Monday, June 28, 2010

Delhi 2 Dublin

I usually talk about historical stuff, because I'm a historical writer. But an occasion like this requires a break in routine.

Copyright Delhi 2 DublinYesterday, I was privileged to happen about a brilliant concert by Vancouver-based band Delhi2Dublin at the Anand Mela (an Indian street fair). Their sound blew me away. A mix of bhangara, Punjabi fusion, electro, acoustic, celtic, with a touch of reggae, breakbeat, drum n' bass, and hip hop. Simply contemplating that combination does no justice to what that band of five young musicians can do.

They play electric fiddle, electric base guitar, electric sitar (whoa—the sound is similar but the shape and size has been modified so it can be worn and carried like a guitar), dhol, tabla, and synthesized electronic music, in addition to vocals in English and Punjabi. Tarun Nayar plays the tabla and electronics, Kytami the fiddle, Sanjay Seran does the vocals, Andrew Kim plays the sitar and guitar, and Ravi Binning the dhol and tabla.

Copyright Delhi 2 DublinDelhi2Dublin was formed for a one-off live collaboration performance at the Vancouver Celtic Festival on March 16, 2006. They were so popular that demand for future performances led them to band together. They're all Canadians with Sanjay, Tarun, and Ravi of Indian ethnicity, Andrew Korean, and Kytami Irish and a mix.

Their self-titled first album, released on December 13, 2007, reached #3 on the Canadian world music charts. Their second album reached #1 on the CHARTattack world music charts. They've performed at the Vancouver Olympics, SXSW in Austin, the Keelung City Ghost Festival in Taiwan, and various international music festivals.

Here, listen to them and see what has me so fascinated...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Picture Day Friday

Neha Dalvi of Mumbai, India, is competing for the Miss India 2010 and Miss World 2010 contests. She's a model and a fledgling Bollywood actress. HERE are more of her amazing photographs.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Technical Troubles

Where is the world has Keira been? Health's OK but computer adapter went caput. So I've had almost no intryweb access these past few days. Adapter's now arrived and computer's all charged up, so expect blog posts to resume soon.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Picture Day Friday

Petra, Jordan image copyrighted by World Nomads

Al Deir at Petra in Jordan is one of the places I want to visit before I die.

Hidden amidst nearly impenetrable mountains to the east of the valley connecting the Gulf of Aqaba and the Dead Sea stands the ancient city of Petra. One of the world’s most visually stunning archaeological sites, Petra (meaning ‘the rock’ in Greek) is an abandoned necropolis of temples and tombs cut into towering cliffs of red, pink, and orange sandstone.

Located in a remote gorge, northwest of the center of Petra, Al Deir is the largest and most visually stunning of all the structures in Petra. Carved entirely out of the red sandstone of a mountain wall, the temple is 50 meters wide by 45 meters tall and has an 8-meter tall entrance door. Inside the single empty chamber (12.5 by 10 meters), the walls are plain and unadorned except for a niche in the back wall with a block of stone representing the deity Dushara.

The chief deities of the Nabataeans were Dushara, Al-Uzza and Allat. The name Dushara means ‘He of the Shara’, referring to the Sharra Mountains on the northern border of Petra. Like the Hebrew god, Jehovah, Dushara was symbolized by an obelisk or standing block of stone (and this indicates influences from archaic Sumerian, Egyptian and megalithic cultures) and his symbolic animal was the bull.

Primarily known as a commercial and ceremonial center of the Nabataean culture during the centuries before and after the time of Christ, this region of Petra was inhabited in far greater antiquity. Archaeological excavations have revealed a rock shelter of the Upper Paleolithic period, dating to around 10,000 BC, and a Neolithic village from the 7th millennium BC. While evidence of habitation during the Chalcolithic and Bronze ages has not yet been found, the region of Petra was again occupied in the early Iron Age, around 1200 BC, by the Edomite culture of the Old Testament (Edom, meaning 'red', is the Biblical name for this region of the Middle East).

Petra’s prominence also derives from its proximity to ancient caravan routes, its easily defended location, stable water resources and proximity to rich agricultural and grazing lands. The Nabataean capital was strategically situated only twenty kilometers from the crossroads of two vital trade routes; one linking the Persian Gulf (and thereby the silks and spices of India and China) with the Mediterranean Sea (and the empires of the Greeks and Romans), the other connecting Syria with the Red Sea.

The above text is taken from Sacred Sites. For an in-depth essay on the history of Petra and it's modern-day discovery GO HERE!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Picture Day Friday

The Palace of the Lost City in South Africa image copyrighted by

The Palace of the Lost City in South Africa ranks as one of the world's most extraordinary hotels. The interior features mosaics, frescoes, and hand-painted ceilings depicting South Africa's wildlife and culture. It is a fantasy world of Africa's jungles, cliff-tumbling gardens, streams, waterfalls, swimming pools, and al fresco entertainment areas. The King Suite is the epitome of regal luxury with hand-carved walls, frescoed ceilings, and hundreds of custom-designed items. Legend says (well, you know Legends, they could be lying) that the Palace of the Lost City was built as the royal residence of an ancient civilization of South Africa, but was destroyed by an earthquake. It has now been restored to its former glory.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Books to Buy at RWA National

I'm eagerly looking forward to reading these books. Most of them will come out before the RWA conference convenes at DisneyWorld in Orlando on July 28. However, I'm coveting signed copies of these books. Yes, I intend to stand in line, greet these authors so dear to my heart, buy the signed copies, and lug them home via overpriced postage.

Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley
Courtesan's Kiss by Mary Blayney
Harmony by Jodi Thomas
The Stolen Bride by Jo Beverley
Barely a Lady by Eileen Dreyer
Sugar Creek by Toni Blake
The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne
My Reckless Surrender by Anna Campbell
A Kiss At Midnight by Eloisa James
Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas
Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas
The Secret of Everything Barbara O’Neal
She's Gone Country by Jane Porter
Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn
His at Night by Sherry Thomas
— Anything I don't have by Nicola Cornick
— All 2010 books available by Tessa Dare
The Irish Warrior by Kris Kennedy

Copyright by Julia QuinnCopyright by Lisa KleypasOf these, Julia Quinn's signature will be the trickiest to obtain, because the lines for her books are usually verrrry long. So I hope some of my author friends can sneak me in beforehand. She lives the next town over, and sporadically does local events, so there's a possibility, I might be able to obtain a signed copy or two from her, if I miss her at National. I think Lisa Kleypas plans on going to Nationals this year, Copyright by Jane Porter because that would be my only chance for signed copies. Despite her living only an hour away from me, she doesn't do local events, so I never see her till Conference. Luckily for me, Jane Porter lives close by and is very active in the community, so I can always buy signed copies of her books here and also meet her at events.

Five authors whom I wish would attend the Conference are: Laura Kinsale, Linda Lael Miller, Jodi Thomas, Jo Goodman, and Loretta Chase.

Which of these books are on your list to buy this summer? If you're going to Nationals will you buy signed copies there, or perhaps, you'll be traveling light and so purchasing them at home?

Monday, June 7, 2010

May & June Book Buys

Here are the books I bought in May and June from Amazon. Many of these aren't new releases. I'm hoarding some of them so I can buy them signed at RWA National in July. (More on this later this week.)

Sweetest Little Sin by Christine Wells
Wicked Becomes You by Meredith Duran
Welcome to Harmony by Jodi Thomas
Montana Creeds: Logan by Linda Lael Miller
Wild Oats by Pamela Morsi
The Sweethearts' Knitting Club by Lori Wilde
Miss Wonderful by Loretta Chase
Everything and the Moon by Julia Quinn
The Secret by Julie Garwood
Forbidden by Jo Beverley
Hazard by Jo Beverley
Forbidden Magic by Jo Beverley
Christmas Angel by Jo Beverley
St Raven by Jo Beverley
Skylark by Jo Beverley
The Rogue's Return by Jo Beverley
Lovers & Ladies by Jo Beverley
The Prince of Midnight by Laura Kinsale
Seize the Fire by Laura Kinsale
Daemon by Daniel Suarez
Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters
In The Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming
All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot

(This completes my Jo Beverley and Laura Kinsale collections.)

Oh, and also this: Taylors of Harrogate, Yorkshire Gold Tea, 160-Count Tea Bags. Nope it's not books, but it facilitates book reading. Besides, this is the cheapest source of this tea anywhere online.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Julia Quinn PRIZE

Julia Quinn publicity photo copyright by Julia QuinnThank you all for reading and commenting on the Julia Quinn blog yesterday. The winners are...

OKIE     and     KIM

Congratulations to you both. Please e-mail your mailing address to me at keira at keirasoleore dot com.

Picture Day Friday 2

At just 10 feet across by 26 feet high, this teeny house in London, England, occupies the former site of a wine vault that once served the pub next door.

Picture Day Friday

Notting Hill Carnival image copyright Find London Attractions

The Notting Hill Carnival is an annual event, which since 1966, has taken place on the streets of Notting Hill, London each August over two days. (Fortunately, we're going to be visiting London then.) It is led by members of the Trinidad and Tobago Caribbean populations, many of whom have lived in the area since the 1950s. The carnival has attracted up to two million people in the past, making it the second largest street festival in the world.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Julia Quinn GIVEAWAY

Ten Things I Love About You cover copyright by Julia QuinnAt 7pm PST on Wednesday July 26, Avon launched it's first ever live virtual booksigning. Julia Quinn helmed Avon's launch with her book Ten Things I Love About You. The event was powered by VivoLive, which allowed JQ to do a reading, answer questions, and sign copies for everyone who attended, in-person or online. Powell's Books hosted the event.

Even if you missed the event, you can order a signed copy from Powell's HERE. As a bonus, you can read their Q&A with her.

[GIVEAWAY Details: I'm giving away two extremely rare book coverflats from JQ's older books and two coveted Bridgerton bookmarks to two commenters. More details below.]

