Friday, February 18, 2022

Love, Romance, and What Really Counts!

Some guys are born romantics.  They go all out.
Like this romantic young man Terry and I spotted
while walking along Waikiki on Wednesday, March 26, 2014.
He didn't just attract our interest.
He attracted a crowd as he carefully placed glow sticks not far above the lapping waves.

Well!  He definitely had everyone cheering him on!
And females of all ages loved the romance and agonized over what the outcome would be.

A buddy of this romantic young man lured the, hopefully, bride-to-be
out of her hotel room, across the street, and onto the sand.
The young man proposed, the young woman accepted, 
and the crowd cheered, hooted, whooped, clapped, and jumped for joy.
Then we all dispersed into our unknown futures.

I sometimes think about this young couple.
Are they still together and in love almost nine years later?
Are they in it for the long haul?

When you get married you have no clue what you are signing up for.
If you did, you might never have the courage to do it.
The excitement of new love, lust, and passion blinds you to the reality ahead of you.

If you are lucky, all these heady feelings transform into a deeper, stronger love
that carry you and your spouse through life and all its challenges.
(Or partners or significant others who commit to a life together without the licenses.)
It is not an easy road, but if you walk it together through the years, it is a rewarding one.

Terry at the Hideout at the Laylow
January 9, 2022

This year Terry and I will celebrate the fortieth anniversary of our first date
and the thirty-eighth anniversary of our wedding.
I don't know how we got here this fast, but here we are, and still in love!

Terry is a loving, gentle, calm, and intelligent man with a wacky sense of humor.
However, he is not a romantic guy.

I'll admit, he's had his romantic moments during the last forty years,
but he's not one for big gestures,
like giving me an overflowing bouquet of long-stemmed red roses on Valentine's day.
And he wouldn't be caught dead laying glow sticks out on Waikiki sands
and proposing to me with a mob of noisy strangers looking on.

but he's the kind of guy who's there for you in the ways that really count:
The guy who 
drove two of my sisters and me 
around Newfoundland and Labrador for three weeks,
enduring pouring rain, hordes of biting black flies, a winter jacket, hat, and gloves in July, 
downing Screech, kissing a cod, and slogging through a moose-littered bog
while surviving the moods and squabbles of three competitive, stubborn MacBeath sisters.

Terry, Me (Louise), Barb, and Bertie
Thawing Out After Chasing Ice Bergs

He's the guy who coaxed me out from under a weeping birch on a random lawn in Calgary 
where I had sought refuge in the middle of an hysterical, sobbing fit,
because my mother lay dying of renal failure several houses away
and I couldn't bear it anymore.

He's the guy who stood by my side and soothed my thigh one night in an emergency room,
while a male nurse held me in a lock and another male nurse 
threaded a tube through my nose, down my throat and esophagus,
and into my stomach because I was bleeding internally.
Then he helped me give sub plans to a teammate over the phone 
as doctors and nurses came in and out
checking me as my stomach fluids were pumped out,
because obviously I wasn't going to teach the next morning.

He is my rock.

Together in Calgary Last December

The paragraphs that follow are a repeat of a post I published in 2013.
It's one of my favorite memories of so many ways 
Terry shows me how much he loves me.

Last Thursday morning I trudged groggily out to the kitchen to find some coffee
(stuffed to the gills with cold medicine and Tylenol).
I found a pile of socks on my kitchen counter.

Did I miss some of the socks when I was folding the laundry last night? I thought.

Last Thursday Morning
(January 3, 2013) 

I put them away.

Sometime late Friday morning, 
I trudged groggily out to the kitchen to find some coffee
(stuffed to the gills with cold medicine and Tylenol).

There was another pile of socks in the middle of the counter.

Last Friday Morning
(January 4, 2013)

I put them away.

Sometime even later Saturday morning, 
I trudged groggily out to the kitchen to find some coffee
(stuffed to the gills with cold medicine and Tylenol).

No socks!

Sometime late Sunday morning, 
I trudged groggily out to the kitchen to find some coffee
(stuffed to the gills with cold medicine and Tylenol).
I had forgotten all about socks.

