Making Movies is Fun!

My stepson and his girlfriend are on the plane back to the U.S.A. after a couple of days in Cairns, diving and soaking in that tropical paradise.  They spent almost six days with us first, and, of course I took hundreds of photographs and we also had some cheesy ones made like the one below. And of course, we had to get photos with the koalas. 

And so, of course, I had to gather a bunch of the best pictures I took and create a video of them. 

Making this kind of video in PowerPoint is really easy. Easy? It took me all day, getting the timing and transitions right, but it was fun.  The newer versions of PowerPoint let you create a MP4 video straight from the presentation. Then you can upload it to Facebook or YouTube.  Some videos can be uploaded straight to Blogger but the one I made was too large so I'll embed my Youtube video here.

I have a tab on this blog about making videos from PowerPoint.  I'll add some more tips and tricks from time to time....

What a year 1867 was....

What would it be like to drift through the mist and turn up in Scotland of 1867?  Black men were voting for the first time in the U.S. and many more British men were given the vote that year.  Ireland was in turmoil. The Suez Canal had just been completed. Alaska was purchased that year and the Department of Education was formed in the U.S. Canada was becoming a nation. Jesse James was doing his thing. Andrew Jackson was president of the U.S. Victoria was Queen of England. Karl Marx published Das Kapital that year.  Edgar DegasÉdouard ManetClaude MonetPierre-Auguste Renoir, and James McNeill Whistler were painting.  People were traveling everywhere by train and the telegraph was allowing them to communicate with people on different continents. The Industrial Revolution was in full swing. The world was full of possibilities... That's when "Whiskey for Tea: A Tale of Scotland" is set.  Hold on. It's a wild ride.

Jan 8th - African American men granted the right to vote in Washington, D.C. despite President Johnson's veto
Jan 12th - Leo Tolstoy's "Smert Ioonna Groznogo" premieres in St Petersburg
Feb 1st - Bricklayers start working 8-hour days
Feb 6th - Peabody Fund forms to promote Black education in southern USA
Feb 13th - Johann Strauss' "Blue Danube" waltz premieres in Vienna
Feb 17th - 1st ship passes through Suez Canal
Novelist Leo TolstoyNovelist Leo Tolstoy
Mar 1st - Most of Nebraska becomes 37th US state (expanded later)
Mar 2nd - 1st Reconstruction act passed by US Congress
Mar 2nd - US Congress abolishes peonage in New Mexico
Mar 2nd - Jesse James gang robs bank in Savannah Missouri, 1 dead
Mar 2nd - US Congress creates the Department of Education
Mar 8th - The British North America Act is passed in the House of Commons, and would serve as a constitution for Canada for the next 100 years
Mar 11th - Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Don Carlos" premieres in Paris
Mar 12th - Last French troops leave Mexico
Mar 15th - Michigan becomes 1st state to tax property to support a university
Mar 16th - First publication of an article by Joseph Lister outlining the discovery of antiseptic surgery, in The Lancet.

17th US President Andrew Johnson17th US President
 Andrew Johnson
Mar 23rd - Congress passes 2nd Reconstruction Act over President Andrew Johnson's veto
Mar 29th - British North America Act (Canadian constitution) passes
Mar 29th - Congress first approves building of Lincoln Memorial
Mar 30th - US buys Alaska from Russia for $7,200,000 (2 cents an acre - Seward's Folly)
Apr 1st - Blacks vote in municipal election in Tuscumbia, Alabama
Apr 1st - International Exhibition opens in Paris
Apr 23rd - Queen Victoria & Napoleon III turn down plans for a channel tunnel
Apr 25th - Tokyo opens for foreign trade
Apr 27th - Opera "Romeo et Juliette" is produced (Paris)
May 1st - Reconstruction of South begins, black voter registration
May 7th - Blacks stage ride-in to protest segregation in New Orleans

Philosopher and Political Economist John Stuart MillPhilosopher and Political Economist
 John Stuart Mill
May 20th - British parliament rejects John Stuart Mills' proposals on women's suffrage
May 20th - Royal Albert Hall of Arts & Sciences foundation laid by Queen Victoria
May 23rd - Jesse James gang robs bank in Richmond, Missouri (2 die, $4,000 taken)
Jun 12th - Austro-Hungarian Empire forms
Jun 15th - Atlantic Cable Quartz Lode gold mine located in Montana.
Jun 20th - US President Andrew Johnson announces purchase of Alaska
Jun 25th - 1st barbed wire patented by Lucien B Smith of Ohio
Outlaw Jesse JamesOutlaw Jesse James
Jul 1st - The Dominion of Canada is formed, comprising the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario & Quebec, with John A. Macdonald serving as the first Prime Minister
Jul 2nd - 1st US elevated railroad begins service, NYC
Jul 9th - An unsuccessful expedition led by E.D Young sets out to search for DrDavid Livingstone (Scottish missionary and explorer).
Jul 15th - San Francisco Merchants' Exchange opens
Jul 16th - Joseph Monier patents reinforced concrete

Physician and Explorer David LivingstonePhysician and Explorer
 David Livingstone
Jul 19th - Dutch Red Cross forms
Aug 1st - Blacks vote for 1st time in a US state election in the South (Tenn)
Aug 15th - 2nd Reform Bill extends suffrage in England
Aug 28th - United States occupy Midway Islands in the Pacific
Sep 1st - Robert T Freeman is 1st black to graduate from Harvard Dental School
Sep 13th - Gen E R S Canby orders SC courts to impanel blacks jurors
Sep 25th - Congress creates 1st all-black university, Howard U in Wash DC
Sep 30th - Midway Islands formally declared a US possession

Communist Philosopher Karl MarxCommunist Philosopher
 Karl Marx
Oct 1st - Karl Marx' "Das Kapital" published
Oct 14th - 15th & last Tokugawa Shogun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu resigns in Japan
Oct 18th - US takes formal possession of Alaska from Russia ($7.2 million)
Oct 23rd - 72 Senators are summoned by Royal Proclamation to serve as the first members of the Canadian Senate.
Oct 27th - Garibaldi marches on Rome
Nov 1st - "Harper's Bazaar" publishes
Nov 4th - 90 kegs of powder used to get rock from Telegraph Hill, San Francisco, for seawall
Nov 23rd - The Manchester Martyrs are hung at Salford Gaol, Manchester England for shotting a police officer

Chemist, Engineer & Innovator Alfred NobelChemist, Engineer & Innovator
 Alfred Nobel
Nov 25th - Alfred Nobel patents dynamite
Nov 25th - US Congress commission looks into "impeachment" of PresidentAndrew Johnson
Nov 26th - Refrigerated railroad car patented by JB Sutherland of Detroit
Dec 2nd - In a New York City theater, British author Charles Dickens gives his first public reading in the United States.
Dec 18th - Around 49 victims of "Angola Horror" train wreck burn to death (Angola, NY)
Dec 27th - Ontario & Quebec legislatures hold 1st meeting
Dec 29th - 1st telegraph ticker used by a brokerage house, Groesbeck & Co, NY

Showing Off Our Corner of Australia

Both my writing and by blog (and even my cooking, come to think of it) have been totally abandoned this last week.  We've had house guest from the U.S. staying with us, and we've attempted to show them a little of our corner of Australia in just five days. I think our efforts were successful and they were enchanted with our home away from home. We certainly enjoyed ourselves, but we’re ready for a weekend in which to rest up!! I have hundreds (yes, hundreds) of pictures to process and share.

They landed in the monsoon rains accompanying a cyclone that thankfully fizzled before it reached us. We had a couple very wet days, however.  Ironically, now that our guests have left, the weather looks to be absolutely beautiful for the next week. But hey! It was an adventure!!