Julia Quinn publicity photo copyright by Julia QuinnJQ has long been a pioneer of new and innovative ways to market and promote her books and, most importantly, connect with her readers. JQ's writing style has earned her thousands of loyal fans, and consequently, she could rest on her laurels, and not make any further attempt to promote her books, and still have a comfortable career. Yet, she's constantly seeking new ways to reach her readers. She participates in book signings locally and nationally, speaks at conferences, gives workshops, and pioneers new ideas.

What Happens in London cover copyright by Julia QuinnLast year, JQ led the free e-version download giveaways program for Avon with her summer book What Happens in London. Her book trailer for that book set a new standard for book trailers. I talked more HERE about her promotion for WHIL.

If her innovation on her book trailer for WHIL wasn't enough, she's topped it with one for Ten Things I Love About You. This video is whimsical and follows the artwork of her UK covers. When you read the book, you realize, this is vintage JQ at her finest.

Here are Ten Things You Should Know about This Book (taken from JQ's website):

1. Sebastian Grey is a devilishly handsome rogue with a secret.
2. Annabel Winslow's family voted her The Winslow Most Likely to Speak Her Mind AND The Winslow Most Likely to Fall Asleep in Church.
3. Sebastian's uncle is the Earl of Newbury, and if he dies without siring an heir, Sebastian inherits everything.
4. Lord Newbury detests Sebastian and will stop at nothing to prevent this from happening.
5. Lord Newbury has decided that Annabel is the answer to all of his problems.
6. Annabel does not want to marry Lord Newbury, especially when she finds out he once romanced her grandmother.
7. is shocking, 8 is delicious, 9 is downright wicked, all of which leads the way to
10. Happily. Ever. After.

Here are Ten Things You Should Know about This Book (taken from VivoLive's website):

1. Quinn's writing is clever, sensual, and refreshingly humorous.
2. She's been called our "contemporary Jane Austen."
3. You will catch yourself laughing out loud multiple times.
4. Her hero has a totally endearing "secret" profession, not to mention a sleeping aliment.
5. The heroine's grandmother gives her permission to "ruin" herself.
6. You will be completely swept into the world of London society.
7. She has crafted a slimy villain who literally made your skin crawl.
8. Much of the story centers on the heroine's "ample" hip size.
9. Any book with the phrase "his grandmother always said that [tea] was the next best thing to vodka" goes on the keeper shelf.
10. You will not want to see this uplifting story end!

For one-on-one contact with JQ online, you can visit her on Facebook here or here, via Twitter, or on the message board.

GIVEAWAY Details: I'm giving away TWO extremely rare book coverflats from JQ's older books and TWO coveted Bridgerton bookmarks to TWO commenters. Please comment by 12pm US PST Friday, June 4.

Are you a long time fan of Julia Quinn' books, a recent reader, or have never read her books? If you've read her previous books, which ones are your favorites? And why?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Our London Itinerary

My husband proclaimed that if we all forgo inessentials, such as eating, sleeping, and bathing, and all three of us do things in parallel (the old English war tactic of divide and conquer) and then compare notes, we might, possibly, be able to cover the main items on my list (per advice from all of you).

Well, so I pared down the list. The family got one day to choose what they wanted to do. The rest of the time, they're going to be running after me as I speed walk through museums and points of interest. I have given fair warning, if anyone dares to fall sick, they'll have to stay at the apartment by themselves. Can't expect me to interrupt my schedule.

(At least, on this trip to England, I can claim to have a current map. I've been known to venture into Northumberland with a map of medieval Northumbria, much to the exasperation of my brother, who did a lot of the driving, because of my tendency to sidle into ditches and bushes on the wrong side of the road, for Pete's sake.)

So here's our itinerary, subject to change if members of family protest The Maternal Plan of Torture, or you experts think this is preposterous and completely undoable.

Day Zero:
Might as well begin as I mean to go on. This is the day we land around noon at Heathrow. On the agenda are travel to our apartment in the Strand via the Heathrow Connect, figure out weekly Tube passes, and groceries. Also:
— Trafalgar Square
— London Eye

Day One:
— Old Mayfair walk with London Walks
— Pick up lunch from Selfridges
— Grovesnor Square
— St. James' Street
— Hatchard's
— Floris Perfumers (block behind Hatchard's)
— Locke & Co. Hatters
— White's
— Boodle's
— Bond Street
— Oxford Street
— Tea at Fortnum & Mason's
— Hyde's Park

Day Two:
— Tower of London
— Museum of London
— St. Paul's Cathedral & Evensong

Day Three:
British Library
British Museum

Day Four:
The Notting Hill Carnival
Lion King at the Lyceum

Day Five:
— The Secrets of Westminster Abbey with London Walks
— Big Ben
— Sir John Soane's Museum

Day Six:
— Buckingham Palace, changing of the guards at 11am
— Osterley Park

Day Seven:
Travel to airport with a heavy heart.

Is this is a workable itinerary that will not result in bilious family members who will bar me from all future vacation planning?