Page the Second


A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Monday, October 26, 2015

In the Interest of All Hallows Eve

While not being a zombie fan, it's nearly All Hallows Eve and this year I've decided to do Johnathan Coulton songs, mainly because he writes fabulous (and crazy and fairly warped) lyrics. Enjoy, my crackpot friends!
Well gee. Nobody ever ruined a pony for me. I think I might be both relieved and a little misty-eyed over that fact.
For those of us who were painfully geeky in high school. And there were a crowd of us, luckily, so I could hide out in their midst and blend in a little. I HAVE managed to make dolphins speak. The rest can only be a hop and a whir down the road. And it would have to be a pony or something since I'm already happily married.

Code Monkey is funny but has some bad language, so I won't put that one on.

So here's one of my old favs:

Yeah, it's still zombies, but pretty darn catchy. And ghoulish. And yet sweet.

Happy All Hallows Eve!

The Spide


The year is winding down to NANOWRIMO--National Write a Novel in a Month month--November. Therefore I am getting as much done now as I can before the first of the month.
I have big plans to write MUDLARKS therein. I shall be wallowing in Dickens to my heart's content, as the above book shall be as close to a Dickensian novel as I can make it. I wish I'd already gotten to go over and actually muck around in the Thames mud, (I know. Barking mad.) but not only is that trip not happening until next May or so, but I don't know if we'll get down into London. We'll be up in Ireland--a place I've ALWAYS wanted to go, though not under a bridge near the Thames.

So. In preparation, I've just finished approving the first half of the rewrites for the second printing of SUNRISE OVER SCIPIO today. I also wrote an alternative ending for SUMMERHOUSE, the next book coming out. Later today I'll probably get into THE DAY IT RAINED GLASS if I have edits back. I'm also trying to finish sending out Beta versions of MARIN AT THE WELL.

For your viewing pleasure and because I think you're pretty cool for coming here, Here's a snatch of MARIN ATW. I hope you like it:

I wondered where the rest of the sheep and goats had strayed. I loudly cussed them out until I remembered it was all my fault. I was the shepherd. I should have been paying attention. Now I'd have to fix the problem or I'd cost us loads of money and food and wool for Martha to weave. Then I yelled at myself—something I never did. In my regular life, mistakes I made rarely showed a clear picture of the consequences as this mistake would.
But how could I get that fat ewe back up the cliff? The ledge she stood on was tiny. I could barely stand on the ledge and it didn't look all that stable. I couldn't see anything nearby that would work.
“Why don't you talk to Me, Marin?” I heard in my head.
“Great. Now I'm going insane and hearing voices,” I said to no one in particular. “Must be sleep deprivation and eating who-knows-what.” And then I caught myself and giggled a little hysterically. “No, it's sheep deprivation.”
I thought I heard a mental groan. Or maybe it was my pun-detesting side rearing its ugly head. But the voice was there, quiet but strong like my dad's heavy test fishing line. “You aren't delusional.”
“Said my crazy head. I doubt any really loony person thinks they're insane.”
“Be still and know that I am God.” I felt the power of that statement zip around my body, arcing between my fingers, lifting the hairs on the back of my neck. Power. Real power.
That got me. I would never have said that in my head. So I was hearing God now? Inside my head like it was coming over my headphones? “Why haven't I ever heard Your voice before?”
“You were not listening.”
“How is it any different today?”
“You are ready. Ask Me.”
“Okay. Will You...Thee...whatever...get this stupid sheep up the cliff?”
“It does not work that way.”
“Of course not.” I folded my arms and glared up at the sky. I felt like stomping, but I was afraid the ground would give way and I'd be down there with the dumb sheep.
“What do you really want?”
“I don't know. Help.”
“Study it out in your mind. This is your test.”
“Well if you won't get the sheep up the cliff, would You at least make me strong enough to do it myself? And could You strengthen the ledge so it won't fall away and take us both with it?”
“There is a stick over there.”
I looked around and spotted a broken sapling lying on the ground not far from me. I could have sworn it wasn't there before. I'd have noticed it and added it to my short list of things that probably wouldn't work. What was a stick supposed to do? I couldn't just lean the stick against the wall and hope the sheep could scramble up it.
Every couple of minutes I considered giving up. I mean, why was I putting all this effort into helping one stupid sheep? It's not as if I'd be around to miss it. Plus I was ignoring all the rest of the missing sheep to help this one. But a growing feeling inside me told me this was something I had to do. I'd never really pushed through in my former life. If a job was difficult, I bailed. Clean up dog logs? Bleah! Wash my own clothes? Mom's job. I mean, who wants to ruin her manicure if there are people payed to do the work for you?
This, though, I had to see to the end.
I wanted to ask for an idea, but I figured God had done enough helping, or at least He'd think He had. It was up to me to come up with something. I was still kind of freaked that He talked to me at all. I thought about calling for Joab, but he'd taken off as soon as it looked like I was crazy. He was probably far away by now. Even if he wasn't, he'd mock me for losing all my sheep. So that wasn't going to happen.
I picked up the stick and looked at it, turning it this way and that. I could use it to whack the sheep, but it wouldn't do any good if the sheep couldn't get up the cliff. I could maybe make a halter with my head scarf, fish it down with the stick onto the sheep's neck and haul the thing up, but the old biddy would just strangle. I'd just have to climb down on that ledge and boost her up. Maybe I could put the stick under her hind end and push with it. Hopefully I wouldn't get kicked to death.
I rolled onto my stomach and dangled my legs until they were about a foot from the ledge. There was nothing for it but to jump. Getting back up? Unless the sheep helped me out like I helped it, I'd be out of luck. And believe me, I already knew sheep were total ninnies.
I jumped.
The ledge crumbled alarmingly but most of it held.
“Tie your veil around the ewe's neck and don't let go of the end when she climbs out.” I heard those words as clear as tap water. So I did that. Maneuvering on the ledge was as hard as trying to share a bathroom with my little sister. Finally I managed to straddle the sheep and angle the stick under its rear and rest it on my bent knees. Talk about heavy! This one must have been grazing on lead. I pushed with all my might and felt it's legs scrabbling against the cliff side, knocking dirt and pebbles bouncing past me, reminding me how far it was to the bottom.
My whole body shook with effort, sweat slicking my hands and trickling down my back. At the extreme end of my strength, I gasped, “Some help here, please?”
Suddenly I felt strength flow into my body. I was able to bench press that fat old biddy the last bit up the wall until she could get purchase with her hooves. She lunged up and stood there like someone had carefully trained her, waiting for me to haul myself up using my delicate veil. Amazingly nothing tore. Inch by inch I staggered up the wall until I fell stomach-first at the sheep's feet, gasping for air, my muscles twanging guitar strings.
When I could, I sat up and looked that sheep in the face. She stood there placidly chewing her version of gum with a vacant look in her eye. I had a new yardstick for stupid. “Thanks and no thanks. I'm going to call you Ethel because it's the worst name I can think of, you fat tub of lard.” I felt a presence waiting. “Oh! And thank You, God.”
“You're welcome.”
© 2016 by H. Linn Murphy

Leave me a comment sometime...:o)

Friday, October 23, 2015


This is a book after my own heart. Not only is BRIDGES OF THE HEART a time travel book, but it's about finding one's roots. And the cool thing is that I am very loosely related to these roots through one of the many branches.

"What's the big deal about roots?" you might ask. "Those people are dead and gone." Which is true, but still pertinent. How can one know himself if he doesn't know where he has come from? Everything we know is the sum total of other people's work. Even if we make some kind of scientific breakthrough, we stand on the shoulders of people who have gone before.

Also, we wouldn't be here if not for those long-dead people who mingled their DNA and their experiences to form families. We are only beginning to scratch the surface of how much information communicates from our forbears through blood and shared memory, as well as word of mouth, written word, and extant artifacts.

