Thursday, December 29, 2011
Yesterday I had an opportunity to spend time with my former critique group. It was wonderful! We spent time catching each other up on what was happening for them. Most of all, they celebrated with me the up-coming release of my new book, PRINCESS KANDAKE.
These are the people that were with me from the very beginning. They listened to each and every chapter offering ways to make each line better. What great friends, talented and supportive! They have even included my book launch in their blogs, tweets, and on the Facebook news feeds. It was only appropriate that they should get the first peek.
Now that I have relocated to Arizona, I miss meeting with them and getting their input. We will forever be connected. Every time I come to town they allow me to sit in with them at their critique gatherings.
Please join with me in my excitement of the release of PRINCESS KANDAKE, available February 1, 2012.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
You might ask what has Egypt to do with Nubia and particularly it’s 25th dynasty. My answer would be, “Quite a bit!” And this is why.
Around 750 B.C. Egypt was in cultural and religious turmoil having been routed by Libya and several other kingdoms. Egypt was lost in a period of, what history describes as, decadence.
Piye, the ruler of Nubia, believed the only way to save Egypt from itself was to conquer it. Following a year-long campaign every leader in Egypt yielded to his authority. Thus, Piye became the first of the black pharaohs and the beginning of Egypt’s 25th dynasty.
For three-quarters of a century this series of rulers brought reunification to a worn-torn Egypt, reinstituted their religious culture, and “filled the landscape with glorious monuments, creating an empire that stretched from the southern border at present-day Kartoum all the way north to the Mediterranean Sea. They stood up to the bloodthirsty Assyrians, perhaps saving Jerusalem in the process (Robert Draper,National Geographic, February, 2008, p. 38).”
After conquering Egypt, Piye went back to Nubia and never returned. When he died, his burial wishes were honored. Piye desired to be buried in an Egyptian-style pyramid with 400 horses. He was the first pharaoh to be entombed in this way for over 500 years. This is the line of the 25 dynasty: Piye, who took the Egyptian name Thutmose III, ruled for 35 years. Following his death, his brother, Shabaka, ruled and took up residency in Memphis (the Egyptian capital) and took the name Pepi II. Piye’s son, Taharqa, followed Shabaka to the throne and proved to be not only a military genius, but chose to spend his political capital to create “a panorama of architectural wonderment” from Napata to Thebes,” according to Draper. This pharaoh can be credited with restoring both military might and cultural/religious notoriety to the kingdom of Egypt, setting the stage for all pharaohs to follow.
Friday, December 02, 2011
Well, it’s that time of year again. The day after Thanksgiving usually ushers in the Christmas season. That’s also the day that most people (if they aren’t out shopping) put up their tree.
Just so you know, there’s more than one style of tree. For those of you that aren’t stuck in the ‘olden days’ and expect a tree to be pine and conical, I thought I’d enlighten you. Maybe this year you could try something different.
This first one is for those of you who can’t get away from the typical pine and conical shape. It’s the same as usual…just flipped. If you’re tired of the back-breaking chore of picking those needles out of the carpet by hand( because the vacuum cleaner never gets them all), this is for you. Now they’ll fall onto the table cloth. Just bundle it up and take it outside and shake. Don’t worry about them getting into you food. After all, the surgeon general says we all need to add a little more fiber to our diet.
Okay, okay, so you don’t like the idea of an upside-down tree or one hanging from the ceiling. How about we don’t do pine and skip the needle problem. This one’s on the floor and it’s not pine. I don’t know what it is…but it’s not pine. Don’t like this one? How about we try something different. This one put me brings the movie Tron to mind. Want something not quite as heavy? What about a tree made from paper. Not good either? Sheesh, there’s just no pleasing some people. This is my last option. It’s pine, with lights, and a little bit of whimsy.
See you next Friday!
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Last post I told you the story of why I wrote the novel, Princess Kandake, that will be launched February, 2012. I told you all about my granddaughter and her need for a princess that looked like her and my use of the ancient kingdom of Nubia. So now I will begin to tell you a little bit about that kingdom.
Nubia was know by several names. The more well known names are the Kingdoms of Kush (You can find a few references in the Old Testament) and Nubia. It was located in the area between Egypt and Ethiopia (then called Aksum), what is now called Sudan. Its boundaries shifted depending on what was happening at the time.
But this map can give you a general idea of its position.
Nubia, for most of its existence, was under self rule, but having a powerful neighbor like Egypt required they maintain respectable defensive skills. These warriors were so good at what they did, Nubia was often referred to as the Ta’ Seti or Land of the Bow. They were also given the nick name, pupil shooters. A group of warriors, called the Medjay, was hired by Egypt to fight the Hyksos and other enemies. Because of their renown, services of the Medjay were continued through 1144 BC as a sort of police, keeping the peace in Egypt. Even in death Egypt looked to the skill of the Nubian warrior for protection.
Here are 40 Nubian archers, painted wood, from the tomb of Prince Mesehti 11th Dynasty, Ancient Egypt.
Now you know where Princess Kandake gets her warrior spirit.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Happy day after Thanksgiving!
While the holiday brings to mind many things to be thankful for, the poor turkey lives in fear and trepidation of the coming of this day.
Many of us sit around the dinner table with family and friends sharing a wonderful meal and enjoying the relationships of those with us. We eat ourselves to over-full and nod off for the rest of the afternoon.
Little do we know that the turkey is preparing for revenge. Vengence takes the form of forcing us to eat more and more dishes starring this bird for many meals to come lest any of it should go to waste.
We start of with the mild and benign turkey club sandwiches. Then move on to the next use of the the bird, yes the all favored turkey meatloaf. That’s really not so bad. But then we start getting a little creative turkey hash patties. But this last dish is a new one on me. The thing is frightful and I don’t believe someone came up with it, but here it is…drumroll please…
Yes, you’re actually seeing it…TURKEY CAKE!
Have a great weekend!
Sunday, November 20, 2011
As most of you know, I’m launching my novel Princess Kandake during black history month, February, 2012. Trying to gear up for that has brought all kinds of thoughts and ideas to mind. The most important being I have to get serious about my marketing plans, goals, and platform as a writer. Fortunately for me, I’m taking an on-line course from Bob Mayer and Jen Talty on self-publishing and the options available.
The first part of the course was making us aware that success is about more than writing. Being a successful author is a business and all successful businesses require plans, goals, marketing, and a solid platform. And everything I do must be tied to these four things. So I’m beginning with this blog.
I have clued you in on my journey, but I never told you what got me started in that direction and what keeps me going. (Of course you are a part of that motivation.)
I have the most beautiful granddaughter on the planet. (I know you think yours is, but sorry to say, you are wrong.) She loves to play dress-up. One day she came to me and said, “Nana, I want to be a princess, but they don’t look like me.” She was pointing at a Disney ad. “Where are all the beautiful brown princesses?”
That got me started. I was on the hunt. My daughter (her mother) and I started pointing out every princess of color we could find. We looked everywhere, at every book, poster, and magazine available and even some that weren’t.
It occurred to me that Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc. were sitting on the bookshelves of every library and close at hand for anyone to pick up, anyone except my granddaughter. Being who I am, I couldn’t rest until I did something about it and I wanted a story that would not be time-sensitive and could even become a classic. (Why dream if you can’t dream large!) The research began.
I needed someone from history and the further back the better. I hit upon ancient Nubia. Learning of the power and far reaches of this ancient kingdom were perfect! I started with a picture book, but the tale outgrew that format. It is now a Tween novel filled with adventure, action, conflict, and a hint of romance.
I will share a bit of Nubia’s greatness next time. See you then!
Friday, November 18, 2011
When I was in high school, I decided it was time to start wearing make up. I know, most girls start wearing it long before then, but I had really strict parents. Anyway, I thought long eye lashes would be great and of course I would need lipstick. But what colors to use.
I started paying attention to the other girls at school to see what they used, thinking that would help me with choices. Well, observing them helped me all right, helped me into deciding I didn’t want to look anything like them.
To this day I rarely wear make up, always afraid of overdoing it, but it still fascinates. I marvel at women who do a wonderful job and try hard not to stare at those who do the opposite. Take a look at what I mean.
Her make up isn’t really for day wear, but it is attractive in a fantastic sort of way. Hers is getting farther out there, clearly for use on the stage. This one brings Swan Lake to mind. She looks like she was experimenting with her big sister’s eye liner. This one wanted a tattoo but didn’t have the nerve for needles. And this one belongs in a play meant for children.
The rest of these are clearly for effect, looks that are designed to make you stare. I wonder if she’d still get a kiss good night. I would have a difficult time maintaining eye contact. I wouldn’t know which eyes to connect with. And talk about being two-faced. This last one would make me stare, but instead of thinking “freaky” I’d think “beautiful.”
Have a great weekend!
Friday, November 11, 2011
Most kids love building stuff. Whether it’s with blocks, clay, or mud, it doesn’t matter just as long as they can create. When I was a kid there was this gray stuff called modeling clay, Lincoln Logs, tinker Toys, and Erector Sets.
The next generation got Legos. Today everybody knows what these are. They were invented to entertain kids. I bet the creators of Legos didn’t think they’d become art or the instrument of philosophical expression.
Romance! Captivity. Yearning. Perspective.
Helplessness Despair! I believe they were intended to be the building blocks of thought and imagination.
This is what happens when grown-ups get hold of the toys they wished were around when they were kids.
Sunday, November 06, 2011
This morning as I was reading a great blog post by David Farland from his Daily Kick in the Pants. He asked these questions: What kind of writer do you want to be? Do you want to be considered an entertainer? A prophet who forewarns of political doom? A writer whose work electrifies and binds people together?
It was not hard for me to come up with an answer at all. From almost the beginning of my writing adventure, I’ve known the type of writer I’ve wanted to be. The simplest answer is to say I want to be an entertainer. But it goes beyond that. I want to write the kind of story that the reader gets lost in. What I want to happen when the reader sets the book aside for a much needed bathroom break, they become disoriented because the scene they’ve been caught up in does not match the room that has just appeared.
Bill Spann, an author and engineer I’d connected with years ago, said, “In writing, you want to create the waterfall effect. Take your readers to the very edge and drop them in.” I have never forgotten this advice and am striving toward that mark every day.
I think I’m almost there. What about you, what kind of author are you?
Friday, November 04, 2011
Halloween is over, but my mind is stuck on candy and all things sweet. One of the things I enjoy watching on TV is the confectionery competitions on the Food Network. When Life calms down a bit I plan on trying my hand at the art of pulled sugar.
In the meantime, I’ll share with you how sugar can be beautiful and sweet at the same time.
While this sculpture is gracefully uncomplicated it intricate in its execution. Imagine ‘pulling’ each one of those petals and placing them in just the right spot. This one requires not only artistry, but balance from an engineering perspective. I can’t even begin to comment on the complexity of this piece.The movement and color in this remind me of a fair in springtime. This piece is filled with beauty and emotion. It’s telling a story of intensity, strength, and grace. Who wouldn’t want a tiara filled with jewels, even if the gems are made of sugar. And this one is just plain fun!
Have a great weekend.