Monday, December 30, 2013

Oil and Dirty Water - The Bear Dilemma

Our environment is at a crux. We've taxed our resources in some areas, we sell off resources in other areas, and seem to have little regard for the future of the species we show on endangered lists. Nature isn't inexhaustible, and to be sustainable our resources require custodial care.

Seals, one species of wildlife along the BC Coast, by DG Hudson

Permits and licenses are approved, panels are established, and yet concerns are discounted when there is a vested business interest. Compliance costs money, recovery takes time and will never totally return damaged areas to their original state.

The Great Bear Rainforest is the habitat for grizzly bears, black bears, and the Kermode bear, also called the Spirit bear by First Nations. For more on the Kermode, see an earlier post here. Clean water provides for these creatures. Oily water will do the opposite. Kermodes are the most at risk, with their lower numbers. Wake up, Canada, and take care of what's important.

Beautiful BC Coast - Keep Our Waters Clean, by DG Hudson

This coastal area, a diverse ecosystem, is located between Butte Inlet on the South Coast of BC and the Alaskan border. Grizzly Bears Black Bears wiki

Fewer than 400 Kermode bears survive in this area that is unique in the world. Gribbell Island is the main habitat, while Princess Royal Island is home to about 120 of the enigmatic Spirit Bears. They are not albinos, nor are they related to Polar bears, or the 'blonde' brown bears of Alaska. They are a sub-species of the black bear.

Potentially, this habitat is under threat from the proposed oil pipeline and associated oil tankers which will ply these northern waters, an area known for unruly winter storms.  Oil tankers come in a variety of shapes, some in excellent condition and some that aren't. Most aboriginal groups oppose the pipeline, but almost all First Nations peoples want a part in deciding what crosses their reserve land. They are custodians.


Numerous newspaper articles have been written about the sole habitat of the Spirit Bears, two of the islands situated in the channel which the tankers will use. This post was inspired by 'Federal review panel gives green light to Northern Gateway pipeline - First Nations considering legal challenges that could delay project'. A Vancouver Sun article by Gordon Hoekstra, Larry Pynn and Derrick Penner in the Westcoast News section, December 20, 2013.

Young Spirit Bear (Kermode) Wiki Image

Just a bit about oil tankers or petroleum tankers, a merchant ship which transports oil: there are two types - the crude tanker and the product (refined) tanker. They range in size  from inland or coastal tankers to the mammoth ultra large crude carriers. That's a lot of dirty oil, which as we know, mixes poorly with water. Perhaps we should  convert to plug-in cars. . .

The Northern Gateway proposed pipeline route to Kitimat BC would mean that tankers which will carry this oil overseas will be navigating in what is called, 'the fourth most dangerous waterway in the world'. This assessment is from an advocacy campaign which wants to protect what nature has given us.

Look at Enbridge's record, it speaks for itself. "All the kings horses and all the kings men couldn't put the water back together again. . ."


What do you think about protecting resources? Should governments have a stronger mandate on the environment?  Should First Nations have a strong say in how their territorial lands are used? When is it okay, if ever, for governments to push through programs the people DO NOT want?


Hope you have a great New Year! Best wishes for 2014 to all who stop by!

References: Enbridge in Douglas Channel and the missing islands.

My Other Spirit Bear posts:


Saturday, December 14, 2013

VANCOUVER - Snow of Winters Past

Christmas Day can be green or white in our city. It can snow in the suburbs, or only in pockets of the Vancouver region.

Stanley Park Snowy Seawall, Vancouver Snow photos*

Our BC Coastal mountains usually boast white peaks on sunny days, but during the dark winter days, we can't always see our mountains through the fog or rain in the city. Vancouver weather is generally much milder than the rest of Canada, including the rest of BC. We have warm ocean currents to thank for that, as well as the protection of Vancouver Island.

Snowy logs at English Bay, Vancouver Snow photos*

These images are in the Downtown area of Vancouver. What do we think of icy bridges, unplowed streets, and inexperienced drivers? Don't ask.

