scottish

My Novel: Watching a Glass Shatter – Quotes

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Although my attention has turned to writing my second novel, Father Figure, I thought it was time to share a few of my favorite quotes from my first novel, “Watching A Glass Shatter.” For more on this book, and to read 3 sample chapters, please go to Watching a Glass Shatter. For now, you’ll find some of my favorite quotes below…

Please feel free to share (as always) your thoughts on the quotes… bad, good or indifferent. I’d love to hear it all!

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“And in Ben’s case, although they only lasted ten explosive seconds, those moments managed to include all sixty-nine years of his life, each image punctuated by a blinding flash of pure white light and deafened by the harsh snapping sound of an old-time camera shutter.”

“The slow, melodic sound sliced away at the newly loosened threads that had once kept her heart intact and sheltered from truly acknowledging a widow’s pain. Her battered eyes betrayed any remaining fortitude she’d stored deep within her body and as the chords of “Amazing Grace” resounded from the chanter pipe, the cords of her soul once intricately woven into Ben ripped from Olivia’s chest.”

“None of those ugly cows would even fit in this couture. It would be as if we asked Miss Piggy to model a new petite line of muumuus.”

“Despite summer’s early attempt to burst on the scene, the weekend ushered in dark clouds and a cool, heavy rain. For Olivia, the tattered noise of the drops hitting the window were simply another item she added to the growing list of reasons why she couldn’t sleep.”

“It was a comfort for him to see their confused faces, knowing he was already ahead of his peers. But he never acknowledged them as his peers; even his classmates were inferiors.”

“Too many people relied on cell phones to track time and felt little need to wear a watch these days. For Olivia, the watch you wore made a statement. If you chose something large and showy, you were an attention-seeker. If you chose a digital timepiece, you had no respect for history. If you didn’t wear a watch, you weren’t detail-oriented. She wore her 1940’s Waltham silver and diamond antique watch around her wrist as a badge of courage to give her the confidence she needed to confront her son.”

“…stepped forward to reach for the towel, suddenly losing his grip on the handrail, his feet reaching the drops of water that fell from his skin. Within seconds, his legs gave way and his body slipped on the final step sending him a few feet forward, landing right on the “Welcome” rug where Olivia firmly stood. When he came to a full stop, with his naked body sprawled across the foyer and his legs spread wide apart, he closed his eyes and tried to hide the faint glimmer of a smile.”

“I’ll never be that little girl who imagines falling in love, stripping petals off a forget-me-not until the last one says ‘he loves me so.’ I won’t ever get to see a magic that can heal the world. And my heart knows what darkness lies in wait each night, stealing a piece with every sun that sets and moon that rises.”

“A day to come seems longer than a year that’s gone. It’s an old Scottish proverb. Years may pass, but when ye have somethin’ difficult to do, a decision that is just around th’ corner, a minute, an hour, a day can feel like an eternity. Ye can choose to think that we ne’er have enough time. Or ye can choose to believe we are given just the amount we need.”

“The gift of life is unlike any other gift one can receive. To imagine that two people come together, each bringing a requisite piece of the puzzle, feels like magic to someone like me. When this happens, destinies and paths are set, hopes and dreams begin to grow and love takes course.”

“She stood in silence, feeling the wind gently blow across her face, watching drops of pure white snow cascade across her husband’s grave and smelling the cold of winter begin to settle in.”

 


 

About Me
I am a writer. I am currently searching for an agent and looking at independent publishing options for my first book, Watching a Glass Shatter. To see more, please check out the website for this novel where you will find the first 3 chapters, character bios and sample quotes.

I am writing my second novel, Father Figure, with plans to finish it in December, 2017. As part of the process to engage with my fans and followers, I am publishing a weekly status on the progress of this second book. For a description of this book, check out the post where my friends and followers voted for this book as my second novel.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 35 – Genealogist

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Genealogist: One who is actively engaged in the study or investigation of ancestry and family histories

We’ve made it through another week and on this fifth Sunday, it’s time to wrap up the first month’s focus on my genealogical heritage. See below for a picture of my Ancestry DNA results.

genealogy

In the last four weeks, I selected the 4 countries where I believe my ancestors hailed from, as well as picked the top stereotypical traits people assumed about the people from those places. A quick summary:

  1. Irish: 20%
  2. English: 33%
  3. German: 33% (Includes the Scandinavian as some of relatives were on the border)
  4. Scottish: 13%
  5. Other: 1% (West Asian – I think everyone gets that!)

While the DNA results and the documentation have a 10% disconnect, it’s a very clear picture of who my people were and where I came from.

Why do I study my genealogy? Take a look at this post on my professional website. It will give you some insight into my historical nature and great big quest for the past.

I often wonder why I’m so persistent on it… do I doubt who I am? Do I need more details about where I came from? Is it trying to understand how it all began?

Ultimately, this interest goes back to more than just people… it’s how did the USA begin. What happened to the dinosaurs? What were the original continents like? How did Earth form? What other galaxies are there? It’s more than being curious. It’s more than dedication or obsession. When I’m researching a family member on my laptop, tons of windows open to compare and contrast records, and I stumble upon a find… my eyes light up, I can’t sit still and my fingers can’t keep up with my mind. The discovery is brilliant and I’m ecstatic.

I’m a linear person. I like to start at the beginning. I have to read the first book in a series. I prefer straight lines. I like to create project plans with a starting point and an ending point. I love watching time pass on a clock, counting down to the re-start of the 60 segment process.

I believe it’s the same orderly structure that drives me to research my roots. I like seeing things improve, gain strength, drive forward. Adding more knowledge with each successive chain or generation. I’m sociological, I suppose.

Seeing a family tree, learning how people survived, how they met… what types of jobs and families they had. What made them move? These are all details I enjoy searching for across the internet.

Can you imagine watching from the sidelines as your ancestors moved through their lives? What if we had a time machine and could go back not to change the past, but to watch it unfold on warp speed? Quick enough not to see the tedious things, but slow enough to watch how each generation changed. To see your 4 times grandparents meet on a boat and decide to marry within days. To know your 6 times great-grandmother suffered so many miscarriages due to the poor conditions of medicine and health, but then she finally gave birth to your 5 times great-grandfather. To know how wars impacted your family. To recognize who touched royalty at some point.

It’s not unlike my interest in mystery fiction. Investigation. Detection. Research. As I draft each of these posts, hitting number 35 today, several themes are starting to appear. I’ve always known about them on a smaller scale, but the picture is becoming more clear.

So now I throw it out there… where do I go next?

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post.

365 Challenge: Day 28 – Scottish

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Scottish: containing roots from Scotland

There are lots of famous Scottish people I admire: Gerard Butler, Ewan McGregor (one of my favorite and most versatile actors), Annie Lennox, Sean Connery, Robert Burns… there are tons more, but I only picked the few I easily recalled and that I actually know things about or have seen things they are in. For example, Tony Blair is apparently Scottish, but I only know of him as a former PM for the UK. I couldn’t tell you very much about him, so I didn’t list him. But I guess I just did. Oh well.

As we finish the fourth week of the 365 Daily Challenge, it’s time to cover the last major ethnic and genealogical heritage within my DNA. Irish, German and English were the first few, and now we’re gonna chat about my Scottish roots. Based on my research through Ancestry.com, I’m around 12.5% Scottish, mostly stemming from my mother’s side of the family. There are 4 families from Scotland, out of 32 branches, focusing on the ones who immigrated from Scotland to the U.S. And those names are: (1) Robertson, (2) Wallace, (3) Hector, and (4) McGregor or McSwegan. I am not certain which is the correct last name because there are two marriage certificates when James Robertson married Margaret around the turn of the 19th into the 20th century. Both are New York marriages, both have all the same details for addresses and parental information, except on one certificate it shows her name as McGregor and on another, it shows her name as McSwegan. I can only assume it is the same woman, filled it out twice for some reason, and she was married once before my 2x great-grandfather, but I would likely need to go to Scotland to get more details. Some day!

