Welcome to Dunvegas 2007, the brainchild of the paranormal authors of the Beyond the Veil blog. Offered as a free Samhain gift to our readers, we hope this anthology will be the first of many return visits to Dunvegas, an out-of-the-ordinary Las Vegas casino/resort modeled after an ancient Scottish castle.
Dunvegas is unlike any other casino on The Strip. It caters to a decidedly preternatural crowd and plays host to the annual ParaPleasures Expo, the largest trade show on Earth dedicated solely to the pampering and pleasuring of vampires, weres, dragons, Fae, mages, wizards, and everything in between.
So pack light (Dunvegas has everything you could ever need) and confirm your reservation. The concierge desk is just beyond the fangs and hellhounds that guard the portcullis. Just keep your arms and legs inside as you cross the moat—the mermaids and the Kracken aren’t just for show. They’re real.
And it’s feeding time.
Enjoy your stay!
Click here to download FREE!
31 October 2007
Welcome to Dunvegas 2007, the brainchild of the paranormal authors of the Beyond the Veil blog. Offered as a free Samhain gift to our readers, we hope this anthology will be the first of many return visits to Dunvegas, an out-of-the-ordinary Las Vegas casino/resort modeled after an ancient Scottish castle.
29 October 2007
I just found out that Michelle and Mandy are going to be featuring a true ghost story I wrote on their Raven Podcast. I wrote about the time J.C. Wilder and I visited a Civil War battlefield cemetery, and had a freaky experience there. :)
Click here for podcast
I'll also be featured on the Raven Happy Hour blog on Nov. 2.
Nope, that's not a pre-Halloween beastie. That's just me putting the final touches on "Dunvegas 2007", the FREE read that will be available Oct. 31 from Beyond The Veil blog authors. Let me tell you, these authors went above and beyond. You're going to love it!
Sorry I'm late with Scotophile Monday, folks! Things have been crazy with Dunvegas, final edits on "Beaudry's Ghost", and the upcoming Nov. 1 release date of "Wildish Things." I'll try to get to it later today. Thanks for your patience!
28 October 2007
Join me with my fellow In The Gloaming authors JC Wilder and Isabo Kelly as we start Halloweening a little early at Coffee Time Romance! Here's where we'll be:
From 9-10 p.m. We'll talk about our contributions to the Gloaming, take questions, and there'll be contests and prizes. Hope to see you there!
27 October 2007
I adore shows like Ghosthunters. It's got its cheesy moments, but I can't seem to get enough of it.
But I've discovered that I can't watch it when I'm alone in the house late at night! Now, my people are from North Carolina, a species that lives comfortably cheek by jowl with some of the the scariest legends and folklore on earth, so it's hard for me to admit that certain things about Ghosthunters (which is like cotton candy compared to some of stories I grew up with) still gives me the heebies.
It's not the sightings, it's not the dark rooms. It's the EVP recordings - Electronic Voice Phenomena. Voices that live far below the range of human hearing, but when played back on a special machine, you hear what sounds like spirits trying to communicate with the living.
I'm not sure if these things are staged or not, but it's still creepy creepy creepy to hear a whisper, a sigh, a cry. I have to turn on all the lights in the house, and only turn them off as I retreat to my bedroom for the night.
I'm even afraid to glance in a mirror!
This time of year it seems to be worse, this sense that the veil is thin and anything could pop out at me when I least expect it. The dogs bark more when they're outside at night. The sound of a squirrel skittering around in my attic brings me bolt up right in bed. I leave the radio on so I won't hear the tree branches tapping the upstairs windows in the wind.
I make up stories in my head to distract me. This year I'm lucky to have an outlet for these stories - the Halloween round robin story on my other group blog, Beyond the Veil! We'll be giving away a collection of free short stories on Halloween.
I've also been immersed in final edits for - of all things - a ghost romance coming Jan. 4, 2008 from Samhain Publishing, "Beaudry's Ghost".
AND ramping up for the Nov. 1 release of Wildish Things, part of the Love & Lore anthology from Samhain Publishing. Gia Dawn, Sela Carsen and I will be list moms on Nov. 1 at the Samhain Cafe. Much fun will be had, a full day of excerpts, contests and general mayhem. Faeries be afoot, so you never know what's going to pop out at you! Hope to see you there!
(Image from http://shisa.ukzn.ac.za/)
25 October 2007
Here are thirteen consecutive paragraphs from my contribution to a FREE erotic short story collection coming Oct. 31 on the Beyond the Veil blog. Enjoy!
