Monday, February 29, 2016

Phantom La Nouvelle-Orleans, cher . . .

After a wonderful weekend filled with good news, watching a thought provoking Jewish film (I'll review that tomorrow), visiting an incredible exhibit of the works of Dorothea Lange then later enjoying mint lemonade and the world's best grilled cheese sandwich, I have returned to the bland yet necessary Monday. However, my mind is still caught up in the sensual and magical world created by author Laurie L. Bolanos.

Simply put - you need to purchase Prince of Conjurers, preferably at Tubby and Coo's Mid City Bookshop in New Orleans, LA (that's where I purchased my copy, plus Candice and Rob are awesome!). The why . . . well, I'm about to explain just that.

Imagine, if you will, that Erik from Phantom of the Opera did not die, but rather followed Christine and Raoul to La Nouvelle-Orleans and watched their lives in agonizing obsession every day. Now, imagine then that Erik, to speed up his process of claiming Christine, marries a lovely woman of colour named Naomi, a la placage, to infiltrate Christine's home and report on the daily ministrations of the house. Have I gotten you interested yet?

Now, let's add this: in 2009, a woman named Julianna, fresh from a horrible divorce stemming from catching her husband, Simon, with her best friend, Monika, is barely keeping it together while living in New Orleans. She has no desire to truly move on yet has to in a dulled out way while fueled with prescriptions and alcohol. One night, while out with friends, a mild mannered man named Heath notices her bracelet and informs her that the bracelet has some history behind it. Julianna agrees to let Heath study the bracelet, all the while wondering if perhaps Heath has also an interest in her as well. One day, thanks to her psychic friend named Star, Julianna decides to partake in a ritual so as to see her past, only instead the ritual does much more than that. Suddenly, her life completely changes as she comes face to face with a legendary monster who becomes, literally, the love of her life.

Prince of Conjurers is well written and "keeps you guessing until the very end" style of book. Although I did figure out what was going on halfway, the book still took me by surprise several times. Bolanos has expertly woven the classic Phantom of the Opera with archaeology, history, spirituality, romance, mystery, and even a bit of humour, while set in the wonderful city of New Orleans, also known as my second home. Bolanos has a strong voice as she brings to life Erik, Julianna, Christine and Raoul, and even Marie Laveau, and places them in a game that was begun centuries ago.

I'll be returning to New Orleans in a matter of days (like that's a surprise). Out of all of the places I've ever visited, New Orleans is the "lover" I keep returning to. At one point, I told one of my publishers that every time I read a book set in New Orleans, my heart actually skips a beat. He just smiled via text.

Buy Prince of Conjurers. You won't be disappointed.


Friday, February 26, 2016

Verbena, Imagined

That tree, standing like
A guardian in the middle of the valley
Is my only friend
My solace, a place to let my head
Branches, gnarled fingers
Stretching towards Heaven
reaching for a delicious piece of a dream
that fails to materialize
because I hold back
in sharing of what I know.
My tree, my friend, solace
Away from the crowds and decay of the city
My own peace accomplished here.
Green, verbena, valley rolling around me
Like a sea I can not conquer
Only befriend and hope that I am saved-
Madness in such beauty.
But who isn’t touched
By something that they know they can never
Only sit idly by
And wait, hope, wonder
Of a dream
In the shape of a tree.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


La tristesse durera toujours.
-The sadness will last forever.
(Last words of Vincent Van Gogh, 29 July 1890)

Yellow. I think he had it right
although he probably did not realize it.
I wish I had met him, told him what people thought.
An ear sliced for the sake of his own delusions
although sincere and thoughtful in that way.
Is it too late to wish
to kiss your lips, to feel what drove you insane
so as to be closer to you?
Those of violet blood
seek softer insults, our pain driven harder than others.
A muse I shall become for you;
inspiration to the dead.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Don't Take Candy From Strange . . . Children

I'm sitting in my apartment, listening to The Beatles and my dishwasher, while mentally cursing author Kealan Patrick Burke.

Why, you may ask?

Because, my friends, it's quite simple: Kealan is one of the most talented authors I've ever read and now that I have read SOUR CANDY, I want all of his books. Like, right now. After much time wasted wondering whether (say wasted wondering whether three times fast - I dare you!) or not I wanted a Kindle, I finally bit the bullet and purchased one; quite honestly, I'm glad that I did. Ten books later (no one told me how addictive it was to download books), I delved into SOUR CANDY last night. Thirty minutes later, I closed my Kindle and vowed to never take candy from children.

The story is thus: Phil Pendleton has a normal life and a loving girlfriend, all of which goes completely down the toilet after seeing a haggard woman and her screaming and oddly dressed child in a store. After taking candy from the child called Adam, he descends into a nightmarish realm in which everything he ever considered safe in his life turns out to be very, very sour. Much like candy. Although it has been a while since I read really good horror (looking at Alexander S. Brown!), Kealan's horror is fresh and new, much like a recently ripped out heart that is still beating. SOUR CANDY delivers with nothing left to the imagination; when I finished the story, I actually felt a cold sensation down my back.

