Wednesday, April 23, 2014

overcoming

Randy O'Brian (yes a descendent of that O'Brian family and cousin of Rachel), the hero of Evening Star, is the only hero I've ever written for a full length novel who doesn't get his own point of view-- ever. I thought about this but needed the story to be told all from the heroine and villain's points of view. Randy shows up only as others see him. I had a reason for this. I wanted the reader to be uncertain of his character-- as the heroine had to be.


The appeal of writing this romantic suspense was having a career woman heroine. I like the idea of mixing up the types of women I write about. I am not a business woman myself, but I know them. Writers have the advantage of being able to study others and use what they observe in their stories. Otherwise every story would be about ourselves.

So Marla Jamison was one of the appeals as she was a lawyer which meant her observations about the hero and others should be pretty good. Then I added into the mix her obliviousness to herself. Isn't it interesting how often we can look at others and be intuitive but avoid doing the same for ourselves? So I wanted that kind of heroine. I got criticized in a few reviews other places that she was whiny and obnoxious to start. Agreed-- she was. If a character starts out perfect, how do you show growth? Marla had to realize she was bringing on a lot of her own problems due to unhealthy attitudes.

So the appeal of this book was showing a woman grow. She finally opted to do that through getting professional help. I know that's not usual, but I wanted to show how people can benefit from admitting their problem and looking for someone trained to help them find its origin. 

Randy is a Portland city cop, which made him an interesting character for what he was facing every day. I have felt the police are too often criticized whatever they do. I tried to present the problems they face where a split second decision can mean life or death. Also how when most of us are living peaceful lives, someone else is facing a life and death situation. I've had this awareness many times when I read about a violent happening and I remember what I was doing at that exact moment. It is life.

I set a lot of this story in Northwest Portland, a neighborhood I enjoy each time I visit. If I wanted to live in a town, I'd like it. One of my very favorite cities is Portland, Oregon. I've lived there, still get up when I can, and it's fun to write stories set there. This one though also used Tahoe and a ranch outside of Medford, Oregon. I only set books in places I know and have spent time. 

The big thing though that led me to want to write this story is Marla and her need to overcome her own self-destructive behavior. 

Snippet from Evening Star:


The moon rose high, providing enough light for them to walk along the edge of the lake along the sandy beach, holding hands. Randy pointed to the southwest. "See that?"
"The star?" she asked, more aware of the warmth of his large hand than the star to which he was pointing.
"It's the evening star."
"Mmmm."
"You don't need to tell me. You never cared much for astronomy."
"Right."
"Did you ever say--star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight?"
"Actually," she said with a little laugh, "I don't think I did."
"Well, you missed a lot. First star of the night is important, but this one, it's special because it's not really a star at all. It's Venus. One time of the year it's the evening star. At another, you see it in the morning--the morning star. Look how bright it is, like a little sun, except it's actually reflected light."
"How interesting," she said, trying to show enthusiasm. The truth was whenever anyone pointed out a constellation to her, even one so simple as the Big or Little Dipper, she was never able to see the images, could never locate the same stars again, even a few minutes later. To her the sky was filled with points of light, none of which had names, and none of which made pictures.
She couldn't see his face but by his voice, she knew he was smiling. "You can chart a course by stars, figure where you are in the woods, but the evening or morning star is more than that. It's a beacon."
"There is a moral to this," she guessed.
He squeezed her hand. "When you look up and see something as bright as Venus, something that stands out even when the sky lightens in the morning or before it darkens at night, when you can see that, you can chart a course by it. No matter where you are. You can't do that when you look at the ground, the trees, the brush, the darkness. You look down and you lose sight of where you are or where you've been."
She smiled. "Irish, are you saying I'm not looking up enough?"
He put his arm around her waist. "That and a little more."
"Looking up is easier for some people than others."
"One day at a time, sugar."

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

when one book grows another

Bannister's Way grew from Desert Inferno, and I might as well write about it next. David Bannister was the antithesis of Jake Donovan. David could be manipulative, extremely good looking, was very slick, and worked undercover a lot. I often have a secondary character that just calls out to have their own story. That was David.

His story began, as they all do-- with a big question for me. Who was his partner to be? You might have a hero or heroine in mind but what will make their story interesting, what will present obstacles. What about a marriage that had ended twelve years earlier, in divorce-- but where the feelings had never died?

