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It's about adventure! Life, Scouting, Family, writing what else is there?
WELCOME TO:

GEMINI RISING

Banner for my blog, "Gemini Rising"


*Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1*

UPDATED INTRO 4 JULY 2019:
Just a little about me. I've been married for 27 years and currently live in Southern California, but I grew up in New Hampshire.

I've got 2 kids, a 17 yrs old and a 12 yr old. Both are boys. Nuff said.

I work as a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. I enjoy my job a lot.

I love to write, but since I've been so involved with the Boy Scouts program since 2015 (now Scouts BSA since girls were invited to come on board) I haven't written much. I hope to get back to more writing soon, as I'm scaling back my BSA commitment.

I like to get out in nature, take walks around Castaic Lake, drink coffee and watch football.

Here's a little bi about my zodiac.

GEMINI: Gemini, the sign of the Twins, is dual-natured, elusive, complex and contradictory. On the one hand it produces the virtue of versatility, and on the other the vices of two-facedness and flightiness. The sign is linked with Mercury, the planet of childhood and youth, and its subjects tend to have the graces and faults of the young. When they are good, they are very attractive; when they are bad they are more the worse for being the charmers they are. Like children they are lively, and happy, if circumstances are right for them, or egocentric, imaginative and restless.

Their good qualities are attractive and come easily to them. They are affectionate, courteous, kind, generous, and thoughtful towards the poor and suffering - provided none of the activities resulting from expressing these traits interferes too greatly with their own lives and comforts.

Geminians can be successful in many walks of life though their general characteristics tend to make them unreliable. They are often skilled manipulators of language, in speech and writing, and may be: debaters, diplomats (though in politics they are more interested in theory than practice), orators, preachers (brilliant rather than profound), teachers, authors, poets, journalists, or lawyers.

*Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1*


This is me. I am a Gemini. Pure, Raw, passionate.

The NEW focus of this blog is to share my adventures, scouting adventures, book reviews, thoughts, opinions, and writing adventures from actual writing, writing/editing tips, marketing, research. I'll get there.

Another Signature

Find me at:

WEBSITE:
http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

TWITTER:
http://twitter.com/StephBurkhart

FACEBOOK:
https://www.facebook.com/StephanieBurkhartAuthor

GOOD READS:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4031660.Stephanie_Burkhart

YOU TUBE CHANNEL:
http://www.youtube.com/user/botrina?feature=mhee

Previous GRATITIOUS Warning, that I decided to keep in case I post about something that might offend.

*Exclaim* WARNING *Exclaim*

I intend to be open, honest, and forthright. No topic is off limits from religion to you name it, I'm going there. If you think you might be offended...back up now - this blog isn't for you. For those who "dare" *Wink* check out the "Gemini Rising..."

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June 25, 2011 at 10:08am
June 25, 2011 at 10:08am
#727023
The first in a series of shows from the 70's, 80's, & 90's Retro Series.

The other day while I was at the gym on the treadmill, I had a chance to watch the pilot episode of the 2007 launch of the Bionic Woman. I wanted to see it for a while because I remember watching the original as a little girl and loving it. I have to admit, I liked the 2007 episode. I downloaded an episode of the original Bionic Woman with Lindsay Wagner, "Welcome Home, Lindsay, part one," to refresh my memory and several things struck me, so much so, I was inspired to write down some of my thoughts after doing a little bit of research about the series.

When I was a girl in the 1970's growing up, I remembered that I loved the show because I loved the science of the bionics and I thought Jaime Sommers was really cool. Now, 35 years later, I know why she was really cool. Lindsay Wagner's "Bionic Woman," was a totally character-driven series. The 2007 series with Michelle Ryan in the title role was a plot-driven series.

The original Bionic Woman ran from 1976-78, spending the first 2 years on ABC and then the last year on NBC. In fact, Lindsay Wagner won an Emmy for the role. Aside from capturing the look and feel of the 1970's, the show was very character-driven. "Welcome Home, Jamie, Part one," reflected a lot Jaime's feelings and was centered around her establishing a new life for herself. We see her getting a job, cleaning house, and searching for memories. Quite honestly, it's got the making of good storytelling by weaving in action naturally, not gratuitously.

