Let There Be Friendship

Saturday, December 31, 2011

This year's theme for the Times Square crystal ball really struck a chord for me: 'Let There Be Friendship'. My parents are both deceased and what little family remains is scattered throughout the country.

However, over the years I have been blessed with circles of friends. Friends from writing, friends from practice of law and friends from playing trivia, etc. This Christmas I sat at the table along with ten others at a friend's house. We'd had a great meal and were simply talking when one person brought out a deck of Christmas trivia cards. Whenever a question pertained to a song, we would break out singing; for other questions we would shout out answers before the question was completed. At some point I looked around at the laughing, smiling faces and realized over the years I had built myself a family. Not one of blood but of love and fellowship.

So for 2012, my wish for everyone is friendship. I only hope your life is as enriched by friends as mine is.

Happy New Year! Love, Carol and Maddie

Xmas Traditions: Food Glorious Food

Monday, December 19, 2011

Food from the mundane to the unsual plays an important role in festivities across the world. Sit down for Xmas dinner in Norway and you may smell the aroma of old blue cheese. What you are actually getting a whiff of is Kiviak, a delicacy made from the raw meat of an auk in an advanced state of decomposition after the bird meat has been buried under a stone encased in a sealskin for a few months.

Belgians serve cougnou, also called bread of Jesus. A sweetbread molded in the form of baby Jesus, it is given to children on Xmas along with a cup of hot chocolate.

In Slovakia not all food ends up being eaten. Slopping the ceiling is a tradition at Xmas Eve dinner. The head of the family takes a spoon of Loksa (a dish made out of bread, poppy seed filling and water) and throws it up at the ceiling. The more mixture that remains glued on the ceiling the richer his/her crops will be the following year. 

Want your wish to come true? Then in Great Britain you would stir your Christmas pudding clockwise.

Expect a few surprise guests in Portugal where 'consoda' is a special feast served on Xmas morning. The table is set with extra seats for the souls of the dead and food is offered in the hopes the souls will bring the family good luck. 

In Japan come Christmas day fried chicken is the food of choice and lines form around Kentucky Fried Chicken. However, McDonald's is offering chicken specials . Hold the pickles...speaking of pickles...

:) Carol

Her Dark Protector cover is here!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

We interrupt our exploration of holiday traditions to bring you the just received cover for Her Dark Protector, my Marh 26, 2012 release. The Carina Press art department has done it again. I love this one!
:) Carol

Warding Off Evil-Another Xmas Tradition

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Santa Claus and his reindeer had better watch out for they're not the only ones out and about on Xmas Eve.

In Norway people hide their brooms for witches and evil spirits are bent on stealing brooms for a joy ride. Mops and brushes are also hidden. Men sneak out of the house to fire shotguns to scare off the witches...or just to make a lot of noise.

The Greeks may build a crackling fire or hang pig jaws inside chimneys to fend off evil spirits called Kallikantzaroi. Descriptions vary, but these half-human, half-animal pests live in the earth only to surface for the twelve days of Xmas to wreck havoc. Good thing. During the year they spend their time sawing the World Tree. The dawning of Xmas distracts them from sawing and they go to the surface. When the sun begins moving again on the Epiphany, the Kallikantzaroi return to their world only to discover the Tree has healed itself. Back to the sawing for these folklore goblins.


Christmas Traditions Across the World

Sunday, December 11, 2011

In the days leading up to December 25, I'll be exploring different Xmas traditions around the world.

If they followed tradition, girls in the Czech Republic are currently waiting to know their marital future as part of their Christmas celebrations.  On December 4, girls put cherry twigs in water. If the twig blossoms before Xmas Eve, they will marry sometime during the year.

Of course, children have been definitely behaving for St. Nicholas aka Svaty Mikalas climbs to earth down from heaven on a golden rope along with his two companions: an angel [Anděl] and a whip-carrying devil[Čert ]. For those kids who have been nice, they get presents from St. Nicholas; those on the naughty list they get visits from the devil with the switch. Talk about good cop/bad cop. 

However, the naughty or everyone else for that matter might really want to avoid Krampus Night. Krampus is Santa’s evil twin whose job is to beat and punish all the children who have misbehaved. On the eve of St. Nicholas Day (December 6th) party-goers masquerade as devils, wild-men and witches and drunkenly run around towns hitting people with sticks and switches. The Krampus legend originates in the Germanic alpine regions and is widespread throughout Hungary, Bavaria, Slovenia and in Austria.


More Pint-sized Libraries

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The British phone book library that I featured in the last post has caught on. As phone booths fall into disuse, other enterprising individuals have converted them into 'libraries'.  Clinton, New York uses a bright red British kiosk to house about 100 books.  The Book Booth even has a Twitter and Facebook following.

Think an American open-box style of a phone booth can't be used as a library? Think again. Several have popped up and the one in Highland Park, CA is labeled with a Book Crossing serial number.

Small-sized libraries are not limited to phone booths. This miniature book depository known as a corner library is located in Brooklyn, New York. About the size of a doghouse, it contains a small scale of resources one can find at a regular-size libraries from books to CD's.

Walking in a park and have an urge to sit and read a book? This book stand is located in a Korean park.

Laying claim to being the smallest freestanding library in America is Norman, AK's, which is the size of a small bedroom, about 177 square feet.

I love these gems of libraries.  :) Carol

Sandra Hyatt

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The talented USA Today best-selling author Sandra Hyatt passed away this year. Her last book Lessons in Seduction is being released today in print and on December 1 in e-book.  I'm joining others in the romance community in getting the word out about the book.

I had the privilege of meeting Sandra at the RWA Convention in Washington, DC and then again in San Francisco. She was bright, energetic and very giving of her time and talent to others.  Her writing was superb as evidenced by her best-selling status and it is no surprise that Romantic Times Magazine has rated her last book with a 4.5 star rating.  Here are a few buy links but the book is available on many other sites and in your favorite bookstore.

Amazon print: http://amzn.to/s7nHHg
Kindle edition: http://amzn.to/sTItby

Sandra, thank you for all the great reads.  Carol

Unusual Libraries

Sunday, November 27, 2011

After learning about the Derby Line library, I wondered if there were other unusual libraries. To my delight, there are. This little gem is private, built to house a Tolkien collector’s extensive collection.
Then here’s one of the world’s smallest libraries in the world. When a British phone company wanted to take away the iconic red phone booth in the England town of Westbury-sub-Mendip, the locals rescued the booth by using it as a library.
Open 24 hours a day, the booth has a light inside for midnight browsing of the 100 books, CDs, and DVDs donated from the libraries of the townsfolk. 

I want one! Carol  

A Library With No Books

Monday, November 21, 2011

International border line within the library

In the United States there's a library with no books and an opera house with no stage, and they're both in the same building. 

I've been researching Vermont as the setting for my next book and came across an interesting oddity. The village Derby Line that borders Canada has a library deliberately built to span both countries.

Derby Line was incorporated in 1791 but because of an erratic survey, the border separating Canada from the United States was drawn incorrectly by the surveyors in the 18th century, above the 45th parallel which was the agreed boundary. Derby Line was founded based on that line, above the 45th parallel.

A binational couple, the Haskells, chose to construct the Haskell Free Library and Opera House on the international border in 1904 so that people on both sides of the border would have use of the facility. Patrons of the library from either side of the border may use the facility without going through border security.

The library collection and the opera stage are located in Stanstead, Canada, but the door and most opera seats are located in Derby Line.

The library/opera house isn't the only place with the international border running through it.  For some individual homes, a meal may be prepared in one country and eaten in the other.  

The library collection and the opera stage are located in Stanstead, but the door and most opera seats are located in Derby Line. Because of this, the Haskell is sometimes called "the only library in U.S.A. with no books" and "the only opera house in U.S.A. with no stage". Its two addresses are 93 Caswell Avenue, Derby Line, Vermont and 1 Church Street, Stanstead, Quebec.

We're Baaaacck!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

While I still can't access Blogger via my main Internet, I finally have been able to access through another service. Go figure.

Since I've last posted, I finished Her Dark Protector, which has a release date of March 26, 2012 from Carina Press.  This book begins my new mini-series called "The Justice Hunters" centering on a shadow society. The Justice Alliance for centuries has guarded justice and the rules of laws.  Whenever chaos threatens to reign, the organization steps in.  Calling themselves the Justice Hunters, the members come from all segments, from business leaders to professors, but most have something in common: they have lost a dear one to violence.  As opposed to vigilantes, they strive to protect witnesses, find evidence and otherwise help to maintain order.  They have eyes and ears everywhere from the courtrooms to the streets.

As the release draws closer, I'll tell more about the book. In the meantime, Maddie is happy to have my full attention again. I'm also tackling my long neglected yard and house and looking forward to the holidays.  My trivia team The Blazers continues its winning ways and in the future I'll be posting about some interesting bits-and-bobs of information.  Of course, Maddie will be adding her two-cents in.  


This Week on Not Your Usual Suspects

Friday, September 23, 2011

Maddie here. Carol blogged about her favorite fights scenes this week on Not Your Usual Suspects


The group also posted about their fall photos.


Carol will be back next week after making her deadline on the revisions on 'Her Dark Protector', a March 2012 release from Carina Press [first book in a new series The Justice Hunters].

Woof, Maddie

9-11 Never Forget

Sunday, September 11, 2011

On September 11, 2001 I was at work preparing for a deposition when I walked into the kitchen to get a cup of tea. A few co-workers were watching the TV and told me a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Center towers. We stood there watching the coverage and wondering how on earth a plane could hit the tower and what a tragic accident.

Then in disbelief we watched the second plane hit the other tower. I said, "That's no accident. That's an attack."

The horror continued to unfold but I had to go to my deposition on another floor. During the course of the deposition, an alert sounded and we had to vacate the building. Panic, fear and shock pervaded every aspect of our lives that day. I know I never want to feel so helpless, so out of control ever again.

Later I learned a few of the terrorists had stayed briefly at a motel only a few miles away from where I live, and it gave me the absolute creeps that those monsters could have been standing next to me in a grocery store and I never would have known it.

I hope that nothing mars the remembrances today. My heart goes out to all who lost loved ones that day. My prayers go to those in service who protect us. And no, we'll never forget. Carol

Ode to Vermont's Covered Bridges-Bennington to Burlington

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I've been fortunate to travel, but one of my all time favs was a trip in October 2003 to see Vermont's fall colors. My friend and I decided on a whim that rather than spend time in stores we would see how many of the infamous covered bridges we could find. What a blast.

We explored the twining back roads, saw sights we never would have from the main highways, lunched in country stores & met locals who calmly directed two crazy tourists to obscure bridge.

I know the people of Vermont have a steadfast fortitude and they will recover from the flooding. In fact, I'm setting my next book in Vermont so...I'm going to revisit that wonderful time when my friend and I managed to find dozens of bridges. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to locate the log/map that I wrote down all the bridges' names so I only have a few names matched up with the photos. :) Carol

Bennington: Silk Bridge (1840), Paper Mill Village Bridge (1889, rebuilt 20000, Henry Bridge (1840, replicated 1989)

The rest are those we found on our way from Bennington to Burlington.

The Power of Photography in a Year of Loss

Sunday, August 21, 2011

All my friends know that my love for photography centers on nature/scenic photos. I kick, scream & fight whenever asked to photograph people. I especially detest the posed variety photos. If I photograph people are all, I go for those shots where the person doesn't know what I'm doing.

However, I am grateful to those who over the years have insisted that I take photos at events, that I need people in shots as this has been a year of loss for me. From the sudden death of a young attorney in my firm to the loss of an author today who had been kind to me at RWA conferences. For three of the five losses, I've had photographs to give to family and friends, and for the other two, I've been able to look at photos taken by others.

Because of these photos, I have images of these people captured during good and happy times, and I'll be able to remember them in those moments whenever I think of them.

So while I still may grumble when asked to photograph people at events, I'll remember I'm capturing friends and loved ones in happy moments that I'll be able to share. Carol

~Jorge Herrera, Robin Cohen, Denise Myers, Helen Kirigin, and Sandra Hyatt~

The End

Monday, August 15, 2011

At 4:24 p.m. on August 14, 2011 I emailed to my Carina Press editor the completed manuscript of Her Dark Protector. The book is hopefully the first in a series that I've been calling "The Justice Hunters" about a secret justice society.

The moment I punched 'send' I felt tremendous relief for I had once more met my deadline. However, I also experienced great trepidation. I've lived with this book and its characters since the beginning of the year. I care about them and their story so I fret whether I did them justice. The book is my baby and it's hard to step back and be dispassionate.

I know I wrote the best book that I could at the time and pushed myself to expand in areas of the craft. Now I have to sit and hope that all is well and everyone will love it.

:) Carol

Maddie here

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Maddie here. Carol's in a state of collapse from finishing Her Dark Protector today. Carol still has to revise and fine tune the book before turning it in, but as she says, she'll meet her deadline. This book that will be a Carina Press release features a secret justice society with loads of chase, fight and love scenes. You should have seen her working out a fight last night. All that weaving and shifting made my head spin.

She asked me to post few photos from Napa Valley since her brain cells are liquified and talking coherently is beyond her. However, I decided I'd post a few of my favorite shots. Hee! Maddie