Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Living Tarot Photo Shoot - THE FINAL CARD OF 2014!

Well, here we are - the final Living Tarot Photo Shoot "card" of 2014.

The Living Tarot came to me after I had received very bad news in July. I was at a low point in my life and it seemed that "something" sent this idea to me as a way to get over my sadness. And what a trip it has been.

I'm taking a break from the Living Tarot for several months so I can focus on other photo shoots. But don't worry; the Living Tarot WILL return in 2015!

When I first began studying the history of the Tarot, I had initially thought that The Devil card meant fire and brimstone. How wrong I was. According to the Tarot, The Devil represents bondage; addiction; sexuality; materialism. Of course, there was only one person who could do The Devil "card" right - Allan Gilbreath, the ultimate Renaissance Man.

So, without further ado, I'd like to present the FINAL Living Tarot "card" of 2014 - The Devil.

 Allan Gilbreath as The Devil. 

 Ask him for decadence and you'll receive it . . . . . 

  . . . for a price . . . .

Thank you, Allan . . . I think . . . .

The Living Tarot Photo Shoot - The Two of Swords

A dreary Thursday morning yet I am beyond excited: I just set up a Facebook page for my photography, ViridianGirl Photos, and people are starting to like it! I'm also excited to show you the next "card" in the Living Tarot Photo Shoot - The Two of Swords!

According to the Tarot, the Two of Swords represents indecision; choices; truce; stalemate; blocked emotions. Thanks to my friend Rachel, the card was beautifully represented.

May I present to you The Living Tarot - The Two of Swords!

Rachel Ashby as the Two of Swords

The choice is there . . or is it?

Thank you, Rachel!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Living Tarot Photo Shoot - The King of Pentacles

5:19 in the morning and I'm preparing myself for another day of work. I'm also preparing the next "card" of the Living Tarot Photo Shoot! This time, we're going to make a visit to the King of Pentacles, as done by my friend, James.

According to the Tarot, The King of Pentacles represents security; control; power; discipline; abundance.

May I present to you the Living Tarot Photo Shoot - The King of Pentacles ~

 James as the King of Pentacles.

 The face of power.

 There is much to be learned from such a "card".

Thank you, James!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Writer's Tale - Flash Fiction

Here's one of my flash fiction pieces that I had written some time ago. I had no idea what I was going to do it and so it sat ignored in my computer. That changed tonight when I decided to dust it off, make some changes and post it on my blog. 

I hope you enjoy.

(photo model - Jean Marie Sheridan)

The snow had fallen heavily outside when I woke up from a deep sleep. I had been dreaming about meeting an unknown bohemian woman with black hair pulled back into a large chignon in a coffee shop, talking about Thomas Wolfe and the effect his words had on our lives. I did not want that dream to end because I had just ordered a large cup of coffee with just a touch of vanilla as my unknown friend pulled out a pack of Gauloises followed by a chipped purple lighter from her rather large messenger bag. When I awoke, I found myself wanting that cup of coffee. I dragged myself from under the warm covers and walked into the kitchen, hoping that I still had some vanilla syrup left. I did not. All I had to drink was Blue Mountain coffee that I bought in Jamaica several years ago and regular creamer. I knew that the coffee’s taste would not be what I desired but I made a pot of it anyway. Today was an important day and I wanted nothing to change or diminish it. Today was the first day of calling myself a writer, a full fledged writer. I had decided a week ago that I was no longer satisfied with my corporate job and that I wanted out from the “machine”. I had published a small novel a year ago and to my surprise, the novel did rather well, giving me more than enough to live a comfortable lifestyle. The novel won several awards and my publishing company wanted me to write two more within three years followed by more, if only I gave up my current job and made writing a full time “thing”. I said yes.
While the coffee brewed, I thought about the moment a week ago when I turned in my notice to my supervisor, telling him that the life I had been thrown into years ago out of desperation was not the one I wanted for myself. He accepted the note and my words with a hint of a smile then turned to face his computer and began deleting my name from the records. I turned and walked out of his office, never to set foot in it again. When I made it home two hours later, I called up two of my friends and told them what I had done and that we needed to celebrate. They came by an hour later with bags of ice for my bathtub, many bottles of beer for the tub and Chinese food. We sat and toasted to my new life and proceeded to get drunk while watching depressing foreign films and re-writing the scripts vocally.

So now here I was, one published novel under my belt and a new one freshly brewing in my mind and I wanted vanilla coffee like the one I had ordered in my dream. The coffee was taking too long to brew, so I went into my cold but satisfying living room, turned on the heat and then turned on my computer. After several seconds of black screen, the computer came alive with hisses and pops and soon I was ready. I sat down and began to type out the words even before my word processing program showed on my screen. The coffee finished percolating six minutes later but I had forgotten it. Even the thought of the beautiful and pure snow lying outside my flat became a distant memory that I did not regret. All I had on my mind were my words. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Living Tarot Photo Shoot - The Death Card (male)

I'm watching the sun set outside of my living room windows while preparing for another Living Tarot "card"! This time, we return to Death yet we have the male version, as presented by my friend, Kevin L. Williams!

Since I have already talked about the meanings of the Death card in the female form, let's just get right to the photos! A BIG thanks to Kevin for making the male Death card funny and with style!

 Kevin L. Williams as the Male Death.

 Death watches over The Fool (Richard Plemons).

 Death is a hopeless romantic . . . . or something. 

 Preparing the body for the Next Journey.

 Death loves His job!

Thank you, Kevin!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to wish each and every one of you a Happy Thanksgiving, or as I like to call it - 

Happy Tryptophan Day!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Living Tarot Photo Project - The Hanged Man

After a nice round of playing my level 78 Human Warrior in World of Warcraft (For the Alliance!), it's time to return to the Living Tarot! This time, we are going to visit The Hanged Man, one of the cooler cards in the "deck".

According to the Tarot, The Hanged Man represents ~ suspension; restriction; letting go; sacrifice. As you will see in the photo below, this was quite a fun shot to do. Even The Fool joined in the fun!

So, without further ado, may I present to you The Living Tarot Photo Project - The Hanged Man!

Rather than have several photos, I chose the one best one because honestly, one is all you need with this "card".

Thank you James, Thomas and Richard! This was an awesome shot!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Book Review - The Boxcar Baby: Book One of the Steel Roots Series by JL Mulvihill

As I have stated in an earlier post, I am beginning to discover really good books thanks to me making the time in my busy schedule to actually read. It's nice to sit down with a cup of tea and read a book, even if I only have ten minutes. It's also a good time to finally begin to read my "To Be Read" pile of books written by my friends. Such was the case with The Boxcar Baby: Book One of the Steel Roots Series by my friend Jen (JL) Mulvihill.

The Boxcar Baby is quite a nice mixture of dystopian literature, Steampunk, mystery and alternate history, fused together by the words as created by an engaging storyteller as Mulvihill. AB'Gale Steel lives with her Papa, Bishop Steel, and her Granny at a small farm in complete bliss. However, when Bishop fails to return after his latest venture to the city of New Joplan, it's up to his feisty teenage daughter to find him, no matter the cost. Although the story sounds quite simple, Mulvihill has added defined workinhouse cruelty, trolls that eat children, hobo jungles, steam powered carriages and a spyglass with a rolled up map, making for one heck of a series that I know will only get better and better with each book.

I do want to say that the character of AB'Gale is one that I want to watch grow and adapt to her surroundings under the watchful eye of the System; she is not a simpering and whiny teenager but rather a young woman who has a good head on her shoulders and is not afraid to say (and do) what is on her mind. Although she does show fear at times, she does not show cowardice. She uses her head and does not allow anything to detract her from locating her Papa. Even in her dystopian Steampunk world, AB'Gale is a heroine to be respected.