I got a kick out of where Jaime decided to live – Ojai, CA. It's right in my backyard, down CA route 126. It's still a very rural area. It's also in Hollywood's backyard.

The 2007 series was produced by David Eick, who, at the time, was doing the remake to Battlestar Galactica, which I enjoyed a lot. Now, 30 years later, the Galactica series had a whole new look and feel to it, as did the new Bionic Woman.

I found Michelle Ryan to be "likeable" enough as Jaime Sommers and I liked the more modern up to date plot as well as the feel of the show, and I'm a sucker for good science fiction. I thought the bionics had caught up to the times, however the 2007 show was definitely plot driven and not character driven. Jaime did not little reflection on her feelings and was constantly in motion. If anything, that's where the show failed.



After 7 episodes, the writer's strike hit and the show fell victim to that. It was not produced after that, but those 7 episodes were plot driven. If you can't hook your audience on the characters, all the action in the world won't save it.

A plot driven story moves at a faster pace and the action is more gratuitous and in your face, but if all you have to care about is the plot, and not the characters, then you aren't going to make much of an impression.

A character driven story moves at a slower pace and the action develops naturally. The audience gets a sense of character – how good (or bad) they are. They see layers – what makes them tick. The highlight of the story is to place the character in a situation outside of their comfort zone to see how they react.

In today's instant gratification world, plot driven series rule, but it's character driven stories that resonates. It's why Lindsay Wagner will always be the only Bionic Woman in the hearts of many.
June 23, 2011 at 2:28pm
June 23, 2011 at 2:28pm
#726921
First off, forgive my hiatus during the month of May. I was a busy little bee promoting my latest release, "The Wolf's Torment," and writing furiously to meet my deadline for "Danube In Candlelight." I've got a busy summer planned – more writing, and a vacation that's not really a vacation with the boys, but my lighthouse series is back. It's going to be a fun and busy summer!

I thought I'd take a peek at a lighthouse a little closer to my house – The Long Beach Lighthouse. Heck, I thought since the boat to Catalina Island leaves out of this harbor, I pass the lighthouse all the time. Shame on me! When I started doing my research and saw a picture of the actual lighthouse, my mouth dropped to the floor. That ugly thing was the lighthouse?




Indeed, the Long Beach lighthouse has the distinction of being the ugliest lighthouse in California.

Previous to 1949, there was a skeleton tower. In 1949, a 3 story, monolithic structure was made out of concrete and sits on 6 columns. Practically, it was built to withstand tidal waves and earthquakes, but it's not very pretty.




The lighthouse is known as a "robot light" because it's completely automated and remotely controlled. It's cool, modern, but aesthetically not "hip."

The good news – there are two fake, yet attractive lighthouses in the harbor. Heck, I was fooled!
May 4, 2011 at 9:23pm
May 4, 2011 at 9:23pm
#723501
My latest release is "The Wolf's Torment," a paranormal romance set in the 1860's in the Romanian principality of Moldavia. It has witches, werewolves, and a couple of other creatures of the night. Crown Prince Mihai Sigmaringen is a witch. Can he save his family from a deadly werewolf?

As a young girl growing up on the gothic romances of Victoria Holt, I had a natural predisposition toward the unknown – the supernatural. I loved Holt's spooky mansions, secrets, and dark, haunting ambience. But most gothic events have their unexplainable events rooted in a natural cause. With a paranormal romance, the unexplainable has a very unnatural cause. That's one of the attractions to me – to explore the unexplainable. There are witches, werewolves, vampires, etc., all fantastical creatures, but it’s the traits and qualities which makes these creatures "human" that I like to explore.

In "The Wolf's Torment," my hero, Mihai Sigmaringen, has to come to terms with being a witch. He has to accept who he is – a very human concept many can identify with.

