Friday, April 30, 2010

Simply MAD About Alice

Simply MAD About Alice
Blog Party
at the French Cupboard

As if...

I didn't get enough of Alice in March during Alice in Whatsitland.

Tomorrow's morning posts will be devoted to more Alice!

And head over to the French Cupboard blog party links for even more!

Here's my Alice muchness:
(links will be active as post go up hourly from 5am to 12pm PDT)

Alice created by svb

Review & giveaway: Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy

Video: Alice in Wonderland (1903)

Book Fashion: Disney: Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Wonderland Elixirs

LOL - Alice book find

Upcoming Alice Books

Alice created by vvb

And YES, I'm planning another Alice event in October...

*** Alice Book Giveaway ***

If you haven't already, signup for the giveaway of Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy edited by William Irwin and Richard Brian Davis.
Hurry, offer ends tomorrow!

Masked Ball: Street Scene

Farewells and kisses on both cheeks went all around at Emmalina's front courtyard.

The Baroness and Emmalina waved a final goodbye as Lady Vee and Faustina departed. They strolled down the street in the late afternoon towards their villa.

An Irish lilt and laughter was in the air.

Tina sought out the gaiety.

Across the avenue she found two men. One she recognized as the exotic merman she spied from her window earlier in the week. While his long and unkempt luxurious hair ruffled in the breeze, his comrade sported a shiny clean shaven head. This however did not detract from his handsome magnetic features. And perhaps he also had the gift of gab to cause such laughter. Quite a manly build too. Quite.


So, we are agreed? Juan eyed Johnny with anticipation.

Aye. Aye, to the New World! After the Ball! Johnny answered with laughter.

Juan patted Johnny's back heartily as they turned to lower themselves into the awaiting gondola.

Australian historical:

Wanting: A Novel
Richard Flanagan
Release date: June 3, 2010


Masked Ball
hosted by the Charmed Circle
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Invitation ~ Programme


* image source gondola

Masked Ball: Emmalina

Lady Vee and Faustina are seated in the garden patio of Emmalina Knightley. Baroness Lammerts van Hartz is due to arrive shortly.


Dear Emmalina. I wonder if you might be able to help us. We have seemed to have misplaced our programme for the Masked Ball. Lady Vee delicately fans herself.

Yes, I might have dropped it during our latest shopping excursion. There were just so many bags to carry. Faustina reaches to put a sugar lump into her tea.

Absolutely. I actually have some extra. I was visited earlier in the week by none other than Lucia from the Charmed Circle. She delivered extra programmes for me. Knowing that I would have many guests this week, she knew I would be able to spread the word. She wanted to make sure everyone attending would have a copy for there will be much to do that evening.

Do tell. Are you and Mr Knightley settled in from your journey from Donwell Abbey? Lady Vee asks with another flicker from her fan.

Quite. This is our third season here since we have purchased the villa.

Mi scusi, signora. Baroness Lammerts van Hartz.

The Baroness was greeted with a warm reception from the garden party. Chatter about the Masked Ball took place immediately with much excitement. Gossip and news passed back and forth amongst the cheerful quartet in rapid lady-like fashion.

And, finally, the Baroness could not contain herself. She spoke of the accomplishments and wonders of her son, Jonathan.

Faustina was overwhelmed with all the praise for Jonathan spouting from the Baroness and Emmalina. He seemed the most ideal candidate for a husband with an ideal mind and physique. But what of his spirit she wondered.

She will find out tomorrow night. The Baroness has already reserved the first dance on her dance card with Jonathan's name.


Masked Ball
hosted by the Charmed Circle
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Invitation ~ Programme


Italian historical:

The Botticelli Secret
by Marina Fiorato
Release date: March 2010


*** Emma and the Werewolves book giveaway ***

If you haven't already, signup for the giveaway to win Emma and the Werewolves by Jane Austen and Adam Rann -ends May 16, 2010.

* image source Venice villa

* part of Masked Ball - read my side stories

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Masked Ball dress

If books were dresses...

