Signed Cover Art

If you'd like to receive a signed cover art postcard, email me at isobael at gmail dot com. Include your name and mailing address and I'll get them in the mail to you.

December 27, 2010

Is it over yet?

Are the holidays over yet? Can I come out of hiding now? Jeez...the past week, two weeks, has been madness, from holiday shopping and incredibly rude shoppers, to family insanity. Add in some drama with my falconry and some personal issues, and you have someone desperately needing a vacation, a time out, or a room at the insane asylum, complete with straight jacket.

Just sitting down to enjoy a cup of doodh patti chai, or spiced milk tea. (Not Chai Tea...which is redundant because chai = tea, I learned.)

Measurements? Who measures ingredients? Mostly, I play it by smell and look, but, I try.

Two cups milk in a sauce pan.
Teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger, ground cardamom (although this can be adjusted to taste)
6 to 8 sugar cubes (adjust to taste)

Bring to simmer.

Add in a cup of water and some black tea leaves. (Four tea bags - open the bags and dump the leaves in the liquid...or equivalent of four tea bags. Stronger if you want, again adjust to taste.)

Bring to boil. If it starts to foam up, remove from heat and let it go back down. Put back on heat. Repeat this three times.

Strain into mug. If it's too hot, or too strong, Stir a little milk to the mug.

Add a scone or little biscuit to go with, curl up with a book or e-reader, and enjoy!

Hope everyone's holidays went well. Back to writing as my Muse seems to be gaining her confidence back. It's slow, but it's better than nothing. =)

Love you all.

December 24, 2010

To you and yours...

Wishing all of my friends and family a very happy holidays. Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Blessed Saturnalia, and/or whatever you choose to celebrate this month.

Good health, much love, and many happy blessings to you and yours.


December 16, 2010

Victorian Etiquette

Anyone who knows me knows that I am in LOVE with old etiquette manuals that teach proper manners in private and social settings. Everything from how to hold your fork to how to be meet and greet someone.

I picked up a 70th some edition of Emily Posts's book on Etiquette, but I just checked out a book from the library that I am in love with. It's a reprint of a book originally published in 1885.

"Hill's Manual of Social and Business Form" by Thomas E. Hill

It's amusing, thought provoking, and a MUST HAVE for anyone interested in etiquette, American Victorian society, and/or writing with historical accuracy.

I'm going to order my own copy as soon as I get some funds.

Here's a little:

Etiquette of Introductions:

Ladies being introduced should never bow hastily, but with slow and measured dignity. (Old etiquette books always spoke of bows, making your bows, etc...but in the movies women curtsied. I'm going with "bow" was a catch all phrase for curtsy or bow, depending on the gender.)

The inferior is to be introduced to the superior; the younger to the elder; the gentleman to the lady.

It is the lady's privilege to recognize the gentleman after an introduction, and his duty to return the bow.

Introductions on the streets or in public places should be made quietly as not to attract public attention.

Perfect ease and self-possession are the essentials to the making and receiving of graceful and happy introductions.

Etiquette requires that a gentleman always raises his hat when introduced to either a lady or a gentleman on the street. (If passing on the street, the hat should be raised and salute given with the hand farthest from the person addressed. when on horseback, the gentleman should grip the reins and whip in his left hand and raise his hat with the right.)

Introduce to each other only those who may find acquaintance agreeable. If any doubts exists on the subject, inquire beforehand.

If upon any occasion you are introduced at a friend's house to even your bitterest enemy, courtesy requires that you salute him, or her, and give no sign of ill-feeling while you are the guest of your friend.

To shake hands when introduced, is optional; between gentleman, it is common, and oftentimes between an elderly and a young person. it is not common between an unmarried lady and a gentleman, a slight bow between them when introduced being all that etiquette requires. The married lady will use her discretion when introduced to a gentleman.

If you are a gentleman, do not let the lack of an introduction prevent you from rendering services to any unattended lady who may need them. Politely offer your protection, escort or assistance, and, when the service has been accomplished, politely bow and retire.

There's so much more in this book. It's awesome.

Edited to Add: Found it online. Click here and on the left is a menu to choose from.

December 8, 2010

Do something good for Christmas this year.

I gave myself a Christmas present this year.

It took me a while to pick it out though. I hemmed and hawed, debated, tried to figure out if I could afford it, but then I sat down and decided to just do it.

Faced with poverty, starvation, high mortality rates, homelessness, and conditions worse than most third world countries, IN OUR OWN COUNTRY...can you help? My mother and I did.

  1. There is a group of people who have the shortest life expectancy of any group in the Western Hemisphere, outside of Haiti?
  2. Families, children and elders go without food on a regular basis?
  3. Families are often without heat during sub-zero temperatures?
  4. People are without employment opportunities or adequate medical facilities?

That is the plight of Lakota People living on reservations in South Dakota.

  1. Life Expectancy is 48 years for men and 52 years for women.
  2. Unemployment is estimated to be 87%
  3. 90% live below the Federal poverty level.
  4. The teenage suicide rate is 3 1/2 times higher than the national average.
  5. Infant mortality is five times higher than the national average
  6. Diabetes, heart disease, cancer and malnutrition are epidemic.

Despite hardship and adversity, the Lakota maintain their cultural knowledge and traditions and preserve for their children and for the world, ancient wisdom that contributes to quality of life.

  1. About 1/3 of the population still speak the Lakota language.
  2. Almost all maintain their traditional spiritual and cultural beliefs.
  3. They are leaders in knowledge of environmental preservation.
  4. They are a sharing society - when one eats, they all eat - or they all do without.
  5. Their exquisite beadwork, quillwork, quilting, sewing, painting is art at its best.
  6. They wish to preserve their culture and find ways to be self-sufficient.

Please do what you can to help. You can donate one time or as many times as you want, or you can sponsor a child, a family, or an Elder.

You can read more at their website: