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Friday, October 30, 2015

Darning Needle...Huh?



I was stopped for a light while driving home from a town run and caught sight of a dragonfly zooming through my file of vision. When growing up, I always heard them called 'darning needles.' This turned on my curiosity switch so I've been checking out the origins for both names.

One piece of folklore that does seem to ring true is the "Devil's Darning Needle", a name used to frighten 
small children with the threat of having their mouths sewn shut if they misbehaved.

A species of insects that have inhabited our planet for almost 300 million years, dragonflies and their family 

belongs to the Odonata family. Odonata comes from the Greek word for tooth as Odonates were believed 

to have teeth. While dragonflies don’t have ‘teeth,’ they have strong mandibles that they use to crush their 

prey. 


The dragonfly normally lives most of its life as a nymph or an immature. It flies only for a fraction of its life 

and usually not more than a few months. The dragonfly can move at an amazing 45 miles an hour; hover like

 a helicopter fly backwards like a hummingbird, fly straight up, down and on either side.The dragonfly’s 

scurrying flight across water is thought to represent going beyond what’s on the surface and looking into the 

deeper implications and aspects of life.

As a predator, they eat many insects that might plague your home and yard, including mosquitoes, houseflies,ants and bees. including  In China, people associate the dragonfly with prosperity, harmony and as a good luck charm.

However, the origin of their name is a bit of mystery.  In a book written by Eden Emanuel Sarot in 1958 
entitled Folklore of the Dragonfly: A Linguistic Approach he theorized that the name dragonfly actually 

came about because of an ancient Romanian Folktale.According to Sarot, the peasantry of that time actually 

viewed the Devil’s Horse as a giant fly and that they may have started referring to it as the ‘Devil’s Fly’ 

(instead of Devil’s Horse). He stated that the Romanian word for Devil was "drac," but that drac was also 

the Romanian word for dragon.


My thanks to http://www.dragonfly-site.com/meaning-symbolize.html#sthash.im6T940z.dpuf for supplying 

much of this information. Now you know more about dragonflies than you ever wanted to know, right?

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Necessary Evil

I've spent the past two days revising my latest work-in-progress, Not Bound By Blood. Other than a mild case of eye-strain, I've survived. I may need to go through the manuscript one more time, focusing on something obvious my reader pointed out--an excessive use of the word 'as.'

We authors all appear to have our favorite word, or overuse some familiar form of sentence structure. At one time, mine was that ubiquitous word 'that' and it took a bit of vigilance to break myself of the habit. So, apparently, this is another little quirk I need to bring under control.

Did I hear someone ask what Not Bound By Blood was about? Happy to oblige. I conceive of the novel as a story of a life-long friendship. It begins in high school when Blanche LaRue and Miriam Meyer meet. Blanche is a flamboyant redhead whose all-consuming goal is to become a world-famous actress. Miriam is a long-distance runner who is discovered while still a teen. With a teacher's encouragement and a lot of training, she qualifies for the Olympics which are held in Berlin in 1929.

The story idea began when I came across something about Betty Robinson who won the first Olympic 100 meter for women.  I'm not sure how Blanche insinuated herself into the story,but you know how sneaky some of these characters are. 

I actually began writing this story in 2000; got a couple hundred pages written then got halted in the writing because of the difficulty of taking these two friends, one in small-town America, the other in a Broadway production appearing in Paris at the time of its occupation, through the war.

The manuscript sat on a shelf for years until I made the decision this year to finish writing their story. What I'll do with it next is anybody's guess.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ah-h-h...What To Do?


Spoke with a friend who is in an envious position. Her novel is near to publication and she's considering her choices. A couple agents have expressed already interest in acquiring her work (multiple novels actually.) A mid-press publisher is awaiting her possible submission...and she's even working toward the possibility of self-publishing by acquiring a book cover design of her choice.

My how the book publishing industry has changed in recent years. When I first stepped into these swirling waters many years ago, the acceptable practice for someone seeking their primary book publication was to first acquire an agent. That was because most major publishing houses had notorious rejection records for what was then called 'over the transom' submissions.

Back then, agents held immense power and never lacked for new clients so they could be selective when taking on new ones. It was a catch-22 situation - you couldn't get accepted without an agent and agents were difficult to acquire.

The advent of digital publishing has turned the publishing industry upside-down and 'those that were' are now scrambling to maintain their toe-hold in the industry. With the blooming of self-publishing, the walls have come tumbling down even more.

My friend expressed anxiety about getting published because of her age but with authors more in control of their project's future, even that hindrance has dissipated. If you've got the energy to do the required, there's no need to prove your eligibility to become an income-producing machine for others anymore.

The really important factor to success is a well-crafted work and passion for your book. In this new world of publishing, there's no telling how far those two factors will take you.

By the way - if you're looking for a quick read, my collection of short stories, The Stirred Pot, just came back into print (courtesy of CreateSpace, of course.) http://www.amazon.com/Stirred-Pot-Collection-Short-Stories/dp/1517070104/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1445097126&sr=1-1&keywords=gay+ingram

Saturday, October 10, 2015

When In Doubt...

Sometime a blog topic will just scream to be written. Then, there are times like this week when all thoughts of writing anything are buried beneath a heavy to-do list. So, I came to this site today rather empty-headed. Duh! Did I just say that about myself? Oh well, if the shoe fits....

When the brain goes blank, I can always fall back on a  reliable practice ...I will count a few blessings I experienced this week.
  1. For my birthday, on Tuesday, which turned out to be a day of rest and relaxation in the midst of a very hectic week. My Facebook friends showered me with over 100 best wishes for which I am quite thankful.
  2. For my supportive and considerate husband who overcame his present condition's restrictions and arranged for me to receive a lovely basket of flowers on that special day.
  3. For the competent and capable talents of a young man who spent eleven hours over two days assisting me in cleanup efforts. Well, to be honest, I assisted him. I admire his confidence in keeping the machinery operating so the five dead trees lying across the fence were cut up and hauled away. 
  4. For the encouraging words from my first reader of the recently completed novel Not Bound By Blood. This project started way back in 2000.
  5. For the strength and endurance to complete the gathering of brush piles and loading them on the trailer. After a summer spent mostly at a computer, it was good to be physically active again. Losing three pounds over those two days was a good thing also.
Looking back, it certainly was a busy week; I even managed to fit in three meetings and a trip to Tyler lastly on Friday to get hubby enrolled in the Veterans' Medical Services program.

And perhaps, there will be time to start the research for a future project next week.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Remember Mai Lin?

I just took the time to look at responses by readers of my  latest, Mai Lin. Perhaps you'll be interested in what they said about this story.

"This is a wonderful book written in period. I love how well the characters are developed, especially Mai Lin. This is the kind of book that once you pick it up, you won't want to put it down until you're finished."  Ruthie at www.facebook.com/clark.ruthie?fref=ts

"A wonderfully entertaining read told from the viewpoint of nine year old Mai Lin as she grows up.By ladycamper 

"Mai Lin's story is poignant. Mrs.Ingram did a fabulous job taking me to San Francisco right before the earth quaked in 1906" from Phyllis A. Still.

"Mai Lin: Another New Beginning by Gay Ingram is an easy, comfortable novel drawing the reader into the life of an eight year old Chinese girl." ByGaland Fox Nuchols

And one more from a male perspective: "I loved reading this book. I could picture this book as it was playing like a movie in my mind. Everything from the earth shake to people running through the streets just as if I was in a movie theatre watching it on the big screen.." By Steven

O'm ever so grateful for those readers who took the time to post a review. Thanks, folks!