(a weekly post where I create fashionable wear with book cover art)

Masked Ball
a miniature book
by Patricia Sweet
Release date: coming soon

in which Prue Batten, author of Stumpwork Robe,
has contributed a short-story

and the third Masked Ball, Charmed Circle member,
Rebecca Bingham is editor

and it even comes with an adorable mini-mask!

Meanwhile, check out

Bo Press Miniature Books

Illustrated miniature books of curiosity, mystery, humor and delight

Old Songs and Poems
Mad Science
Imaginary Maps
Amateur Mathematics
and Lizards...


AND, read the online novella (prequel to the online Masked Ball)
written by the Charmed Circle
that ends with this fantastical event...


Masked Ball
hosted by the Charmed Circle
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Invitation ~ Programme


* on my want list ;-D

* source for silhouette

* if you would like to learn how to make your own Book Fashion silhouette, let me know in comments with your email

Masked Ball: Jonathan Lammerts van Hartz

Jonathan Lammerts van Hartz could have been the model for Michelangelo's David. His natural good looks and various physical activities from hunting, archery, horse racing, etc. keeps him well-muscled and an appetizing eye candy treat for any woman young or old.

To escape his Moeder and her matchmaking activities he is on his way to a day of fencing.

He kisses his Moeder with affection and teases her about making plans for him.

His Moeder alights the carriage when they reach the home of her dear friend, Emmalina. She manages to extract a promise from me before she bids farewell. A dance. She is granted my permission to choose my first dance partner.


Masked Ball
hosted by the Charmed Circle
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Invitation ~ Programme


Dutch historical:
Garlands of Gold
by Rosalind Laker
Release date: February 1, 2010


* image source mask

* image source of hearts card

* part of Masked Ball - read my side stories


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

PeekAbook: The Stumpwork Robe

The Stumpwork Robe and The Last Stitch (sequel) by Prue Batten are the two books featured in the Masked Ball that have inspired my blogging this week.

Can you tell I'm excited about them?

Yes, sireee. My imagination has been captured with the corresponding online novella that the Charmed Circle have concocted with the event. So much so, that I've created some mini-fiction sidestories of my own.

One story that includes last year's Pemberley Ball characters, Lord and Lady Vee and introducing their daughter, Faustina. Watch Faustina encounter a Jack to take her heart at the Ball? But which Jack?

The other story incorporates the werewolf chicks from this past Werewolf Weekend (btw: giveaways are still available and end May 16). As you may recall, they are in search of a 5th member to join their pack. Will they find the 5th sister at the Ball?

The list of my Masked Ball posts are here.

It's not too late. You can join in and even crash the party if you so choose...


Masked Ball
hosted by the Charmed Circle
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Invitation ~ Programme


Here's the book trailer for The Stumpwork Robe:

Find out more about the two books at the official Stumpwork Robe site.

Waiting on Wednesday - Masked Ball: Jacques D'amond


'scusi ' scusi Signore

That pin surely did not have to poke just there. No it did not! If only Jacques would keep still for a minute. When the final alterations to his trousers were completed, he would be able to leave the dressmaker's shop and seek refuge at Caffè Carinci for a much needed espresso.

Thankfully his mask was a perfect fit. The only alteration to it at the request of his Maman, the Marquise. The mask maker was to incorporate a diamond at the right temple. This, as an inside joke between the two and so that she could identify him amongst the party revelers at the...


Masked Ball
hosted by the Charmed Circle
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Invitation ~ Programme


Jacques' mind was on other things. Namely an upcoming trip to America. It would be his first. Being the last child of a family of three boys and one girl, he plans to seek his fortune in the New World.

But before he sails, he will please the Marquise by his attendance at the Ball.

The D'amond family, the Marquise, Jacques and sister Camille, have been on holiday in Veniche for the past month to visit with relatives and to attend the Ball. For Jacques, it is a time to say goodbye to old family and friends.


