Wherever you lay your hat…

Despite the best of intentions, of course, I’m falling behind time with blogging activity already! On Sunday I came back from visiting Mum to discover, on sitting down to the keyboard, that it was National Hat Day. In the USA anyway. That’s a great idea for a blog, thought I – and promptly went off to play Patience (Solitaire across the pond).

writehat But it stayed at the back of my mind because I have two hats in my new study that carry deep meaning for me. So, without further ado, meet my writing hat!
Now I won’t kid you – this is me being a huge fan-girl! 😀 The late, great Terry Pratchett, as some of you regulars may know is a big literary hero of mine – to the point of my now being a regular attendant at Discworld conventions in the UK and Eire. He had a thing for wearing a black (well, a very dark) fedora to his public appearances. After his demise we still have one of his hats on stage for the opening and closing ceremonies, and for interviews with the Discworld worthies.
Out of humility and reverence for his memory – and, yes I admit because a hat seems to be a bit of a wardrobe icon for other bona fide writers as well – I decided that I needed my own fedora(s), not only for fan conventions but also going about my writerly activities as well. So this is my everyday writing hat, which as you can see is not black as I am but a pale imitation of Sir Terry…
Not only does it put me in a writing frame of mind, it’s also a jolly good covering for the cranium, especially during the last couple of cold snaps we’ve had (the central heating was playing up, but can get quite cold in the study when the sun goes to bed)

readhatNow, meet my reading hat!
Also not black. Purplely-grey is nearer to black, though… It is, however, a better quality hat than my writing hat – it has more gravitas and focus. And nicer feathers on it.
This is the hat that I take to Discworld conventions, and, if I ever get more venturesome myself, to public author appearances. But mostly I wear it when I’m reading in the study. It’s still a work hat, though, because I don’t do reading purely for pleasure in the study. No, it’s more to do with research, or for more practical pursuits like mail-order catalogue perusal (aka skiving off, although to be fair, most of my catalogue ‘research’ is to do with spending serious money just now as the house refurbishment rolls ever onwards).

‘OK, Jan. That’s all very well and good, but what the feck has this all got to do with National Hat Day, or where you lay your hat come to that!’  I hear you ask… Well, my dears, I was just coming to that!
Hats are important in the workplace! Security or building occupations come to mind pretty quickly, where hats that can withstand a certain amount of violence to protect the wearer’s skull are vital. Ditto in high impact sports, or cold, wet weather outdoor activities like skiing or sailing where keeping your head warm and dry is important.
‘Yeah, yeah – but what’s a fedora with fancy feathers got to do with actually writing?’
It’s not just the homage you see? Sir Terry didn’t wear his hats when he was working (well, not all the time – maybe his renovated chapel was a bit parky in the winter as well!). No, It’s all about a state of mind I think. A fedora has a certain éclat to start with, and believe it or not was worn by the early suffragettes after Sarah Bernhardt’s hat worn for the play Fédora. It became popular with men too, when Edward VII wore them, instead of the similar homburg style. In more recent times the fedora has also surfaced in pop culture as the hat of choice for Indiana Jones… So, it’s making a statement, kind of.
My work focuses on fantasy in one way or another, subtle or obvious, which is where the feathers come into it. I wanted my fedora to be more feminine. Also purple and green are favourite colours. So, a little bit of surfing took me to websites that sold feather pins or brooches beloved of the huntin’ and fishin’ fraternity, or other exotic bird varieties. The writing hat has bantam and guinea fowl quills and the reading hat sports goose, ostrich, pheasant and black peacock feathers. Aspirational, see? 😉
It’s ‘mood dressing’ in other words. When I wear my hats I’m taking myself off to the wild and woolly places of my imagination, maybe even a little magical. They become symbols that I’m practising my craft – as a writer (and wannabe sorcerer). They really do help me keep warm as well when the frost is hoary, and even the dog doesn’t want to go outside. They’re headgear for internal exploration or prospecting?
And I think I look quite good in them too! 😉

Welcome Author, Marlena Smith #RRBC

Yay for Marlena! Loved this interview – I never had you figured as a horror movie addict! LOL 😉

Entertaining Stories

One of the benefits of membership in the Rave Reviews Book Club is the ability to host other authors. Today it’s my turn to bring you Marlena Smith, one of the hardest working members in the club. Please give her a warm welcome in the comments and with the sharing buttons.


Hi, there!

Welcome to Day 1 of my RRBC “SPOTLIGHT” Author Blog Tour! I am so excited to have you join me! A huge THANKS to RRBC and to my awesome host!!

To kick this tour off, I thought some Q&A would be fun, your chance to get to know the author!

1. You have been writing for a long time now, since you were a child. What were some of your first story ideas?

Yes, my earliest memory of writing comes from 2nd grade. I wrote a story about my mother and received the honor of…

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Rockin’ the Rainbow…

Something’s going down over at Sian’s blog – check out this post on one of her new guest areas, designed for in-character shenanigans!

Welcome to the Hall of Rainbows, where Janowyn, High Bard of the River Kingdom, hangs out with fellow elves and bards (who may or may not rhyme, sing, or tell tall tales) and occasionally commits g…

Source: Rockin’ the Rainbow…

Let There be Peace on Earth and Let it Begin with Me

This is sort of blog post that NEEDS to go ‘viral’ – so it starts now and hopefully I’ll be re-blogging more of the same all throughout this brand new year! 😀

Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author

We really do have the power to make it happen, one brush stroke at a time. ~ Bette A. Stevens (Image from Pinterest)We really do have the power to make it happen.~Bette A. Stevens (Image from Pinterest)

Knowledge of the past holds one of the keys to world peace. Knowledge of the people in the world around us today holds another essential key. However, knowledge in and of itself is useless, much like a collection of unused paint brushes resting on the world’s shelf. It is our job to pick up the brushes and start painting. The perfect portrait of peace begins within each of us.  It’s painted one brush stroke at a time. Here are some simple steps that we can all take to contribute to that portrait:

Take the time to learn about those who are different from us in some way. We may want start with someone in our own family. Even there, we often find differences in opinions, race, religion, beliefs, customs, cultures, political affiliations. The list…

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Views of the Neighborhood – Christmas Day Luminaria

Stunning luminaria light up Christmas Eve on Mustang Island in the Gulf of Mexico. Taken by my fave thriller guy John Howell

Fiction Favorites

We have a neighborhood in Part Aransas which is known as Channel Vista. This subdivision decided to get together and put out luminaria for the Christmas season A luminaria is a small paper lantern (commonly a candle set in some sand inside a paper bag) which is of significance in New Mexico and the Southwest at Christmas time. The hope among the faithful is that the lights will guide the spirit of the Christ child to one’s home.

I was on hand for the event and took some photos.

The first photo is a boat that the owner decorated for the on water boat luminaria which unfortunately was canceled due to the weather. The boat owner towed his boat around town and parked it so it would be the first set of lights in Channel Vista. You can also see Santa taking it easy.


The next photo is pretty typical for…

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