Monday, June 30, 2014

It's Wabbit Season!

20011122 12sant Latvia Postage Stamp
Image credit: Philaweb
So I was groovin' to some '80s alternative rock on Sirius XM's 1st Wave. The program's host, Richard Blade (a legendary DJ and entertainer from the UK who's super cool and a joy to listen to) was in between tunes and reminded folks that day one of a new month drew nigh. To insure good luck for that month, he advised us to say, "White rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits," upon waking on the 1st. I was all, "Say what? Is that a thing?"

The origin of this British superstition seems to be lost in the mists of time. However, around the turn of the 20th century it was documented as totally being a thing to chant some variation of these words on the first day of a month for luck. If one finds the idea of repeating "white rabbits" three times cumbersome, alternatives include:
  1. Rabbit!
  2. Rabbit, rabbit!
  3. Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit!*
  4. White rabbits!
  5. Rabbit, rabbit, white rabbit!
  6. Bunny bunny foot foot!
*Apparently, #3 has been associated with receiving a present by the end of the month, as well.

It's not altogether clear why any of the above should be considered lucky (though a rabbit's foot has been believed to harbor talismanic properties for, like, forever). Of course, rabbits are known to "get lucky" pretty regularly (nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more) so maybe that's got something to do with it. Whatever the reason, the ritual seems a small price to pay for 30/31 days of goodness, eh? I plan to give it a shot (and I say "plan" 'cause I can't be sure I'll remember to) this coming July 1.

Think you'll give it a go? Or is there some other thing you do at the start of the month to bring on the good juju?


Sources:
Wikipedia
NPR
Yankee Magazine

Monday, June 23, 2014

Words, wOrds, WoRDS

Is y'all ready for my trademarked game of Words, wOrds, WoRDS?

(OK, yeah; it's not actually trademarked and, in fact, I'm playing whether you're ready or not. I just asked 'cause that, and exhorting people to wave their hands in the air like they just don't care, is how you get folks all pumped up for stuff.)

Using the Random Word Generator at CreativityGames.net, I'm going to toss out a word and you're going to share the first thing that comes to your mind, in the comments section below.

Can ya dig it?

Today's random word is...

TASK

To learn what came to my mind, select the darkened text between the asterisks.

***

After a few seconds of blinking rapidly at the blank my mind drew, it occurred to me that a task force should be assembled to apprehend my latest celebrity crush, Richard Armitage, who's making the character of John Proctor in The Crucible a bazillion times hotter than he's got any right to be. Le W00F!!!

***

Go on, then. Reveal unto the world what that word inspired in your little gray cells.

If you dare...


(And you can click here to check out that thing I mentioned in the dark space, above.)


Monday, June 16, 2014

Who's Your Daddy...of Horror?

Dudes!

I catapulted my dad into the 21st century on Sunday by giving him a Chromebook for Father's Day (hope all you Papas out there had a good one!) and spent 7.5 hours (yes, seven and a half hours) showing him the basics of computers, e-mail, and the Interwebz. And I didn't lose my cool with him,
not even once!

(Do y'all know how fucking exhausting it is to keep your cool with a close relative for 7.5 hours?)

(For me?)

(That's. Fucking. Exhausting!)

So for this week's post I'm asking y'all to do the work, since I couldn't (OK, OK—since I didn't plan ahead and ran out of time to write a proper blog post on Sunday because I'm wickedly lazy, fine, fine, I admit it. Go on, rat me out to the Blogosphere Overlords, if you absolutely must.). Check out this epic rap battle between Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King and let me know in the comments:

Who's YOUR daddy...

of HORROR???




Monday, June 9, 2014

Love of Sea...

Whitby Abbey - geograph.org.uk - 931634
Whitby, North Yorkshire, UK
Photo by Mark Kirby
So I've been re-reading one of my all-time fave books, Bram Stoker's Dracula. Today I chillaxed with the character whose name I ripped off for my pseudonym, Mina (while she was still a Murray and not a Harker) during her time in Whitby, in which a portion of the classic gothic/horror novel is set. Even though there's this undertow of uneasiness, what with Mina's fiancé Jonathan being MIA, and her BFF Lucy sleepwalking like a mo-fo, I realized I smiled as I read along on my Kindle (free version!). Once I realized that, I wondered if I'm actually more of a monster than I even knew ('cause some shit's 'bout to go down with Lucy that ain't no smilin' matter). BUT then it dawned on me: I've been smiling because Whitby's a coastal town, and I'm a veritable fool for the sea. (OK, I'm a fool in general; I own it.)

