Thursday, January 31, 2013

Revenge of the Mad Scientist

I'm always up for a good steampunk read, so I'm thrilled to host Lara Nance and her book, Revenge of the Mad Scientist. The cover is gorgeous, and the author looks great in her steampunk gear!

Here is the plot:

When Lady Arabella Trunkett’s father, the High Lord Minister of Urbannia is kidnapped, all clues point to the mysterious country of Gandiss and the world is thrown into political upheaval.

Arabella is convinced the more sinister nation of Carabarras is to blame, urged on by a mad scientist seeking revenge. So, she sets out on a perilous airship journey across a variety of exotic locales to save him, and halt the potential world war.

But airship pirates, secret assassins and slave traders aren’t her only trials. The fickle hand of fate has made the captain of the only airship available for charter, the man who left her at the altar. For eight years she's wished him dead. Now he's her only hope. 


“Oh!” She jumped up, put a hand in her purse and withdrew the handkerchief. “I forgot to tell you about this. I found it on the floor in the room from which Father was taken. I’m positive he left it as a clue but I’m not sure what it means.”

Benji took the piece of cloth with the stick pin and his youthful face screwed up in concentration as he examined it, then he bolted to his feet “D, d, dash it all, Belle. Do you know what this is?”

She shook her head and her heart raced at his tone.

“It’s a ceremonial j, j, jewel given to the Sarcs of Carabarras.”

Her eyes widened. She’d heard of the secret group of assassins but didn’t know any more than the general public. She hoped her adopted boy genius had more details. “You’d better explain.”

“The Sarcs are t, t, taken as children and trained within the secret organization. When they finish their t, t, training, they’re given a task to fulfill. Usually that means k, k, killing someone. If they're successful, they’re given the t, t, title of Sarc and one of these.” He held up the gold and ruby pin. “They wear it on the inside of their c, c, cloaks and never take it off until they die.”

“Or until it falls out of their cloak while they’re kidnapping someone…or…that someone steals it as a clue.” Belle hadn’t really examined it, so she reached out and took it from him. She turned the pin around seeing it in a new light. The golden head resembled some type of flower and the large ruby was planted in the middle of the blossom. She looked up at Benji.


Lara Nance grew up and lived in many cites throughout the South. She loves to write in a variety of genres, but the basis of all of her stories is a great tale that will take you on an adventure of imagination.

If you want to escape and lose yourself in a novel, you've come to the right place. Choose your genre and settle in to be entertained. From thrilling mysteries and steampunk tales, to paranormal romance and adventure, she's willing to explore a variety of compelling stories full of danger and suspense, along with a touch of romance.

Having been on the fencing team in college and now living on a sailboat convinces her that she was a pirate in another life, or possibly kin to Errol Flynn… However, due to the unfortunate demise of the romantic pirates of the past, she lives out her fantasies, thrills and adventures in her stories. Lara loves to weave interesting true historical tidbits into her fiction which invite the reader to explore further after the novel is finished.

Currently docked in Norfolk, Virginia (until the wind changes) Lara enjoys living on her sailboat and spends time reading, of course writing, indulging a variety of artistic endeavors, cooking and sailing with her husband, Joe and their Yorkie, Rio.

You can visit Lara on her website

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

26 Days of Kindness: Water is Life

Terri Long has been running a wonderful series this month, called 26 Days of Kindness. After seeing the huge storms on the east coast and the devastation after them, it's lovely to discover what nice things people do for other, every single day.

My announcement is this:

My publisher, Myrddin Publishing Group, has made a donation to the Water is Life charity. We raised the money through book sales of Christmas O'Clock, our holiday anthology.

You can read more about the book and the donation on the Myrddin website.

I'm very happy to be part of two such wonderful projects.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hello! I'm Allie!

I'm part of The Reintroduce Myself blogfest, so today I'm posting a short blog about me and my little corner of the world.

At Fresh Pot (of TEA, people) I like to feature online creativity. I've had jewelry-makers, photographers, and artists on, showcasing their work and inspirations. Of course, I also invite writers on  and review books, both traditionally published and Indie.

