I’m Still Here And Active

“Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic” – Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

When I started blogging last September, I honestly didn’t give myself much credit for writing and keeping up with it. I figured it would have played out by Christmas. Now, here I am, eleven months later with thirty-three posts published, visited 398 times and 734 views. For those who do not know, I started blogging after a near-tragic medical event last August forced me to look at a lot of things in my life; things I had accomplished, things I was in the middle of accomplishing and things I always wanted to do, but never made time for them. To be honest, I am still having a hard time making time for things, thus the nearly three-month gap since my last blog post.

I have always said that I have several books swimming around in my head that I have just not put on paper. Last August I told myself that, if I was ever going to write a book, it was time to do it. I started thinking about what all went into writing and publishing and everything else that took a book from the initial conception to the shelf. Then I remembered that my daughter has been a Twitter user for several years, and has networked with several authors in the children’s and young adult genres. So, I set up a Twitter account with the intention of connecting with writers, authors, editors, publishers and people in all other areas of the “book biz”. What an amazing experience it has been, too. I have met some truly amazing authors, writers and bloggers. I have bought, received and read a lot of their books, regardless of genre. I have become a freelance reviewer on Amazon and Goodreads, and have posted several reviews here on my WordPress site. One of the authors I have met is New York author, William Lobb (you can read more about Bill in my blog review of his novel, The Third Step). It was Bill that told me to start a blog. He said it would not only get my words out to the public, but would also be good writing practice. To date, my blog posts have been seen in 14 different countries! WOW!

So, what have I been up to lately? Reading and reviewing mostly. As I said, I have been reading books of authors I have met, and I review on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as on here. I am still plugging away on my debut novel, which I am planning to self publish Winter 2019 (that’s the projected goal, anyway, and is subject to change). I am also working on a crime short story and an historical poem, along the lines of Walt Whitman. Three things I’d like to mention (It’s my blog and I’ll toot my own horn, if I want lol).

I am on a launch team for Allie Compeau’s soon-to-be-released children’s book, Aster The Spirit Talker, which is scheduled for release on August 7. I have written about Allie before (Meet K Alice Compeau). It’s a great book, and I have my review ready for launch day. I am currently reading her book, A Night Game, which is scheduled for later release.

My friend, Australian author, RL Andrew has just completed her second novel, A Demigodess’ Guide To Interplanetary Parenting and is sending me signed copies of the first and second novels (the first being A Lunatic’s Guide To Interplanetary Relationships). In a tweet the other day about her second novel, she told me that I had a mention in the acknowledgements! RL is an amazing author, as well as an inspirational woman. She is chronically ill, yet she still manages to, not only write, but meet and greet her fans at book fairs and market events. She is currently working on the third book in the series.

Another author friend, Sarah Tyley, author of Spaghetti Head, has, along with notable writers, host Becky Slack and guest tutor Helen Cross, started a Writer’s Workshop in SW France, and Sarah has asked me to submit a couple blog posts along the lines of “getting started” for their website. So, I will be submitting those as soon as possible. If you are reading this post, and are in or around the Southwest of France, AND/OR think you might be interested in their workshop in September, you can get more information about the workshop from their website: http://www.latelierdesecrivains.com.

Needless to say (but I will anyway) I am deeply appreciative and humbled by these three wonderful ladies for thinking of me, and giving me an opportunity to be a part of their writing successes.

Until next time (hopefully not three more months)…

Keep On Pushin’

5E22CD74-2F8D-4902-99AC-C6342AE12D19I have been saying for a couple years that I am going to take my old push mower and have a new engine put on it, so I can start pushmowing my yard again, and, in pure procrastinator fashion, have put it off…until recently. My yard consists of a little less than an acre and, for the first ten to twelve years we were in the house, I used that old push mower to keep the grass cut. When the engine was no longer serviceable I bought a nice little riding mower, which I have been using since.

My rationale for having a new engine put on the push mower was that I needed to start pushing the yard again for health reasons mainly. It would give me a reason to get outside and move, getting in a good walk in the process. Also to get hard to reach places, thus cutting down on using the weed eater. Well, about three weeks ago something broke in the engine of the riding mower with only a little bit of the yard left to mow. I told myself that, if I’m ever going to get a new engine for the push mower, now was a good time to do it. I also told myself that if I don’t start pushing the yard again now, I never will do it again. So, I threw my old push mower in the back of the truck and took it to the outdoor power supply store.

Yesterday, for the first time in about eighteen years, I push mowed ‘God’s Little (close to an) Acre’, and learned a few things:

1. It takes longer to do it with the push mower than it does with the riding mower.

2. Tracking my steps and distance showed that I almost double my mileage during two hours of mowing the yard, than I do during a twelve hour work shift.