I know loads of folks share these feelings for the sea and ocean; it's this profound connection to a mystery you never want to solve, because it just feels so right exactly the way it is: unknown, unknowable, unconquerable. Maybe I feel it because I've got the blood of generations of "heroes of the sea" coursing through my veins. Or maybe it's 'cause I've got, like, three planets in Scorpio in my natal chart. (Venus, Mars, and Jupiter. Dudes, when it comes to love, sex, and luck, I don't play.) (Oh, and Scorpios jones for the ocean.)

Can ye fathom the ocean, dark and deep, where the mighty waves and the grandeur sweep?
~ Fanny Crosby

Port Isaac from Lobber Point - geograph.org.uk - 721797
Port Isaac, Cornwall, UK
Photo by Hugh Craddock
A few years ago I got really into this British TV series, Doc Martin. This quirky, long-running show features a pernickety surgeon, Martin Ellingham, who discovers at the height of his brilliant medical career that he's actually a bit blood-phobic (the contrast to the titular character of the above work of fiction amuses me no end). Ellingham relocates to fictional Portwenn (in reality, Port Isaac) to practice general medicine, fall in love with feisty school teacher, Louisa Glasson, and attempt to get around this career-crushing phobia (as well as his complete social awkwardness). I adore this cozy show, folks; it's dramatic, it's funny, and the views of the ocean are stunning. You can currently watch this series (for free!) on Hulu.

But more wonderful than the lore of old men and the lore of books is the secret lore of ocean.
~ H. P. Lovecraft

Other ways in which I endeavor to satisfy my as-yet-unfulfilled-dream of living by the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea are: watching movies like Something's Gotta Give (a rom-com partially set in Long Island in a friggin' gorgeous beach house that I covet like a...well, like a chick who'd really dig having a friggin' gorgeous beach house of her own) and Psycho Beach Party (a pretty surreal, but hilariously funny, send-up of 60s beach party movies), and grooving to some reverby surf rock like Dick Dale's Misirlou, or, if I'm feeling all romantical and whatnot, dreaming along to this video...


Last November, I was in Orlando, FL for a work conference being held at a fancy-schmancy resort hotel. My last night there, a former co-worker (there for the same event) and I dined and gossiped together, then as we made our way back to our respective hotel rooms, he left me to my own devices in what I'll lamely refer to as the "backyard" of the hotel, which was right on the water. The hour was late and I was tired, but that didn't keep me from standing by the railing which separated the resort from the beach proper for over half an hour, under a black-clouded sky, through which a creamy white waxing moon peeked coyly now and again as I communed with the rushing waves and the pounding surf. Le sighs.

What about y'all? What sorta landscape thrills you, as the ocean does me?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Melissa Maygrove's "Come Back"

I know; you look at the book cover image over on the left and wonder what the devil a sweet'n'spicy romance novel like that is doing in Goth Mom Lite's dark little claws. Well, even Goths can hanker after a wholesome love story set in the old American west (hey, the dudes from Fields of the Nephilim wore friggin' gaucho hats, and you can't get any Gothier than those cats).

Anyway, I'd been away from teh Interwebz for so long that when I learned fellow blogger and writer Melissa Maygrove had released her debut novel Come Back, I emitted a very unGothlike "SQUEE!" and made haste to purchase/devour it. Just the idea of it made me reminisce about the halcyon days of my youth, when I watched shows like Little House on the Prairie and believed that Good always beats out Evil and True Love comes to all. So if, like me, you're experiencing any bitterness or cynicism about life and/or love, Come Back is the perfect antidote.

Right, so; rather than cutting/pasting the book blurb, I thought I'd let Maygrove's truly gorgeous book trailer (Dudes, it gave me goosebumps, and I'm totally not exaggerating) tell you what you need to know (I recommend popping the viewer out for your visual pleasure).



::Sighs of romance-novel-digging-happiness::

I'd been so overwhelmed by my day job, and the depression that got a chokehold on me, that my book-reading had been really slow. Then I picked up Come Back and inhaled it. It engaged me straightaway and I really just adored it. I wrote a little review for it on Goodreads and when Melissa e-mailed to thank me, I offered to interview her and feature the book on my blog this week. That's how much I liked the book, folks; I freakin' volunteered to do work I didn't have to do which, as anyone who knows me will attest, is about as likely an event as the proverbial pigs becoming airborne. Anyway, I winged some questions at the gal, to which she lobbed back the following answers:

“Come Back” is set in the old American West—how do you think you’d fare in that era? What modern convenience would you most hate to lose? Which do you think you’d do just fine without?
Melissa Maygrove
In some ways, I'd fare well. I've always felt I was born a century too late. But, due to some heart defects I was born with, I wouldn't have survived if I'd been born even one year before I was. So, in that respect, I wouldn't have fared well at all.

I'd hate to lose air conditioning. (Blogger's note: Gawd, so would I!)

I'd be perfectly peachy without TV. :)

In the book, heroine Becca and her family are part of a wagon train of people seeking better fortunes in California. It’s noted that folks making their way out west often had to dump things along the way. In your research, did you uncover any unusual items being found along those wagon trails? If it were you who had to part with something, what would be the first thing you’d toss?
I didn't really come across anything unusual, but that was where the inspiration for the book came from. My daughter and I once read a story together about a teen traveling west on the Oregon Trail (Becca and Seth travel the Gila Trail). When I read about westward travelers dumping belongings, I thought about how a young woman who'd been abandoned might use those things to survive, and off my imagination went.

Hm... I suppose I'd dump heavy items, such as furniture that wouldn't be needed until I reached my destination and could be replaced. Of course, if I'd done as the wagon captain instructed and hadn't overloaded my wagon, I wouldn't find myself in that unfortunate situation. ;)

What do you think was the greatest challenge facing a woman of Becca’s age, back in the mid-1800s?
The hardships of life (large families, the manual labor of growing and preparing food, chores, etc.) combined with the fact that women had few rights. We romanticize things in novels. Many men were honorable gentlemen, but many weren't, and it was a patriarchal society.

What bit of advice might you offer a man courting a gal in the old West? Would you offer that same advice to a 21st Century man as well?
Treat your lady with respect and don't ever strike her or betray her. That's important no matter what century you live in.

Amen, sister!

Below's an excerpt and all the pertinent buy/author links. I hope y'all will give Come Back a closer look; I recommend it to anyone in need of a bit of heart-warming and blood-bubbling lovin'.

*     *     *     *     *
A humorless chuckle echoed in the musty space. “And after years of living with a man who has no means to support you, will you still love me then?”
 

Becca wrapped her arms around him and pressed her cheek to his back. “I’ll love you no matter what.”
 

He straightened and his hands left the table, but he made no move to touch her. “Thanks for trying, but like I’ve told you, you’re not a very good liar.”
 

“I’m not lying.” She clung to him tightly and fought back a sob.
 

He didn’t react. Just stood there like a tower of stone.
 

A surge of anger pushed back her tears. If he didn’t want her, he was going to have to face her and say it. She wasn’t giving up this time.
 

Becca let go of him and stepped back. “If you regret marrying me, then turn around and tell me so.”
 

She gave him plenty of time to respond, but he didn’t move. Didn’t speak.
 

Embracing him again, she splayed her hands across his chest. She stood on her toes and grazed her lips across the back of his neck.
 

A shudder rippled through him and raised little bumps on his skin. Her tower of stone was beginning to crack.
 

“You can push me away and act like you don’t care,” she whispered, her breath skimming his ear, “but I’m not giving up. Do you want to know why? Because I’m not the one pretending.” Becca slid her hand lower and molded her fingers around the evidence of his arousal. “You are.”

Seth ripped her hands from his body and spun around with a growl. His lips were on hers before she could suck in a breath. He banded his arms around her, crushing her to him, and ravaged her mouth like a man possessed.
 

“You picked the wrong man to love,” he rasped when he came up for air.
 

“No I didn’t!” she shot back as his mouth came down on hers.
 

Seth’s hands roamed her body, matching the desperation of his kiss. And she gave it right back, groping and clawing as if she couldn’t get enough. She never would.

*     *     *     *     *

(W00F!)

Where to find Come Back:

Where to find Melissa Maygrove:
Website / Blog / Twitter @MelissaMaygrove / Facebook / Google+
 
*     *     *     *     *

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