Sometime even later on Monday morning, 
I trudged groggily out to the kitchen to find some coffee
(stuffed to the gills with cold medicine and Tylenol).

The socks were back!

Did Terry do laundry yesterday?  
NOT!  The football playoffs were on all day.
How many games did he watch yesterday anyway?

Monday Morning
(January 7, 2013)

I called Terry's office.
He didn't answer by the third ring.

I hung up.
He must be really busy! I thought.
I didn't feel like exchanging pleasantries with someone answering the phone for him.
I couldn't do much more than croak anyway.

I put the socks away.

Sometime even later on Tuesday morning, 
I trudged groggily out to the kitchen to find some coffee
(stuffed to the gills with cold medicine and Tylenol).

You have got to be kidding me!
More socks!
What the hell is goin' on?!

I'm going to get to the bottom of this tonight!!! 
I swore as I put the socks away.

Tuesday Morning
(January 8, 2013)

Tuesday evening was not a good evening.
I was completely out of it, 
so Terry made me Chicken Soup for the Soul.
That's what he called it when he put the bowl in front of me and said, "Eat!"

Chicken Soup for the Soul
(January 8, 2013)

Terry had gone all out!
Not only had he heated up the can of chicken soup,
but he'd chopped up and added in a leftover cooked chicken breast
that he'd found in the back of the fridge!

Chicken soup never tasted so good!! 
I ate it and trudged back to bed.
I didn't even remember the socks.

Sometime a little earlier on Wednesday morning, 
I trudged groggily out to the kitchen to find some coffee
(stuffed to the gills with cold medicine and Tylenol).

Oh come on!
More fiddlesticks socks!!
What the hell is goin' on?!

Tonight I will get to the bottom of this!!!
I swore as I put the socks away.

Wednesday Morning
(Wednesday, January 9, 2013)

Terry came home after work.
I was much perkier.
It must have been the Chicken Soup for the Soul.

I pounced!  The croaking phase had passed.
"What's with the socks?
Every morning I come out, and there's a new pile of socks on the kitchen counter!
The kitchen counter!!
It's driving me crazy!!!
I keep calling your office to ask about the damn socks!
But you're too busy to answer the phone!!
I keep putting the socks away, and every morning MORE socks show up!!!
What the hell is goin' on with the socks?!!!!"

I had worked myself up into quite a lather.

The Ever-Patient Terry put the mail down on the counter,
turned to me,
and very calmly and quietly said:
He paused.

"The reason there are socks on the counter every morning
is because I don't want to disturb you."

"You've been having such a tough time getting to sleep and staying asleep 
with your cold and all that coughing, 
that I don't want to wake you up in the morning 
by turning on the light to look for socks."

This is a very long speech for Terry.  
He went on to say calmly and quietly: 
"I just grab a pile of socks out of the drawer,
go into the kitchen, put them on the counter, and find a pair to wear."

Is the E-P not just the sweetest hubby on the face of this Earth?!!

Sometime even a little earlier this morning, 
I trudged groggily out to the kitchen to find some coffee
(not quite so stuffed with cold medicine and Tylenol).

And there was another pile of socks!

This Morning
(Thursday, January 10, 2013)

Just another love note from the greatest guy on Earth!

Hopefully, by tomorrow morning,
Terry won't have to leave socks on the kitchen counter.

Happy Friday, Everyone!  Have a relaxing weekend!
My next post will be on February 25th. 

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue


Friday, February 11, 2022

Author Brian Carmody on His New Release "My Magical Summer with the Moon Maidens" (publisher Dancing Lemur Press)

Recently I had a surprise when I opened a package of books that landed on my doorstep.
Included with my Dancing Lemur Press order was a review copy of an upcoming release,
Brian Carmody's My Magic Summer with the Moon Maidens.

I hadn't ordered it.  
I wasn't asked to review it.  
It was just there in the box.
Intrigued by its premise, I read it immediately.
Enchanted by the story, I offered to do a post on it after it was released on February 1st.

Who doesn't remember a first magical summer love bathed in moonlight?
I certainly remember mine, all the significance, uncertainty,
awkwardness, and poignant awareness that it was fleeting.
Brian's book captures this unique coming of-age-experience
with sensitivity and understanding and humor.   

Bewitching Iluna, Motherly Cassiopeia, and Flighty Eiru

But My Magic Summer... is so much more!
It's a rich and realistic story told by a narrator with a strong and singular voice,
overstitched with silvery ethereal threads, an otherworldly fantasy.
Drawn in, I connected with it, loved it, and loved it even more on the second reading.
And lucky me, I had the opportunity to interview Brian Carmody!


FB:  Welcome, Brian!
I so enjoyed My Magic Summer...  It was drenched with magic, and I loved the people and places you created in Still Bayou,Texas.  Such real grounded detail juxtaposed with the dreamy, celestial moon maidens and Connor's experiences with them.  I have some questions for you.  Answer any that appeal to you.  I've included a number so you have some choice!  btw ~ I lived near Chapman and Harbor in Garden Grove a lifetime ago.  I always thought it would be cool to go to Chapman University.

BC:  Wow! I'm so glad you liked it! I'm still fairly new at this whole author business, so it's really nice to receive interest and encouragement like this. Chapman was a lovely school and I cherish my time there.

I love your questions! They are very insightful and thought provoking. If you don't mind, I'd like to answer them all.

FB:  What inspired you to write this book?  Did it start with an image, a voice, a memory, or a moon maiden of your own?

BC:  Summer itself. That's probably the best way to put it. I've long said, first as a screenwriter and now as a novelist, that I have a tendency to live vicariously through my characters. So I wanted to give as magical and fantastic a summer as I never had. The fantasy romance is the big story, but I also give Connor some experiences I always wanted to have and maybe didn't get to- that's why he works at Blockbuster!

FB:  What was an early experience where you learned language had power?

BC:  My father used to read to my brothers and I bedtime stories from the Arabian Nights. I loved Sinbad  the Sailor especially. I remember one story where they came across this strange giant dome, and it turns out to be the egg of a roc- a giant bird that would fly off elephants to eat! He was reading from a book with no pictures, but just the way he was describing it, I could see that massive egg! Properly immersive language can really paint an image.

Sinbad and his men confront the Roc.

FB:  What was your hardest scene to write in MMS?

BC:  Without spoiling too much, I'd say the climax. There's two parts of it. The second is an action scene, which can be difficult for me because you're writing about very fast motions and developments in an extended description. But before that, there is a sensual scene I have to be careful with because I want to remain appropriate for the Young Adult audience and not cross any lines in writing a minor, but also be honest to a 16-year-old's experience. 

FB:  How important was professional editing to the development of your book?

BC:  Very! Both my incredible mother for the first round and the extensive feedback from Dancing Lemur made clay into marble. Is that how marble is made?

FB:  I suspect you are very fond of Tolkien as a writer.  Like Connor, I have a well-read dog-eared copy of "The Hobbit."  Are there any authors or books that inspired you to become a writer?

BC:  Huge Tolkeinite, of course. Clive Barker is my favorite living author. Big inspiration on my first novel, "Hellish Beasts", which is for a very different audience. C.S. Lewis- another Clive- is my favorite author of all time.  Specific influences on MMS include Summer of '42, A Ring of Endless Light, the Twilight series, and A Monster Calls. Lady in the Water too, though I saw the film before reading Shyamalan's picture book.

Brian with His First Novel Hellish Beasts

FB:  If you had to describe yourself in three or four words, what would they be?

BC:  Pensive. Silly. Catholic.

FB:  What If you were to write a spinoff about any of the characters, who would you choose and why?

BC:  That's easy! I'd write about Russell, Connor's father. It comes up a little bit in this book, that he has had some adventurous, magical summers of his home, in Vietnam, Still Bayou, who knows. The 1960s would be harder for me to write than the 1990s without personal experience. But I think it could be very interesting, and I may write it some day. 