The setting for a lot of this book was on the Tualatin River south of Portland, Oregon. I have never lived on that river but have spent time along it. Once an uncle of mine rented this terrific old house down on the river for a summer. I got to spend a week there with my cousins. Such fun as we could swim right off the dock. The attic where we slept had bats. It probably was a house deteriorating with age, but such a fun place for a book to be set.

So I wrote it in a place I liked to spend time. I set it into an art college for the fun of having other artists as his ex-wife's colleagues, which led to art conversations. Then she was a sculptor, which I have also done over many years. Her current commission brought in Greek mythology. I wrote about the process of sculpture with the fun of nude models for art classes.

To give the story action and David a reason to be there undercover, I needed a murder mystery, which led to more research for the motive as well as a very interesting villain if I do say so myself.

It was fun to write about a heroine who had changed her name (I could relate to that one) and made a life for herself that if it wasn't all she wanted, was definitely successful. This engaged the art world, a lovely setting, and to add to it four old ladies, in different places throughout the book, to add flavor--depicting old ladies I had known. Having gotten to know David when writing Desert Inferno, it was fun to give him his own book. I liked David who got flak for being manipulative. It wasn't his fault-- just the way he thought and worked well in investigation-- if not relationships.

The digital painting at the top was one I did for the first eBook cover... Boy, did it get dinged. Amateur work was the most common accusation. So I had to change the cover. Covers are one area where readers do know best. I mean if you can't get them to look inside the book, you can bet you won't sell many copies no matter how interesting the story might be. 

Snippet from Bannister's Way:



It seemed he had something else he was supposed to do, but then it came to him that there had always been something somewhere that took precedent over what he wanted. She was right. At this moment, there was nothing. The mystery of the professor's death wasn't going to get settled this week-end. He wasn’t anxious to talk to Vance, but knew, sooner than he’d want, his partner would track him down. It wouldn’t be heard this time.

      Grinning, he looked up at her. "You're right. I don't have to do a damned thing."
      Smiling, she settled in a chair with her own iced tea. She gestured toward the river. "If you just let that rhythm get hold of you, you can convince yourself you never have to do anything."
      "I could believe that."
      "When I first found this place, it needed a lot of work. The foundation was sinking, the house had been a rental without much love for a lot of years." She smiled at the memory. "The renovation was good for me as well as the house. Then it was done, and I began to tighten up again, but I learned I could come out here and sit, smell the air, listen to the ducks, hear the birds, the sound of the water going past, and let my mind go blank. Sometimes I sit down on the dock for hours and just imagine myself part of the river."
      "You've made it into a retreat."
      "That is what it is. It's not that I've got a handle on everything now, obviously, or that I always relax when I should, but this place soothes me when nothing else..." She smiled again at him. "Well, at that time nothing else could."
      He lay back, enjoying the sun that was slowly moving across the deck to bathe everything on it in its warmth. "I guess," he drawled, "you're determined to coddle me. Since I'm not strong enough to fight it, I might as well give in."
      She laughed huskily. "It's a wise man who knows when he's been defeated."
      "Since my ankle is injured, and you've got my clothes in your washer, I'm at your mercy--aren't I?" he suggested, his eyes heavily lidded.
      "You are," she agreed, meeting his gaze with a smile, "and we both know I'm merciless."
      "Yeah, we know that. So--uh, what did you have in mind?"
      "I thought I might cook us dinner."
      "Raven!" He abruptly sat up on the chaise lounge. "I don't think that's necessary."
      "I'm tired of these jokes about my cooking," she protested, stretching long, tanned legs as she savored the warmth. She wore only a halter top and shorts. Indian summer, the last real sunshine they would see for months, had come to linger over the valley, and she planned to take full advantage of these last golden days. "I'm going to end once and for all the myth I cannot cook--with a meal you will never forget."
      He subsided back onto the lounge, looking up at the blue sky overhead. "I think you already fixed that one."
      She glared at him with mock outrage. "Are you still holding a grudge about that Chicken Kiev I prepared when we first got married?"
      He rolled his eyes innocently skyward. "I wouldn't exactly call it a grudge, but I do still remember it--vividly. How could a man forget a dinner like that?"
      "It was not my fault that I didn't exactly understand everything about a recipe. I mean who could expect me to know that little t's and big T's meant different things--or that when it called for a dried spice, it might require different amounts than a powdered one of the same name!"
      "Those were natural confusions," he agreed, laughing, "and so was not understanding that for Chicken Kiev you had to remove the bones and skin from the chicken first. I can also see how you might not have realized that if something was frozen... the cooking time would be different, if you didn't thaw it first. Hey, I understood all of that."
      "You have way too good a memory.”
He sent her a sensual smile. “Not just for your cooking.”
“I think it wasn’t very kind of you to refuse to eat anything after the first bite. I mean I know the rice was a little raw but..."
      "Actually, I took several bites. I tried again, honest I did, baby, but tough as I thought I was back then, I just couldn’t do it."
      She snorted with disgust. "Wimp! Well, it's water under the bridge now. Today I can follow a recipe, and I understand what the letters mean."
      "Can't I just take your word for it?" he questioned ungallantly.
      She glared at him; and he cringed back, putting up his hands in a mock defense. "All right! I'll eat it--whatever it is."
      "That's better," she retorted, smiling to herself. "I will keep it simple this time though. No rolled meats or anything complicated."
      "That reassures my stomach somewhat. Only why did everyone last night cringe when you suggested coming to your house for dinner?"
      "There might have been a few--tiny, almost insignificant, little accidents when they've come here for dinner," she admitted, signifying with her fingers how truly minor they were, "but you know how artists are—finicky beasts."
 

