Saturday, December 9, 2017

Celebrating My Students' Landscapes Thursday

Thursday we worked on landscapes in Art Club. These were more or less "pre" landscapes, in that I took the students step by step in a demo, mixing shades of blue in the sky, instead of using solid

blue from the bottle; making  texture in clouds and treetops, instead of round blobs of solid white or green,, and creating highlights and shadows on                             on treetops and fields by streaking in blue and yellow to let the eye mix the color green. This was in preparation for next week's lesson, when we will use landscapes by the Impressionists for inspiration. These kids always run with the lesson, as you can see. Students are normally 8-to 12, but this year I have a returning student who is 16 and a newcomer who is 7. The 7-year-old did the lower right hand picture in the second set.

No matter how tired I may be toward the end of the week, these students always make me feel like celebrating at the end of the lesson. they seem to give me that extra boost of energy.

Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop co-hosted by Lexa Cain at: Lexa Cain,  L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge , and Tonja Drecker @ Tidbits Blog(You can go to any of these sites to add your name to the links, if you want to participate.)
How about you? Do young people inspire you? Do you get rejuvenated by contact with young people? What are you celebrating this week? 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Getting to Know Mark Noce, Author of Dark Winds Rising

First of all, many thanks to Mark for taking out time from his busy life for this interview. I did an earlier interview with him regarding his first book, Between Two Fires. (You can read it HERE. ) 

Now that the awaited sequel, Dark Winds Rising, is to be released tomorrow, here's a  closer look into his writing history and process. 

How young were you when you first started writing fiction?

Honestly, as far back as I can remember. Even before I could properly write I remember making little books with crayon pictures and stapling it together in preschool. I’ve always loved stories and always will.

When did you know or decide you wanted to be an writer/author?

I’m not sure it was ever a conscious decision, it’s simply me being me. I’ve always had these stories coming out of me, and figured that sooner or later they’d end up in print.

      Has fiction always been your specialty, or do you also write poetry?

I love writing novels, poetry, you name it. It’s all part of the wider artistic canvas. I truly believe that living life itself is a work of art, so everything we do is a form of story-making.

Have you written any books for children?

Not yet, although I make up plenty of bedtime stories for my kids, so I’ll probably have to eventually write some of those down too.

You’ve written two books about Medieval Wales and a spy story about WWII.

Yup, and I’ve got another Viking story in the mix as well.

What got you interested in Welsh history?

I’m interested in all eras of history, but I think that part of what drew me to this time period was the lack of writing that had been done on the subject. I found it all so fascinating and couldn’t believe more people hadn’t written about this place and time in more detail.

What got you interested in WWII?

I’ve always loved murder mysteries, especially British ones, so combining that with London during the Blitz was just too much fun to resist.

Who was/were your favorite author/s when you were a kid?

I really enjoyed those “I Can Read” books as a little kid, such as Sam the Minuteman. I’ve always loved history books and have also been reading about the American Civil War since I was pretty young.

Who is/are your favorite author/s now?

So many to choose from. I’m a big fan of Lawrence Durrell, simply for his incredible ability to write in such magnificent language. Tolkien is of course fun, and I was heavily influenced by The Mists of Avalon as well. Shakespeare and Homer are favorites of course too. The list goes on J

Are you working on a new novel at this time? If so, is it a new book in your Welsh series? A new spy novel? Something else?

I’ve got a few projects in the works. I’m really enjoying exploring historical murder mysteries as a genre, so you can expect more WWII era stories to come as well. But I like to keep the future pretty wide open. Often times I don’t know what I’m going to write until I actually sit down and write it.

     What advice would you give a beginning writer?

Follow Ray Bradbury’s advice. Write a lot or you’re doomed. J Honestly, the key is to keep it fun. That’s why you started writing in the first place, right?

     What advice do you wish someone had given you, and why?

It’s hard to give advice, because often I need to learn things myself the hard way for it to really stick. I’d say the key is to remember that not everyone is your audience, so don’t try to please everyone or you’ll end up pleasing nobody at all.

     Do you foresee a time when you will be a full-time author?

It’s a tricky question. Most authors have a day job (even famous ones – Joyce was a teacher, Dickens an editor, Vonnegut a Technical Writer, etc.). As nice as the image of a cabin in the woods sounds for an author, I think that by having a day job and continuing to be in the everyday struggle for life only adds inspiration and authenticity to a writer’s work. That being said, I know I could fill my day full time with writing if given the chance. J

Thanks again for having me here, Elizabeth!

My pleasure, Mark, as always.

Those of you who want to know more about the author can visit his website HERE and learn more about his books, his blog, and his appearances and events.

You can also visit him on Facebook and Twitter. Just click either of these two to go visit his pages.
Here's the publisher's link that can give you several different places to order it by one click: Go HERE
For those who want to start at beginning, you can also order Between Two Fires at all those sites HERE but these are each "stand alone" books. You can enjoy each story for itself.

Readers, what is your favorite period of history? What countries interest you? Do you tend to read series novels or stand-alones?  

Friday, December 1, 2017

Celebrating a Coming Interview with Mark Noce - Stay Tuned

Today I'm celebrating a coming interview with Mark Noce about his soon-to-be-released historical novel, Dark Wind Rising. I've already pre-ordered it and really enjoyed the first in the series, Between Two Fires. I've blogged about the new book and Mark at my "next door" blog, Elizabeth Varadan's Fourth Wish.  Why not go next door and have a look while you stay tuned for the coming interview? You can also find information about how to pre-order it before its release, Tuesday, Dec. 5th, or order it later after release.

Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop co-hosted by Lexa Cain at: Lexa Cain,  L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge , and Tonja Drecker @ Tidbits Blog(You can go to any of these sites to add your name to the links, if you want to participate.)

How about you? What are you celebrating this week-end? Do you have any interviews coming up? Any friends having book releases? Are you a fan of historical fiction?

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Celebrating an Interview at "Journey To A Dream"

Craig Briggs interviewed me for the "Some-day Supplement" issue of his blog, Journey to a Dream. Stop by and have a look. The "Some-day Supplement" is always a fun issue, containing a fabulous recipe laid out step-by-step by his wife, Melanie, a travel article by Craig, an interview with an author, and fabulous pictures Here's the LINK .

Craig and Melanie
Their sweet dog, Slawit
The Ribera Sacra region
close to where they live

Craig and Melanie live in Canabal, (a village in Galicia , the autonomous region of Spain where Rajan and I visit twice a year.) So the main heading for the "Some-day Supplement" is Canabal Chronicle. For those of you who like to read about far-away place and enjoy a little history about foreign cities, this is a site to book-mark.

That's my news for today. Please hop on over and take a peek.                                                                       

Meanwhile: Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop co-hosted by Lexa Cain at: Lexa Cain,  L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge , and Tonja Drecker @ Tidbits Blog(You can go to any of these sites to add your name to the links, if you want to participate. )  

How about you? Do you enjoy good recipes? Travel pictures?

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Celebrating Being Home

I seem to have fallen by the wayside when it comes to blogging in recent months. Preparing for travels, our trip to Spain and Portugal, and trying to put finishing touches on notes for recent books, all distracted me from both blogs. We got home Monday evening, and I've been busy ever since then, catching up. But I do have things to celebrate:

First, Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop co-hosted by Lexa Cain at: Lexa Cain,  L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge , and Tonja Drecker @ Tidbits Blog(You can go to any of these sites to add your name to the links, if you want to participate. )

Now to the celebrations:

1. As some of you know, I discovered last year that I have glaucoma. It was really severe, too, when the opthamologist discovered it. I've had surgery in the eye most severely affected, and I've been taking drops in both eyes to bring the pressure down. I am diligent in taking my drops. Still, one can't help but be nervous. So in my last exam -- GOOD NEWS: The pressure came down some more in both eyes. I am so happy about that.


2. As mentioned earlier, my picture book, Dragonella, was released October 20th (in time for Christmas.) Here is the LINK if you want to order a copy for a little one: 

3. But I also have a contract for my story collection for children, The Carnival of the Animals, which will  come out next year. As you can imagine, I feel like turning somersaults of joy.

4. A book I ordered came in my absence: Memoirs from Mrs. Hudson's Kitchen, by Wendy Herman-MarsawAs many of you know, I am a great Sherlock Holmes fan. (My book, Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls, includes him among the characters.) This book includes many details of Victorian society during the time of the Sherlock Holmes canon, as well as recipes for meals served in various classes — all through the eyes of the Great Detective's landlady.   And here is a LINK for it.

5. I'm submitting my cosy mystery novel now, and waiting with bated breath for the sound of the pebble landing somewhere. 

I'm also caught up on a lot of things, now, so I expect to be blogging more faithfully, both here and on my Fourth Wish blog next door. 

How about you? Have things distracted you from blogging? Have you had good health news lately? Are you submitting your writing projects? Do you have any good summer 

Friday, October 27, 2017

A Wonderful Site for Those Looking for Children's Books

I'm celebrating a marvelous site provided by SCBWI (Society of Book Writers & Illustrators) until end of November. It's called Book Stop, and this is a perfect place to Christmas shop for young readers. There's an embarrassment of riches in store for you!