Robson Square, Downtown Vancouver Snow Photos* 

Lights Shining in the Harbour

Christmas lights and holiday carolling on marine vessels are a tradition in the Vancouver Harbour, the Fraser River and other marine spots. Tugboats, paddlewheelers, smaller boats and ships show their lights in the night. Paddlewheelers on the Fraser River previously offered a 'lunch with Santa cruise' for the younger children.

Lights on Holiday Boats, Vancouver, Vanc'r Snow Photos*

*The images in this post were taken during different years and originate at the links shown below. So far this December, we've had one dusting of snow.

Snow Update: As of December 20, we have had about five inches more of that wet snow deposited. It hangs heavy on the trees, weighing their branches downward. The snow's weight also disrupted a few power lines and traffic. Rain is supposed to follow.


Do you take snow photos? Does your city have a lighting display down your Main Street or on bridges? Is there snow where you live?

Please share your comments! I'm always listening. Thanks to those who stop by often or even occasionally to offer their insight and comments. The gift of your time throughout the year is appreciated. I hope you'll hang around in 2014.


Happy Holidays!
Wishing you a warm, safe and comforting holiday.

Santas and Model Train, by DG Hudson



*The sites showing these photos and others: Vancouver Snow Festival site Stanley Park in the Snow. Gastown, in Vancouver, BC.


Monday, December 9, 2013

2013 CheersFest for ARLEE!

A Roast for All Seasons, for Mister A-to-Z Man. . .

Arlee (R. Lee)
Blogger and A to Z Mastermind

In honor of the 2013 recipient of the Cheers Blog, Mr. R. Lee, please share your thoughts about Lee of Tossing it Out and please drop by the participants of the Cheersfest on December 9th and add a few roasted words for the guest.

Cheersfest BlogHosts: Mark Koopmans, Morgan Shamy, David Powers King, Stephen Tremp, and Capt'n Alex Cavanaugh.

Great prizes! Win memorabilia from Lee's past life as a performer OR win Jeremy's design prize. Check blogsite for other prizes and how to enter.


Caption Entry: "Girls go crazy for a sharp dressed man, R. Lee."
Thanks, 'ZZ Top'! (wc17)

Girls go crazy for a sharp dressed man, R. Lee

Arlee (R. Lee) Bird, Juggler

Lee put on his favorite brown jacket and spent the next ten minutes tossing his 'Bird' logo sign, his Juggler Challenge Poster and his custom-made juggling pins in his carrybag. Tonight, he would debut his new trick, never performed before by anyone else. He could make the pins hover in mid-air for a full 60 seconds, maybe longer. He was given the secret in a dream-but no one would believe that. Would they?

A knock came on his door, it was time. . .

"You're on, Mr. Arlee," said the stage assistant.

Entry words for FlashFiction: Bird, Juggler, Challenge, Brown Jacket, Tossing


Answers to Questions: 80 words each (entry answers total wc=50)
  • Why A to Z ? (Challenge) to test his writing skills, to meet other writers and to bring together like minded writers in a community which would help support and encourage each other
  • If someone dreams about being a juggler, what does it mean? Hmmm...Someone doesn't know which end is up? He wants to play?
  • Is a post by Mr. Bird worth 2 in the bush? That depends, what is the subject?
  • Who could be Lee in a movie? Peter Boyle or Richard Dreyfuss.

Do you know Arlee (aka Lee)? Do you what state Lee used to live in? Are you ready for the Holidays? Please share in the comments, I'm always listening!

Don't forget to visit the other posts on the Linky List at Mark's Blog.

Tossing It Out, Arlee's Blog
Mark Koopmans . . .Blog - Cheersfest Recipient 2013 - Arlee Bird


Friday, November 29, 2013

PARIS - The Louvre's Small Antiquities

Cast your mind back to the days of the pharoahs, and let your mind imagine what these carved art works were used for. The quality is excellent; the tools were ancient.

Louvre Museum Antiquities, Paris, by DG Hudson

The carved tablets, the ivory-colored carved face mask or shard, and the finely carved or modelled statues of oxen illustrate artistic skill.


Egyptian artifacts such as those shown in the photo below show the fascination other cultures have had for the feline species. The earliest appearance of cats as deities is around 3100 BC. The goddess Bastet* was originally depicted as a lioness, as was Sekhmet.* Bastet later was shown with a cat face, while Sekhmet stayed a lioness.

Egyptian Antiquities, Louvre Museum, Paris by DG Hudson

Praised for controlling vermin (rats, etc) and the ability to kill cobras and other snakes, domesticated cats became a symbol that was worshipped in Ancient Egypt. Felines have been around a long time, possibly 10,000 years according to recent DNA tests.


Turquoise and Lapis lazuli were preferred for use in many of the ancient designs. We can glimpse antiquity, a time far removed from today, when we view these art works. Here is evidence that it existed. Cast pieces and carved pieces have survived due in part to the protection of the museums and galleries where they are shown.

Antiquities, Louvre Museum, Paris, by DG Hudson

Antiquities items in the following image show detail in the crafting of the pipe and the smoothness of the metal, both achieved with the same finesse as the ceramic artifacts. The cast figures are quite detailed in both the displays, above and below.

Egyptian Antiquity artifacts, Louvre in Paris, by DG Hudson

Museums collect and protect our history.  If you are a writer, you should frequent any location that gives you information on 'what was'.  To write 'what may come to be' (scifi) or to write 'what has already been' (historical), you must know your beginnings. Of course, that's my take on museums and how they relate to writing.


Were these small artifacts created for nobility only? Did they come from a household or from a tomb? What history hides behind these artifacts? Have you watched Museum Secrets?
Museum Secrets: The Louvre

Please share your thoughts in the comments and thanks for stopping by!


Egyptian antiquities at the Louvre
Cats in Egypt
Bastet, the Cat Goddess in ancient Egyptian religion in Lower Egypt

* Bastet was the equivalent to Upper Egypt's Sekhmet, before the two regions joined forces.


Monday, November 11, 2013

The Spirit Bear and the Great Bear Rainforest

One of the rarest creatures in the world, a Kermode bear, is a sub-species of the Black Bear family.

Spirit Bear, Great Bear Rainforest - Wiki images

The Spirit Bear

Or Kermode bear
Ursus americanus kermodei, pronounced kerr-MO-dee.

These special bears have a recessive genetic anomoly which produces the white or champagne-colored fur. Numbering only in the hundreds, this species could be drastically reduced by destruction of its feeding grounds through oil pollution.

The natural habitat of the Spirit Bear is the Great Bear Rainforest, a large pristine area including coastal waters, which protects many species. It would take decades to recover from losses to the whale populations, bird populations, salmon and halibut fishing, and wildlife tourism. The side effects of the loss to the food chain would be noticeable. Oil suffocates.

Kermode bears are called Spirit Bears, particularly by the First Nations tribes of British Columbia. Officially, these bears are named after a director of the Royal British Columbia Museum, Francis Kermode, who researched the Kermode sub-species.
The Spirit Bear lives in the central and north coast of British Columbia, Canada. See wiki map below.

Wikipedia map of BC and Great Bear Rainforest area



The Vancouver Sun Newspaper - 'Great Bear Rainforest a region to promote, not pollute; Northern Gateway: Pipeline decision makers should visit this pristine area to see just what is at risk.' by Michael McCarthy, travel writer. Commentary.

An excellent article with statistics on The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. That cleanup is still ongoing. Gale-force winds sweep down these passages, increasing the chances of an accident. The same problem that affects the bears will eventually affect us.

No one except big business wants the oil pipelines in their backyard. Would you?


Have you heard of Spirit Bears? Should we have more animal conservation sites, with stronger rules and regulations? If there's only one habitat, shouldn't it be protected? Do you care about your environment, or about the green spaces like The Great Bear Rainforest?


References: Great Bear Rainforest Spirit Bear Site Wiki Kermode bear


Friday, November 1, 2013

'Parisians' by Graham Robb - A City and its People

Is a city shaped by its citizens or are the citizens shaped by their city? Imagine taking a time-machine trip into the past and dropping in on the jazz scene in 50s Paris or watching from a horse as Napoleon's vision of the city unfolds before you. Graham Robb takes us on a similar trip with his novel, Parisians.