Although Kealan and I have never met face to face, I do consider him to be a friend, all the while reading his posts in the social media world and wishing each other a Happy Birthday when the moment arises. However, after reading such a taut and well written horror book like SOUR CANDY, I am now also a fan. If you enjoy original horror that will make you question everything you see around you, then order or download SOUR CANDY!

Thank you, Kealan; I can't wait for you to scare me again!


PS: For the record, the candy I used in the photos was not sour but rather that hard candy people eat only during the holidays - only for you, Kealan!

Monday, February 22, 2016

A New Venue for Viridian Tea Company!

I am pleased to announce that Viridian Tea Company will soon have a new venue - Little Shop of Horror in Durham, North Carolina!

As one of my publishers said it best - TEA and HORROR: What a COMBINATION!

A BIG thanks to Melissa Browning - support her awesome store or if you can't make it there, check her out at Coast Con in Biloxi, Mississippi and other conventions!

She is one cool and creepy chick, not to mention a good friend.

Happy Cups!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Coffeehouse Sighting

A coffeehouse.
A woman, reading. The Great Gatsby or
Agatha Christie, something worn and read
Over and over, till the words burn within her mind.
Steam, foam from beyond, blocked out.
A man, daring to look beyond his pages. Claims to be Thoreau, internal.
Two smiles, one given and received.

The world ceases to exist.

(photograph by Kimberly B. Richardson. Model - Alissa Brielle)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Dead Leaves

A dead leaf
Reminded me of when
You said you loved me.
Autumn, a season of
Changes and the Fae,
Came upon us with no warning.
We both had a cup of
Tea – me Oolong and you
Earl Grey – when you told
Me you loved no one else.
I thought you were lying
Then and still do now.
The dead leaf
Can never return to its
Previous state; all I ask

Is that it can.

(Overton Park, Memphis, TN 2016 - photograph by Kimberly B. Richardson)

Friday, February 19, 2016


Sing that song again
And she shall weep tears
Down her paisley dress.
Unfortunate; a dying breed
That once read Tolstoy and
Drank tea from porcelain cups.
Under a brighter sky
I might forgive you even if
compassion is shown.
Cruelty and pleasure are gifts
That must be placed together.
The song; it shall play for no one.

(Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi; Santa Fe, New Mexico - photograph by Kimberly B. Richardson)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Tea for Warriors - NEW TEA BLEND

As many of you know, I am currently studying Bushido, or the Way of the Warrior. Bushido was the "code" that samurai studied and adhered to in an attempt to become the best warriors in all aspects of their lives. I have always admired the samurai, even romanticizing their "history", and with every book that I have read, I learn more and more. However, in my attempts to create delicious tea for everyone to enjoy, I stumbled across an idea: why not create a tea that would be fitting for not only samurai, but any "warrior" who enjoys a victory against a fallen foe?

May I introduce to you - My Enemy's Tears Tea Blend!

This honourable blend of bai mu dan white tea, dried cranberries, and dried pomegranate seeds will send even the most hardcore warrior in battle to a place of tasty victory! Share a cup with your fellow warriors and hell, even give a cup to your enemies!

This tea, like all my others, will be available at IONS: A Geek Gallery, coming soon to Tubby and Coos' Mid City Book Shop in New Orleans, through me a la PayPal and conventions, and my Etsy store - ViridianTeaCompany!

Enemies will rise and fall, yet one thing remains . . . . TEA LIVES ON!

Happy Bloody Cups!

~ regret ~

Come closer to me, my love,
And sing songs of sweetness
And innocence. Tell me
Your thoughts of love and laughter
And how the two are the same.
Will you finally show me what it means
To be alive?
Can you convince me otherwise?
I am torn between my desire for you
And being a mistress of Death.
The bliss I feel has gathered
And fallen at my feet; black
Colored rose petals eaten with
The best intentions. You can not
Fault me in my final life.
I never said I wanted another.
The indigo colored stains on my face
Were a gift in exchange for losing
A little bit of what makes me smile.
My love, give me what I desperately need
To add to my tea cup already spilling over
With storm clouds and inner frustrations.
Death cannot claim to love me better
While you are not as alive as I had thought before.
I am sorry you felt doubt from me;

It should have been regret.

(Snowden Angel - Elmwood Cemetery: photography by Kimberly B. Richardson)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

::11 october 2006::

revised thoughts
collected like rain falling from a roof

samples of words
brought to the light

afraid of nothing
more than their worth

silence is no longer an option
and yet the circle is complete

denial: a state of mind
a mind in fear of denial.

