Saturday, April 27, 2019

Writing Again, With No Time to Post

I do feel a little guilty about this. But I'd feel even guiltier if I stopped writing to post.

Soon, though. I'm getting to a good place for a break. Meanwhile, I have a post about Galicia next door on my Fourth Wish blog.

Happy May Day coming up, everyone. Hope your April has been lovely.

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Detective, the Woman, and the Silent Hive

      
This is the third book in Amy Thomas's brilliant series. I first came across Book One (The Detective and the Woman)in 2015, and was charmed by it. I’ve always been intrigued by Irene Adler, the woman who outwitted Sherlock Holmes in Doyle’s A Scandal in Bohemia, and whom (according to Dr. Watson) Holmes refers to ever after as “the woman”. Thomas has turned them into a dynamic duo of sleuths following Book One, when Holmes was given the assignment by Mycroft to prevent what looked like an assassination plot against Adler. Having worked as a team, these former enemies developed a friendship, and in the next three books have been solving mysteries together. 

By Book Three, Irene is living in a peaceful village in Sussex, pursuing singing engagements, but finding peace and relaxation in cultivating beehives. Her peace is shattered when, unaccountably, hive by hive, the bees contract the bacterial disease, “foulbrood”. Since there are no other cases around, it seems to have been purposely introduced by infected bees. Irene goes to London to seek the advice of her friend and sleuth-mate, Sherlock Holmes. 

As it turns out, a nefarious plot is actually aimed at Sherlock Holmes and can be traced back to an earlier case he thought was solved. More than that, I won’t say, because the pleasure is in finding out the who, what, when, where and why. But the author tells the story with a deft hand.

Like the earlier books, the story unfolds through alternating viewpoints -- the clinical Holmes' in third person distant, and the expressive singer's in first person close. It’s a device that works very well, allowing, among other things, the two main characters to reflect and comment on each other and to develop them believably. Other characters are also nicely developed, from Billy, the porter, Wiggins, the leader of the “irregulars”, loyal Mrs. Hudson, grumpy Lestrade, and the ever-gallant Dr. Watson (who also has eyes for Irene’s housekeeper in Sussex).

The author captures beautifully details of Victorian London, from elegant homes to shabby neighborhoods, the wealthy and the poor. Scenes and interiors (including a night in jail) were vivid.

This is a well-paced novel with satisfying twists and turns that kept me engrossed to the end. There is also a Book Four, out: The Detective, the Woman, and the Pirate's Bounty. Can't wait! 

                                     You can learn more about Amy Thomas by 
                                      clicking on these links:
                 Her blog: 
                 Girl Meets Sherlock
                 Facebook
                                      She also podcasts with 
The Baker Street Babes           

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.