His admission did nothing to calm her, and she began pacing the cage, whacking the flats of her hands against the bars, wild eyes searching the steel for any weakness.
“William.” Her tone went strangely flat. “I have to get out of here.”
She paced in ever decreasing circles until she ended up frozen in place in the center.
He cautiously approached the cage, eyes narrowing as he watched her breasts rise and fall, rise and fall. Then stop.
“You have to breathe, love.”
After an agonizing few seconds, her chest heaved.
“It’s a natural reaction. It will pass.”
She wrapped her arms around her smooth, flat belly and turned her light silver eyes on him. “What would you know about my reactions to anything?”
“Because you and I…we are the same kind.”
Eyebrows slammed together. “We are nothing alike. I would have sensed it.”
“No. You wouldn’t. You were raised outside the enclave and never taught the finer skills.”
Suddenly she was at the bars of the cage, lifting her arms to grab a handhold high above her head. “I’ll show you skills. Just let me out.”
Her nipples were tight little buds, and he couldn’t keep his hungry gaze from caressing them. Her warm scent washed over him. Sweet mother of Camma, she was ripe and ready. He wasn’t sure if he’d be able to get her back to the enclave without mating with her.
Copyright 2007 Carolan Ivey, All Rights Reserved
Visit more Thursday Thirteens here!
24 October 2007
23 October 2007
21 October 2007
From Here to Eternity
Deborah Kerr (she pronounced it kar) the Hollywood actress who was born in Helensburgh in 1921, died this week in England, aged 86. She originally trained as ballet dancer before appearing in several British films. She signed for MGM in 1947. Despite her Scottish roots, she became known as Hollywood's quintessential English rose. But it was her role as Karen in "From Here to Eternity in 1953 that propelled her to box office fame. She then had a wide range of screen personas including a nun (Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison), an earthy shepherd's wife (The Sundowners) and a governess (The King and I). She was nominated for an Oscar on six occasions and was given an honorary award by the academy in 1994.
Sir Menzies Campbell, the leader of the Liberal Democrat party in the UK resigned from the post this week, in the wake of corrosive media speculation and comment about his leadership and being "too old" at 66 to lead a major political party at the next general election, perhaps two years from now. The Member of Parliament for North-East Fife decided that it was in the interests of the LibDem Party to step down. His supporters said that he "was an honourable man doing the honourable thing." Sir Menzies (he used the traditional "Mingis" pronunciation for his name) had led the party for eighteen months and had a distinguished career first as an athlete, competing in the 1964 Olympics, then as a lawyer, becoming a Queen's Counsel in 1982. He was elected as Member of Parliament in 1987 and was respected for his insight on foreign affairs. He became leader of the LibDems in March 2006 - facing much younger men as leaders of the other main parties in UK politics. He argued that his age gave him experience and wisdom, but in the TV age of sound bites, he was accused of "lacking energy".
Donation to Study Scots Around the World
Alan and Anne McFarlane's gift of £1 million to the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies is believed to be the largest-ever private donation to a history project at a British university. Mr McFarlane, who studied history at Edinburgh, is a leading international financier based in the city. The Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies is due to open next year under the auspices of the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Edinburgh. It will be headed by the renowned Scottish historian Professor Tom Devine. The focus of the centre's work will be on examining how Scots shaped societies, economies and culture in countries around the world, particularly in North America, Australia and New Zealand.
North American Tourist Numbers Fall
Figures published this week show that there was a drop of 12% in the number of visitors to Scotland from the US and Canada in the first six months of this year. In the same period, the number of international travellers rose by 4%, with a 12% increase in the number of Europeans coming to Scotland in the first half of this year. 819,000 travellers came to Scotland from Europe during that time frame and 237,000 from North America. The weak US dollar and security concerns seems to have discouraged travel from there. 80% of Scotland's visitors still come from other parts of the UK, however.
Scottish Breweries Under Threat
Brewing giant Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) were facing a takeover battle as continental rivals Carlsberg and Heineken admitted that they were considering a joint bid for the company. Their plan would be for Danish firm Carlsberg to buy Edinburgh-based S&N's interests in France, Greece and eastern European drinks business BBH, while Heineken would take on the UK business and other European operations. S&N's shares jumped 15% following the news, with their stock value jumping to £7.1 billion. S&N, however, are getting ready to fight back, pointing out that they are now Scotland's biggest manufacturing company and that any takeover would inevitably mean the loss of the corporate HQ and many high-level jobs. S&N owns or co-owns three of the top ten beers in Europe - Baltika, Foster's and Kronenbourg 1664.
Stevenson Model Lighthouse
The original scale model of the Bell Rock lighthouse which was created by engineer Robert Stevenson, is being sold at auction in London. Every lighthouse across the world that sits in the sea today has been built to Robert Stevenson’s design and specification. Bell Rock is the highest point of a dangerous reef which lies 11 miles off the coast of Angus. By the end of the 18th century, around six ships a year were being wrecked each winter on its rocks and Stevenson was given the task of erecting a lighthouse. Work began in 1807, but as the rock was only exposed for three hours a day at low water spring tides, it was not completed until 1811. The structure was made of interlocking blocks which were carved on the mainland and reassembled on the site. It remains the oldest rock lighthouse in existence in the British Isles today. Robert Stevenson went on to design a further 17 Scottish lighthouses before retiring in 1843. The tower of Robert Stevenson’s presentation scale model has been carved from a solid piece of red sandstone cut from the Bell Rock and is over 22 inches tall. It is expected to fetch between £1500 to £2000. Angus Council has refused to deny or confirm that it is going to bid for the model, which could be displayed at Arbroath’s Signal Tower Museum. (Carolan's book recommendation: The Lighthouse Stevensons
This Week In Scottish History
October 21 1956 - Last tram car ran in Dundee.
October 21 1983 - The Queen officially opened the Burrell Collection in Glasgow's Pollok Country Park. The museum's collection had been donated to the city nearly 40 years earlier by the shipping magnate Sir William Burrell.
October 22 1861 - Foundation stones of main Post Office and National Museum of Scotland laid by Prince Albert in his last public engagement before his death.
October 23 1295 - Treaty between King John Balliol of Scotland and King Philippe IV of France which promised mutual help against the English - the start of the "Auld Alliance".
October 23 1921 - Death of John Boyd Dunlop who re-invented the pneumatic tyre from the design of Robert W Thomson.
October 24 1796 - Artist David Roberts born in Edinburgh.
October 25 1960 - Elvis Presley touched down at Prestwick airport, his only visit to Scotland.
October 26 1760 - George III crowned, beginning a 60 year reign, one of the longest in British history.
October 26 1845 - Lady Caroline Nairne, songwriter and poet, died at Gask, Perthshire.
October 26 1911 - Poet Sorley MacLean born on the island of Raasay.
October 27 1728 - James Cook, circum-navigator of the globe, born to Scottish parents in Yorkshire.
October 27 1854 - William Smith, founder of the Boys' Brigade, born.
All of the above are from the RampantScotland.com newletter.
Don't forget to visit the Beyond The Veil blog frequently to check for the next installment of "Dunvegas 2007"!
19 October 2007
Click here and you'll understand why I've been MIA for a few days!
My fellow Beyond The Veil blog denizens and I have been putting the finishing touches on our first annual Halloween round robin story, "Dunvegas". Check for new entries starting today through Oct. 30. We'll be posting teasers to a collection of red-hot short stories that will be compiled and offered as a FREE download on Oct. 31, our Halloween gift to our readers!
SJ Willing kicks it off today with a section from "Somethings Popping Up In Dunvegas." I'm following up tomorrow with "Touch Not The Ungloved Cat." Look for more entries over the next two weeks from authors Xakara, Jenna Leigh, Jody Wallace, Bianca D'Arc (who created our logo!) and more.
17 October 2007
THE FIRST LETTER OF YOUR FIRST NAME:
NOW THE THIRD IN YOUR LAST NAME
E- God (ess)
Now What Color Is the Shirt You Are Wearing:
Red- Who Will Do Anything For Crack
purple- Who Looks At Porn 24/7
Orange- Who Likes It In The Butt
Yellow- Who Wants To Have Sex With You
Green- Who will rock your world
Pink- Who's Good With My Hands
blue- Who likes to strip
White- Who everyone wants to fuck
Brown- Who Wears Big Sunglasses
Black- Who likes it dirty.
Gray- Who gives great head
None-Who is a beast in bed
Post a comment with: I'm a.....
15 October 2007
Welcome back to Scotophile Monday - the day where I post snippets of Scots-related news, sites, photos and nonsense that I've gleaned from the web throughout the week. All sources credited. Enjoy!
Scots Rated Friendliest
The 2008 edition of the Blue List from travel giant Lonely Planet has placed Scotland in the top 10 of the world's friendliest countries, stating that "Time after time the welcome is warm." Of course, the Australian-based guide can't resist commenting on Scotland's "brutal" weather and "painfully bad" goalkeepers. The guide says to forget "Trainspotting" and the "Glasgow Kiss" and suggests that the country's fighting spirit has left Scots "with an extroverted, buoyant demeanour and a blackly humorous nationalism; you'd want to see the funny side after witnessing some of those goalies. Naturally, this attitude rubs off on travellers and Scots are so loyal they want you to share in the good stuff too." Some football fans did feel that the jibes about Scotland's goalkeepers were out of date, however, particularly after the recent defeat of France, the current World Champions. Apart from that, it was smiles all the way...
The billion pound golf resort being planned for Balmeddie, on Aberdeenshire's coast, has raised a lot of controversy, with advocates pointing to the economic benefits and those against pointing to the environmental damage which will be done by creating two golf courses, along with a 450-bedroom hotel, 950 holiday homes, 36 luxury golf villas, 500 private residences, an elite golf academy and a driving range. Part of the 1,400 acres includes an area designated as a "Site of Special Scientific Interest." But even if it gets planning approval, the luxury development could be badly affected by one local fisherman. Mike Forbes owns 23 acres - right bang in the middle of the development - and he is refusing to sell, despite offers which have risen to £350,000. The "working farm" has geese, hens, cats, bits of old tractor, a derelict car and burnt out barrels scattered around. In other words, it's an eyesore. But Mike claims says that he is not budging from where he has lived all his life and his father and grandfather before him. He reckons that Donald Trump "thought we were all a load of cabbages up here and he could just sweep through and clear up." Trump is scathing of his adversary - suggesting that the land was in "total disrepair" and that Mike is just holding out for more money. Trump says that if he can't buy the 23 acres he will build his luxury development around it. Of course, well-heeled golfers may be put off this wild paradise by the rusty tractors used to drag in fishing nets and their frames in from the sea, and the oil cans used as homemade braziers for burning rubbish. The battle continues...
Highland Museum and Art Gallery
The Aberdeen Press and Journal has revealed "secret" plans for a new £15 million Highland museum and art gallery, with three potential sites being identified for an "iconic" building that would showcase the best of the region's historic artefacts and artworks. Potential sites include the former Inverness Royal Academy and another at the Northern Meeting Park, beside St Andrew's Cathedral and Eden Court Theatre. The new building would replace the existing Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, which is considered too cramped and inaccessible. The aim would be to bring back Highland artefacts, currently on display outside the region, back to the north.
Butterfly Stats to Help Environment
You might have thought there were plenty of indicators of the state of the environment available to government statisticians already, but this week it was announced that state of moths and butterflies are to be used by the Scottish Government as an aid to measuring the changes in climate and biodiversity. Of course, Butterfly Conservation Scotland (BCS) said it was delighted by the decision, which it hoped would raise the profile of threatened species. Some resident species have declined in recent years, although the warmer temperatures have encouraged others to move further north. The Orange Tip is now frequently seen in Scotland and there have been sightings in recent years of the Comma butterfly as far north as Scone Palace and Dundee. There are now 33 species of butterfly seen regularly in Scotland, with some, such as the chequered skipper, surviving only in Scotland, having died out in England.
The Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship was won last Sunday by a guesthouse owner from Argyll. A dozen cooks from across the UK assembled at Carrbridge in Strathspey for the annual contest, now in its 14th year. Maria Soep, who runs the Roineabhal Country House at Kilchrenan in Lorn, near Loch Awe in Argyll, emerged victorious in a final three-way cook-off. Ms Soep said she had obtained an edge from the quality of her pinhead oatmeal from a health food shop in Oban, which had been soaked overnight with added salt and "good water". The winner of the "speciality" section featured porridge with stewed apple, cinnamon, raisins, whipped cream, chocolate and grape nuts. Who said porridge was "dull"?
Scottish Web Site of the Week
This week Inverness hosted the first annual meeting of "Scotland's Rural Past," a five-year project to investigate and record Scotland's rural heritage. The project, being led by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), aims to record evidence that still survives of the pre-industrialised countryside. This includes ruined buildings, farmsteads, townships, field systems, earthworks, boundary dykes, limekilns and sheepfolds. Countless generations of rural communities worked the land and shaped the countryside seen today. This rural way of life has now almost vanished, leaving only the fading remains of their farms, townships and fields. Evidence of this past is seen in the ruins of the settlements they left behind and in the subtle signs which remain in the landscape. A new website at www.scotlandsruralpast.org.uk has been launched.
Info Uncovered on Perthshire's Roman Fort
Archaeologists recently completed a thorough survey of a Roman fort at Strageath in Perthshire, north-east of Muthill. Originally built at the end of the first century, Strageath was one of a line of fortifications built by the Romans on and around the Gask Ridge in Perthshire. They were created to control the central part of the river Earn valley and access to the Highlands via Loch Earn and the Sma' Glen. This frontier system is the earliest Roman land frontier in Britain, built in the 70s AD, 50 years before Hadrian's Wall and 70 years before the Antonine Wall. Recent research suggests it may have been the first Roman land frontier in Europe. Strageath was abandoned, but later re-occupied at the same time as the construction of the Antonine Wall across central Scotland (built between 142 and 144AD). Unlike other Roman Forts north of the Antonine Wall, it seems that Strageath may have been surrounded by a civilian settlement - a so-called "vicus".
This Week in Scottish History
October 14 1285 - Second marriage of King Alexander III (to Yolanda de Dreux).
October 14 1318 - Edward Bruce, brother of Robert the Bruce, killed in a battle near Dundalk, Ireland.
October 14 1633 - Birth at St James' Palace, London of King James VII, second son of King Charles I and brother of King Charles II.
October 14 1969 - The 50 pence decimal coin was first issued, replacing the ten shilling note.
October 15 1686 - Birth of poet Allan Ramsay, father of Allan Ramsay the painter.
October 15 1902 - Edinburgh's Balmoral Hotel opened its doors for the first time.
October 15 1943 - Poet William Souter died in Perth.
October 16 1430 - King James II born.
October 16 1774 - Poet Robert Fergusson died.
October 17 1346 - Battle of Neville's Cross during which King David II was captured by the English.
October 17 1850 - James "Paraffin" Young obtained a patent for the extraction of paraffin from shale, starting the chemical industry in West Lothian.
October 17 1995 - Bridge to the Isle of Skye opened.
October 18 1958 - Denis Law became the youngest footballer to play for Scotland when he took part in the match against Cardiff when he was 18 years and 7 months old.
October 19 1687 - First sedan chairs available for public hire introduced to Edinburgh.
October 20 1971 - Explosion at Clarkston Toll shopping centre, killing 12.
Welcome to Scotland...Connecticut
"Scotland" has been used as a place name (or part of a place name) right across the USA in 19 states. The first settler in Scotland in Connecticut was Issac Magoon. In 1700 he purchased 1,950 acres of land and thus began Scotland’s history - the town named Scotland as a way of commemorating his ancestral home. Scotland became the birthplace of Samuel Huntington, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a distinguished statesman during the Revolutionary War and early Republic. Last weekend (Columbus Day Weekend) they held the 20th Scotland Connecticut Highland Festival. Spectators were treated to all the normal Highland Games type of events - the constant skirl of pipers, the gentle thumping of the lassies at the dancing competitions and the massed bands, including the Rhode Island Highlanders, who had crossed the state border for the day. The Quaboag Highlanders from Massachusetts wowed the crowd with their pipe adapted version of "America the Beautiful" at the opening ceremony. The slightly American-centric variations of the "games" included "Hay Bale Tossing" (over a rising bar that gets to over 35 feet) and lassies partaking of caber tossing - apparently for this event they had 4 of the top 10 women in the world there on Sunday. And a lady from Uddingston (the original, near Glasgow) was doing a brisk trade in UK sweets and comestibles. See also www.scotlandgames.org.
All of the above are from the Rampant Scotland newsletter.
Outdoors Scotland Newsletter
Events for October. Click here
"Monster" Salmon Caught on River
Claims a "monster" salmon caught on the River Ness in the Highlands are being checked against the record for the largest to be hooked in the UK.
Anglers are hopeful that the male, or cock salmon, will break the 64lbs record set 85 years ago. The anglers who caught the fish on the River Ness in Inverness at the weekend said it was 50in long and had a girth of 40in. Images and its measurements are being analysed at a fisheries laboratory. Read more
Scottish Webcam of the Week
Keep an eye on the beautiful Isle of Skye
Where I Live Screensaver
Have the loveliest Scottish screensaver in your office! Click here
Vote for your favorite Scottish archive image here.
Save Our Seas - Why We Should Care About This Bird
THE gannet was thought to be the one seabird immune to the food shortages which have caused devastation in colonies across Scotland. Its famed tendency to eat almost anything, its hunting ability and a foraging range of hundreds of miles supposedly safeguarded the gannet from the mass breeding failures affecting colonies of such birds as the puffin, guillemot and kittiwake. Conservationists have watched live on monitoring cameras as kittiwake chicks starved to death because their parents have been unable to find enough food to sustain them. But now, scientists have found the first signs that even gannets - which will eat anything from tiny sandeels to large mackerel - are struggling to find enough food for their young. Read more
14 October 2007
10 October 2007
Cnoc Filibhir Bheag
Stones of Stenness
See more Thursday Thirteens!
October. The temperature is dropping, along with the leaves, the hemlines of pants, and the humidity. Thank god, the humidity. I am, after all, a fragile flower and I melt in heat and humidity.
But the falling humidity means my skin starts to look like the Wicked Witch of the Northwest (Ohio). Which means it's time to dip into my arsenal of cold weather skin care products - oils, body butters, the white cotton gloves. Yes friends, I am turning into my grandmother. Hand cream and gloves - an over-40s gal's best friends. But did you ever read the label on one of those tubs? Can you pronounce half the names? Not me.
So here lately I've gone in search of my inner Kitchen Witch, looking for ways to incorporate more organic foods and other products into my life. And that includes skin care I can whip up in my home cauldron. Er, mixing bowl.
Here's a recipe for an organic pumpkin mask I've found that purportedly eases dry skin, shrinks your pores, and leaves skin soft. And at my age I'm not above throwing in a spell or two to make me look a few years younger!
Organic Pumpkin Mask
About 1 cup diced organic pumpkin, peeled (use the leftover pieces from carving your jack-o-lantern)
1/2 medium organic apple, peeled and cored
1 Tb. honey
1 or 2 Tb. organic goat's milk
2 drops lemon essential oil
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until thick and smooth, adding more pumpkin if the consistency is too thin. Spread a generous layer on freshly cleansed face, avoiding eye area. Fend off the cat, dog and/or your significant other from licking your face for 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water and apply your favorite moisturizer. Repeat once or twice a week. Store leftover mask in refrigerator for up to one week.
Source: Caroline Bourke, beautysecretsworld.com
Wildish Things, available Nov. 1 from samhainpublishing.com.
09 October 2007
As much as I've enjoyed the Harry Potter books and movies and appreciate how JKR's work has brought a new generation of children to the joy of reading, it's a shame that Harry Potter beat Susan Cooper's "Dark is Rising" series to the punch when it comes to marketing.
"Dark" came out long before Harry was a gleam in JKR's eye, but timing is everything, and now the movie looks like little more than a HP clone. And that's sad, because for those of us who read and loved Cooper's series, we know that JKR borrowed elements from Cooper, not the other way around.
In an effort to separate the two movies, the producers changed some elements of "Dark" but IMO managed to capture of the essence of Cooper's book. If you can get past the American Will Stanton and a love interest that was thrown in as an afterthought, the result is a much more intelligent, stripped down story than HP that doesn't talk down to its audience and doesn't need the bells and whistles to make it good.
Alexander Ludwig, who plays Will, is an excellent young actor whose chops are far more advanced than Daniel Radcliffe's were at that age. (Sorry DR fans! I like DR too but I calls it as I sees it!) Ludwig "gets" Will and the story, and the power of his talent in the climactic scene will blow you away. Pit Ludwig's Will against Radcliffe's Harry in a duel of magic, and Will would win hands-down -- and he wouldn't need a wand to do it.
I was disappointed when we entered the theater and found only about 5 other people in it on opening weekend. Okay, so it was a football Friday, but I would have thought its similarities to HP would have drawn a bigger crowd.
"Seeker: The Dark is Rising" is a gem. Don't miss it on the big screen!
07 October 2007
Welcome back to Scotophile Monday! All sources credited. Enjoy!
Stolen DaVinci Painting Found
Leonardo Da Vinci's painting "The Madonna With The Yarnwinder", valued variously between £25 to £35 million, was stolen from the Duke of Buccleuch's Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries and Galloway in August 2003. The late Duke (who died last month) was most distressed at the loss, which occurred when two men dressed as tourists overpowered a guide and stole the painting. Now, four years later, four men appeared in Dumfries Sheriff Court in connection with the robbery and the painting has been recovered from a lawyer's office in Glasgow. The current Duke of Buccleuch is reported to be "overjoyed" at the prospect of the return of the masterpiece. But he said that his delight was "tinged by sadness" that his father did not live to see the precious artwork returned to Drumlanrig. Watch video
Recycling in Scotland Reaches New High
Data from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) show that more than 28.4% of household waste in Scotland is now recycled - 4% up on the previous year and 11% up on two years ago. Recycling hardly existed in Scotland five years ago. But with government (and European) encouragement, great strides have been made. Even so, Scotland (and the UK) is still far behind many other European countries, where 70% is being achieved in some parts. Efforts are being made to improve on the present level in Scotland. There is clearly plenty of room for improvement in some parts of the country - Glasgow, the largest of all the local authority councils, has only managed to reach 16.8% and is bottom of the league table. Clackmannanshire, the smallest county, has the highest recycling rate (43.6%).
Best UK Workplace
Few Edinburgh staff working for Scottish Natural Heritage wanted to relocate to Inverness when the government forced the agency to move its HQ to the Highland capital. Moving government jobs out of the capital was a flagship policy of the previous Scottish administration - but caused a lot of controversy. But the new HQ building, named "Great Glen House", aimed to be as environmentally friendly as possible and it is now one of the biggest employers in the Highlands. Now the British Council for Offices has voted their building as the best workplace not just in Scotland but in the whole UK. Judges said the building met the aspirations of staff and was welcoming to the public. The building has already achieved the highest-ever environmental assessment rating, using recycled materials and locally sourced timber.
Scotland Calendar 2008
With the end of the year fast approaching, it's time for many of us to start thinking about Christmas and sending gifts abroad. Calendars are always a popular item and the attractive Scots Magazine Calendar certainly fits the bill - either as a gift for a relative or friend - or for yourself! The large format pictures range from Devorgilla Bridge in Dumfries to the autumn colours of Loch Dunmore near Pitlochry and a snow-covered West Highland Way. Each month also has a light-hearted collection of facts and figures to educate and entertain. A bargain at two calendars for £10 (delivered to the same address). Browse the pictures and order the calendar at Scots Magazine Calendar 2008
The Royal Air Force (RAF) were embarrassed this week when they had to admit that a practice bomb had been accidentally dropped from a Tornado GR4 aircraft over Scotland - and they didn't know where they had lost it on the 90 minute flight. The aircraft was on a routine mission from its base at Lossiemouth in Moray. The RAF have warned the public not to touch it if it is found, even though it is unlikely to be a significant danger.
"Research" by Glasgow City Council has shown that the Disney cartoon character Scrooge McDuck, Donald Duck's skinflint uncle, came from Glasgow. You might think they would want to keep quiet about that fact, but instead he has been included in a list of the city's "great and good" which the Council has published. The discovery about his origins was made in a US comic called "The Life And Times Of Scrooge McDuck, published in 1996. He is shown becoming enraged after being paid a US dime for cleaning a pair of shoes. The coin inspires him to stow away on cattle ship sailing from the cLyde to the US. There he makes his fortune and becomes the richest duck in the world. He later buys a castle on "Dismal Downs" which is supposedly near Rannoch Moor. Now he is listed in a guide to Glasgow's "who's who" and rubs shoulders with architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Sir Alex Ferguson. For the full list, including Scrooge McDuck, see Glasgow City Council - Famous Glaswegians.
This Week in Scottish History
October 7 1782 - Birth of Charles McLaren, one of the founders of the "Scotsman" newspaper.
October 8 1774 - Rev Henry Duncan, founder of the first savings bank, born in the Manse at Lochrutton.
October 9 1506 - King James IV ratified the Charter incorporating the Surgeons and Barbers.
October 9 1995 - Death of Lord Home of the Hirsel, also known as Sir Alec Douglas-Home, formerly Foreign Secretary and UK Prime Minister.
October 10 1802 - Writer and geologist Hugh Miller born on the Black Isle, Cromarty.
October 11 1297 - Letter from Wallace and Moray to the mayors of Lubeck and Hamburg saying that "The Kingdom of Scotland has, by God's Grace, recovered by battle from the power of the English".
October 11 1511 - Ship "Great Michael" launched for King James IV.
October 11 1797 - The British fleet, under the command of Admiral Adam Duncan (born in Forfar in 1731), defeated the Dutch off the village of Camperdown, Holland
October 11 2000 - Scotland's first First Minister Donald Dewar died suddenly after a fall on the steps of his official residence in Edinburgh.
October 12 1866 - Ramsay MacDonald, first Labour Prime Minister of UK, born in Lossiemouth.
October 13 1644 - Battle of Aberdeen, James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose, sacked the city.
October 13 1713 - Birth of Allan Ramsay, painter and son of Allan Ramsay the poet.
A collection of all the proverbs published in the last few months in the Rampant Scotland newsletter.
Lachlan's Laws No. 12
"No man has ever been shot while doing the dishes."
All of the above are from the RampantScotland.com newsletter.
More Protection for Scotch Whisky
Scotch whisky is to be given greater protection against counterfeiting, the UK Government announces. Read more
Porridge Contest Causes a Stir
A dozen cooks from across the UK had gathered in Carrbridge, in Strathspey, for the contest to see who can make the finest bowl of the oatmeal dish. Judges marked the entrants on their porridge's appearance, consistency and taste, before deciding on a champion. The winner of the coveted Golden Spurtle, or stirrer, was Maria Soep from Kilchrenan. Read more
Bid to Save Ancient Orchards
Laura Maciver examines the plight of Scotland's ancient pear and apple orchards for BBC Radio Scotland's Newsweek programme. Watch video
Killer Rabbit!! Er, Cat!!
WE HAVE real-life beasties such as the midge and fantastical monsters such as Nessie, but now investigators believe they have found a new fearsome creature roaming the forests and glens of Scotland. Researchers have produced two carcasses of what they hope is a previously undiscovered species - a large rabbit-headed wildcat. The mystery black mammal has a small head, a large snout, long canine teeth and - most distinctively - long ears which bear a resemblance to a rabbit or hare.
Big cat hunters are calling on gamekeepers to help trap a live rabbit-headed cat so its identity can be established once and for all. Read more
Web Page of the Week
The Scotsman's page for all things Macbeth.
Scottish Blog of the Week
Not updated recently, but has lots of good links and pictures.
06 October 2007
I'd like to dedicate this blog post today to the family and friends of the late Teri Smith, co-author of With Nine You Get Vanyr from Samhain Publishing. I'm priviledged to be friends with her husband, S.J. Willing, and many friends, including co-author Jean Marie Ward. I never met Teri, but I've met S.J. and J.M., and with friends like them, Teri must have been an amazing human being.
Read J.M.'s lovely tribute to her here.
S.J. and J.M. are holding a contest on S.J.'s site in her memory, as she passed away a year ago this month. I think Teri would have approved! :)
A number of prizes will be given away, but check out the Grand Prize package:
A Valentine Dragon Plushie
A copy of With Nine You Get Vanyr signed by Jean Marie Ward
Black Phoenix Alchemy oils:
A Wooden keepsake box handfinished by S.J.!
A With Nine You Get Vanyr Bookmark with mini gel pen (Teri's favorite pens)
A Glass Crystal wishstone for making your very own wishes.
Click here for more information and to enter! The contest runs through Oct. 24, 2007.
(Photo courtesy of Lilith Saintcrow)
05 October 2007
Love & Lore is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com! Order early and get the sale price. :)
Journey to the heart of Celtic myth and legend...
Samhain is pleased to celebrate its second anniversary with three novellas that will lure you into the labyrinth of Celtic myth and legend.
In WILDISH THINGS, Carolan Ivey brings together an artist who is wounded in both body and spirit, and a sexy Irish bad boy on a Harley. Their whirlwind fling across Ireland takes a dangerous turn when their sexual chemistry awakens the deadly lust of an ancient goddess.
Gia Dawn's offering of A FAIRY SPECIAL GIFT has it all: A woman who can see fairies and wishes she couldn't, and a man who promises to help her with her "problem"—for the price of a kiss. Stir in the Celtic god Lugh who wants the woman for himself, rowdy flock of untamed pixies, and a pining Banshee in need of a makeover, and let's just say there aren't enough fairy traps in the world to control the chaos.
THE HEART OF THE SEA beckons in Sela Carsen's take on the Selchie legend. When a woman accidentally falls into the sea and turns into a seal, her lover believes her drowned. Seven years later, she rescues him from a shipwreck and for one blissful night, she returns to her human form. But only for a night. Can true love overcome the Selchie curse?
Warning: This book contains, graphic language, explicit sex, mild bondage, wildly unpredictable gods and goddesses, unruly fairies, wet Selchies, and loads of fun.
04 October 2007
With a few exceptions, most actors have a certain "face" that's their stock in trade. It could be they've got a great smile, but if they're not smiling? Eh. Or they've got a great "brooding" look but have them crack a smile, and they look just like your first dorky boyfriend in high school.
Last weekend I watched the first two Resident Evil movies, capped off by a trip to the theater to see the third. The movies? Eh, I can take or leave them. What I can't get enough of is looking at Oded Fehr. [drool] Like any red-blooded female I went online and Googled his photograph, and as I rolled happily around in the hottie-induced hormone surge, it occured to me this man just can't take a bad picture.
He looks good from any angle, with any hairstyle, and most notably, no matter what expression is on his face. From ear-to-ear grin to full-on pout, the man is just hot hot hot. End of story.
I know that usually my TTs are focused on sharing some kind of interesting knowledge, but this week is devoted to Oded. I dare you to find a bad picture in the bunch. Enjoy!
Okay, so there's more than 13. Sue me.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled hot flash.
See more Thursday Thirteens!