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Fires of Nuala Sample over at Comet Tales

Fires of Nuala book cover
Over at Stephanie Osborn's blog Comet Tales you'll find a sample of the novel Fires of Nuala. The book is on sale in ebook for a limited time only--.99US! So check out all the usual places, including Book View Cafe.

"Why were you creeping around the windows?" Again, that gentle speech pattern, which always meant Sheel was fighting anger.

Crow actually rolled his eyes. "Because I did not want anyone to see me sneaking around the temple grounds, of course. I did not intend for the entire guaard and local enforcers to find the place. Mailan wanted it kept quiet."

"Then why did you come?" There was no way for Mailan to warn Crow that his life depended on the answer to her question. Why Sheel was acting this way was unimportant. To those who knew him, he was on the edge of violence.

Elderberry Cordial for Immune Support

Winter_Mette's Glogg
I use this to keep pretty much everything unfriendly in the microbe category away. I make it in November and take it until March, usually. Refrigerated, the mix can last two months or so, and then seems to go off slightly. If you cut the honey, it doesn't last as long. If you live in a warmer climate, refrigerate it. So I make 2-3 batches a winter. If you are taking it only for preventative purposes and are quite healthy, you probably need only a teaspoon a day. If ill or immune compromised, or everyone else at work is ill, you may choose to take up to a tablespoon a day. When ill, if you can keep it down, a half teaspoon an hour might help.

Yes, this could be the base for an alcoholic version, but the honey benefits will probably die gasping under the alcohol. Check with your herbalist, or your books. I never add alcohol to mine, but alcohol could make it shelf stable.

Use good honey, not mixed from all over the world pasteurized junk. Honey has curative properties, but you don't want the honey to get too hot. So do NOT add before boiling, add after the mix has cooled down quite a bit.

Accordingly, if you use real honey, do not give this to a child under two years of age. Research honey.

1 cup dried elderberries (organic if possible.)
4 cups filtered water.
1 square inch peeled organic ginger, slivered up or grated.
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
sprinkle ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Ceylonese cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Saigon Cassia cinnamon

Up to one cup unpasteurized local honey.

Bring water, berries, ginger, and spice mixture to a low, rolling boil. Cook at a roll for fifteen minutes, mostly covered but not sealed as boil-over could happen. Then set aside to cool down a bit.

Set strainer in 4 quart Pyrex measuring cup; strain mixture. Gently press berries and ginger to get last of juice out. Compost berries, if you compost. Let juice cool some more. You may have up to 3 cups of liquid.

Add one cup of unpasteurized honey. I sample until desired sweetness is reached, but do not add more than one cup. Stir until dissolved, then carefully pour into a clean one quart wide mouth ball jar. Sample and refrigerate. Always use a clean spoon each time you dip into the jar. You've got enough for 1 tsp. a day for three people, with a full recipe. I take more when I don't feel well, so I made the entire recipe this time. I have halved this in the past to keep it fresh.

The ginger is a new addition from my friend Becky Kyle!

What do Art Students Argue About?

Here's an art historian explaining and labeling the Renaissance painting The School of Athens.

Renaissance paintings always have multiple meanings, if you know how to read the symbols.

I Hope the Days of the Dead Were Good Ones

Oxblood Lilies
Here at Cthulhu Central we had my gargoyle guarding us from unwelcome visitors.

We needed more trick-o-treaters, though. Way too much candy left!

Gargoyle Samhain 2014


Conversations with Merlyn

Burmese Basket
Merlyn was very ill earlier this year. He masquerades as a ten year old font of catly wisdom and sneaky energy, but he is nineteen, so ill is cause for concern. During this event, we figured out he had a sinus infection, and since he could not smell anything, he would not eat. I had to get him breathing through his nose. So I stuffed him in a carrier, stuck it next to a sink, draped a towel over carrier and sink, and filled the sink with boiling water.

It took him two tries to figure out that it helped. Then he loved it. Then it helped with allergies. Now, months later, he is chowing down on K/D kibble at night and chicken & gravy baby food during the day, is solid muscle again--and wants to be steamed several times a day. Which is, I must admit, an undertaking.

When he started playing the "I want to be steamed two minutes and get out" game, we had a problem. A friend's cat sent him a vaporizer.

He is DEEPLY suspicious of the vaporizer, plus it doesn't put out steam fast enough for him. How can he cosplay being a jaguar laying in wait by a mythical boiling Amazon, if the steam doesn't show up in a billow?

Merlyn, eying vaporizer: It is growing a tentacle.
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Edamame Cat=1, PM=0


What if Age Really is Nothing But Mindset?

Milky Way over WA Coast
What if the health of the mind and the health of the body are entwined--so much so that they must be addressed together? This is actually very old thinking--shamans have treated the body and the spirit together for centuries.

When you ask me how I keep getting younger...this is part of it. New York Times, so look fast.

One day in the fall of 1981, eight men in their 70s stepped out of a van in front of a converted monastery in New Hampshire. They shuffled forward, a few of them arthritically stooped, a couple with canes. Then they passed through the door and entered a time warp. Perry Como crooned on a vintage radio. Ed Sullivan welcomed guests on a black-and-white TV. Everything inside — including the books on the shelves and the magazines lying around — were designed to conjure 1959. This was to be the men’s home for five days as they participated in a radical experiment, cooked up by a young psychologist named Ellen Langer.

The subjects were in good health, but aging had left its mark. “This was before 75 was the new 55,” says Langer, who is 67 and the longest-serving professor of psychology at Harvard. Before arriving, the men were assessed on such measures as dexterity, grip strength, flexibility, hearing and vision, memory and cognition — probably the closest things the gerontologists of the time could come to the testable biomarkers of age. Langer predicted the numbers would be quite different after five days, when the subjects emerged from what was to be a fairly intense psychological intervention......
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Kindred Rites
Sleeping Hedgehog is an on-line journal that talks about wonderful arts, often books, that may have a pagan touch. It's the sister publication to Green Man Review. I am delighted that the books were well-received.

"“…once in a very great while I find something I wish I’d read thirty years before it was ever published.”

“…These books do not let you rest. Allie is constantly in heart-thumping danger, being tested by benevolent and evil forces, by her human teachers, by human enemies, and by adult-sized moral questions, though she begins at age eleven. The pioneer setting simply takes it for granted that everyone, of every age, must meet every challenge as it comes with whatever tools they have”

This was on all three Night Calls books.

Dreaming, Sleeping...Diet....

Feels like Autumn; USA color (WA)
Saving a link to this article, which was quite interesting. I tried adding more vitamin C, lutein, and selenium into my diet, and I think I am sleeping better. So, give it a look!

"... a new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania shows for the first time that certain nutrients may play an underlying role in short and long sleep duration and that people who report eating a large variety of foods – an indicator of an overall healthy diet – had the healthiest sleep patterns. The new research is published online, ahead-of-print in the journal Appetite."


The sun is moving away from us....

Feels like Autumn; USA color (WA)
Watching the sun progress across the house each day, night drawing down sooner...

It's still hot, but it's definitely autumn.


A kind review from a reader and editor....

One of sartorias's fans has taken to checking out books that Sherwood has enjoyed. She tried Night Calls and Kindred Rites, and has enjoyed her visit to Allie's world. I am always amused by people who think of the book as Little House on the Prairie with magic. I have to confess--I simply read tons of period books, books about period, and pulled what intrigued me. I was inspired to find out what the women in Manly Wade Wellman's works were thinking about. I also got into Anne of Green Gables as an adult. But other than a few episodes of the TV show, I still haven't gotten around to Little House. I guess I need to read at least the first book.

Over at the blog Dead Houseplants (at a guess, she's much too busy to keep them alive!) the author talks about what she found fun in the first two books. And although I am humbled and sure I am way out of my league with my idol Austen, it's a fun comparison.

"I like frontier America as a fantasy setting: there are so many possibilities to explore. I really enjoyed Patricia C. Wrede's Thirteenth Child series: it's big and adventurous with grand, sparkling magic and fantastic dangerous beasts. Night Calls is the Jane Austen version: it's cozy and quiet with creepy dark demons (okay, pretty sure there were no demons in Jane Austen; ditto werewolves, vampires and witches. But I stand by the comparison.) Kimbriel is all about the characters—great, vivid characters!—and their relationships, about towns and how they function, about families. One of the early dramatic moments is Alfreda's confrontation with the minister about having a service for dead werewolves. It's a credit to Kimbriel's writing that this scene is just as gripping (if a tad less scary) than a later confrontation with a vampire."

I'm glad Kim enjoyed the books, and hope she likes Spiral Path, too. (And the third incarnation of the Night Calls cover.) Also--the Night Calls magic is going to get splashier. I just felt that a child transitioning to adult needed a little time to grow....



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