I intersperse all the creative deliciousness of my guests with blogs about being a mom (like the fact that my kid nearly missed the bus this morning because she couldn't decide which M&M Lipsmacker to use). 

I've been known to post a recipe or two, like this one for my uncles famous carrot soup. Plus, if you have been looking for how to make Fuller's Walnut Cake, search no further. I've got your back.

Today I'm also celebrating 100,000 hits, so grab a beverage and join the party! 

I'm delighted to be in the blogfest with some of my favorite bloggers, including Krista McLaughlin, Hart Johnson, and Stephen Swartz. There are loads of other cool-looking blogs at the Linky Links, found at the bottom of this page. Best believe I'll be checking them out. After all, how can I resist a blog called One Magic Bean Buyer?

Hello to the browsers and new readers!

Friday, January 25, 2013

More Cold Stuff

The other night, my husband was on the way home from work. It was a late night for him, and suddenly, in the middle of nowhere, he got a flat tire. 

He had to wait for roadside assistance and stand about while they changed it - all in in 7 degree weather. As in, SEVEN.

When we were newly married, we moved to Chicago so he could get his MBA. He was going to school, and I was working to support us as a teacher in a local elementary school. We were in student housing and were first-year students, so of course we couldn't get parking privileges. 

I used to leave the dorms, walk across the street to the garage, and get into the truck to leave for work.

Now, Chicago is cold. The wind whips off that lake through the city and chills everything, including Wrigley Field (great place to watch a game, btw.) I used to bring my sweatshirt everywhere in the middle of August.

Still, all was well and dandy until the day came when the temp was -17. Funny thing - turns out when it's that cold, your gasline freezes. Who knew? 

Chicagoans knew, that's who. When I phoned the school to tell them I would have to miss my first class, their reaction was one of astonishment. "You didn't put in gasline antifreeze? But this is winter! In Chicago!"
See that shady corner on the left? People are freezing there. 

Lesson learned.

And when we flew out for winter break and couldn't make it back because twenty inches of snow fell, closing the airport, was school cancelled? Not at all. Whip out the chains! Get to work, you lily-livered Easterner!

We adored Chicago, and I'd go back in a heartbeat. They have cool jazz, hot Bratwurst, and my favorite baseball stadium in the world. But I have to tell you - pack a sweatshirt. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Pros and Cons of Winter

Winter is my favorite season. I'm not THAT odd - it's my daughter's favorite as well. But sometimes, when you see temps in the teens, it's hard to find good things about the winter.

So here are some Good things:

It's soup time. Soup is always good, for the soul and otherwise. Plus, once you have that pot going, you just have to add bread and salad and it's a meal.

Guilt-free reading - Of course you can't go on that five-mile run! It's cold outside! Might as well read a book instead. Or write one.

Lengthy hot drinks - Now that latte tastes really good, especially served in a mug that is really a bowl with one handle. Or any drink with "mulled" in the title.

Making breath clouds.

Germs get killed off - Or so I hear. Die, germs, die!

And also some Bad things:

My husband's feet in the middle of the night. Two words: ICE and BLOCKS (To be fair, the same can be said of my knees.)

Appetite - I could seriously think about ordering, and eating, an ox.

Skiing - I'm so into skiing, but not enough to go out when you have to drink a coffee just to thaw out after each run. No Thank You.

No snow - Cold is fine. Cold without snow is pointless - a bit rude, really.

Can't open windows - V. bad, especially after "Chili Night."

Ah well - must take the bad with the good, eh? Off to mull some more drinks and stir the chili.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Man vs Cat

Hurray! David Brown is coming back to my blog on February 2nd with a  guest post. This is a preview of his book, Man vs Cat, along with a chance to win some goodies. Swag, y'all!

You can find Man vs Cat here:

"History has known many famous cats - Garfield, Mr Bigglesworth, Simon's Cat, the Aristocats, the Cheshire cat and the Keyboard Cat on YouTube.

In recent years these feline things have replaced man's best friend as the most popular pet in the U.S. while the Ancient Egyptians once worshipped them as gods. This was a mistake and I'm here to tell you why.

Man vs Cat is the story of one man, one woman and the six cats that changed their lives forever. To the woman they brought love and affection, to the man they brought sleepless nights, fear, paranoia and even ruined his jigsaw. Need I say more?"

Enter the raffle here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And do come back on February 2nd to read David's funny post. He makes me laugh weekly on Facebook about his daily life with his wife and six cats, so I'm really looking forward to the post and the book.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A World Apart: by David Brown

A World Apart (also available in the UK and on Smashwords) is touring today. The author, my friend David Brown, is offering a 25$ Amazon gift card to one random commenter during the tour, so please leave your email with a comment.

The Story:
Demetrius makes his first mistake when he lets his best friend Halcyon marry Eleyna, the love of his life, without saying a word. On the day of the wedding, he walks away from the Elencheran town of Dove's Meadow and joins the army.

He makes his second mistake when the pirate Black Iris tricks him into letting dozens of men, women and children die in a fire. Demetrius is imprisoned in grief and disgrace.

But he can atone. The Black Iris is dead. The Ivory Rose has risen to the top of the pirates and is leading brutal raids on the coast. If Demetrius can capture and kill her, he'll win his pardon.

And then Demetrius discovers the Ivory Rose is Eleyna. He must decide which will be his third mistake: losing his last chance at a pardon or destroying the one woman he's ever loved.

EXCERPT: The Edge of the World
Pockets of swirling magic dust rose from the surface of the pink and violet water as it came into contact with the white beam that formed the perimeter of all Elenchera. The beam was not a perfect circle around the world, or a straight line, but led a jagged and uneven course, creating four distinct edges from four heavily defined promontories.

The west edge of Elenchera had been known to the earliest settlers in Gremilda – the magic dust that rose from the surrounding ocean gave the Gremildans the silver streaks in their hair and their glistening blue eyes – but one had to stand right by the edge to be truly close to magic.

A small island of rock overlooked the west edge, its surface blemished only by the presence of eight beautifully carved statues that stood on the outskirts of the island. Each one depicted a Gremildan of great distinction. The oldest was of a pioneer named Victor who had led the first successful crossing of the Raintops Mountains, opening the route into West Gremilda in the Second Shard. The most recent was of Moravia, a brilliant naval commander who had kept the island safe from invasion in the Ninth Shard.

The island by the west edge had long been considered sacred ground to the Gremildans. Only the Protectors and scientists were ever permitted to make the short crossing across the ocean to step foot on the island. The code had been broken by successful rebellions in the past but none more desecrating than the arrival of the Eligantian colonists. Many of the colonists had made the journey to the island but despite relentless pressure and persecution they had failed to yield the secrets of how to cast magic.

 David Brown could be considered a fantasy fanatic, especially since he has spent the last 10 years developing a 47,000-year history for his fictional world of Elenchera. When converting his obsession into literary form, David commits himself to a rigorous writing and editing process before his work can meet his approval. Combined with the critical eye of his wife and a BA Hons in History and English, David's dedication leads him to his goal of inspiring readers through heartfelt stories and characters.
Although David is inspired primarily by fantasy fiction, he also finds his muse in the form of anime, world cinema, history, and biographies. His own books, Fezariu's Epiphany and A World Apart, and the in-progress Ansel's Remorse and The Stars Beneath the Parapets combine aspects from worlds both old and new into compelling tales of a world not soon forgotten. David himself certainly does not lack a spirit of adventure; in fact, he left his job in 2007 in order to spend a month travelling. Second only to meeting and marrying his wife, David counts this as one of the most amazing experiences of his life.


Twitter - @elenchera
Facebook - davidmbrownauthor
Smashwords -

Friday, January 18, 2013

Beautiful Creatures; What I'm Reading Now

I picked up Beautiful Creatures on a whim while I was shopping for a birthday present in Barnes and Noble. There was an entire table filled with the series: Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Chaos....

The blurb at the top screamed something along the lines of "If you loved Twilight and The Hunger Games, read this book!" 

