November 29, 2010

Miniatures Monday: Beginning to look a lot like Christmas...




For a change, I decided to put a Christmas scene in the Victorian parlor box I found at the flea market this summer.

The old Christmas card I found (the tree is embroidered) made a great backdrop. Funny, I couldn't find any of my smaller Christmas trees anywhere...

* Are you ready for Christmas? Working on any Christmas minis or crafts?

November 28, 2010

Happy Happy Award!


My pal Courtney at Haunt Jaunts gave me this Happy Award (who doesn't need some of that right?) so I thought I'd post it and share it with others.

HAPPY 101 AWARD RULES
1. Copy the award image into a post
2. List 10 things that make you happy
3. Tag 10 bloggers who brighten your day
4. Put in a link to their blogs
5. Notify the award receivers
6. Award recipients link back to sender’s blog

10 Things That Make Me Happy (in no particular order!)

1 Miniatures
2 Family, friends
3 Puppies and dogs!
4 God, faith
5 Writing (when it goes right!)
6 Blog pals
7 Fellow writers who inspire me
8 Computers (love 'em, hate 'em)
9 Seeing something new
10 Music

I tag - Some great writers and blogs I enjoy:

1 Morgan Mandel's Double M blog
2 Marian Allen
3 Camille Minichino and the ladies at Killer Hobbies
4 Kat the Hat Lady
5 Lea at Muse It Up Publishing
6 Patty Benedict, Woopitydooart
7 Katie at Katie's Clay Corner
8 Joann Swanson for sharing her how-to's with us!
9 Kitty at Minis by Kitty
10 You the reader! Feel free to grab the award and share it with others!

November 25, 2010

Gobble Gobble! Happy Turkey Day in miniature!




Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! Here's more turkey in case you didn't get enough. haa! Scene is my mini Thanksgiving table, with items I got in a past swap.

November 24, 2010

Miniatures: Queen Mary's Dollhouse Video
















There is a fantastic video online, showing some great close-ups of Queen Mary's Dollhouse, built in 1924 and housed at Windsor Castle. (Image: Queen's bedchamber)

The house is the creme de la creme of miniature creations - the real world truly in miniature, with running water, real books and products across British society and from America.

View the video here. (Note that the dollhouse part will start partway in, after the portrait and then the photographer sections.)

(See more dollhouse photos and descriptions.)

November 23, 2010

Killer Valentine Ball: Top 10 Writing Tips

As part if the mini blog tour for The Killer Valentine Ball, read my top 10 writing tips today over at Morgan's blog










BUY:

November 22, 2010

Killer Valentine Ball Blog Stop at Morgan Mandel's blog

Today I'm on another stop for the Killer Valentine Ball blog tour. Today stop by Morgan Mandel's blog. One commenter will win a free copy!

Blurb: A party at a day camp; a blind date on Valentine's Day.(Can you say loser?) But this is no ordinary party. The Killer Valentine Ball has more thrills than Jess ever expected--or will ever forget.

Excerpt:

As they walked into the shadows, Jess noticed that things weren't quite as they appeared. Sections of the room lightened for a moment before being cast again in deep shadow. What Jess thought she saw in that split second made her heart race. On the dance floor, the same three couples stood, clasped to each other. Jess stared. She swore they never moved.

The music played quietly in the background. When the shadows brightened, Jess caught a quick glimpse of one of the couples. The young man's mouth gaped open. His partner's gown glistened with streams of dark ribbons. The light flashed again and Jess gasped. Those weren't ribbons! The girl's dress shone with dark glimmers. Like-like blood, she thought. No, it can't be! She looked back at Dylan, who shook his head and urged her on.

"Light tricks," he whispered. "It's not real. It's Halloween stuff, like the movie. Don't worry..."

More blog stops:

* Interesting q&a at Ron's blog

* See an excerpt and more q&a at Nancy's blog.

BUY:

* book page

* B&N's Nook

* See my website for other links.

* Amazon:

November 17, 2010

The Killer Valentine Ball Blog Tour

I'm on a blog tour for my "creepy" short story, THE KILLER VALENTINE BALL.

Today stop by Ron's blog and see how I answered his interesting questions. (He has a thing about space travel! ha!)

* See an excerpt and more q&a at Nancy's blog.

One person commenting during the tour will win a free copy.

BUY:

* B&N's Nook - MuseItUp bookstore

* See my website for other links.

* Amazon:

November 16, 2010

Two Sentence Tuesday: Steampunk'd + Killer Valentine Ball Blog Tour!


(Note: I'm also on a blog tour for my "creepy" short story, "The Killer Valentine Ball." Be sure to stop by Nancy's blog and comment. One person during the tour will receive a free copy of The Killer Valentine Ball. Click for links and details.)

** Figure I'd play along with the Women of Mystery's Two Sentence Tuesday.

I'll share two sentences from my new story, "Edison Kinetic Light and Steam Power" by C.A. Verstraete now out in the new STEAMPUNK'D anthology from DAW Books. i already shared the beginning in a previous post since the story is excerpted on the title page of the anthology.

Here is part of the conversation between Thomas Edison and his sister, Alva, about the ruling Puritan Party. (Yeah, I cheated... this is a little more than two sentences. ha!)

"Sister, don't you see how my other idea could make your life so much easier? Instead of the repeated lighting, cleaning and relighting, you could flick a lever and have a source of light, ready for your use."

"Thomas, hush! You can't let anyone hear this. If you want to help, get up and clean the rest of the lamps for me."

"I'll do that, but you know there has to be something to the idea if the Puritans are so against it. One of the leaders, Master Dogood, denounced inventing totally, calling it 'a tool of the devil.' Hogwash! Why would God give us an imagination except for it to be used?"



About the book:
Steampunk can be defined as a subgenre of science fiction that is typically set in an anachronistic Victorian or quasi-Victorian setting, where steam power is prevalent. Consider the slogan: "What the past would look like if the future had come along earlier." The stories in this all-original anthology explore alternate timelines and have been set all over the world, running the gamut from science fiction to mystery to horror to a melding of these genres.

BUY:

* For Barnes & Noble's Nook

November 11, 2010

Page 99 test: Searching for a Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery

For fun, I thought I'd try the Page 99 test in which you share your page 99. I thought the page from Searching for a Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery ended on a fun note.

In Searching for a Starry Night, Sam, her BFF Lita, and a mischievous Dachshund named Petey, face a cranky housekeeper, a dog-hating gardener, and an ancient family curse as they search for a missing miniature replica of Van Gogh's famous painting, "Starry Night."


Excerpt, Searching for a Starry Night, Pg. 99:

Her hair finished, Lita rubbed some gloss across her lips, and scrambled onto the other cot. She stretched out and pondered the question, her face pensive.

“You don’t think she took it, do you? When I saw that dollhouse, I thought she was our thief; now I’m not so sure. But that doesn’t mean she didn’t take it. Like your mom said, we don’t have any proof whether she did or she didn’t. Do we?”

Sam had to agree. “No, we don’t. Those scratches on the door still bother me, but it’s not enough. We need a ton more proof than we have. I won’t scratch Mrs. Drake off the suspect list yet. We still have . . .” She lowered her voice. “Check it out. What’s he doing?”

A confused look crossed the other girl’s face. “Who?”

Sam kept her voice low and nodded in the opposite direction. “You know who. Turn around real slow and look at the d-o-g. He’s up to something.”

In slow motion, Lita slid onto her back and glanced to her side. “Where?” she whispered. “I don’t see anything.”

“Watch the cloth over the picnic table.” Sam nodded towards the back of the room. “He’s under the table. Wait, Lita don’t . . .”

Lita slowly slipped off the cot and sidled over to the table, leaving Sam no choice but to follow. The two of them tiptoed closer and peered under the tablecloth. All Sam saw was Petey’s butt wiggling.


BUY: Print or Kindle:

November 10, 2010

Green Books Campaign: Review, Slick as a Mitten, Klondike historical nonfiction


















History often seems like dry facts, or ancient events that no longer relate to modern life. But Slick As a Mitten: Ezra Meeker's Klondike Enterprise puts a human face on the Klondike Gold Rush, telling the tale of one man's journey through his personal letters and via historic photos. I love history so this was an interesting read on an interesting topic.

I've included the review here as part of 200 bloggers posting today for the 2010 Eco-Libris Green Books campaign


About the book from Midwest Book Review: Traveling the Oregon trail in 1852, Ezra Meeker built his fortune in hop farming and brokering in Puget Sound country.

Platting Puyallup, Meeker served as the town's first mayor and was a key businessman. A scourge of hop aphids hit in the 1890s, followed by a national economic depression which wiped out Meeker's assets. When the Puyallup bank was on the verge of failure, Meeker came to the aid of his friends and neighbors by using his own greatly diminished finances to return funds to the depositors.

During the 1898 Alaskan Klondike gold rush, though he was now in his 60s, Meeker went north four times transporting and selling 100 tons of vegetables, dried foods and canned goods in mining camps, primitive inns and restaurants while his wife Eliza Jane stayed behind to manage the family business. To put it mildly, Ezra Meeker led an interesting life and "Slick As A Mitten: Ezra Meeker's Klondike Enterprise" is his fascinating story superbly compiled with historic black-and-white photos by Dennis M. Larsen. An engaging and entertaining read from beginning to end, "Slick As A Mitten" is a splendid and enthusiastically recommended addition to academic library American History and American Biography collections.

About the Green Books Campaign:

Founded in 2007, Eco-Libris is a green company working to green up the book industry by promoting the adoption of green practices in the industry, balancing out books by planting trees, and supporting green books. To achieve these goals Eco-Libris is working with book readers, publishers, authors, bookstores and others in the book industry worldwide. So far Eco-Libris balanced out over 155,000 books, which results in more than 169,000 new trees planted with its planting partners in developing countries.

BUY:

November 09, 2010

Excerpt from new short story in Steampunk'd Anthology from DAW Books - My story's the main excerpt in book!

I got a big surprise when I opened the copy of Steampunk'd I got in the mail!

I opened the front cover and there on the title page is the excerpt - from my story! How cool is that???

Excerpt from front title page of STEAMPUNK'D:

Alva Edison knew her life would never be the same again.

"It can be done, sister, I know it can," he told her again.

"Thomas, I keep telling you, remember Mr. Franklin? The founding father never signed the Declaration because he foolishly stood out in a rainstorm, with a kite of all things. And stringing a key on the end? How foolhardy. Anyone with common sense knows that you do not want to be near any metal in a storm. No surprise that he was electrocuted. It was such a tragedy that could have been averted."

"But his idea was right," Thomas insisted. "The power of those thunderbolts can be harnessed as a new energy source."

She snorted at that. "Thomas, dear, next you'll be saying that thunderbolts can do all kinds of things, like that kooky Dr. Frankenstein and his outlandish, sacrilegious ideas about life and death. They took him off to the sanitarium and not soon enough, I say. Please stop such talk. I do not want to lose my only brother to some ridiculous notion."
–From "Edison Kinetic Light and Steam Power" - C. A. Verstraete

(This is from the beginning of the story.)

More details:

The 320-page collection of 14 stories, edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg, includes my short story, "Edison Kinetic Light and Steam Power" by C.A. Verstraete, in which an ailing, but resourceful Alva Edison helps her soon-to-be-famous brother, Thomas, overcome a tragedy and find the answers he'd been seeking. As they say, behind every man is a powerful woman, right?

(Their story continues in a new romance steampunk anthology, also coming from DAW and I am working on a novella about them. I fell in love with the story and don't want to let go yet! )

About the book:
Steampunk can be defined as a subgenre of science fiction that is typically set in an anachronistic Victorian or quasi-Victorian setting, where steam power is prevalent. Consider the slogan: "What the past would look like if the future had come along earlier." The stories in this all-original anthology explore alternate timelines and have been set all over the world, running the gamut from science fiction to mystery to horror to a melding of these genres.

BUY:

* For Barnes & Noble's Nook

November 08, 2010

Miniatures Monday: Plant-Garden Cabinet





Halloween's over (well not really in miniature!) Thought I'd share a small planting/garden cabinet I made. It has a decoupaged plant picture in front, is aged and has a hand-painted marble top. It's for sale or trade if anyone's interested.

November 05, 2010

New Steampunk'd Anthology - Now Out, Featuring story, "Edison Kinetic Light & Steam Power" by C.A. Verstraete

Just Published!

The 320-page collection, edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg, includes my short story, "Edison Kinetic Light and Steam Power" by C.A. Verstraete, in which an ailing, but resourceful Alva Edison helps her soon-to-be-famous brother, Thomas, overcome a tragedy and find the answers he'd been seeking. As they say, behind every man is a powerful woman, right?

Their story continues in a new romance steampunk anthology, also coming from DAW and I am working on a novella about them. I fell in love with the story and don't want to let go yet!

About the book:
Steampunk can be defined as a subgenre of science fiction that is typically set in an anachronistic Victorian or quasi-Victorian setting, where steam power is prevalent. Consider the slogan: "What the past would look like if the future had come along earlier." The stories in this all-original anthology explore alternate timelines and have been set all over the world, running the gamut from science fiction to mystery to horror to a melding of these genres.

November 04, 2010

New Review, Short Horror Ebook, The Killer Valentine Ball

Just got a new 5-star review for The Killer Valentine Ball from Ghost Writer Reviews: ­­­­ "...This short story was very interesting. The details and events were very descriptive, and captured my attention for the short tour down the ghoulish halls. The ending was quite funny."

Blurb: A party at a day camp; a blind date on Valentine's Day.(Can you say loser?) But this is no ordinary party. The Killer Valentine Ball has more thrills than Jess ever expected--or will ever forget.

Excerpt:

As they walked into the shadows, Jess noticed that things weren't quite as they appeared. Sections of the room lightened for a moment before being cast again in deep shadow. What Jess thought she saw in that split second made her heart race. On the dance floor, the same three couples stood, clasped to each other. Jess stared. She swore they never moved.

The music played quietly in the background. When the shadows brightened, Jess caught a quick glimpse of one of the couples. The young man's mouth gaped open. His partner's gown glistened with streams of dark ribbons. The light flashed again and Jess gasped. Those weren't ribbons! The girl's dress shone with dark glimmers. Like-like blood, she thought. No, it can't be! She looked back at Dylan, who shook his head and urged her on.

"Light tricks," he whispered. "It's not real. It's Halloween stuff, like the movie. Don't worry..."

BUY:

November 03, 2010

New Author Snapshot Column: Spooky Reads at Mysterical-e

Boo! Perfect for Halloween reading: check out my new Author Snapshot - Mystericale.com column featuring some good new scary reads.

Witches, ghosts, curses, oh my! Mysteries and even a zombie romance anthology with a detective story. Featured authors include: Lillian Stewart Carl, Cynthia Gael, Carol Costa, Mary Anna Evans, and Jan Kozlowski.

November 02, 2010

A new obsession: Real Miniature Art in Vending Machines

I think I found a new obsession.

As a longtime dollhouse and miniatures collector, I already had a love for all things small. So, I naturally gravitated to this news story I found about an artist in Germany selling miniature art in old vending machines. Neat idea, I thought.

Then I read the comments and realized that this wasn't a new idea. Apparently, I'd been missing out on something interesting, namely "real" miniature art sold for a "small" price in old cigarette machines across the US. Great way to recycle those old machines, too!

(Image: Art*O*Mat machine, McHenry County College, Crystal Lake, IL)

Art*O*Mat has been offering the miniature vending machine art since 1997. The art, most selling for $5, with half going to the artist, includes a range of subjects and formats as seen in this sample gallery.

Since I'm interested in these for specific purposes, I saw several items that were interesting such as a piece in a small tote bag, some on blocks, pictures in fold-out booklets, a small book, and a picture with two dogs that I really liked. Art*O*Mat's art is sized 2 1/8" x 3 1/4" x 7/8".

* Find Art*o*mat locations

Unfortunately, none of the machines are close to me so I'll have to keep a list in mind when I get to those areas.

Anyone buy something at one of these machines? I'd love to see what kind of art you got and hear what you thought. I still think it's a really cool idea, especially for miniatures collectors!

November 01, 2010

Miniatures Monday: Chicago Thorne Rooms to Get Christmas Decor for First Time - See Thorne Rooms Postcard Exhibit

For the first time, staff members at Chicago's Art Institute are decorating six of the 68 miniature Thorne rooms for Christmas, part of a new holiday celebration that is expected to be continued in coming years. This year’s rooms feature historically appropriate Christmas accessories such as an authentic Christmas tree in the English Victorian Drawing Room, as well as Chinese New Year and Hanukkah decorations.

Thorne Rooms Video



The rooms, commissioned by Mrs. James Ward Thorne, were first exhibited in the 1933 Chicago's Century of Progress Expositiona. Thirty-seven of the rooms were donated to the Art Institute in 1942.

See story and photos here.

** Compare the Thorne rooms from original 1940s postcards and recent photos exhibited by the Chicago Postcard Museum.


Image: The West Parlor 1758-1787 Mount Vernon, Fairfax County, Virginia Chicago Postcard Museum.
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