Monday, November 25, 2013

What do a shard, a circus and a rooster have to do with each other? And your Monday Fortune Cookie, 11/25/13


SNARKY RESPONSE:  Yeah, good luck with that. How often have you thought "direct" was another word for bossy, bitchy, or officious?

Be direct, usually one can accomplish more that way.

Correspondingly, the shortest direction from Point A to Point B is a straight line, however, my bus tour of London was far from a straight line, and I was so busy snapping pics that I hardly heard our guide. I figured, and rightly so, that I could always Google the various landmarks and then put the names with the photos. There was just too much to see not to be captured by the images flashing by my bus window. Unfortunately, a moving photo platform makes for a lot of blurry images, but I managed to get about 1,000 pics decent pics.

And NO, I'm not going to subject you to them all, but here are a few of my London favs.

Piccadilly Circus - London's Times Square
Did you know Piccadilly comes from the word "piccadil" which was the name of a frilled collar used in the 17th century? And the "circus" part comes from the traffic round-about or circle. Circles are the traffic intersection of choice in the parts of England we travelled. Some were just small circles of grass and or shrubs, some had decorations in them representative of the locality. Imagine not ONLY having to ride on the wrong side of the road but negotiating traffic circles at every major intersection? I'm so glad I didn't have to drive.

Trefalgar Square celebrates the Battle of Trefalgar and Nelson's Column dominates the square. There are four plinths or platforms for commemorative statues, three occupied and the fourth left empty, currently used to display a variety of sculptures. Currently the Big Blue Cock holds pride of place. Rather jarring compared with the more traditional sculptures surrounding it, but definitely eye-catching.

Speaking of eye-catching - any Whovians will recognize this shot. The Doctor and Clara were deposited in Trafalgar Square in front of the National Gallery.

And how could any trip to London not include a shot of Big Ben and the London Eye, or better yet, BOTH in one shot!

Buckingham Palace was as impressive, stately, and beautiful as expected.

On the opposite side of the architectural spectrum is The Shard, designed by Renzo Piano

And finally, can you name this famous bridge in London?

Not London Bridge but Tower Bridge. I was delighted to get some really good shots of it from the side of the river and feel this is the cream of the crop.

I will continue featuring pics from my trip in future blog posts, so be warned. I hope this won't scare you off because I'll be including other topics and such among the pics. After all, I took 1,000 PHOTOS! I've got to do something with them, right? LOL

See you next week!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hoarding, England, and Your Monday Fortune Cookie, 11/17/13


SNARKY RESPONSE:  Absolutely! The one who dies with the most "toys" wins!

In The Game Of Give And Take, Hoard.

This piece of sage advice does not come as news to anyone who has a hobby addiction of any kind. From antiques to toy soldiers to needlework patterns to model car kits, anyone who has a hobby rapidly descends into hoarding! Bits and pieces, research and meets, hobbyists will be hard-pressed indeed to resist the next "sparkly" that comes down the turnpike, website, or vendor's table.

In case you haven't been following me on facebook (why not?), I've just gotten back from my first ever trip "across the pond" to Merry Ol' England. My husband is a model ship junkie, and a member of the International Plastic Modelers Society. This year, there was a big conference in Telford, England, and they offered a 7-day tour of military museums to interested attendees. I'm NOT a modeler, but who am I to rain on my hubby's parade. Besides, it meant I got to go to ENGLAND!

I've always loved England and all the British Isles. My dearest wish was about to be granted. And let me say right off the top, the trip exceeded my wildest expectations. Even though the focus was on the modelers, I found myself caught up in the history and the beauty of the military museums.

The weather was exactly what I had heard - mostly overcast, sometimes rainy, more often drizzly, occasionally sunny. The temperature was mid to upper 60's. I took my new prescrip sunglasses and only needed them twice. We bought umbrellas on our first day, having forgotten to pack any (silly tourists) and used them often. I used my cell phone as my camera and took over 1,000 pics in hopes that I'd get a good 100 or so decent shots. Since we spent a lot of time traveling in a tour bus there were a lot of blurry pics to be discarded.

The plan was to spend the first day in London doing a bus tour, then begin the round of museums. And there were a LOT of museums, with never enough time to spend in any of them. Our last day sent us spinning back to London from Telford with a brutally short 45 minutes in Stratford On Avon and Shakespeare's Birthplace museum (my personal trip highlight).

But let me reassure you that even though I am not a military history buff, I became fascinated with the stories presented at each museum. Sadly, the focus was inevitably on war and the horrors that only mankind can inflict upon itself--and continues to do so. It's so hard to understand why we have never learned that lesson, but I can only pray that one day we will evolve past it.

The next few weeks will see me inflicting pics and commentary from our whirlwind trip through southern England. Here are a few pics from London to get us started!

The London Eye - From Afar

Buckingham Palace - The Royals Are At Home

The Tower of London
The Tower Bridge

Monday, November 4, 2013

Conflict, Story, and Your Monday Fortune Cookie 11/4/13


SNARKY RESPONSE: Oh, yeah. I'm even getting critique instructions in a crunchy cookie shell.

Every Good Story Requires A Little Conflict

And every good romance needs a bit of conflict between the hero and heroine. It's all about that "will they or won't they" that keeps a romance reader reading.

In COLLECTOR'S ITEM, the conflict between KT Marant and Peyton Allers is a struggle for supremacy. Two strong-willed people facing off over the best way to get to their individual goals.

Peyton Allers struggled to contain his temper as he faced the "princess" of the Marant clan, AKA Katarina Teresa Marant. Because a high-blood princess had slipped her leash and made herself a target for the Collectors, his cover and his operation were blow. No simple "chip & tip" would do for this Collector's Item, damn it!
KT finally lost her temper. She slammed her hands onto the floor and leaned forward to thrust her face toward his. "And just like that, you let your best chance at catching Douglas Torne slip right through your fingers? As well as my best chance to find out who has my aunt? Not happening. I won't allow it." 
When they finally resolve this contest of wills to join forces, I hope you'll agree that they truly do become greater than the sum of their parts.

COLLECTOR'S ITEM is now available in paperback at Wild Rose Publishing and on Amazon.