I’m excited to announce the release of a book that I co-authored with the amazing Australian author John Holland. We met years ago on this blog and over that time wrote this children’s book for middle-grade and older but also for grown-ups who would like a taste of history and Australia wrapped in a grand adventure. Here is what it’s about. Links follow the blurb, and I’ll do an excerpt tomorrow.
Australian twelve-year-old Mark Taggart can’t wait to finish his correspondence classes each day, so he can get out on the family cattle station to help his dad. But his life is changing and the future is threatened by a prolonged drought. His dad owes money to Bull Corcoran who is demanding payment. Not only is Mark’s family about to lose everything, he may never get a chance to visit a forbidden site on the land, a circle of stones that has drawn his imagination and curiosity for years. So Mark and his friend visit the site that marks a long-ago crime.
When they enter the area, the world drops away beneath their feet. They land in another world and learn they’ve been summoned to the Elemental Realm. This powerful place is under attack. Now Mark must lead an army against a darkly magical being and the beasts he controls to make it back home, save his family, and right an ancient crime.
John Holland grew up in the Australian outback and currently lives in Townsville, Queensland Australia. He has been a stockman, miner, road worker, professional hunter, newspaper columnist and media officer for a politician. He is the author of several books of poetry and fiction.
Nicci Carrera grew up hiking and skiing near Lake Tahoe, California and currently lives in San Diego. After careers in non-profit and then in the computer industry, she works full time as a writer and is the author of two novels in the romance genre as well as a co-author of a children’s book.
Hello from the trenches of our big move. It doesn’t need to be said that moving from a house where you’ve lived for 20+ years is a challenge, LOL! One challenge is to find homes for things you aren’t keeping or recycling them when that’s not possible. The process puts the mantra Reduce, Reuse, Recycle into big focus. I’ve learned even more about what our waste service can and cannot recycle.
I get excited when we successfully give something away let alone sell things. Selling is very nice like for our huge relatively new home fitness item. That hasn’t happened yet, but hopefully it will. And note to self, if I ever feel I need something like that again, get it used!
We did however find a home for a 70 year old piano I inherited. Yay! It won’t go to landfill. We’ve scoured the local area to find it a home. A piano is just too big a thing to take to the dump and it would be horrible, it still works!
The thing is I am bad at playing the piano and my husband has perfect pitch and timing so hearing me play is actually painful for him, LOL. If I want to do it in the future, I’ll get an electronic keyboard that has a headset (used).
We have not been exceeding our recycle and garbage allotment each week, so that’s good.
These days it’s all about reuse. I love giving away items at thrift stores and then getting “new” items there which I will keep for awhile then trade back in. It’s a new (used) way to live.
I’m shocked that I’m suddenly willing to reduce my library. I had hundreds of books, many inherited. But I’m ready. We decided to keep two large and one small book case. Books are still important to us but we are only going to keep a third of them.
I asked these questions as I went through the collection and it helped me make choices that I think in the long run will help me enjoy my books more because I won’t have any I don’t love and/or need. Or maybe I did love it but I won’t reread it. My husband made his choices similarly but a little differently.
Will I read it or re-read it this year?
Will I refer to it within the next year?
Can I borrow it from the library?
Is it a seminal book in a field like psychology, anthropology, history or philosophy? (This was my husband’s choice to keep because for me these didn’t pass 1, 2, & 3.)
Is it an important novel (that I also like)?
Is it one of my favorite books?
Is it a duplicate?
If I could keep just one book by an author or about a topic, which would it be?
I thought I’d never sell our house. We live in a great place and have put in a lot of sweat equity to make it the way we like it. But we are moving to San Diego so we can kayak every day. We stayed there for a month in April and loved it, even including living in tight quarters.
I almost can’t believe I’m doing it, but it has been a process of exploring this idea. To my surprise I’ve come to the point that I’m not only willing but excited to move. Here are five reasons that weighed in favor of making this move.
A house is a lot to take care of and that maintenance time instead could be going into fun activities we enjoy together.
Less maintenance, more time writing.
A community with a lot of retirees where it’s easy to make friends.
We’ll be closer to our son and daughter-in-law.
Lots of outdoor activity, better health and hopefully a longer life!
How about you? Have you moved after retirement or do you plan to? Know any friends who’ve moved?
Carrowmore is old, 4,000 – 3,000 BC, but one of the tombs probably dates back to 5,400 to 4,600 BC. As part of the Neolithic Stone Age, we know people farmed, and we also know they had burial rituals.
This picture is a little out of focus, but it gives you an idea of what the experts think the burial rites might have been. There is evidence of pottery, tools, and bone rings from walrus tusks.
These are passage tombs. Here is a close up of the little figures showing a dramatization of what might have been their rituals. I always think of tombs being for old people, but of course infant mortality must have been high, and maybe their rituals helped them find some purpose in their loss.
The museum display humanizes the site before going out into the rain to look at rocks. The grass was long and soaked our sneakers at the start of a long day of driving and sight seeing. I’m so glad we did it though.
What are cold feet compared to seeing what people were doing five to seven thousand years ago?
Before we headed out to Carrowmore, we had made a quick stop at Lough Gill. It was pretty and peaceful, at least until a couple men showed up with barking dogs off-leash. Before that, I felt transported to my philosophical youth when Yeats’ poetry thrilled me so much. And I had my hand-knit wool sweater from the Aran Islands to keep me warm.
I found the whole area mystical, and if I have one regret about the trip it’s that we didn’t spend three days in Sligo. Here’s a photo of the town, which was beautiful and had nice restaurants beside the river.
I want to go back, but I never will. Even though I was lucky to get to go once, it’s still strange to think I’ll never return. That is life; it is finite even for those of us who live in this time with our longer lifespans (compared to stone age lifespans). Even though we all like to say “Next time,” with a laugh, we all know there won’t be a next time. Travel is intense and fleeting.
I’m actually writing a novel about that among other things. Back to it!
When I was a kid I glazed over when viewing a sociology and archaeology text books showing the remains of ancient civilizations. I thought it was boring. But no more. Traveling inspires me to learn and seeing ruins in person is exciting.
In Dublin, our first stop on the trip, I wanted a little orientation to the ancient sites we would be seeing on our journey, so we walked over to the famed Archaeology site of the National Museum of Ireland.
Immediately upon entry you are presented with the earliest relics, stone tools discovered from the paleolithic period, the earliest stone age.
Wow, that’s old. This is not boring. My excitement at getting to see sites of early humans was growing. Here they are starting to use tools. Later, we would make it to Dun Aengus where we didn’t see such ancient relics but did get to see the approximate iron-age (circa 600 – 200 BC) hilltop fort.
Here’s information about the Paleolithic Period.
I especially love the paleo period, it’s so elemental without a lot of social structure and belief systems, or maybe none, just the struggle to survive and getting better at it by turning rocks into tools. However it looked like we weren’t going to see a lot of Paleolithic relics in Ireland.
After that was the Mesolithic era.
In 2006, at the edge of a raised bog in Clowanstown Co. Meath, four conical fish traps were excavated. Organic Mesolithic artifacts like these are exceptionally rare in Ireland and, due to their fragile nature, a large-scale conservation project was undertaken. Although flattened when found, the traps retained a distinctive V-shape with evidence for constrictions at the open ends. Slender rods and twisted wefts of alder, birch and rosewood were woven together using an open-twined technique. The traps would originally have been positioned on the bed of a small lake adjacent to a mooring or walkway. Also found at the site was a possible model boat made from a pomaceous fruitwood such as apple, pear or hawthorn, dating to between c 5300-5050 BC, and a number of lithics.
The most important period for this trip was the Neolithic era because this was the timeframe of the relics and ruins we visited.
Neolithic settlement (3700 – 2500 BC): Neolithic settlements in Ireland were adapted to the mild but moist climate of the time. Family units lived in rectangular houses and practiced mixed farming. The walls of the houses were constructed of split oak timbers set in trenches and held in position with small stones. These houses were used for a short period, perhaps a single generation. Remains of wheat, barley, sloes, blackberries, crab-apples and hazelnuts have been found and bones of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs also survive. Household goods included undecorated, often shouldered, pottery bowls used for storage and cooking. Small tools of land such as arrowheads, blades, knives and scrapers were in use for a range of functions well-polished stone axes and adzes were in use to clear woodlands for and for carpentry.
People began to farm in the Neolithic stone age, and they have left behind ruins of their civilizations. Here are some the impressive passage tombs of Carrowmore in Sligo County, which are dated to 3700-2900 BC.
A Neolithic tomb at Carrowmore, Sligo County, Ireland
This is going to have to be continued because I wanted to get this posted, and it’s going to take a while to work through all of this archaeology. And I know you don’t have much time to read either! Have a great week.
I condemn the brutal attack on innocent human beings in New Zealand. Those who seek a few laughs and approval from their like-minded invisible audiences on social media are empty. Their violence against those who seek meaning through their spirituality and rigorous devotion to a higher calling is horrifying, an affront to humanity, and a heartbreaking tragedy, but it does not create meaning, nor does it obviate the meaning of their victims or their lives.
Acts of violence and hatred are meaningless, and the perpetrators are the manifestation of the lowest levels of human nature. Those who strive to be more, to create meaning through devotion to spirituality, knowledge, rightness, kindness, art, family or community are the manifestations of the highest levels of human nature. It is to these human beings, they are not just victims, they have lived honorably, and it is to them and to their ideals, that I devote my attention.