One book leads to another...

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Captive Occupations

While our New England neighbors are without a doubt joyously engaged in the annual practice of “Leaf-peeping” (I love this phrase!) and experiencing a spike in tourism as well, here in the Sonoran desert as Monarchs migrate south, we gape in apprehensive awe at Raptors in flight, often flying so low and so close you can almost feel their wings brush your skin. With the exception of Scavenger birds such as Vultures who consider anything that dies on the highway fair game, and cause for a party (tiny electric cars beware), the Harris’s Hawks are the only regional birds of prey observed to hunt in family groups, and only in the Sonoran desert. Now is the best time of year to visit the best place to see these magnificent Raptor flights at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum – if you happen to be in our neck of the Saguaros.  Happy Gaping!

Welcome to November, everyone! And, on this, the first Wednesday of the month (every month) – Happy Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day! It’s an online gathering of authors, writers, bloggers and poets – anyone who dares put pen to paper or fingers to keys - where you’ll find helpful tips, handy resources, the latest trends in publishing, and a comfortable place for hundreds of writers – just like you and I – to share our writing journeys!
Feel free to meander and mingle. Our gracious co-hosts this month are:
For member news and fresh and witty movie reviews, our esteemed founder, Alex Cavanaugh has it all!  

As For Me:

Of late, there seems to be a lot of fuss about writing characters not of your own identity. Without extensive research or personal experience, I can understand the concern for unintended misrepresentations. However, if general interpretations are not derived from open minds, as they were for at least one famous author I could (but won’t) name, it would appear that heroic plants make less controversial characters. Here are some personal testimonies on Writing the Otherwe could post on a sticky note as we go boldly forth in National Novel Writing Month.

How’s this for an occupation:  No-Content Publishing. Can you believe it? I had to know more. And now that I do, I’m truly amazed at the brilliance of the idea itself, let alone the marketing strategy.

IWSG Optional Question of the Month:  What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever googled in researching a story?

Because we see more and more instances these days, I looked up Shoe Tossing. I had an idea that the reasons for the practice might well be somewhat nefarious since evidence seemed to suggest it happened to Johnny Ringo (whose occupation, by the way, is listed as “Outlaw”) as his boots were found strung together and hanging on the saddle of his horse, a half-mile away from where Johnny’s lifeless body was found on the bank of Turkey Creek. While Doc Holladay may not have been his actual Huckleberry, it was Johnny himself who tied – and tossed - his own boots to keep them free of scorpions while he napped in the shade of an Oak tree. I can’t express how vindicated I felt to learn that what I’ve been preaching about scorpions since before I reached the height of a grasshopper is absolutely real!

Having watched two movies in the same month that referenced such an event (NEXT, and RAISING DION), I looked up fish rain. I imagine my (earlier) interest in electric shock drowning (by lightning) might have raised a few eyebrows. Do you suppose I’d get a roundhouse gasp for combining both events in the same story?

Fun Facts:

Children born in autumn are generally more studious in school, and tend to live well into their nineties! 

Happy Writing!


  1. Hi, diedre!

    Thanks for tagging out with that fun fact, dear friend. My birthday's coming up later this month. While I wasn't exactly "more studious in school," its's interesting to learn that I will live well into my nineties. That's disappointing, though, because I was shooting for 100+ :)

    Thanks for identifying the birds of prey in your desert region. I had fun Googling and reading more about them. We have hawks and owls on our property and it is fascinating to watch them hunt and capture prey.

    I never heard of No-Content Publishing, but it doesn't surprise me that it is so successful. Let us remember that Seinfeld was a TV show about nothing, and I am sure you remember pet rocks. As an author wannabe I think I have a few blank books in me. I'd better get busy not writing them. :) If I buy a bunch I can also boast of a much higher monthly book reading total. :)

    The first year Mrs. Shady and I lived in our new house she found a scorpion in her nightgown when it came out of the dryer. Fortunately this was before she slipped it on for the night.

    It was great seeing you again, dear friend diedre. I wish you a safe and happy November and a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    1. Hi Shady!