Jacques sets the empty demitasse alongside the empty biscotti plate. The day is not quite done. He must visit the Libreria Internazionale Marco Polo to pick up some books for his sister. Camille has been homebound for the past two days nursing a cold. She is in a dreadful state and in need of entertainment.

Jacques walks about the busy Libreria and picks up a book of maps. Flipping through the pages, he overhears a conversation.

My dear, Enzo. I seem to have missed these during our last visit.

Si Signora. We just received these today. I believe you may enjoy these too. No?

Yessssss, Mother! These will do perfectly. Our customers will simply swoon over these.

Jacques looked up to see two finely dressed gentlewomen. The younger of the two was loaded down with shopping bags and attempting to reach for a third book to add to an already book-filled hand.

As could be foreseen, the other two books fluttered to the floor during the retrieval efforts. Jacques, quickly came to the aid of saving the books.

OH! Grazie, signore. Faustina deposited the shopping bags at her feet to accept the fallen books.

Ce n'est pas un problème. No harm done. Excusez-moi, may I ask, what swoon-worthy books are you admiring? You see, I have a sister who is in need of swooning.

Here are Faustina's books which I happen to be waiting on...

Claude and Camille
by Stephanie Cowell
Release date: April 6, 2010


Mozart's Blood
by Louis Marley
Release date: June 29, 2010

The Blind Contessa's New Machine
by Carey Wallace
Release date: July 8, 2010


Jacques raised an eyebrow at one of the cover illustrations and titles of these particular books.

Faustina finds herself blushing at the handsome young man.

Oui. Yes, these will do. I believe, my sister could inhale these by tea time tomorrow.

French historical:
The Queen’s Dollmaker
by Christine Trent
Release date: January 21, 2010


* image source costume

* image source of diamonds card

* on my want list ;-D

* part of Masked Ball

* Waiting on Wednesday
was created by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Masked Ball: Johnny o'Mallet

Johnny looked at his hand and knew it was time to fold. He threw his cards disgustedly onto the table as he rose from the table.

Signore. A signore de Spades requests your audience.

de Spades? Johnny looked at the concierge with a curious eye.

Si, signore.

It has been a year since Johnny has seen that rascal. He bloody well better have the ___.

Very well. Show him to the billiard room. I shall be there shortly.

Si signore.

Johnny cashed in his chips and made his way past the smoking lounge and the dining hall to the other side of the club. Several men greeted him as he passed. Female servants batted their eyelashes and were in awe of his suave and debonair persona. He opened the double doors to the billiard room.

de Spades! Do you have it?

Johnny, Johnny-oh, whatever happened to your manners?

Juan, you know bloody well what manners of any sort mean to me. Tell me, or I'll have your head you spanish mongrel.

Juan smiled wickedly and tossed the jewel across the billiard table.

Johnny caught his precious in one hand. He marveled at the sparkles in the light before pocketing it.

You. Are an exceptional man.

Si, señor.

How about a game?

Si. Juan reached for a cue stick, as Johnny removed the rack.

How long is Rosa Roja in port?

It is not. I left when we were in swimming distance.

I see. Finally decided to leave the good life.

Juan walked to the other side of the table for another view of his next shot.

The sea life and creatures were getting to me.

Well, you're just in time for...
Masked Ball
hosted by the Charmed Circle
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Invitation ~ Programme

There will be cards...

Si, but I hear Lady Luck has not been on your side these days.

Aye, mayhaps I should seek a change of scenery as well. In any case, there will be jewels...

Johnny, I do not want that life any more. I wish to explore America.

Very well. There will be ladies, lots of ladies...

I should like to meet some ladies. I should acquire mucho kisses before my journey, si?

As you wish, but you must DO something about your hair.

Not yet, I shall keep it for the Ball. It is a masquerade, no? The hair will go well with sea pirate attire, si?

Johnny laughed heartily. Yes, that will work. The ladies love the wild adventurous look.


Irish historical:
Eye of the Law
by Cora Harrison
Release date: June 1, 2010

* image source mask

* image source of clubs card

* part of Masked Ball - read my side stories


Masked Ball: Tina's Window

Tina was looking out of the villa's bedroom window.

