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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer time

And the livin' is easy...I love that song.

In my world, summer is a time of outdoors, beach, family trips, and gardening. This year I've planted peas, green beans, cucumbers (though I seemed to have lost that plant. I swear I put it in the ground!) corn, and tomatoes. I don't love gardening, I think weeds are greenery too and look just fine there what a pain to yank them out. But I like the end product!

I don't have a favorite part to summer, save maybe the heat. I hate the cold! Much rather heat, even with humidity. What's your favorite part of summer?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

I'm a strong supporter of our armed forces whether or not I agree with the battles/wars they fight. To support our troops does not indicate support for the current campagne. That isn't the point of this post.

Today's point is generosity. Because there's always someone less fortunate out there than you. In honor of Memorial Day, in addition to the BBQs and family gatherings going on, I'd like you to take a moment and remember those who can't be with their families. Remember those who returned with wounds and those who don't return at all.

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps."

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saturday Excerpt

The Most Unsuitable Wife by Caroline Clemmens

Available as part of her backlist, this Texas Western is part of a series currently available on Smashwords for $3.99. Look for next week's Saturday Excerpt at Slip into Something Victorian and an excerpt from The Most Unsuitable Husband!

Wanted: One completely improper wife. Even if Drake Kincaid had placed such an advertisement in every paper in the country, he couldn't have found a better candidate than Pearl Parker, which is fine with him. After all, his parent's crazy will stipulates only that he marry by his thirtieth birthday, not that he marry well. And no one--including Drake's grandfather, the man determined to hold him to the ridiculous provision--could possibly think tall, bossy Pearl with her ragtag siblings and questionable "cousin" Belle will make a good wife. Until Drake realizes that in Pearl's startling violet eyes he sees a beautiful woman with a generous soul

Their life may not have started with hearts and flowers, but Drake and Pearl will soon learn that real love--with a breathtaking dose of passion--will overcome danger, threats, and all obstacles to make their marriage a true romance.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I love my library

Yes, yes, yes, I also work there that isn't the point! My library offers free audiobook and e-book downloads in addition to free checkouts for print books, CD audiobooks, and DVDs.

That's how I listened to Julia Quinn's The Lost Duke of Wyndham and how I checked out both Patient Zero and In the Garden of the Beasts.

Everything I want tor ead at my fingertips. Perfection.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Civil War Give-away

Today I'm over at Slip into Something Victorian with a post on Civil War Facts. Why is this significant? Because all this week we're having a contest! The prize? The anniversary editions of Gettysburg and Gods and Generals. April 2011 is the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. To learn more click here. To make a donation to preserve Civil War Battlefields, click here.

Our official press release:

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War, Warner Brothers has released a commemorative set of the films Gods and Generals, and Gettysburg. The Scandalous Victorian’s blog, Slip Into Something Victorian, has been chosen as a review site for the release, and Warner Brothers has given us a copy of the dvd (extended director’s cut, with quite a bit of added footage!) set to giveaway.  Please come and visit us next week on May 24th (the official re-release date) and May 25th.  Comment on either blog posts and register to win the complete set!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday Review: Thor

Thor. Yum. Nuff said.

Yes it was a coherent story with very few plot holes and yes I think it's appropiate for younger children. But man oh man! Chris Hemsworth is HOT in this movie. I went to imdb.com and saw he played George Kirk (James T's daddy).

He looks yummy with the Thor hair and the scruff. *drool*

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pretty places

The pictures sold me! Of course I've only been to The Grand Canyon, which was beautiful. And I've never heard of  Plitvice Lakes National Park, but it can easily be added to my list. The last is my favorite how awesome would it be to see those?!

From World's Prettiest Places:
First off, not every pick on our list is indeed a "place," per se. One is actually a scientific phenomenon, while another is considered a massive living organism home to more than 1,500 fish species and nearly 3,000 individual coral reefs. Several are wide-open spaces, but a few are brick-and- mortar sites built for kings (and in one case, a queen). Three have been included on the listing of the Seven Natural Wonders; three were also selected for the listing of the New 7 Wonders of the World. But no matter how you slice and dice them, all 10 have something important in common: Sometimes, it is all about what pleases the eye. Here's our list of the World's Prettiest Places.

Plitvice Lakes National ParkCroatia




Taj MahalIndia



The Great Barrier ReefAustralia



BorobudurIndonesia



Grand CanyonUSA



The Palace of VersaillesFrance




Machu PicchuPeru




The Great Temple of Ramses IIEgypt



The Great WallChina




The Northern LightsArctic Circle

Monday, May 23, 2011

To Be Read next

I'm taking this week to read and recharge the brain. I'm going to see the new Pirates movie, despite the lack of Orlando Bloom, I do adore Johnny Depp. Catch up on some TV shows I've DVR'ed (Borgias, Hawaii Five-O, NCIS: LA).