Silly CNN told the world that Queensland is in Tasmania.  Actually, the city of Brisbane (placed correctly on the map) is in the state of Queensland, which is a very large state. All the towns shown on this map are IN Queensland. I know. I live there.

I’ll post a few photos that give you just a quick glance at our adventures. Later I’ll share a few videos and a lot more details about each of our touristy days.

You have to hold a Koala when you're in Australia. I finally did. Her name is Violet.

And I petted at kangaroo.

Me on the beach of the Gold Coast.

Hubby and our guests enjoying the beach at Bribie Island:

Bribie Island is a wonderful place to have a picnic and watch the sunset.

We’ll end up with a totally cheesy group photo of our whole gang against the background of Brisbane.

 Cheers!  I'll try to be better about this blog in the future.  

Learning to be Victorian

In my last book, I studied Paris and tried to learn how French women acted and thought.  Someday I'll do a blog to review some of the books I read for that research.

Now my girl is going back in history to the Victorian era and has to figure out how to fit in....quickly!

Not only that, but she's a modern day costumer, sewing for Ren Faires and Re-enactments  So I am now deep into research of the Victorian era. And what a time it was. The Photograph and the Telegraph had just been invented and so, if science let you communicate with people on the other side of the world, why not another world? Spiritualism was blossoming. And travel. Trains were coming into their own.

I'm ordering the following book, which outlines how every-day Victorian women lived.

Product Details

How to Be a Victorian: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life [Kindle Edition]

The author of the book above made this video about Victorian hairstyles.

And I just ran across this cute video about a lay's toilette in the 1860s, when Whiskey for Tea was set.

And the adventure begins.....

Be My Valentine

February 14.

I met my husband 14 years ago today. We've had a wonderful time and are looking forward to many more great years of adventure and love. Happy Valentines Day, Dan, my love.

One year ago today, Dan landed in Australia. Even though I knew I'd soon be following (and here I am), I was still very sad. Our only Valentines Day apart.  I made him this video because I was so sad.

Happy Valentine's Day, Sweetie. And many more.....

God Save Grandma

Is Queen Victoria my great-great-great-great Grandmother? Possibly. I'm giving this bit of family history to the main character of my work in progress, Whiskey for Tea

The story goes that one of Q.Vicky's sons, Bertie's (Edward VII or "Edward the Carcasser") illegitimate sons was given an inheritance and set out for the gold fields of California. On his travels thorough the U.S., his riverboat stopped in Ft. Smith Ark. and this guy got into a card game. 

Yup. He lost everything. So he stayed in Ft. Smith and married and had children (I knew my Great Granddaddy, who was supposedly his son. Didn't know the story back then, so never talked with him about it. So that's the story.

Riverboat at Ft. Smith, Ark.

I just stumbled onto a treasure trove of Queen Victoria photographs and will share some here. My book takes place in 1867.

This is Queen Victoria as we think of her.... .This photograph was taken in 1887, 20 years after my book takes place.

Victoria in 1854, in Scottish dress. My book takes place at the royal castle in Scotland, Balmoral.

A Portrait Group of Queen Victoria with Her Children Painted circa 1865 by John Callcott Horsley.  This picture was taken two years before my book is set. It almost certainly exaggerates her slimness. She had given birth to nine children by then.

Queen Victoria on 'Fyvie' with John Brown at Balmoral - 1863. John Brown does have a part to play in my book. Was he her lover, her husband, or her medium?

carte de visite of Queen Victoria, published in 1887 by Charles Knight, titled "Her Majesty's Gracious Smile"
I love this picture. It humanizes her. It was taken 20 years after my book takes place.

 This picture could have been from around the time of my book or up to 15 years later, but the dog will be in my book.Queen Victoria and Sharp - Date Unknown. There is a stone memorial to Sharp and the inscription is as follows: "Sharp, the favorite and faithful Collie of Queen Victoria from 1866 to 1879. died now 1879 aged 15 years" at Windsor.

Whiskey for Tea

I have such a cool concept for my new book! Or at least, I think it’s cool. Do you?
Note: Whiskey is spelled whisky in Scotland

First, the book is about a girl from Oklahoma (surprise!) who goes to Aberdeen Scotland to visit her oil patch father and gets lost in the fog and ends up back in 1867 Scotland. As you might guess, the story has many more twists and turns to get to this point.

One is that the main character’s family has a legend that they are descended from King Edward Vll through an illegitimate son. And, by the way, King Edward Vll is often known as “Edward the Caresser” or just Bertie. He was Queen Victoria’s son and kind of in the same circumstances as Prince Charles is today. He grew old waiting to be king.

Anyway, the royal family has a castle (Balmoral) near Aberdeen, so you can see where this is going, right? In September of 1867, Queen Victoria was a widow. She was at Balmoral, and she may have been married to her “Highland Servant,” John Brown. Or she may not have been. They may have been lovers. Or not. He may have been her spiritualist medium and have helped her communicate with her dead husband, Albert. Or he may not have.

One thing historians are pretty sure of is that he introduced Queen Vicky to having a shot of whiskey with her tea when she was out water colouring around Scotland. That’s where the name of the book comes from. It’s going to be Whiskey for Tea.  

I don’t want to get into all the details here, but the book will be the first in a series and will be in the form of a journal, with hand-drawn maps and sketches of the times.  I think it’s going to be great fun to write and illustrate.  What do you think?

And so it begins....

Well, I am so excited! 

I was just asked to give away some of my books at the Grand Lake Boat Show, and since it's hard for me to promote my book, living in Australia, I am so taking them up on this offer. I may even go out to Zazzle and make some bling to include in the give-a-way. 

What do you think? Should I?

And some co-workers just asked me about my book and I think what came out of my mouth was better than any of the descriptions I have written, so I may have to re-write my book description. The story of how it came to be really is interesting.

What does go on down on the boat docks after the day people go home and only the people in the live-a-boards stick around and party?  

I Live in the Land Down Under

My husband, my self and our three dogs are currently living in Brisbane, Australia. We moved here for my husband's job. I am also working here, at a contract job that will be over at the end of May. We're not sure how long we will stay in Oz, but it's a beautiful place. I'm trying to soak up this culture and capture its beauty while I can.

So, today, I'm going to share a few of my photographs of Australia with you.

When we first arrived we went antiquing. I wondered what that experience would be like over here. Great. One undeniable fact about Australia is that it's British as all get-out.

Bush Turkeys are everywhere. All animals are protected, but around Thanksgiving and Christmas I was wondering how they taste.

We love going for walks in the botanical gardens. And they have a thing over here for botanical gardens.

This is our house in Australia. Not a typical Queenland house, but we are really enjoying it. Especially the pool
One of the best things about where we live here is that we're close to the ocean. We're from Oklahoma in the U.S., which is a very long way from the ocean.
This picture and the one before are taken on Bribie Island, about an hour's drive from our house.

I have so many more picture to share, but gotta jump in the pool, swim my laps and get some work done on this lazy Sunday down under.

Have you read my new book?

Check out my new book is, published and available on Amazon. 

The idea started when my husband and I had a wooden boat on Grand Lake. Our boat was a day boat and we took day trips to the lake to enjoy it. But we heard the stories of what happened down there after we left. And we wondered about the history of our old 60s Chris Craft and wondered what it's stories were. From those wonderings came this book.

I'm very proud of "On the Dock: A Tale of Grand Lake." It's gotten some good reviews.

Susan Vineyard brought Grand Lake to life with this delightful love story. Dive into this novel on any beach or dock, or just read it at home snuggled up, and the pages will take you there!

Worth the Wait

 I actually chose a later date for my knee replacement surgery so I could attend the last two last weekends' gallery openings, and I'...