But first, Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop co-hosted by Lexa Cain at: Lexa Cain,  L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge , and Tonja Drecker @ Tidbits Blog(You can go to any of these sites to add your name to the links, if you want to participate. )

Okay, the link to SCBWI Book Stop: You can look up books published by traditional publishers or independent publishers. It's up to you.  You can go directly to their site HERE

My own page for Dragonella  is among the pages for independent publishers (Belanger Books. Check them out HERE, they are currently open for submissions.)  

You can go to the link for my book stop page  HERE . I hope you will stop by and sign the guest book. Also, I hope you will spread the word among those with children or grandchildren the appropriate ages (5-8).  

Here are the front and back covers. (I lucked out with a wonderful illustrator, Brian Belanger!) 

Wishing you all a Happy and safe Halloween. Do you have special plans? Are you taking children Trick or Treating? Attending a Halloween party instead? Offering a Halloween party to friends & neighbors instead? 

I have such fond memories of my own childhood Halloween ventures. I loved the dress-up part of it more than collecting candy. What are some of your best Halloween memories?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

New Book Release: Dragonella

Today I am celebrating the release of my picture book, Dragonella. It was released today. Here is the summary on the jacket:

"Dragonella is the only dragon at her new school. Other students - trolls, griffins, and ogres - are frightened when she breathes fire. The teacher isn't happy when Dragonella's laughter melts the filing cabinet. But when Dragonella's flames save the day during the class party on Legend Day, the teacher and other students learnt they shouldn't be quick to judge someone who is different."

For those who are interested in the paperback, here is the LINK.  Needless to say, I am quite excited about this.

Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop co-hosted by Lexa Cain at: Lexa Cain,  L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge , and Tonja Drecker @ Tidbits Blog. You can go to any of these sites to add your name to the links, if you want to participate. 

I know many if you participate in NaNoWriMo each year. I've always stood in awe of anyone who can knock out a draft in a month. I tried to participate once, but had to give up. Are you planning to participate this year? Are you celebrating something else about writing? Or are you celebrating special family holiday plans and events?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Posting on My Other Blog While on Vacation

Right now we are in Galicia, Spain and we will also be visiting Portugal (the setting for my cozy mystery). Fo a while, my posts will be mainly about Spain and Portugal, and not "Victorian" related, so I'll be posting next door on my Fourth Wish Blog HERE  .  

Please stop by for a visit and leave a comment and let me know your news. I always enjoy hearing from fellow bloggers.

Meanwhile, I hope everyone is enjoying a cool and beautiful early autumn.

Ciao for now, Elizabeth

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The "New Read" Is Read, Now — And More Than Once.

It was that good! I read it twice, despite house cleaning and yard work in preparation for our coming trip to Spain. Sherlock Holmes: Before Baker Street

Sherlock Holmes: Before Baker Street

The book is edited by David Marcum and published by Belanger Books. Both Marcum and Derrick Belanger also have stories in this collection.

I'm a Sherlock Holmes fan, but anyone who loves mysteries would like this book, so I'll give you a link RIGHT HERE now, while I think of it.

Meanwhile, here is my review that I posted at Amazon. Hopefully it will whet your appetite.

It’s always a pleasure to encounter a Sherlock Holmes story. Sherlock Holmes: Before Baker Street, offers eleven cases by contemporary authors along with two of Sir Arthur Conon Doyle’s originals. Doyle’s stories are included for two reasons: Both took place before Holmes’s Baker Street days, and they provide reference points for some of the other stories. I can only offer teasers, but this is a must-read collection. The stories, of course, take place before Holmes moved to 221b Baker Street.

In Jayantika Ganguly’s “The Adventure of the Bloody Roses” eight-year-old Sherlock and his older brother Mycroft discover their tutor dead on a bed of cut roses in his quarters. Their parents are away on a trip, so it’s up to them to call the police, etc. What have dead roses and a murdered tutor have to do with each other? Young Sherlock’s observational skills soon lead to the answer.

Derrick Belanger offers two gems: 1. In “The Vingt-un Confession” a young man crippled from an accident at the docks, is reduced to begging and gambling. He’s not good at either. Young Holmes, not yet in college, teaches him to play Twenty-one, with surprising results. 2. In “Mr. Chen’s Lesson” Holmes shares with Watson the aftermath of a case that taught him humility after he solved a kidnapping but alienated Scotland Yard.

S. Subramanian’s “The Affair of the Aluminium Crutch” takes place during Holmes’s university days. A rich bully holds a special tea with students in his hall (including Holmes) to show off diamond studded cufflinks he’s safeguarding for his father. Another student promises a feat of magic and – poof! – the cufflinks disappear. Where? How? Sherlock Holmes figures it out.

In Robert Perret’s “The Adventure of the Dead Ringer” Holmes is new to Montague Street. He soon learns a tobacconist is being extorted by a criminal gang led by a woman whose husband is on the run. Holmes spies on her when she comes to collect, follows her to her hotel, then leaves an ad The London Times. The next day she visits Holmes and hires him—with unusual results.

In S. F. Bennett’s “The Devil of the Deverills” a post-Montague-Street Holmes is evicted once again due to an experiment gone wrong. He encounters an old classmate, Marcus Zeal. Zeal invites him to his estate in Norton Deverill, to help him with a problem: The mother of a girl Zeal fancies is accused by the vicar of witchcraft. Is she behind the strange things happening?

In David Marcum’s “The Painting in the Parlor” said parlor is at Montague Street. A landscape is painted onto the plaster above the mantelpiece. Holmes looks back an event, when a young man showed him a canvas copy of almost the same landscape given to his great-grandfather. A dagger—a missing family heirloom—shown in the canvas painting is not shown in the parlor painting. Secret codes, and missed encounters are involved—all solved by young Holmes.

Arthur Hall gives the reader a wonderful locked-room puzzle in “The Incident of the Absent Thieves”. Two art thieves, father and son, have been missing for two months. The wife, a usual accomplice, and the son’s fiancée, equally complicit in their capers, are worried, and Scotland Yard isn’t much concerned. The solution to this puzzle is brilliant, if sad.

Daniel D. Victor has Robert Louis Stevenson tell “The Adventure of the Amateur Emigrant” in a supposedly excised section from his memoir, The Amateur Emigrant. During his brief stay in New York, Stevenson attends a British pantomime of Robinson Crusoe. One of the actors is Sherlock Holmes, using a pseudonym. Soon Holmes’s detective skills are put to work when Stevenson’s wallet goes missing.

Mark Mower’s “A Day at the Races” takes a reader to Epsom Downs. Holmes joins friends of Cedric Stone, whose father Holmes helped recover a stolen ring. The group disperses except for Stone and Hughes, a schoolmaster of a boys’ school. Hughes hires Holmes to discover why the woman he hoped to marry—the sister of one of his students--suddenly forbids communication. Another good puzzle mystery with clues that keep you guessing.

Geri Schear’s “The Strange Case of the Necropolis Railway” opens under a railway bridge at 3:00 a.m. A policeman finds a bloody corpse and calls Dr. Stamford, who wants a second opinion before taking it to the mortuary. He sends for Holmes, who says the blood is not the corpse’s and that he died elsewhere. Thus begins an intriguing case only Holmes can unravel.

All the authors show mastery of storytelling and excellent research. This is a book Sherlock Holmes lovers will want to read more than once.

How about you? Are you a Sherlock fan? A mystery fan? A short story fan? Do you like anthologies and collections? As always, I'd be interested in your recommendations. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

In Thralls of a New Read

Dear Victorian Scribbles friends, sorry for not posting recently. I'm finishing up reading a fantastic collection of Sherlock Holmes stories. Three more stories to go, and then I'll be reviewing this book.

Please do come back in a few days.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Celebrating Another Great Book on Writing

So it's Friday and time to celebrate the small things again. This time I'm celebrating a book  The Magic Words, by Cheryl Klein. But first,  Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop co-hosted by Lexa Cain at: Lexa Cain,  L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge , and Tonja Drecker @ Tidbits BlogYou can go to any of these sites to add your name to the links, if you want to participate. 

So, the book: The Magic Words, Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults, by Cheryl Klein, book editor, formerly for Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, and now editorial director at Lee and Low Books; but also an author in her own right. And, as I read her book, it's inspiring, exciting, informative, encouraging, practical, useful — she knows her stuff! This is a book meant to be read and consulted more than once. 

I first heard of this book in a FB post by the children's book editor, Harold Underdown, who also writes a blog called The Purple Crayon and gives writing workshops for writers of boos for children and young adults. All I can say is, "Thank you, Harold Underdown!" I really recommend this book to other writers — even writers of adult fiction. You can learn more about Klein and this particular book HERE .

What are you celebrating today? Do you have a favorite book on writing you can share? I'm always looking for good books on writing.