3. It was a whole lot easier to do it eighteen years ago, when I was in my thirties, than it is now in my fities! In my defense, though, I had been awake about twenty-one hours and the temperature was already in the upper eighties before 9:00am.

It’s not even summer yet, and the temps are already pushing 90s?! I think I’m going to go and find a nice big, zero-turn, 78 inch cutting radius, heavy duty riding mower, and hire the guy who owns it to bring it to the house and cut my grass this summer!

I’m just kidding. I’ll push on (pun intended), and stick with it for a while anyway. Who knows. It may provide material for some future blogs.A9958B31-4C8F-425B-AA9B-85622EA8EE84.jpeg


King Arthur Challenge Complete! ⚔️🛡

So…in my last post, I told you about the virtual challenge I signed up for through Yes.Fit, the King Arthur Challenge. I am happy to announce that I have completed the challenge, days before my set goal. I promised that I would give tidbits of information as I went along, regarding the route as it partained to Arthurian legend, however, I got so caught up in the challenge, and virtually passed through townships so fast, that I couldn’t keep up with the research. I did learn about the virtual race course, though, and Yes.Fit would send me snapshots of the course as I went along, things that I would see if I was walking the course in real life. At certain mileposts they would send me links to pages, such as National Geographic and other sites about some of the history of the area and Arthurian legend, so I got to see some of the landscape and learned something as I walked the 23.2 miles to complete the challenge. Some of the things that I had been conscious about while doing the virtual challenge was keeping up with my distances each day. I tracked my progress on the Apple Health app on my phone, and I found myself purposely walking the longer routes and moving more. It was so neat to look at the app at the end of each day and see the number of miles walked and steps taken. It was also good to go to the Yes.Fit app dashboard and see the miles walked getting higher and higher each day. Being mindful of what I was eating and drinking was also, always, a plus.

As of now I am into my next challenge, The Way Of The Warrior, based on the ancient Samurai. It is a 77.5 mile challenge, and I look forward to completing it soon. I haven’t set my goal for this race yet, but being back at work should help with racking up the walking miles. Again, I will be tracking my distance and steps taken progress. Hopefully I will see some major improvements in my weight and overall health throughout all of this.

Come Take A Walk With Me, Virtually


So…while perusing Facebook recently, I discovered a new app that allows the user to participate in virtual races. It’s called Yes.Fit, and they offer “over 65” different virtual challenges of varying lengths and series. They also have specialized races from time to time that are for specific categories and/or are limited to a number of participants. The best part of the program is that you can complete the challenges at your own pace, however, be advised that some of them may be time sensitive. I used the picture of the knight for this one, because the race I have chosen for my first challenge is called King Arthur. The legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table have always been an interest of mine since I was a kid, and this one jumped out at me.

It was very easy to set up my profile and get started. I picked the race I wanted to do, picked my reward (yes, just like any other race you sign up for, you have a choice of a medal or a T-shirt at an additional cost), entered my shipping and payment information and I was set. Yes.Fit progress can be tracked through a number of fitness devices. I am using Apple Health on my phone for now, but may go to another device, as I don’t always have my phone on me when I walk.

My plan is to do this virtual challenge to get myself into a better routine of getting out and moving more, however, I want to take it a step further. Each challenge gives you an introduction to the race, plus a map of where you would be walking if you were doing it for real. This challenge is 23.2 miles long, and runs “along the rugged North Coast of Cornwall to Tintagel”. As I get further into each journey and come into different towns, I plan to blog about each town and some of the history as it may partain to Arthurian legend. You can join me in one of two ways. You can go to the Yes.Fit page on Facebook and sign up for your own challenge, or continue to follow my blog and walk along with me that way. Since this is my first race with Yes.Fit I’m not sure what all to expect. They sent me a picture this morning of a coastal scene from the beginning of the race. I’ll try and add those to the blogs, too.

I encourage you to go and check out the Yes.Fit Facebook page (Yes.Fit) and see what all they have to offer. I mentioned at the top that they offer challenges in different series. They have series, such as folklore, legends and myths; literary figures and authors; scenic highways and byways; wine countries; the Appalachian Trail and a lot more. You may find one that jumps out at you, too.

You all have a great day. I’ll blog more later. Right now, though, I’m going for a walk.

Meet K. Alice Compeau

Jim G Black Writes

Hi, All,

In my last post I introduced you to a friend of mine, Josephine M. In this post I want to introduce you to K Alice Compeau, or Alice.

