Deanna Jewel interviews Me

I’m really excited about the wonderful Deanna Jewel interviewing me at her romantic site. She asked some great questions that made me think—and that’s hard to do, Ha!

Please visit Deanna’s blog and enter to win a free ecopy of my latest book, Death’s Door.

http://deannajewel.blogspot.com/2012/10/meet-dannie-hill-fiction-author.html

Once again either WordPress or my computer is not allowing me to post photos or links. I haven’t a clue as to what to do about it. So if you will copy/paste to visit Deanna’s great site. You know me– I live for comments! Thank you.

Paradise Found

My special place

Special place

I miss the forest where I used to live in Georgia. We had a home with trees all around that connected to a large plot owned by a paper company. My dog and I would take long walks in the solitude of giant oaks, dogwoods, redbuds and fields of twenty year old pines. The pines waited patiently to be harvested then to be turned into news print, books and whatever the need of the day. I only thought of them that way when I heard trucks moving in to pillage the forest. I enjoyed their company and silence.

Here in Thailand, even with a small farm, solitude is a commodity in short supply. For a people who cherish being around one another it’s the perfect place. I enjoy it too, but there are many times I want to go about unnoticed. When I step out my door I know someone somewhere is watching to see what I’ll do next, so I look for some small place I can sit and think without eyes watching. I don’t have any bad thoughts about the villagers observing me—after all I’m unique, to them. I enjoy the attention most of the time.

We purchased a small plot that adjoined our land in the back. I didn’t think much of buy a big hole in the ground but my wife said I would like it. At some point in the past the owner had sold the dirt for a pittance leaving a very large hole in the ground, but it helped that family survive.

The hole gathered rain water and had a small pond, so we set about clearing the weeds and unwanted scrub trees

Hidden from view

and what we found was a land of large igneous boulders and petrified wood. Many of the boulders have the trees turned to rock running through them. I was fascinated. There are pieces of this rock-wood strewn about. We’ve planted bananas and improved the pond and it worked out well. The pond attracts dragonflies, frogs, small lizards, birds and we raise fish in the clear water.

What I really found was a place below eye level I can abscond to, leaving only wondering from those that watch. My mind flies free and I think of forest and writing; thoughts of places I’ve been and childhood dreams, but more often than not I set my mind free—not always seeing what’s around me. It’s a place I go when heavily into a manuscript and I need to relax my eyes and allow my muse to sprinkle a bit more magic dust in the new world I’m building.

I always return from my little spot refreshed and think how lucky I am to have a small bit of paradise. I hope you have a place you can go to release worries or just let your mind soar free. I’d love to hear about your secret place.

All photos are untouched and taken by me.

Monsoon Winds

Monsoon Winds

In the lower latitudes there is a particular wind that changes directions twice a year, almost as predictable as the phases of the moon. These are the monsoon winds. Most of us who hear this word think of torrential rains and hot humid days. This is only half true. There are two monsoons; the dry monsoon and the wet monsoon. I never knew this until I moved to Thailand.

In history these wind changes set the trade routes to India and Africa, then on to or from Europe. Even today sailing vessels are bound by the rules of these winds.

As a young boy I heard the word and it imbibed an exotic world that I longed to see. My first experience of the monsoon winds was many years ago in Vietnam, where I was a soldier. Even then the monsoons only meant wet flooding rains and an ease in the tensions of war. I witness Noah’s flood-like rains where 30 or more inches of rain would fall in a 24 hour period—amazing! On one occasion at night during one of these torrents of rain in which I could only see a few feet around me we were overrun by a small group of the enemy. Men moved past me that I could have reached out and touched. At the time I couldn’t tell who they were—only to find out later they were VC soldiers. The attack failed because they also couldn’t see and soon faded back to where they came from. Not one shot was fired.

Now, living in Thailand the word Monsoon still sweeps my mind with the exotic thoughts of the East. Some years you can feel the wind change directions and know that the cool dry or the heavy, hot wetness is on the way. My daydreams play on the wind and my muse sings of strange new things and then implants them in my every thought.

In the main part of Thailand the dry wind come from November to around March. Of course there are religious celebrations for both seasons. The dry brings the cooler weather and easy living to the farmers, but the wet winds bring a time of hard labor to grow crops and a time to endure the heat.

Here in Thailand I live dreams of my youth and it fills my mind with wonder.

Have you ever experienced the monsoon winds? I would love to hear about your experiences.

Life on the Farm in Thailand

Tapioca harvest and me

I have a big announcement to make—but not today. I feel bad about ignoring my blog for so long. I’ve actually been busy with my writing but that’s a poor excuse—since a blog is about writing.

Our little farm is the one thing that brings me back to earth when I don’t seem to have any time. Plants have their own schedule and no manner of prodding, enticing, rushing about or pleading will hurry them along. It’s a lesson I’m trying to learn. As the pressure builds in what I do all I have to do is walk out to our plants and listen. They whisper and chatter and are happy to see me. They ask for nothing but love and care and offer sustenance and beauty in return. I come away from the fields, having left the weight of my problems in the deep rich soil, and I feel relaxed in a way that always makes me smile.

We don’t have some great expanse of land but we use every centimeter in hopes we return goodness back to the earth and gain pleasure in watching neighbors and others enjoy the products of our labors.

If I were better at manipulating my webpage I would offer many more photos of Life on the Farm. I have a way with words—or so I think— but the magic world of the internet is still… magic to me. I seat like a child and watch the wonders of things that seem impossible appear right before my eyes.

Please enjoy a few pictures of some of the things we grow and I hope you can see the contentment on my face.

Julee and the two headed pineapple

Jackfruit and me

Orchid

Kids love to watch the tapioca being harvested