Latvian Stuff: A Hiatus

Writing about Latvian culture, traditions, and eccentricities has been a great deal of fun. My posts have received lots of attention, comments on social media, and even a bit of money. It’s also been a lot of work writing my essays, editing, and illustrating them. It’s not that I’m out of ideas, I have plenty more but blogging isn’t the only writing I do. During my six-day streak (today’s day seven) I’ve neglected my other writing.

“Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it inflames the great.”
― Roger de Bussy-Rabutin

My novel in progress that needs editing and rewriting. As Wind to Flame is a historical romance that is set during the mid-19th Century, so it requires a lot of research, which is also fun. My heroine, Thea Lowell starts out as a bumptious girl and ends up as a nurse during the Civil War. Along the way, Thea falls in love with a rancher’s son, Adam Hastings.

My exiled heroine’s Bārta’s folk costume which shows up at a critical junction in the story.

The first two-thirds of A Home for an Exile’s Heart is available on Amazon Vella. The next chapter is finished but needs more editing before I can publish it. Exile is also a historical romance but it’s set in Seattle, Washington in 1952. The heroine is a widowed Latvian World War II refugee. Līvija Galiņa’s leading man is dashing former fighter pilot Cameron Quinn. I’ve left my readers waiting too long for the next chapter.


Today I published a story for children called, A Pocketful of Kitten. Currently, it’s under review on Amazon Vella but should go live pretty soon.

“A Pocketful of Kitten.” A freebie read on Kindle Vella.

Did I mention that I also write short stories? I did. Not in this post, but in earlier ones. Anyone who’s interested can check under the category “fiction.” I’d like to write more short stories but my ideas have a way of growing like the magical beanstalk.

Then there are such minor annoyances as cooking and eating. I have the ingredients for borscht but who knows when I’ll get around to making the soup.

Oh,  look! I’ve managed to procrastinate on that pesky chapter of Exile. And I’ve been sitting at my computer so such a long time that it’s gotten painful. I need to break for chocolate.

A short story.

“Plink,” A Short Story”

A story of abandonment and loss. A broken family. An uncertain future.

When I published “Plink” on Amazon, I had to pick categories to describe it. Amazon decides whether a story is a “short read,” so I didn’t have to worry about that. But what other category would “Plink” fit in? Even though the story’s told from the Point of View (POV) of a blue, blue shirt, fantasy doesn’t really fit. No swords, no sorcerers, no dragons. No fairies, so it’s not a fairy tale. Like “Plink,” surreal fiction takes place in the “real” and “sane” world. (The latter is a debatable description for our world) but the story is shocking, psychedelic, twisted, even macabre. That’s not my story at all.

I finally settled on Magic Realism. Fans of the genre may argue that “Plink” isn’t Magic Realism, either, but it’s the closest fit. Magic Realism according to Wikipedia “paints a realistic view of the modern world while also adding magical elements.”

I love this sort of weird little story. I’ve read quite a few. They’re fun to read and fun to write. I hope you’ll enjoy “Plink.”

99 cents.

“Sculptor’s Block,” A Short Story

         The block of red granite loomed in his mind the way it loomed in his studio. It even showed up in his dreams. He admired the thing, which glittered subtly with inclusions of quartz and mica. It frightened him a little, too. No doubt he should have chosen a smaller chunk of stone for his first project in granite. It was an unforgiving material, dulling chisels, and even diamond-bladed saws. However, once he’d seen it, he was consumed with the lust to possess, with dreams of grandeur. He’d carve it into his magnum opus.

For days after the delivery, he’d spent hours with the stone, studying it, patting its rough surface. How would he transform it? The stone demanded a worthy subject. He thought of the sculptors who’d come before him: Praxiteles, Michelangelo, Rodin. And he started to sweat. He knew that he could never be the genius those men had been. He comforted himself with the thought that he didn’t have to be a genius; he didn’t even want to be a genius. He’d be content to be a damned good sculptor of his own time. Make a name for himself that his son could be proud of.

Michelangelo had seen an angel inside a block of marble and carved until he set it free. Much as the sculptor looked, he couldn’t see anything trapped in his block of granite. Zeus wasn’t there. Neither was Thor. Not even Sitting Bull.

Then on a divorced-dad Saturday, with his son at the zoo, they’d stood at the rail of the bear enclosure and both stared open-mouthed at a Kodiak. He’d found his subject. Carving it like that, sitting on its haunches, immense paws dangling on a vast furry belly, he could make it almost life-sized.

Back at the studio he sawed, hammered, ground. Splinters of granite flew like drops of sweat. He forgot to eat. He forgot to sleep. Only the stone mattered.

It wasn’t like working with marble, alabaster or soapstone. Somehow he couldn’t get the details right. The ears didn’t look right. The snout was all wrong. Worst of all was the fur. How could you make such a hard stone look like soft fur?

He sawed. He hammered. He ground. More dust and granite splinters flew. When at last he stepped back, he realized that the block of stone was no longer large enough to make a life-size adult bear. Well, all right, maybe he’d sculpt a half-grown cub. Cubs were cute. People liked cubs. A cub would probably sell better than an adult bear.

There was always something to change, something to improve. As the stone shrank, his ambition shrank with it. He chipped away. A wolf was a noble animal. He’d carve a wolf. No. A fox. No. A rabbit with droopy ears.

In the end, all his labors brought forth was a mouse. By no means perfect. Of course not. But, Japanese netsuke artists notwithstanding, he’d be damned if he’d carve a bug.