Thursday, May 24, 2018

Homework Outdoors

Nearly the end of May and I've been marginally productive outside. So much rain, I've had to cut the dandelion-ridden back yard once every five days. I also trimmed back the juniper that was encroaching on the raggedy parking area. Before the trim the leggy branches would have been beyond the edge of this picture.

I also visited one of my favorite plant nurseries and bought a few colorful items.
The new plants have been installed in a few places, such as this chair/planter near the door.

I also completed the area where I put the some of the iris I thinned out last year. Always intended to do more with the area. Finally done!
And a wonderful part of this Spring...May is nearly ended and I've yet to see a single grasshopper!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Nell Martin--Intriguing as Her Book Title

A followup on the "Book Titles" post. I realized the book cover didn't even have the author's name on it. I don't know if that was a fad 90 years ago, but I don't like that trend. 

I put the author's name into a search engine, and came up with some facts as intriguing as her book title.  A U.S. author from Illinois, Nell Martin wrote eight novels and more than 200 short stories. According to Wikipedia: "Her 'Maisie' short stories were published in Top Notch Magazine in 1927-1928 and later inspired a movie and radio series starring Ann Sothern"

She also published under  the pseudonym of Columbia Boyer, and also her full name--Nell Columbia Boyer Martin.

How about having an affair with Dashiell Hammet! She did that. Wow!  Hammet even dedicated a book to her.

Martin's novel Lord Byron of Broadway was made into an MGM musical in 1930.

For the era, she was quite well acclaimed. My antique-store find is a winner, just as it appears Nell Martin was.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Compelling Book Title

While strolling through an antiques mall this book caught my attention. Actually it was the title; the cover is quite generic and dull. But the title: The Mosaic Earring.
Written in 1927, it seems to be a mystery, with the opening sentence giving intrigue: "Kenneth Baird did not need a trunk..." This strongly suggests he's going to get one.

The way the book title compelled me to pickup this book, and even buy it, got me thinking about titles and first lines. Some famous one get a lot of attention, and blog posts and articles occasionally talk about strong first lines of books--usually well-known books.

I took a look at my own titles. Compelling? I thought Dead Heroes would be a strong title, but found a music group and other entities on line using that. My book was already in production. Too late to change.  The opening line is nothing spectacular.

Then there's The Adventures of Elizabeth Fortune, where the word adventure might be a grabber. I began the book with a prologue, however, and I wish I had started with Chapter 1's fist line: Elizabeth rolled across the floor, scooted behind the bar and grabbed up the double-barrelled shotgun the bartender had dropped when he was shot.

Notice also how the bland cover of The Mosaic Earring differs a lot with commercial covers today, where use of photographs, drawings and anything "provocative" are often the norm. A strong title and on a bland cover might couldn't work today when books are competing with the the visual entertainment industry that wasn't about in the 1920s.

Can't wait to start reading this 1927 book, and hope it lives up to the expectations the title has given me.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Raven Festivities

I raised the blinds on the front windows this morning (13 May) and saw an abundance of ravens across the road at my neighbors' place.  They migrated to my front pasture, too.

One raven seemed to be carrying something. It was like a game of tag.

They continued this for quite a while, and passed over my house at low altitudes. I'd like to learn what they were up to.