I could definitely tell that Mulvihill had done her research when it came to the workinhouse; the details regarding the crummy food, the sleeping and bathing quarters and even the treatment of the young girls by the matrons was realistic and well written. Child labour is a part of the System and Mulvihill makes sure that the readers understand that their life is not idealistic. The workinhouses lend to the overall bleakness of this alternate America that is ruled with a steam powered fist. The Boxcar Baby makes for an excellent introduction into dystopian and Steampunk reading for the novice, as well as an overall amazing read for someone who wants to lose themselves in a different world, no matter the grittiness of it.

Click on the Seventh Star Press link for ordering information - you will not be disappointed!


Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Living Tarot Photo Project - The Knight of Cups a la Louisiane!

So, I'm currently cleaning out my CD collection, listening to music and eating popcorn from a pot.

Yes, this is how I roll (wink).

In any case, it's time for another "card" from the Living Tarot Photo Project! This time, we're going to Louisiana to visit the Knight of Cups, as portrayed by one of my dearest friends, Brian Held Jr!

According to the Tarot, the Knight of Cups represents romance; charm; imagination; "knight in shining armour". Well, to liven things up, Brian decided to take the "card" to a whole new level.

So, without further ado, may I present to you the Living Tarot Photo Project ~ The Knight of Cups!

 Brian Held Jr. as the Knight of Cups. In a New Orleans hotel.

 The Knight of Cups kicks back one after a long day of . . . well, I'm not sure what he did, but I know it took a long time!

 A cold one, ready and waiting for the Knight of Cups!

 The Knight of Cups is grateful for his beer. . . . 

 Yes . . . yes he is . . . 

Allan Gilbreath from Dark Oak Press interviews the Knight of Cups in a special edition interview! Thank you, Brian!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Book Review - Rhyming Life and Death by Amos Oz

I think I am on a kick. The kick known as "actually make time to read and discover really cool books".

Since making the time both in the morning and evening to read, I have had some very pleasant surprises and have added more authors to my list for when I make the trip to the library or bookstore. Such was the case with Amos Oz and his book Rhyming Life and Death.

The story is simple: an unnamed author spends eight hours after a literary event wandering the streets of Tel Aviv while creating stories of everyone he meets. From a waitress in whom he fancies a crush on, to the shy professional reader who reads his work at the event, to even various members of the audience who attended the event: no one is safe from the mind of an author who has nothing better to do. He catches a glimpse of a face or a piece of clothing and from there weaves a story so believable that at times I wondered if even the unnamed author knew the difference.

This book marked my initial dive into the world of author Amos Oz and what an introduction. Although the book was short, it was a rather fanciful story that kept my attention from the beginning to the end when the unnamed author finally succumbs to sleep the next day. We walk with him, smoke his cigarettes, admire the women he admires and swelters in the heat of the Tel Aviv night. Oz's writing is carefully paced yet does not laden the readers down. He entices and keeps the pace well; even the single clumsy sex scene in the book was written in such a way to expose and reveal the innermost secrets of the two involved, yet still entice the reader to want to turn the page. All in all, a great slim novel to read in an afternoon with a cup of tea.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Book Review - Beast of Burden by Alexandra Christian

Author Alexandra Christian and I have been Facebook friends for quite some time, yet I finally met her in person at Imaginarium, the literary convention held in Louisville, Kentucky. Of course, I purchased one of her books and, thanks to me always being busy, put off reading it until last night. If I did not have a corporate job, I would have stayed up to finish it. Thankfully, I was able to complete reading Beast of Burden this morning and I have not been able to stop thinking about it since. 

Beast of Burden, published through Purple Sword Publications, is a variation of the classic story Beauty and the Beast, except this Beast is quite charming, seductive and . . . well, other things (wink). Lord Cianan Marek has a reputation for being a cold hearted and cruel man, yet he burns to be reunited with his lost love, Isabella, who died under mysterious circumstances. Thanks to a kind and somewhat doddering innkeeper stealing a rose from Lord Marek's garden one night, a young woman named Sascha becomes caught up in a world filled with regrets, monsters and eternal love as only Lord Marek can give. 

Let me just get right to the point and say that the adult scenes in the book were written amazingly well; at times, I had to put the book down and fan myself, only to pick it up and continue reading. And yet, as much as I enjoyed those scenes, the story itself was written just as well. Christian has a knack for creating realistic characters within a familiar tale through her original voice. I found myself flying through the book last night, wondering what would happen next while getting a distinct feeling that I had met these characters before. Sascha, as I had told Christian this morning on my way to the corporate job, was NOT the typical simpering and heaving-in-the-corset woman in the romance novel. Rather, she had a mind of her own and a mouth to boot and she was not afraid to use either. Cianan Marek, although being the typical Byronic Hero that I enjoy reading, was also quite a delight to read. He makes no qualms for who and what he is and he does not allow anything to weaken him, even love. 

In getting back to the adult scenes, I found them to be necessary to the story and not just added in to make the book "steamy". When Sascha and Cianan come together for the first time (ouch, sorry for the pun!), it felt real and not campy. The sex scenes were believable in that they could be performed by ordinary people, yet as I said before, there was also love and even that felt real. That was enough for me to determine that I am now a loyal fan of Christian's.

Click HERE for more information regarding Purple Sword Publications and other works by Christian!


Monday, November 3, 2014

Book Review - Ghost Dance by Carole Maso

Carole Maso is the kind of author that makes you feel lost. Lost in a dream world of words and phrases, emotions and erotic tendencies. She makes you want to re-read chapters again and again, knowing that with each reading that there will be another meaning behind it. It is both satisfying and frustrating to read an author like her and yet, I did so and will continue to do with enjoyment.

In Ghost Dance, Maso's first book, the dream is very much a reality in her characters' worlds; I found it hard to return to the "real" world after reading sections of the book. Vanessa, the main character of the book, tells of her eccentric and creative family: her mother, Christine, who is a major poet; her father, Michael, who enjoys mathematics and classical music; and her brother, Fletcher, who becomes a symbol for the environmental movement. They all are, in their own way, gently insane and have seen or at least witnessed the Topaz Bird, of which is a symbol of their coming to grips with their very colourful and fragile mental state. Vanessa, as the story unfolds, tells of how her mother simply disappears one day, followed by her father and then her brother and she is left in the care of a man named Jack who loves her. She also becomes the lover of Marta, a fellow student at Vassar College, and is exposed to drugs, Sapphic desires, suicides and her mother's poetic presence. As Vanessa begins to process her family's disappearance followed by their eventual return, she reflects upon the past and how her family was never meant to be in the real world, no matter how much they may have wanted to reside there. When the family returns to the "real" world, an unfortunate yet inevitable tragedy strikes them, giving both Vanessa and Fletcher the chance to face the secrets of their family.

As I stated before, Maso writes as though she is lost in her self inflicted dream and perhaps she is; her writing is both linear and fragmented and we the readers are left to decipher what she has displayed on the pages. There is no black and white when it comes to Maso and I honestly like her more for it. In fact, it dawned on me yesterday that Carole Maso is the author version of Tori Amos.

I have checked out more of her works from the library and I can't wait to return to her words.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Hands of Art Photo Project - Jen (J.L.) Mulvihill

It's the first day of November and I am enjoying the peace and quiet of my apartment.

It's also time for another Hands of Art Photo Project "subject"!

This time, I'd like to focus on one of my dearest friends who is quite a Renaissance Woman - singer, author, fashion designer, squirrel handler (okay, I made that last one up, but you'll see what I mean!), editor, jeweler and just an all around wonderful person. I'm taking about Jen (J.L.) Mulvihill.

I met Jen several years ago at a book event in Jackson, Mississippi and we have been friends ever since. She is such a creative soul and she is great fun at conventions. She is also a blast to watch on panels, no matter how strange the panel topic- just ask her about the subjects she's had to discuss!

She is an author with Dark Oak Press and Seventh Star Press - I'll have her book links listed below.

Without further ado, may I present to you The Hands of Art Photo Project - Jen Mulvihill!

 Jen is the only person I know of who has her own line of designer Steampunk squirrels; if you ever see her at a con, please take a look at them. Each one is quite unique and no two are alike. 

 The Lost Daughter of Easa is a delightfully dark yet greatly entertaining book for all ages - available through Dark Oak Press. 

 Southern Haunts and Southern Haunts Two: Devils in the Darkness - two awesome Horror anthologies available through Seventh Star Press.

Another of her one of a kind Steampunk squirrels - they are too cute!

A delightful example of Jen's jewelry ~

And still more jewelry!

Thank you, Jen! If you ever see her at a convention, stop by her table or see her on a panel; she truly is a treasure and quite an AWESOME celebrity! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Wanderlust Chronicles - The Next Chapter

I can hear the rain beating against my windows in my apartment - a soothing sound as I return to the Wanderlust Chronicles. 

I hope you enjoy.

As they ate, Julie kept glancing at Zaira and her thoughtful expression. She seemed preoccupied with something, some idea regarding her sale of items, Julie thought. And yet . . .
You look at me so strangely,” said Zaira in a calm tone that jarred Julie out of her thoughts. “Why?”
It's just that . . . well, I'm not really sure what to say.”
Just say it.”
Zaira, your look, your everything, seems so distant from here. I know you're on your way to another town, but it looks as though it might be more than that. Sorry if I have overstepped my boundaries, considering that I've just met you and all.”
Zaira set her burger on the wrapper and folded her arms on the table as she looked at Julie with a carefully guarded expression. Her eyes seemed to shift in colour, or perhaps it was the light? Julie set her burger down as well and made herself look into those eyes that seemed to say so much more than words could ever attempt to do.
Julie, I need to go. Thank you for the food.” The woman made as if to get up just as Julie placed a hand on her slender arm, causing her to gently sit down again.
Don't go. Not yet. Are you in trouble? It's okay if you can't tell me but damn it, I just-” Julie looked away and focused her attention on the small line of customers patiently waiting to place their orders. She swallowed hard; what was wrong with her? She then turned back to face a smiling Zaira then said in a low tone, “Where are you going?”
I told you. A town. Hardly noticeable.”
I know that's what you've told me but I really want to know. What's the name of the town?”
Why so curious?”
Julie closed her eyes for a moment, took a deep breath then opened them. “Do you need me?” Zaira blinked several times in slight astonishment then her smile deepened.
You worry for me,” she said in a low tone. How admirable. She hardly knew her.
Yes, I worry. Will you be safe? How will you get there? Do you need me?”
I will be fine. I have been to this town before, Julie. I appreciate your concern but I will be fine.” As an added measure, Zaira reached over and placed a hand on Julie's arm then gave it a light squeeze. “I will be fine.” She then retracted her hand and resumed eating her burger and Julie followed suit several seconds later. As they ate in silence, Julie's mind wandered with floating words and images that she could not help but think of: Zaira alone on the highway. Zaira getting mixed up with the wrong crowd. Zaira dead. Julie reached for her soda and slurped quickly, as if the fizz could erase that last thought. Zaira ate with such a calm manner that Julie wanted to slap her and tell her not to go to the town, whatever it was called. And why didn't she want to tell her the name of it?
Zaira knew, of course. She knew of Julie's concern over her yet refused to give in to her concerns. It was touching, after all, for a woman she barely knew to be like this. She hadn't felt such concern from another human since . . . .Zaira frowned. Damn, she thought. It had been a long time. . . .