But mostly I'm going to read. I have several books started that I need (and want) to finish. A couple new zombie entries like Pride And Prejudice And Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After
When we last saw Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy—at the end of the New York Times best seller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies—they were preparing for a lifetime of wedded bliss. Yet the honeymoon has barely begun when poor Mr. Darcy is nipped by a rampaging dreadful. Elizabeth knows the only acceptable course of action is to promptly behead her husband (and then burn the corpse, just to be safe). But when she learns of a miracle antidote being developed in London, she realizes there may be one last chance to save her true love—and for everyone to live happily ever after.
What? I can't seem to help myself!

Plus I have Patient Zero to read and In the Garden of the Beasts to finish. (They're both overdue and I have to return them to the library.) And I've just finished my first ever Julia Quinn book, The Lost Duke of Wyndham so now must read the next book in that series...and possibly all her other ones. Plus I think the guy on the cover of Lost Duke looks like a young Eric Roberts. But no, that wasn't why I originally picked the book up! I swear!

Going to be a great reading week!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Donations to charity

I recently took part in a yard sale. It wasn't my idea, in fact I'm sure if I asked those friends involved no one would know who originally had the idea. But I agreed to participate and unloaded enough stuff to make me glad I did. Plus it was a lot of fun to hang out with friends. We sang (poorly), danced to a singing chicken (then gave it away to a little boy who clutched it to his chest as they walked up the street. Very sweet!), and played trivia games from the pile of to-sell items.

What's the point of this? What to do after the sale. Did I really want to take all that stuff back? Setting a date for this original yard sale was hard enough, and it took all weekend. I'm not about to go through it again!

Luckily for all parties involved, 2 days before the yard sale a postcard arrived from Big Brothers/Big Sisters requesting donations. You go online, schedule a pick-up and they do the rest! All I now have to do is keep everything on my porch until tomorrow. I think I can handle that (there are tarps in case of inclement weather to keep things dry).

Good Will picks up the items, give BB/BS money based on weight, then Good Will sells the items to people in need. It's a win-win-win situation for everyone involved and it's LOCAL! I'm a big believer in helping those in need in other places, I donated to the Red Cross for Japanese relief, New Orleans, Haiti, and several other area-specific natural disaster relief funds. But to be able to help those kids in need in my own city is a great feeling.

There are other charities that do this. After signing up for BB/BS, I got a postcard from the Vietnam Veterans of America with the same set-up. But I already agreed to one, and separating/dividing them out wasn't happening. Next time!

So when you have things to give away, take a moment to do a little research and see what options there are. many charities will take things from kitchenware to clothes, electronics to books. It helps you and it helps others in need.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday Revews: Murdoch Mysteries

Just finished season 2. I applaud the way they've developed the plots, branching out so that there's more character development on all fronts but still keeping the focus on William Murdoch as our hero. I think the later half of the season was a little jumpy and not as strong or interesting as the first half. Plus the weak and contrived addition of a new love interest for our intrepid hero, but over all I think they did a decent job leading into it. It added a little something, even if the love interest was utterly uninteresting and frankly I didn't see the so-called 'instant connection' that they seemed to push on the viewer.

Still, some of the dialog is very limited. It's almost as if they'd rather go the who show without a spoken word.

And I continue to like the secondary characters more than I do William. They're more willing to grow and see things outside the normal world. Chief Inspector Brackenreid and Constable Crabtree are a hoot and as nosy as a pair of old ladies, however they're so underused it makes William's plodding through highbrow lectures even more boring.

I can only hope that season 3 picks up more weight. I understand it's hard to continue a series from a strong and critically acclaimed start but let's not fall into cliches.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Quotes of the day

On a random internet search I discovered Happy Quotes. My favorite is the first one, the others are in no particular order:

The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.
Benjamin Franklin

It’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you use that makes a difference.
Zig Ziglar

You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.
Zig Ziglar

Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.
Mark Twain

Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
Mark Twain

You will never be happier than you expect. To change your happiness, change your expectation.
Bette Davis

The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it.
Richard Bach

Be happy. It’s one way of being wise. - Sidonie Gabrielle

You just have to do your own thing, no matter what anyone says. It’s your life. - Ethan Embry

Monday, May 16, 2011

So many books

So little time. Between work, writing, sleeping, and every other thing I do in my life, it's hard to find the time to read. I have a book on my nightstand and an audio in my car...and THREE on my MP3 player. How's one to keep up?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday Excerpt

Susan Macatee will be posting an excerpt from one of her fantastic Civil War stories,

Stop by Slip into Something Victorian for a look-see!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Synopsis-ugh

Last week (or possibly early this week I forget) I was on Twitter (not so shocking) and saw a post on what a editor looks for in a synopsis. I usually click on these, just to see if there's anything I don't already know about the whole tedious process.

In fact, I made a t-shirt that says it all.

But here are three sites that offer good advice on how to get through it without A. Drinking (or drinking too much; drinking is perfectly acceptable) B. Developing a headache the size of Alaska, or C. Chucking the whole thing and ignoring that rather important part of the submission process.

Up first is from Arch Editing only because it's how I got the other 2 sites.

Writing an Synopsis? The Information you Need Before you Begin.
Then we haveNathan Bransford's How to Write a Synopsis
And Marg Gilks's How to Write a Synopsis

And if you really need soe additional help, try Vivian Beck's 5 Steps To Writing A Synopsis

All things being equal, reading this would automatically help in writing the synopsis to the absolutete best of your ability and it would be a perfect and polished masterpiece.

I'll stop laughing now.

But it'll help get those specific points in and help them come across in a better way to catch that certain some one's eye.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

So you want to be a dog

This is from a forward a friend sent me. If you have a dog, you know exactly what this is talking about. If you don't, or rather have never, then feel free to skip over this. I probabaly wouldn't have got several of these pre-puppy, either.

TEN PEEVES THAT DOGS HAVE ABOUT HUMANS 
 
1.  
Blaming your farts on me.....
not funny... not funny at all !!!

---------------------------------------------- 

2. 

Yelling at me for barking.
I'M A FRIGGIN' DOG

--------------------------------------------------
 
3. 

Taking me for a walk, then
not letting me check stuff out.
Exactly whose walk is this anyway? 



--------------------------------------------------
4.
Any trick that involves balancing
food on my nose.  Stop it!

--------------------------------------------------
5.
Any haircut that involves bows or ribbons.
Now you know why we chew your stuff
up when you ' re not home. 



--------------------------------------------------
6.
The sleight of hand, fake fetch throw.
You fooled a dog!  Whoooo Hoooooooo what
a proud moment for the top of the food chain.   



--------------------------------------------------
7.
Taking me to the vet for ' the big snip ' , then acting
surprised when I freak out every time we go back! 



--------------------------------------------------
8.
Getting upset when I sniff the crotches of your guests. 
Sorry, but I haven't quite mastered that handshake thing yet. 



--------------------------------------------------
9.
Dog sweaters.  Hello ???
Haven't you noticed the fur?
--------------------------------------------------
10.
How you act disgusted when I lick myself.
Look, we both know the truth.  You're just jealous.

--------------------------------------------------
Now lay off me on some of these things.
We both know who's boss here!
You don't see me picking up your poop, do you?

EVERY DOG HAS HIS DAY.
 
A DOG ALWAYS OFFERS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
 


CATS HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT!
 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday Reviews: King's Speech

Let's face it, I love and adore Colin Firth. So of course I was going to see The King's Speech. I've seen everything else he's in (including the utterly humorous St. Trinian's and the truly horrible What a Girl Wants.)

This movie did not disappoint, despite my high hopes for Colin Firth and an historical setting. *le sigh* OK, so I may be biased given my Colin love...just a bit. But let's face it, he rocked in this roll. You can see the growth from the quiet Bertie to the King who doesn't stutter when addressing his people on the eve of World War 2. Not many actors can play a roll with only facial expressions (I'm talking the classics like Cary Grant etc.) but Colin always pulls it off.

Geoffrey Rush was, as always, superb. If there's a part he can't play, I've yet to see it. And the same equitable and long suffering qualities you see in pretty much everything he plays (including Barbosa) can be found here. I found it ironic that Jennifer Ehle (Elizabeth Bennett in BBC's Pride and Prejudice) was Myrtle Logue, Rush's character’s wife.

(Am wondering if they cast that specifically. I've noticed that several Colin Firth films have either copious references to Mr. Darcy like St. Trinian's or that somehow the writers/directors/actors manage to get a dig in at some movie he did.)

Helen Bonham Carter...she's an actress that has a diverse acting background yet I found to be a perfectly wonderful addition as the roll of the Queen Mum. Granted, I can't picture her as the adorable 101 year old woman with the Corgis in perfectly matching hat, coat, shoes, and white gloves shaking hands with everyone and always with a smile on her face, but as a younger woman, yup. Totally there. Of course, this wasn’t about her, and it’s a shame she’s more background character than anything but the story is about Bertie and Lionel and the friendship there.

