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There is nothing usual about the Amazing Arden.  A female illusionist in the 1900s, where such a thing is a rarity, she cuts a man in half every night.

But one night, after the show, a dead man is found.  She flees, and luck, or perhaps fate, throws her into the path of the sheriff of a neighboring town.  Instead of turning her in, Officer Virgil Holt takes her to his own office with the intention of using her capture to prove his usefulness despite a well-hidden, but debilitating wound.

This is, in some ways, the frame in which the real story sits.  During the interrogation, Arden tells the whole of her own story, an unbelievable and complex thing filled with luck, hope, and love.  It is a story about magic, but it is told in a pragmatic, practical light.  The chapters between the slices of Arden’s history are, the some ways, out chance to take a breath as Virgil voices our opinions.  They are tense, because Arden is trying to convince him to let her go free.

I liked both halves of the story.  I’ll admit, it’s not what I expected.  This is not really a mystery to be solved with detective work and forensics.  The reader spends time wondering if she is the killer, the victim, or a madwoman – but the resolution of that is the story she tells, not through sought out evidence.  It is beautifully told, I loved the slice of late 1800’s/early 1900’s history and life, the bits about illusions and how she built her career.  I also enjoyed the interplay between Arden and Virgil – often I am tempted to race through the secondary story, but this was well written and I wanted to read it and see what was happening there.

So, the take away.  This is an excellent historical novel.  The characters and place are drawn extremely well, you feel like you are there.  I really enjoyed it.

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Anyway.  You know what I told my editor and publisher a few weeks ago?

I told them that I would turn in The Chocolatier’s Ghost by the end of the month.  Apparently, despite the scarring of many years, I forgot that April is my super-busy-run-run-and-become-brain-dead month.  And that the last half of March is just as insane as all of April.

So yeah.  I promised to turn in a fully polished MS (the second draft is half way done) by the end of THIS MONTH.

HAHAHAHAH (pause for breath)  HAHAHAHAHA SOB

One of the things I did to make myself crazy was help provide the entertainment at an event where I work.

Here is a video featuring me a lot in the background.  I am fencing in the black doublet and skirt.  (The black doublet is actually over the boned kirtle that goes with my purple Tudor dress.  I’m dancing in the purple Tudor dress, too.  Everything you see me wear, save for the gloves, I made, and the embroidery on my skirt is also by me.)

https://www.facebook.com/CalUofPA/videos/10153556698629157/?fref=nf

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Ddreaming was her greatest outlet.

The same could be said for most people, of course, but it was doubly true for her.  She had a notebook made out of a three ring binder with a swan on the cover, and she filled the binder with whatever paper she could get her hands on.

And she drew her heart out.  Everything that made her sad, everything that made her happy.  She drew butterflies, and tapped on the page, and they came alive, fluttering off the paper, the thin blue lines from the paper becoming veins in the wings.  The butterflies swarmed, up, up into the sky, before plummeting down and attacking a man.

There was no reason.  He had not done even the slightest thing to her, but she did it because she wanted to hear him scream.

Sometimes, her dreams were different.  She dreamed of being good, of saving the world.  She dreamed of beautiful people who loved her fiercely, protectively, she dreamed of all the kindness she could do, if she were rich, if she were powerful.

So sometimes, she dreamed she was the hero.

But sometimes she also has to dream that she was the villain.  Sometimes you had to feel the world burn to want to save it.

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This sticky post is so that you can follow along with my journal attempts. Check out the Journaling Junkie: http://journaling-junkie.tumblr.com/

If you participate, please comment and I’ll go read your post!

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So, I wanted to wish you all a wonderful New Year. I love this part of the year — the cusp of something new. S much hope, so much possibility. This was not a bad year, I finished a new book that my current editor loves so much that she has encouraged me to use it to seek an Agent, in the hope that my career can take the next step. I took my mother to Canada and we drove across the US and saw the Pacific again. I feel really lucky, to have seen some of the things that I got to see.

I took two cadets — I’m a White Scarf, which means that I am a pretty decent fencer, and I am able to take personal students. In the SCA it’s sort of like adding to your family, so that’s awesome, I’m responsible for helping their training, mentoring as needed. It’s a huge honor and rather lovely.

Lots of good odds and ends. I lost weight, took some steps towards accepting myself and accepting the idea that I am not ugly.

I want a lot of things for 2016. More travel — though I’ve not saved up for the brass ring that has England and Scotland engraved on it. Maybe next year. Hopefully I will get an agent. Finish The Chocolatier’s Ghost. Maybe learn more about screen writing.

I also want to read more about some period masters, especially study some more about the English Masters. And sew some. Oh, do I have sewing to do.

OK, enough. I want to wish you something with all my heart.

I don’t know if 2015 was good for you or not. I hope it was, but — in any case — I pray with all my heart that you will have a wonderful 2016. That every day brings you closer to your dreams. That your weeks are filled with more joy than tears. That you find at least one of your heart’s desires realized.

You are amazing for stopping by, for supporting me. Thank you darlings. Happy New Year.

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So, after a couple of times of people complimenting me on stuff that was not mine, I decided not to cross post my Tumblr. I don’t want to look like a thief or to have people think I’m more talented than I actually am.

I loved cross posting between the blog and the tumblr because then people could see everything in one place, if they were on tumblr, and people who weren’t could see beautiful things. I like sharing lovely things. (And it was a bit of cheating, it makes me look a lot more active than I am. It’s hard to come up with things to say very often, it is much easier to say, “Hey, let me share this sunset/castle/book picture that makes me happy.”)

The downside is that I will no longer have the desire to look professional on my blog reign me in any longer. “Should I REALLY repost another picture of this lovely actor and risk looking like a love struck pixie?” will no longer be answered with a no.

So, for pretty things that make me happy and inspired, check out my tumblr, or friend me there. I re-follow 96% of the time. The last one I didn’t follow was because they had a lot of naked girls, and I just didn’t feel like seeing that on my dash, especially since I sometimes check my tumblr during my lunch break at work. But I was grateful foe the follow, just the same.

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The Were Chronicles – Alma Alexander: Duchess of Fantasy

This sounds so good.  Book marking to check out later.

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jatefate:

I’m colder than this home

a Lucille Sharpe mix  [ LISTEN ]

01.

Davy Jones

Hans Zimmer; 02.

Long, Long Time Ago

Javier Navarrett03.

Wendigo

Brian Reitzell; 04.

In Full Bloom

– Clint Mansell

; 05. 

Blood Theme

Daniel Licht; 06.

Happy Birthday (A Death in the Family)

Clint Mansell; 07.

My Name Is Tom

Harry Gregson-Williams; 08.

Truman Sleeps (Extended Version)

Philip Glass09.

Cemetery Waltz

Two Steps From Hell; 10. Time For Bed

Dario Marianelli.

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swordblr:

The Deserters (Sword Fight- Rapier & Dagger Duel)

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