Peacocks for Wednesday Whimsy


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007Peacocks and their feathers were a big theme in Victorian trade (advertising) cards, so I thought I’d share some today! They are 013beautiful birds, even if they can be annoying to live near – very noisy!

She is a peacock in everything but beauty.   Oscar Wilde

Some are jealous and fond of ornament, as the peacock. Aristotle

At twenty a man is a peacock, at thirty a lion, at forty a camel, at fifty a serpent, at sixty a dog, at seventy an ape, at eighty a nothing at all.   Baltasar Gracian

“Dream tonight of peacock tails, / Diamond fields and spouter whales. /
Ills are many, blessings few, / But dreams tonight will shelter you.”  
Thomas Pynchon
Fly pride, says the peacock.   William Shakespeare
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She was a gordian shape of dazzling hue, Vermilion-spotted, golden, green, and blue; Striped like a zebra, freckled like a
pard, Eyed like a peacock, and all crimson barr’d.  
John Keats
The sparrow is sorry for the peacock at the  burden of his tail.  Rabindranath Tagore
Our birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time.   Jean Paul
Feathers predate birds.   Robert T. Bakker
003I like the way the peacock is subtly worked into this lady’s dress pattern. And here below – although not Victorian – is a photo of my latest Lenox Carousel animal acquisition, couldn’t resist when I saw it!
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There Was No Hope Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the participants sharing excerpts today…a fun way to sample new books and find new authors! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

I’ve switched to an excerpt from a brand new novella set in my version of ancient Egypt, working title Healer of the Nile, which is for a boxed set later this year.

Tadenhut, elder son of a noble house, has been gravely injured in a battle against Pharaoh’s enemies and brought home to die. Mehyta, a woman from the estate’s village who has skills as a healer, has been ordered to assist the physicians in his care. Lady Nebetta is the stepmother. Simut is the local doctor. We’re in Mehyta’s POV.

 She stared at Tadenhut, gaunt, pale, lying on the bed equally oblivious to his father’s grief and the learned doctors’ chat. Lady Nebetta lowered her head, dabbing at her face carefully, so as to not mar the kohl and malachite perfectly outlining her large brown eyes. No actual tears fell – her son was next in line to inherit the estate when the current heir died.

            Too bad there was no hope for Tadenhut. Now home, if he was aware of his surroundings at all, he’d probably release his grip on life and let his ka move on to the judging and the afterlife he deserved. Mehyta’d seen many a patient cling to life past all understanding, until some milestone had been passed, or some loved one arrived to say farewell.

           A snapping of fingers under her nose made her startle. From Simut’s expression, frowning at her, she gathered he’d been trying to get her attention for several moments.

            “I’m sorry, sir, I felt called to utter prayers for the ka.” She stretched the truth judiciously to blunt his annoyance.

I don’t have a cover or a blurb for this one yet. but there will be copious quantities of magic and a bit of romance, of course. Locked in his coma, Tadenhut isn’t as ready to give up his hold on life as everyone assumes, especially after meeting his  lovely healer in the dreamspace. The novella took on a sort of Cinderella-by-the-Nile air in some ways as I wrote it…I’ll probably share a couple of excerpts from this and then move back to science fiction romance.

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Imagination for Wednesday Whimsy

015I love these Victorian trade (advertising) cards with children at play, exercising their imaginations!

I doubt that the imagination can be suppressed. If you truly eradicated it in a child, he would grow up to be an eggplant.  Ursula K. Le Guin

025Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.  Albert Einstein

Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try! Dr. Seuss

You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. Mark Twain

I am putting real plums into an imaginary cake.   Mary McCarthy

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things that escape those who dream only at night.  Edgar Allan Poe

There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.  Gilbert K. Chesterton

The man who has no imagination has no wings. Muhammad Ali

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.  Carl Sagan

Everything you can imagine is real.  Pablo Picasso

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. 017The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.  Sylvia Plath

Imagination rules the world.  Napoleon Bonaparte

One can live in the shadow of an idea without grasping it.   Elizabeth Bowen

Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.  Gloria Steinem

Love is a canvas furnished by nature and embroidered by imagination. Voltaire

026Reality leaves a lot to the imagination. John Lennon

A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment. Jane Austen

Falling in love consists merely in uncorking the imagination and bottling the common sense. Helen Rowland

I have fallen in love with the imagination. And if you fall in love with the imagination, you understand that it is a free spirit. It will go anywhere, and it can do anything. Alice Walker

(I realize the card below is probably not Victorian but it fit the theme and I loved it!)

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No Rush Just Routine Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the participants sharing excerpts today…a fun way to sample new books and find new authors! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

From my new, best selling science fiction romance Star Cruise: Marooned. This is the last excerpt from the book I’ll be doing (but it’s only 99 cents, for another month LOL). I’m ready to share something else!  I’ve jumped ahead, a lot has happened but basically Meg and Red have decided to lead the marooned passengers inland to a more isolated, presumably safer, facility they’ve located but had to wait out a storm first.  So they’re still at the abandoned ranger station.

 Meg woke at dawn and set out a buffet breakfast, Callina and Red assisting her. As the passengers ate, she said, “I’m going to get a head start on shutting down my robos. We’ll be leaving as soon as everyone’s done eating breakfast.”

            “Do you need help?” Red was always attentive.

            Callina crammed the remainder of her stale sandwich into her mouth, mumbling something about wanting to pitch in with the chores.

            “Don’t rush, no need to choke on your food,” Meg said with a smile. “We’ve had enough emergencies for one trip. This is routine, done it a million times, but thanks for the offer of help, both of you.”

            The enemy attacked just as Meg disappeared into the hallway to the kitchen. 

MaroonedFinal-FJM_High_Res_1800x2700The Story:

Meg Antille works long hours on the charter cruise ship Far Horizon so she can send credits home to her family. Working hard to earn a promotion to a better post (and better pay), Meg has no time for romance.

Former Special Forces soldier Red Thomsill only took the berth on the Far Horizon in hopes of getting to know Meg better, but so far she’s kept him at a polite distance. A scheduled stopover on the idyllic beach of a nature preserve planet may be his last chance to impress the girl.

But when one of the passengers is attacked by a wild animal it becomes clear that conditions on the lushly forested Dantaralon aren’t as advertised – the ranger station is deserted, the defensive perimeter is down…and then the Far Horizon’s shuttle abruptly leaves without any of them.

Marooned on the dangerous outback world, romance is the least of their concerns, and yet Meg and Red cannot help being drawn to each other once they see how well they work together. But can they survive long enough to see their romance through? Or will the wild alien planet defeat them, ending their romance and their lives before anything can really begin?

Buy Links: Amazon     iBooks     Kobo     Barnes & Noble            

Interviewing Michelle Lovretta Creator of Killjoys

killjoys poster

Update from Veronica, 8/22/15: Well, now that I’ve seen the season ending episode (which I enjoyed but WOW, there’d BETTER be a Season 2 is all I can say!!!), a few of my favorite supporting characters won’t exactly be going forward with us. Or for some, everything has changed! No spoilers from me though!

I’m interviewing the creator and producer of the SyFy series “Killjoys” over at USA Today Happily Ever After, and that was a fangirl, geek moment for ME. Michelle Lovretta answers quite a few questions and provides much insight into the main characters of the program – the kickass heroine Dutch, and John and D’avin, the two brothers who form her team of bounty hunters. One loves her platonically and the other loves her unplatonically and the whole program is AMAZING. So please hop over and read the full interview!

Sadly we didn’t have room or time to discuss all the many fascinating supporting characters in the show, who add so much to the richness and complexity of the world building. Although Michelle does say:

Once I differentiated the four worlds of the Quad, I needed to create people who could breathe life into the various points of view of those trapped by (or benefitting from) the Quad’s political structure.  So, The Nine, Delle Seyah, Pawter, Hills, Pree and Alvis were born.  We used Warrants in season one as a way to give the audience an introductory tour of the quad, while crashing us repeatedly into these secondary characters and letting them grow.

