Saturday, June 25, 2011

Stepping Back In Time

Recently the DH and I took a step back in time... well, as close as you can come to going back to the 19th century without forsaking all modern conveniences. (I want my hot running water and electric appliances, thank you very much!) We made a brief visit to Mackinac Island.

For those who don't know, Mackinac Island (pronounced mack-in-naw) is a quaint little island of about 500 inhabitants located between Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas in Lake Huron. Here is a piccie of part of the "old fort" walls overlooking the harbor and what is now Marquette Park (used to be a common grazing area).

One of the most notable things about the island, besides it's numerous fudge shops, is that the only means of transportation is bicycle or horse-drawn carriage. Here is what a traffic jam looks like on one of the two main streets of the town. Even taxis are horse-drawn!

I'm sitting in the front of our carriage and the black horse directly in front of me is Glen. Most of the horses are Percherons, and the teams are matched for size and color.

We took a carriage "tour" of the island and here is our three horse team: The beautiful grey in the center is Jenny, the black on the left is Eddy, and the black with the white blaze on her face is Addie. The carriage held 35 people not counting the driver, so these are incredibly strong horses!

I enjoyed the leisurely pace of the horses and it was lots of fun imagining what life was like back in the 1890s. I wish we could have stayed longer.

Have you ever been to a place that made you feel you'd stepped back in time? Please share your experiences!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Story New Cover

Lately it seems that when two or more writers get together (online, in person, on the phone, where ever!) the talk inevitably turns to E-books and self-publishing. I've been reading and listening with great interest and I've watched the use of Kindles, Nooks and other e-readers grow by leaps and bounds in the past few months.

I'm afraid didn't get my nickname Cynical Cindy from nowhere. But in the past year, I've changed from being outright skeptical of e-publishing in general and self-publishing in particular, to realizing that this is a viable new option for writers to connect with readers. I became a believer when the sales of all three of my books took off after The Wild Sight was offered as a free read on Kindle!

So I've decided to take the plunge and self-publish directly to Amazon. I'm going to start small with a novelette that is a prequel to The Wild Sight, set in Ireland, of course. Also, since one of the most exciting parts of releasing a new book is seeing the cover, I went ahead and commissioned one from my friend and professional designer, Kim Van Meter. I think she did a fabulous job (THANK YOU, Kim!) and I'm thrilled to share it here!

I hope to have The Sidhe Princess available for sale sometime in July. I'll be sharing more details as soon as I know them!

Meanwhile, I'd love to know your opinion of e-readers: Love them? Hate them? Which one do you like best?

And I hope you love my new cover as much as I do!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

5 Landmarks

I've noticed in lots of movies that they will include a glimpse of a particular landmark to instantly give the audience a 'sense of place.' It's a simple technique but particularly effective, in my opinion.

Of course that started me thinking (always a scary proposition) about which landmarks are the most familiar to audiences (and I'm talking man made objects, not natural wonders). What can you immediately recognize with just one quick look?

Here are the first five that sprang to my mind:

  1. The Sphinx -- virtually every movie set in Egypt has a shot of this icon structure. They even use it in cartoons!
  2. The Great Wall of China -- anytime I see that sinuous structure winding through the hills, I get a thrill-ripple down my spine. The Great Wall has fascinated people for centuries!
  3. The Eiffel Tower -- that open framework silhouette is unmistakable! Has there ever been a disaster movie made that didn't include a shot of the Eiffel Tower?
  4. The Golden Gate Bridge -- There are lots of famous bridges, and maybe I'm a wee bit biased (being a native Californian and living close to San Francisco), but this bridge is the granddaddy of 'em all!
  5. The Parthenon -- I had a hard time choosing between this one and the Taj Mahal. But even as a child, I remember seeing pictures of the Parthenon (even if I didn't know what it was) and I was a young teen the first time I saw a piccie of the Taj Mahal (yes, it was new construction then ).
I could add more but I'll stop for now and give you a chance to comment or give me your own list. Hmm, I just realized that I've actually been up close and personal with four of the five landmarks on my list!

Okay, your turn: Did you recognize all of my landmarks? Are there others you think are more easily recognized? Remember, these are man made structures. We'll save the wonders of nature for another post.