nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

An Upcoming Trilogy in the Meniscus Series

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To the right of the post, you will see, in a column, a list of the nine existing books in the Meniscus Science Fiction Series. This summer, I am working on books 10, 11 and 12, a trilogy in that the books are connected in theme and story. The three books are (provisionally) entitled:

Meniscus: Rosetta Stone

Meniscus: The Struggle

Meniscus: Return to Sintha

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The books tell the story of how Abra, historian and transcription expert, works to solve the mystery of the Dock-winder language, hoping an ancient manuscript written in Dock-winder will contain a clue to the downfall of these oppressive overlords.

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The books contain many old friends from previous books in the Meniscus Series, including the people of Themble Hill. They also introduce two new characters: Abra and her husband Trath, a Slain.

From the list of characters at the end of each book:

Abra– an historian; transcribes, transliterates and translates Museum manuscripts from Gel-speak to English; brought to Meniscus in the 2013 harvest; taken as she worked in the library of the Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven, Connecticut, translating a codex of Maya glyphs into English; used as a processor of the beelwort drug by the Dock-winders of the Prell-nan Ogle-hath syndicate; met her husband Trath when he brought raw beelwort to be processed; lives with Trath in the Museum of Dock-winder Legacy, Prell; as she works in the Museum library, she sometimes forgets she is no longer on Earth.

Trath – a trader; gathers wild beelwort for sale to the city syndicates and hospitals; brought to Meniscus as a baby by the Dock-winders in the 1988 harvest and genetically altered to be a Slain; makes his home in the Museum of Dock-winder Legacy, in Prell; addicted to beelwort; married to Abra.

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Here is an excerpt from Rosetta Stone:

“Why did you leave me?”

says Trath.

Abra lifts her head.

Stares at Garnock,

the Wandering Star.

Careful of her words.

“You are never home.

Never tell me

where you have been.

Hardly speak to me

when you are there.”

“You are always

in the archives,”

says Trath,

“with your books and papers.

Never seem to care if I come or go.”

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All my books are illustrated and include maps, a character list, a glossary and a Gel-speak dictionary.

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Meniscus: Rosetta Stone will be out this fall.

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All my best,

Jane (a.k.a. Alexandra)

taking an art course

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I trying to add some diversity to my day, so I am taking a course from Domestika: A Meditative Approach to Botanical Illustration. I have been through the introductory videos and last evening, I began the drawing exercises. Where I am, I have no scanner or camera, but I will use some photos and drawings from past excursions to illustrate what I have to say.

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The first lesson is to observe simple shapes in the plant you want to draw. The instructor uses cacti for his subject matter. I am using water lilies of various types. I usually draw with pencil, so this is the first time I have used pen. I am a ‘maker of mistakes,’ so the eraser does a lot of work when I sit down to draw. Using pen sounds a bit intimidating, but I will prevail.

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The simple shapes associated with the water lily are the elongated outlines of flower petals, and the deeply-notched spherical outlines of the various leaves. For my drawings I chose Nuphar lutea, Nymphaea odorata, and Nuphar microphylla, all species found in New Brunswick.

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simple shape drawing of Nymphaea odorata

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The above is a crude copy ‘by finger’ of one of the drawings I did, this one of Nymphaea odorata, showing the basic shapes.

The next lesson is a more accurate representation of the plant.

I am feeling that you have to go backwards to move forwards. We will see.

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All my best

Jane

Written by jane tims

July 22, 2021 at 11:15 am

wildflowers in the ditches

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The season certainly flies by! This week I am noticing the flowers in the ditches. Daisies, bedstraw, vipers bugloss, sweet clover, yarrow and so on. Today I am curious about a white flower occurring in soft low mounds along the highway. Bladderwort campion or maidenstears.

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Bladderwort campion, Silene vulgaris, is a kind of faerie-tale flower, because of its bladders, small enough to be used by the faerie-folk to transport their drink. The alternate name ‘maidenstears,’ is also fanciful. The flowers are white, sticking above the top of a red-veined bladder. Reminds me of newly-bought vegetables poking above a grocery store paper bag.

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The bladder is made of fused sepals. The flower has five petals, each deeply divided into two lobes. Bladderwort campion is common, found in ditches, meadows and other waste places.

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Scanning the ditches for new plants is a habit I developed in my early days as a botanist. Even now I keep a list, in my head, of the plants I see as we drive along any road. A pleasant pass time for summer!

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

July 12, 2021 at 7:00 am

drawings of waterfalls

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For me, a waterfall is the most beautiful expression of water on the landscape. The feeling of water droplets on your face, the sound of splashing water, the sight of sunlight on fast-moving water. I have tried to capture these in my collection of waterfall poems a glimpse of water fall. The book includes forty-four poems and twenty-three pencil drawings of waterfalls and other water scenes.

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We have many beautiful waterfalls here in New Brunswick. Over the years I have visited quite a few. In New Brunswick, we are lucky to have two great resources for lovers of waterfalls: a great guide by Nicholas Guitard (Waterfalls of New Brunswick: A Guide, now in its Second Edition, Goose Lane Publications), and a very active Facebook Group – Waterfalls of New Brunswick.

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My poetry book about waterfalls, ‘a glimpse of water fall,’ is now available from Westminster Books in Fredericton and from Amazon (click here). Enjoy!

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

July 6, 2021 at 7:00 am

northern bush honeysuckle

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There are always surprises waiting for me in our lane. Today, it was a wild plant I haven’t seen for a while, although it is quite common. The name ‘lonicera’ popped into my head, because it brings true honeysuckle to mind.

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This plant is Diervilla lonicera, northern bush honeysuckle. It is a low-growing native shrub with opposite leaves that turn red in fall. The flowers are honeysuckle-like: each flower is a yellow tube with 5 lobes, 5 extended stamens and a single pistil. Fertilized flowers take on a reddish tinge. The plant provides browse for moose and deer, nesting habitat for birds and nectar for bumblebees.

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The flowers have a sweet scent and are persistent once established. I can look forward to many years of bush honeysuckle in our lane.

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Keep your eyes open for new plants you may see!

All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

July 3, 2021 at 7:16 pm

a glimpse of water fall

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If you love the sound of water falling, the sparkle of water in sunshine, the feel of water beating at the back of your hand, you probably love waterfalls.

Most people know at least one waterfall. A place to go to cool off on a summer day, or to admire sculpted water in the midst of frozen winter. A place to drown the senses, to still … thoughts.

Waterfalls are musical, magical, calming and exciting at the same time. They are soothing yet, in their own way, are a violent interaction of land and water, water and land … sometimes a metaphor for a dramatic shift in the course of a life…

My seventh book of poetry honours the waterfall. It includes poetry written about various waterfalls in New Brunswick and drawings of several of these waterfalls. The manuscript won Honorable Mention in the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick writing competition for the 2012 Alfred G. Bailey Prize for a poetry manuscript.

‘a glimpse of water fall’ is the first in a poetry series called ‘a glimpse of.’ Later this year, I will publish ‘a glimpse of dragons’ and ‘a glimpse of sickle moon.’ This latter manuscript won Third Place in the competition for the 2020 Alfred G. Bailey Prize.

‘a glimpse of water fall’ is available in paperback from Amazon. Just click here. It will soon be available from Westminster Books in Fredericton.

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Here is a sample from the book:

crescendo

Little Sheephouse Falls

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still

silence

partridge-berry vine

cascades over granite, padding

of feet on pine needles, whisper of wind

rustle in branches of conifer, music of riffle,

incessant patter of falling water on fractured slate

builds to din and rumble of rolling thunder confined

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Little Sheephouse

on its way to Sevogle

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

June 21, 2021 at 7:00 am

hiding in the leaves!

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On our return from our cabin last week, I saw something dark among the leaves of an old birch tree. I put the truck in reverse, in time to see two turkey vultures take off. Their red featherless heads and white beaks were in full view. A third vulture was in the tree and we managed one camera shot before he spread his wings and flew after his companions. The photo shows his glossy feathers, his red head and his huge nostril. But his white beak is hidden behind a leaf!

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Thirty years ago, turkey vultures were a rarity in New Brunswick, but today they are common and even overwinter here. They are exclusively carrion-eaters and play a role in our food chain and nutrient cycle.

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All my best

Jane

Written by jane tims

June 18, 2021 at 4:20 pm

roses by the road

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A few years ago, we trimmed out the bushes all along our cabin road, to prevent our truck from getting scratched. During the trimming, my husband saved a small prickly rose bush near to the road edge. Each spring we watch for the pale pink of its blooms. Each fall, we count the red rose hips as we drive by. This year, the bush has grown as tall as me! Today, it was covered with pale pink roses and smelled so sweet!

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This is the swamp rose (Rosa palustris), a common wild rose in New Brunswick. You can recognize it by its pale pink flowers, its hooked spines, and its narrow stipules (winged sheaths at the bases of leaf stalks). In fall, it will have small round red rosehips.

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

June 13, 2021 at 8:13 pm

new in the Meniscus Series: Meeting of Minds

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For your summer read, visit another planet. The plants and animals are strange, the aliens are evil. But some things don’t change. Good memories. Love and friendship. Family.

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But sometimes memories, love and family are lost. When Odymn is captured by the Dock-winders, they erase ten years of her memory. There are two moons in the night sky. Her husband, Daniel, is a stranger. Food and even water are unfamiliar.

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Follow Odymn and Daniel as they get to know one another again. And when the Dock-winders capture Daniel, how will Odymn rescue him?

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Meniscus: Meeting of Minds is available now on Amazon, here, in paperback and ebook. By the end of June, you will find the paperback at Westminster Books in Fredericton. This is the ninth book in the Meniscus Series … time to introduce yourself to the series by reading Volume 1, here, or Volume 6, here. Lots of love and adventure.

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All my best,

Jane

Book Launch

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If you live in the Fredericton area, I will be at Westminster Books tomorrow, Saturday, from 1 to 4 to launch the next in the Kaye Eliot Mystery Series, Land Between the Furrows. I will be there with friend Chuck Bowie who is launching two books: Her Irish Boyfriend (in the Donovan, Thief for Hire Series) and, writing as Alexa Bowie, Death Between the Tables (in the Old Manse Mystery Series).

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In these worrisome times, we will be wearing masks and keeping our distance. And no cake will be served.

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Looking forward to talking about mystery writing and local books!

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My best to you!

Jane

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