A werewolf bites Mihai's best friend, Viktor Bacau. Viktor is a good, honest man now driven by demons that threaten to destroy his world. While Viktor's demon is quite literal – a wolf – most can equate that with more modern demons. For example, drugs. Viktor's demon is an inner one. Drugs, also is similar. Both are gradual, but over time, marked.

Mihai and Viktor are best friends, but do their inner torments drive them apart or does their humanity solidify their bond? Next to Mihai's story, Viktor's story and his struggle with his feral nature will resonate with readers.

Paul Walker, inspiration for the character of "Viktor."


Enjoy this excerpt:

Viktor led his horse into the stables, glad to be done with his trip to Mulfaltar. A stable boy took the animal's reins, and Viktor made his way toward the closest entrance. He felt sated in an odd way. Sated, yet the goose bumps pricked his arms.

He inhaled deeply, finding comfort in the familiar salty scent of the Black Sea. This was his home, and more than anything, he would fight for it -- and his wife. He was a man, not a beast, and determined to show an iron will when it came to his control over his feral nature.

Viktor glanced toward the shore. Only one royal yacht was moored. Mihai must be on his honeymoon. There was work to be done, and the sooner Viktor got involved, the better.

He walked into the rear entrance and into the kitchen. Miss Pompeli hovered over the stove stirring a stockpot.

"Lord Bacau! What a pleasant surprise."

He smiled. "It smells wonderful. What are you cooking?"

"A simple chicken stew. It seems to help the king."

"How is my wife?"

"She's havin' a good day, my Lord."

"And the king?"

"He's been coughin' up blood again, but he won't take the laudanum. Says he wants his wits about him for the railroad business."

Viktor hesitated. He wanted to bathe, but perhaps he should check on the king first.

"Thank you, Daciana. I look forward to dinner."

She nodded. Viktor departed and made his way toward the king's study. He heard Sonia's father coughing just as he got to the door and Viktor paused, drawing in a deep breath. The king reminded him of his own father, gracious and accommodating. He treated Viktor as if Viktor were his own son and had wholeheartedly approved of his marriage to Sonia. Viktor was resolved not to let the king down. He knocked on the door.

"Enter."

Viktor walked in. The king stood in front of a map, his arms crossed. He smiled when he saw Viktor.

"It's good to have you back, Son."

"It's good to be back."

"How is your family?"

"Well." Viktor hated lying to the king. He couldn't be told the truth of Viktor's condition, so he had been told that Viktor went to visit his family in the Ukraine.

"What are you looking at?" asked Viktor.

"This is a proposed route of the railroad. There is a matter of a small hill. They can set the track around the hill or blast through it. By going around the hill, it will add fifteen minutes to the travel time. To blast and clear the hill puts the project's finish in October."

"Is October feasible?"

"It will be close. The ground starts to frost over toward the end of the month."

Viktor rubbed his chin with a finger. He liked the idea of blasting and clearing the hill for the quicker route.

"Well, what say you?" asked the king.

"Go through the hill."

The king chuckled. "Yes, that's what I was thinking as well -- but it will be up to you and Mihai to see to it the work is done in time."

Viktor arched an eyebrow. "Oh?"

"It won't be much longer, Son. I have weeks to live, if that."

Viktor swallowed, tucking his hands under his armpits. Everyone respected the king, despite his gruff ways. He'd done much good for the principality, his main accomplishment being the construction of the docks in Constanta, making the city a viable seaport and bringing more trade to the Romanian principalities.

"Son, I think you're going to miss me."

"Yes. So will Sonia and Mihai."

The king gestured toward his drinking cabinet. Viktor accompanied him and the king poured them each some brandy. "I've got regrets, Boy." The king paused, then sat down in the chair across from the sofa.

Viktor sat on the sofa.

"I loved my wife and when I see Sonia look at you, I know she's found that same feeling." Again, the king the paused and drew in a breath that rattled his lungs. "Don't be foolish with my daughter's heart."