So let’s talk about Scottish roots and stories. I love the accent. I love Outlander (who doesn’t)! I love Mary Queen of Scots. And I’ve started reading a new cozy mystery series with lots of potential. For those not familiar with my book reviews, check out the links to see another side of me. And when I Love Lucy went to Scotland in her dream, I loved it! There is so much rich culture and history in the country, beautiful landscapes and fantastic substance, I wish I had more Scottish blood in me.

But when I looked up the top ten traits of the Scottish, this time using a cross between Quora, Huffington Post and Answers.com, I had to wonder how much of these things are true: at least when it comes to me. Here we go, lasses and lads:

1 – Pale / Freckled / Ginger

  • We covered this one under Irish and English, so I’m not gonna repeat myself. I am. I was tempted to post a picture of an attractive red-head… but too many to chose from, so you get a bottle of soda!

  • Score: 1 out of 1.

2 – Violent

  • We covered this one under Irish, so again, I’ll skip it. I’m not.

  • Score: 1 out of 2.

3 – Sports-Lovers

  • We covered this one in the last few. I’m not a big sports guy. Who runs around on a field and chases balls purely to say I caught it in the end?

  • Score: 1 out of 3.

4 – Drinkers

  • We covered this one under German, Irish and English. The whole world seems to be. And while I drink a bunch, I wouldn’t fit this definition.

  • Score: 1 out of 4.

5 – Kilts & Bag-Pipes

  • I think kilts are gorgeous. I think they should be worn in the right setting. If you’ve got strong calf muscles, definitely flaunt them. If not, skip it. I’ve never worn one, but I’d like to and I’d ROCK it. But since I haven’t, I can’t claim it.
  • I find the sound hypnotic. In the funeral scene in my book, “Watching a Glass Shatter,” there’s a passage about bag pipe music that moves a character to tears. Writing it also moved me to tears. It’s a bit lyrical. You should read it here; it’s in the beginning of chapter 1, but read the whole thing. (Oh, how bad was that plug!). But I’ve never played one, nor been in the physical presence of one. So that’s a no for me sadly.

  • Score: 1 out of 5.

6 – Cheap

  • The word used was miserly, but I don’t agree. When I think of miserly, I think of Shylock from Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice.” No… perhaps a little cheap is what they mean. And there’s a small part of me that is a bit cheap. I do spend money, and sometimes way more than I should, but my initial reaction to something is usually “and how much will that cost me?” I should give myself a few points to account for that…

  • Score: 1.25 out of 6.

7 – Haggis-Lovers & Poor Diets

  • I have never eaten haggis. Most people aren’t even sure what it is. I looked it up to be certain, as I knew it was the stomach of some animal. It’s sheep. And while we’ve covered my obsession with cookies, you also know my diet is generally healthy. So epic fail here.

  • Score: 1.25 out of 7.

8 – Can’t understand them

  • The accent is alluring. Charming. Exotic. Sensual. Rich. Many of us get chills when we here it. I’d probably do anything under the right circumstances, if someone spoke to me with an authentic Scottish accent. And yes, it can be a little hard to understand the person. Although not quite the same, people sometimes have a hard time understanding me… claiming I mumble and speak too softly. I suppose they are correct… it’s not that I slur, but since I’m quiet and shy, I tend to not speak too loudly unless in a work situation. So… I’ll give myself a few percentage points for this, but not a lot.

  • Score: 1.5 out of 10.

9 – Loch Ness Monster

  • While I love the concept of the Loch Ness Monster, and it’s used so often in books and film, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist. Though it would be cool if it did! And I am not a monster, so I get nane. (none, in Scottish)

  • Score: 1.5 out of 10.