So I’m going to share my own personal thoughts about my top 5 Killjoys supporting characters here. Trying to avoid spoilers!

pree pawterPree, played by Thom Allison: owner of the Royal, a bar on Westerley which is an informal hub for all the goings-on. I think of Pree as the self-appointed guardian of all who pass through his doors. Sure he’s got a business to run and I think he tries to stay neutral (but can’t help himself sometimes). He’s always dispensing advice, dropping hints, giving warnings…I think he knows a lot more than he’ll ever tell. I’d love to see his backstory explored. Heck, I’d like to interview the actor sometime and see what he thinks of Pree’s backstory! The man has impeccable taste and  savoir faire, and is perfectly capable of functioning as the bar bouncer too if he has to. I was delighted to see him in John’s hospital room in Episode 7 because one thing this series gets very right is that the characters have a life and connections outside the needs of the script for any one scene. It was great to have the feeling that Pree and John are genuine friends. I’d want Pree as my friend!

Pawter Simms, played by Sarah Potter. This backroom doctor is complex, people. She could be the focal point of her own series and she sure deserves a big tough guy who cares just for her, no longer forced to subsist on D’avin’s spare time and John’s kindness. When Pree analyzes her attraction to the broken bad boys (as only Pree could do – Dear Abby or Ask Prudence have nothing on Pree), it was delicious and she doesn’t disagree with him. Of course she has some issues (no one from Qresh ends up on Westerley exactly by choice). I’d like Pawter as a girlfriend to go shopping at the Leith bazaar with…

alvis monkAlvis the Monk, played by Morgan Kelly: I’ve grown to really like him and now I’m worried about this character, based on how he was being treated by the company goons in Episode 9. We got quite a few glimpses into his multifaceted motivations and machinations in episode 8. I think one of the keys to Alvis is when he tells John he can believe in more than one thing at a time. I believe that, and I believe pretty much anything he chooses to do has at least two purposes and maybe more. I’ve got a sneaking admiration going on for Alvis. I also like the way the actor makes Alvis’s gestures and utterances ring true as expressions of his faith.

Carleen, played by Danka Scepanovic: this girl is the epitome of cool and an even bigger STEM wizard than John, who is the carleenresident nerd/geek of Dutch’s Killjoys team. Her expertise in fringe biotech is  as astounding as her wardrobe (which I loved). I always have the feeling she knows a LOT more than she’s telling and I kinda ship her and John.

fancy_lee_killjoys-e1439652199455Fancy Lee, played by Sean Baek: To me this Killjoy has the vibe of Paladin from the classic TV show “Have Gun Will Travel.” Cool, does his own thing by his own moral code and standards. He really believes the warrant is all. He self identifies as the designated asshole for the entire Reclamation Agent band and points out how much they need him to exist. I was fascinated that he’s apparently quite the inventor. I want to know why he became a Killjoy. I’d love to see a drawdown between him and Khlyen.

OK that’s five but I must mention Bellus Haardy, the warrant broker for Dutch and her little team. I’m convinced Bellus has a backstory that would knock our socks off, and I think in her own rough way she’s a mother figure to Dutch. When she Bellus_Haardychallenged D’avin to a fight, who had any doubt that she could actually beat him? Anyone? Bellus is TOUGH, with a teeny soft spot for Dutch and maybe a microdot of affection for John. D’avin’s on his own here. Norah McClellan, the actress who gives us Bellus puts just the right edge on every scene.

So, whose your favorite supporting character in Killjoys and why?

I HOPE the series gets renewed for Season Two – are you listening, SyFy????

The Trailer:

It’s All Ancient History with Veronica Scott

veronicascott:

So pleased she enjoyed the book and I had fun with the questions! GHOST OF THE NILE

Originally posted on J.C. Stockli:

Sweet mother of all things holy! Is it really almost the end of August? I promise you, The Saving is fast approaching. After that… I’ve got a trick or two up my sleeve ;)  I guess you’ll just have to pay attention to the updates on my website.

In the meantime, I’m breaking out the big guns. I’ve got fellow FF&Per, Veronica Scott, to review her novel, GHOST OF THE NILE. Wow! There’s a reason she’s part of the “big gun” arsenal.

If you didn’t already know, Veronica Scott is a Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog. She grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read…

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Is Grandmother in the Right Boat? Victorian Ads for Wednesday Whimsy

018One type of Victorian Trade (advertising) card I’m fascinated by, and could blow my budget on quite easily, is the die cut variety. These were made of sturdy, cardboard-like paper and shaped like real objects – horseshoes, shells and the like, and often very large. The cards I usually feature in this Wednesday column are more the size of business cards or small greeting cards, but some of the die cut can be extremely big.

I thought I’d share a few of my favorites today, and maybe more next week, as they’re quite amazing. This one, for example is  9 1/2″ by 9 1/2″! Here’s the back, with the actual advertising copy. (These are well over 100 years old so sometimes the condition is less than perfect.)019
Here’s another horseshoe-themed die cut and then a lifesized shell.  How do you like this gorgeous castle? Makes me want to walk inside and join the ball, which must be going on!020014022

And last but not least, a really amusing one for A&P Tea, that says “Grandmother is in the right boat.”  Not sure about the logic there but I loved everything about the card.
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What About Him? Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the participants sharing excerpts today…a fun way to sample new books and find new authors! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

From my new, best selling science fiction romance Star Cruise: Marooned.

I’ve skipped some things, including where their shuttle leaves without them. Red had to knock out the Primary guest to keep him from getting fried in the engine backwash.

“Can I get two volunteers to help us get Sharmali settled at the ranger station?” Meg asked. 

            “Well, don’t look at me,” Harelly said, as several of the other guests glanced in his direction. “I only play a doctor on the trideo shows – the sight of blood makes me ill.”

            Callina and her husband, Peter, volunteered. As the other passengers slowly hiked through the sand to their pavilion by the lake, Meg, Red, and the volunteers headed for the ranger station on the far side of the landing pad.

            “What about him?” asked Bettis, who Meg remembered was Finchon’s employee, a personal assistant or something. He and his wife filed past the groggy charter Primary, who was sitting now, holding his jaw.

            “I’ll deal with him later,” Red said.

            “He’s gonna sue you and your company for every credit,” the man predicted, excitement in his voice, “He’ll probably end up owning the whole cruise line before he’s done.”

I’l probably do one or two more excerpts from this book but then it’s going to be time to move on to something new…don’t want my fellow Warriors getting burned out on this book!

MaroonedFinal-FJM_High_Res_1800x2700The Story:

Meg Antille works long hours on the charter cruise ship Far Horizon so she can send credits home to her family. Working hard to earn a promotion to a better post (and better pay), Meg has no time for romance.

Former Special Forces soldier Red Thomsill only took the berth on the Far Horizon in hopes of getting to know Meg better, but so far she’s kept him at a polite distance. A scheduled stopover on the idyllic beach of a nature preserve planet may be his last chance to impress the girl.

But when one of the passengers is attacked by a wild animal it becomes clear that conditions on the lushly forested Dantaralon aren’t as advertised – the ranger station is deserted, the defensive perimeter is down…and then the Far Horizon’s shuttle abruptly leaves without any of them.

Marooned on the dangerous outback world, romance is the least of their concerns, and yet Meg and Red cannot help being drawn to each other once they see how well they work together. But can they survive long enough to see their romance through? Or will the wild alien planet defeat them, ending their romance and their lives before anything can really begin?

Buy Links: Amazon     iBooks     Kobo     Barnes & Noble            

Author Anna Kashina on Guild of the Assassins

TheGuildOfAssassins-144dpiI’m interviewing Anna Kashina today over at the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, Anna-Kashina-300x300about her award winning epic fantasy romance  Guild of Assassins. The novel just received a double PRISM Award for  “Best of the Best” and “Best Fantasy”. Her assassins have amazing martial arts skills, so here’s a question & answer about that aspect of the novels which we sadly didn’t have room to include at USAT/HEA.

Veronica: How do you go about ‘choreographing’ your amazing fight scenes?