Parisians by Graham Robb, pub. 2010

An Adventure History of Paris

From Napoleon's first romantic liaison in the big city, to Marie Antoinette's wrong turn, from Madame Zola to the Day of the Fox, and back to the jazz scene of Miles Davis and Juliette Greco of St. Germaine-des-Pres. We learn about the men and women who lived in Paris and helped shape its future. From the unprincipled Vidocq, the notorious head of Paris Intelligence, we learn the basics of spying and questionable police methods.

In a photo of Marville, an area of Paris, we see Baudelaire's childhood home and decades later, Jack Kerouac spends time in a cafe there, circa 1950s. The building has only changed slightly, while man passed by. War and occupation were miserable times for the native Parisians, as we learn how it felt and what one did to cope. Stories of Notre Dame and its mysteries, Marcel Proust and the new Metro, the adventures of Mitterand, and the 'amazing courage' of Charles De Gaulle.

Parisians, published in 2010, contains twenty stories from Napoleon's time up to and including the building of the Peripherique, a perimeter road that encircles Old Paris. A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Parisians also made Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, and Winner of the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize.

I recommend Parisians, if you like French history stirred with fiction. Two faves in this book: Lovers of St. Germain des Pres (about Miles Davis and Juliette Greco) and the Notre Dame Equation. The cover shown above is a print hardcopy.

Robb also wrote The Discovery of France, and biographies of Balzac,Victor Hugo and Rimbaud.


Notre Dame, Paris, in 2010, by DG Hudson


Do you like historical fiction? Interested in Paris' dark past? Do you know of Graham Robb, the author? (UK) Have you heard of the Inspector of questionable origins, Vidocq?
Please share in the comments and thanks for dropping by!


References: About the Author, Graham Robb Vidocq, first private detective Greco celebrates past affair with Miles Davis


Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Serial Interview with Roland Yeomans

A knock came at the front door as the last golden rays of day turned into night.

I wasn't expecting anyone. I kept quiet and didn't move. Maybe, whoever was out there would go away. Within a minute, I heard a knock at the back door, at the unlocked back door. An increasing sense of urgency zipped up my spine, yet I felt immobile. . . I stood. The knock came again. . . I couldn't lift my feet.

The book, The Boston Strangler, lay on the desk beside me. Did a strangler knock on doors to find his victims? This one did.

Don't open that door!

In the spirit of the Hallowed Season, I booked an interview with the creator of Dark New Orleans stories, Roland Yeomans. Some of his novels are set in Meilori's, a late-night jazz club, populated by the undead but open to the living if they dare. Lucifer's Orphan, one of Roland's latest and part of a series, takes the reader on a different journey. It's about a young boy about to be adopted, but it turns into something else once that young boy arrives at his destination.

On with the interview. . .

I was back at Meilori’s. Everything I wore was black: from the wide-brimmed hat to my stylish Niki running shoes.  (Running shoes were wise to wear as was black.)  As Roland told me: “It is best to wrap the shadows of Meilori’s around you.  A hard-to-see target is hard to hit.”

I was at Roland’s table.  He was giving the squirrel on his shoulder sugar cubes to chew.  Apparently, Ratatoskr, the Asgardian squirrel, was here to visit Roland again too.

I drew in a breath.  The ghost of F. Scott Fitzgerald sat down beside me.  He took my hand and kissed it lightly. His gossamer lips tingled on my skin.

“Ah, I just had to see the woman who has written so highly of my works on her electronic newspaper.”

“Blog,” I managed to say.

He frowned, “I refuse to say that word.”

Fitzgerald looked witheringly at Ratatoskr.  “Roland, must we have rodents at the table?”

Roland spoke softly but firmly.  “All my friends are welcome at my table.”

Fitzgerald sighed, “In that case …”

He held up a hand and snapped his fingers.  “Waiter!  Champagne.”

He took another look at Ratatoskr.  “Two bottles!  I refuse to see a squirrel at my table when I am sober.”

I turned to Roland, fighting a smile.  “Some of your stories, remind me of the noir genre in film. Do you have any primary film influence which generated this interest in the dark shadowy world of the undead?”

