Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Musings On Cleopatra by Veronica Scott

When “Cleopatra: The Exhibition” came to a museum near us recently, I had to go! Who could pass up an opportunity to see recovered artifacts from her long lost city of Alexandria, destroyed by earthquake and tsunami…to gaze on items she might have touched, worn, enjoyed?  Perhaps even to gaze upon her face…although we’ll never truly know what she looked like. For me, Elizabeth Taylor is the ultimate depiction of Cleopatra. If I were ever transported to the palace in Alexandria, 2000 years ago, I’d be very surprised to find that the fabled Queen was not in fact Ms. Taylor’s twin!

I have to say right up front that Cleopatra is too modern for me. Oh, don’t get me wrong – I’m just as fascinated by her as the rest of the world has been for 2000 years, but when I sit down to write fiction, her era doesn’t call to my Muse. It’s too Greco-Roman, not enough Egyptian. Last queen of Egypt, she came to power after the country had already enjoyed over 3000 years of civilization and was rapidly becoming just another Roman territory. She did her best to maintain Egypt’s independence and safeguard her people but ultimately Rome won out.

It’s the earlier times I like to set my paranormal stories in, when the old gods ruled, not the Romanized homogenized versions - Isis for example, who appears in my PRIESTESS OF THE NILE, set in 1550 BC. She had become very popular with the entire Roman civilization by Cleopatra’s time, taking over aspects of other goddesses such as Aphrodite (and their temples, followers and treasuries) but lost her uniquely Egyptian identity.

But getting back to the exhibit, there were gold coins, statues large and small, jewelry, weapons, household objects…

My  favorite items from the exhibit were a fabulous pair of earrings (no surprise there since I’m addicted to long, intricate earrings myself), an elaborate headdress/crown that she might have worn during a ceremony, or perhaps to greet her Roman guests…and a tiny little mirror – we’d call it a pocket mirror nowadays but I don’t imagine Cleopatra’s dresses had pockets. Perhaps she kept it in a pouch on her belt… Imprinted with the three Graces on the back, the mirror was just the perfect size for doing that one last, quick check of her malachite and kohl-rimmed eyes,  her red ocher rouged cheeks and berry glossed lips before sweeping out to stun Marc Antony with her beauty. “Like eyepaint is my desire. When I see you, it makes my eyes sparkle” goes a line from a very old Egyptian love poem. Somehow I’m sure Cleopatra was mistress of all those arts!

Toward the very end of the exhibit there was a statue of a woman the archaeologists speculate might have been her…a strong face, not especially beautiful (but I’m rapidly coming to believe the essence of Cleopatra’s beauty was her – the personality, wit and humor). As Cassius Dio, a Roman writer and historian who lived  150-235AD, tells us, "For she was a woman of surpassing beauty, and at that time, when she was in the prime of her youth, she was most striking; she also possessed a most charming voice and knowledge of how to make herself agreeable to everyone….”

But we’ll never know that for ourselves. The statue’s eyes gazed serenely above our heads, a woman lost in her thoughts, keeping her secrets as she has for the last 2000 years.

If you could meet one famous woman from history, would it be Cleopatra? Or is there someone else you’re fascinated by? I’ll give away one copy of PRIESTESS OF THE NILE to a randomly selected commenter!

(You can read more about my fascination with Ancient Egypt  and other topics on my blog at http://veronicascott.wordpress.com/ or you can find me on twitter @vscotttheauthor  ~ Many thanks to Patricia for having me as her guest today!)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cover Art for Laid to Rest

My cover designer got some great feedback on Laid to Rest from The Book Designer.

Patty Wallace submitted Laid To Rest designed by Patty Wallace, MonkeyPAWCreative. “This was a very fun book cover I had the privilege to work on. The story is set in the 1950s and is the 2nd book in her Down Home Humor series. It needed to be quirky, fun & Southern just like the characters in the book. I designed the type to not only stand out but to have that nostalgic feel. I didn’t even mean to, but to me, the book actually feels like it’s from the 50s. I love it when that happens. Hope you like it too.”

