Another Corner, Another Café

First, I really apologize for getting this late. I don’t have the excuse of kids going back to school or any of the other things others might have. See, I decided to take classes myself this year and I had my first test, or quiz as they call it, of the course yesterday. More on that next month.

Beer-ResizedThis month, it’s all about food or things that go along with food. Living in the city of Vienna has given me a completely different aspect of food overall. People here take their meals very seriously and many summer nights can see them lounging in the cafes talking about the latest something or other. Most of the conversations are in German but those that I do manage to understand are on subjects we all hold near and dear: home, family, school, work and more.

Sidewalk-Cafe-ResizedDuring the summer season, the doors are thrown open and the inside comes out. Most all restaurants and cafes have outside eating areas and those that don’t are at a loss for customers. The space can be fancy or not, big or not, but all of them have a sense of something special that is so hard to define. Never have I found a place like these in the States. I’m sure they exist but it won’t have the same ambiance as the places here.

 

From your seat, you can see marvelous things like bike races along the Ringstrasse. If you go further afield away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown, you’ll see the vineyards that dot the Vineyard-Resizedhills around the city. It can be on a narrow street, where you wonder just what is happening at either end or it can be in the center of a platz where you wish the people would move along.

Dessert ResizedNo matter where you are in Vienna, you’ll find a café and more delights than you ever imagined!

 

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

Life’s Perspectives

The 25th is a hard day for me. It didn’t dawn on me until this month just exactly why. My father passed away on this day in March of this year. He was my biggest fan and since his passing, my life perspective has changed a little. Or a lot. Depends on the day and my thoughts.

PopsWhen one starts out with a writing career, we’re all new kids, full of wide-eyed wonder at all the shiny, interesting things we see on the journey. Not once do we worry about where the ideas will come from, how we’ll get them down on paper or in the computer or even what a plot structure really is. Sure, we’d learned those things but the freedom to create is more important than the mechanics at that point.

Don’t get me wrong, we want to do it right but we definitely want to do it our way. But soon, we learn that our way isn’t the only way and there are many out there who can teach us more. So we become like a sponge, absorbing all the things around us that have to do with writing. Sometimes so much so that we forget an important part of writing itself. And that’s the living. In order to write, we need to live. We need to have our ups and downs to gain the experience of getting something written with the ‘wow’ factor.

Writing is all about living and how to do it well. When my mother was ill with Alzheimer’s, I gave up writing because I felt I needed to spend as much time as possible with her. Then my Dad took me aside and told me she’d kick my butt for giving up my dream. So back to writing I went and it was shortly thereafter I was published for the first time in ebook form and thankful he’d pushed me to do the one thing I truly love.

More recently, we’d talked again about how I’d slowed down on my writing. The move to Austria had been hard on me, things at home weren’t going like I thought they should, and I was still reeling from an ex-crit partner’s scathing tirade of what my writing lacked and other faults. My father again told me to get my head out of my behind and questioned me on why I really cared what someone else thought. He reminded me it was just one person and he was sure I’d offend a few more with something else along the way. Life isn’t without controversy or so he thought.

Frankly, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry because he was right. I’d never let it worry me before and I’d kept plugging away. Things can always be fixed but not getting them down is more of a problem. Sure, I needed to do an in-depth study as to why those words affected me so much but I shouldn’t stop writing because of it. Again, he was the man who had supported me as a kid with only a high-school education. He was a farmer’s son and a heavy equipment operator but he knew things I didn’t. His life perspective was for me to be happy and do only what I loved doing. Something that had been denied him all his life.

Florida-Photos---Me-and-DadSince he passed, I’ve written more than I’d written the previous three individual years. His words lit a fire in my soul again to write and get my stories on paper. There are times when I’m consumed with the woulda, shoulda, coulda routine but I know that our last days together were exactly how they were meant to be. Each day, I put more words down on my stories, I write blogs or plan bigger and better series. And for that I am grateful to just one person.

This one’s for you, Dad ~ I’m living the dream!

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

What Summer Means to Me

Gate-ResizedEveryone has their own definition of summer and I guess I’m not your average summer person. Don’t get me wrong, I love the season as long as there are no bugs involved. I love beaches, cool summer evenings and how the desert calms as the day ends on a hot summer day. And here in Vienna, Austria, I get to walk through the vineyards on cloudy days while looking at the city.

Yet, I do have a very different perspective as I look at it from the day of my birth. See, I was born on Summer Solstice and therein is my problem. My birthday is the longest day of the year and for some, that moniker isn’t that all inspiring. Except when you spend it in Scotland.

In Scotland, on my birthday, the sun doesn’t go down until sometime around 11 pm and it makes an interesting time. Especially when one decides to stay up the whole night to see what really happens. When the sun does go down, it’s not the real down you might imagine. It just kind of dips beneath the horizon, hovers there for a few hours then rises again. You can still see the light from it but muted as it is below the edge of your world.

