Monday, January 26, 2015

The Classics - Opening Lines: White Fang by Jack London"Dark Spruce frowned on either side of the frozen waterway. The trees had been stripped by a recent wind of their white covering of frost, and they seemed to lean toward each other, black and ominous, in the fading light. A vast silence reigned over the land."      Published 1906

I love the classics and plan to share some "opening lines" over the coming months. Comment if you like, or read for inspiration. Writing styles were different then, but were they really?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things: Chocolate, Fresh Air, and A Little Progress

  • Fresh air under a bright blue sky,  temperature in the fifties, one afternoon outdoors. Daffodils were coming up in pots in my garden shed. Geese overhead in the sky, honking noisily. Have never seen V-formations so large.  
  • A little progress on the book. Still tinkering with the final chapter and getting ready to submit. Spent time exploring Query Tracker. Just out of curiosity has anyone had good results with this site? Did you find an agent or publisher?     

Have a Nice Weekend!


Thank you Lexa Cain for hosting this blog hop!
And co-hosts: L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge  
and Katie @ TheCyborgMom

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Africa Mercy - Time Goes By: One Nurse's Journey

Marilyn's journey on the Africa Mercy continues. She describes a visit to an orphanage - "Grins were priceless," she writes.  ------Sharon

(This is a running email post written by a volunteer nurse serving on the Africa Mercy, a hospital ship that travels the African coast).

9 Jan 2015

Time goes by...but nothing changes.  We still don't know how this field service is going to go for the eye team.  I feel like I'm waiting for the second shoe to drop...and waiting...and waiting.

We have finished the first week of screening in the capital city of Tana, where we had hoped to find an abundance of patients.  They were not abundant...but not so scarce that we need to close down the program--at least, not yet.  Usually, the first day of screening brings out the biggest crowds, but for our first day in Tana, only about 120-150 people showed up, and only 6 of them qualified for surgery.

Discouraging!  But, on the second day, approximately 400 people came, and the number of surgeries doubled.  On the third day, fewer people came, but more of them were surgical candidates, bringing our scheduled surgeries to a total of 42.  I haven't heard yet how the fourth day(today) went.

It's surprising that the numbers are increasing each day instead of decreasing.  Forty-two is not even one week's worth of surgeries, but if the numbers keep on increasing, we may yet find enough patients to keep our surgeons gainfully employed.  Or not.  It is really hard to predict at this point.

We were supposed to begin surgeries on January 19th, one week from now, but they've decided to delay the start-up for another week.  That way, our second week of screening in Tana has a chance of filling the surgery schedule far enough ahead so that we don't run out of patients in mid-week.  Meanwhile, the container with the mattresses for the Hope Center arrived today, so perhaps that will solve the problem of where to house our Tana patients for the two nights they are in town.  I haven't heard if the transportation issues have been worked out yet or not.  I certainly hope so!  Slowly, slowly, the pieces fall into place--pretty much at the last minute, it seems to me.

Meanwhile, those of us who didn't go to Tana had an interesting week here.  Some of our time was spent doing the tasks normally done by the people who were screening in Tana--doing check-ups on patients who had surgery before Christmas, screening random people who showed up at the clinic hoping for surgery in the future.  A couple of days, though, we were able to do some extra things.  One day we went to a nursing home and gave the folks there some reading glasses.  They seemed really pleased to get them.  It was lovely to see how the staff worked with the residents there--so much kindness.

The highlight of the week, though, was our trip to an orphanage for mentally and physically handicapped kids.  We couldn't do much for them, but we briefly examined their eyes and then gave each one of them some cute sunglasses.  There was a mirror in the room we were using, so we'd take them to the mirror to see how they looked.  The grins were priceless.  One little girl went prancing out of the room like a movie star--she knew she looked good!

Next week will again be a combination of post-op checkups and screening, both at the clinic and in a couple of towns outside of Tamatave.  We're still just rolling along, doing the best we can to find patients and to bring a little light and good cheer to the people we meet along the way.

The future?  Well, stay tuned...


  Marilyn Neville

[Click here to learn more about the nurses and doctors on board the Africa Mercy.]

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Classics - Opening Lines: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."     Published 1859

I love the classics and plan to share some "opening lines" over the coming months. Comment if you like, or read for inspiration. Writing styles were different then, but were they really?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things: The Cure for Yesterday Is Today

"I have no Yesterdays,
Time took them away.
Tomorrow may not be,
But I have Today"

----Pearl Yeadon McGinnis

Well, we DO have the memories of those yesterdays, but point taken.We cannot turn back the clock. One memory I cherish is of my family in the above photo, taken at a recent wedding. A good title I think would simply be "love." What do you think? It still warms my heart to see it.  

I hope you have a good day. Or if this is your day's end, ask yourself, did you move one step forward, several maybe? Great! A goal achieved. Maybe it wasn't a 'task day' at all, but a 'people day'. Perhaps you didn't budge at all but sat with a sick child all day or cared for an ailing parent, spouse or friend. Whatever your moment in time, I hope it was one of your best days. 

Have a Nice Weekend Everyone!

Thank you Lexa Cain for hosting this blog hop!
And co-hosts: L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge  
and Katie @ TheCyborgMom

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Young Reader's Choice Awards: 2014

The YRCA is the oldest children's choice award in the U.S. and Canada. Sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Library Association (rep. Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Washington; Alberta and British Columbia), the award was first established in 1940 by Harry Hartman, a book seller in Seattle. He believed that every child deserved the opportunity to read a book that gave them pleasure. Award nominations come from children, teachers, parents and librarians. 


--Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney, series "Diary of a Wimpy Kid." (Harry N. Abrams, 2011) 

--The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan, series "Heroes of Olympus." (Disney-Hyperion, reprint, 2013) 

--Divergent by Veronica Roth, Book 1. 
(Katherine Tegen Books, 2011)



Junior Division (12 under)

--Cabin Fever - Jeff Kinney (Harry N. Abrams, 2011) 

--Wonderstruck - Brian Selznick (Scholastic Press, 2011)

--13 Gifts - Wendy Mass (Scholastic Inc., 2013) 

--Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life - James Patterson (Little, Brown and Company; Reprint, 2012)

--Darth Paper Strikes Back - Tom Angleberger (Harry N. Abrams, 2011)

--The Last Council - Kazu Kibuishi ("Amulet" series, GRAPHIX, 2011)

--Big Nate Out Loud - Lincoln Peirce (
Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2011)

--The Medusa Plot - Gordon Korman ("The 39 Clues" series, Scholastic Incl, 2011)


Middle Division (mostly 12 up) 

--The Son of Neptune - Rick Riordan ("Heroes of Olympus" series, (Disney-Hyperion, reprint, 2013)
--Between Shades of Gray - Ruta Sepetys (Speak, 2012)

--Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic Press, 2011)

--Okay for Now - Gary D. Schmidt (HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint, 2013)

--The Outcasts - John Flanagan ("Brotherband Chronicles." Puffin; Reprint, 2012)

--Legend - Marie Lu (Speak; reprint, 2013)

--Michael Vey: the Prisoner of Cell 25 - Richard Paul Evans (Simon Pulse/Mercury Ink; Reprint, 2012)

--This Dark Endeavor - Kenneth Oppel (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reprint, 2012)

Senior Division (teen)

--Divergent - Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen Books, 2011)
--Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs (Quirk Books; Reprint, 2013)

--Angel: a Maximum Ride Novel - James Patterson (Little, Brown and Company, 2012)

--Tiger's Curse - Colleen Houck (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014)

--What Happened to Goodbye - Sarah Dessen (Speak (April 9, 2013)

--Ruby Red - Kerstin Gier (Trilogy-Book 1; Square Fish, Reprint,  2012)

--Ready Player One - Ernest Cline (Broadway Books, 2012)

--Karma - Cathy Ostlere (Razorbill; Reprint, 2012)