Saturday, March 16, 2019

Beautiful Peacocks

Thursday, Rajan and I went to the Folsom Zoo, a delightful, sprawling area on the edge of town that is actually a sanctuary for rescued animals. We like zoos, although we haven't been to one for a long time, but we especially liked that this was for rescue animals, many of them the local wildlife.

Our reason for going to the zoo Thursday was to meet with the Recreation Director in connection with an author reading and book signing I may have in June.  But afterward, as we bought tickets and wandered around, we were delighted, with what we saw. The animals are considered rescue animals if they have been raised in captivity (because they will never be able to function in the wild after that), or had been found to be mistreated or used for entertainment, etc., or used for breeding purposes in captivity by those who planned to sell the offspring. Other causes for rescue: accidents that rendered them unable to function in the wild (a bird's broken wing, for example). 

There is a wonderful array of wildlife in enclosures that are constructed to give the animal a sense of its natural environment.  We saw mountain lions, tigers, and bobcats. Deer wandered around in what looked so much like open space, it took a lot of staring to finally figure out that there was a distant fence that kept them from the road. We were not able to see the black bears, because they were sleeping inside their dens. Likewise the foxes in their burrows. But we did see raccoons (which we also sometimes see in our back yard, lol). And a good variety of birds, including horned owls and the peafowl.

I have always been entranced by peacocks. You normally see pictures of them fanning out their tails. But folded and trailing, they look fabulous, too. I normally think of the lovely teal blue color of their neck and body. But look at the sparkling emerald green of the tail when it's folded. 

You can tell he knows he's gorgeous. He started strutting regally down the boardwalk we were on, and let me follow along, taking pics. The less spectacular peahens sedately roosted nearby on a tree, watching (and no doubt commenting, privately.) Here he is, strutting his stuff:

It seemed fitting to meet up with peacocks on this visit. One of the stories in the book I'll be signing involves peafowl. 

And it seems fitting to include these pictures on my Victorian Scribbles blog, since the Victorians were charmed by peacocks as well. There is a nice blog post by Mimi Matthews HERE if you'd like to know more about that. 

Are you intrigued by peacocks? Are you intrigued by birds in general? What catches your fancy about plumage? (At the opposite end of that question, have you ever been frightened by birds?) 

Friday, March 8, 2019

I Am Writing

I have meant to post so many times, but I am in process of working on a new book. When I come up for air I will post again.

Meanwhile, happy writing to you all.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Rascal In The Castle: Sherlock's Possible! Dog and the Queen's Revenge (Sherlock's Dog)

Here is a delightful book children will enjoy, and also a cute way to introduce them to Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. I first encountered Digby in an earlier adventure, Scones and Bones on Baker Street, Sherlock's Dog (Maybe!) and the Dirt Dilemma, and when I saw there was a sequel, I knew I wanted to read more of this endearing mutt's adventures. (I'm a dog person at heart and can thoroughly believe in Digby's personality.) 

This humorous Sherlock Holmes adventure brings back Digby, the London street dog who has decided he is Holmes’ bona fide watch dog and desperately wants to be his assistant detective. Digby has already worked his way into the affections of Mrs. Hudson in Scones and Bones.

A mysterious visitor arrives at 221b Baker Street in the middle of the night. Digby follows him inside and overhears a new case: The King of Falkenbarzia, disguised as King of Bohemia, is marrying the Princess of Boldavia. He’s sure Irene Adler plots to show up and ruin his wedding. This could start a war between the countries. The King wants Holmes and Watson to attend and nab her before she succeeds. Digby decides to attend the wedding also. He tags along with the two when they leave, traveling by train, boat and stage coach to the King’s castle atop a mountain. 

In the castle, Digby encounters a wild array of characters: a rat brigade smarter than the humans, a cat who allies herself with the rats, a castle hound who is not too swift (in all meanings of that word), a pack of hounds one of the guests has brought for nefarious reasons, a sneaky person caught going through Holmes’ and Watson’s’ satchels, various jewel-adorned guests who might not be as they seem. 

Can’t give any spoilers here as to how things turn out. But Digby is a persistent sleuth, and nothing daunts him. And the author has done a masterful job of presenting the world through a dog’s eyes. This is a delightful series, and I'm looking forward to future Digby adventures.  

You can order these books at Amazon HERE and HERE.

You can learn more about the author HERE

How about you? Do you  like dogs? Do you like books with animal sleuths? Are you a Sherlock Holmes fan?

On another note, I've been promising a post on Portugal. You can read my latest on at my new travel blog, Come Travel With MePlease stop by and leave a comment. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Moving My Travel Posts to Wordpress

Dear Blog Friends,

While I sort out my problems with Blogger commenting, I've decided to do all my travel posting on a Wordpress Account — "I Like to Travel, Come Travel with Me" and save Victorian Scribbles once again for Victorian and Belle Epoque Era related posts and book reviews.

I've tested out my Wordpress account, and I can comment on all Wordpress blogs and SOME Blogger  blogs (the problem being Blogger, not Wordpress).

Meanwhile, I have followed so many suggestions and written to Blogger so many times about the commenting problem. I CAN comment on some Blogger posts, but not on others, and there is no rhyme or reason to it, but I'm still working on it.

While I explore the cyber universe in my quest for answers, please do stop by my travel blog HERE and leave a comment. The current post is about my story collection, The Carnival of the Animals, because the stories are set all over the world, and reading is such a good way to travel.

But I have a post on Portugal coming up as well, so stay tuned.

Thanks for all the support and help. I do so appreciate it!

Meanwhile, please do visit the SCBWI Bookstop for some fabulous choices of children's books for your Christmas shopping. Just click on the link below:

Monday, November 5, 2018

Blogger Comment Problems

Dear fellow bloggers,

I have been trying to comment on some of your blogs and am not able to.

For awhile I was having a similar problem on my own Victorian Scribbles blog: I couldn't reply. I fixed the reply problem with advice I received: I cleared my cache.

I also changed my comment settings from "embedded" to full page. I think some of the sites I am visiting have comments "embedded".

Whatever is the problem, I really miss commenting on your posts. I can comment on some, but not others. Are you having fewer comments to your posts? You might want to check out whether your comments section is "embedded."

I know it's Blogger related, because I can comment on all Word Press blogs, and only some Blogger blogs.

Friday, October 26, 2018

In Transit . . .

We are cleaning and closing the house and for the next three days I'll be offline. We leave Galicia Monday morning and arrive home Monday evening, in the crazy way that a 9-hour difference in time zones can make that happen. During that time, I won't have access to my computer. (And I must confess, I really go into withdrawal symptoms over that idea.)

When we get back to Sacramento, I'll be doing a couple of posts about our 5 days in Portugal (with pictures). The Portugal posts got derailed by the release of my new book, The Carnival of the Animals, and also a cool library presentation in Ourense Spain on the Spanish version of Dragonella. 

While you wait for pictures of Portugal, you may like to read my post on the riverwalk in Monforte de Lemos, Galicia, at my Fourth Wish blog, HERE

Bye for now, and hope to see you soon — somewhere. 😍 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Announcing a Book Release

I'm taking time out from travel posts today to share some good news: My new book, a story collection for children based on Camille Saint-Saëns' musical fantasy, The Carnival of the Animals, has just been released by Belanger Books. I'm really excited about this book. It's actually my favorite book I've ever written. It's on Amazon at present HERE.

The book is geared for readers grades 2-5, but really it's more a book for ages 7-to-70 (for the young at heart that miss they old fairytales of their youth.) The stories are told in fairytale style, but are "layered" so that older readers can enjoy it as well. (There are references to Don Quixote, allusions to Pinocchio, etc.)  There are 13 tales based on the 13 animals in Saint-Saëns' work, and they take place in different countries, all in the 19th century (before the date of his composition). I’ve received some good blurbs from published authors that I'm including below: 

“Thanks to Elizabeth Varadan, you will roar with the lion, bound over clouds with the unicorn, dance with the tortoise, weep with the elephant, feel the friendship of a magical bird, know the enduring love of a swan…and more.  Best of all, you will enjoy the genuine magic of this carnival of creativity!”
T. A. Barron, Author of the Merlin Saga

“In the Carnival of the Animals, Varadan takes us through a colorful world of animal stories that will entertain readers of any age. Her whimsical style and effortless storytelling allows her three-dimensional characters to leap off the pages, causing the reader to feel for and love the characters she’s created. These stories beg to be read aloud to children again and again. The subtle morals of her tales give hints of fables while introducing young readers to well-known characters like Don Quixote and Shakespeare’s Puck. Since Carnival’s characters are from all over the world, these stories will spark discussions with young children about cultures, languages, and even animal habitats. Truly a wonderful work of art.” 
--JaNay Brown-Wood, author of Imani’s Moon, NAESP Book of the Year, Northern CA Association of Children's Librarians Distinguished Book for 2014, a Reading is Fundamental (RIF) Multicultural Book for 2015. Her newest book Grandma’s Tiny House: A Counting Story, received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly.

“The stories in Elizabeth Varadan's The Carnival of the Animals are a wonderful tribute to Camille Saint-Saëns' musical suite. Children will be drawn to the clever, charming narratives and come away with a real appreciation for both the stories and the music that inspired them.”
-- Steve Richardson, Author of Canlandia, (winner of the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for best juvenile fiction in 2014, and the Arizona, New Mexico Book Award for best juvenile fiction in 2014), and Lavender Blue and the Faeries of Galtee Wood (winner of the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for best in juvenile fiction in 2013)

 “A beautifully penned tale inspired by the musical suite The Carnival of the Animals, by Camille Saint-Saëns. The story and its settings will delight children of all ages. Varadan’s magical menagerie is marvelous!”
Victoria Lindstrom, author of The Tale of Willaby Creek

If you are a writer, do you have a favorite book you have written or are working on? As a reader, do you still enjoy the old fairytales?