Sunday, May 31, 2015

For God and Hummingbirds


Yes, I know it seems like forever since I posted a blog. I hope this one finds you all well, and experiencing life in some new way.

Here is what is going on with me.

The Book Update: The title of my first novel is Harvesting the Hummingbird. I finally completed the first draft and it is now being revised for all the fun stuff like sentence and paragraph structure and clarity. Then on to the editing phase and to my beta readers.  My beautiful daughter-in-law is working on my cover design centered around a fabulous photo generously shared by my fairy godparents Donna and Stu McNicol. It actually is Stu's photo and I can't wait to see what Sarah is able to do with it for a cover design.

I am writing this book, the first in a series, with a coauthor. His name is Sloan Moorland and he has been invaluable with helping me capture and portray the male psyche. As well as keeping me motivated.

The premise of the book is about a lady who escapes a bad marriage and moves to Ecuador. It is her story, as well as the story of her healing, encapsulated in the suspense of a very angry man, hell bent on finding her and making her pay for ruining his life.  If you read the short bursts of fiction through the April A to Z Blog Challenge, they are from the book. If you missed them, hop back and read a few.

I would love to be able to offer the book in September, my anniversary of arriving in Ecuador. We will see how long the editing takes. Fingers and paws crossed.

I am looking for someone very adept at photoshopping photos to help out with a photo.  I have a picture in my mind that I would like to take, but so far the weather here just isn't cooperating, so if you know how to "blend" or overlay two photos, and would be willing to help, let me know.

As for my Cuenca experience, I promised to share the "New Cathedral" with you. My photos aren't the best, but this is such a lovely place I wanted to share it with you. I have shared previously on Facebook photos of the outside of the Cathedral, but on Mother's Day it was open and we could get a look around inside. There were people worshiping, so I tried to be respectful, unobtrusive and sly while taking photos.

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is known to the locals as the New Cathedral. Construction began in 1885 and lasted 90 years when it was finally completed in 1975. There is a tremendous amount of marble in the structure, both Pink Italian marble as well as local Ecuadorian marble and lots and lots of gold. Here, see for yourself.  At the time of it's completion, it could hold 9,000 of Cuenca's 10,000 citizens.

This week begins the Corpus Christi celebration and I hope to have lots of photos to share with you soon.  Have a great week!

Cuenca, where even the dogs can go to church. I assume they should be properly clothed.

The scaffolding is where they are repairing leaks in the dome.

Paintings and Marble work inside the front dome.

This particular niche is said to be the most popular among worshipers. It is very realistic and moving.

The stained glass throughout is absolutely stunning, my photos just don't do it justice.

The inside of the Center Dome. There are 3 blue domes on the Cathedral that can be seen all through Cuenca.

These marble columns are massive.

Rick and Mom in the foreground to try to show the scale of the columns and the building.

Doors and windows on the side of the Cathedral

The front doors. This is an older pic, but I brought it back for reference. That's my mom standing on the steps, again to see scale.
Scarlett Braden in Cuenca
 Living the good life!

Monday, May 11, 2015

A fun week in Cuenca

I have had a great week in Cuenca, and know some of you are needing a blog update.  I took some pictures, probably not enough.

Book Update: For those of you following, I’m spending a lot of time writing. It is coming along very well, but I’m hoping for about a 300 page book, because that is what I like to spend my money on. That translates to about 100,000 words. That’s a lot of words folks. This week, my characters took over and the story took on an unexpected twist. Wow, it’s just amazing when that happens. Also, you might notice, that this blog is now being published under my pseudonym Scarlett Braden.  Facebook and Twitter accounts for Scarlett are coming soon.

Social Life: I’m trying to make myself come out for some air, I’m having a lot of fun writing, but it’s really easy to become a recluse when you get too absorbed in the fictional characters.  So this week, I did get out some.

Monday, Mom and I met our friend Donna, and our new friend Sheila, from the great state of Mississippi and a fellow Bulldog fan for lunch.  We have been excited and awaiting the arrival of Harvey and Sheila, because as you all know, Bulldog fans are good people.  We met at Nucallacta Cafe. It’s a cafe run by some Cuencano coffee roasters.  We’ve been meaning to get there to buy coffee, but haven’t made it yet. They have a great little restaurant. The food was great, we all had the Wet Burritos and they were good.  Our lunch was about $5 a person and was just enough food. We did buy coffee and it’s the first really good coffee we have had since we got here. We will buy it there from now on.  I won’t mind the trip if I can eat lunch there at the same time, it might be one of our new favorite places.

Wednesday I attended my writer’s support group meeting. The group is called Writing Our World and we have somewhere between 30-40 members. Who knew there would be so many writers in Cuenca.  The meetings are always fun, and informative. We meet at the Magnolia Cafe.  Cuencano owned, good food, and absolutely delightful service. They allow our group to take over the place twice a month.  Following the meeting, I climbed the steps into El Centro for the first time. There are exactly 90 steps. I have been terrified of them as they span several stories. But I did it!  Yes, I was gasping for breath when I got to the top and it probably took a couple of blocks for my breathing to return to normal.  I guess maybe I should have climbed them a little slower?  I was headed to the post office to pick up the care package box my sister sent us. The folks in the post office are really nice, and it still amazes me that there is only one post office for a city of over 400,000 people, and the address on the box coming to me consisted of my name, my ID number, the city and country.  When I approached the window, I showed the man my cedula or ID, he turned around picked up one box, returned it picked up the one next to it and brought it to me.  I had to sign for it and pay one dollar, and I was on my way.  I have no idea what the one dollar was for, but the package was well worth it.

 The stairs. Do you see how small the people are on the stairs?  Yep, I promise those are normal sized people, not toys.

Sunday was Mother’s Day.  We went to see our friend Rick’s new apartment in El Centro. It is really cool with high ceilings, is approximately 150-200 years old with adobe walls. It’s small but charming, and the history is fascinating. And it’s only a couple of blocks from Nucallacta.  Score, I get to visit Rick and get coffee all in one trip.  We ate lunch at the Red Crab restaurant, and decided we should go to the flower market.  On the way, we discovered the New Cathedral was open, and since we haven’t seen the inside, we explored. And took pictures. My pictures didn’t turn out great, but the place is amazing.  I think the cathedral deserves it’s own blog, so I will do it later this week.  Then we had fun at the flower market.  It was as good a mother’s day as is possible without seeing my son, but he did call, and he too has had an amazing week.  There are many reasons for me to be proud of him, but I am the most proud that he called me from the pool.  I love it when he finally kicks back and relaxes a little, and I’m really proud that he has decided it might be best to not look like a vampire.

A sneak peak of the Cathedral

Selfie at the Flower Market

$6 worth of flowers. I usually like pinks, but this week I was in the mood for a riot of color. They smell sooo good.


Later this month I am going on a tour of four cities, I can't wait to share them with you.
* Gualaceo: slightly lower and much warmer city than Cuenca, famous for its textile weavers and the Orchid Farm.
* Chordeleg: peaceful, tidy town, famous for its massive selection of handmade filigree jewelry.
* Sigsig: for fine Panama Hats.
* San Bartolome: village specializing in artisan guitars.

Donations are now being accepting for shopping on my trip at #INeedJewelryandHats.  hehe

It’s Monday, so it’s back to writing the book.  See you on the other side.

Scarlett Braden in Cuenca
Living the good life!