Monday, April 21, 2014

the desert as a setting


Desert Inferno came from several interests. Of course, one is my love of Southern Arizona. At the time I wrote it, I had never based a story there. Okay, maybe I had based an historical romance there. One of my early flaws in writing was not keeping a record of dates I wrote which stories. Since a book like Desert Inferno was rewritten several times before it was indie published in early December 2011, I wouldn't even know what date to have put on its origin. 

Besides my love of the desert and its mountains, I wanted to have a hero in the Border Patrol who I think get a lot of hassle for the work they do. They face situations that might just be turning back those who crossed the border without papers, saving those dying of heat or dehydration-- ill prepared for the Sonoran Desert, but that sometimes turns deadly because of who brings these people across. Keep in mind the smugglers of humans are also drug smugglers. Read up on what they do in Northern Mexico, and you get a taste of who they are. Researching what the jobs of the Border Patrol led to talking to some to better understand their work. 

I get it that some don't want us to have a border. They want to let in everyone who desires to come. But this isn't what the Border Patrol has as their charter as it stands. Even if they suddenly end all rules for immigration, there will still be the issue of smuggling in drugs that are currently illegal.

Another thing I wanted was to have an ugly hero. My gosh, you simply don't even see ordinary looking heroes. What's going on here as we know that heroic men come in all  body types! Still in all romances, the heroes are handsome. I might have one of the only ones out where the hero and others regard Jake Donovan as ugly. Not the heroine though. She sees him as rugged like the desert she loves so much.

My heroine was another fun part of this write. She is a landscape painter. I got to give her some of my own philosophy regarding painting and art. 

I set this one on a fictional ranch that had been originally settled by a character in another of my Arizona historicals. The O'Brians ended up with more books than I thought when I wrote the historical with an O'Brian as a secondary character.

So art, archaeology (yep archaeology and artifacts), border problems, ugly or beautiful, and a place I love for its beauty where it can turn dangerous very quicklyl. They were all why Desert Inferno got written.

Snippet from Desert Inferno:



Jake leaned against the bar and surveyed the room as was his wont. He never liked being in a room without knowing who else was there. "Strangers?" he asked Mac, gesturing toward three men sitting at a corner table.
"They come in Saturday night for the first time. Pachucos,” he said with a sneer.
Rachel glanced toward them. “They do look like toughs,” she agreed.
“Well, if they're looking for trouble, they won't be here long. I run a quiet, respectable place."
Jake looked more closely at the three men. They were Hispanic, roughly garbed, whispering to themselves and gesturing toward the bar.  Their eyes appeared to be on Rachel. This was a problem he'd never considered in bringing her to this place. She was an unusually beautiful woman in any environment, but in a place like this, she stood out like a diamond ring in a dime store.  For not the first time, he was glad of his own big size, his ugly, mean-looking face. Most men would think twice before approaching her with him at her side.
To his incredulity, the men sidled to the bar; one man beside Rachel while the other two stood on Jake's left.  "You are a very beautiful woman, señorita," the lone man said.
Rachel ignored him.
"But what are you doing with such an ugly one?" The man gestured toward Jake. "A woman like you, she needs a man who is pretty, more like me. Is this man good in bed?" He gestured toward Jake. "That would be the only reason I could see for you to choose to be with him."
Jake lifted Rachel up onto the bar, standing in front of her, protecting her from all three by his bulk. "Ask me," he said, looking down at the insulting Mexican, then over at his two companions who had remained silent.
"Why would I want to do that, when you are so ugly, compadre? It is much more better to talk to the beautiful señorita." He tried to move around Jake but found his way blocked.
"I think it's time for you and your friends to leave," Mac snapped. "Or I'll call the cops." He picked up his bat as an added incentive.
The first Mexican man smiled silkily. "I like this place. Give me another beer."
"You heard Mac," Jake said, stubbing out his cigarette, never taking his eyes from the man in front of him.
"We don't need to hear from you, ugly one. I don't much like ugly faces," one of the two who'd been quiet said as he laughed, muttering a crude expletive.
Jake wiped his hands on his jeans. Turning slightly, he spun Rachel around and lifted her over the bar to land beside Mac. He nodded at Mac knowing he’d keep her safe. Unfortunately, Rachel was not cooperating, and he heard her yell something impolite just as one of the Mexicans lunged at him demanding his total attention.
Jake kneed the small man in the groin, his fist dispatching him to the floor where he collapsed in a heap. The second landed a surprisingly solid punch against his jaw and sent Jake reeling away from the bar.
He could hear screams as he lashed out with his fists at the nearest body and felt a meaty connection just before another fist grazed his own belly.
He wasn't worried about a fist fight, confident he could handle three men the size of these, but when he saw the flash of a knife, he reacted quickly. Viciously, he spun out with his boot, connecting and knocking one of the men across the room, sending his knife flying.
Jake was nearly stunned by a solid right to the side of his head, but his quick reflexes gave him the moment he needed to soundly pound the man, sending him stumbling away to crumble to the floor in a gasping heap.
And then the first man stood before him, a knife flashing in his hand. Jake steadied himself, smiling coldly at the deadly metal which gleamed wickedly in the smaller man's right hand.
"Well," Jake grunted, breathing heavily, "what have we got here?"
"Something to cut you down to size, puto."
"It's been tried."
"This time it will succeed. You will not look so big with this in your gut."
"You got to get it there first." Jake smiled coldly.
 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

a story to root for


One of the things I have mentioned before is how I never really understand what readers want or don't in books. I read about these stories readers adored where they describe how the hero treats the heroine badly all the way through but her kind/feisty/determined/_____  behavior convinces him finally to change his ways. IF a person, male or female, really believes that is realistic to human nature, I hope they didn't pick their life partner that way. I am sorry, but it's unrealistic to expect someone to change because of someone else's sweetness.

Now there are reasons people change. They decide they want a different sort of life, and they are willing to work to get it. Life events can dramatically change someone's life path. But their basic character, if it's mean, it's not going to change due to someone else's sweetness. It's how you get these horrible stories of man or woman who thought they could make a difference and end up murdered. 

You know I write because it's what I do. But I consider what I put into my romances to be a responsibility to tell a good story, give emotional satisfaction but also put forth a healthy view of life. Sure I want interesting characters but always with something more. There are going to be obstacles. I have to want these people to succeed or why would I be writing their story? The more obstacles, the more interesting that book is for me to write. 

BUT (and this may be one of those things that romance readers don't like so much about my books) I don't write about heroes or heroines who are tamed by the other. I believe relationships do a lot for us, teach who we are at a core level as they challenge us. I believe we can, for assorted reasons, choose to end our own destructive behavior when we recognize it through a core relationship. I do not believe we can change another person.  I also believe that sometimes in relationships, we should choose to run like heck. A good example is dating someone who puts you down to feel better about themselves. It's a good example of-- run!

My stories won't have a hero/heroine being victimized or mistreating others. No Taming of the Shrew for me. If I purchased a book and the lead characters are mean, making me want to throttle them, it's heading for the garbage or these days the delete button on my Kindle. I like fairy tales, but not ones that are destructive for the attitudes they teach. As I've written here many times, garbage in garbage out. 

Because this is a break for me, before I start back into editing or begin writing the fourth Oregon historical, I decided I'd write a blog a day about the reasons I wrote each of my contemporary books. This won't be in any particular order although those that have continuing characters will show up together. This won't be about their plots but what led me to find these stories worth putting my time into telling.  I thought my reasons might inspire other wantabe writers to look around at what interests them and see the potential for a book they could begin.

