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?

Friday, September 28, 2018

Our Trip to Viana, Portugal

I've been posting about Galicia next door at my Fourth Wish blog, so I'll save blogging Portugal for this blog. (Portugal and England do have a connection, although it goes back much further than the Victorian Era.)

We normally spend a few days in Braga, Portugal, each time we come to Spain. I have set a mystery novel in Braga, and in the process of doing research, my husband and I made several wonderful friends there. One of them moved to Viana do Castelo, not too far from Braga and not too far from our Spanish location, so this time when we went to Braga we added a day in Viana.

We stayed at a very nice and modestly priced hotel in the historic section, Hotel Jardim (Garden Hotel) with a view of the Rio Lima. Viana is actually situated on the estuary where the river meets the Atlantic ocean and it is also at the foot of beautiful mountains. It's a truly beautiful city.

View from our window.
You can see the river is
like a mirror. 

Another view of the hotel
Our friends, Joana and Luis.
It's impossible to see all of Viana in one day, so we didn't try. But Joana, whom we knew from Braga, and her partner, Luis, whom we met for the first time, gave us a wonderful tour.

They took us by Funicular up to the Santuário de Santa Luzia.  (Santa Luzia is the patron saint of healing eyes, and since I have glaucoma, it seems in retrospect a fitting basilica to have visiedt in this city so full of beautiful sacred buildings.)

The four immense rose windows are spectacular from inside. (I didn't take inside pictures, but the nave and apse and individual alters were awe-inspiring. Outside, I did take this picture outside of an ancient statue of Christ in an alcove. The the church offers breathtaking views of the city,  river, sea, and beach.
The bridge you see here is the Eiffel Bridge,
inaugurated in 1878, designed by the same
Eiffel famous for the Eiffel Tower in Paris. 

This was a close-up of the
beach, taken from above.

Before and after the trip up to the Santa Luzia Basilica, we walked through the historic part of the city, including the main plaza overlooking the river.

The remarkable rectangular sculpture with the broken chain you see below symbolizes Portugal's freedom after the authoritarian Prime Minister Salazar died in 1974, followed by the bloodless "Carnation Revolution" four years later. The plaza has a second interesting sculpture, but I didn't learn its significance.

I love the famous "Azulejo" tiles so typical of Portugal. Traditionally they are blue and white, or blue, yellow and white. But the tile work all over the city is wondrous and is often in different colors. Viana has a museum of Azulejo tiles, tracing their history (originally was inspired by the Moors) and their development through time.

The museum
Inside the museum
On a building wall outside

A really intriguing feature was the hospital ship that had been used in the 1950s to give aid to fishing boats. Viana has an old section of town devoted to the fishermen of yesteryear as well. This ship is no longer in use but is now a museum. We didn't go inside, but we were certainly tempted.

There are also numerous small plazas, parks, and fountains.Many of the names eluded me, but here is one of the small parks, and one of the pretty fountains. And here is a group photo of ourselves someone kindly took.

Luis, Joana, Me, Rajan, (L to R)

After we walked around quite a bit, we went to a restaurant in "old town" famous for its fish, and I must say I had a delicious salmon to remember, although the serving was overly generous. Then, as the evening wore on, we went to a bar. Over a savory red wine, we talked late into the night. Thanks to our friends, it was a wonderful afternoon and evening to remember.

One last view of the Basilica, high on the
hill before we drove off from the Marina,
where we had parked overnight.

Do you like old cities? When you vacation somewhere, what attracts you? Parks? Beaches? Statuary? Churches?

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

We Are Traveling — New Post to Come Soon

We are on our way to Galicia, Spain, tomorrow, while our neighbor watches our place here. Once there, I will get back to blogging. I have a couple book reviews to share of books I've enjoyed lately. Till then, hope everyone had a great Labor Day week-end.  Ciao for now.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Family Reunion Time

The whole group of us.
The hosts, Vidhya, Venkat, and
their son, Rohan
                       My husband and I just got back from a super family reunion held at the home of my niece and her family in Falls Church, Virginia. People came from Pittsburgh, Boston, and Raleigh (and we made the California unit), and a great time was had by all. It took place over about 6 days, given all the arrivals and departures. All of the people you see here in this photo stayed at their house — a big one, and a lovely one, too.

So . . . Meet the family:     This was the third reunion we've been to over the years. How about you?                                  

Yummy meals.
The Raleigh couple, Cheryl and
our nephew, Murali

The Boston family, our nephew,
Srivatsan, his wife, Simil,
their children, Saraswati & Shavan

My husband, Rajan, on right, his
Pittsburgh brother, Raghavan, on left.

Their Raleigh brother, Bashyam

Bashyam's wife, Seetha, on left,
Raghavan's wife, Kalyani, in middle,
and me on the right

A nice moment between Srivatsan
and his daughter, Saraswati.

Rocket man, Shravan, and
his mom, Simil

The rocket, fueled by baking soda
and vinegar. It worked!

This is the third reunion we've been to over the years.  How about you? Have you been to many family reunions? Do they tend to be large or small?