Visit the Book Trailer on You Tube and give it a 'like' at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzHE2spBeeU

The Wolf's Torment is available as an ebook only on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Sony Ereader. Formats include: PDF, html, and epub which can be found on the Publisher's Website at: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-163/Stephanie-Burkhart-Moldavian...



About the Author: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She also served as an MP in the US Army. Multi-published, she has a children's book, "The Giving Meadow" with 4RV Publishing. She's an avid reader , loves coffee in the morning, and her favorite movie "werewolf" is David Thewlis, Lupin from Harry Potter.

You can find me at:
Website:
http://www.stephanieburkhart.com
Blog:
http://sgcardin.blogspot.com
Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephanie-Burkhart-Author/149938795021166
Tweet me at:
http://twitter.com/StephBurkhart
May 2, 2011 at 5:31pm
May 2, 2011 at 5:31pm
#723406
I'm pleased to announce my latest release, "The Wolf's Torment," Book 1 of the Moldavian Moon series. "The Wolf's Torment" is set in the Moldavian city of Constanta, snuggled up against the Black Sea in the 1860's. It's a paranormal romance with witches, wolves, and creatures that haunt the night.

The plot revolves around the young crown prince, Mihai Sigmaringen. His father, King Stelian, is dying and he expects much out of Mihai. He wants Mihai to learn Moldavian politics, get married and help unite the Romanian principalities. For Mihai, it's overwhelming, but he does have help – his sister, Sonia and his best friend, Viktor Bacau. Mihai also has a secret – he's a witch.

Mihai's mother was a talented witch, but died when Mihai was ten at the hands of an evil witch. Mihai has never expressed an interest in witchcraft until he has a vivid dream of his intended bride – Theresa von Kracken. In the dream, it's Christmas and Theresa faces grave danger at the hands of a werewolf as she delivers a Christmas gift to Mihai.

The dream encourages Mihai to accept his heritage and threatens to become real when Viktor is bitten by a werewolf. Can Mihai save his family and the ones he loves from Viktor's feral nature?

The theme is a coming of age story for Mihai. He's experienced heartbreak, dare he fall in love again? Can he shoulder the burdens his father has placed on him? Can he accept himself for what he is – a witch? Can the power of love bring out the best in him, or will he falter in the face of great adversity? For me, Mihai's journey is one we all can relate to. It's a very human struggle to find one's heart and courage.

Character Inspiration for Mihai



Enjoy this excerpt:

The set up: Mihai and Theresa are talking in the tower.

Mihai reached out and cupped her cheek, unable to hold himself back. "Thank you. You are...amazing, and I appreciate your support. I suppose I haven't told you how much your patience means to me, how you converted to Orthodoxy and learned my language."

She placed her hand over his. "I would do anything for you."

"Why?"

"Because of our dreams."

He withdrew his hand, guilt from his affair washing over him. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be."

He pulled away and reached for his wine. "I have a lot on my mind." It was an excuse, but he did have much to think about, and his fiancée was starting to make her way into his thoughts, distracting him more.




"You can tell me anything."

Could he? How deep did his trust go? "I worry for my father."

"His illness?"

"Yes. I don't like seeing him so incapacitated. He always liked to do thing with his hands. Now he coughs so hard his lungs rattle and he's thinner than I remember."

"I can't imagine it's easy. He's very proud of us. It's in his eyes."

"He's done much to bring Moldavia forward. He built the hospital and modernized the docks. Now I need to finish the railroad he wanted."

"He's proud of you, regardless."

His father had been good to Moldavia. Mihai sipped his wine and pushed his anxieties as far away from him as he could, but they stayed with him on the fringes of his mind.

She looked at the clock. "It's getting late."

"Let me escort you to your room. After Viktor and Sonia leave, I promise to put aside time to work on our wedding."

She stood and he watched her wipe out the glasses. She had made a major crack in his hardened heart tonight.

Visit the Book Trailer on You Tube and give it a 'like' at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzHE2spBeeU

The Wolf's Torment is available as an ebook only on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Sony Ereader. Formats include: PDF, html, and epub which can be found on the Publisher's Website at: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-163/Stephanie-Burkhart-Moldavian...

About the Author: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She also served as an MP in the US Army. Multi-published, she has a children's book, "The Giving Meadow" with 4RV Publishing. She's an avid reader , loves coffee in the morning, and her favorite movie "Dracula" is Gary Oldman!




You can find me at:
Website:
http://www.stephanieburkhart.com
Blog:
http://sgcardin.blogspot.com
Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephanie-Burkhart-Author/149938795021166
Tweet me at:
http://twitter.com/StephBurkhart

Visit Lindsay's Romantics for the pictures: http://lindsaysromantics.blogspot.com



Book Cover for Be Mused featuring my short story


A pic of me taken 2 years ago.
Logo for Writing.Com Moderators - small.







Book Cover for Be Mused featuring my short story


A pic of me taken 2 years ago.
Logo for Writing.Com Moderators - small.



April 7, 2011 at 5:41pm
April 7, 2011 at 5:41pm
#721778
Just a couple of weeks ago, I took my 8-year-old son, Andrew, to the Reagan Presidential library. I have to admit it was a real treat – not only to have presidential library in my backyard, but the Reagan library. He was president when I was coming of age. He inspired America to believe in itself again. He was president when I joined the Army and I was proud to serve for him.

Reagan's library is located in Simi Valley, CA. Construction began in 1998 and it was dedicated on 4 NOV 1991. (I was married on 14 NOV!) Interesting historical note: Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush were present when the library was dedicated.

The Reagan library has some cool exhibits including Reagan's early years in Dixon, IL, his career in film, and his time as California's governor in the 1960's.

What struck me, especially with the governor's exhibit, was that Reagan faced the same challenges that California faces now. California was in debt and facing an energy crisis. By the time he left office, California had made some hard decisions and was on the road to recovery.

What resonated with me, however, was the Cold War displays. There is a piece of the Berlin Wall on the grounds. I had been to Berlin and even have pieces of the wall myself. I saw the wall before it fell. I had a front row seat to the end of the Cold War in Nov 1989 as I was stationed in Germany when East Germans stormed the wall. I can still hear Reagan's voice. "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."
The most impressive exhibit is Air Force One, the Boeing 707 aircraft which carried Reagan and many other presidents around the world. It was retired in 2011 and transported to the library in pieces. The exhibit began showing in 2005.

Currently, Air Force One rests on pedestals 25 feet above the ground and you can walk through the plane, acquiring a feel for presidential travel.

The Reagan library is still an active place. In 2008, it hosted the GOP presidential debates. President Reagan was laid to rest on the grounds against a view that embodies the love and affinity he felt for California and the west.

Does anyone want to share their thoughts and impression of the Reagan years?
April 2, 2011 at 3:47pm
April 2, 2011 at 3:47pm
#721337
I thought I'd take a look at paranormal romance today. Paranormal romance is a very popular subgenre of romantic fiction. It finds its roots in gothic fiction. (Victoria Holt, anyone?) (Side note: I think I'll do a Victoria Holt day coming up. That sounds like fun. But I digress)

Elements of gothic fiction include spooky castles or mansions, secrets, and events that, while appear supernatural, have very natural causes. (that's the gothic twist!) In a paranormal romance, however, events occur that are outside the range of natural explanations, thus allowing for the supernatural.

Common the paranormal genre are those entities of a "fantastic" or "otherworldly" nature – vampires, witches, shape shifters, and werewolves. Stories that feature characters with psychic abilities such as telekinesis or telepathy are also included in the paranormal.

Time travel romance also falls under paranormal since it is still beyond scientific explanation. What makes a time travel successful is their ability to have the characters react logically to their experiences.

Paranormal stories also tend to organically blend elements of the suspense and mystery genres due to their fantastic plots allowing for a wide variety within the genre itself.

What are some of your favorite paranormal stories?
March 20, 2011 at 11:26pm
March 20, 2011 at 11:26pm
#720192
I love the presidential libraries. They really give you a feel for the man and his times during his presidency. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library is in Boston, Massachusetts on Columbia Point in the Dorchester neighborhood. The library is easy to find and has a gorgeous view overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. I had an opportunity to visit it in October 2001. However, getting it built was quite a challenge.

Before he died, JFK expressed a desire to build his presidential library "near scholarly resources." A month before he was assassinated, he chose a plot of land facing the Charles River next to Harvard's Graduate School.

In December 1964, Jackie Kennedy picked architect I.M. Pei to design the library. She liked that he had a variety of ideas and that he didn't seem to have just one way to solve a problem.

Unfortunately, the project stalled. The Mass Bay Transit Authority delayed in selling the land. Then Pei needed to study the soil, which took 6 months. In 1971, the school changed its mind. They saw the library as attracting such unsavorys like tourists, fast food franchises, and souvenir shops.


A new (and current location) was chosen, but it was on the site of a landfill. That took time to clear. Pei designed a simple geometric structure with a large glass pavilion. Construction began in June 1977.

In October 1979, President Jimmy Carter dedicated the library. The library highlights the Cuban Missile Crisis and the US Space program along with Kennedy's presidential campaign. Ernest Hemingway's memorial library is also there.

One of the neatest artifacts the museum has is a coconut shell dating from Kennedy's World War II military service as the Commander of PT 109. Kennedy was also fond of scrimshaw and sailing ship models.

The library gives out the Profile in Courage award. Kennedy's intent with his novel, "Profile in Courage" was to show 8 U.S. Senators who risked their carrier by taking principled stands for unpopular positions. The award itself is presented to those public officials who have demonstrated politically courageous leadership.

Has anyone visited the library? I'd love to hear your thoughts. What was your favorite exhibit?
March 18, 2011 at 5:25pm
March 18, 2011 at 5:25pm
#720029
Point Reyes is actually a very prominent cape on the Pacific Coast in Marin County, California, approx. 30 miles west of San Francisco. I've enclosed a map so you can picture it. If you ask me, you can't get any more west than the Point Reyes Cape on mainland USA.

Spanish explorer, Sebastian Vizcaino, anchored his ship in Drake's Bay on 3 Kings Day, 6 Jan 1603, giving the name Punto de los Reyes (King's Point/Point Reyes) to the peninsula. In Fact, the region is known as a peninsula due to Tomales Bay on the northeast and the Bolinas Lagoon on the southeast.

Interesting Side Note: Drake's Bay was named after the famous English explorer, Sir Francis Drake in 1579.

Picture a ridge running down the peninsula's nw/se spine with forested peaks. That's the topography. The lighthouse is found on a cliff and to reach it, one has to walk down 300 steps.

Point Reyes is known for its heavy fog. Because of this, the light from the lighthouse is the only light visible to ships. Nowadays, its fully automated. What's really cool about the lighthouse is that it still houses the first order Frenzel lens built for it. It produces a flash every five seconds.

NOTE: A Frenzel lens is an unique type of lens which is found in lighthouses.

The lighthouse is anchored to the cliff by large bolts. Two terraces were built into the cliff when construction finally began. One at 100 feet for the fog building (weather station) and one 150 feet higher for the light tower. 300 steps were carved into the cliff form the top of the bluff to reach the light tower.

Of course what gives a lighthouse its personality is the history and the Point Reyes lighthouse can tell a few tales.

In 1595, a Spanish galleon, San Augustin, sought to avoid a storm. Thinking Point Reyes was an island, the ship's captain miscalculated and ran the ship aground. It was the first recorded shipwreck on the West Coast.

In 1855, a lighthouse was authorized for Point Reyes, but it took 15 years before it was actually built. The Lighthouse Board spent the time haggling over what it was to offer the landowners for their land. During this time, 14 shipwrecks occurred.

The environment is hard on the lighthouse. High winds around 40 mphs are the norm and the fog is heavy.
Perhaps the most suspenseful story occurred in 1927. Lighthouse keeper, Fred Kreth, discovered three fisherman stranded at the bottom of the cliff. Due to the surf being too high, the Coast Guard couldn't manage a rescue. Kreth rappelled 200 feet down the cliff, braced himself on a thin ledge, untied the rope around his waist and threw it 50 yards down, pulling each man to safety.

Interesting note: electricity finally came to the lighthouse in 1938. The station was automated in 1975.

Whales, anyone?

Visit Point Reyes between JAN – APR and you might see a couple of grey whales as they journey on their annual Alaska-Mexico migration.
March 8, 2011 at 12:49pm
March 8, 2011 at 12:49pm
#719396
Astrologers have explored the heavens since early Greek and Roman times – as even far back as ancient Babylonia. They gave those constellations that follow the sun’s ecliptic a zodiac name to help identify them. But why those constellations? What inspired them? I thought I’d take a look at the myths and legends that are behind the zodiac we see in the sky today.

Ah, the zodiac! We know it well. There are twelve signs, and surprisingly, their basic descriptions seem to fit the type of personality we exhibit.

The night sky is a dark presence in paranormal writing, often times taking on its own personality. After all, vampires come out at night, men transform into werewolves during a full moon, even zombies and ghosts are known to do their haunting at night.

When blending paranormal and romantic elements, looking to the night sky and the dynamic zodiac, can give you, the writer, the inspiration you need.

In my novel, “The Hungarian,” my hero, Matthias, is a werewolf who uses the constellations in the night sky to keep him company. He learned the myths behind the zodiac in the stars. I thought I’d share a few of them with you today.
Pisces is well known as representing two fish, but did you know those fish were Venus and Cupid who disguised themselves as fish to escape from Typhon?

Aries has always been represented as a ram. In fact, Aries was a golden ram rescued by Phrixos who took him to the land Colchis.

Taurus is a bull. What I love about Taurus is the stuff you can find in the constellation. Aldebaran is a red giant star that acts as the bull’s eye. The Pleiades, a star cluster, can also be found in the bull’s shoulder. In myth, Taurus represents Zeus/Jupiter who turned himself into a bull to carry off Europa, the daughter of the king of Crete.

Gemini represents the twin brothers, Castor and Pollux, who helped to protect ships and sailors.

Cancer represents a crab. Juno sent a crab to kill Hercules, who squashed it with his foot. Poor crab! Juno lost out with that idea.

Leo is usually associated with royalty. I believe it has Babylonian roots.

Virgo is usually represented as a maiden. She’s the goddess of the farm and harvest and she typically holds a shock of wheat. Again, I believe her origins are Babylonian in nature.

The sun usually find the autumnal equinox in Libria. The constellation is comprised of a set of scales, representing balance. Interestingly, the Romans chopped off Scorpio’s claws to make part of Libria.

Juno/Gaia sent the scorpion to kill Orion, who boasted he would kill all the animals on Earth! Poor Juno. She can’t catch a break. Scorpio and Orion are on opposite side of the sky, destined to never find each other, but always in search of the other.

Sagittarius is a centaur, a half-man, half-horse archer named Chiron, who is shooting an arrow and comes from Roman myth.

Capricorn is usually represented as a seagoat. Pan used it as a disguise.

Aquarius is a water carrier. Again, this constellation has Babylonian origins.

When you look at the constellations in this light, you have a lot of paranormal romantic potential. Keep in mind the myths that the night sky possess, and see if you can’t apply them to your romantic paranormal creatures. You’ll add depth to your stories without realizing it.
March 7, 2011 at 4:04pm
March 7, 2011 at 4:04pm
#719329
STEPH: Tell us a little about you. Where do you live? How long have you been writing?

REGINA: Hi Stephanie, thank you for having me today on your fabulous blog! A resident of Providence, RI, now, I grew up in nearby Barrington. The Ocean State has a lot of appeal for me!

My wonderful mother read to me as far back as I can remember and I am sure that’s why I love reading so much. Loving reading, and being a natural talker, I think writing became the next logical step. It came in handy when I didn’t have an audience to tell my stories to, I could just keep going, and write everything down. That began early on, and I just never stopped. The publishing came later.

STEPH: I don't know much about "Light of the Heart." What's it about?

REGINA: “Light of the Heart” deals with the effects of a difficult childhood on the heroine, Cascade Preston, now a very successful stained-glass artist. As a child she knew her father was abusing her mother but was powerless to stop it. She was aware as a child that the town knew of the trouble in her house, yet did nothing to stop it. Her anger and resentment are so intense that she refuses to return to Sterling Lakes. However, circumstances take a turn and the project to redo the stained-glass windows in the town church becomes hers. As she is challenged to let the light of God’s love shine into her heart, she also meets the hero, Dan McQuay.

STEPH: What was the inspiration behind the story?

REGINA: That's an interesting question. I have always written pretty 'safe' Inspirationals, and I searched in my heart to hear a story that might needed to be told. Many years ago, I knew the hero and heroine of this story (in my mind) but Cascade's back story only came to me recently. I was not sure about it when I stopped and thought about the theme, it seemed so edgy...so I didn't stop, I just kept writing what was in my heart. After all, I had waited a long time for Cascade to tell me her story! I'm so glad the story incubated and now has the depth and substance her story really deserves. Sometimes, a writer has to be patient, and wait for the story to get to them. I'm not patient, at all! But I am so glad I waited!

STEPH: How important was the setting to the story?

REGINA: Oh, setting is always critical to my stories. Here, it is an absolute 'must'! Sterling Lakes, with all the problems the town has had in the past, and all the natural gifts they enjoy, typifies the dichotomy of the human experience: it's beautiful and ugly, good and evil all at the same time...just like the human soul.

STEPH: If you could cast the movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?

REGINA: OOOH! Okay, Cascade Preston: Amy Adams and Dan McQuay: Let me get back to you, Steph!!

STEPH: How long did it take you to write?
REGINA: Well, it's funny, I really ruminate...and I've been 'hatching' this one since way back when lol! The real work for me is thinking, plotting and envisioning the book. Once I sit down, it does not take too long. This was done in a few months, then delivered to a great editor who I must say really seemed to 'get it' quicker than I did, sometimes! Bless her!

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

REGINA: Yes, I have a Kindle that I love love love!!

STEPH Do you belong to any writing groups or writing afflilations? How helpful have they been to you?

REGINA: In the past I belonged to RWA and was in the NE chap of RWA, in fact, I was the librarian for a while. I can't tell you how wonderful that was! What a great group! I am still friends with lots of the writers and count their encouragement as one reason I ever had the confidence to send my work out to publishers!

STEPH: Can you tell us a little about the state you live in?

REGINA: Shakespeare asked "What's in a name?" in Romeo and Juliette and Little Rhody is a good example of a really powerful answer to that query! Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country, but nestled into a section of ocean, mountains and forest, it has incomparable natural beauty. On top of that, we are the nucleus of several world-renowned Universities and Colleges, so our intellectual community is vibrant and ever-evolving. An outgrowth of that is the Arts community, with museums, theaters and -yay - restaurants. Plus, we are a real cultural crossroads, with folks of all nations finding their homes here and propelling the life of the entire community into ever-enriched levels of shared experiences.

STEPH: If you could visit one country, what country would be on your bucket list?

REGINA: In a heartbeat, I'd go back to Greece. I had a trip to Egypt booked for May...I will get there some day!

Thank you, Stephanie!
Big hugs,
Regina

STEPH: Thanks for being here today, Regina! It was great to have you.

Buy Link:http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-template/ReginaAndrews/Page.bok

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