Friday, August 29, 2008

Artist: Chen Rong

I am currently finishing a novella for Ellora's Cave called Secrets of the Jin Hakku. It is set in the world of the Shinwa people, an Asian influenced culture I created. This was the first world I've ever "built," and I had a fantastic time. Hence, I wanted to share some Chinese art today.

This is one of the dragons from "The Nine Dragons" handscroll, painted by the Song Dynasty Chinese artist Chen Rong in the year 1244 AD.

Chinese dragons are mythical creatures, and although they're occasionally depicted with wings, they fly because of a supernatural power, not because they have wings. Another ability they possess is being able to disguise themselves. They can be as small as a beetle or as large as the galaxy. According to Shuowen Jiezi, they can "form clouds, can turn into water or fire, can become invisible or glow in the dark." Obviously, this dragon is in the process of changing his form.

Strangely, the number of claws the dragon had was extremly important. If it had three, it was an ordinary dragon and appropriate for the common people. A four clawed dragon could be associated with nobility and high ranking officials. However, the five clawed dragon was for the exclusive use of the Imperial family. (Proper colors of the dragon was also important.) If you displayed the wrong number of claws on your dragon teapot for example, you and your entire clan could be executed.

Ha! Betcha didn't know that. :) Never say I didn't teach you anything.

Have a fantastic weekend. Maybe spend it painting a dragon with five claws just because you can.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thursday 3: If I could move...

There's a popular meme called Thursday 13 in which every Thursday you make a list of thirteen things. I did this for a few months, but I don't have time for thirteen! So, I whittled it down to Thursday 3.

I don't think DH and I will ever move from Los Angeles. He's a financial planner and so it's important that he live in the vicinity of his clients. Also, so much of our family lives here. However, I've often fantasized about living in some other state. So, this week I'm presenting three places I'd consider moving to if the opportunity ever arose. Like, say I won the lottery. Yeah! That's even better. Here are three places I'd have a vacation home.

1. Kauai - Mr. T and I honeymooned here and have since returned with the kids. It's gorgeous and Mr. T loves the beach. I'm not so sure about the beach, but would sure enjoy seeing so much green everyday. I'd want a big house so we could entertain guests who would surely want to come visit.

2. Charleston, North Carolina - On the other hand, I have never been to Charleston in my life. I once researched the town way back when when I was writing my very first romance novel, a time-travel set in the days before the Civil War. Will Hawthorne was a plantation owner who was leading a secret life--that of a willing participant in the Underground Railroad. But I digress (as I often do!) As I was researching it, I discovered how much beautiful history it has and how much the inhabitants value that history, unlike we Los Angelians, who in a misguided attempt to separate church and state actually altered the city seal by removing the cross on it despite the fact that--oh wait. I'm digressing again. In a big way. LOL Okay, let's just say, I'd consider replanting myself on the East Coast.

3. Aspen, Colorado - Finally, Mr. T loves the snow. I love the way it looks. I love being inside when it's outside. And it wouldn't be snowy all year long. Maybe I could deal. Maybe not.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Question: Waste of paper?

My son is selling magazine subscriptions as part of his junior high school fundraiser. I am letting some of my subscriptions lapse:

Martha Stewart's Living - I've subscribed to this for many years, mainly because it's a beautiful, beautiful magazine. But I've come to the reluctant conclusion that, even though I cut out many of the recipes, it's not that valuable to me since I don't really entertain or garden on the same level as Martha does.

Woman's Day - This isn't a bad magazine, however, I just can't stand how thin the pages are. How ridiculous is that? It bugs me so much that I am willing to forgo the entire magazine.

So, what to order???

I don't want is fashion and beauty suggestions that are WAY too expensive. I used to subscribe to In Style, but it was too Hollywood oriented, and I didn't recognize half the celebs in it.

I want articles that apply to women who aren't trying to snag men with sex tricks and who aren't size zero. I like recipes. I obviously like pages that aren't like tissue. LOL.

Do you have any suggestions? What magazines do you subscribe to, if any?

I'm considering Everyday with Rachel Ray, Marie Claire, and Lucky. Suggestions, recommendations?


