Sunday, October 23, 2011

November Approaches....

and that means NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). *big apprehensive sigh* My history with this endeavor is disappointing, to say the least. November of 2009 saw me in hospital for gallbladder surgery. November 2010 saw me in hospital for an angiogram. Needless to say, not much writing got done.

I am approaching this November with great trepidation - and a plan. I have chosen not to continue with my efforts on my WIP (work-in-progress) titled "Snow's End," but instead work on what I've realized is it's prequel, "Bloodstone." Both are working titles, of course. Perhaps the Universe - and my body - will look more kindly on this effort. I can only hope.

Both are fantasies set on the continent of Fizruh on the world of Euphemric. The main character of "Bloodstone" is a young girl of fourteen summers named Lir. She lives in a place called The Caves deep in the walls of a crevass-valley in the middle of the Wasnang Desert. The valley was once the seat of a noble family around which was built an oasis-like, thriving and cosmopolitan city. It is now a tumbled-down place of fear and deprivation due to the now master of the city, Magsett Arn.

Lir - tall, lithe and athletic and dressed in torn trews and an over-sized, ragged tunic to hide her maturing femininity - has become a Runner. She has gained a trusted reputation among the beleaguered folk of the city for her quickness and reticence when delivering messages. The story begins when she is called to Arn's castle to deliver a message to the gem mines at the far west end of the valley.

So. There it begins. Now, November, you ain't gonna get a part of me this year! Nope. I will triumph! Hah!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Great Silence: Britain from the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz AgeThe Great Silence: Britain from the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age by Juliet Nicolson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent anecdotal account of the ending and post-war years of WWI, The War to End All Wars. At times I was on information overload and had to set the book aside to embrace what I had read. But I think the abundance of these accounts and the pace of their presentation drew a more dimensional picture of the immense loss and desperation that birthed the following Jazz Age.

I've had a great interest in this period due to the fact that my parents lived through them. My mother was born at the very beginning of that war and my grandmother gave accounts of how they watched the frequent funeral processions passed down their street in Chicago with the coffins of both fallen soldiers and those who succumbed to the Spanish Flu. It was a frightening time to be a young family wondering who would be next to follow one of those coffins.

My father, then a young boy of about 9 or 10, was asked by his father who lay in bed with the Flu to post a map of Europe on the wall of his bedroom and keep track of the movements of the US soldiers with thumbtacks. My dad built wireless radios to keep track of the news for him. My dad was an enterprising kid who then sold them to other families in their small town of Donaldson, Indiana.

Luckily, no one from my immediate family succumbed to either war or Flu.

Highly recommended to those with an interest in this era.

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Murder on St. Mark's Place (A Gaslight Mystery, #2)Murder on St. Mark's Place by Victoria Thompson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm really taken with this series! The main characters of Sarah Decker Brandt, midwife and nurse cum detective and Sergeant Detective Frank Malloy are irresistible. I've also grown quite fond of Sarah's neighbor, Mrs. Ellstrom.

These are delightful quick reads.

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