(photograph by Kimberly B. Richardson)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Dragon Visits Manderley - TWO NEW BLENDS!

I'm enjoying a lovely Wednesday night at home while the Hitchcock film Rebecca is playing in the background. It's also a lovely night for making tea! Boy, oh boy, have I got some yummy blends tonight!

Although I have never read the book Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, I do enjoy the film. That's why, in honour of such a wonderful Gothic story, I have created the Manderley Herbal Tea!

This relaxing blend of chamomile, peppermint, and jasmine flowers will soothe your senses and allow you to drift away to a land of mists, enchantment, and secrets - Manderley. Although it is the home of Maxim De Winter, it is also the home of lies, deceit, sorrow, and . . . murder. Yet, a cup of Manderley Herbal Tea will calm your fears and give you a reason to smile.

For those of you who have read my books, you know that one of my favourite characters was a jazz loving dragon named Cornelius Dex. My story, same titled, tells the tale of how an eclectic woman meets up with a black clad stranger who not only steals her heart but also gives her fiery passion! The story, along with many others, is in the Dark Oak Press anthology Realms of Imagination: An Urban Fantasy Anthology! To honour my character (of which there will be a full length novel coming soon!), Viridian Tea Company is proud to offer Dragon Jazz Tea!

This simple blend of green tea, chrysanthemum, and dried orange peel is a perfect blend to enjoy with a good book (Realms of Imagination, for example!), or a good friend who just happens to be a dragon! Put on a jazz record, fire up the kettle, and enjoy your night!

As always, these blends will soon be available at my Etsy store, ViridianTeaCompany, Ions Geek Gallery in Memphis, Tubby and Coo's Mid-City Book Shop in New Orleans, and through me via PayPal or at conventions (next one will be Coast Con in Biloxi, MS!)

Happy Cups!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Reader, I married him . . . NEW TEA BLEND

I am a Bronte woman.

When I first read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, my world expanded into a realm filled with moors, long buried secrets rising from the grave, unrequited love, obsession, Gothic everything, and . . . madness. I always had a "thing" for Heathcliff, and Mr. Rochester's brooding ways sent my literary heart a-flutter. I know many of my friends love Jane Austen, but give me the Brontes any day!

So, it came as no surprise that, in trying to create a series of Literary tea blends, my first blend would be based on Jane Eyre. Actually, the blend is based on one of the characters that has always appealed to me - Bertha Mason, also known as the first Mrs. Rochester. Her nickname, as I'm sure you have heard before, is the Madwoman in the Attic.

So, may I present to you - Madwoman in the Attic Tea!

This blend of assam tea, passion flower root, dried lemon peel, and hibiscus will send you back to Spanish Town, Jamaica in a wave of calm and island tranquility . . . before the darkness sets in.

This blend, just like all my others, will be available at IONS: A Geek Gallery in Memphis, Tennessee; Tubby and Coo's Mid-City Book Shop in New Orleans, Louisiana, through me at various conventions or a simple PayPal payment, and my Etsy store ViridianTeaCompany!

On behalf of the ghosts at Thornfield Hall and myself, I truly hope you enjoy this blend.

Happy Cups!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Of Decadence and Nikola Tesla

As many of you know, I love studying the Decadent Movement - that time when nothing was forbidden and that which was fake was adored as real. Oscar Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley, and many other famous artists, authors, gentlemen and ladies, and other seekers of pleasure made this movement one that will never be forgotten. So, it seemed as though Fate decided to have fun with me during my initial meeting with fellow author Sean Hoade at Wizard World New Orleans. As you recall, he was the author of that delightful Cthulhu novel that had me soon speaking as one of the Believers. Within several minutes, we realized that we were both "students" of the Decadent Movement. We became fast friends and even better conversationalists a la Messenger. When he announced that his first Penny Dreadful was about to be released, I knew I had to have it. After all, as he told me at Wizard World, it was going to be about Nikola Tesla.

Enter Nikola Tesla vs. The Daylight Vampires! - yes, you can click here to order the book!

I read the story in one day (okay, several hours) and immediately wanted to read more about Tesla. The story is thus: While in New York City, Tesla is approached by a hulking young man who wants his money, of which Tesla deftly bypasses with wit and his silver tipped cane. However, all is not what it appears to be, and suddenly Tesla must push aside the world of science and hard core facts and replace it with the world of the supernatural. I am utterly convinced that between Hoade's depiction of Tesla and THE Rob Cerio's depiction of Tesla lies the truth - yes, he was just that awesome of a man.

Hoade writes with such conviction (and grand OldTypewriter font!) regarding Tesla that I eagerly await his next Tesla book that should be out in March! If you are looking for a well written great short story regarding one of the greatest minds of all time, grab a copy today. Sean will even autograph it for you!

Thank you, Sean!