Roland nodded.  “Noir indeed inspired me.  THE BIG SLEEP.  THE MALTESE FALCON.  THE BLUE DAHLIA.  The FU MANCHU series read to me and my other friends in the LEAGUE OF FIVE influenced me as well.  As did the HAMMER DRACULA films.”

Roland looked out into the shadows.  “I longed to merge Noir into the world of the supernatural which to me only seemed …”

He smiled, “ … natural.”

Fitzgerald murmured, “That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”

I asked, “Why are there so many cold-hearted females in your stories, Roland?”

Roland smiled sadly.  “The personal reasons will have to stay personal.  But it is the Noir influence, yet it really goes back further.  The femme fatale flourished in the Romantic period in the works of John Keats, notably ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’ and ‘Lamia’.

Along with them, there rose the gothic novel, The Monk featuring Matilda, a very powerful femme fatale. This led to her appearing in the work of Edgar Allan Poe, and as the vampire, notably in Carmilla and Brides of Dracula.

Ratatoskr, ever ready for gossip, listened intently as Roland went on, “During the film-noir era of the 1940s and 1950s, the femme fatale flourished in American cinema. Examples include Brigid O'Shaughnessy, portrayed by Mary Astor, who murders Sam Spade's partner in The Maltese Falcon (1941).”

Roland said, “It goes all the way up to the present with Xena and all the way back to Eve – Samuel Clemens and I believe Adam bit into the apple, knowing it would exile him from the Garden but allow him to stay with the woman he loved.”

Fitzgerald looking longingly at the ghost of his wife, Zelda, dancing with Marlene Dietrich and whispered,

 “I fell in love with her courage, her sincerity, and her flaming self respect. And it's these things I'd believe in, even if the whole world indulges in wild suspicions that she wasn't all she should be. I love her, and it is the beginning of everything.”

Roland said, “I am drawn to strong women who are their own person driven by their own minds and dreams – and that holds the very real threat that ultimately I will be hurt.  I write strong heroes who have the same make-up.”

Fitzgerald nodded, “We are all flawed creatures with sharp edges.  The price of drawing close is to bleed.”

“No bleeding, please,” I said. “Roland, the setting of HER BONES ARE IN THE BADLANDS is the silent film era and the birth of radio – a time when people listened.  The setting of LUCIFER’S ORPHAN is today when everyone talks but no one listens.  Were you trying to tell your readers something by the difference?”

“Just that very dichotomy.  In this time of Twitter and Facebook, everyone seems to be screaming, “ME, ME, ME!”  And no one is listening.  In the time of the silent film, people listened but their very isolation kept them from hearing at all.  Both times were lonely and starved emotionally … but for different reasons.”

Roland continued with a sad smile, “I was trying to convey that in the press conference in LUCIFER’S ORPHAN.  Nearly everyone was wearing a mask.  But the irony was that only when the masks were taken off did anyone feel heard.”

Fitzgerald said to me, “I like Roland’s smile.  It is one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it that you may come across four or five times in life. It seems to face the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrates on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understands you just as far as you want to be understood, believes in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assures you that he has precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hope to convey.”

Ratatoskr snickered, “How much champagne have you had?”

That was my cue to exit. I pulled down the brim of the hat, waved at Fitzgerald and with Roland’s help, found the side door and the waiting taxi. Meilori’s neon sign seemed to hang in the mist when I looked back. 

Roland Yeoman's New Serial:

Two orphans are set against each other by an unsettling adoptive father. The young boy, Blake, sees under the 'glamor' but has no choice except to bide his time. Fallen, his competition and a shapeshifter, changes her assessment of the boy once she sees his abilities.  Read about their story in Lucifer's Orphan. (I'll be reviewing this soon.)


The First SERIAL chapter, Lucifer's Orphan is out NOW! Next up is Her Bones are in the Badlands, shown below. It's on my TBR list.

Check Roland's blog for details on the serial and the Halloween Blogfest. If you'd like to join in the naming of creepy books that might have marred us as adults, visit Roland's blog, Writing in the Crosshairs. This fest runs October 1-31 until the witching hour.


What book scared you the most OR made you change your habits? (i.e., no arms or legs hanging off the bed, no answering doors after dark, closet doors shut)

Please share in the comments and thanks for stopping by!


Friday, October 11, 2013

Beyond the Edge - Interview with Talos, Aviarman

Wormhole #9, Wormhole #9. . .
Twenty-four hours prior to departure time, I confirmed my seat for the NASA Wormhole #9, Flight 909. Loading location: WormStation Merritt Island, Florida, shown below. Arrival destination: The Edge of the Backworlds.

I'll be interviewing one of the Aviarmen, Talos. After reading a little of their story in MPax's earlier book, Backworlds, I asked her if there was any chance of a meeting on location, out there. The usual currency for transport is chocolate, in ingot size bars. (I paid with a case of Le Louis brand French chocolates in gold and blue foil, .)

Station WH-9-Direct to Backworld's Edge, the Terminus:

NASA, Florida - For space and beyond, by DG Hudson


Interview with Talos at Craze's Tavern

MPAX's novels take us to the Backworld's Edge, on the frontiers of unknown space. Now, Craze and Talos must go Beyond that Edge.

Only MPax has the Guild copy of the Backworlds Map, with the coordinates to get to Craze's Tavern and back. She won't reveal the location of the wormhole, not yet, so she offered to co-pilot the ship and get me back to the right time and place for my blog post.

At Craze's Tavern

Last stop before the frontier. . .

In the Backworlds series, Craze, comes to realize the people he shares his life with are what’s most important to him instead of the prosperity he covets. Sitting at the bar in Craze’s Tavern is one of his oldest and closest friends, Captain Talos.

Seven feet tall, with short blue hair, a thin build, and tics, Talos sips a malt. On his long beige coat, he wears a button. Orange letters on a blue background, it says, Carry On, the legacy left him by his mother. Here's a photo of someone a lot like Talos.

The Interview

DG: Backworlders have been genetically modified to survive on harsh worlds. What race of humans do you belong to and what were you made for?

Captain Talos runs his thin hand through his short hair:  "The aviarmen is my people. We was made to navigate the skies ‘n we have an excellent sense of direction."

DG: How do the Backworlds differ from the Foreworlds?

Talos glances around the room before answering:  "The Foreworlders made us. They modified humans to live on less desirable worlds, The Backworlds, ‘n to excel at certain tasks. We spread from there. Then the Fo’wo’s decided they had made a mistake ‘n tried to exterminate us. That was the war. There’s a truce now.

DG: You keep saying all of you are human. Are you and other Backworlders from Earth?

Talos laughs and sips at his malt: "Earth is a myth. There’s no such thing."

DG: What was that short form of the Foreworlds?
Talos shrugs, fingering the pin on his lapel, Carry On: "Most say it Foe Woes. Some say it with a nastier twist to it. I’m sure you know how it goes."

DG: Where are the Backworlds?

Talos arches a brow. "In the Orion arm of the Milky Way. So is the Foreworlds. The Edge is the farthest expansion of the Backworlds. Much of the galaxy is unknown to us."

DG: In this adventure, you go beyond the Edge. Can you tell me why?

Talos: "Yes, it’s where the clues to my missing best friend lead. I’ve got to find him. He’s been missing for more than two years." He turns away, just for a moment and pounds on the bar. The noise catches Craze's attention.

Craze comes over, a burly dude with long hair and a wide face, and wipes off the smudges on the counter left by Talos’ tirade. He pours a couple more malts and set them down. “Everythin’ all right over here, brother?” He looks at Talos and then glances sideways at the alien human, the one who paid in chocolate.
DG: "Hello, I've heard about your exceptional tavern, Mr. Craze. I'm DG Hudson, and I'm trying to find out about life in the Backworlds for my blog readers."

Craze: "Just call me Craze, at your service. If you want to know about our adventures, you're talking to the right guy. Captain Talos."

After a long nip from the tumbler, Talos nods. “Yup. Just telling this tourist about our upcoming adventure, mate."

“I wish you’d leave me home," said Craze. "I hate space travel.”