      I should have known you were an autumn child, considering all of your accomplishments ;-)

      I think the raptors are awesome, but I cringe to see them catch their prey. I thought roadrunners were gorgeous creatures until I saw what they do to cactus wrens. Nature is just full of lessons, isn't it?

      Ironically, after I'd decided to write about No-content Publishing my daughter showed me her Wish List, which included ten of those blank (other than lines) books ;-) She fills each one with lists of things she needs or wants to do. She will look back on a very busy life, I expect ;-)

      A friend of mine was recently stung by a Bark scorpion when she reached into the utensil bin of her dishwasher - of all places!

      I do hope everyone's Thanksgiving is free of scary bugs and full of love and joy - and sweet potatoes ;-)

      Happy November!

  2. How interesting about people born in fall. And I never heard of fish rais.

    1. Hi Natalie!

      I hadn't either, so both were immensely interesting topics to research ;-)

  3. In the Army, soldiers leaving the service will tie their boots together and toss them into a tree or over power lines to celebrate their return to civilian life. I kept my boots, though. They were so perfectly broken in and comfy! Happy writing in November!

    1. Hi Sadira!

      Now, this is a wonderfully non-nefarious reason to shoe toss! Thank you for your service.

      Happy November!

  4. Hi Patricia!

    I agree. The world is full of stories waiting to be written.

    Happy November!

  5. dIEDRE ~

    You sure covered a lot of (very diverse) territory in this post.

    Now, as I prepare for a real Winter (me no-likey; one day last week, as I drove to work, it was a whopping 9-degrees outside!), I am becoming jealous of you and my brother, who are living in areas where "Winter" translates to "nice weather".

    In Virginia City, there's a tree that's covered with footwear:

    [Link> Footwear Tree in Virginia City, Nevada

    I think whoever started it was copying a tree that I've heard used to be on Highway 50 just outside of Carson City which was a popular place for discarding shoes.

    In fact, although the Highway 50 tree is gone now, [Link> Shoe Tree Brewing Company in Carson City remains as a tribute to its memory.

    ~ D-FensDogG

    1. Howdy Stephen T!

      Thanks for shiverin’ on over ;-) If it’s already that cold where you are, we are indeed on track for what the Almanac calls a “Suspenseful” winter – yikes.

      Interesting how the shoes seem to decorate that gnarly old tree in Virginia City. But why? Curiosity led me to check several sites - to no avail.

      Hope you plan on heading to warmer territory for the holidays!

  6. I've never heard the phrase,“Leaf-peeping," but I love it.

    Interesting that you mention Writing the Other. I hadn't heard of this book, but I've written about what I suppose are "others" for a while now. One thing I haven't managed to do the No Content, but who knows? I might give it a try. Like Shady said, Seinfield made a fortune doing it.

    1. Hi there,

      Writing about 'others' is natural, I think. Without observation there is no inspiration.
      With regard to "No Content" I look at it as buying a book you'll write and one day sell for a fortune ;-)

      Happy November!

  7. We see a few shoes on wires here. Most are just lying in the road. Always the left shoe...
    I lived in Arizona. I know all about scorpions.

    1. Howdy Captain!

      "Always the left shoe..." How riveting!

      We have potato bugs, as well. They don't bite or sting ;-)

  8. "Leaf-peeping" is a phrase I've not heard before. I'd rather be in the Sonora Desert for the cruel winter months! A good fiction writer can surely depict any number of different characters. Good researching skills would definitely make that easier. The no-content publishing idea IS brilliant! Must read more...☺ I always thought shoes slung over power lines were gang-related. Interesting tidbit about scorpions! Thankfully, not a hazard around here. Electric shock drowning and fish rain (never heard of these before) would make a fascinating combination. Interesting traits for fall babies. I'm a winter - much more troublesome. LOL Happy November, diedre!

    1. Hi Debbie!

      We don't mind if winter arrives with just enough force to send the scorpions packing for awhile ;-)
      Aw, I don't know. I read that winter babies tend to have sweeter dispositions, crawl earlier, and are generally better behaved ;-)
      Have a wonderful November!


Any thoughts? Join the conversation, comments welcome here!