10 – Homophobic

  • Hmm… I don’t think I agree with this being a trait of the Scottish. But it showed up in 2 of the 3 places I looked for the “top 10” traits, so I had to include it. I’m just gonna go with… if you’re reading this post, you know me, or you live in the modern world, then no… this is ridiculous. I don’t think Scots are, and I am certainly NOT! Quell hypocrite!

  • Score: 1.5 out of 10.

How ironic… 1.5 out of 10 is 15%, which is roughly how much Scottish I have in me. I wonder… did I just work that math out purposely, or are these true and accurate tests for my DNA structure and personality characteristics. The world will never know…

Review: Single Malt Murder: A Whisky Business Mystery

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Single Malt Murder: A Whisky Business Mystery
Single Malt Murder: A Whisky Business Mystery by Melinda Mullet

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 stars to Melinda Mullet‘s Single Malt Murder: A Whisky Business Mystery, the first book in the new “Whisky Business” cozy mystery series. I stumbled across this book on NetGalley as a pre-release opportunity to read and review. I’m so glad I did! It was a fantastic new cozy with all the Scottish charm you’d come to expect… and now I may need to take up whisky drinking (even more than the Jack Daniels I already enjoy too frequently)!


Story

Abi Logan’s a semi-famous photographer in London, whose parents passed away in a car accident when she was 8 years-old. Her father’s brother, Uncle Ben, raised her in his flat until she joined a newspaper and traveled the world for a story. He retired to a small town in Scotland where he purchased a single malt whisky distillery and made a core group of new friends and family. When he passes away from cancer, she inherits the distillery and heads to Scotland to find a buyer and say goodbye to him. But she quickly learns the old-fashioned whisky team don’t take too kindly to a woman trying to run things. She finds a few friendly souls and begins to find someone to help her run the place until she can sell it; however, she receives several threats to get out quickly, later finding the dead body of the son of her late uncle’s girlfriend drowned in a whisky barrel. More threats and a few additional deaths fall across her path… leading her and best friend Patrick to try to solve the investigation before she ends up a victim herself!


Strengths

1. The description and coverage of the whisky-making process is delectable. I’ve never been much of a straight-whisky drinker… the occasional glass over ice on a cold night has been known to occur. I have been a long-time imbiber when it comes to a splash of ginger ale and lime wedge. Delicious! But now I’ve learned so much about the process, I want to try good whisky — and on its own! Go into this read lightly, you might become an addict quickly.

2. Patrick and Abi have a great relationship. She’s smart, no nonsense and independent. He’s witty, business-savvy and a good listener. He’s also gay, so no worry about any relationship-type issues. I hope he finds a couple of good paramours… it’d be fun to see how the writer handles it in the small Scottish town. Abi’s already got one suitor based on her interactions and it’s got the potential to steam up the pages. Just think “what’s under that kilt?” and you can leave the rest to your imagination.

3. The story is clever and has several different paths. Lots of characters and suspects without over-doing it. A good amount of red herrings. A fair hustle of danger. I read it almost entirely in one sitting, as each new chapter covered a different angle.


Suggestions

1. One concern is the breadth of future stories… how much can really occur in a whisky distillery after the debut is all about who will end up owning it? One option which the author seems to be considering is that Abi won’t live in the Scottish town as she ends up back in London at the end of the book, undecided about next steps. Perhaps that’s just to carry us to book 2, but I’d like her to stay and see how the story could combine her world travels as a photographer / reporter and as a distillery-owner.

2. Some of the supporting characters were a little too similar. I will remember 1 or 2, but the rest blended together enough that I may forget when I start the next book. I think some time may need to focus on bringing forth a stable of 4 or 5 core supporting characters, each with clear and distinct personalities. It’s minor and easily addressed.


Final Thoughts

Give this new series a chance. It’s a non-traditional setting (at least for me) in a small Scottish town. It’s got a girl with no family left, so it’ll be interesting to see how she handles life “on her own” and assembles a new family. Patrick will definitely make the series stand out. And the writing is clean and interesting, especially with hints of Scottish brogue thrown about!

View all my reviews