Sunday, January 31, 2016

Life Ain't Easy in the Big Easy




For those of you who don't know - I love New Orleans. Shocker, I know.

Due to recent events in my life (new boyfriend, more cons and events, extra vacation time), my time in New Orleans has grown quite a bit as of late. Years ago, the only time I would ever visit would be for Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest. Now, it's whenever I feel like it. The food, the people, the culture(s), the history, the magick, all of it. I just love that city.

And yet, although I love the city, I also know that it has a dark side as well. The crime, the murders, the . . . whatever else you can imagine. I have spent many a time talking with a good friend of mine about the darker side of the city and with every story she tells me, I only want to know more. Such was the case when I finally sat down to read The Bourbon Street Ripper - Sins of the Father by author and friend Leo King. Although it has been a while since I read a mystery (the last one regarding a certain man named Holmes), this book did not disappoint and even added extra biscuits to the already wonderful meal of Death and family secrets.

In 1972, Dr. Vincent Castille, part of New Orleans elite, was found to be The Bourbon Street Ripper, a serial killer that sent waves of panic and fear through the city. His granddaughter, Samantha, was a witness to one of his black deeds and it scarred her for most of her life. Now, in the year 1992, Samantha, also known as Sam of Spades, writes mysteries for the Time Picayune while barely existing as human. However, a new killer is on the loose in the French Quarter and it appears to be a copycat of the Bourbon Street Ripper. Sam's worst fears are brought into the light once more when Detective Rodger Bergeron and his partner Michael LeBlanc show up on her doorstep to ask her questions. Family secrets, long forgotten sins, and lies are only the beginning for Sam; who is trying to re-create the work of her "loving" grandfather?

I hate to be cliched, but this book grabbed me from page one, in which a voodoo ceremony in 1972 goes horribly wrong, and kept me glued to the story until the cliffhanger ending. Thankfully, books two and three are completed, so I know that a bulk order is in my future. King creates a New Orleans that most of us are familiar with and yet it feels like a strange new breed just ready to be explored and sampled. His characters truly capture the essence of what it means to live in New Orleans and southern Louisiana; even the character Ritchie, the best selling mystery author from Pittsburgh, seems to have sprinkles of the city all over him. When I sent a message to Leo telling him how much I loved the book, I also informed him that I had ideas about the identity of the murderer - of which I'm probably wrong!

I'll be returning to New Orleans in several weeks for another vacation; this time, one of my friends is looking into doing a tour of a haunted plantation with an overnight stay. Should be fun . . . .

Right?

Friday, January 29, 2016

::Seduction::




Okay, so I had no idea where this little story came from, and yet I had a delightful time writing it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.





I'm so glad you could make it; the weather is most frightful, is it not? Here, let me take your coat; you must be freezing, even with this heavy thing on. Sit anywhere, please, and make yourself at home. I'll be right back.

I hope I haven't kept you waiting too long, but I had to make sure that everything was prepared and just right. Why do you look at me like that? Such a curious expression on your face, good sir. One would think I had asked for your soul over a cup of tea. Now, where was I? Ah yes. Everything is prepared and ready for tonight. You continue to look at me so strangely; perhaps I'd better explain my “cryptic” words.

How long have we known each other? Five years? Ten? Does it really matter, especially since our friendship has lasted so many trials and tribulations? Do you remember the time when I had to save you from almost being thrown in jail? And it was all over some ridiculous hat that you swore up and down that you had you had to have. Apparently, it wasn't worth it. Or, remember the time when you fed me your delicious homemade chicken noodle soup when I had that dreadful fever? You always knew to put in the right amount of seasonings, and your mushrooms were always so tender and full of flavour.

Yes, yes, I know, we've lived those experiences and many more. However, I bring them up for a special reason, one that I shall avoid the normal dramatics and simply get right down to it. The truth is that I wish to seduce you.

Again with the look. Wait . . . why are you laughing at me? Ah, I get it. You think I'm playing a prank on you, that perhaps I'll expose the joke for what it is and then we can have a good laugh about it over glasses of absinthe. However, there is no joke to be told. I want you to seduce me. You see, I've wanted you for years yet buried it under friendship and good natured smiles. No, my dear friend; I want you to make love to me.

I don't think I've ever seen you blush like that before. Quite charming, really.