I put it down and walked away.

Something drew me back - the gorgeous font for the title, perhaps. Plus the back sounded intriguing. And inside, when I cracked a copy for that all-important peek, I saw that the writing was good - the authors, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, were well-versed in Southern Gothic and the language of South Carolina.

And it's the first of a series of four, so if I like it, there are three more long books to enjoy. 


I liked the characters too - Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes. I bought it, along with The Westing Game (can you believe I never read that before?) 

Honestly, sending me into a bookstore to buy a gift is like telling an addict to pick up your prescription.

So, here's what I'm reading now:

Beautiful Creatures (Sorry - Amazon wouldn't let me post a link to the first book. It's one of those "all media seems to be eating funky brownies" weeks.)

 The Night Circus

The Sable City - this is FREE. Just saying...

The Westing Game

Ah, the joy of having four books going at once. I'll report back on all of them to let you know how it's coming along.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Parks and Recreation

Image courtesy of NBC
I have fallen in love with this series, for various reasons. First, the characters are great: the writers have created real friendships and tension between Leslie Knope and the crew who work in her section of a small government department in a small Indiana town. 

There's the meat-lovin', Tammy-marryin', government hatin' Ron Swanson (he works in government to try and destroy it from within "the belly of the beast.") He could be a cardboard character in the hands of a lesser group of writers, but there are layers to him, beyond the huge mustache and secret nightlife of playing a sax for a swooning older crowd of women.

There are the smaller roles, such as Donna (one of my favorites,) Rob Lowe who is fantastic as Perfect Chris, April* and Andy, and the smooth delicious mistake that is Jean-Ralphio. And Tom. How do I describe Tom? Put it this way - I have partied with this dude. Often. And the writers nailed it.
The Swanson Pyramid of Greatness

But what really sucked me in is the friendship between Leslie Knope, the main character played by Anmy Poehler, and Ann, portrayed by Rashida Jones. First, I'll watch anything Ms Jones is in - she's always terrific. And Amy Poehler - there are no words.

Without great writing, though, this relationship between them could go "sticky sentimental goo" or "women being bitches to each other." The show does neither - there is a real, best-friend tie between the two women. They exasperate each other to the point where they have a huge fight in a club (with  a breaktime for dancing it out and later to hold each other's hair.) They are truthful and supportive - and gosh darn it, they are friends. 

I just find that is a very rare thing on TV. If women aren't fighting over some lame Batchelor or Flava Flav (Why, women? Why?) they're interrupting each other on The View. To see a real, deepening bestie sitch develop, then, is just SO AWESOME.

Example of how Ann is the greatest friend ever:

Leslie: Ann, I need you to text me every thirty seconds that everything is going to be okay.
Ann: Okay!
Leslie: [Phone rings] Thanks Ann!

And when they create an online profile for Leslie so she can get a date:

Leslie: Yellow haired female... likes waffles and news.
Ann: Sexy, well-read blonde... loves the sweeter things in life.
Leslie: Much better.
Ann: Hobbies?
Leslie: Organizing my agenda. Wait, that doesn't sound fun...jammin' on my planner!
Ann: Favorite place?
Leslie: Upstairs there's this mural of wildflowers, and I like to sit on a bench in front of it.
Ann: Really? It could be anywhere in the world: Paris, Hawaii, the Grand Canyon...
Leslie: Nope. Just the bench in front of the mural.
Ann: What about an actual meadow, where wildflowers are?
Leslie: Eww, Ann, I'm scared of bees, mural!
Ann: Okay, what do you think of dogs?
Leslie: Love!
Ann: Cats?
Leslie: Love!
Ann: Fish?
Leslie: Love!
Ann: Turtles?
Leslie: No opinion. They're condescending.
Ann: Describe your ideal man.
Leslie: He's dark and mysterious, and he can sing. And he plays the organ.
Ann: I think you just described the Phantom of the Opera.

And this line just sums up the beauty of these two women:
(Leslie is asleep on Ann's couch.)
Ann: I love her so much, but I think I'm going to draw a mustache on her face.

