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Blogging By the Sea
Saturday, April 23 2016


This month, being April and you know what they say about April showers, the topic for the Blog Hop is:  Have you noticed how weather is used in writing? How have you used weather in your writing? Drama? Mood? Revelation?

If you think about it, weather, both good and bad influences everything from the moment the sun peeks in your window in the morning until you take your pooch for a walk under a starlit sky. Rainy weather can set it’s own mood, either brooding or making you feel cozy curled up with a book inside. What about a romantic couple on the beach in the setting sun? Or dancing in the rain? How does the setting sun of a perfect summer day color that picture and how different in the rain.


I remember an episode on NCIS when Gibbs’ mentor and friend is shot and killed outside Gibbs’ house on a dark rainy night. There seemed to be a special poignance to Mike Franks having sacrificed his life laying face up in the wet street with rain on his face. And just think of all the romances that have been written around the trope of the hero and heroine becoming stranded together by a major snow storm.

Gloomy weather certainly adds mood to a mystery or even more to a horror story. Moonlight can add romance to any situation, but that same moonlight can heighten the ambiance of a vampire story. The events of 9/11 would have been horrific no matter what the weather, but somehow, the stark contrast of that brilliant blue sky backlighting the atrocity of commercial airliners flying deliberately into the twin towers made the made it seem worse. Consider the different feeling you get, first watching a weather forecaster telling you about the ravages of a hurricane from his broadcast station with the weather map at his back and then they cut to the reporter wearing a rain-soaked slicker, standing at a 60 degree angle against the buffeting gale, his or her hair blowing in their face while they struggle to be heard over the roar of waves or wind and rain. Weather sets a tone no matter if you are watching television, a movie, or reading a book.


In the first book in my series, the defining moment of the story is set against the backdrop of a hurricane. My heroine goes into labor and a huge hundred year old tree is uprooted making it impossible for rescue vehicles to get to her home and the hero is forced to face his worst fears and deliver her baby without even being able to contact help by phone. The sound of wind slapping the side of the house, phone lines down, power out all add to the ambiance and urgency of that scene. 

In the book I’m currently working on, on page one, my heroine is exploring the ruins on a long abandoned island off the coast of Maine on a beautiful sunny day. Flowers line the long abandoned fieldstone foundations, the water in the harbor is a startling blue and a light breeze plays with her hair and tugs at her clothing. Then she falls into that old cellar hole, hits her head and loses consciousness. When she wakes, it’s dark and cold and there’s a roof over her head. She has no idea where she is when the hero lets her out of his locked basement clutching a cudgel in one hand. The contrast makes her confusion even more complete, and the cold and dark adds an extra layer of menace to the scene that sunlight could not have imparted even when staring down an obviously angry man with a big stick.


I think, in all writing, weather can be another character, along with setting. It can add lightness or romance, or brooding or menace. It can add urgency or calm and can change or color just about any scene, even indoor ones. Stand your heroine at a window looking out: first on a moonlit garden, then rain slashing against the window, or jagged streaks of lightening lighting up the dark sky, maybe the sun is setting, its glory reflected in some body of water or fat snowflakes falling in utter silence covering everything she can see. Same woman, same window, but how different each scene is, and how differently it might affect what she is feeling and thinking.


I'm sure there are books and stories out there that never mention the weather, except perhaps when one of the characters is complaining about it, but I think including the weather adds immeasurably to the scene, the feeling, and the action.

Since this is a Blog Hop - why not hop on over and see how other authors use weather in their writing.
Rachael Kosinski
Beverley Bateman
Anne Stenhouse
Helena Fairfax
Judith Copek
Dr. Bob Rich
Victoria Chatham
Kay Sisk
Rhobin Courtright                      

Posted by: Skye Taylor AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  8 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 19 2016


What does April 15th mean to you?

For my mother-in-law – it was the day her son was born. So in our family it was a reason to celebrate. But Cal’s been gone a while and there hasn’t been cake on the 15th for far too many years. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CAL – I miss you.

For all Americans, the 15th is TAX DAY! Most of us have managed to pull our taxes together and get them filed, after complaining and procrastinating for the last couple months. I hear groans of protest from those who owe a lot more than they thought they would. Not so many happy faces about refunds as there once was – probably because, like me, a lot of us have figured it out, that paying too much up front is like giving Uncle Sam an interest free loan. Some folk are still scrambling to meet tonight’s midnight deadline. And a few more will be filing for extensions. But for all of us, the 15th of April is a day we can’t ignore.

All of New England celebrates Patriots Day and that often falls on the 15th of April, too. Patriot’s Day is a celebration that marks the beginning of our country as we know it today – the day when folks finally decided enough was enough and told King George they would stand up and fight for their rights. A few brave men, some still boys, lined up on Lexington Green and faced down the mighty British Army and the Revolutionary War began. Schools are out and parades are in as New England remembers and celebrates how America began.

But for the people of Boston, April 15th will forever have an even more poignant meaning. The Boston Marathon is a big event. As big as Patriots Day – the day it is traditionally run. It’s the oldest annual marathon in the world and ranks as the world’s most prestigious road racing event. Runners from all over the world compete and thousands line the twenty-six-mile race route from Hopkinton to downtown Boston where sidewalks are jammed with spectators who come to cheer the runners over the finish line.

Three years ago on this big race day, the finish line of this world-class event was the site of a horrific, terrifying, bombing that took four lives and injured 264 people. The appalling evil and malicious intent shocked not just Boston, but the entire country. Not since 9/11 had we witnessed this kind of carnage on our own soil. An 8 year old boy, a child with a smiling face and a whole future head of him, a student from China, a young woman in her prime and an officer of the law all lost their lives. Sixteen children and adults lost their legs. Everyone was traumatized. We may never know the whole story behind why the Tsarnaev brothers chose terrorism against a country that had offered them asylum and opportunity, but if they were aiming to demoralize the American people, the result was just the opposite. Boston Strong became a catch phrase with a lot of punch. Photos were seen around the world of ordinary citizens leaping toward the carnage to do whatever they could to help save lives. Every event in Boston’s busy calendar became another little triumph over evil. Acts of heroism and the courageous determination of the survivors inspires us all.

April 15th will go down in history along with December 7th and September 11th. Another day when the innocence of America was torn asunder. Another event from which we rose stronger and more united than ever. Pearl Harbor, the Twin Towers, The Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, and now Boston and its Annual Marathon have all become icons of how America can triumph over evil and come out stronger.  

What does April 15th mean to you? (Please leave comments below.)

Posted by: Skye Tayor AT 08:30 am   |  Permalink   |  4 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 05 2016

   Have you ever read a book or listened to one that so completely drew you in that you felt like you were living it? Well, that's what ACT OF VALOR did for me.

Tom Clancy presents: ACT OF VALOR, written by Dick Couch and George Galdorisi read by Steven Weber

Act of Valor stars a group of active-duty Navy SEALs in a powerful story of contemporary global anti-terrorism. Inspired by true events, the story combines stunning combat sequences, up-to-the minute battlefield technology and heart-pumping emotion for the ultimate action adventure. Act of Valor takes listeners deep into the secretive world of the most elite, highly trained group of warriors in the modern world.

When the rescue of a kidnapped CIA operative leads to the discovery of a deadly terrorist plot against the U.S., a team of SEALs is dispatched on a worldwide manhunt. As the valiant men of Bandito Platoon race to stop a coordinated attack that could kill and wound thousands of American civilians, they must balance their commitment to country, team and their families back home. Each time they accomplish their mission, a new piece of intelligence reveals another shocking twist to the deadly terror plot, which stretches from Chechnya to the Philippines and from Ukraine to Somalia. The widening operation sends the SEALs across the globe as they track the terrorist ring to the U.S.-Mexico border, where they engage in an epic firefight with an outcome that has potentially unimaginable consequences for the future of America.


I listened to this book while traveling in my car, mostly on short drives and each time it got harder to get out of the car when I got home because I NEEDED to find out what happened next. But one day when I was close to the end and had to drive to a meeting that was about an hour from my home, the story swept me away with its intensity. I arrived at my meeting with such urgency in my gut I felt like I was late and had to hurry. I wasn’t late but as I took my place and arranged my stuff, my heart still seemed to race. Suddenly that feeling wore off, and I realized what I was feeling was the withdrawal of the adrenaline rush. As ordinary as my life has been, I’ve been terrified for my child’s life and I’ve jumped out of airplanes. I know what an adrenaline rush feels like. Steven Weber with his masterful reading of the amazing story Dick Couch and George Galdorisi had written had drawn me in so completely it was as if I was there. My body had reacted to the action as if I’d been with them in harms way. I’ve read a lot of books I really liked and have read again, but none have ever filled me with this kind of urgency and left me with such awe.  And if that wasn’t enough, the ending had me in tears. I felt like the lieutenant's chief - "Why you?" Few writers bring me to tears but this man did it all, from the adrenaline rush of the action to the grief of loss. If you want to read a very engrossing and entertaining story that shows us what it’s really like to be a Navy SEAL, get your hands on this book and set aside some time to be thoroughly captivated. I guarantee you won’t want to put it down and when you get to the last page, you’ll wish there were a lot more book still left to go.


Posted by: Skye Taylor AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
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