So then, just why do people get some all hot and bothered by the day? Let’s look at its history. The word solstice is derived from a combination of Latin words mean sun and to stand still. It comes from the fact that as the days get longer, the sun rises higher in the sky and appears to stand still. It is considered a major celestial event. However, when we in the northern hemisphere are having our longest event, those in the southern hemisphere are having their shortest day. Those in the southern hemisphere have their longest day on December 21st.

The actual solstice celebrations were pagan in origin. Pagans call the midsummer moon a honey moon for the mead made from fermented honey. Mead was part of the summer solstice wedding ceremonies then and the happy couple would ‘honey moon’ the night away. Those same pagans celebrated the day with bonfires as couples leapt through the flames in hopes that their crops would grow as high as they could jump.

Pagans also believed it to be a time of magic when the veil thinned thus allowing evil spirits to appear. They would wear protective garlands made of herbs and golden flowers from calendula and St. John’s Wort. The plants were picked on this day for use throughout the year. St. John’s Wort is still used today to chase away the devil within us.

As Christianity entered pagan areas, midsummer celebrations were incorporated to be new Christian holidays that tried to mix the old and the new. Interestingly enough, those in northern Europe celebrated the event on varying days between June 21 and June 25. It was called St. John’s Day in honor of John the Baptist’s birth and celebrated on June 24 by the Christians with St. John’s Eve celebrated on June 23. In Roman times, it was celebrated on June 24. And surprisingly enough, June 21 isn’t always the longest day of the year.

I know that solstice celebrations vary from place to place in the US. The most interesting one I haven’t gone to was one at Stonehenge. We were near the area on my birthday twice and neither time could we make as you have to purchase tickets up to two years in advance to get into the monument.

Another one I haven’t attended but plan on doing so before I leave Austria is the spectacular procession on ships down the Danube River through the Wachau Valley just north of Vienna. Apparently up to 30 ships sail down the river in a line as the river banks and hilltops erupt with fireworks and bonfires blaze. Vineyards are light up and castle ruins also host fireworks as one cruises for a 90 minute jaunt downstream. Now that would be a birthday to definitely remember!

Welcome to summer…now go out and enjoy those summer days…and catch some lightning bugs for me!

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

Movie Mom Magic

I’m late, I’m late, I’m late. I swear I should be the rabbit in Alice but the plain fact is I wasn’t keeping track of the time. And that’s a problem…however…I do know that this month we’re talking about moms and movies. So let’s get right to it.

I love movies. I’m what many would call a movie fanatic. I’ve seen tons, love a few, hated a few and there were many that were just middle of the road. Movies with moms though are different because well, moms fight for their kids. They’re supposed to…there is a saying about a mama bear…anyway, here’s my top ten in no particular order.

Terminator 1 and 2 ~ In the first movie, the only thing we see of a child is Linda Hamilton clutching her belly and talking to her baby. In movie two, she’s a kick-ass mama willing to do anything to save her young. And she does.

Alien and Aliens ~ In the first movie, you really don’t know a thing about Ripley except she’s lucky. I’ll never forget her saying to herself as she’s slowly putting on the spacesuit…lucky, lucky, lucky…sends a chill down my spine every time. In Aliens, if you’ve seen the director’s cut, you find out that she had a child and Ripley’s first name is Ellen. No wonder Newt finds a special place in her heard.

Avatar ~ This whole movie is about family and right and wrong. It has a kick-ass plot and a mother who knows best. Mo’at knows that her daughter Neytiri won’t be happy with anyone but Jake Sully. It just takes the whole movie for her to see it.

While You Were Sleeping ~ This is one of my all-time favorite movies. I love it. And what’s not to love. It’s a case of mistaken identity to the max and has a mother and a grandmother to boot.

Serenity and Buffy ~ I know, I know…one’s in space…the other here on earth. But they are both by Joss Whedon and therefore awesome. While Serenity has no moms and Buffy’s is totally clueless, it again has some kick-butt women who seem to have it altogether – at least by the end. (Are we noticing a pattern here? LOL!)

Kill Bill 1 and 2 ~ Nothing says mama like someone who is looking for her child. Beatrix Kiddo, more commonly known as the bride, saves herself but barely by revealing the father of her child. When she wakes from her coma, she is determined to find said child and kill anyone who betrayed her or gets in her way. While this is an over the top movie, it still has a strong heroine and an over-the-top plot.

Forrest Gump ~ I will be the first to admit that this is not my favorite movie but you’ve got to love his mom. She did everything she could to make sure that Forrest had the same opportunities as everyone else. And whether by dumb luck or actually doing it all right, he ended up pretty good.

Juno ~ This is a pretty intense movie about a really intense thing but it is the best movie you will ever see on the subject of teen pregnancy. Juno’s stepmother gets right on top of things and never once condemns the girl about how she got where she was. She just did the right thing, took her to the doctor and asked her what she wanted to do. Pretty cool if you ask me.

The Incredibles ~ No list is complete without Helen Parr known as Elastigirl. While her life is incredibly complicated, she has what it takes to keep not one, not two but three special children on the straight and narrow while teaching them to do the right thing.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy ~ Sorry, I know there’s no moms here but this is one of the best series ever. There are lots of women in the stories and they all play a big role, from Arwen saving Frodo to Galadriel giving him exactly what he needs to complete his quest.