*April Ludgate has the best lines ever.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Objects of Desire

Recently my family and I visited Seabright, an area in New Jersey devastated by Hurricane Sandy. We parked back by the river, next to a huge pile of splintered wood, sinks, clothes, furniture. At the other end of the lot, there were three houses torn off their foundations. We could look right inside through the holes in the walls - shirts still hung in closets, a fridge revealed condiments and milk cartons.

Next to one house, someone had found a collection of those ceramic houses people put out at Christmas to create a village scene. The tiny things were balanced on old mooring posts, awaiting the return of the owners.
Image courtesy of Caracas shots

As we walked around the houses, silenced by the tragedy of the scene, I found another house half-buried under sand. With one gloved hand, I dug it up and added it to the tiny collection. 

The wind whistled in our ears. The kid got hungry. We packed up and left.

It made me think about Things - Objects - the Stuff we collect. When my mother died last year and we were packing up her room, we found her old teddy bear and the photos of her sisters and grandchildren.

I was in an odd state that day - I hadn't quite accepted that my life had changed forever. Mum's last few years had been filled with the violence and horror that goes with Alzheimer's, and in order to lessen that for only a few seconds, my sister and I had started giving her presents - pretty tea-towels, stuffed animals, children's books, flowery napkins.

When I found all that abandoned stuff, I had the strangest thought: 

"Mum forgot to pack these..."

A few weeks ago we visited friends. They live in a tiny cabin and refuse to collect things. There isn't any room in their house, for one thing, and what room there is has been filled with feathers, cool-shaped pieces of wood, funky looking stones, a lovely shell - those are the things they hold precious.

Our daughter, who is the very Queen of Stuff, was taken aback. "Are they poor?" she whispered to me as we left.

"No," I replied. "They just see the world differently."
Image courtesy of Colin Jong

We returned to our house, which is bulging with things. One day the kid is going to have to sort it all out. She'll get that old bear, which I just had to hang onto. It's antique, for one thing, and by now it has been layered with love and the memory of my mum. 

And what will she do with it? Where will it go at that point? To a dump, to a box, to a careful shelf?

To sit on a mooring post by the river, listening to the wind forever?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Nineties

This era was a challenge. What possible fashion trends had not already been thought of in the 60's, 70's, and 80's?

Oh, yeah, there was this:


I'm not kidding you when I say that whilst shopping in the mall a few weeks ago, my 8 year old and I saw a young, male, red-boxered heinie with pants carefully belted to rest just below the red cheeks of The Scarlet Bottom.
Our fella was number 2.

Kids, when they are 8, are LOUD. Even though the crowds were plenteous that day, I'm pretty certain every shopper in the mall heard my kid yell, "HEY, MOMMY - CHECK OUT THAT DUDE'S RED UNDERWEAR. WHY IS HE SHOWING HIS UNDERWEAR? HIS PANTS ARE HANGING BELOW HIS UNDERWEAR. AND IT IS RED. RED UNDERWEAR."

Neat! Now women can do it too!

There have been times when I have been embarrassed by my kid's loud voice, but this was not one of those times. I felt like doing a cheerleader flip coupled with a Siss Boom Bah. Instead, I bought her ice cream.

Then there was the Rachel:

Everyone wore that for a while. Everyone. Even those who should not have.
You're so lovely and beautiful and I admire you so much but girlfriend do not ever do this again

And the grill. Is that still a thing? I don't know... young whippersnappers.... now in my day we tried to keep the metal off our teeth, but knock yourselves out, kids. 

Boot-cut pants were in, which I liked, since they disguised my cankles. But, some people wore those pants really long, with really high heels. At some point, that look begins to resemble horse legs, and I'm talking the steeds that pull a beer wagon.

At that point, when we were all running around with red underwear and horse legs, the millennium ended. We're now in the noughts, and there are no fashion trends that I can see, beyond Taylor Swift's ringlets and designers refusing to create dresses with sleeves (yes, I'm still ticked about that.)
Sleeves. They are pretty. Take note, designers.

But I'm happy to be taught otherwise.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Back to the Eighties

Yesterday I wrote about 70's fashion trends that I actually wore. Today I'm talking 80's.

Apparently some of the stuff is coming back. Dude, I can deal with the neon colors and skinny ties, but here are some trends that should never return:

High hair - BIG hair is fine, and should be encouraged. But that flat spike of hair caused by Final Netting your bangs until they stand straight up needs to go to Trend Hell.
Gorgeous girl. Too bad about the fin on her forehead.
Men, I wouldn't be laughing too loudly at the blond above...

Three scrunchies worn on one topknot - buh bye.

Over-the-top make up.
Actually, this is sort of fun if you're 18. I take it back - have at it, girls.

Big shoulders, especially in those dresses that look like a suit and are actually a dress. What a crime against Nature.

The spiked heel / lace ankle sock combo -I wore this. Like, not for Halloween or anything. I should be taken out and flogged for that....
Just maybe I wore these with a fake leather skirt, or those super tight waist high acid-washed pants.
*runs away*

... and for my lace gloves, which I had in white, black, fingerless, and shoulder-length varieties. 
"Which gloves should I wear tonight?" 
"Let's see - how about NONE, since it is SUMMERTIME"
YES. Now my outfit is pulled together so I can go clubbing.

Short shorts for men. Sometimes in those neon colors. 
I sympathize - I can't believe you wore them either.

Designers, I"ll put up with your Fauxhawks, your strange aversion to sleeves, but if you hand me those gloves again, I swear to the Almighty that you will be pulling back a nub.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Seventies

I was thinking about the stuff I used to wear in the Seventies. (Do the math - I'm old.) 

There's this:
Thanks to for the image!

And this:
From - a site you should definitely browse for a lot of fun.

... all of which looked perfectly fine to me at the time. 

And then there are the men ... but I won't subject you to anything so hideous.

What was I thinking? Was I blinded by the power of Crowds, so those fashions seemed perfectly acceptable? Or, more probably, did aliens nest in my brain and lay eggs, forcing me to think their evil thoughts?

And it went further. I picked up on some extreme fashion trends and WORE THEM.

Remember Earth Shoes? "The toe is higher than the heel, because nature intended it that way, according to Scandinavian researchers." Well, Scandinavian researchers, I wore your shoes, and wasn't I gorgeous, with my spindle-shaped legs and your sandals on my feet. And just maybe I wore them with toe socks too.

Let's not forget the "home perm," designed to change your head into a woolly puffball:

And mood rings:
OK, maybe those things were cool, as long as "green finger" is a mood.

And polyester shirts:
I can just smell the petroleum by-product now!

Yup, aliens, I say.

OK, I'll show you the men. Deep breath now:

From, found here  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fruitify My Life

Each year, after the holidays, I reach a point where my body says: ENOUGH. Enough of the wine, the heavy desserts, the appetizers made with buttery pastry. Enough Christmas cookies. I even reach the point where (gasp) I'm a bit sick of chocolate.

I'm at that point now, and I'm fully ready to embrace fruit. Right now, a juicy orange really sounds delicious to me. Or a wonderful pear.

Or those frozen dark cherries that defrost so wonderfully in the microwave... At the risk of sounding really strange, when I found that Costco carried those things in megabags, maybe I cried. Or did Gangam Style, or something. In any case, they make me happy.

Bring on the melons, the Clementines, and apples! I just re-embraced Fuji apples after years of Galas; can't believe I forgot how flavorful they are.

I'm down for greens too, and I mean salads that are NOT laden down with dollops of dressing and a bag of cheese. Last night I had a simple salad made with crisp romaine drizzled with a tad of olive oil, and it was delicious.

In this mode, I always go overboard and buy something a bit too adventurous - kale, or parsnips. I love both, but am I really going to prepare and roast parsnips? No. As for the kale, supposedly it makes a great smoothie... Maybe I'll go back to that aisle and get some. and some beets while I'm at it.

At this point, my body is gasping for fresh air and exercise, after weeks of hunkering over wrapping paper and leg of lamb. I'm all about carrot juice, not eggnog. Bring on the green tea, not the champagne. Obviously, my system just wants a detox.

It all sounds a bit scary and dreadful, but honestly that fruit tastes delicious. The Clementines are like a fresh burst of orange on my tongue, and my husband and I have eaten most of the Fuji apples that I bought - oh - three days ago.

Carrots! How could I forget carrots? And I mean real ones, not the machine-lathed substitutes. They seem to take ages to peel, but the flavor in soups is unforgettable. And of course I'm not above buying the baby carrots; just maybe I ate a whole bag while I was editing the other night.

Yup, it's time for color and contrast in my diet. We'll just see how long this phase lasts.

Monday, January 7, 2013

How I Got it All Wrong or, Pocahontas

Last night my kid watched the movie Pocahontas, the Disney version. She came across it by accident, on Netflix, as I surely would have never chosen that film to show her.
Yup, gorgeous. But real? I don't think so.

Why not?

Well, let's start with the serious disregard of history, plus the demeaning of a princess's act of kindness and courage turned into a ploy to save her boyfriend. Plus - a one-shoulder dress that just happens to showcase the girl's body .... mutter.... Lovely though she is, and I do think that Pocahontas is one of the prettiest Disney Princesses ever, the movie was on my Do Not Watch Ever list.

The real Pocahontas, in England. OK, girlfriend was still gorgeous.

My kid loved it. LOVED it.

I mean, she kept stopping the film to research what really happened, plus she couldn't wait to find out the end. I've tried to get her interested in the Disney Princesses, to no avail, and it just figures that the one I never showed her captured her interest.

So, Mom is being all PC, and kid is simply enjoying a movie.

There are some things I can take away from this:

1. Kids love history and facts. Once I told my daughter, "Parts of this actually happened" she was enthralled. While I was all excited about Tangled, she was more interested in finding out about Captain John Smith (who did not look like that in real life, FYI, kid.)

2. Kids are going to love what they love, and parents simply can't stop that. Sure, I can provide guidance along the way, but at the end of the day Miss Thing is her own person.

3. My daughter was critical of the music in the movie. "Look, mommy - now even the willow is singing." Not every movie has to be eventually turned into a stage musical, Disney.
What Captain John Smith really looked like. That's very different, now, isn't it.

4. MUST POCAHONTAS HAVE A PERFECT MODEL'S MOUTH AS WELL AS LONG LEGS AND HAIR DOWN TO HER BUTT? REALLY? REALLY? AND HE HAS A CLEFT CHIN AND BLUE EYES.... argh - Obviously, I still have issues with this movie. Does that mean I forbid my daughter's watching it? In the end, I have to say No. Hopefully, I can provide some real historical content soon.

5. *SPOILER ALERT* The ending is really, really sad. No, I'm not talking about the movie - I'm talking about what happened for centuries afterwards. That's the main reason why I didn't want to watch Pocahontas - it makes me too depressed.

Still - back to the main point - my kid really, really loved it. And that, I suppose, is all.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Steampunk for Sale

A quick announcement :

My book, Crown Phoenix: Night Watchman Express, is now on sale for 99 cents on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

Pick it up now and feed your Kindle!

(Kindle buy link to the left, or use the live links above.)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Classics

Over at The Indie Exchange, Terri Long et al are discussing New Classics.

Here is a list of classic reads that they have shared:

Ten Classic Reads

  • The Drowning People – Richard Mason
  • The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
  • Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami
  • Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
  • Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver
  • All But My Life – Gerda Weissman Klein
  • I Am David – Ann Holm
  • 1984 – George Orwell
  • Widow for One Year – John Irving
I have read six of the above, and I look forward to reading The Drowning People, We Need to Talk About Kevin, All But My Life, and I am David to the TBR list. 

I'd replace Norwegian Wood with Kafka on the Beach myself, but of course these lists are very arbitrary. At the risk of repeating myself ad nauseum, I'd love to see the Indie book the Prospect of My Arrival and (sic) added as new classics. 

What books are on your modern classics lists?