The morning activities and hustle and bustle of a city always amused her.

This morning she spied something curious and unexpected.

A man in black emerged from the water's edge. He reminded Tina of a pirate rogue. Intriguing.

Tina blushed at his silhoutte made from the clothes clinging to his lean body. And, she admired his wet luxurious looking hair as he manuevered it in his hands. After squeezing out as much water as he could, he proceeded to expertly braid it in a queue much like an oriental would. He did this as he briskly walked into the street full of vendors and was lost from her eyes amongst the morning crowd.


Masked Ball
hosted by the Charmed Circle
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Invitation ~ Programme

Blogosphere Italian historical book giveaway:

A Golden Web
by Barbara Quick
Release date: April 6, 2010
giveaway at The Book Pixie

* image source Venice window

* image source of Joker card

* part of Masked Ball - read my side stories

Masked Ball: Juan de Spades

Juan jumped overboard. He plunged into the depths of the Adriatic Sea to rise up again to the surface.

He swam towards Veniche. Port of heaven or hell? In any case, Juan's days on Rosa Roja were done.

He wanted no more dealings or doings with sea travel.

He should be fine. His pouch of jewels and coins should serve him well for awhile.

Hmmm. Yes, hopefully long enough to find other means of income or perhaps a ticket to the New World.

Juan swam ashore. He was wet. He looked wild. But he felt exhilarated. He gathered his hair in hand to squeeze away the wetness and the past.

Andale! He must seek Johnny at the nearest whist club.


Masked Ball
hosted by the Charmed Circle
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Invitation ~ Programme


Spanish historical:
The Creation of Eve
by Lynn Cullen
Release date: March 23, 2010


* image source of mask

* image source of spades card

* part of Masked Ball - read my side stories


Monday, April 26, 2010

Steampunk Weekly - 4.26.10

As Freda was being served a generous helping of cucumber sandwiches with her tea, Eva eyed Mary Ann's brooch.

Is that Cartier?

Mary Ann continued to finger her brooch with affection.

Why, yes. It is a new acquisition. I picked it up while I was in France last month. In fact, I have something from him that I am commissioned to deliver to you.

Mary Ann opened her reticule again. She had been searching for lozenges earlier. She reached inside tentatively. She seemed to be swatting at something inside the depths of the reticule. She finally pulled out something wrapped in a handkerchief with the initials EMc.

Eva recognized her embroidery on the kerchief and knew what it was. She reached for the wrapped package calmly although brimming with pleasure. After removing the kerchief, everyone was treated to the most magnificent pocket watch.

Ahhh, Cartier has outdone himself, Eva thought to herself.

Ahem. And, I have something for you as well Amanda Leigh interjected as she reached for a scone.

Freda helped herself to more tea and was content to wait before revealing her contribution to this meeting.


The Tiny Bubble gently lands on the vast fields of the McGregor estate as the afternoon tea continues. Jane and Jade scurry back and forth to batten down the hatches before they depart their airship. The McGregor castle is a half mile's walk in the distance. Fortunately, the rains have stopped and the field is dry for an afternoon walk.

story flash back -~- flash forward


Dreaming Steampunk:

Clockwork Angel
book 1 of the Infernal Devices
by Cassandra Clare
Release date: September 7, 2010

Find out about the characters, artwork, and synopses at the official Infernal Devices site.


It's coming... SteamPink week... June 4-12, 2010 (details revealed in May)

SteamPink (my definition) = female heroine stories with romance, adventure or mystery in a steampunk world

*** Steampunk Book Giveaway ***

If you haven't already, signup to win this book which ends April 30, 2010!

*prize giveaway
Courtesy of St. Martin's Press
Thanks Monica!


* image source steampunk pocket watch

* part of Jane and Jade Escapades, my steampunk story in which commenters may have guest appearances.