Anna: As a child, I studied martial arts, and then, as an adult, I was a competitive dancer. Both skills are very synergistic and feed into my fight scenes. When I write, I put myself into this state of mind where I actually feel every movement in my body and they all make sense. When I achieve this balance, things just start happening. The ‘choreographing’ comes down to deciding on the physique of the fighters and the weapons they use, then just watching them go at it.

Since many of the Majat have exotic weapons, I do a lot of research to make sure that everything I write could conceivably work the way I envisioned. I watch martial arts movies and videos when I work on particular techniques. I often have to use homemade versions of some of the more unusual weapons to reenact the most difficult moves in slow motion and make sure they actually work. I actually own a version of Kara’s weapon, which is somewhat tricky to use, so I often need it in my hand to make a scene work. Some weapons work spectacularly against each other. Others don’t quite work, so I have to change them to the ones that do.

In the end, it feels almost like watching a movie and writing down the action. Better yet, if something in the movie does not quite work, I have the full power to change it. It feels very rewarding when it all comes together.

Hope on over to USA Today/HEA for the rest of the interview!

And here’s the story for Guild of Assassins (Book Two of the Majat Code):

Kara has achieved something that no Majat has ever managed – freedom from the Guild!
But the Black Diamond assassin Mai has been called back to face his punishment for sparing her life.

Determined to join his fight or share his punishment, Kara finds herself falling for Mai.

But is their relationship – and the force that makes their union all-powerful – a tool to defeat the overpowering forces of the Kaddim armies, or a distraction sure to cause the downfall of the Majat?

Veronica: I loved Mai, the hero in this novel and even though I hadn’t read the first book in the series at the time, I was able to read this novel as a standalone work.

At the Beach for Wednesday Whimsy

002Seems to me the hot days of August are a good time to share my Victorian trade (advertising) cards that depict good times at the beach!

The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach. Henry Beston

The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.  Anne Morrow Lindbergh

A beach is not only a sweep of sand, but shells of sea creatures, the sea glass, the seaweed, the incongruous objects washed up by the ocean.  Henry Grunwald

I remember having this friend in school who said she didn’t like the Beach Boys. And in that moment I knew we couldn’t be friends anymoreZooey Deschanel

Words today are like the shells and rope of seaweed which a child brings home glistening 004from the beach and which in an hour have lost their luster.  Cyril Connolly

I think that going to the beach as a child, being in the water and smelling that salt air and hearing the seagulls, it had a real calming effect. But also, it was a mysterious thing – I remember wondering what was under those dark New England seas.   Brian Skerry

Every time we walk along a beach some ancient urge disturbs us so that we find ourselves shedding shoes and garments or scavenging among seaweed and whitened timbers like the homesick refugees of a long war.   Loren Eiseley

You can take for granted that people know more or less what a street, a shop, a beach, a sky, an oak tree look like. Tell them what makes this one different.   Neil Gaiman

005Total physical and mental inertia are highly agreeable, much more so than we allow ourselves to imagine. A beach not only permits such inertia but enforces it, thus neatly eliminating all problems of guilt. It is now the only place in our overly active world that does.   John Kenneth Galbraith

I’ve never been one to run around in Speedos on the beach.  Jason Statham

The thing is with hip-hop, it has its waves and the waves crash against the beach and the new waves come in. So to stay relevant you have to roll with that.   Ice Cube

011Twenty or 30 years from now, I’m going to be on a beach in Jamaica.  Idris Elba

Wherever I can go, I hit the water, whether it’s the ocean, or in L.A. it’s Zuma Beach in Malibu; I just hit the water.   David Hasselhoff

The moon is essentially gray, no color; looks like plaster of Paris or sort of a grayish beach sand.  Jim Lovell

I have spent many hours on the beach collecting sea glass, and I almost always wonder, as I bend to pick up chunk of bottle green or a shard of meringue white, what the history of the glass was. Who used it? Was it a medicine bottle? A bit of a ship’s lantern? Is that bubbled piece of glass with the charred bits inside it from a fire?  Anita Shreve009

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