I've also mused with the idea of writing another "(Season)_of the (Magic)" book, more thematically related than anything, though I have already written a page or two of "Winter of The Hum", maybe it'll just be an idea, a title, and a character (only briefly mentioned in MM), but a whole quartet could be interesting.

FB:  You had some unique and vivid characters in your book, and I don't mean just the moon maidens.  I found Griff and Willard fascinating.  Did you have a favorite character?  How did these people come to you?

BC:  I loved Willard! That was part of the point, in a teen story, to create a likable adult character. Instead of the stuffed shirt or antagonist, Willard is the kind of fun but responsible guy I imagined as the ideal uncle- somewhere between older brother and father. Some influence from my own uncles. 

This is Connor's coming-of-age story, but we see a bit of Willard's as well, in his 30s, settling down, becoming a "man in full". 

Griff I imagined as this sort of oddball who seems borderline creepy at first, but you see his perception at seeing right through Connor is indicative of a kind heart and friendship. 

I took a lot of influence from the persona and mannerisms of Jeremy Davies, an actor I've shared a correspondence with, whose other works have inspired mine (Spanking the Monkey for my short film "Aunt" and Going All the Way for Hellish Beasts). If they ever make a movie...well I get ahead of myself.

Brian's Short Film Aunt

FB:  What What advice would you give a writer working on his or her first book?

BC:  Do whatever you want. Don't be shy, and don't be afraid to rock the boat. My first book was totally unhinged, threw in the kitchen sink- and so was Moon Maidens- before the very helpful editing process. So don't be afraid to go nuts. The polish will come later.

FB:  What is the hardest part of writing for you?  The best part?

BC:  Hardest part is actually writing out a story when I already have the plot fully planned out.  It can seem almost tedious. But you often find what you started doesn't go exactly as you planned, and that's a wonderful thing. Best part is seeing the finished work. You've got a story!

FB:  Share something about you that your readers don't know about you?

BC:  I've got a birthmark in the shape of a scorpion.

FB:  What What is your writing process?

BC:  Oh, it varies. Sometimes I come up with the whole plot, sometimes I only have the smallest grain and hit the page. Write when I have the time. And when I really feel I've written a bit that feels inspired (or at least satisfies me), I look up and say "Grazie, signore" to God for the inspiration. I don't speak Italian, but that's a move I got from Salieri in Amadeus.

FB:  I loved that you had three very different moon maidens.  A less rich and meaningful novel might have had just Iluna.  How did the three develop?

BC:  Thank you for asking. Joy, wonder, hope. That's the simplest thematic way to divide them, and the novel for the first part.  Iluna, first love of Connor's life, enjoys with him all these incredible experiences, she's joy. That's when the moon looks like the Cheshire Cat's grin, and those are ebullient times. I developed Iluna as this beautiful, enchanting mystery, who absolutely bewitches him, but retains enough childishness and petulance that she feels like an authentic match and her eventual vulnerability in the love story works. 

Eriu shows Connor some of the most magical fantasies in the script. She moves the stars, chases the will-o'-the-wisp, even flies with him. There's wonder in that. I drew from Lewis Carroll's Wonderland characters for her.  Whimsical nonsense with a heart. She's innocent, flighty, and sometimes doesn't seem all there, and just lovable all over. Here the moon looks like a Dragon's Eye, sharp and looking for magic. 

Finally, there's Cassiopeia, the most mature, the leader, the wise motherly figure in a story that needs one. Connor's own mother seems to be on her way out and he's dealing with all these conflicted emotions. Cassi is there to offer compassion and wisdom when he needs it most, and she may help him through it all. Teach him to keep the hope. 

And of course it had to be multiple Moon Maidens! I knew that back in the primal stages of just wanting to write a young adult novel about a very eventful summer, when it was Summer of the Dolphins or Summer of the Mermaids, etc. They may not have a perfect thematic breakdown, like one representing childhood, then adolescence, and adulthood, but we gotta see more than one.

FB:  OMG ~ the noodling of catfish!  I never knew you could do such a thing!  Have you noodled for catfish like Uncle Willard?  It would freak me out!

And Napoleon, Emperor Gator of Still Bayou, was vividly real?  Is he an old family story or based on a real Gator?

BC:  Ha, never been noodling myself. I read about it and it seemed so weird and funny I just had to incorporate it. 

Napoleon came when I was looking for a villain, and something more spectacular than the local bully. The story's lovely and enchanting as it is, but I wanted more of an edge and a threat to make it more exciting. I toyed with ideas of various supernatural villains, but it was getting too complicated and crowded. Napoleon, Emperor of the Swamp is simple but primevil, and I think his massive jaws deliver. A hero's journey could use a dragon. 

Not based on a family story, but there is this crocodile in Burundi, Gustave they call him, acquired literally hundreds of human victims over the decades, still not captured or killed. An animal that can kill that many people and get such an infamous reputation, that's a scary thing. There is also a connection to Connor's family's past, and I think that's nifty.

American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) Chambers Co. Texas. photo W. L. Farr

FB:  Beyond the magic and the wisdom of the characters, there was a natural, not a proselytizing and heavy-handed, religious undercurrent in your book.  What prompted you to include a spiritual aspect to your teenaged fantasy story?

BC:  I hope it comes off as organic and earned rather than distracting. Sam Raimi did a wonderful job casually conveying the Parker family's Christianity in his Spider-Man movies, as just a natural part of life and character, immersing us without taking the audience out of it. I'd like to pull that off, as Connor and his family are Christian, and that's just part of it. 

It's trickier with the Moon Maidens themselves, as they are decidedly NOT literal angels, but they do seem to be of a higher realm and have an understanding of the divine. 

G.K. Chesterton, a huge influence on C.S. Lewis, once said, "It is impossible, I hope, for any Catholic to write any book on any subject, above all this subject, without showing that he is a Catholic". I definitely think that's true for me. 

There is definitely a Christian subtext in Lewis and Tolkien. This is a fantasy, but I still wanted to write something honest to the human experience, and faith is very much a part of that for me. 1 Peter 5:10 tells us "Each one should receive whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administrating God's grace in various forms." 

In all humility, if writing is my gift, that's what I want to do.

The Crucifix by Giotto
Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy
September 16, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue  
All Rights Reserved


FB:  What can we look forward to next from you?  Are you working on a new book or screenplay?

BC:  Always. I've finished the second draft of another novel, now the important post-process. I've co-written/co-produced a more adult horror short film, "They See You", directed by Jared Januschka, produced by Max Curry, that we're taking around the festival circuit this year. Stay tuned!

FB:  Is there something you would like to share about your book or writing that I haven't addressed?

BC:  I'll just say one more thing about the tone and content that I wanted to come across. The crux of "My Magic Summer With the Moon Maidens" is the human drama affected by the grace of the miraculous. So it's a real boy coping with real grief having his life changed by these fantastical visitors. I hope the human elements are resonant and the fantastical dazzles, and I hope it all works together.

I hope that's not too long, but I loved your questions and they really inspired me. Thanks for everything!

FB:  Thank you, Brian!  I appreciate your generous answers to my questions!  It was fun to meet you and learn more about you and your latest release!  Wishing you lots of success with your delightful book!

Happy Friday, Everyone!  Have a relaxing weekend!
My next post will be on Friday, February 18th. 

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue


Where to Find My Magic Summer with the Moon Maidens:

My Magic Summer
With the Moon Maidens
By Brian Carmody
Print 9781939844804 $17.95
EBook 9781939844811 $4.99
Young Adult – Contemporary Fantasy/Coming of Age/Boys & Men


The award-winning screenwriter and author of several books, Brian Carmody is a dreamer, a wisher, a hoper, a prayer, a pretender and a magic bean buyer, He’s had moondreams from Texas to Virginia, and now California, where he has plenty of other flax golden tales to spin by his fire.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

IWSG: Wednesday, February 2, 2022 ~ Holes in My Heart But Surrounded by Love


It's the first Wednesday of the month,
the day that members of the
Insecure Writer's Support Group
share their writing struggles
and writing successes
and offer their encouragement
and support to fellow writers.

To visit the IWSG website, click here.

To become a member of the IWSG, click here.

Our wonderful co-hosts who are volunteering today,
along with IWSG Founder Alex J. Cavanaugh are Joylene Nowell ButlerJacqui Murray, Sandra Cox, and, Lee Lowery! 

I hope you have a chance to visit today's hosts and thank them for co-hosting.
I'm sure they would appreciate a visit and an encouraging comment.


Every month the IWSG announces a question that members can answer
with advice, insight, a personal experience, or a story in their IWSG posts.

Or, the question can inspire members
if they aren't sure what to write about on IWSG Day.

Remember the question is optional.
This month's featured question is: 
Is there someone who supported or influenced you that perhaps isn't around anymore? Anyone you miss? 

This month's question is a poignant one, because it speaks to the holes in my heart
left by the deaths of my parents and two of my best friends in my life.
Each of them absolutely supported me, influenced me, inspired me,
and encouraged me,
especially with my writing and with reaching for my dreams.
They were there for me in the darkest hours of my life and in the happiest.
I miss them every single day, and sometimes my heart aches with their loss.

Mom and Dad with Newborn Me ~ Believing in Me from the Beginning
Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada
March 1950
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Unfortunately, I can't access pictures of my friends RenĂ©e and Dee here in Hawaii, 
so I can't share photos of my beloved and greatly-missed friends.

Fortunately, I am supported and influenced by amazing, living people:
my husband, our extended families, and my special friends.
I feel surrounded by love and I float, buoyed by their encouragement.

The Best of Friends, Cheri and Gary with Terry and Me
The Wigwam⁩, ⁨Litchfield Park⁩, ⁨Arizona⁩, ⁨United States⁩, USA
December 25, 2017
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

My Siblings and I:  Donnie, Bertie, Roy, Barb, and Me
Mega Support and Influence for Me
Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia, ⁨Canada
August 1, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Terry and Me
Escoba, Calgary, Alberta, ⁨Canada
December 11, 2021 
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Speaking of special people who encourage and influence others, 
I want to remember a wonderful supporter of the IWSG
who is missed greatly by our Ninja Captain Alex and many members:
Jeremy Hawkins (Blog:  Being Retro).
Rest in peace, Jeremy.  You will be remembered with love and gratitude.

On January 3, we lost an amazing guy – Jeremy Hawkins.
On February 2, we are going to pay tribute and give back to one who was so giving and involved in our community. 
To honor his life and support the family he leaves behind, on that day: 
• Post a story or memory about Jeremy. 
• Post photos of Jeremy. 
• Share some of the graphics he made for you. 
• Post a photo of you wearing one of the t-shirts he designed. 
• And to support his family, between now and then, purchase one of his t-shirt designs, one of his books, or one of his prints. (He also created the IWSG t-shirt.)
Spread the word and let’s pay tribute to one of the most supportive and loyal guys ever to cross our paths, Jeremy Hawkins. 

My thanks to everyone for their kindness, understanding, and get well wishes 
over the past two months.
I'm finally feeling like me again ~ Definitely much, much better!

I have some happy news to share!
Terry and I are thrilled about our new great nephew born in London (UK)
on New Year's Day:  Jackson Arthur Taylor.

© Krista Mundry and Dean Taylor
All Rights Reserved

His parents are our niece Krista and her partner Dean.
My sister Donnie and my brother-in-law Martin are the happy grandparents. 
Welcome to a huge family who will support you and surround you with love,
Jackson Arthur Taylor!

Krista and Dean with One Month Old Jackson!
© Krista Mundry and Dean Taylor  All Rights Reserved

And influence you, Jackson ~ LOL!
Dad starts Jax off right with his favorite Chelsea team colors,
but I fear a pile of packages with different teams and kinds of football outfits
are landing in your parents' mailbox because of this photo.  LOL!
You are destined to be an avid sports fan!

The Chelsea Fans
© Krista Mundry and Dean Taylor  All Rights Reserved

Wishing you love and happiness this month!
I hope each of you has fun visiting around today.
Happy writing to each of you in February!

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

My next post will be on Friday, February 11.