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Question: Taking on Two

Menages have been on my mind of late. The third heroine in my Be-Wished series wishes for a dynamic duo of the male persuasion. The novella I'm finishing for EC right now is about a triad.

So, actually I have two questions.

1. Do you like reading about menages? Why?

2. If you had the opportunity to engage in one (without consequences), would you?


Monday, August 25, 2008

Forget Cookies. Give Me Coffee!

Someone gave me this as an avatar on Romance Divas, an online romance writing group I belong to, and I crack up every time I see it. It's particularly appropriate for me because I work at Starbucks. And everyone knows that Starbucks coffee IS a little on the dark side!


Friday, August 22, 2008

Artist: Nathan Sawaya

My kids love Legos. They always have and probably always will. Imagine my delight when I found this guy, Nathan Sawaya, who creates art out of Lego bricks! Here he is in his New York studio, where he has over 1.5 million bricks. You can see them in bins in this picture.

Some of his art is on tour across the country. You can get information about the show "The Art of the Brick" here.

Here is a sculpture called Pluto, the Black Cat (2006). On his website he's posted this: Ways that I am like a cat: - We both like to drink milk.- We both like to eat fish.- We both like to sleep a lot.- We both do our best work at night.- We both believe that licking our body hair is a sufficient way to cleanse oneself.- We both hate leashes. (Not exactly true for me.)- We both drive poorly."

This next piece is titled Yellow (2006) I don't have anything to say about it except that it's cool. Some art aficionado I am!

This is the Iwo Jima Replica (2006) which was commissioned for permanent installation at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia. The sculpture used over 100,000 LEGO bricks.

So ends another Art Friday at Kate's Blog. Have a fantastic weekend!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thursday 3: Lettuce Wraps

There's a popular meme called Thursday 13 in which every Thursday you make a list of thirteen things. I did this for a few months, but I don't have time for thirteen! So, I whittled it down to Thursday 3.

I love lettuce wraps. I'm Chinese, so maybe it's in my genes. Anyway, today I thought I'd list three of the places I like to order them.

1. Chili's (left) offers two different sauces, butter lettuce instead of iceburg, julienne raw carrots, and puffed rice noodles. I never actually stuff the lettuce here because it's too much trouble. I just use a fork for the fillings and my fingers for the lettuce!
2. Hop Li Seafood Restaurant in West Los Angeles (11901 Santa Monica Blvd) has a pretty good chicken version. Sometimes it has a little more cilantro than I can stomach, but if I put enough hoi sin sauce on it, I don't notice it too much.

3. I just had the Elephant Bar's version last night (right.) (DH and I went to see Hancock, and then had a late supper.) And they were delicious. It was a generous portion served with a nice peanut sauce. There were detailed iceburg leaves and a couple of chunks of red cabbage that was nice. I could have used a little less salt, but it was still delish!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Recommendation: COOL PEN!!!

I LOVE pens. There are many of us pen-a-holics out there. If you are one of them, listen up! You must buy some Frixion pens. They have a little rubber tip on the end that can be used to erase the ink. But here's the ultra cool part: the tip is not an eraser. The ink disappears because of the friction, so there aren’t any little eraser bits to brush away. Plus, see that neat tattoo design they have on them?

I'm in love. I have four of them now. If Staples had had all six colors, I'd have six.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Skid No More

My kids aren't so little anymore, but I thought this idea was so clever, I had to pass it on. Adorn the bottom of some socks with puffy paint, let them dry, and voila! Some socks that are a wee bit better for running around the house. :)


Friday, August 15, 2008

Artist: Isabel Samaras

This is the very kooky art of Isabel Samaras. Isn't it fantastic? So campy, so irreverant! I loved these two paintings in particular because Botticelli's Birth of Venus is one of my favorite paintings of all time. The first painting here is called Black Venus. The only think I think it's lacking, besides flying attendants, is some fancy dual colored pubic hair. Maybe even armpit hair, too!