Guy Pearce...I kept thinking he looked familiar, that I'd seen him in something. According to IMDB, only this. But I did discover he played Errol Flynn in Flynn. And I'd never heard of the movie let alone seen it. I suspect it'll be bad and a huge disappointment, and filled with half-truths from that biography I read years ago that I can't remember the title of but was subsequently debunked. Alas, if I can sit through What a Girl Wants, I can sit through this. Cause it's about Errol Flynn!

Lots of familiar themes like friendship over class boundaries and the power of other's beliefs in you. But it's a classic for a reason, and that reason is that we all enjoy happy endings, whether it's good over evil or personal triumph over some sort of adversity.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday Comings and Goings

I posted a little thing on Slip into Something Victorian about research books and website for the Victorian Era. Literally a list of things I find helpful and I hope these help someone else, too!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday Musings

I have girl scout cookies, a new dishwasher, a finished book, and a weekend off from writing. Life is good.

I know I have lots to do on the next book, I know I need to update the blog, the facebook page, the twitter feed, and yes even jump in and figure out that darn website and out to update that. And yes, I'll get to all that eventually.

But for today, I'm going to lounge on the couch and watch a little TV with the dog. I'm going to enjoy the moment and not pop up to write a few hundred words after work and dinner and before I crash. This week my brain will rest. My muse will recharge, and those pesky voices in my head will be silent.

If only for a little while. ;)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Saturday Excerpt

Have you checked out Slip into Something Victorian for our weekly excerpt? No? What are you waiting for? Bunch of authors, different books every week, giveaways! What more do you need?

This week Denise Eagan will be posting. Check her out. She's worth it!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Finished!

And it's a sweet sweet feeling.

Those last 8 chapters were a pain to edit, but they're done! Will be sending it out first thing Monday morning. WOOT!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

100 Books Every High School Student Should Read

I feel the need to hang my head in shame however a good many of these books look beyond boring. Of the Top 100 I've read...6. Maybe 7...and then not until #18, All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque . I've seen more movies but I doubt that counts. I did use #6, The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in a book I'm shopping around. Does that count for at least knowing the title?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wednesday Revews

I'm watching both the Borgias (Showtime) and Game of Thrones (HBO) and am enjoying both thoroughly! I know much of the Borgia history but it's nice to see it so very well acted out. The cast is great and really brings the history to life. If you get the chance, check it out.

Game of Thrones is a monumental series by George R. R. Martin. Monumental! I haven't read them and probably won't only because it's like Lord of the Rings; I can't keep the names straight! To this day I know Orlando Bloom, John Rys Davies, Viggo Mortensen...can't tell you who they play.

Game of Thrones is the same: Sean Bean (yum) Squicky Queen, Ronin from Stargate Atlantis, The Bastard (as in Sean Bean's illegitment son who wveryone calls The Bastard). But that doesn't detract from the story and I love every second of it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Teacher and author

In support of Judy Buranich/Judy Mays. Read the original article and be angered...then watch the YouTube  a former student of hers made an outstanding video in support of her. Watch it, it's well worth it.

Do I want a English teacher who knows what she's doing? Sounds better than some of those I had in high school and college. No wonder people joke about English majors, a couple of my teachers were prime examples of what not to do.

But that's not why parents are harassing this woman. Not because she doesn't teach what she's supposed to or that her kids are failing class, or even that they're so far below average levels that they'll never pass a standardized test with 3/4 of the answers supplied to them.

No, people are harassing her because she also write erotic novels. Now there's a reason to get up in arms. It's OK if my kid fails, but not if his teacher writes romance? Ooh, and sexy romance. Even more shocking! It's not like she's using her own stories as material in class.

This is a quote and I have to wonder what difference does it make? You can only have one profession? You can never ever do anything esle but teach? Please. Give me a break.
Parent Deanna Stepp said the evidence is clear. "She is teaching children that are under the age of 18 and definitely the books that she is writing are adult books. I think she needs to make a decision as to what she wants to do. Either be a school teacher or author," Stepp said.

Great message to send.

Monday, May 2, 2011

I did and you did, too

Admit it! Last Friday you watched the royal wedding. I know you did because even if you had no interested in it at all and would rather have had our thumbs pressed, you couldn't not watch it. Coverage was everywhere!

But I clicked on BBC America and watched a good portion of it as I got ready that morning, and was eve a little late to work. I blame the puppy for that, however...she really wanted to see the kiss.

What makes us what it? Is it because it's so celebrated? Because it's literarly the romanitc fairytale? Royalty marries commoner in romantic tale? Probably, yes. Here's wishing the couple happiness and luck. They're going to need it.

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