Rachel Lisenby has lost her mother and her way. She blunders away from the man who wants to marry her, anguishing because her mother won't be there to adjust her veil or smooth her train or any number of other things a mother might do for her daughter's wedding.

In a fit of pique she tells Maxson to start dating again, which he does. Now Rachel has to watch as he gets ready to pop the question to her nemesis--a girl who swipes everything from her. As Rachel stews over the problem, she meets a strange man, who advises her to call Maxson and apologize. She thinks this Johnathan is a crazy person and isn't about to follow his instructions, especially not on his engagement evening.

But Johnathan has help. Rachel is somehow catapulted two hundred years into the past--to pre-Civil War North Carolina and finds herself trying to solve a murder mystery while still keeping the secret that she's a time traveler. She must unravel the mysteries, build bridges between family members she scarcely knew before, and keep from upsetting the time stream all while trying to learn how to use a flat iron, ride a mule, and dance around some strong-willed characters.

Three fateful pennies from her pocket make no end of mischief for Rachel. She's tossed into jail by a man who is the spitting image of her sweetheart.

Even though I had to sit at my computer to read the whole thing, I barely moved. This story was well written, delightfully plotted, and engaging. The characters are rich and well rounded. I could just see Lucretia's scrubbed floors and hear her grating, growly voice. I worried over Sam, the runaway slave, his eyes wide in the darkness of the outhouse. I wanted to hug Jane and kick Mr. Carter for his petty bigotry. Jane's and Rachel's problems were real and spoke to my heart.

I can also smell the jasmine from Jane's 200 year old blanket on Rachel's bed. I'll have to ask Joan if that's an actual thing. I'd love to see it, if so.

Speak to your ancestors. If you learn their stories, they become real people, not just an amorphous mass of DNA in your far past. Often fact can be freakier than fiction, even.

I loved BRIDGES OF THE HEART and I think you will too. You can buy this book here. Thank you, Joanie. Tell me another story.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Our Shooting Star

Someone greased the hourglass. Seriously. Everybody's growing up and getting all gorgeous and stuff. Except me. I still head off to that alternate universe where I'm a twenty year old ballerina. Yeah. Pay no mind to the old bat at the controls.

So hey, I'm going to take a break from book reviews and tout a fantastically gifted young lady.
Sophie Kleinman is my niece. She and her sisters are the coolest kids. In fact I like all my nieces and nephews.

But this one stands out in a crowd.

Not only is she a pretty stellar student, but she also plays in her school band as well as classical guitar and the piano among other lovely talents.

Then there's this:
On a dewy autumn morning, just as the sun is topping the horizon, a young girl wades through the grass to a good spot. She stops, pulls an arrow from her quiver, nocks it, pulls it smoothly back to her cheek, and lets fly. The arrow finds it's way unerringly to the absolute center of the bull's eye. Every time.

She calls to her dad, who comes to join her. "Let's have a contest," he says. She grins and nocks an arrow. In the flicker of an eye she has shorn him of all delusions. "Okay, let's do another." Sorry, Dad. It won't help.

It's not Katniss Everdeen this time. Sophie is a real world class archer. She took first in the USA nationals in NASP archery and was only a point off the boy's score. In the recent NASP World Archery tournament in Nashville Tennessee, Sophie's group of four took first in the world. She is sixth in the world for eighth grade girls and thirty second in the world for all school-aged kids. That includes high school students. And it includes boys. Sophie is in eighth grade.

Just recently Kentucky started back into its archery tourney year with the Kentucky state games. Sophie soared to first place over all comers, including her father, who won first place for adults.

I'm so proud of her I could just bust. But what makes me even prouder is the kind of girl she is. Sophie knows who she is and basically where she wants to go. She loves Christ and wants to serve Him. She has a beautiful light about her, which radiates outward to all who meet her, shining through clear blue eyes.

I don't get to see Sophie and her wonderful sisters often enough. Maybe they could teach me a thing or two about actually hitting what I'm aiming for, in more ways than one.

Sophie, You GO, Girl!