No, I'm not drunk, nor am I currently on a new medication. If there was anyone who could do the things I've dreamt of, it would be you. Tell me, have you ever wondered what it would be like to be with me? Not once? Ever? Come on, you mean to tell me . . . ah. You have. The truth has finally come out. That fire is quite nice, don't you think? So inviting, so warm, especially for tonight's freezing weather.

May I? Thank you.

I've always loved your hands; so slender and yet so strong. Yes, you may.

That's better, now isn't it? I washed my hair only two hours ago. Shimmering. You don't need to be afraid of me. Here, move closer. Yes. That's it. I swear to you that this is not a joke.

Yes, please do.

Such soft lips, my dear. Willing, even. No, no, no, you're doing fine.

Remarkable that you led me to my bed. I'm glad. Yes, please go first. I shall watch.

How eager you are! I can definitely . . . tell. Yes, my darling, you have done rather well. I'm more than pleased and quite ready for you. Here, allow me.




I wish I could tell you that this was all a joke. It wasn't, as I said before. And yet, and yet . . . . no, don't move too much or else the blood will splatter. I can't have that. You want to talk, don't you? Every word comes out in a red bubble across your lips. Yes, my darling, you are dying. Yes, that is my knife, and yet you wonder why. Why? Perhaps I was bored. Perhaps I am seeking revenge on you for not marrying me when you had the chance and instead married that other person. Perhaps, and this might be the joke you were looking for, that you're not even dead now. Wouldn't that be funny? You, lying in my bed, dead from a massive loss of blood, and not really dead. Yes, I think I can hear you laughing now in my mind. Pointing at me and laughing. Laughing. You came here with goodwill and naive happiness against the coldest of nights, seeking friendship from me. Me.

And yet, I'm still alive. I'm not laughing at you. I wouldn't dare.

You're still warm; perfect.





The hooded figure watched in silence as the naked woman slid off the bed, licking the blood off her lips. She claimed she would do anything for his gift, even seduce and murder her closest friend. The figure moved towards the woman and embraced her from behind, sniffing the blood tainted air. The scent of freshly turned earth and parchment permeated her senses and it took all of her willpower not to swoon. She felt his strength coursing through his arms as he tightly held her. He removed his hood, revealing a beyond beautiful man with milk white skin, violet coloured eyes, long silver braids, and two fangs that touched his bottom lip. She closed her eyes as he nuzzled the back of her head with his nose then bent towards her neck.









Monday, January 25, 2016

Tisane for the Full Moon!





It's not easy being a werewolf.

Constant flea and tick dips, your mate complaining that you track mud in from your latest run through the moors, and all that hair getting stuck in your drain. Not to mention monster hunters using wolfsbane (Aconitum) against you just because they think you're a "threat".

(ain't wolfsbane just lovely?)

Well, wash those worries and cares away, for we at Viridian Tea Company have developed just the herbal tea for you! In a wonderful, creepy, and just downright awesome partnership with the highly talented author Alexander S. Brown, I'm pleased to announce that we now carry Syrenthia Falls Herbal Tea! This intoxicating blend of lemon balm, linden, chamomile, and spearmint will help you relax and give you pleasant dreams of howling under the full moon, or ravaging a small country town!


The tisane is also great to enjoy while reading Syrenthia Falls or any other bloodcurdling books by Alexander! The tisane will be available at my Etsy store, ViridianTeaCompany, through me at conventions, IONS: A Geek Gallery in Memphis, Tennessee, and hopefully soon through Alex and his many appearances!

And . . . seeing as how this post is all about werewolves, I figured I'd end it with one of my favourite songs!


HAPPY CUPS!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

- The Withered Heart -

(This story came from being inspired from my jaunt to Meeman Shelby Forest today. This is a creepy story; however, you should know by now that I'm pretty good at writing creepy stories. Anyway, I hope you enjoy! All photos were taken at Meeman Shelby Forest)



Once upon a time, or so the storytellers say, lived a girl named Caledonia who could not love. She lived in the city, filled with much wonders and delights, with her family who loved her very much. She was the youngest of three children and her parents were creative and free souls. The house, painted in a lovely shade of lavender, was always filled with much laughter, lemonade in glasses, and tools to stimulate and educate their brains. The family prided themselves on being such welcoming people, never to turn away a person who needed help, a sad person who needed a smile, or a friendly pat on a puppy or a kitten.