* my weekly post on things steampunk (Victorian sci-fi/fantasy)

* totally inspired by steampunk posts written by Celia of adventures of cecelia bedelia


Sheila, Sharina, Laila and Cinder have arrived in Veniche, Italy in the 1800s this morning. They are all in human form walking amongst the various vendors in search of costumes for Sharina and Laila who will attend the Masked Ball this coming Saturday.

Sharina and Laila will try to speak with a member of the Charmed Circle for clues about the female werewolf in the area who could potentially be the 5th member of their pack.

As luck may be, they found The Masked Ball Programme of the event on the floor of one of the mask shops. An invited guest of the Ball must have inadvertently dropped it while shopping.

There will be lots of dancing. Dance patterns must be learned and practiced before the event. Fortunately, Sheila is experienced with the Regency period.


* click dance (above) to enter the Ginger Snaps Challenge.

* image source masks

* part of Werewolf Weekend (see schedule) - werewolf book giveaways are still open (see sidebar)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The 5Q Survey: Werewolf Weekend, April 2010

Dear Readers,

I've had a blast presenting the Werewolf Weekend to you. If you could take a moment to give me a little feedback so that I can better prepare future events, it would be much appreciated.

Below is a 5 question survey. Latecomers are welcome to get their two-bits in. Also, feel free to be anonymous when you complete it. However if you want to earn extra points towards the werewolf challenges, I will need contact info.

Thanks for joining me!

* image source female werewolf


Moving On

Kalix has made her choice. She does not wish to join. She has enough to deal with as it is.

The 5th sister is still out there.

We've received word while we were in the city. While in a coffee shop, Laila spoke with a Lone Wolf who told us about this...

Per this post Bacigalupo by Signora Neroni there could be werewolf activities here:

Masked Ball
hosted by the Charmed Circle
(Pat, Prue & Rebecca)

May 1, 2010
8pm - 10pm

more details and invite


We must go to Venice to see if our 5th sister is among the Others.

However, we must travel to Venice of the 1800s.

Time travel?

Yes, we Weres, are special.

Come back tomorrow for some Venice sights and sounds.

And then return, May 1 to see what transpires at the Masked Ball.


ALERT: Today is the last day for SheWolf Challenge entries.

Giveaway winners will be announced and notified via email on May 18, 2010.

Please complete the feedback survey.


Special thanks to fellow bloggers:

L.H. of Travails of a Budding Author
for guest footnote posts - Werewolf Common Sense
--check out her site for more Common Sense notes for Werewolves, Vampires and Zombies!

Shana of Kreating Insecurities

And thanks to publishers:

St. Martin's Press
Thanks to Eileen!

Random House
Thanks to Ali!


* image source Venice

* part of Werewolf Weekend (see schedule)


Laila and I walk through the city streets of London.

We hope Kalix will join us.

As for me, I have been a part of the pack since birth.

Sheila is my mother.

My father is a human.

But that is another story...


Werewolf Common Sense 11:
Proper etiquette dictates that young women afflicted with lycanthropy be discreet in their withdrawal from human society. Family are swift and often merciless in distancing themselves from such a stain on their lineage. Ladies who are quick to explore the rustic Americas or attend boarding schools in the exotic Far East are suspects of such an unfortunate condition.
-L.H. Parker of Travails of a Budding Author


* click birth (above) to enter the giveaway for Leader of the Pack by Karen MacInerney - book prize courtesy of Random House - Thanks to Ali!

* image werewolf woman

* part of Werewolf Weekend (see schedule)


Cinder will remain behind. She is young yet and will observe from the woods with Sheila.

Cinder came to us last year when her Mother, Ella, died in battle. Sheila, who is Ella's blood sister, agreed to raise Cinder.

Cinder's twin brother resides with their Father, a lone wolf, who you may meet in October.


Werewolf Common Sense 6
Lone werewolf survival skills involve complete integration with the human masses. The local packs take care to seek such loners and quickly eliminate the threat. Often authorities find themselves explaining such situations to weeping human widows.
-L.H. Parker of Travails of a Budding Author


* image source wolfcub

* click battle (above) to enter the giveaway for On the Prowl by Karen MacInerney - book prize courtesy of Random House - Thanks to Ali!

* part of Werewolf Weekend (see schedule)


After our shift, Laila opens the bundle she had been carrying.

She hands me jeans and a t-shirt.

Laila dresses in similar thrift store fashion. But, she likes to top off with a baseball cap.


I usually am in company with Laila. We have been together since we were wee wolves.

Laila is from the lonely steppes of Inner Mongolia where the wolves are becoming scarce. Her Pack was running. Dodging bullets. Laila had separated from her Mother in the frenzy to escape. When Laila jumped over a bush she found herself falling through an unusual hole. It was one of the gateways to Wereland. She has been with us since.


Werewolf Common Sense 13
Slave traders are eager to possess the mythical female werewolves of the north. Assuming one can be caught, the female would fetch an astronomical price in the slave market. It is not the unforgiving terrain that slavers fear—it is the spilling of their blood.
-L.H. Parker of Travails of a Budding Author


* image source of wolf from cover of Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong - read more about the wolves of Inner Mongolia in this book

* click wee (above) to enter the giveaway for Howling at the Moon by Karen MacInerney - book prize courtesy of Random House - Thanks to Ali!

* part of Werewolf Weekend (see schedule)


Two of us will go to meet Kalix.

Before we go, our bodies transform.

What was once fur is now smooth skin.

Living in Wereland and partaking of its magical vegetation has enabled Weres to control their shifting.

We can change at will and are not drawn by any patterns or moon cycles like most of our sister werewolves.


Werewolf Common Sense 12
One theory postulates that the lycanthropy affliction originates from the unforgiving Arctic terrain. Legends pertaining to the “Lady of the North” describe the mother white wolf whose howl calls down a blinding tempest of snow and ice. The male werewolf's curious infatuation with ladies of flaxen hair and stormy eyes suggests a certain truth to this myth. Fair daughters beware.
-L.H. Parker of Travails of a Budding Author


* image source shifting

* click fur (above) to enter the giveaway for Dark Moon by Lori Handeland - book prize courtesy of St. Martin's Press - Thanks to Eileen!

* part of Werewolf Weekend (see schedule)


We commence with the search for our future recruit.

Sheila says we are close. She had another vision that revealed the name. Kalix.

During my scouting expedition, I spotted wolf tracks that turned human at this meadow clearing.

The city is but an hour away.


Werewolf Common Sense 10:
Research suggests that females dominate in nearly all pack hierarchy decisions. With the looming threat of high mortality rates, males find themselves submitting in hopes of winning a mate or merely placating the female Alpha. The age of the dominate male werewolf is quickly coming to an end.
-L.H. Parker of Travails of a Budding Author


* click on tracks (above) to enter the giveaway for the Lonely Werewolf Girl and to read more about Kalix.

* image source werewolf woman

* part of Werewolf Weekend (see schedule)

In My Mailbox - 4.25.10

As part of my Werewolf Weekend, this week's In My Mailbox includes a giveaway offer (in the footnotes).

Take a look at the schedule and read about the werewolf doings.

Other werewolf goodies are also on my sidebar.


For review and giveaway courtesy of Random House:

by S.A. Swann
my giveaway here

Howling at the Moon
Tales of an Urban Werewolf
Karen MacInerney
my giveaway here

On the Prowl
Tales of an Urban Werewolf
by Karen MacInerney
my giveaway here

Leader of the Pack
Tales of an Urban Werewolf
by Karen MacInerney
my giveaway here


Mystery book sent from ??? - courtesy of St. Martin's Press:

Fireworks Over Toccoa
by Jeffrey Stepakoff


* click goodies (above) to enter the giveaway for Never Cry Werewolf by L.A. Banks - book prize courtesy of St. Martin's Press - Thanks to Eileen!

* part of Werewolf Weekend (see schedule)

* image from Leafcutter Designs - world's smallest postal service

* In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie. A post where we share books acquired via mailbox, library, store, etc.

Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu