrounding them.

"So let them!" Hilma snorted. "We don't want them here.  Let them hide from us; for then we shall not have to hide from them."

"But for them to be afraid of us...this is not a good thing."

Hilma went to the far wall, sniffing bunches of herbs that hung to dry.  "It is their own fault.  They are the ones who created the stories."  She lifted a dull green stem from its hook and carried it back to the table.  "This, too, is the nature of legends.  As you create bigger legends, they eventually become big enough to own you, if you let them.  They are a slave to their own imagination and the imaginations of their forefathers."

"And you are not?"

Hilma lifted her head, her eyes glittering as they met Grayun's.  "Here is a sudden attack!  Of what do you accuse me, little Grayun?"

"Your fears, over your own failures, are turning you into a monster.  You know what I speak of -- do not deny it.  What started as a tragic day has grown over the years into a terror of anything that resembles its tragedies.  If you are not careful, you will soon fear the sun rising...for it rose on That Day."  He raised his eyebrows mockingly.  "Was it not a precursor?"

"Ha!  The legend continues!  Only, this time, it is you who add fantasy with fact.  I am becoming a monster now, am I?"  Hilma lay her herb across a stone and pounded it with a second rock.  Chink.  Chink.  Chink.  The rhythm echoed in the room.  "You are a fool, Grayun."

"Nay.  You think you are merely protecting your charge and fulfilling your duty.  The others see only your anger -- the fury with which you attack perceived threats.  But I...I see your fear.  And if you do not face it, you will do something you will regret more than everything else.  Your fear of failure will cause you to make the biggest mistake of your life."

"You are wrong, Grayun."  Hilma's face was dark, lit only by the red glow of the fireball.  "I have made mistakes before.  But this time..."  She lifted the crushed herbs from the stone, clenching them in her fist before dropping them into the pottery vessel.  "...this time, I will not fail."

"So you say.  Why should I not believe that your own legend has blinded you?  If one of us is a fool, Hilma, it is not me."

Friday, March 13, 2015

Butterfly Questions

     Interesting title -- perhaps I should explain.  You all, I presume, know Anne-girl...and if you don't, you should immediately skip over to her blog at and get to know her right away.  Anne's blog has been my favorite for a long time.  I don't know why.  I just like it so much.  Her stories have meat to them...and adventure...and not too much mushy stuff.

     Sooo...anyway, she started talking about book butterflies...which are like plot bunnies...only not exactly.  Plot bunnies and book butterflies can look alike, but it seems to me they have a subtle difference.  Here is how I explain it:
Plot bunnies are stories ideas that bounce into your head while you are working hard on your WIP.  Their goal is to distract you from your goals -- giving you a grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-fence complex.  They make your current goal look stale and boring by comparison...but if you follow them you find that they lead you nowhere.
Book butterflies are story ideas that flit into your head and may have solid potential.  Like plot bunnies, book butterflies may come while you are working on another project.  However, instead of dropping your current WIP to chase them, you just let them flitter around and see which one lands.  If one sticks with you, even waiting around until after you finish your WIP, then it should be pursued.   
     So maybe "plot bunny" is merely a derogatory term for book butterfly.  Or maybe the difference is in how you react to them.  Either way, I like the term book butterfly.

     Anne-girl, I hereby warn you that your newly-coined term is going viral...

     If you head over to, you will see that Anne-girl is playing with one of her new butterfly friends.  This one is called King of Glass.  And, for fun, she made up a questionnaire for it.  And then she graciously permitted us to borrow her questions.

     Which I thought was a great idea.

     So, I am going to be answering her Butterfly Questions for Thorn of Peace, which is one of my waiting-on-the-back-burner stories that I have been rolling around in my head since last summer...maybe longer.  Here it goes:

1. What is the title of this Book Butterfly?
     It is currently working under the title of Thorn of Peace.  Basically, a little sister is invited to mediate between her two older brothers but they soon find she is also a thorn in their side.

2. Where are you right now in your process with it?
     Like Anne-girl's story, this one is in the precook stage.  It's in there.  It's simmering.  Ideas are gathering.  I wrote a couple chapters to capture it (that's my way of tossing a net over the butterfly and saving it for later).

3. Do you think this will become a full-fledged WIP (work-in-progress) or are you thinking that this is more of a passing fancy?
     I would like to think that it would become a WIP...later...after I finish Broken Clouds, maybe.

4. Who is your protagonist?
     The little sister, of course.

5. What does she want more than anything?
     To fulfill her assigned roles.  To make everything better.  To be a good princess and little sister and daughter.

6. What is her story goal?
     To make her brother's behave and to learn how to rule a country well.

7. Who is the antagonist?
     Sometimes she is her own antagonist.  Sometimes its her brothers.  Sometimes its corrupt leaders in her own country.  Sometimes it's rebels and attacking neighboring countries.

8. What is their goal?
     Sometimes she wants two opposing things.
     Her brothers want to have their own way -- and not have each other in the way of that.
     Corrupt leaders want to get the most out of life while giving the least.
     The rebels want freedom, equality, and restitution.
     The neighboring country wants more power and resources.

9. What is your inciting event?
     The oldest brother sends for his little sister.

10. What is the main conflict in your story?
     I would have to say the dichotomy of the brothers.

11. What other books would you compare with this butterfly?
     Someday, I am going to learn how to answer this type of's a skill, I think, that should be learned if one hopes to be published.  But, sadly, I have not mastered it yet.

12. What is your favorite thing about this new idea?
     It is based on scenes and people in my own life.  I know a couple of strong personalities that behave in a fascinating but predictable way.  I transported them to my imaginary world and set them free to be themselves, and it is amazing to see their strengths and weaknesses play out.

13. If your book was a dessert, what would it be?
     I don't think it is a dessert...

14. Who is your favorite character so far, other than the main protagonist and antagonist?
     A little servant girl

15. Snippet
     Calene swung to face her.  “Can I rely on your secrecy?  What I have to say to you cannot be told to anyone.”
     Petura felt a prickle run down her arms.  “Yes, of course."
     Calene studied her face and then nodded.  Still, he was slow to answer, taking time to carefully fit the stopper into the top of the pitcher.  “It’s Droben.”
      “Our brother?” Petura exclaimed, startled.  She tried to pull his face up in her memory, but all she could remember was that he had dark hair and Calene had blonde.
      “I don’t know what to do with him!  The man is impossible, causing snarls and snags wherever he goes!  Father wanted us to get along but sometimes I think…!”  Calene broke off and drank his glassful.  Then he wiped his lips and went on, “Which is why I need you here, Petura.  If I remember rightly, you always have a way of making things go easier.”
     Petura drew back.  “You brought me here to make Droben behave himself?”
     “I just need you to keep an eye on him and smooth his rough edges a bit,” Calene said, his face pleading.  “I’ve tried to do it – God knows I’ve tried – but Droben and I are like two bulls.  He won’t listen to me like he will listen to you.”
     “Does father know about this?” she asked.
     “No, it wasn’t such a problem before father became ill.  But now I’ve got the whole kingdom weighing on my shoulders and Droben has gone off the deep end.” Calene shook his head.
     Petura could feel a headache advancing across her brow, and she pressed her fingers to her temples to ease the pressure.  “But father wanted me to be safe in Preden!  What do I know of court life and the management of princes?”

16. Where did the idea come from?
       A situation in my own life.  The complexity of some people in my life and my own conflicts within myself felt like they were going to make my brain explode.  Then I realized just what a great plot I was living, and I decided to turn it into a book.  So, like I said, I took scenes from my life and dropped them into the imaginary country of Pelestia.  And then I had fun with them.

17.  Genre?
     You tell me -- it's set in an imaginary country that is somewhere on planet Earth...or some planet like Earth.  It has kings and queens, rebels, battles, intrigue, hypocritical religious body, and a difficult family.

18. Graphics? Fake covers?
     Nope, I haven't mastered that art yet.

19. Cryptic spoiler?
     A man must first learn to rule himself.

20.  What is the next step to pursuing this butterfly?
     Strengthen my end.

21 and 22. I don't have answers for.  Sorry.

And there you have it!  My answers to Anne-girl's questions.  Ta-da!
This story is in line, potentially, behind Broken Clouds, which is in line behind TCK.  We'll see if it goes anywhere or no.  :)

Introducing the Caves: Cool Rock Formations

      Amos is fascinated by the rock formations that he finds in Wheston caves.  What do I mean by rock formations?

In caves you will find rock formations that have a certain flow to them, almost like running water that was frozen in time.

Is it really from water?

Yes, some of them are.  Water seeps into the cave and then evaporates, leaving trace minerals.  More water seeps in, runs down over the path that the last water took, and then evaporates and leaves another mineral deposit.  Over time, you have a formation of minerals left behind by the water.

They are kind of like icicles, except the formation is caused by the evaporation of water instead of the freezing of water.

It sounds simple.  And yet the process is complex enough to create a vast variety of shapes and formations.

...Some of which I have no idea how they work.  But I definitely think they are cool, and they are an integral part of the landscape in a cave.