When I decided I wanted to write my debut novel (on which I am still working), I went to Twitter to connect with a community of writers to whom I could turn for guidance, encouragement, support and advice. Shortly afterward I met a whole ‘nother community, the hashtaggers. One of the wittiest, sharpest and cleverest people I met while playing hashtag games (badly, I admit) was Alice. She’s so good at the games that she cohosts her own game, @PeachyTags with two equally talented women.

Not only is she a witty woman, she is also a talented writer. She already has some titles under her belt, however, she is currently delving into the realm of romance writing, with her first novel…

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Meet K. Alice Compeau

Hi, All,

In my last post I introduced you to a friend of mine, Josephine M. In this post I want to introduce you to K Alice Compeau, or Alice.

When I decided I wanted to write my debut novel (on which I am still working), I went to Twitter to connect with a community of writers to whom I could turn for guidance, encouragement, support and advice. Shortly afterward I met a whole ‘nother community, the hashtaggers. One of the wittiest, sharpest and cleverest people I met while playing hashtag games (badly, I admit) was Alice. She’s so good at the games that she cohosts her own game, @PeachyTags with two equally talented women.

Not only is she a witty woman, she is also a talented writer. She already has some titles under her belt, however, she is currently delving into the realm of romance writing, with her first novel close to release. As with all other writers of whom I’ve blogged, I highly recommend you follow Alice, and buy her book. Buy it, read it, review it and recommend that others do the same.

You can follow Alice on Twitter at @KAliceCompeau; on Facebook at K. Alice Compeau; on WordPress at kalicecompeau.com, where you can follow her blog and subscribe to her email, so you can receive future updates on her work. She is also on Instagram and Google+. She is a busy woman.


Josephine M

Hello, All,

Josephine M is one of my Twitter friends. She is beginning a journey of discovery, renewal, self-awareness, healing and regrowth. She has just kicked off her blog, and has published two posts. Please go to her blog, whoisjosephinem.wordpress.com and follow along with her journey, share he posts and send thoughts of good wishes, positive energies and strength to this brave woman.

Take Me Out To The Ballgame…



It’s that time of year. Pitchers and catchers have reported, and the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues are in full swing (pun intended). As much as I’d love to be in Florida during Spring training, I get just as much joy going to our local high school and college to watch the teams play there. And, since I graduated from both, it’s nice to be able to go and visit the campuses and maybe run into old friends.

As I get older, I find myself enjoying the sport of baseball more. There are certain aspects of the game that appeal to me now that didn’t used to when I was younger. For instance, baseball is a slow-paced game. That would drive some people crazy, however, the ADD me likes being able to keep up with what’s going on, and it’s much easier to follow with a few men scattered out across the playing surface than it is with two groups in the middle, vying for the same ball or puck, which is lost somewhere in the bottom of the pile.

Another thing I like about the game is that, although it’s a team sport, it is also a game of individuals. One batter against one pitcher, thinking, ‘will I be able to hit the pitch?’ and, if he does, then it becomes the runner against the fielder, thinking, ‘can I make it to first base before the fielder throws me out?’ Or the pitcher, thinking, ‘can I strike out this batter?’

Finally, it’s a different atmosphere than any other sport. It’s laid back, usually sunny and warm and the crowd noise is different than the roaring and cheering you would hear at any other sporting event. You do hear the cheering of the crowd when a good play is made or the jeers at a bad call, but you also hear “batter chatter”. You know what I mean, “hey batter batter, hey batter batter…swing!” You never hear someone at a football game yell, “hey quarterback, hey quarterback…pass!” There’s also the guy in the stands hollering out encouragement, “Come on, kid! You got this, kid!” Hearing “kid” reminds me of every old baseball movie I ever saw as a kid myself.

Being at the baseball stadium is just a neat thing for me. It’s a world all it’s own, and I can’t wait to enjoy this season.


Five Minutes

pexels-photo-908629.jpegI haven’t written in a while, and wanted to get something – anything – out there. In my last post I said that I was hoping to get outside more, and write about my adventures. Due to work schedules and other things I have not been able to get out like I had hoped to, then it dawned on me, I am out every night that I work. So, here is Five Minutes of my night tonight.

I am sitting in the car on top of a hill, looking down on what lies before me. The parking lot lights shine down on empty spaces, void of any vehicles this late at night. It’s a cold night. The flags on the three poles are blowing in the stiff breeze. Buildings, which have been secured for the night, sit like brick monuments bathed in light and shadow. The fountain will still be flowing for the next thirty minutes, it’s lights changing colors;  red-orange-yellow-green-blue-indigo-violet. I like to sit beside it on warmer nights, and have Zen time before it turns off for the night. A few cars on the streets, calls over the radios, sirens all around. The sounds of night. I am listening to ‘Echoes’ on ETV Radio. I am the sheepdog, keeping watch for the wolves that come in the night.