Talos rolls his eyes. “Once he settles, he’s fair company.”

MPax stood at the end of the bar, talking for a moment with Craze. Chocolate may have changed hands. A flash of gold and blue caught my attention. She waved to Talos and said, "C'mon DG, the ship's powered up and I'm ready to hit those thrusters."

I took a few quick photos, thanked the guys, and left. Thanks, MPax. (I'm glad I took that gravity pill before I left.)

Beyond the Edge

Some truths are better left unfound.

For two years Craze’s dear friend, Lepsi, has been missing. The murmurings of a haunted spaceship might be a message and may mean his old pal isn’t dead. The possibility spurs Craze and Captain Talos to travel to uncharted worlds, searching. Out there, in an unfamiliar region of the galaxy beyond the Backworlds, they stumble upon a terrible truth.

Meanwhile, Rainly remains on Pardeep Station as acting planetlord, dealing with the discovery of her lover’s dark and brutal past. Alone and questioning her judgment, her introspection unlocks more than heartache. Latent protocols in her cybernetics activate, forcing her to face a sinister secret of her own.

In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendents to survive in a harsh universe. This is the fourth book in the science fiction series, The Backworlds. A space opera adventure.


M. Pax

Inspiring the words she writes, she spends her summers as a star guide at Pine Mountain Observatory in stunning Central Oregon where she lives with the Husband Unit and two demanding cats. She writes science fiction and fantasy mostly.
You can find out more by visiting her at:
Where to find Beyond the Edge?
Do you know the Backworlds series by MPax? Do you know why Craze lives way out on the Backworld's Edge? Did you like meeting Talos in Craze's Tavern?

Please share in the comments, and thanks for dropping by.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Norse Mythology and 'Secrets of the Ash Tree'

Sága – Norse Goddess

Sága and Odin converse while holding cups by
by Lorenz Frølich WC-PD*

Boon companion of Odin, she had other talents, as well. . . 

Sága was a patron of Seers and Writers.

Scrolls and mead was sacred to Sága. She is called an obscure goddess, yet she is linked to poetry and the poetic arts (writing and history). She inspires with prophecies. Her name is associated with the Norse meaning 'to see', this may imply that Saga was a seeress, as was Frigg.

The overlapping of the two names and their meanings has led to various theories on the connection of Sága to Frigg. Sága is said to be the handmaiden of Frigg and the daughter of Odin, or an incarnation of Frigg. An elusive goddess may be that way for a reason.


My Goblet is Empty. . .

Reclining against the branches of the overturned tree, knocked down by her father Odin, Sága set her hammered gold chalice on the branch hook and looked at him.

"Your turn, Father Odin."

"No, my dear, I'm sure it's your turn."

"I've gone to the wine cellar twice already."

"But I'm your father, I have a reputation to protect."

"I'll write a poem about this, you know."

"Be sure you describe me as handsome."


Óðinn and Sága drink from golden cups.
Art by Jenny Nyström, WC-PD*


For those who like Mythology. . .
A gift of prose to the Norse Gods, will be celebrated with a blogfest on Oct 9, 2013

‘Secrets of the Ash Tree’
by Siv Maria Ottem

Siv celebrates her new book, ‘Secrets of the Ash Tree’, with Captain Ninja- Alex Cavanaugh and the Norse Gods at the well of Urd. A Norse Gods blogfest party is being held on Siv's birthday, October 9th! There will be presents for certain lucky participants. Siv's blog tour for the release of ‘Secrets of the Ash Tree’ will be from October 7th-14th.

Tell us something about Norse Mythology and learn about a new book, one which might make you want to think about your own secrets. Details are available at Been There Done That:or at Alex's blogsite.


Do you follow Siv's blog, Been there, Done that? Do you like Mythology? Did you know of Sága, the elusive Goddess?
Please share in the comments, I'm listening. Thanks for stopping by!

References: Blogfest with Norse Gods Alex's place Saga (goddess) and Sokkvabekkr (location)
Saga (goddess)


Art Credits:

Image #1 - Saga and Odin

An illustration from Fredrik Sander's 1893 Swedish edition of the Poetic Edda. Reprinted with Erik Brate's 1913 translation which in turn is published by Project Runeberg at from where the image is taken. Published before 1909 and thus in the public domain in the United States.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Antiquities Ornamentation at The Louvre

We decorate our bodies with ornamentation for many reasons. For the beauty of the object, to enhance our image, or to show our wealth (in some cultures).

Louvre Museum exhibit, Small Antiquities, by DG Hudson 

Designs change as tastes change, but some basic styles appear timeless: necklaces, rings, cuffs, brooches, clasps, hair ornaments. Many of these designs could be worn today. The objects above and below show personal adornments of nobility or royalty.

The quality of workmanship is remarkable considering the tools of the era. Lapis Lazuli, Carnelian, Turquoise, Garnet, Hematite, Amethyst and other semi-precious stones appeared in designs frequently. Emeralds came into use for jewelry during the time when the Romans were in Egypt. Color and motif were important, according to beliefs. Scarabs signified rebirth, and amulets of collected gemstones were worn to protect against various evils: disease, bad luck, demons. . .

Ancient jewellry, Louvre Museum, by DG Hudson


Antiquities buttons or closures or decorative elements on clothing? Finding such small artifacts from bygone times confirms our history on this Earth. The darker emblems feature male profiles and classical faces. This collection at the Louvre, shown below, definitely has a masculine cast. (Attempted lightening the dark areas, but Blogger refused to load that image.)

Louvre Museum, Small Artifacts, Paris, by DG Hudson


A classic style collar necklace shown in the photo below features turquoise with green veins, a desired appeal because of the symbolism of green (life and fertility). This is reminiscent of the necklace style worn in many depictions of Cleopatra.

Louvre Museum antiquities display,by DG Hudson

The bracelet in front of the neckpiece is made of beads that had to be crafted, not machine made. Turquoise was a favorite, its bright colour accented by silver or gold. Copper was also used in small amounts.

This post joins others of my 'personal tour' bites of the Louvre Museum. They are meant to give you a taste of what is hidden behind those stone walls of the former palace. Exhibitions do change but some are permanent. Always check at the online site for updates.


Have you see any exhibits of Egyptian jewelry or adornments? (via a traveling exhibit or?) Do you look at the small artifacts in a museum, the little things under glass?
Do you know how Cleopatra died? Please respond in the comments. I'm listening. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.


References:  Wiki on the Louvre Museum  The Louvre website Egyptian semi-precious and gemstone history More Egyptian jewelry and significance of stones and color.


Monday, September 16, 2013

CassaStorm! - the Book You've been Waiting for. . .

Alex J. Cavanaugh's
New Release Available September 17, 2013

By Alex J Cavanaugh
From the Amazon Best Selling Series!
A storm gathers across the galaxy

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

CassaStorM is a touching and mesmerizing space opera full of action and emotion with strong characters and a cosmic mystery.” – Edi’s Book Lighhouse

“…mesmerizing story of survival, personal sacrifice, tolerance, and compassion. It’s a rare jewel that successfully utilizes both character and plot to tell a story of such immense scope and intimate passion…” - Nancy S. Thompson, author of The Mistaken

Science fiction/adventure and science fiction/space opera
$16.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 268 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Print ISBN 9781939844002 eBook ISBN 9781939844019
$4.99 EBook available in all formats

Find CassaStorm:

Amazon -


Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

Twitter –

Goodreads -

Here's my question to the Capt'n:
Were there any other significant men in Athee's background, not including family? (any 'old flames' from the past)

His Answer:

I really hadn't thought about it! (What man really cares about the men in his woman's past?) She's attractive, so I imagine there were a few men vying for her attention before Byron.

So - What's in the Past, stays in the Past!


Comment on Alex’s blog this week for a chance to win! One person will be chosen at random to win a Cassa mug, Cass mousepad, swag, and a $25 iTunes gift card (Or Amazon).


Have you read the first two books in this series? Are you a part of the Ninja Capt'n's Army or Clones? OR, Do you know who 'mini-Alex' is and where he came from?

If not, check out Alex's blog to find out more, but please leave a comment here first! Thanks for stopping by.