One more cool fact: in some caves, these mineral deposits are still active - still growing.  But in places with a lot of tourists, they are not.  When people touch these formations, the oil on their hands deposits on its surface, creating a "seal" of sorts.  And the formation doesn't keep growing.

Join me next Friday for one of my favorite sets of pictures: the water scenes!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

An Even Dozen

     Hi, I am just popping in this evening to REJOICE!!!  I now have a dozen followers on this blog and I am very happy about it.  :D  Thank you, everybody, for being here!  You make my day!

Monday, March 9, 2015

The King or the People

  "...they may take our lives, but they'll never take OUR FREEDOM!" Mel Gibson in Braveheart (1995)  

     Jill, on Go Teen Writers, was talking this week about the unpredictability involved in "making it big."  You can write flawlessly and still never be a well-known author.  Maybe you didn't find the right publisher.  Maybe you didn't pick the hot topic of the year.  There's a certain elusiveness in fame that has nothing to do with the skill of the writer.

      Her topic tied into one that I have been thinking about lately.  What makes a great leader?  We've all seen the stories...and, on a smaller scale, we've seen it in real life. 

The dynamic leader

The band of men who swear allegiance to him, willing to follow him to their deaths if need be.

It's an inspiring story.  But what makes that leader?  Is it his own charisma?  People cannot help but rally to his cause?  Perhaps he has the skill of the Pied Piper, no?
Or is it the people?  Are they the ones who decide what cause they will rally to defend and what man they feel comfortable following? 

Leaders come in different shapes and sizes.  Some are great orators.  Others are men of action -- "not much good at giving speeches."  Some are strong.  Some are brainy intelligent.  Some are calm.  Some are volatile.  Some are good.  Some are wicked.

I could see how people are the ones to pick the leaders.  Imagine a battle in front of you.  Two men stand up.  One starts a speech.  The other one picks up his weapon and says "Stick with me, men."  Which would you follow?  Do you see how you get to pick your leader?

But, before we decide that it is entirely up to the people, let's look at who they are picking.  All of those leaders, in spite of their different approaches, are indeed leaders.  And maybe the orator can give such a rousing, inspiring speech before the battle that I would follow him?  Or maybe the man of action could convince me with his dynamic attack that he is the best leader for the job.  We are back to my Pied Piper scenario, with the leaders being powerful enough to convince people of their ability to lead.

We could go on arguing this in circles, but we come back to one basic idea.  It's an idea that agrees with Jill's assessment of worldly writing success.

It takes both.

If you are an unskilled author and if you do not pursue the right channels with enough force, your story won't be popular.
But, at the same time, if the people do not let themselves be swayed by your words...if they do not place value on your work...then even a beautiful piece of prose will lie in obscurity.

It takes both.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Introducing the Caves: Scenes from Deep Underground

     A lot of The Caver's Kiss is set underground.  I don't know if any of you have ever explored big caves, but they are beautiful.  I remember touring one cave and wishing I could live down there.
     I would love to take you all with me into a cave so you could see how amazing they are.  Since I can't, I am doing the next best thing and showing you pictures.
    These are pictures from pinterest.  And while none of them were taken in Wheston caves (because no one has ever taken a camera down there), they should give you an idea of some of the things you might see.
     So join me for a little spelunking!

Spelunking is another word for cave exploring.

First, we are going to lower ourselves down into these caves.  Amos had to rappel 40 feet down into the Wheston caves from the entrance he found.

The Wheston caves have mostly sandy or reddish colored walls.

After admiring this cool rock formation, which direction would you head?  In that hole to the left?  Or would you veer off to the right?

How tall do you think this room is?
Some of the tunnels that Amos worked through were pretty tight spaces.

But, at other times, the cave would widen into a large room.

Again, look at these formations and imagine exploring them for yourself.

If you lived here, where would you put your bedroom?  Or your kitchen?  How about the pantry?

This is a lovely tunnel, but I don't imagine Amos found such neatly graded flooring.  Even in well-worn parts, the rocks under your feet were sometimes uneven.

This is more like the paths that Amos chose from as he went spelunking in Wheston caves.

So that was part one of our little caving expedition.  Come back next Friday as we look at some of the rock formations more closely!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Beautiful People: Hilma

     Hi, I am once again participating in Beautiful People, hosted by Sky and Cait.  This month, I am featuring The Caver's Kiss for the second time.  As you may remember, last month BP landed on the same day that I concocted the idea for TCK.  So here I am today with my now-1-month-old story.  :)

Hilma is Ally's godmother.  She is a cross, grumpy old woman who loves Ally with all her heart.  She also is a woman who blames herself for what she considers "an-hundred-years-worth of disasters."

  1. What is her secret desire?  To keep Ally safe with her.
  2. What is the best and brightest moment she experiences during the story?  Whenever Ally is happy or whenever Ally is loving her as a daughter would.
  3. What are the emotional places your character is afraid to go to?  Hilma doesn't want to visit her regrets or her losses.  Amos's arrival forces Hilma to face her old regrets and threatens her with another loss.  She reacts with anger to hide her fear and a cornered animal, she is willing to fight with tooth and nail.
  4. Is there a place/city/room where she will never go?  Why?  No, unlike others in her village, Hilma is willing to go nearly anywhere.
  5. If she was permanently leaving town, what would she easily throw out?  What would she refuse to part with? (Why?)  She would refuse to leave Ally behind.  And she would take her grandmother's mortar and was her one connection to a person who loved her in a past generation.  (Note: more people love Hilma than she realizes, but she is a little too crusty to accept it gracefully).
  6. What do they want (consciously and tangibly)?  To find a perfect husband for Ally.  To protect her village from any ill that could be cured with herbs.
  7. On the other hand: what does she need (on the emotional, subconscious level)? She needs Ally to love her.  She needs to be reassured that she has done a good job with her goddaughter.
  8. If she could change one thing about herself, what would it be?  She wishes she was capable of transporting herself instantly to the place of her choice on demand.  No running on obscure paths so no one could see you.  No being late for important events (like saving the kingdom).  Sadly, she hasn't found an herb that could give her that power yet. 
  9. What is the most humiliating event of her life?  Being wrong is the most humiliating thing.  So perhaps 3 events qualify: the day news came of Aurora's unhappiness, the day that Ally came into her life, and the day that Ally was going to leave her.
  10. What things does she turn to when she needs a bit of hope?  Hilma goes to her medicine room and pounds herbs with her mortar and pestle until she thinks of solutions.  Or she spends time with Ally -- Ally always gives her hope.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

You Gave Me A Good Attitude

Remember this post?  I talked about the way your attitude affects your writing.
Well, it's true.
And this time, you guys had a big impact on me.
I was looking at TCK and trying to figure out why I liked it so much.  Was my confidence level stronger?  Or was the book better?
I think the answer is yes, to both.  When I first thought of this story, I posted in Beautiful People.  Then you guys spoke up, expressing interest.  I started writing, feeling like I had a story with potential.  And because I felt good about it, the story flowed more easily...which made for a better tale and a more confident author.
...thanks, guys.

Monday, March 2, 2015

An Early March Update

Hello, friends!
     I'm popping in to give you guys a quick update on my doings.

     Broken Clouds went to a stand-still when I suddenly realized my ending needed some adjustments.  Granted, I am no where near the ending...but the ending is something I write towards.  I drop hints as I go.  So I need to know where I'm going to end up.  Some cool ideas occured to me (to fix my ending) so I gave Broken Clouds a break while I let them simmer.  I will be starting it up again soon...probably this week.

     TCK is going underground...meaning I probably won't post much about it for a month or two.  Maybe some supporting pictures, but not much else.  Sometimes a story needs a little secrecy while it is being edited.
     However, if you are interested in reading it for me and giving me some feedback, leave a comment below.  I won't publish your comment, but it will help me get in touch with you.  I would love to have a few people read it and give me an honest critique (that's how we get better at writing, ladies and gentlemen). 

     Most of my reading has been non-fiction of late.  I am studying for my midwifery exams, delving into a political history of the Great Depression, and pouring over the Go Teen Writers book for editing and publishing your novel.  Nice little collection, no?  It certainly keeps me busy.

     The other thing -- much on my mind lately -- is the building of my brand.  Settling on a pen name that I plan to use forever.  Posts in various avenues that relate to being a writer (Facebook, Blogger, etc).  Pictures or symbols or trademarks that people identify with me.
     There is a certain level of privacy that I wish to maintain, regardless of how famous or not famous I might be.  Call me a recluse, but I really don't fancy the idea of people stopping me in the grocery store to talk about my book.  And while I understand that people connect to an author by knowing her as a real person...I still have hopes of a little bit of privacy.
     The other concern is that I may not be ready to be seen.  This is less of a concern than it was a year ago, but think about it.  If you are no good at writing, you don't need to plaster your name all over it and advertise it.  THAT's not what you want people to associate your name with.  While you cannot wait until you are perfect (perfection is not achieved without venturing out), you can wait until you have something decent to share.  Right?

      So, there you have it.  My early March update.  Take a minute to comment and let me know how you are doing (or leave a link to your blog if you would prefer me to read your blog update post).  And, separately, leave a comment with your contact info if you are willing to read TCK for me.  Thanks!

      See you later this week!