This next painting is called Birth of Ginger. Isn't it a hoot? Gilligan and Skipper embracing is a little creepy, but otherwise I think this is just a lot of fun. Instead of scars, like the Bride had, Ginger has tan lines. She also has some pretty nice abs. Anyway, so ends another Art Friday on my blog. Have a terrific weekend!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Small Squee

I have a Google alert set up for myself and today I got one that actually gave me cause for a smile. My book, Hostile Takeover, is, as of this moment, a bestseller at, an online bookstore. :) I really don't know how that translates into numbers, but I just like the word BESTSELLER there next to one of my titles.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My, What A Big Lens You Have

Here is the cover for my upcoming release from Ellora's Cave, A Wolf at Her Door. Wolf is the second in my Be-Wished series and I'm so excited that it's coming out next month! This guy's nose is a tad big, but maybe that's a good thing because in the book his sense of smell is highly acute. LOL


Monday, August 11, 2008

What Happens...

I'm in Vegas until Tuesday. See you when I get back. :)


Friday, August 08, 2008

Artist: Kathleen Lolley

I usually don't like symmetry in art, but this piece by Kathleen Lolley appeals to me. It's called "summon the tree spirit." After perusing this artist's website, I notice she likes owls, trees, and these caped garments. The wings of the owl look like a cape, too. Perhaps the tree spirit is wearing an owl costume that can be removed. (I know. I'm weird. But if you've come to my blog before, you already knew this.)

This second piece is mistitled, if you ask me. it's called "belly of the beast," but to me the owl seems like a sanctuary to the girl, who has been charged with the task of guarding the eggs. Clearly she's been through some sort of trauma while performing her duty and the small bird is doing his best to protect her, now.

I hope you enjoyed your visit to my little e-museum and that your weekend is fantastic! See you Monday.


The High School Experience

i have a book of questions I use for blog topics and one such question is, "What one word sums up your high school experience?" I like this question, but am going to let us answer with two words, since I'm a writer.

My high school experience was enjoyably fringe. I was on the drill team, which was so much fun and made my years at Birmingham High a blast, though looking back, I realize it was a little geeky. We were involved and active, but not really cool which is why I chose the word "fringe."

How about you? What two words sum up your high school experience?


Thursday, August 07, 2008

What's For Dinner?

There's a popular meme called Thursday 13 in which every Thursday you make a list of thirteen things. I did this for a few months, but I don't have time for thirteen! So, I whittled it down to Thursday 3.

I've been away from the family for almost a week and it's been hard to get back into the groove of cooking every night. I'm feeling oddly apathetic in the kitchen, but the man and almost-men must eat. So, here's what came out of my kitchen for the last three days.

1. Turkey legs and chicken thighs. No one likes turkey legs but me, so the rest of the family had baked chicken.

2. Shell pasta with Italian sausage and salad. The kids had their braces tightened so we had to have soft food.

3. Repeat of last night. A pound of pasta is always too much for us, so we ate leftovers. Plus, I didn't get my sh*t together early enough to slow roast the pork.


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

More Proof I'm Weird

I recently saw The Dark Knight. I really enjoyed it. Only a couple of places did I get jerked out of the story. No way a gun could be smuggled into a big courtroom like that. And the guy's eyeball would have been a raisin in about an hour after not having an eyelid.

But I digress.

The point I was trying to make is that at the end there's a voiceover of Commissioner Gordon summarizing how cool the Batman is and how he's this and that, and there's this cool music and some cool dark visuals as Batman gets on his motorcycle thingy and rides off into the night, his cape billowing from the speed of his ride. And all I can hear is Edna Mode (that midget, crusty voiced superhero costume designer from The Incredibles) doing her own voiceover, "No capes, dahling! NO CAPES!"


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Typecast Word

It occurred to me recently that I never hear the word voracious used with a noun other than reader.

Poor voracious.

Not that there's anything wrong with the word reader. I am one. I'm a proud one. I'm even a voracious one. But maybe voracious would like to hook up sometime with some other noun.


Monday, August 04, 2008

Do Over!

Okay, the excerpt I posted a few days ago is no longer part of the book. The title is no longer DOUBLE DARE. This happens sometimes. I write a beginning and scrap it and start over. Think of it as a warm up. Like stretching. (see picture)

Oh, and speaking of that body does not do that. Maybe if I were dead someone could force it into that position, but otherwise, no.