Winter Night. (a poem)

This ought to have been published in the winter, but I didn’t get round to it, so I’m publishing it today. Anyway, it’s still technically winter! Hope you enjoy it.

full-moon-1337690_1280

Snow covers the ice-hard ground
And ponds and lakes are frozen.
All is muffled, every sound.
The birds are silent in the trees,
No moths or butterflies or bees
Just snowflakes by the dozen.

The moon is full and her pale light
Shines gently through the flakes.
But creatures shiver through the night.
The icy wind makes branches quiver
And every living thing to shiver
In trees and hills and lakes.

Across the field there trots a fox.
An owl flies by on silent wings.
On the frozen lake, some ducks.
As snow falls gently on them all,
And cattle low within their stall
We are waiting for the spring.

I welcome all your comments, so please add yours.

The Scandalous Flap Book History

Thought flap books were a relatively new thing for kids. Just shows the truth of the adage ‘there’s nothing new under the sun’.

Nicholas C. Rossis

Mary Natalie reading with mommy | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Mary Natalie reading a story about an insomniac bear who bears (heh heh) an uncanny resemblance to her dad.

Mary Natalie loves her flap books so much that we now have an assortment of them. My personal favorite is probably Spot, although that was before I realized what a scandalous history flap books have, courtesy of Sarah Laskow of Atlas Obscura. To my great surprise, flap books were first conceived not as innocent children’s companions, but as titillating mementos of tourists’ good times in what can only be described as Renaissance Europe’s own Las Vegas: 16th century Venice.

What Happened In Venice…

Sixteenth-century Venice was a cosmopolitan, wealthy city, known for its diversity, romance, and relaxed mores. As a republican port city, it was tolerant of all sorts of people and all sorts of behavior in ways that other European cities were not. All this made the city a popular…

View original post 297 more words

Aspholessaria Part

 

fantasy-1449291_1280

Asphodel held the ring tightly in her hand. Her mother had given it to her not long before she left Rindisillaron. It had been her grandmother’s ring and she felt an emotional attachment to it.
Although elves lived long lives in comparison with humans, they did not, contrary to popular belief, live forever, nor were they immune from diseases that ravaged the world of Vimar. Her grandmother had succumbed to one of these diseases the previous year. She wanted Asphodel to have her engagement ring as a keepsake.
Now, Asphodel clutched the ring as she wept for what she knew would never be. Vass had become addicted to the drugs and alcohol that his so-called friends had plied him with. He would never make the fortune he had promised her. All his money, and hers, had gone on his own addiction and not to selling the goods to others.
Asphodel did not approve of his work as a drug dealer, but now he was not a dealer, but an addict. She needed to get away.
She packed her few belongings and searched the apartment for anything she could sell, and for some food. She packed it all into the pack she had carried away from Quatissillaron when she and Vass had eloped. She paused to think for a moment before opening it again and taking out half of the food. She could not leave Vass with nothing.
The few objects she had stuffed in, she left there. After all, Vass had plenty money with her jewellery. How he chose to use it was up to him. She blew her nose, looked round the apartment that now looked presentable after all her efforts and walked out of the door.
She looked both ways along the street. A few people were going about their business, but they took no notice of a girl coming out of her apartment. Vass was nowhere in sight. Asphodel supposed he had gone to sell her jewellery. The jeweller’s shop was to the right, so she went left in the direction of her workplace.
It was dark on the street and Asphodel felt a little afraid as she walked. Where could she go? Perhaps her employer would allow her to spend the night there, then she could go and see if she could find a caravan going away from Frelli. If she could find her way to the caravanserai through the winding, spiral streets of the city.
She found herself outside her place of work. Lights gleamed from the upstairs windows. She knocked on the door.
A head appeared from the window upstairs.
‘Yes? What do you want? We’re closed now. Come back tomorrow.’

Krommel, the scribe, was pulling his head back inside when Asphodel stepped into the light cast by his window.
‘Asphodel,’ he gasped. ‘What are you doing her at this time of night? Wait, I’ll be down in a sec.’
After no more than half a minute, the door opened and Krommel beckoned the girl inside. She entered into the room where they did the copying ever day, but Krommel led her upstairs to where the family lived.
As soon as she entered the room, Krommel’s wife, a plump woman of around forty years of age, noticed her bruises.
‘Oh, my dear, what happened?’ she exclaimed. ‘Let me tend to your injuries. Sit down over there.’
While she bustled around finding things that would ease the bruising on Asphodel’s face, Krommel handed her a bowl of stew and a spoon. The girl ate gratefully.
After she had finished and the curious children been sent to bed, Asphodel explained what had happened.
‘I need to get away,’ she said. ‘I’m sure Vass will try to find me. I need to go a long way away. I can’t go back to him.’
She put her head in her hands and wept.
Krommel’s wife put her arms around the young elf.
‘Of course you can’t,’ she said. ‘Men who hit women never change. Oh, they say they’re sorry and perhaps they are, but then the drink and drugs will take over again and it will keep on happening.’
‘I still love him,’ said Asphodel, raising her tear-streaked face. ‘I don’t know why, after what he’s done. Not only to me, but to others by selling them drugs. He started selling before he started taking them. I know if I saw him, and he asked me, I’d go back to him. That’s why I need to get right away.’
Krommel smiled.
‘I’ll be sorry to lose you, girl,’ he told her, ‘but I agree. You must go away. Do you have money?’
She nodded. ‘A little. I’ve also got a ring I can sell until I find some other employment.’
‘Well, you must have your pay for what you’ve done since your last pay packet,’ Krommel told her, walking over to a safe in the wall.
He returned with a pouch of money and handed it over.
‘There’s more here than you owe me,’ Asphodel said.
‘Take it. I can afford to give you a bonus.’
Asphodel thanked him and stashed the pouch away into her pack.
The next morning, Krommel told one of his sons to escort Asphodel to the caravanserai. Asphodel was glad of his company and guidance as she knew she would never have found it on her own. It lay just inside the walls to the west.
The lad said goodbye, and Asphodel rummaged in her pack and found a small coin to give him. He thanked her and quickly disappeared into the crowds now gathering in the caravanserai.
Which one to take? There were several that looked ready to leave. suddenly, Asphodel saw, through the crowds, a familiar figure. Vass. He looked angry as he pushed people aside. His head turned this way and that, looking.
How had he found out where she was? Had Krommel told him? No, her former employer wouldn’t have done, she was certain of that. Perhaps he just guessed. Then he spotted her. He reached into his pocket and gave something to a small figure. It was Krommel’s son. Vass had bribed the child into saying where he’d taken her. She could not blame the child. No one had told him not to tell Vass.
She looked around anxiously. A caravan was just about to leave. Asphodel rushed over and asked the leader if she could join.
‘We’re just leaving,’ he said as the wagons rolled forward. ‘Do you have coin?’
‘I have some. Just take me as far as this will allow.’
The man took the coin and Asphodel jumped into the last wagon and watched as Vass’s figure grew smaller and smaller.

Where will Asphodel’s coin take her? Can she escape from Vass?

Asphodel is one of the main characters in The Wolves of Vimar Series. You can purchase the first two books by clicking on the following links:

http://mybook.to/thewolfpack/

http://mybook.to/NeverDying/

If you enjoyed this part of Asphodel’s story, please leave a comment.

Umbrae Blog Tour

umbraeblogtourbanner

 

I am quite excited about this release because I started reading the series recently and am looking forward to reading the rest of it.

Debbie has kindly interviewed Miri for my blog. Here is the interview.

What do you miss most from when you were young?
Oh lots of things: my cats – Kitty and Susie; my best friend – Jenny; New York City and in particular the Lower East Side where I grew up; and most of all my omama. I think about her every day – the things she taught me, the stories she told. And I also wonder about the stories she didn’t tell. About her early life in Vienna and how she escaped from the Nazis. Maybe one day I’ll be able to piece all that together.

What scares you the most?
That I could lose my new friends here at P.A.W.S. I’d like to be able to just enjoy my classes and hang out like a normal teen (or at least as normal as a shapeshifter cat girl can be), but bad stuff seems to follow me around, so I guess I should be prepared.

How did you change as you grew older?
I think I’ve become more confident and a little less likely to trip over my own two feet – I think having four paws helps with that and of course having good teachers – Josh and Danny – also does wonders.

What has been the hardest struggle for you?
Believing that I actually have magic. I know Jessamyn says that my whole family had magic, but it does seem hard to believe.

Who do you hope stays in your life?
Well Danny of course (blushes), but I don’t really see how he likes me. And then I hope I’ll always stay close to my friends at P.A.W.S. – Josh, Sandy, Sean and Joey. Joey’s said that in a few years I should visit him in Australia. That would be a lot of fun.

What do you need to be happy in the future?
Good friends, my books and my writing. I hope someday to write my story and delve into my family’s past so that I can write a history of that too.

What is the most important lesson you have learned?
To trust my friends when they say I’m much stronger and more capable than I think I am.

Miri’s story continues in Umbrae (P.A.W.S. 3)

Pick up your copy today!
And connect with Debbie on her blog – Paws 4 Thought
Facebook or Twitter.

umbraewrapevenbetter

Umbrae Blog Tour

umbrae2

It’s alive! Today’s the day that book 3 of the P.A.W.S. Saga goes out into the world!

Step into the Shadows of Umbrae …

Miri’s world at P.A.W.S. in St. Louis is falling apart. First, Danny is accused of stealing her opapa’s charm. But before he can defend himself, he mysteriously disappears. Miri seeks Josh for help and advice, but he too has gone missing.

Then Lilith has a vision – Miri dragged away by wolves. Miri needs answers, answers that she feels sure are hidden in the blank pages of the book of Argentum.

With the help of Lilith, she travels to the ancient city of Safed. There, with the aid of a mystical rabbi and an outspoken werecat, her omama’s story is slowly revealed. And Miri uncovers something else, a world hidden deep beneath our own – the labyrinth of shadows also known as Umbrae.

Available in Kindle or Paperback

umbraewrapevenbetter

But wait there’s more. Umbrae is going on tour. Click on the banner for the schedule of all the awesome stops along the way. They’ll be interviews, character meet and greets, snippets and more.

umbraeblogtourbanner

Also the release event on Facebook for games and prizes galore! See you there!

Comment on pollution reduction

We are constantly being told about what we are doing to our world. We are told about all the carbon dioxide we are adding to the air and what it is doing to the climate.
We are also told about methane from grazing animals and how  that is also a greenhouse gas.
In this post, I want to bring some things to your attention that we aren’t told about in so many words.

 Hydrogen cars. A good thing aren’t they? They are not polluting are they? After all, the hydrogen just burns to water.

Let’s consider this. Water is a greenhouse gas. This we are not told, but why should we need to be? We all know that on a cloudy night the temperature stays higher, but if it’s clear, it’s likely to be cold.

 If the world is warming, as it seems to be, on average, there is more energy in the system. More energy, more air movements. I have noticed that there seem to be more windy days than there used to be. anyone else noticed? I’ve not got any statistics, just my own observations. Are hurricanes not stronger than they used to be?

 Fossil fuels are finite. They take millions of years to form, yet we are burning them as if they will last for ever. Every person who is old enough to hold a driving license now has to have their own car. Next door to me, until recently, there was a family of six. Six cars were parked outside every day. Their drive would only hold three. Parking in the rest of the street is not easy without blocking someone in. It was a problem.
Should we really be using it to burn? Here are a few things made from oil that we’ll probably have to do without when the oil has gone.
1. plastics (Think of all the things made of plastic you use every day.)
2. cosmetics
3. food colourings
4. paint
5. shoe polish
6. nylon
7. paint
8. ink
9. medicines
10. Vaseline
11. tyres
12. Asphalt
13. insect repellant
14. fertiliser
15. shampoo
There are thousands of products made from oil, yet we burn it willy-nilly.

 I could continue with many more, but I just want to finish with what I consider the most worrying thing, but one that is never mentioned. Oxygen levels.
When things burn they use oxygen. That is something everyone who has been to school knows. We are burning oil and releasing the carbon dioxide trapped in there. At the same time, we are using up oxygen.
This I did do some research about. It seems that at the time of the dinosaurs, the oxygen level was around 33%. When we learn about oxygen content of the atmosphere in school, we learn it’s around 21%. However, it is declining, and declining faster than it did before. There are 150 areas in the sea that are dead zones. So little oxygen that no life can survive, and in some cities the oxygen level is down to 17%
Why is this not a topic for discussion? Why are we only told to think about carbon dioxide and climate change? Is this not potentially more serious? maybe it won’t be a problem for us, or our children, but in the future, perhaps the very existence of humanity might be in danger.

Here’s a website you might like to visit to find out more.

http://disinfo.com/2013/01/atmospheric-oxygen-levels-are-dropping-faster-than-atmospheric-carbon-levels-are-rising/

Please leave a comment on this blog in the space below.

I would just like to tell you that the next installment of Asphodel’s back story will be on March 14th as Debbie Manber Kupfer is visiting my blog on the 7th, so rather than leave it for another month, I’ve substituted if for one of my grammar posts. 

Thanks for reading.

Sensitivity Readers Beware

A. M. Dunnewin

Related image

We all have a dark side, that mischievous and rather evil counterpart that usually leads us in the wrong direction. But is it bad to embrace that dark side when it comes to your writing?

The reason I bring this up is because last weekend I came across the articles regarding the “sensitivity reader.” Basically, publishers and authors are hiring readers to point out issues in a stoImage result for death fairy tales gifry that will offend and hurt people’s feelings. It’s being passed off as “making sure the story isn’t biased” and “getting a culture/racial group right.” Call it what you want, but its writers and publishers being afraid of offending readers because readers will take to social media and dig them an early social grave. Fine. Go overprotect your work because Gwyneth from Santa Barbara thought you portrayed the female Asian warriors in your sci-fi novel unrealistically which they interpreted as you spitting in the eye of the…

View original post 752 more words

There are dragons and magic in the world if only you look for them… V.M. Sang

%d bloggers like this: