Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! May a little miracle touch all of your lives and bring you peace and happiness!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Art & History Feature - Old Russian New Year's Greeting Cards

In the spirit of the holidays and because I'm a bit nostalgic about my childhood right now, here's a collection of old Russian and USSR New Year's Greeting cards. New Year was THE holiday that everyone celebrated for many years (since the government pretty much outlawed the celebration of religious holidays, like Christmas, during the Soviet years. Now people are back to celebrating those again, thankfully!)The Rusisan equivalent of Santa Clause is Old Man, orGrandfather, Frost (Ded Moroz), and he's often seeing with his granddaughter Snow Maiden (Snegurochka).

Note: All the cards say "Happy New Year" in Russian.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Quote of the day

I feel like I really have to believe this right now.

No matter how many times you get knocked down, keep getting back up. God sees your resolve. He sees your determination. And when you do everything you can do, that’s when God will step in and do what you can’t do. 

  ~Joel Osteen,
Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential

Monday, December 9, 2013

Contests & Giveaways in the Writing World - Week of December 9th

And do you know why it's ok? Because it's another week of great of contests & giveaways in the writing world, of course!

First up is a great excerpt from and a giveaway of Eternal Heiress by Charlene Roberts on Tina Moss' Blog! Hurry to check it out.

Next up is Candace's Book Blog 5th Blogoversary Giveaway with not one, not two, but four prize packages of great books! Don't believe me? Go see for yourself! 

Learn more about writer Jessica Lemmon on The Ever After Girls Blog (Including the answer to the question: Would you rather be trapped in a room with Tom Hardy for twenty four hours knowing that you’ll have to eventually kill him to leave, or be trapped in a room for twenty four hours, spending your last moments in his loving embrace—before he kills you.) Then comment for a chance chance to win one of her e-novellas Can't Let Go or If You Dare.

Check out the Blog Ring of Power Year in Review Bloghop and enter to win lots of great prizes. Check out Sandra Ulbrich's blog today for details.

Susan Heim is hosting Rachel Harrington today on her blog, who give some advice on writing and is giving away 2 copies of her e-book Sweet Poison.

 Looking for a writing contest? Enter the 83rd Annual Writing Competition from Writer's Digest? Early Bird entry deadline is May 5th. Prizes include a chance to win $3,000 cash, get a one-on-one attention with four editors or agents and much more. And the winner will be announced on the cover of Writer's Digest!

Write poetry? You still have time to enter the  $500 Julie Suk Prize for Best Poetry Book published in 2013. Check for more details.

Write Children's stories? Write a short holiday story (no more than 350 words) about Holiday Mishap, mix-up, miscommunication, mistake, or potential disaster, and enter the 3rd Annual Holiday Contest. The entry deadline is Friday, December 13th. Find out all the details on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog. There are lots of really amazing prizes to be won!

*As always, please contact me for the inclusion of your contests/giveaways into the Monday Contests and Giveaways in the Writing World posts.

Have fun and good luck! 

Also, don't forget to become a follower of this blog to make sure you catch giveaways coming soon!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Writer's Christmas Wish List - Some Suggestions

 So what would a writer put on their wish list? Here are a few items that may be useful, interesting or just fun.

1. For those writers who don't find holding their laptops on their lap very comfortable or get burned by their overheated machines (as well as those whose cats insist on sitting on their lap while they are working), there's Lap Desks. There is a variety of these out there. The ones I think would work the best are from LapDawg:

Amazon has a number of a number of cool lapdesks as well, so check it out.

2. For those who like to keep track of the time they spend writing in one sitting, there are adorable timers that would look great on a writer's desk. How about this cute Kikkerland Owlet Kitchen timer that comes in a variety of colors?

Not into owls? You can't resist the penguins, I'm sure:

3. A subscription to a writer's magazine online, with multiple extra benefits and discounts with premium subscriptions might be just the thing for the writer in your family. Check out the Writer's Digest and Writer Magazine as just two of subscriptions to conciser.

4. Writer software, while not for everyone, might be a fun and useful addition to a writer's tool kit. There are actually a number of free ones - check out 10 of them in the article from TechRadar.Computing. Don't forget the Scrivener, a word-processing software to help writers to all kinds of important things, like outlining, storyboarding and organizing metadata. You can download a sample limited version to see if it is something you'd like.
(image copyrighted by Scrivener)

5. Writers love stationary - better believe it! Even if we mostly now enter our words onto a computer, we still love notebooks that we keep by our bedside or in our bag as we commute. And, of course, to write in notebooks we need cool pens. So don't forget about those little details that can bring a lot of happiness and joy to a writer. Check out these gorgeous notebook selections from Paperblanks.

6. And last, but not least, never forget that any writer is also an avid reader (I'm pretty confident making that generalization). So gift cards to book stores like Amazon, Barnes and Noble or any other book store would always be appreciated!

What are you putting on your writer wish list? What products would you find most useful or just fun?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Quote of the Day

It is the possibility that keeps me going, and though you may call me a dreamer or a fool or any other thing, I believe that anything is possible.
  ~ Nicholas Sparks

Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday Art & History Feature - Nadya Rusheva

Apollo and Daphne by Nadya Rusheva
When I was a young girl in Kiev, Ukraine, I remember my older cousin, an artist, leaving me a book of drawings by Nadya Rusheva when she immigrated. I remember being very moved by the drawings, especially because some of them were of scenes from my favorite book, Master and Margarita by M. Bulgakov, but moved even more, and saddened, by Nadya's biography. I was about twelve or thirteen when I encountered this amazing artist - and she made an especially strong impact on me because she was only 17 when she passed away.

Nadya Rusheva
Nadya was born in 1952 in Ulan Bator, where her parents were staying at the time of her birth, although they soon moved back to Russia. She began drawing when she was five, and by the age of seven, her family realized that she had an amazing talent. She once painted 36 illustrations to "The Tale of Tsar Saltan", written by Alexander Pushkin, in one night, as her father was reading the story to her.

Nadya always drew without preparation, and almost never erased. She often worked with a pen to make the drawings. The simplicity of her drawings, the purity of the lines, make a strong impression and endear to the viewer. When Bulgakov's widow, Yelena Bulgakova, saw the drawings of Master and Margarita by Nadya (when the young artist passed away), she said "I wish I knew this amazing and subtle creature."

Nadya died of a brain hemorrhage because of congenital defect. She died in March of 1969 in Moscow. She created 10,000 artworks in the span of her short, but stunning, life.

Asteroid 3516 Rusheva is named after Nadya.

Here's a collection of some of my favorite drawings by this remarkable young woman.

Master and Margarita meeting for the first time, by Nadya Rusheva
Margarita, by Nadya Rusheva

Centaurs by Nadya Rusheva
Women, by Nadya Rusheva

Pushkin (a classical Russian writer and poet) and his wife, by Nadya Rushina
Goncharova, Pushkin's wife, by Nadya Rusheva

Ballerina, by Nadya Rusheva
Little Prince (by Antoine de Saint-Exupery) by Nadya Rusheva

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I'm Grateful For...

 In honor of Thanksgiving, here's what I'm grateful for this year...

1. Having an amazing, kind, generous, loving, creative, supportive (should I go on?) hubby! He is my best friend and I'm really lucky to have him.

2. My family - I couldn't be who I am without them. And I couldn't continue to be who I am without them.

3. Buying a house! This was finally the year and I couldn't be happier with it. I love how cozy and beautiful it is. And decorating it for various holidays makes me excited.

4. The Dojo. Our karate school's continuing presence in my life gives me support, stability and focus. We have built an amazing community of students and parents and I'm grateful for it every day.

5. Reading. It is forever my outlet for relaxation, getting away from the stress of the everyday life and a constant source of inspiration. Reading is my favorite hobby and I'm grateful to be able to buy books and to have any time to read during the day.

6. And, of course, my writing. Writing continues to be my passion, my creative outlet and I will forever be grateful to be able to write. Of course, this year my co-authored urban fantasy, A Touch of Darkness, came out and I am so grateful for the unbelievable support of the writing community and everyone who helped Tina Moss and I on this special journey. And to each and every reader who ever picks up and reads our novel - thank you!

What are you grateful for this year?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Quote of the Day

Master and Margarita by Nadya Rusheva (1968)
Follow me, reader! Who told you that there is no true, faithful, eternal love in this world! May the liar's vile tongue be cut out! Follow me, my reader, and me alone, and I will show you such a love!

~ Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Contests & Giveaways in the Writing World - Week of November 25th

Grrrr...Monday again! The great news is that it's a short work week! And an even better news - there are lots of contests & giveaways to make your week great!

First of, check out the absolutely gorgeous double cover reveal of The Legend of Me and The Winter People by Rebekah Purdy and enter for a chance to win an eARC of the books! You won't be sorry!

Win a $100 Amazon GC or PayPal Cash at the Siding With Plato Book Blast by Michelle Manning on Susan Heim On Writing blog.

Mystery and danger, and of course romance, await you in The Russian Temptation by Nikki Navarre. Enter for a chance to win a copy on GoodReads.

Check out an excerpt from The Transformation of Anna and Echoes, the first two books in the Cornerstone Deep series by Charlene A. Wilson and enter for a chance to win a copy of, as well as some swag, at the Mythical Books blog.

Enter for a chance to win a $10 B&N or Amazon GC during the Bewitching Book Tours: Entangled Flaunt Tour Spotlight on Take a Chance series by Diane Alberts

Love Writing Contests? Check out this list of contests at the Writer magazine.

Want more contests? How about entering the 83rd Annual Writing Competition from Writer's Digest? Early Bird entry deadline is May 5th. Prizes include a chance to win $3,000 cash, get a one-on-one attention with four editors or agents and much more. And the winner will be announced on the cover of Writer's Digest!

*As always, please contact me for the inclusion of your contests/giveaways into the Monday Contests and Giveaways in the Writing World posts.

Have fun and good luck! 

Also, don't forget to become a follower of this blog to make sure you catch giveaways coming soon!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Quote of the Day

In life, God doesn't give you the people you want. Instead, he gives you the people you need - to teach you, to hurt you, to love you, and to make you exactly the way you're meant to be.

~ unknown

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Man Candy Richard Armitage

I have nothing to say today, so enjoy some man candy: Richard Armitage, aka Lucas North of MI-5, aka Thorin Oakenshield of the Hobbit, aka Guy of Gisborne of Robin Hood.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cover Reveal - DEPENDENT by Brenda Corey Dunne

Today I'm so happy to be part of the cover reveal for a friend and agent-mate Brenda Corey Dunne! I couldn't be happier for Brenda. So, without further delay, here's the beautiful cover of Dependent.

About Dependent:

When 45-year-old Ellen Michaels loses her husband to a tragic military accident, she is left in a world of gray. For 25 years her life has been dictated by the ubiquitous They—the military establishment that has included her like chattel with John’s worldly goods—his Dependents, Furniture, and Effects. They—who have stolen her hopes, her dreams and her innocence, and now in mere months will take away the roof over her head. Ellen is left with nothing to hold on to but memories and guilt and an awful secret that has held her in its grip since she was 19. John’s untimely death takes away her anchor, and now, without the military, there is no one to tell her where to go, what to do— no one to dictate who she is. Dependent deals with issues ever-present in today’s service families—early marriage, frequent long absences, the culture of rank, and post traumatic stress, as well as harassment and abuse of power by higher-ranking officials. It presents a raw and realistic view of life for the lives of the invisible support behind the uniform.
Release date estimated July 29, 2014.
About the author:
Brenda Corey Dunne grew up in rural New Brunswick, Canada. She originally trained as a physiotherapist and worked several years as a Physiotherapy Officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force before meeting the love of her life and taking her release.

She completed her first full length manuscript in 2008 as a bucket-list item and since then she has self-published a work of YA historical fiction (TREASURE IN THE FLAME), and has several other manuscripts in various stages of completion. DEPENDENT, an adult contemporary fiction, will be published by Jolly Fish Press in summer 2014. Brenda is represented by Jennifer Mishler and Frances Black of Literary Counsel.

When not working as a physiotherapist or writing, Brenda can be found juggling taxi-mom duties, working in the garden or strolling through the horse paddock with a coffee in hand. She currently resides on a small hobby farm in Eastern Ontario (Canada) with her husband and their three children, two horses, a dog, a cat, several chickens and the occasional sheep.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Quote of the Day

Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.

  ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Art & History Feature - Caterina Sforza in paintings

I'm utterly fascinated by Caterina Sforza, an amazing woman of the Italian Renaissance, a strong-willed, supremely intelligent noble lady, a valiant warrior in her own right, who lived in the same time period as the Borgias.

A post about Caterina Sforza's life will be coming to the Art & History Feature soon, but today enjoy the paintings of Italian Renaissance inspired by Caterina's face.

One of the most prolific artists to use Caterina as the subject in his many works was Sandro Botticelli. Here are some of those paintings.

A fragment of Purification of a Leper by Botticelli, a fresco in the Sistine Chapel, Vatican. Caterina is seeing here six months pregnant with her third child, daughter Bianca.

A fragment from Botticelli's La Primavera (1498) The Grace on the right is said to be Caterina Sforza.
A close-up of Caterina Sforza's face as one of the Graces in La Primavera by Botticelli
Caterina Sforza depicted here as St. Catherine of Alexandria by Botticelli  

Caterina Sforza (1481-1483) by Lorenzo di Credi

I'm planning a post about Caterina within the next month.
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