Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Rain, Paris & Chocolate

I know. I've been told it isn't typical for it to rain almost continually in Paris, but hey, I lived there for about six weeks and it was overcast and rained almost the whole time, and that was in August and September.  I don't want to date myself, so I won't mention the year. Let's just say that it was a while back :)

This morning it's raining in Missouri.  This isn't all bad. Can I take the kids to the beach today? No, obviously not, but hey, my windows are open and the AC is off so I'm saving on my electric bill.  I've learned to appreciate the small miracles in life.

I'm sitting here across from the love of my life, drinking coffee, wanting a baguette or chocolate-filled croissant (pain au chocolat) something terrible.  Maybe later in the day I'll be able to get one. 

I want to walk through the Jardin du Luxembourg, umbrella in hand, eating chocolate.  I miss ducking into one beautiful church after another as I made my way across the Latin Quarter in the rain, trying to stay dry while seeing the best free tourist attractions the city had to offer.

One day, but not today.  For now, I'll have to be content blogging about it, and if you live there, feel free to tweet me photos from the beautiful city from time to time. They're always appreciated.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Illustrating Kids Books

I'm fortunate.  A dear friend illustrated my first kids' book for me and did a fantastic job.  Here, you can check out Dragon at the Cabin.  It's a humorous book about stranger safety and the pictures are fun to look at.

I digress.  You see, I've written four more rhyming picture books and they're complete, awaiting illustrations.  And I don't want to burden a friend with the work required to illustrate an additional four books, but I also need to get them published, so I'm working on the "do it yourself" path.

I'm artistic.  Really, I am.  Throughout my home you can find the collection of framed art work which I did, admittedly, back in high school (and I'm not going to state how long ago that was) but regardless, it's nice to look at.

"What's the problem then?" You may be asking yourself. It's one thing to do art that flows and is asymmetrical. That's what I'm pretty good at.  Drawing characters, rotating the same figure, making eyes the same size, keeping the proportions of the body in line while the character moves--that's all much more difficult for me.

I'm making use of my public library.  I've checked out numerous books on how to draw and I'm going through them trying this technique and that.  I do believe that the age old saying, "Practice makes perfect," usually holds true, so I soldier on. Eventually, I'm certain, I'll get the hang of this, but until then, I'll keep practicing. One day, the books will be finished, and you'll find my new releases on Amazon.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Like a Kid at Christmas-- Waiting to Watch Steve Byers

Yep, I'm just like kid at Christmastime.  I want to watch the Steve Byers movie that aired this morning, "The Final Verdict," and waiting is just killing me. 

I know, I'm very melodramatic. Time is moving in slow motion, like for a kid waiting to open presents on Christmas morning and waiting overnight might as well be a lifetime.

You see, I don't get the Lifetime Movie Network, so a dear friend generously recorded it for me and the movie is waiting on her DVR to be viewed.  The problem, I'm relatively certain the show is not kid appropriate and between her kids and my kids and kids she babysits, the issue is finding a time to watch it when the kids won't be around, or at least won't be awake. 

I can wait. Really I can.  And if, my friend, you are reading this, know that I REALLY, REALLY appreciate your setting it to record for me and letting me invite myself over to watch it-- YOU ARE AWESOME!  So thank you, and please feel free to laugh at me because I certainly laugh at myself :)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

From Neitzschean to Rich Human He's Fun to Watch- Steve Bacic

As a die-hard science fiction fan, I have of course seen each and every episode of "Andromeda" (when it originally aired) and all of the "Stargate" shows, from SG-1 to Atlantis to Universe.  And of course, in both "Andromeda" and "SG-1" I thoroughly enjoyed Steve Bacic's performances. He's hardly a guy you'd forget.  Let's face it, he steals the scene when he's in it. 

It was, however, as surprise for me last night when I turned on the a Hallmark Channel movie that my husband had recorded for me and who's staring at me from the screen in my den, none other than Telechamus Rhade.  (Okay, Steve Bacic but I'll never forget him as Rhade.)  I know he's been in a ton of stuff, but I'd never watched him in a non-scifi role, so it was really wild to see him as a wealthy human in the romantic comedy, "Nearlyweds." Strange and awesome that is.  I loved it and thoroughly enjoyed watching as well.  I'd love to see him in more similar roles in the future.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I'll Go as Einstein for Halloween

Yes, I know, Halloween is way far away. But hey, if you've got the look, flaunt it.  So...I love it when my hair is cornrowed with braids crocheted in, making me look stylish, thinner, and in my opinion, younger, but that's not the look I'm sporting at the moment.

Oh no--I've go Einstein's hair. I'm not Einstein smart, but I'm pretty intelligent, so I suppose I can't be insulted by the comparison. It's my kids who first decided this.  See, my super-curly hair does defies gravity and sticks straight up, and since I forgot to bring hair gel with me on my trip, and my hair needs to be cut anyway, let's just say, I look unique. There are worse things in the world than making people laugh, and soon, I'm sure I'll get my hair under control.  For now, however, I'll just go around looking like old Albert :)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Library Books, the Holy Grail, & the Pit of Doom

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that for at least three weeks now, I've been searching for elusive library books.  In fact, there were five library books MIA at my home, now there are only two, so I suppose that's an improvement.  That doesn't change the fact, however, that I still have my library privileges revoked until such books are returned and late fees paid, or I pay the replacement cost.  Since I know they are in my possession, I'm determined to find them, and, to be honest, at this point, I'm on a mission to find them.  Failure is not an option, or as Yoda says, "There is no try, only do."

Anyway, I've gutted all of my kids' bedrooms at this point, to no avail.  Yes, I did ask the kids to look for the books first, but they didn't find them either.  So I took a stab at it, and that's what led to the "discovery" of the three.

So, I've determined, after great effort and searching, that I might as well be looking for the Holy Grail. In fact, it makes the quest to find such books a bit more exciting when I have images and music from Indiana Jones movies going through my head.  So the search goes on...

And the "Pit of Doom" you ask?  I almost forgot.  That's the name I give my sons' bedroom, and believe me the name did fit, but no longer.  Now it actually looks respectable.  The only question is, how long will it last?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dragons & Writing Fantasy: An Author Interview with Peter Maxian

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing the fascinating author of the Invisible Dragon stories, Peter Maxian.  Having been introduced to Peter's writing through Twitter, I was amazed to learn later that he's quite the well-rounded artist, as you will learn in this interview.  He's also the author of the Christina BraveStar stories, which are based on the daydreams of yours truly, and while I'm admittedly a bit biased, I think they're really beyond cool.

Peter resides in the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria (yes, I'm jealous) so this interview was conducted over e-mail. 

Why did you start writing?

I learned storytelling when I studied theatre improv. In late 2009 I improvised a story about an invisible dragon for a friend of mine who loves dragon stories. She asked me to write it down, and after I emailed it to her she replied with "another one, please." So I kept writing... and the stories continue to come.

How did you decide to write fantasy?

Not my fault, blame my friend's deep fascination with dragons. My other interests include travel, relationships, and quantum physics. Fantasy stories about the invisible dragon are definitely more fun to write about. 

(But if you look closely the stories say a lot about travel, relationships, and the quantum mechanical concept that our perception creates our reality).

Why did you write Christina BraveStar books?

Your tweets inspired stories, because they evoked so clearly your unusual and very amusing perceptions of reality. The first stories reflected this: amusing joyrides into boundless fairytale adventure with a twist of Belgian chocolate. Later I found out you wrote about a character whose dreams connect her with a mythical world of gods, so the story cycle evolved: it became an amusing joyride into boundless fairytale adventure with a twist of respect for you as a paranormal author.

You said you studied theater improv.  Have you done acting? Can you expand on that?

My father was an actor, and later a TV director. I was the random child in some of his stuff when I was very young, at school I did pantomime (first real job) and later did a little extra work to pay bills at Uni. (Music took over as my career, which sidelined acting). 

A director friend made a good short video with me acting about 8 years ago (warning, adult themes). 

Can you expand on your fascination with quantum physics?

Just interested. I'm good at maths so I understand the basis of the theories easily. The fascination grew immensely when I read "The Dancing Wu Li masters" which postulates that mainstream spiritual thought throughout the history of humanity appears to symbolize the "reality" of the quantum world. 

Where are you from, where have you traveled, and how did you manage to travel so much?

Born in Australia, lived in Korea, Japan, England, Holland, Bulgaria, Norway, France, Turkey and Austria. Traveled mostly in Europe, but I've been to every continent except Antartica.

I'm a singer and piano player, which has allowed me to travel and work in many countries. Also worked a lot on Cruise ships (I met my wife when I was the piano player on The Pacific Princess - the Love Boat :-)

The dragon stories are a nice way of sharing my traveling adventures and how incredible the journey has been without talking about myself and boring people to death :-) 
Peter has a beautiful website with original photos at www.thedragonadventures.com and you can also check out his author page on Amazon at www.amazon.com/author/peter_maxian .



Monday, July 8, 2013

The Horta In My Den

Yes, I'm a scifi nerd, and proud of it.  When other little girls watched "Little House on the Prairie," I watched "Star Trek."  When they began dating, I joined the school chess club. By the time "V" the original series aired, I have no idea what the average girl was watching on television, but it wasn't that.  Then I spent every spare moment reading the entire series of books, which I greatly enjoyed as a kid.

So, it's really not THAT odd that when I see my 7 year-old covered in a blanket, huddled in a mound, inching his way across my floor, the first thought in my mind isn't that he looks like a rock or snail. On the contrary, my first thought is that of a Horta, the intelligent rock-like silicone-based life form in the original "Star Trek" series. 

And so it goes.  As you may imagine, making small-talk is not my strong suit, as I think often that my brain is just wired differently from that of many people, and that's okay with me.  When going into awkward social situations (like a party where I don't know people well and may be expected to make the obligatory small talk) I now come prepared.  If it's a sufficiently casual setting, I can wear my "Darth Vader: Who's Your Daddy?" t-shirt.  That's a great conversation starter.  Otherwise, I take my cell phone, loaded with a wallpaper of my favorite actor, Steve Byers of Syfy's "Alphas," wearing a goofy Christmas sweater.  That also helps direct the conversation towards any number of topics from science fiction films, to Christmas, to sewing, to the many other roles Steve has played.  Yes, the key is to come prepared, and as a scifi geek, I find a little advanced preparation goes a long way.