Far long the wandering eyes,
seeking such distant shores.
I come to you, fair traveler; seek my face and know.
I remember when the ships landed on the harbour,
their sails, indigo and black, fluttered silently in the breezes created by my words.
I wandered towards the cliffs and watched them carefully, carefully,
seeking a face that I knew would be there.
My hair whipped behind me, snapping in black
towards the others who stood by and waited.
I saw the whispers and the lies
that fell from the ones who sailed the ships.
All, except He. He who arrived last.
He, whose eyes flared like golden coins under the bright sun.
He came last and saw me standing on the cliffs then waved.
I nodded, merely moving my head, and soon he was there, standing next to me.
His skin felt like warm light that danced over my eyes.
I wanted to kiss him and tell him that I had found love.
I found love through his eyes that sought me again.
He knew, my lover, my dark angel.
He took my hand and led me away, away from the edge,
the cliffs where I waited for him.
We walked past the others who stood in silence towards the house
of where he first made me his.
My lover, my life, He who breathed the darkness into me.
Finally, they tell me, He has arrived.
Breathe the last into her lips. Let go of that which you have carried
as you sailed the seas and above the skies.
They, who whisper your name and give you dreams, come forward.
The women, the warriors step forward and place their hands on me.
Bless me, of all who are fair.
Bless me, She who claimed my soul when He left.
Bless me and give me the peace of the stories from long ago.
I am here, ready to listen and understand that what I shall hear
is a tale still in the telling.

Zaira closed her eyes for a moment as the last of the words faded into memory once more. She remembered when they first told her of their lives, their stories that were created when the worlds were not so far away. She remembered when the speaker, a tall and proud woman with long curly black hair and piercing eyes, stood before her and placed a hand on her shoulder. Back then, ages ago, she had just begun her studies to become a Chronicler, yet she was afraid of such a title. When she was a child in her small town three worlds away, the townspeople had told her that the Chroniclers were to be both respected and feared; it was they who traveled between the spaces and belonged to no one. They lived and breathed everything they saw and it was all too much and not enough. They were the enigmas that never stood still for fear of the Wanderlust settling in their bones and deeper still to the marrow. They feared to settle for it meant death. Not the lingering death that came to everyone else, but rather the Death that came quickly and painfully. It was that Death that kept the Chroniclers alive. They lived because it was what they knew.
The women, especially Her, the one they called Morra, knew Zaira to be beyond talented. She could recite a dream without sleep and could remember a story told in seven days straight. That which she collected came naturally to her and Morra knew it. Morra placed her trust in her when she told her the Words from her own life. Zaira stood, eyes looking directly at her teacher, and listened to the tale that had been told before they were even in existence. Morra told her the Words and Zaira listened and suddenly, they became a part of her being. Now, whenever she felt uneasy, the first pangs of the Wanderlust settling in, she would bring the Words to her mind and settle in the familiarity of when they were passed to her. Morra still lived, still wore her long curly black hair down her straight back. Morra's eyes saw everything that passed by and through and yet she was a kind soul, one who protected those that she loved and more importantly, respected.
“What are you thinking about?” Julie's voice broke up the fading trail of the Words, causing Zaira to blink several times then smile. “You seemed lost.”
“Did I?”
“Caught up in something that looked to not be unpleasant.”
“You see well.”
“Perhaps. Look, I'm sorry for asking you so many questions. When we leave, I will go my way and you will go yours.”
“Yes.” The two then got up and took their trash to the bin then stepped outside and made their way to Julie's car. Zaira hefted her bag on her back then checked the straps.
“Do you need me to drive you to a certain place?” Zaira was about to say no, only to stop when she saw a glimmer of light to the right of Julie that moved to fast for the normal eye to catch. Someone was arriving, she thought as suddenly, a young man with a shaved head wearing what looked to be worn hiking clothes casually walked up to her. Zaira broke into a grin as she recognized David and his grin made her feel even better. He walked up to the two women then dropped his bag as he swooped Zaira up in a tight bear hug, lifting her several inches off the ground. Julie breathed a sigh of relief; Zaira did have friends, she thought as she leaned against her car. When the two released each other, Zaira placed a hand on his warm tanned cheek then said, “David, meet Julie. She bought food for me. We just met.” Her eyes remained focused on David's face as he walked over to Julie then kissed her on each cheek.
“Julie,” he said in a tone that felt like warm liquid. “How good to meet you.”
“Are you on your way to the town that Zaira's going to?”
David glanced at Zaira, who merely shrugged. “No. I just arrived from my own trip and am just passing through. Zaira, you do know that Iardin is waiting for you?”
Zaira sighed; sometimes, the Eater of Dreams could be quite the child if he didn't get his way in a certain amount of time. “Yes. I was going there today. He knew his request was difficult.”
“And yet, you still did it anyway. Why do you work with him? Why not Claso or perhaps Anadri? They do not have such a reputation as Iardin.” Julie watched the two converse yet their words sounded foreign in her ears. Who was this Iardin and why did her have such a bad reputation?
“I go where I am needed. If they request something and ask for me, then I shall deliver. One way or another. You know that, David. You, such the golden child.” David ran a hand over his scalp that still glowed faintly from his hair that refused to stop growing.
“I am leaving now. I have what he needs. I just hope it is enough.”
“With him, one never knows.” Just then, the two Chroniclers suddenly focused their attention on a very confused Julie, who watched them with a mixture of curiosity and a little of intimidation. She coughed then glanced around.
“Well,” she said as she pulled out her car keys, “I hope you get to Iardin soon. I hope you won't be in trouble.”
Zaira laughed. “I hope for my sake as well, but I still have a day left before I should really worry. Goodbye . . . Julie.” She then held out a hand and Julie shook it, then turned and walked away.
“She will be fine,” said David in a low tone as he moved closer towards Julie. “She has done this before.” Julie glanced at David and tried to nod yet stopped and instead watched her friend walk away. Never had she felt so lonely.

Where in the hells is she?”
Iardin walked through his parlor, barely noticing the cool marble against his bare feet. Normally, such a sensation would be pleasant, almost soothing, yet Zaira was late. Although she had a day left of their contract, she was still late in his eyes. She, out of all of the Chroniclers, was the one he could depend upon the most. In her years of having such a title, she had never let him down, no matter how dangerous the job or how unsavoury the pickup item had proven to be. She had always delivered with a deep bow and unmatched respect. Iardin stopped his pacing and cracked his toes, feeling the long toenails scratch against the marble. He sighed then pulled at his ponytail that trailed down his back. Perhaps she was delayed, he thought as he resumed his pacing yet slower. Perhaps something happened with my request. He stopped as a small frown appeared on his full sensual lips. He could always check in on her, as he had done so many times before. A quick peek and all would be well. The frown changed to a wide grin as he walked quickly to his study. Soon, he would know.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review - Night Music: Three Tales of The Secret History by Rose Streif

I'm listening to classic Siouxsie and the Banshees in my apartment as my mind returns to the world I just inhabited only a day or so ago. . . .

I had the pleasure of meeting author Rose Streif at Imaginarium, the lovely writing convention located in Louisville, Kentucky. I was walking through the dealer's room on Saturday, wondering which books to pick up and take home with me, when I met Rose at her table for the publishing company Das Krakenhaus. After talking with her and her associates for a while, I knew that I had to purchase her books. After all, she was a fellow "dark chick" author!

Several weeks later, I finally got around to reading one of her books, Night Music: Three Tales of The Secret History, and I have to admit that I was beyond impressed. The three stories will give you just enough of a taste of her "world" and believe me, it is a good entrance into that world. The stories are thus:

"A Man For Arrah" tells the story of an automaton located in New Orleans that has failed to work, leaving it up to an anomalyst and her wolf folk partner to solve the dark mystery that lies behind it. "Pretty Polly" is the story of what happens when a shady yet handsome bigamist believes himself to be beyond the reach of the law. And, "The Wolves of Draper Hollow" is a very touching story of a rogue wolf folk man who joins another clan and what he must endure in order to keep his place there.

These three stories, plus an excerpt from Streif's full length novel, The BearKeeper, are wonderful examples of Streif's writing; her words are dark and formal, woven in with silk, absinthe and seduction that places her as a Modern Gothic storyteller with ease. Her writing will appeal to fans of Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Allan Gilbreath and me!

Click HERE for more details about her books.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Book Review - The Vine: An Urban Legend by Michael Williams

Yes, I will freely admit that I was and still am one of those nerds that totally got into Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece. I love the stories of the betrayals, the marriages, the deaths and the gods that supposedly watched over it all and laughed. I was especially fond of the Greek theatre and all that it had to offer; I was a high school girl who spent most of her time reading thick books and asking questions that caused the nuns at my school to repeatedly tell me to "ask the priests instead".

