Showing posts from 2018

A Christmas Future with Pirates

A Christmas themed flash fiction based on my characters from Where Pirates Go to Die.  On display at the Mount Pleasant Public Library. The Xmas Log By: IE Castellano My crew and I returned to the Tigerlily tonight without having to maim anyone. A Christmas miracle. The Christmas party slogged, especially since Dirk made us take anti-poison nanos that blocked me from getting an eggnog induced buzz. His caution is not unfounded, though. No one knows how this new Milky Way Consortium will act even with the different aliens represented alongside humans in the government. My idea of caution is armored formal wear that hides a few blades from the entrance scanners and bringing along our alien crew member. Gogi turned heads in her native regalia. Her feathers sparkled as if she rubbed in some of the pink quartz dust of her home planet. We were the epitome of what the Consortium tried to achieve with their “share Christmas with aliens” party: Humans and aliens working

Turkey and Cookies and Books

I gave myself a Thanksgiving deadline to finish writing the first draft of Book 6 of The World In-between series.  While I have made great strides on the book, it will be not be finished come Thursday.  Berty and company are on their way to the final major plot point in the story as I write this blog post.  The final plot point keeps getting more complicated the closer I get to it.  Hopefully, I ’ll have it all wrapped with a bow on top by Christmas. In the meantime, I’ll be joining other local authors at the Mount Pleasant Public Library during the Shop Local Saturday Cookie Tour again this year.  There will be books and cookies. During this special event, my books will be $5 and $10.  I take cash and all major cards. When:  Saturday, November 24, 2018  10 am to 2 pm Where:  Mount Pleasant Public Library 120 S Church St. Mount Pleasant, PA 15666 Parking:  Parking Lot beside library (metered) or on Church Street The Mount Pleasant Cookie Tour itself begins at the

Fall for Pumpkin Waffles (Recipe)

I may have mentioned it once or twice that fall is my favorite time of year.  I love the colors, the cooler temperatures, and the food. Pumpkin waffles are a great variation of all things pumpkin this time of year.  They are easy to make.  Yummy for any meal of the day.  I eat mine dipped in local Pennsylvania maple syrup. Pumpkin Waffles Makes: 4.5 batches in a 4 waffle section waffle machine 1 ¼ cups flour 2 tbsp sugar 2 tsp baking powder ½ tsp cinnamon ½ tsp ginger ½ tsp nutmeg pinch cloves pinch allspice ½ tsp salt 1 cup milk 6 tbsp pumpkin puree 2 tbsp oil 2 eggs separated smidge vanilla     1.  Sift dry ingredients and sugar into a large bowl. 2.  Whisk milk, pumpkin, oil, vanilla, and egg yolks in a medium bowl. 3.  Whip egg whites to stiff peaks. 4.  Prepare waffle iron per manufacture’s directions. 5.  Mix wet into dry. Fold in whipped egg whites. 6.  Use about ¼ cup of batter per waffle section. Cook for 1.5 min

Halloween Themed Flash Fiction

My writing group meets twice a month at the library and a few times a year for the various holidays, we write flash fiction or poetry.  I had no idea what I was going to write about for Halloween.  A fellow author at the group mentioned in passing something about driving down the road with thumping coming from the car's trunk.  I scribbled down a premise and used some imagery from this year's road trip to the desert SW.  Pictured above is north eastern AZ. For your reading pleasure: Thump by: IE Castellano Thump . Thump . “No. No. No!” She slammed her hand against the steering wheel. “We are not going back.” The old car’s headlights revealed the outlines of cacti and sage brush standing just beyond the dirt road. Thump . Thump . “Don’t argue with me. You can’t change my mind,” she said. She wiped her palm on her pants. Thump . Thump . Thump . Thump . “Fine. I’ll tell you. If it’ll shut you up.” She glanced in the

An Autumnal Outing

This past Sunday, I attended the Sunday Salon at the Mount Pleasant Public Library in Mount Pleasant, PA.  It was the second salon they did and the last one for 2018.  The library will begin again in January 2019, the third Sunday of the month. The theme for this month centered around "Falling for Fall."  Three local artists displayed incredible paintings and local authors and poets read fall centric selections.  My selection that I read takes place within the same world of the World In-between Series.  Enjoy. An Autumnal Outing by: IE Castellano Brenda twirled on the wooden platform, watching her lilac cloak float in a circle around her. A faint dry crispness tickled her nose. She paused to study the bundle of branches that encased her family’s chambers. Some of the green leaves looked less green. She switched to skipping across the platform so she could watch the door. Hearing her mother and father convince her brother to leave his trucks at home sounded be

Building Character

I live in a house built over 100 years ago.   The house has charm and 100 plus year old cast iron drain pipes.   Although previous occupants improved and changed and modernized, projects cannot be evaded.   And some projects that you thought were finished need to be revamped. Case in point, the powder room under the staircase.   New floor, paint, sink, vanity, medicine cabinet, faucet, hardware, and toilet installed years ago.   However, the toilet leaked into the basement.   We concluded that the wax seal failed.   So, after gathering all the necessary tools and parts, we removed the toilet only to find that the wax seal wasn’t the problem. The original to the house cast iron closet flange had partially disengaged, unsecuring the toilet to the floor and drain pipe.   A new flange was not something we prepared to replace.   For days, the toilet loitered in the hall, the bathroom door was kept closed, while we scoured the internet for ideas about how to fix it.   Finally, w

Independence Day Poem--Poetry Wednesday 4 July 18

Fortitude I braved the ocean Swells breaking against the bow Foam washing across the decks I carried on I built log by log Storms sweeping the land Hunger wasting deep inside I carried on I packed the powder Crates floating in the night Sulphur smoke lighting the way I carried on I toiled with tools Rock sparking in the depths Steam billowing through grain I carried on I marched with the sign Venom burning invisible holes Barricades cascading in fragments I carried on I severed the cord Wisdom traveling by swipe Binary measuring liberty I carry on —IE Castellano

A Comma Field Guide

Sometimes, I edit manuscripts that make me question all I have ever learned about punctuation, especially commas.   I devised this quick guide to commas to reinforce what we learned (or didn’t learn) in grammar school. When to use a comma: Addressing a person by name or nickname. Example: Hello, Sweetums. Jane, do this. Show us on the doll, John, where the commas have hurt you. Linking two sentences with a conjunction (and, but, or, so). Example: This is sentence one, and this is sentence two. Dependent clauses and words that act as clauses. Example: After this clause, you put a comma. Second, a comma goes there. Yes, these examples are on the snarky side. I spent hours editing pages of comma issues, producing deep snarkiness. Had the page not run red, due to my markings, I would have only experienced a mellow, not to mention short, snarky mood. In a list of more than two of the same (nouns or verbs) a

Rules of the Road Trip

The Long Lonely Road Tips and tricks learned from our recent two week road trip. 1.       Be Organized This applies to both before and during the trip.  Plan where you’re going, how long it will take to get there, how much time will be spent at each place.  I kept a spreadsheet to calculate a budget that included gas, tolls, entry fees, food, hotels, etc. During the trip, I carried a piece of paper with the name, address, and phone number of each hotel booked as well as what type of room, final price, confirmation number, and credit card used.  It was easy to plug the address into Google Maps for directions for each leg.  I also wrote down the wifi password and lockbox combination of the AirBnB we stayed in for a few days.  So handy. A place for everything and everything in its place .  A saying to live by when packing both luggage and the car.  Helped get in and out of hotels quick, painless, and without forgetting something. 2.        Make Rese

A Little South and West of Writing

Palo Duro Canyon, Texas It’s the third day of my American Southwest Adventure and I’ve done a lot of writing in my mind. That’s a fancy way of saying I’ve written jack squat. However, there was plenty that sparked my imagination. Tonight, I’m staying in New Mexico and the landscape and dry heat is extremely New Mexico. It is exactly how I pictured or believed New Mexico should be. My mind’s eye could see the man on his horse, surveying the land while the wind whipped, not moving him, try as it might. Texas surprised me and did not disappoint. Mind you, I’ve only seen Texas via I-40. My first impression of this part of Texas was: Those who write post-apocalyptic stories probably have traveled through here. Amarillo sprawled. The half hour ride to Palo Duro Canyon excited. Then, there was Palo Duro itself. What a gem. Every turn held more and more beauty. Oklahoma should be five states for how different it is. The Osarks in NE OK

Travel and Writing

Going on vacation doesn’t have to mean taking a vacation from writing.   I am going on a road trip to the American Southwest soon.   Between the Grand Canyon and staying with my husband’s family, I can’t promise that I’ll get any writing done.   But leaving it at home guarantees no writing. Two weeks.   One car.   Four thousand plus miles.   What is the best way to pack the writing? Unless I’m writing a blog post or other short piece, I write the old way.   Pen and paper. I can see it now.   Leaves of ink scribbles blowing across the plateaus until being impaled on cacti needles.   So not happening. What stays at home: Original manuscript papers Notes Story folders Hard electronic files (such as on a laptop) Flash drives What comes: Messenger bag/zipped tote To contain all the writing materials.   Must have a good shoulder strap that can go across my body.   I’ll probably take the one I use for attending my writers’ group. Two cheap spiral

Writing What We Are

Me with the Easter Bunny So much of who we are flows into our writing.   Or, at least, it does for me.   This Easter morning, memories of childhood Easters seep through the cracks. My parents would hide Easter baskets somewhere in the house for me and my brother.   They kept the same wicker baskets from year to year, but would fill them with our favorites and,   perhaps, something new they thought we’d like.   Every year, they would throw in something we disliked, too.   Things like black jelly beans (my mom’s favorite) and white chocolate (my dad’s favorite).   And, of course, they were always happy to take it off our hands. My grandmother would purchase candy for the house, such as one or two pound eggs filled with chocolate buttercream, fruit and nut, peanut butter, and my personal favorite, coconut.   After sampling some candy, we feasted on my mother’s delicious cooking. For Bow of the Moon (The World In-between 2), I tapped into my childhood Easters as well