One contemporary a day will take me to when I bring out the new contemporary paranormal novella May 1. If you are interested in more about one of the stories, about their plots, click alongside here on their images, which takes you to their sample chapter and blurb, visit Rainy Day Romances or hit my book trailer site-- Rainy Day Trailers.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Titling a work

Finding a title for a work is something writers, painters, sculptors, and photographers run into. The work is finished. It's what you wanted it to be. If you intend to present it to the world, it needs a title. It can be as simple as Canyon I or a lot more creative. It might be named for the place you painted or the energy you felt and what you hope someone else will also find when reading your work.


Through the years I have titled paintings, sculptures, books, and blogs. Sometimes I know the title before I even start. Sometimes it comes to me as I am in the midst of it. Once in awhile I have to dig for it after the work is finished. Once I had a book out and was forced to retitle it due to the original title, which I had seen as relating to the story, which used the legend of Prometheus and dealt with love. Golden chains seemed apropos. Readers thought it was erotic. Since it was not (it had nudity in the artistic sense not sexual, I both lost it readers and had some not happy who bought it. I changed it to Bannister's Way which was also fine given the characters. He was a secondary character in Desert Inferno and not known for being reluctant to do things his way.

For paintings, sculptures and photography, titles might not matter so much-- other than to keep track of the work. For books, titles are key to getting someone to even look at the pages. The writer has an image and a couple of words to convince a reader they would like to know more.

Before I began the recent Arizona historical, it had a title. It came before the first word was written. The title still worked when it was finished.

But it was a little more complicated with the paranormal trilogy. When I wrote the first one, it had its title as soon as I finished the book. The second title came during the writing. I began writing the third with a title in mind-- finished it thinking it would be its title. Except...

A trilogy, like in paintings, is linked together in a unique way. It's not just about common characters but has to have stories which are tied together. Mine are separate, each comes to a conclusion, but they are tied to a problem that is not resolved until the last one. 

That meant, I needed a title for the whole, which would be different than either of the three eBooks. I am going to offer all three only as a paper book-- partly because of Amazon letting readers take a Kindle, return it within a week for no reason. It has also led me to hold off on my Oregon historical series which I may bring out in paper but not electronic. In the case of this book, I had another reason to bring it out as a paperback with the possibility it might appeal to metaphysical type bookstores. Anyway that meant four titles, with the book being the name of the trilogy. (confused yet?)

Late one afternoon, my writing done, nothing I could start editing (too soon), I sat in our garden yard. I was enjoying the sunshine, looking up through the oak trees at an intensely blue sky, sipping some red wine, wondering how long before Farm Boss would be in from the barns, and mentally trying out different combinations for the paper book's title. After awhile, it came to me that it'd be easier to retitle the third then taking its title for the paper book.

So they will be When Fates Conspire, The Dark of the Moon (due out end of April), Storm in the Canyon (probably early June), and late in June a paper book-- Diablo Canyon.

If you don't write, you might not think titles are such a big deal. Well you probably know based on which ones draw you to try a book. As a writer, you want that title to interest a reader but also depict something important in the story. It doesn't have to be an actual event but can instead be the feeling behind the story. It has to have the right energy and not be deceptive. Add to that, ideally you'd prefer it not have been used by another writer. Since there are millions of books out there, the last part can be impossible which is where series names as part of a title can help.

Diablo Canyon is kind of a mystical place. It doesn't actually exist, but its image needed to appear both powerful and beautiful. The photo above, a joining of two of my own photos, will be on the paperback cover. The eBooks will each have an image that depicts the couples their stories center around. 

Doing a trilogy as a novella series is a little more complex than I had expected. A friend asked if I ever thought I'd be doing one when I began writing. I didn't think I'd be doing one before that dream in November! I've written series books where they take the same family or secondary characters and go forward, but trilogies have a different set of expectations in that there needs to be an ongoing problem that is threaded throughout them-- while each one, at least in mine, provides a satisfying conclusion.The final paper book will be almost 99,000 words which is a good length for a novel.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

from where it comes

Reading one of the places I check now and again, they had put up some western music which led to my remembering my own childhood and how much both western music and movies influenced how I think and who I am today. To make sure I am understood, when I say western music, it's not country-western I am talking about. It is something like this.



I have that 78 RPM of that song as well as my real favorite on the flip side-- Single Saddle. My gosh, I can still sing Single Saddle and haven't heard it for years and years. It was music like that as well as by the Sons of the Pioneers that were what likely formed my values and underlay what I write today.



 I am not embarrassed by it either. Were those westerns realistic? Not usually. Did they always have the good guy triumph over the bad guy? Generally. Some hold up well to today and can still be watched. Some not so much.

Here's the thing-- entertainment, all of it, has a set of values. Whatever we put into our minds feeds something in us. That's not debatable. The question is what will it be? What I got back then fed dreams of romance, adventure, doing right, importance of being strong. My dreams didn't get in the way of my going to college, meeting the right sort of man, having children and living as I do today. Some of my dreams were fulfilled-- others I live out through my characters. Not such a bad deal :)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

credible villains



For every dark there is a light, rose a thorn, yin a yang, good an evil. In writing, that dark will be the bad guy, the villain, something evil. Now it doesn't all have to be zombie level bad, but it has to be something that presents a conflict. It's what makes the stories zing.

Okay, if you are writing chick lit,  a coming of age story, covering an historical period or cultural time, etc., there might not be a villain per se. There must be obstacles or what is the point of the book? They do not have to be from an individual. They could even be from within the character's own personality.This is where the character develops strength, totally becomes who they are most capable of being-- through conflict and overcoming.

As a writer, developing the character of some villains can be really fun especially if part of the story comes from their point of view. Other villains are just stereotypical villains. They are place holders. Their personalities don't have much significance to the story beyond something for the hero/heroine to overcome. However, creating challenging, interesting and dangerous villains provides the counterpoint to the heroes. 

My mind is on the subject of villains because with the third paranormal novella, I had three different levels of villainy. It really did take me into the depths of what it means to be regarded as bad by a culture. The complexity of this story with a lot of characters and villains is why I began writing it almost immediately after finishing the rough draft for the last historical romance. I thought I'd wait but I began to wonder. How am I going to make this work? Now that it's done, the question is did I? That is something I'll know better when I get back to it in a month or even more so when others see it.

In general, human villains don't look like villains and should not in a book anymore than they do in life. When you look at someone like serial killer Ted Bundy, or I could name a lot of others, you know that villains can be handsome and look very innocent until they have their victim helpless. 

Not fitting a stereotype and being sometimes hard to recognize is the nature of villainy. It should be just as true in books as in life. To get an image for my various villains, I have often gone through the royalty free model photos and picked handsome men. It makes me feel a bit guilty as obviously these look like nice guys, but there is something in the photo that lets me also see them as having two sides.

To do the last novella, I researched Native American monsters, witches and ghosts (one of my levels of villainy). One character that is particularly interesting is a Plains Indian monster called Two-Faces. Some describe Two-Faces as an ogre but others say he appears as an ordinary human except he has a second face on the backside of his head (actually he can also be a she). You though only see that second face when it's too late. 

When I was writing this novella, I kept uncovering new villains like peeling an onion. I'd think I had the last layer and then realize I hadn't seen the actual core. It made the writing a lot of fun as villains are fun to write and to vanquish through noble deeds and sometimes sacrifice of the hero or heroine.

Two-Faces is a lot the way I see villains and what they hope to accomplish in hiding their true reality. Of course, in writing a romance, they can't succeed. Unfortunately in real life they often do-- for awhile anyway. 

The goal of humans is to be insightful regarding true character-- to see behind the image (especially where it comes to voting for leaders). The person who looks like the most danger may actually not be.

The evening sky photo above kind of suits my theme on writing villains. It was March, our last night at Yachats and the dark sky took on a very different look than from the other nights with the layers and light shining through in different places. I have a series of five photos taking it through its stages. Which was the ultimate representation of what we saw that night? They all were and yet none was. I put the first one on my Rainy Day Thought blog for Saturday-- and this is the last one. I've seen a lot of very interesting skies in my many years of being at the Coast, but I'd say this is right up there at the top.

Update: regarding villains, I saw this piece which I think says well what I feel about them.[losing villain too soon hurts] Now I don't watch this show, but my kids say it's based on great books. I have a hard time with shows where you care for characters and then they get zapped. Sorry, but I get enough of that in reality. But this article says what I think-- villains matter to exciting story-lines. Guess they will come up with another villain to hate-- sooner than later.