(photo taken at the Brooks Museum of Art - 2014)

So I knew, then, that I was going to love my friend's, the very talented author Michael Williams, book The Vine: An Urban Legend simply because it is a Greek tragedy. This amazingly well written book tells the story of Stephen Thorne and his attempt to put on the play The Bacchae by Euripides. However, as the play begins to assemble itself in the form of players, sets and costumes, it has suddenly caused a group of very interesting women to take note in their dealings.

A group of women known as the Muses . . . .

This was the first book I'd ever read by Williams and what a way to be introduced to his work; his style of writing is a carefully mixed blend of literary observances with street lingo and archaic words that still hold meaning today. Everyone has a voice that rings quite differently yet blends well into a story that only a few could ever write. And Michael Williams has done that.

One of my favourite lines in the book caused me to read it at least twice before moving to the next page, as spoken by the Muse Thalia ~

"I remember how his dark skin opened like blossoms."

This is a book filled with madness, murder, kidnapping, sex, revelations, dreams and uncovered truths with human beings who are nothing more than playthings for those who have lived through the ages with nary a glance.

The Vine: An Urban Legend is a book that I highly recommend for anyone who enjoys something that makes them think, laugh and ponder. In fact, click HERE for details on how to order your copy through Blackwyrm Publishing!


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Book Review - Diary of a Yuppie by Louis Auchincloss

Let me just say for the record that I had to check out the book Diary of a Yuppie by Louis Auchincloss simply for the title. Being a Generation Xer who spent most of her childhood in the 80s, I remember hearing about yuppies and their world that seemed to be so radically different than the one I lived in. And yet, as I flew through the slender book, I realized that their world was just the same as mine and many others, complete with problems, sex, greed and what it means to be a human.

Diary of a Yuppie is the story of New York City attorney Robert Service and his experiences that he writes down in his journal. His wife, Alice, is his partner and the love of his life and his two daughters are his pride and joy. Everything seems to be quite perfect for Mr. Service until, as we peer over his shoulder during his rants in his journal, that all is not right in his world. Yet, even with every hurdle he encounters, Bob rises to the occasion like an olive in a martini and refuses to give in. He is, in the truest sense of the word, a yuppie, one who is driven to do whatever it takes to be the best at everything as he looks good while doing it. He even quotes lines from literature just to impress at the right time.

As I read Mr. Service's words in his journal, I couldn't help but wonder if he was ever "off"; that is, if he ever just sat down and did nothing. Did he ever have a thought that was not related to his job, his love life, his advances in the world? Perhaps there was another Robert Service that we did not see, one who was just a normal man who had normal thoughts. In any case, Diary of a Yuppie will delight and entertain even the most casual of readers, plus give an incredible insight into the world of a person who spends too much time thinking of being the best as the world crumbles around him. This was (I think) my first book by Auchincloss and I know I will read more of his work.


Monday, October 13, 2014

The Living Tarot Photo Shoot - The Temperance Card

It's Columbus Day, and I'm off from my corporate job. I've had an excellent day of walking through the Memphis Zoo and the Library to pick up several books:

 Spooky looking chick. 

 Apparently, David Bowie drops everything whenever this author writes a new book ~ that's enough for me.

The last one I had to check out purely for the title!

In any case, I am home and ready to show off the next Living Tarot "card"! This time, let's make a visit to Temperance. According to the Tarot, Temperance represents: balance; moderation; patience; purpose; meaning. I think Lori did a fantastic job in portraying such descriptions, even with her sunglasses.

May I present to you The Living Tarot ~ Temperance!

Temperance from The Dark Angels Tarot deck ~ recently purchased in New Orleans. The artwork on the cards is stunning, as you can see.

 Lori Osif as Temperance.

 There is balance in all things . . . 

 To be Patient is to be Cool ~

 Thank you, Lori! I love your expression in this one, by the way.