Trastevere

I recently returned from a trip to Italy where I spent time in Rome. One of the areas I visited while there was Trastevere where part of my novel, Not By Design, was set.

Not by Design

We cross the River Tiber and approach the archeological remains of rooms that were once baths made of black and white mosaics. My guidebook tells me that these were made in the first century AD. It’s hard for me to grasp that over two thousand years ago there was an entire civilization living on the ground I am standing on.

We are walking along the delightful district of Trastevere.  In Trastevere one will get glimpses of the “real” Rome. Marco and I have been here many times. To eat in their famous restaurant area, go to the theatre, the cinema or just mingle with the Romans in clubs and bars. Today our mission is different. We are visiting the church Bridget reserved for our wedding.
Marco and I are holding hands as we pass by boutiques offering handcrafted wares and clothing stores with magnificent styles.

As we approach Piazza Santa Maria with its spectacular fountain I stop to take in the church in front of us. It is a stunning Medieval church. Its façade glows with its series of faded mosaics honoring the Virgin Mary. I can’t think of a more romantic setting for our wedding. Even before entering the church I know that it is perfect. Except for one thing. “I can’t believe that my father won’t be here to walk me down the aisle,” I say.

 

Travestere (2)

To visit my author page click here 

 

 

 

Bau: Not The Elizabethan Collar Again!

bau in the dumps

 

I am so much in the dumps. A few days ago I had surgery in my mouth. Right now I’m wearing that ridiculous Elizabethan collar, although it isn’t my first time and I’m kind of getting used to it.

Maltese are notorious for being late bloomers. Their baby teeth often come in far later than other breeds and take much longer to fall out – if they fall out at all. These toy dogs also suffer from crowding plus tartar and plaque buildup. They are known for gingivitis, periodontal disease and early tooth loss.

Here’s a link to an article about the ten dogs prone to dental disease.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Kelland Perry: Calmer Girls

In well crafted sentences Jennifer Kelland Perry traces the journey of sixteen year old Samantha Cross and her family through their different struggles: sister rivalry, parents’ divorce, moving to a new place, teen pregnancy, mother’s drinking, money worries, Alzheimer’s and death. Whew!

Jennifer Perry Amazon

Although the plot of Calmer Girls is far more dramatic than my adolescence ever was, I was filled with nostalgic moments as I found myself reminiscing about my own adolescence with its taste of first love and the confusion of young adult friendships.

The Coming-of-Age story takes place in St John’s, Newfoundland, a city and province I have always wanted to visit and, thus, appreciated the author’s descriptions of St John’s and what it was like growing up there in the 90’s.

 

II found the characters interesting and the author did a good job of portraying their faults along with the family’s dynamics. Although it is categorized as a YA novel, I thought the mother in the story added a domestic reality as she coped with being a mother to two teenage girls while in the midst of a separation and having to relocate to a new city. My interest was sustained until the end. Jennifer Perry makes us care about these broken characters.

 

 

 

 

 

Jacqui Murray: The Quest For Home

the-quest-for-home-book-cover

Driven from her home. Stalked by enemies. Now her closest ally may be a traitor.

In her recent novel, The Quest for Home, Jacqui Murray ( using paleontological facts as backdrop) has written a well-researched work of fiction in which she brilliantly brings to life what it was like to live 830,000 years ago.

Through her main character, Xhosa, Jackie Murray provides the reader with the keys to survival: wit, strategy and perseverance. I loved that the lead warrior is a woman and that her characters come from diverse backgrounds such as Africa, Indonesia, China and Israel. Through them we learn how these people communicated, how they interacted with the animals in the wild and their struggle to survive. I was in awe by the physical and psychological strength of these people – our ancestors.

If you have followed Jacqui’s blog you know that she has a series of “how-to-describe” posts. For example, how to describe sight, how to describe pain, how to describe nature and so forth. Here, in The Quest for Home she applies her advice in how to describe similes:

Pan-do was like a river, curling over the land, sunlight glinting off its rippled surface, a welcome sight because it brought life. But underneath flowed fierce currents. Sharp rocks and treacherous plants filled its depths and it was home to vicious creatures that bit and tore without remorse. Pan-do, once riled, was no stranger to violence. He used it skillfully when he had no other choice, as a means to an end.

A word about violence. In her non-fiction introduction – which is an elucidation on prehistoric man – Jacqui Murray explains how the need to be violent was necessary in order to survive a treacherous world. In the novel’s opening, the violence was against Nature whereby  flood forced tribes to migrate; but the violence was also a means to survive against rival tribes. In this respect, we as mankind have not evolved all that much. We still have our wars, floods and hurricanes that force people to migrate, just as they did in prehistoric times.

The Quest for Home is book 2 of her Crossroads trilogy; however, it can be read as a standalone. Besides using her creative skills to craft a captivating adventure, Jacqui, also shines as an educator in sharing her knowledge of this period. If you are at all interested in learning about your prehistoric ancestors this is a novel you should pick up.

Bravo, Jacqui, for such a notable and sweeping novel.

 

Bau: Introducing Kip

My family has a new member. His name is Kip and is still a baby (4 months old). The problem is that Kip wants to play all the time. When you’re five – like me – you’re more interested in a good game of tag around a field than having Kip jump on my back, especially since he weighs the same as I do. Have a look at his paws. They are heavy.

 

Kip all swell

The other day I got a real scare as my Mistress came home with Kip, without Kip’s Mistress (my human sister). My immediate thought was Oh, no! don’t tell me that Kip’s coming to live here.

That put me in a sulky mood and so I jumped onto the bed, safe from Kip’s constant harassement. He barked because he couldn’t get on the bed but soon settled on the floor next to where I lay. As soon as I got up, he followed me around, nudging his head on mine, really entering my space. It’s very annoying.

It takes a great deal of tolerance and patience to endure him, especially when I watch him eating and drinking out of my bowls. But I say nothing. I am such a good doggie.

Later, Mistress left with Kip and returned without him. I jumped for joy although a part of me already misses him.

 

 

Jack A.Tittle: Saving Alice

I met Jack Tittle at an Algonkian Writer’s Workshop in Virginia a few years back where he was workshopping his legal mystery novel Ripples After Death while I was working my crime novel Warning Signs, which I hope to have out soon.
For my review of Ripples After death click here.

Saving Alice, unlike his legal mystery Ripples After Death, is a fantasy where the characters find themselves in different past time zones. The setting (in the woods) plays an important role as the characters attempt to navigate their lives together.

Jack Tittle Saving Alice

Unable to cope with life, two strangers wish they could live in a time when life was simpler. They meet in the past, charged with the responsibility of righting a wrong before they can return to the present. The woman is escaping from an abusive relationship and a scary past. She distrusts all men and feels safer in her present environment. The man feels he cannot trust women because his girlfriend for the last three years just tried to trick him into a proposal of marriage.
Their life experiences make it difficult for them to accomplish anything, but as they get to know each other, they find common ground to push their intentions forward. As they approach the end of their mission, they make a startling discovery, and their lives change.

I found the novel to be relaxing and pleasant. I read most of it by the pool where I was taken into a fairy-tale world which I found comforting and intriguing.

You can view Saving Alice here.

 

 

Bau: Back To School

 

Going home jeslyne

What is time to a dog? I know that the longer I am away from Bau, the more excited he is to see me. Perhaps a 45 minute visit at the hospital with these sweet girls is equivalent to a day’s work for him.

 

tired out

It’s been a hard day’s night and I’ve been working like a dog
Lennon-McCartney