Now I have one last mom to mention but it’s from a TV show. That ‘70s Show mom, Kitty Foreman, not only gives permission for her son and friends to hang out in the basement making it the best place ever, but she allows one friend to stay when he has nowhere to go. There are times when she’s saccharin sweet but the moment she called her husband by his own crazy one-liner, dumbass, I’d wished I’d had her in the ‘70s when we had the basement. She was awesome.

So, who are your favorite movie and television moms? Beside your own of course…I’d really love to hear what you have to say!

See you all next month.

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

Resolutions or Goals

Well, it’s a New Year and time for resolutions.

I don’t know about you but the older I get I’ve decided that resolutions need to be repackaged and branded differently. I mean, how many of us stick to those things we want to do? Resolutions sounds old and tired. And maybe it’s because of what the word means.

According to Merriam Webster the word resolution means: the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict or problem; the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones.  Well, I don’t know about you but that’s not really what I had in mind when writing down my resolutions. I’m not looking for the answer, the answer is what I’ve written down such as write a 50K book a month.

Now, if I’m smart I do the second part of the definition anyway. I’ve taken that problem and I’ve broken it down into the parts that will fulfill my commitment to the resolution. Only by doing one step at a time will one actually do what’s required to complete the resolution.

However, I’d rather call them goals as opposed to resolutions. Resolution implies that there’s a problem to fix instead of a task to be completed, a goal to be reached. I commit to complete the items on my list and believe me, my list is long this year and the majority of it involves completing various writing projects.

Still, no matter what I call it, I have to apply one major principle to get them complete: I have to sit my bottom down in my chair and write. Each and every day. And so far, so good…how about you?

Have you written down your goals for to yourself? Are you working on them every day? Are you on the right path to your happiness? I can truthfully say this year, I am. And I will complete each and every one.

See you all next month!

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

The Joy of November

Every fall or early winter, life takes a different turn for me. The air starts cooling down and the weather changes, sometimes drastically. Living in Austria, a place with four seasons, I am reminded why people have gone crazy from gray days. The first year I was here, I read that the winter had the most days without sunshine since World War II. All I could think was wow.

Today, I look outside and see the clouds gathering because it’s supposed to rain. It’s another gray day and frankly, all it makes me want to do is grab a good book and curl up on the couch. Or for me, I grab my tablet and curl up on the couch. LOL!

Still, being a writer makes these days hard as our observation skills are not as tuned as normal. When I write setting, I try to make the weather a living thing. It is really when you think about it. I remember a line once from the movie Twister that I always thought fascinating; Jo’s talking and she says, ‘You’ve never seen it miss this house, and miss that house, and come after you!’ Weather is like that and one can use it in stories as character when needed.

Everyone remembers the famous first line: ‘It was a dark and stormy night’ from but how many of us really remember what novel it’s from. I didn’t and had to look it up: it’s from the 1830 novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton called Paul Clifford. While you might not remember the author or book, you most certainly do remember the weather of the opening.

You’re probably wondering just why I’m talking about the season and the weather this way. While this is my favorite season of the year, it is also one of the hardest for me. During fall and the beginning of winter, I’m moody, I write dark things that I normally wouldn’t write and all I want to do is laze around, not doing much at all. Hence the above sentence telling you about curling up on the couch and reading.

Some people have what’s called Seasonal Affect Disorder and it was noticed in places that are dark for large portions of the year. In Alaska and other places around the world, people use special lights, like grow lights, to give them back what they are missing from the sun. Now, I wouldn’t say I’ve gone that far but I can certainly commensurate with those people. I will go days without even wanting to do something productive then a switch is flipped and I’m baking up a storm. Believe it or not, it is also one of the reasons lots of babies were conceived during this period as there wasn’t much else to do when the world got dark.

I’m better around lots of people doing things like writers’ meetings but not having many friends in Austria, and no family, is really taking its toll on me during the fall and winter seasons. So, I’ve learned to take my joy from other things. Like writing. It’s during this time that I write, besides the dark parts, some of my more happy stories like those set around Christmas. That holiday has done more for me during the winter months than any other.

Thanksgiving here is something new here whereas at home it’s a major tradition. In Austria, we’ve actually started the American tradition and invite many friends to our home. We love doing it and were amazed last year when we discovered a full sized turkey will fit into our small oven. We did dressing and pumpkin pie as well as other traditional American dishes as we shared one of our most precious holidays with people who didn’t know a thing about it prior. Sharing one’s traditions is a good way to learn about people and have them learn about you.

So, today, I will watch those clouds outside my window, looking for the dragon or train or plane…aren’t clouds amazing that way? And I’ll hope for the sun to come back soon. Until then, I’ll write the dark parts of my stories as well as some of the happy parts too.

But how about you? Just what do you do to keep the seasonal blues away? Do you write? Read? Do you bury your head under the pillows and wish it would suddenly be spring? One lucky commenter will get a copy of one of my happier stories, A Viennese Christmas.

Have a great month…and see you all next!

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

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