Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Million + Art Gifts

If you are interested in sourcing maps, geological diagrams, illustrations (like this lady here), satirical caricatures, illuminated and decorative letters, colorized drawings, landscapes, wall-paintings or any other images from books that were published from the 17th through the 19th century, the British Library has just posted over a million of them onto Flickr Commons here for anyone to use, remix and repurpose. For free!

(News & link nicked from Gerard over at The Presurfer.)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Elsewhere with Three Gifts

Today I'm over visiting at That's What I'm Talking About blog for their Mistletoe Madness event, at which you can read Three Gifts, my free, never-before-published Disenchanted & Co. short story. I'm also giving away this lovely scarlet and gold handmade quilted tote packed with goodies, including signed print ARCs of Disenchanted & Co. and The Clockwork Wolf, so stop in if you get a chance and enter to win the lot.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Links

Need some free Victorian Christmas clip art? Here you go.

If you have citrus and cloves (and a lot of patience), you can make your own Victorian pomander. I've made one using the same basic process and the pommander actually did last for years.

BBC's Make Your Own Victorian Christmas has 25 traditional activities you can do at home.

Victoriana magazine has a page of old-fashioned Christmas ornament instructions here.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Celebrating Victorian Style

Today I'm over visiting at The Good, The Bad and The Unread blog to talk about how many of our modern Christmas traditions got their start during the Victorian era. Stop in if you get a chance and enter to win this handmade quilted and beaded Victorian tote filled with goodies, including signed print ARCs of Disenchanted & Co. and The Clockwork Wolf.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Elsewhere Covering Up

Today I'm visiting Typing with Wet Nails, author Anna C. Bowling's blog, to talk about how even great cover art can sometimes mess up your life. Stop by if you get a chance today and enter for a chance to win my hand-quilted and beaded Winterberry tote of goodies including signed print ARCs of Disenchanted & Co. and The Clockwork Wolf.

Friday, December 6, 2013


Pantone has announced the color of the year for 2014, and it's Radiant Orchid, which they define as:

"An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm."

So okay, it's pink. I have pretty much dealt with all my issues with that color and I'm quite happy to embrace radiant orchid as it makes Disenchanted & Co. very fashion-forward:

What do you think of the official color of 2014? Let us know in comments.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Spare Parts Building

Our dishwasher began leaking on Thanksgiving night. I was not particularly surprised at this because life has taught me that if you're going to have a domestic disaster it will generally take place during the holidays or some other work-intensive, socially important event. Also, the dishwasher was sixteen years old, ran on unfiltered well water and has been used at least four times a week every week for the last ten years, so it was about due to give up the ghost.

The great thing about immediately needing a new appliance during a holiday is that there are generally some wonderful sales on them, and in no time we found a nicely-priced replacement which my guy and I installed over the weekend. The new dishwasher has more settings and way more energy-efficient than the old one, and runs so quietly I can't tell that it's on. All's well etc.

Last night I came out to borrow my guy's work bench for a few minutes and noticed these two parts that were left over from the new installation:

Normally I don't get very excited about spare parts, but these two made me quite curious. I had no idea what purpose the rings serve -- I'll guess they're some sort of hose clip or clamp -- but the shapes and colors fascinated me. Green for supply/clean water, brown for returned/soiled, maybe? Both rings were made of a single length of wire bent in half with the ends interwoven and crimped into horn-shaped prongs. This kind of object would fit very well into my Toriana universe, but how?

While thinking on that I studied how they were made. The wire used to fashion them was so thick and sturdy I'd need pliers and a vise (as well as much stronger hands) to pull it apart. They'd make very durable eyeglass frames, maybe, for someone with three eyes:

As I fiddled with them I didn't see eyeglass frames, however -- I kept thinking rings of some sort. The wire was too heavy to make them wearable by ladies, of course, but they might work for a man. A man with big hands. Big, strong hands. But why would a man wear two rings with prongs made out of wire so thick it can't be bent without tools? Then I put the rings side by side and finally got it:

The two rings worn together with two others on the same hand would make them pretty awesome brass knuckles. Since they're constructed from a single length of wire any strong-handed soul could fashion them with a custom fit. Clamp some charmed stones in the prongs and I could add a bit of magic to their punch. They'd work perfectly for my character Wrecker, should he need to improvise a weapon quickly, which he will in the next novel.

I still don't know for what or how these spare dishwasher parts are actually supposed to be used, but reinventing them to work in my story was fun and inspirational. Let your curiosity get the better of you sometime and you can do the same.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Wish Listing

This month I'd like to play secret author Santa and give some gift copies of Her Ladyship's Curse and His Lordship Possessed e-books in Kindle and Nook formats to readers who have either one (or both!) on their holiday wishlist. I thought I might be able to search the wish lists on the bookseller sites, but turns out that doesn't work unless you know the name of the person who has put them on their wish list.

If you (or anyone you know) has my e-books on their Amazon or Nook wishlists, please e-mail their name and which site they use (or a direct link to their wishlist) to In the subject line put "Wishlist Request" so we can sort them out accordingly. It's unlikely that I'll be able to send gift copies to everyone who asks, of course, but each week in December I will choose a random number from all the requests I receive and send what I can afford to give. I also believe that I'm restricted to U.S. residents for gift copies of e-books, so I apologize in advance to my international readers who can't join in (I'll be having more giveaways of print copies this month, and all of those will be open to you no matter where you reside.)