Although the girl lived in such a wonderful home, she did not feel such colours within herself. While her family and siblings wore bright, bright colours, she preferred drab greys and blacks. When the family went out to ride their bicycles, she preferred to stay indoors to read books written by those long since passed. When the family sang Christmas carols to their neighbours, she preferred to sit in front of the fireplace and stare at the burning logs.

"Dear Caledonia," said her older brother Francis one day, "what on earth makes you so sad?" Caledonia could only sigh and shrug her shoulders, for even she did not know the reason.

"Dear Caledonia," said her older sister Minerva the second day, "why can you not smile?" Caledonia could only sigh and shrug her shoulders, for even she did not know the reason.

The family spent night and day worrying about their lovely, lovely Caledonia, thinking that perhaps, she was beyond help. There was even talk of "asylum" and "going away", under the hushed light of the full moon.

One morning, Caledonia decided to take a walk into the forest that lay at the end of the city. She tiptoed through the house, careful not to wake up her family, and left dressed in her most drab black dress and sturdy black shoes. When she reached the forest, she turned back once to look at the city and then continued forward. However, what she did not realize was that this forest was special, magickal even.

The pathway snaked like a slippery serpent as Caledonia walked along. The chill of the air caused her to sneeze once, yet she continued on her walk.
"I know not why I am sad," she said in a low tone. "Perhaps this walk may change me." She walked and walked and walked some more. Birds flew overhead, their black wings fluttering in the cold sky. Every so often, she would turn around to see if anyone else walked the winding path, only to find no one else. Suddenly, she felt afraid and wondered if walking in the forest alone was a good idea.

Just then, she heard a small twig snap behind her. Caledonia whirled around and saw a young man dressed in all black, like her, sitting on a rotting log that had been previously unoccupied.
"Who are you?" she cried, her feet rooted firm on the path from fear. The young man looked up and stared into her eyes and said, "I am Lucian and I live here. Tell me, who are you?"
"You can't live here," she replied, "for I just walked by that log and saw no one." She moved closer towards the black clad man. "Who are you, really?"
"I tell you that my name is Lucian and yes, I do live here. In fact, I am a spirit of this forest." Caledonia's eyes grew wide with surprise as she moved closer towards him. She noticed that his milk white skin contrasted well to his coal black hair. His eyes, however, were the brightest of purple.
"Your eyes," she remarked, "are quite lovely."
"Thank you," he said as he got up from the dead log and moved closer towards her. "Tell me, what is your name?"
"Caledonia."
"What a lovely name," he sighed as he continued to walked closer. Soon, the two were only a foot away from each other. Caledonia sniffed the air.
"You smell like burning leaves," she said, causing Lucian to grin. "Like the forest."
"I come from the forest, my parent as it were. Tell me, how is it that you were able to see me? Most people who walk through here are not able to."

"I truly have no idea," she replied. She reached out and touched Lucian's arm; it felt colder than snow on Christmas Day and lighter than a down feather. "Are you real?"
"I am, at least I think so," he replied. Lucian then touched Caledonia on her arm and it felt heavy and warm. "You feel so warm," he replied. He then took her by the hand and led her down a side path from the main road, towards a little grotto of trees. He sat down on the dead leaves and she followed suit. His purple eyes grew wide as he said, " I think I know why you can see me, as opposed to everyone else." He then opened his shirt and revealed his chest, or rather, what was left of it. Caledonia gasped as his deathly white ribs showed rather than skin, while a small dull red thing slowly, slowly beat.
"You see my heart," he said with a sad tone, "or rather, what is left of it."
"Are you dead?"
"Truly, I do not know." Suddenly, a murder of crows flew over their heads in the bleak sky, their cawing sounding like the laughter of Death. "They sound so happy to me. Don't you think so?"
Caledonia stared at the bleak sky and watched the ravens. She then looked at her "companion" then said, "I must be returning home, Lucian. Will you be okay here?"
"Of course," he said as he buttoned his shirt and smiled. "Since you can see me, will you come back soon?"
"I . . . will," she said as she felt something strange inside of her. She looked down at her drab dress and touched her chest.
"What's wrong?"
"I'm . . . not sure." She looked at Lucian then said, "I need to get home." Without another word, she got up and left her friend in the grotto and returned to the main path towards home. When she finally arrived at her front door, the smells of a well cooked dinner greeted her. She sniffed then let herself in. That night, after a wonderful dinner with her family, Caledonia lay in her bed and stared out of her window at the night sky. She wondered about Lucian and if he was truly dead. Although the bed was warm and perfect, she could not sleep. Was Lucian going to be okay, she wondered?

The next day, Caledonia woke up to a sunny day, yet her heart felt heavier than ever. She worried about Lucian all night and now that it was another day, she had to find him again. She quickly dressed, grabbed several pieces of bread and fruit, and then made her way to the forest again. As she approached the forest, she felt the same strange sensation in her chest. Ignoring it, she moved on, desperate to find him again. As she turned the corner on the path, she saw Lucian seated on the log, staring at something in his hand. She raced towards him just as he looked up and saw her. He got up and waved at her.
"I've . . . brought you food," she puffed in an attempt to catch her breath. Lucian looked at her offering then at her.
"You did this for me?"
"Of course, why wouldn't I?" Suddenly, Caledonia touched her face. "I'm smiling!" she gasped.
"Of course you are," said Lucian, a little puzzled. "You smiled at me yesterday."
"I did?"
"Of course. Here, let me help you with that." He took her bread and then led her down to the grotto once more. They sat down on the dead leaves and enjoyed their food. As they ate, Caledonia felt the feeling in her chest again, yet was no longer shocked to feel it. What she felt, as they ate and talked, was happiness. Although Lucian was dead, or remotely close to it, he felt as real to her as her family. She loved him, right down to his stark bones.

In Lucian, she finally found a a reason to smile.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Pulp Lives On (NEW TEA BLEND)



(photograph by Kimberly B. Richardson, copyright 2014; model - Tommy Hancock)


Listening to Turkish pop music on a Friday night. Yeah, baby!

I'm also excited to release my new newest blend in the Viridian Tea Company family:

PULP Tea!

Now, before any of you give me a weird look, let me explain the story behind this blend . . .

(photography by Kimberly B. Richardson, copyright 2014; models - Tommy Hancock and Jean Marie Sheridan)

Since being an author for Pro Se Press and creating the Agnes Viridian series and the coming soon Order of the Black Silk series, I wanted to take it a step further. So, after asking Tommy Hancock, aka, The Wan With The Fedora, I received the green light to create a tea blend for the publishing company. Enjoy a cup of PULP Tea and drift back to a time when men wore fedoras and took the case, femme fatales could shut down an entire room with just one look, and noir was the rage!



The tea was as black as the dress she wore when she walked into my office on that rainy night. Her lips were redder than the finest cherries in all of the city, and her hair smelled fresh and clean, like vanilla. I could tell that she was an innocent, but that given the right circumstances, she could be a minx when heated up.
"I was told that only you could save me," she said as a single tear fell down her face. I wasn't sure if she was truly upset or just pulling my chain, but I wasn't going to take any chances. I slid my box of Kleenex towards her and she took one, only one. She dabbed at her perfect face while her eyes remained focused on my face. Oh yes, I thought as she lowered the Kleenex, she was truly upset.

How wrong I was. . . . . 


The blend, like all the others, will be available at IONS: A Geek Gallery in Memphis, Tennessee, my Etsy store, ViridianTeaCompany, and whatever conventions I attend. Also, if you want to order straight from me, I also accept PayPal!

Much thanks to Pro Se Press and Tommy Hancock!

BLACK PULP and The Pulptress are just of many fine books offered by Pro Se Press. Check them out if you need more Pulp in your life!

(photograph by Kimberly B. Richardson, copyright 2014; model - Jean Marie Sheridan)



Happy Cups!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

::ghost::





No one sees me anymore. That's okay with me. To them, I am nothing more than the remnants of a burrito gone bad in their stomachs, or perhaps too much vodka or sake. I wave my hands in front of their eyes and all they see is the latest app on their phone. The harder I wave and scream, the more they walk by. It used to not be like this. Once upon a time, or so the storybook says, I was a living person. Breathing, loving, crying human being. I woke up with the sun, did my life as I wanted to, and then closed my eyes as the moon sent me to sleep. I had a face, one that you probably wouldn't remember, and yet it was my face. My damn skin. Smooth and uninterrupted. Weak and supple. Willing to give in to every desire, every whim, every chance at a reminder that I could bleed.

Bleeding. Yes. I remember that as well.

The slow dull pain, followed by the flash of knowledge. Finally, the thin red bubbles forth and slides down, down, slowly. You watch in fascination, as I did so many times. You watch and you learn. My mind was open; I never wanted to say no. Why say no when you can take that next step? Yes . . .that's right. Drag it a little deeper now. Slower, my friend. Kiss me like the lover you wish you had.

The next day came with hazy memories and spots, yet I knew I was always still here. Still here, as the Wise Ones say. They do say that, don't they? Even they no longer see me, although they know I am near. Their blindness is by choice, however. They moved further than others and look where they are now. I want to laugh, really I do, but I think I've forgotten how.

You, the one who stopped and looked at me. Yes. You see me, don't you? Come closer. That's right. You want to know what I know. Knowledge; they make it to be so forbidden. I am here to tell you that it is not so. Just look at me and decide for yourself. You can see me, can't you?

Take my hand. Listen to me. Let me tell you a story of when the world forgot to dream. . . . .




(photos taken at Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Ia! Ia! Cthulhu m'glhal! (I have no idea what I'm saying . . . . )




Meeting author Sean Hoade at Wizard World Comic Con New Orleans was like meeting my long lost literary brother; he asked me my thoughts regarding The Force Awakens when he saw my Kylo Ren shirt. Five minutes later, I was engrossed in his books, especially Cthulhu Attacks! Book One: The Fear. Ten minutes later, we discovered our mutual respect for the Decadence period, The Yellow Book, and even the book Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans. In short, I found a friend who is, quite simply, one awesome dude.

Now, let me make this very clear: I don't know that much about Cthulhu, except from what my friends have told me. However, I do have respect for the Elder God in that he (she? IT?) is so well loved; his tentacled face is on shirts, books, artwork, even puppets - I had one years ago. However, I claimed ignorance in reading any stories regarding Cthulhu . . . except now. After reading Cthulhu Attacks! Book One: The Fear, the mild interest has now turned into my usual level of "research a topic until there is no more life in it". Or something.


Sean Hoade, a former professor, has answered a very basic question: what would Humanity do if Cthulhu woke up? Would we unite as one against such an entity, or run screaming mad as the blood flowed from our mouths, ears, and eyes? Would people even take such a threat seriously? Hoade's "answer" to those questions are so realistic that at times, I really began to wonder if perhaps I needed to move a bit North. It is obvious from the book that he loves Cthulhu, as well as other literary, scientific, and geek subjects, yet he blends them so well into his novel that it all just seems to work.

If you are either a well versed scholar on all things Cthulhu or a novice like myself, you need a copy of Cthulhu Attacks! The only negative thing I do have to say about the book is that the second one is not out. Yet. Oh well, I have plenty of other books to read. Plenty. Overall, a job well done and I look forward to reading more of his work. On a serious note: Sean, I'm glad your wife is doing well.



Finally, I figured I would throw in some photos of my Cthulhu art, as done by my friend and talented artist, Mark Helwig.  I actually have one wall dedicated to his work - The Mark Helwig wing, of course! What that man has done with Cthulhu through the years has both made me laugh and cringe a bit. 

Anyway, enjoy the photos and EX LIBRIS!


 I was in the middle of the conversation that gave birth to this piece - that year of Dragon Con was a lot of fun!)



(This one is my all time fav of his. LOVE IT!)

Sunday, January 17, 2016

On Constantinople Street . . .





While in New Orleans for Wizard World Comic Con, I decided to stop by Octavia Books, a place I hadn't visited in several years, a as a nice break from superheroes, the many forms of Kylo Ren (LOVE HIM!), and Pop Dolls (finally purchased one - I know, right?!). While browsing around, I noticed many copies of A Confederacy of Dunces by the late John Kennedy Toole and I grinned. For several years, I have had friends tell me that I needed to read this book, seeing as how I love New Orleans so much. Five minutes later, a purchase was made and I was off to explore Magazine Street.



When I finally sat down to read the book, I had no idea that I would get hooked so quickly. This book is a comedic genius, all printed off nicely to make the reader laugh out loud, shake their head in wonder, and even pause reading to ask, "did I really just read that?!" Although I have read many books, this book made me go WTF on several occasions; even when I closed the book, I had to say it again. However, I will freely admit - you need to read this damn book!

Ignatius J. Reilly of Confederate Street in New Orleans is a Don Quixote of the South; aloof, brash, idealistic, mentally questionable, and very, very fat. He lives with his mother who is a bundle of frayed nerves and the two of them consistently battle it out with words and empty threats. However, when a police officer is set to arrest him as he is waiting for his mother outside of a department store, the dominoes so lovingly placed have now begun to fall  - let the impossible and improbable begin!

1960s New Orleans seems to be no different than the New Orleans of today, complete with colourful characters and the flavour of the decadent, the perverse, the sublime, and, according to Mr. Robichaux, the communiss. Ignatius, in his never ending struggle against the moral depravity of the world, is clearly an Emperor who refuses to believe that he is naked. He see himself as the saviour of the world, not caring whether or not if it wants to be saved. From the dottering Miss Trixie with her lethal false teeth, to Jones and his plans of sabotage (Ooo-wee), to Officer Mancusco and his many disguises, to Darlene and her chance at the big time, these characters and many others provide the perfect balance to Ignatius and his "attempts" to educate, re-purpose, and establish his ideas that are "clearly" above the average thinker.

Thanks to all those who told me repeatedly that I needed to read this book. My life will never be the same again.


Oh yeah, for the record: I have eaten a Lucky Dog, but it was many, many years ago.

I don't really plan to do it again.

EX LIBRIS!


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Of Goggles and Airships - NEW TEA BLEND!



Let's face it: Steampunk is still hot.

Whenever people ask me what I think is Steampunk, my response is thus:

The STEAM part is the historical part - from mid 1800s to about the First World War. We already know about the technological advances, exploration, decadence, literature, et al regarding the "Victorian" period. The PUNK part is what if we took what we knew of such a time and pushed the envelope - create "what ifs". One woman defying her "role" in her world to make a change; a man who tries to be God and ultimately pays a heavy price; a chance to create, destroy, and possibly learn.

One aspect of Steampunk that I do enjoy is the TEA aspect - tea, tea, tea! Specialized tea cups, contraptions to keep a proper cup of tea hot and tasty, and (in an historical sense) the story of how tea finally arrived in the West (read the book For all The Tea in China!). Thanks to my never-ending imagination, I decided to throw my bowler hat into the ring and create a blend as a nod to Steampunk.

May I introduce to you - Dreams of Steam Tea Blend!

This blend of assam tea, dried ginger root, fennel, and dried orange peel is the perfect combination to accompany a nice book, or perhaps a jaunt through uncharted territory with a well worn map, or drink while creating a machine to replace burned skin with pages from a book (my story "Peau" in Tales From a Goth Librarian!)

Black goggles, a cup of tea, and a copy of the anthology Dreams of Steam, published through Dark Oak Press. Sounds like a great night to me.  


 Once you've finished Dreams of Steam, why not try out the second anthology - Brass and Bolts 
(I have affectionately called this anthology The Bloody One!)



 I've got to take better care of my bowler hat!



 As many of you know, I love researching the Decadence period. The Yellow Book was seen a clear symbol of those who followed such rapscallions as Oscar Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley, and other authors, actors, musicians, and creative souls. To be seen with a copy of the Yellow Book was a sign that you were "demented". How lovely!



The tea will be for sale at IONS: A Geek Gallery and my Etsy store, ViridianTeaCompany


HAPPY CUPS!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Simple and Whatever - NEW TEA BLEND



Sometimes, it pays to be simple.

So far, the tea blends at Viridian Tea Company have been a labour of love, one that I hope to continue as long as possible. However, thanks to a suggestion made by my publisher at Dark Oak Press, Allan Gilbreath, aka The Honey Badger, I have a new blend that is simple in ingredients and taste. Thanks to the One Who Makes Me Smile, the name of the blend is Simply Whatever Tea.



The ingredients are green tea and hibiscus. That's it. Nothing else. It's simply whatever.

If this blends goes over well, I want to make more blends like this, giving people the option to enjoy either a cup of creativity or a cup of simple. And, what better way to enjoy a cup of Simply Whatever tea than to kick back with a good book and tons of blankets?



This blends, like all my other blends, will be sold on my Etsy store, ViridianTeaCompany, as well as IONS: A Geek Gallery, and possibly a NEW location that will be confirmed very soon!

In the meantime - 



HAPPY CUPS!


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Face of a Geek - Emily




Now that Wizard World Comic Con: New Orleans is behind me, I can now play the wonderful game of "Kimberly Gets to Catch Up!" My experience at Wizard World will be in another blog post, so stay tuned!

Without further ado, may I present to you the latest in The Face of a Geek Photo Shoot!


Emily - owner of The Broom Closet and one cool witchy woman




"I got into fandom kicking and screaming; no, it wasn't intentional. It was something I thought I would try out. I got sucked into all these different universes and worlds and didn't mean to and didn't know it until I was in over my head, but I love it."


"Harry Potter is probably my biggest fandom. I grew up teething on Bewitched and I Dream of Jeanine. I'm a huge fan of Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Vikings - lots of historical stories and characters."



"Opening The Broom Closet was something I always wanted to do and never thought I would be able to. In between finding better jobs and moving around, we figured we would take the leap and try it out and here we are a year later. I'd want the Broom Closet to be around many more years and to be very successful. I want it to grow to become like a community center."




"Everybody loves Harry Potter; obviously magick is involved. Other books I read for pleasure are fantasy and historical fantasy - always some sort of magick or something that involves different faiths. That has definitely shaped me into who I am.:"




Thank you, Emily!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Creative Flow: Of Elmwood and Bowie



Last week, I received an invitation to attend a volunteer luncheon at Elmwood Cemetery today; it still seems like a dream that I was the 2015 David McCrosky Volunteer Photographer in Residence for such an amazing place in Memphis. I could not refuse such an invitation and so I went.



After arriving at the chapel and making light chatter with several of the volunteers, we were served a lovely lunch followed by pound cake. As we ate and continued our conversations, Kim McCollum, the Executive Director of Elmwood, stood up to thank us all for coming and for being a part of making Elmwood more than a cemetery. She pointed out several of the tasks accomplished by the volunteers then, looking in my direction, mentioned "those who take photos for our archives". Suddenly, I felt a ball of emotions grow inside of me; my work was a part of their archive. I considered it to be quite the honour to know that my work would be forever a part of Elmwood's ongoing history. It also touched me greatly to see that the volunteers, old and young, black and white, men and women, were sitting around and sharing tales of their volunteering. I listened to stories about the cemetery and even got asked if I had family buried there. I regretfully said no, yet I was happy that such a question was presented before me.



After listening to Kim McCollum give her thanks, my thoughts turned to David Bowie and his passing. He was more than a musician to many of us dreamers and artists. He was among the stars; some people say that he didn't die but rather just "went home". He was an inspiration to many of us, one that will never be forgotten. As I continue with my books, photography, tea, and literary journal, I know that the source of all inspiration has just grown in a major way.



Elmwood Cemetery, I thank you for giving me a chance.

David Bowie, I thank you for being you.





Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 - The Year of TEA (NEW BLENDS!)


Good morning to all and Happy New Year!

Yes, I'm fully aware that over half the planet is probably still asleep (grin).

However, I'm pleased as punch this fine and cold morning. Why? Well, NYE was not only a time to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens a second time, but two new tea blends were born right here at VTC Central!

Ready to begin 2016 with a cup of tea? Let's go!


Excursion Tea - 2016 New Blend #1

I will gladly admit that I suffer from wanderlust. From trekking through the desert in New Mexico, to driving through the White Mountains in New Hampshire, I will go wherever the winds carry me. Traveling has always been a rich and rewarding experience, so I decided to create a tea blend that would celebrate the art of travel. And so, Excursion Tea was born!


Excursion Tea is a lovely blend of green tea, papaya, coconut, and jasmine flowers; one cup of this will surely make you want to pack a bag and travel to a galaxy far, far away. (okay, bad Star Wars plug, but hey, I'm a geek!) The shoes you see in the above photo were a great help during my excursion in New Mexico.


For the record, Seven Years in Tibet is one of my top five books of all time. Check out my review of the book in an earlier blog post.


Indigo Kimono Tea - 2016 New Blend #2

This blend came about through a short story that I wrote several years ago titled Henge (shapeshifter in Japanese). The story is thus: a woman named Jaela is the keeper of a tea house in the Otherworld. During one rainy night, she receives a most unexpected guest and her life is forever changed. The story is in the anthology Luna's Children: Stranger Worlds, published by Dark Oak Press. In the story, Jaela wears an indigo coloured kimono and therefore was the inspiration for this new tea blend! I loved writing that story so much that I even had a blue kimono robe specially made!



This blend of assam tea, dried blueberries, lemongrass, and hibiscus is the perfect blend to enjoy with a good book, anime series, or with loved ones, even if they are a werewolf in a Japanese fantasy world . . . .

Both teas will be available at my Etsy store, ViridianTeaCompany, IONS: A Geek Gallery, and through me via conventions.

Once again, Happy New Year to all! Let's make 2016 the Year of Tea!


Happy Cups!