8/11/17

Broken Links

All links on this blog are currently broken. Sorry for the inconvenience.

If you want a recipe, please email me at Margaret.golla@gmail.com with your request. 

8/10/17

Big Steps and Lil' Uns

Back home from vaca!

We did our yearly migration to the summer hell hole called Flo-rida. The beach at Ft. Lauderdale was nice and relaxing. Walt Disney World was hideously crowded, but fun. And Universal was awesome, but MUST HAVE an Express Pass if you go in summer!

I had high hopes that I would have at least one day with over 30,000 steps, but the closest I got was 26,000 steps. *sigh* Oh, well. You couldn't walk three steps without having to jog around people suddenly stopping or having a family conference in the middle of the walking area. And shuffling in the lines doesn't constitute "walking steps".

Massive amounts of humanity crowding in a finite location with 95% humidity with 90+ degree days equals UGH! The issue was the same at Universal, though there were far fewer strollers that were used as battering rams.

Speaking of strollers, Disney should outlaw them in their stores. It's bad enough to miss time one's shopping and have to deal with serious crowds, but then having ankles rammed and feet run over just made it irritation.

Highlights:
    • The Flight of the Banshee in Animal Kingdom was AWESOME!! The Ikran you sit on (it's like a motorcycle seat with handles to hold onto) actually breaths, and your legs feel it use its wings.
    • We managed to score THREE extra fast passes one day. FIRST TIME EVER!
    • Managed to get off the monorail and enter the Magic Kingdom right when the 3 PM parade was coming around the corner. Parked ourselves on the steps of City Hall. I think they kick people off this location prior to the parade, but we just lucked out with our timing.
    • Butterbeer ice cream is hands down the best thing ever!
    • And if you do go to Universal get the park-to-park pass (Hogwarts train experience is different both ways). AND if you are there in the summer, find some way to budget an Express Pass into your budget. We still had to wait in lines, but there were far shorter lines than the regular standby line.
We have very long, very active days while on vacation. A Golla vacation isn't successful unless your feet bleed! Mine didn't, but the others weren't so lucky . . . or in condition.

Later!

MAGs

7/8/17

Dragonskull Keep


This is one of those pieces of flash fiction that I wrote while figuring out the backstory of a couple of my character's from GOBLIN'S APPRENTICE. It's not perfect, but it isn't supposed to be.

Enjoy!
MAGs


Dragonskull Keep

by
Margaret A. Golla
 

Anger infused every step he took, killing all plant life within a meter radius. Kalen Van’Dar, powerful mage of the Celestian council, a necromancer, had managed to let the one person in the way of his ascending the throne to slip through his fingers.

His plan had been perfect: seduce Queen Deanara with his magic-laced words, take over her mind to control the Celestian Council and conquer Celestia. Simple.

But his greed had cost him. He’d pushed Deanara too hard, and now she’d vanished, along with her goblin mentor, Rhan. Suspected of treason by the council, Van’Dar was on the run. Malvoren elves tracked him even as his ire killed the forest around him.

It was time for an alternate plan.

A calculated grin wreathed his face as he entered a clearing. He sent a thought, “Come to me.” He would disappear, not from Celestia, but from the minds of those who knew him. He must regain control of Dragonskull Keep, his tower and source of his power. It was time to move his pawn into position.

Wind buffeted the air as a griffin landed across the clearing, folded its wings and with big cat grace slinked across to punt its head against Van’Dar’s chest. “Yes, my friend, it is time,” he murmured.

The griffin bowed, allowing Van’Dar to climb on its back in front of its wings. Van’Dar raised his hand, muttered a few words, and sliced it open with his dagger. Blood sprayed across the clearing as the earth churned under the griffin’s claws, mimicking a battle, one that Van’Dar had lost. “To Dragonskull.”