Laid To Rest
TLC: FUN! Graphics work well with the art, nice movement throughout and appropriate for the genre.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday 8-12 Almost An Outlaw

Today I'm celebrating the Hell On Wheels Season 2 premiere tonight and posting a Western clip. This is from my book, Almost an Outlaw. It is in the villain's POV as he is captured by the hero, and in outlaw lingo, going for a ride meant you'd wouldn't be coming back. ;)

“Turn around slowly,” the captain ordered and Wallace did as he was told. He looked past the short barrel of the shotgun into Cade’s deadly gray eyes, the color of the winter sky and just as cold. For the first time, apprehension crawled up Wallace’s spine. “You taking me to the sheriff?”

With an impassive shake of his head, Cade replied, “You’re going for a ride. Put your hands behind your back. 

Thanks for stopping by! You can find other writers at www.sixsunday.com. Some snippets are suitable for adults only. And check out Hell on Wheels tonight! You'll love the outlaw.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Next Big Thing Challenge

Kate Warren has tagged me to participate in The Next Big Thing blog challenge.  Here's how it works:

First: Answer the 10 questions below.
Then:  Spread the fun and tag 5 more awesome people to participate.
It's also nice to link back to the person

1.  What is the title of your  book / WIP?

“The Yard Sale”

2.    Where did the idea of this book come  from?

It came from all the yard sales that I have had as well as my mother and my cousin who loved yard sales. They have both passed away now but a lot of the remarks Gail makes were things I recall them saying. It was great fun writing it.

3. What genre would your book fall under?

Humorous Southern Short Story.  Is that a genre?  I don’t think so but that’s what the story is.

 4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

 Jennifer could be portrayed by Reece Witherspoon, who has the right look and accent. Susan Sarandon would make a perfect Gail. Buddy: maybe John Goodman. Gabriel: Jared P from Supernatural. Bucky Sue: Honey Boo Boo Child. Bwahahaa!

 5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Jennifer Riley hopes to finance her “fresh start in life” by having a yard sale.

 6. Is your book published or represented?

It’s for sale on Amazon and has been on the best seller list in comedy since its publication.  Don’t ask me how that happened ‘cause I don’t know.

7. How long did it take you to write  it?

I revised a shorter version and I guess it was about five to six weeks rewriting and polishing.

8. What other books in your genre would you compare it to?

None that I can think of.
 9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?

Ben Wallace and Susan Hatler because they had both published fun, commercial short stories successfully on Amazon.

 10. Tell us anything else that might pique our interest in your book.

If you are looking for a short read that doesn’t take itself seriously, this is it.  And, it comes with a happy ending. None of that literary crap where you wonder what the hell when you get to the end. You know what I mean?

 The Five Awesome Fiction Authors I'm Tagging Include:

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Goodbye Norma Jeane

By this time, 50 years ago, the news had been broadcast that Marilyn Monroe, age 36, had been found dead in her bedroom of an apparent overdose. Mystery still surrounds her death and many unanswered questions point toward murder. We will never know the truth about how her life ended sometime in the wee hours of the morning.  But, to those who may have been involved in her murder, it is some justice that the act helped immortalized her. JFK is not the only one with an eternal flame. Her iconic image has been more popular and long-lasting than any of her peers.

I used some of the basic facts of Marilyn's life to create my character, Darlene, in "Laid to Rest." She and Marilyn were both poor working girls, hoping to make a dream come true. Unlike Darlene, Marilyn was sexually-abused as a child. She was shifted from orphanages to foster homes. She admitted to being raped at age 9 by one foster family's landlord. Sexual abuse by adult males continued during her childhood. It was a hard life for a young girl but she never gave up on her dream. When she was old enough to get a job, she went to work, supporting herself while she took acting classes. Of course, it was no easy road for her. Sometimes, she didn't have enough money to eat so she resorted to having sex with men in exchange for a meal. Yet, she never gave up on her dream. She saw it through and, although her personal life was filled with misfortune, she became more than anyone, including herself, would have thought possible.

She became legend.
"We should all start to live before we get too old. Fear is stupid. So are regrets."~ Marilyn Monroe