The griffin took to the air carrying its burden willingly. Van’Dar cast another spell to cover their progress with shadows. Malvoren elves would find evidence of the battle, drawing the conclusion that he had been killed and taken away to feed the griffin’s cublets.

They would be wrong.

Once Dragonskull was his again, he would grow his army, influence his followers, and bide his time until war was needed to gain what had almost been his. Soon they approached the rocky promontory overlooking Dragonskull. The griffin backwinged into a soft landing, and bowed low as Van’Dar dismounted.

He placed his hand on the griffin’s head, inches from a beak that could easily savage him. “Thank you, my friend. May the wind always be at your back.” The griffin bowed his head, turned and loped off the rock only to take to the air with a beat on silent wings, disappearing from sight.

Planting his staff, Van’Dar concentrated and mind-spoke to his pawn. “M’kel? It is time.”

M’kel, as he was known by elves in this garrison, woke from a sound sleep. He hated the name, but it wouldn’t do to have his real name—Magyar—spoken. Elves had long memories. They would remember the invasion of his village. The slaughter the elves brought with them and the death they received in return. It was a mystery that only he and Van’Dar knew the answer. Van’Dar had taken him in, taught him, and trained him. If it weren’t for the necromancer, Magyar would have died that day instead of the invaders—Malvoren elves may they be damned forever.

It was time for to repay his debt to Van’Dar. “I am here, Master.”

“Kill everyone in the keep. Kill the guards patrolling the wall. Open the gates. I want to be welcomed into my home by death.”

“It is your will, Master.”

Magyar quietly rolled off the straw mat on the floor, picked up two long knives he had placed next to his bed. Methodically, he walked to each sleeping elf, crossed his blades around their necks and pulled outward, slicing their throats. Blood splattered on his hands and face as it spilled from their severed throats only to be absorbed by the straw they lay on.

Memories of that fateful day returned.

Twenty times he repeated this action. Twenty times he killed Malvoren elves as they slept.

Wall torches threw a low light over the carnage as Magyar looked around. One was missing. Who?

An elf walked into the great hall, adjusting his leggings after a visit to the garderobe. His footsteps faltered as the smell of death caressed his senses. He looked around, spotting the lifeless bodies around the room. His gaze turned to Magyar’s shadowy figure, knives dripping with blood from his murdered comrades.

The elf turned and fled.

“T’rgon!” Magyar snarled as he took chase. If the elf opened the keep’s doors to alert the outside guards, all would be lost. With one blade he snagged T’rgon’s cloak and pulled him close, placing the other blade against the elf’s throat. “It’s not personal, T’rgon,” Magyar whispered into his ear. With a quick swipe, Magyar sliced T’rgon’s throat. Warm blood poured down the body as it dropped to the floor.

Time was of the essence as Magyar methodically walked through the keep, killing the remaining elves, including the cooks and wantons. No one must escape. No one must suspect him of this treachery.

When the keep was silent, Magyar let himself out the great doors. One by one he killed the remaining guards. “It is done, Master.”

“Open the gate. Let the trolls enter.”

Magyar pulled the rope to raise the portcullis. He’d barely begun to raise the gate when it was shoved upward by one of the monster trolls who called Van’Dar master.

Trolls trooped into the keep. The garrison would protect and guard his master as he wove his magic. Now was Magyar’s time to sacrifice for his master’s cause.

Van’Dar strode into the bailey, regal and kingly. Fist over his heart, Magyar bowed. “I serve my master’s needs.”

“Yes. It is time.” Van’Dar caressed Magyar’s cheek before gesturing to three smaller trolls. “Gravely injure him. Do not kill. Play your role well, M’kel, and you will be rewarded.”

 

THE END

 

 

7/5/17

Perfect Gnome Home

 


As I went for my walk today, I realized I had a huge issue with a chapter book that I thought was totally complete.

It was edited. It was read by a an Australian to help  come up with some Aussie slang that my thorny lizard might say. I had it read by a Brit to verify what Rory would say and do.

It looked like it was finished. I even queried it!

And actually from a stand-alone chapter book standard, it is finished.

But when I started writing notes for my story bible, I realized that GNOME WITHOUT A HOME took place around 100 years PRIOR to Rory meeting Kyte Webber of my Goblin's Apprentice series. His planted acorn is actually the oak tree in the stories--Rory's true gnome home.

When I wrote the third location Rory traveled to, I imagined a frou-frou sterile home in So. Cal with auto sprinklers and a lawn manicured to within an inch of its life. But that wouldn't work in my time line.

So, I changed it.

Image result for japanese tea garden san francisco, ca
Japanese Tea Garden
And it didn't involve huge amounts of rewriting, but it did involve a few hours of research to find the right location that would work for me and Rory's story.

The Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA is perfect.

What do you think?

Would this be a good gnome home?

Later!
Mags

6/28/17

Finding Focus

This blog has been quiet for a few years, because I didn't have much to say. While I plan to sporadically blog, I don't plan to link this blog to any other social media, unless I have a really great recipe/news/etc to report.

In essence, this is my private journal that I will put up for public view only if you want to pop over to my blog. . . which means no one will read it. Fine with me. I'm good.

So why did I decide to blog again?

My Cousin-in-law posted a note on FB that he was finally ready to blog about stuff. I commented that most people don't have the time or interest to spend clicking to a bunch of blogs and reading everyone's pithy thoughts. But it is a good way to keep your hand in by writing daily. There are a few bloggers who have reached remarkable success and even they have had to stop blogging--the Pioneer Woman--is one of them.

But no one really blogs now. Blogging is so ten years ago. Many of my author friends send out monthly emails to let readers about their life/new book/writing. Which is the method I prefer to see. I can click the links to buy or read more, or I can simply delete into trash. Other people simply post life/writing tidbits on FB because blogging is draining.

So you might ask again why am I blogging?

For the last few years, I've felt out of sorts, writing-wise. Aimlessly puttering through life. I couldn't settle down on any one project--I think I have about eight or nine stories started--picture books, chapter books, middle grade, a techno-thriller, and even some fantasy. No it isn't YA, but it's more firmly in the fantasy genre with a romance as the secondary plot.

I really couldn't finish a project. And when I did finish a project, a middle grade story featuring Kyte Webber, TIME OF THE YETI, and queried it, I would get rejections or no responses. Which is very frustrating, unhelpful, and sent me into the 'Why bother writing at all?' mindset. I have no idea if the story sucks because the writing is terrible. Or it's a great story, but no one is buying that sort of story. Or it would actually be good with XYZ strengthened.

No idea. It's like living in a vacuum, spinning around and around in the canister of a Dyson, along with tons of dirt and dog hair.

At times, I would decide to give a previously written story another edit to see what I could do to strengthen it only to bog myself down in the first chapter.

*sigh*

And then yesterday, I had a minor epiphany.

I needed a story bible to keep everything in my Goblin's Apprentice series straight--names, characteristics, backstory, etc.

And I discovered Microsoft One Note . . . so much for paying for the Scrivener program sitting on my computer.  

It's early in the story bible game, but this is the most excited I've been in a long time.

I can ORGANIZE my stories, my characters, EVERYTHING!!

Organization gives me focus.

I have a binder for Goblin's Apprentice, with an assortment of tabs, which have numerous pages. I have each story in chronological order, including the Chapter books and stories about Rory Leafhopper, Piper, and a soon to be named Goblin who doesn't squeak.

I'll start short and simple, rereading my chapter books and making notes,  before moving to the longer stories.

I have hope that this will work to get me into my world, where I can write fun stories again.

Time to get started documenting stuff on GNOME WITHOUT A HOME--Rory Leafhopper's story.
 
Later!





6/11/16

Recognize, Refocus and Recommit

I haven't blogged in a very, very long time.

So I'm starting again with a weight blog . . . because in the past year and a half, I have gone from being at my goal weight to gaining 20 pounds.

Yes, TWENTY pounds. I just wished my *oh, shit!* freak-out would happen at the 140 pound mark and not the 150 pounds.

I've always recognized that I was gaining weight. Heck, I'd go to my Weight Watcher meetings and watch the numbers go up and up. But that didn't change my mindset.

Oh, part of my problem was that I wasn't on board with the 'new' program. I'd been successful with the old point system and I didn't want to relearn a new one!

So I didn't.

And I kept gaining weight.

Fast forward to last Saturday. Hubs had also been very successful with the old WW program, losing weight and feeling much better. He also had gained roughly 20 pounds.

He rejoined WW, which in turn forced me to refocus and recommit to the program.

Enough time had past--with me gaining weight--that I was ready to join him in losing weight.

Last Saturday, via my Fitbit scale, I weighed:  151.1 pounds

Er, no one of my short stature should weigh this much. Just saying.

Today, I weighed: 147.2 pounds

I'm down by 2.7 pounds.

YAY!

I will mention that the first week was the hardest. It always is.

I cut all forms of sugar from my diet, except for natural sugars in fruit.

I decreased my processed carbs to almost nothing.

And I decreased as much fat as possible. You need fat for brain function, but not too much. When I need a protein infusion, I would eat a hard boiled egg--2 ppv's--with the yolk.

The first five days I was thinking about food, constantly.

I wandered around the kitchen wanting to dive into the peanut butter, but the message on top helped keep me out of it. 2Tbls = 6 ppv.

Eeek!!

I only have 30 ppv / day. Do I really want to waste them??

So, I have successfully recommitted to WW and walking 5-6 days a week.

I'll keep y'all updated. And if you are getting soft around the middle, or your joints are aching, or you become winded walking up a flight of stairs, maybe you should start thinking about your long term health.

Later, Peeps!

12/16/15

Living the Dream

Here's a macabre short story.
Enjoy!


Living the Dream

By

Margaret A. Golla

 

Life was good. I was living the dream.

Athletic, good-looking, and smart. Who could not love me, right?

I blew through high school without having to open a book. When you are the star of the team, people do things for you. I simply took advantage of their motivation.

Was there anything wrong with that?

Girls flocked around me like a rock star. I had my chick pick after every Friday night game. Though my mother would be ashamed of me, I took advantage of their desires.

Universities courted me. The perks of being the star of the team came in small packages: steak dinners, weekend trips to any place, and the little red Corvette sitting in my driveway.

Of course, they had to do some creative financing to cover up the bribes.

What did I care? That was their problem. I just simply enjoyed the fruits of their labor.

I picked a University far away from home. I didn’t need my parents or friends getting in the way of living my dream.

I worked hard, ate well, and was very good at my job on the team, but I wanted more. I wanted to be the star.

But the team wasn’t doing as well as everyone expected. And when the star of the team disappeared, Coach said he went home because he was so disappointed in his failings.

This opportunity gave me a chance to be the star in the Homecoming Game. This game was pivotal. Win and our team got endorsements and money from the alums. Lose and we would have to run with the bulls. I didn’t know what that meant, but it couldn’t be too bad, right?

We lost.

Running with the bulls was a little different than I expected. It should have been called running with the flying bots. The entire A squad was on the run.

That was when I found out what happened to the previous star player.

He’d fed us . . . literally.

A bot cornered me in a dead end. Sweat sprung from every pore of my body when I realized this thing had my death written in its software. I’d failed my school and had to pay. The University took advantage of my dream, but when I didn’t deliver, well, let’s just say they cut their losses.

And I was their star loser.

The bot lowered its sights for a good, clean head shot. It wouldn’t want to destroy the meat on my good-looking, athletic body, right?

I just wondered whose dream I would be feeding now.
 
THE END