It’s Monday again, and that means Feathers and Toast performs a mime for you to guess, silently, in your head. Even though we have a comments box, right there, at the bottom of the page… Is it the maths that puts you off? We need that to stop the many and varied viagra comments… The mystery mime will never be anything related to viagra, if you were wondering…
Anyway… last week’s mime was a flickering festive candle nobody got it outright but Shurie Southcott guessed close enough as did Hadie Mansfield, so you see? Just have a guess, you never know. Then, post it in the comments. Or don’t, whatever, it’s not like we care.
Although you won’t be hungry after these disturbing flashes into the news…
The Boner Collector
OK, so it’s a pun, because of… well… you get it…
During a raid on the residence of a 54 year old mortician worker in Houston, Texas, FBI agents uncovered an unusual stash of contraband. The home contained 3178 embalmed human penises… peni… penis’… The penis hoarder, as the interns have been calling him, must have been removing the organs from cadavers for many years to accumulate such a collection, and we are wondering whether The Guinness Book of records would be interested. If this story has tipped your interest then you can read the whole disturbing account on…. World News Daily Report
A Ghost of a Chance
A woman in Bristol, who claims to have been having sexual relations with ghosts for over ten years is now looking for a ghost husband to start a ghost family.
According to The Bristol Post the 27 year old spiritual guidance counsellor has been with 20 ghosts in the 10 years since she left her fiance for one. She is now looking for a nice ghost to settle down with so she can have a phantom pregnancy… we aren’t sure anyone’s had the heart to tell her that that’s not what it means…
And in Boob News…
Christmas boobs are a new craze to be sweeping Manchester. It is now the fashion, apparently, to cut a hole in your favourite Christmas jumper, pop your boob out, give it a red nose, some eyes and antlers and call it Rudolf. No, really. This new trend in Christmas fashion is not exactly warm, but hey, if people are enjoying themselves. Just need to be careful not to take someone’s eye out when the frost hits.
You can read more in Lovin’ Manchester and because it is so special, we have even embedded a picture below…
Today’s 7 Questions are with the co-author of Alternative History series Dying to be Roman, E.M. Swift Hook. It is a detective series with a difference, and takes place in a reality where the Romans never left. Sound interesting?
1. How much research did you need to do on Roman history, and where did you start?
I was fortunate in not having to do too much basic research as I have studied Roman history and culture in the pa
st and knowing Jane is a secret Latin scholar helped!. But the one area I did research in depth was the life and times and reforms of Emperor Diocletian as it was his reign we take as the ‘pivot point’ of our alternate history – it’s point of divergence from the act
ual timeline. In reality, Diocletian’s reforms did indeed prop-up a faltering Roman Empire in the west for over a century. The Dai and Julia books assume that Diocletian was far more radical and effective in his reforms and it was this which enabled the Roman Empire to endure and expand.
2. What is it about Roman times that most appealed to you?
I suspect it is because I have read loads of Roman setting whodunits, by people such as Lindsey Davis, Stephen Saylor, Rosemary Rowe, Ruth Downie and Assaph Mehr. It is a genre I have always enjoyed and I’m sure those authors and their books have all influenced my approach and style with Dai and Julia.
3. Would you be a citizen or a Celt?
Tough call. The Roman world in a modern era as Jane and I have created it is very harsh and much as my romantic soul would want to align with the underdog Brits, if I had to live in that world I’d take all the advantages of privilege. It could literally be a matter of life and death.
4. Describe a Roman sandwich – did the Romans have sandwiches?
Romans would eat open sandwiches, usually for prandium (lunch) when they would often have cold meats and such from the previous day on bread. There is a weird Roman link with sandwiches through – the first recorded use of the word to describe a sandwich was by Edward Gibbon – who wrote the classic book ‘The Rise and fall of the Roman Empire’ – in his personal journal in 1762!
5. Where do you stand on pet couture? Would you dress up a chicken?
I have to say I am not big on the idea of dressing up pets – unless they need it for warmth in the winter, of course. In my opinion, chickens are perfectly beautiful as they are and need no added extras at all. I am one of those people who find it all a bit cringeworthy to see little pugs, chihuahuas or boston terriers done up in dresses or peering out unhappily from under silly bonnets. I love animals and feel it is demeaning to treat them like dress-up dolls.
6. Are there going to be any more books in the series? What’s next?
Oh yes! Jane and I have already got plans for the next two novellas in the works and I suspect we might well have enough written to bring out the second omnibus next year. However, the next outing for Dai and Julia after this first omnibus is in the upcoming Inklings anthology ‘Alternate Earths 2’ which should be out in the next month.It features a short story set right after the events of ‘Dying to Be Roman’ and is aptly named ‘Dying to Alter History’.
7. What advice would you give to people wanting to write alternative history?
To be honest I am not sure I am at all qualified to do so. I suspect most who write alternate history begin by asking ‘What if this happened instead of that at this specific point in history?’ so they begin with knowing their point of divergence from regular events. Jane and I started with the idea of writing modern Roman rule in Britain and then sought an appropriate pivot point which could explain how that might have happened. But I guess my advice would be two-fold – read some alternate history of the kind you want to write first and then read up on the time around your chosen point of divergence so you can be sure to give a secure and believable reason for why your world is as it is.
And you can find E.M. Swift Hook all over the web:
Every week our friends at Feathers and Toast perform a mystery mime for you to guess. If you guess correctly you have the opportunity to have the mime of your choice performed. That would involve you making the effort to have a guess though, so… *shrugs*.
And the answer to last week’s mime was credit card being used. Richard Goldman, Deva Palmier and Joe Prainitis got it right, so well done to them.
The clue for this week is something you have inside during the festive season. We’re guessing at pervy uncle, but see what you make of it…
Today’s 7 Questions is with the multi-talented Alicia Rose. She has had multiple careers, from yoga teacher to life coach, and her most recent endeavour sees her narrating audio books, including Badger’s vampire adventure!
1. You have had a diverse career, what would you say your favourite job has been?
I have to say that my favourite job so far has been that of ‘Press Photographer’ when I was 21 until the age of about 25 I held a Press Pass and got to photograph some of the biggest names in showbiz and the music scene in the early 90’s … I was present at the opening of Planet Hollywood in Leicester Square which was such a buzz – the three big boys, Arnie, Bruce and Stallone and their Hollywood mates. I was at The Prince’s Trust ‘Party in the Park’ for two years running, up there in the press pit photographing the likes of Elton John, David Gray, Destiny’s Child, Luther Vandross, Tom Jones (I even threw a pair of knickers at him and nearly got myself thrown out!) …. I photographed Alexander O’Neal and Dina Carroll, Madness, Jamiroquai and so many others and have fantastic memories of it all. I got to go on weekenders with the Police, Fire and Ambulance teams including Underwater Police on the Thames, Riot Police Training, 24 hour casualty and then all sorts of Community Events and Fundraisers and Local News and Reviews. It was a busy, exciting and fun time in life.
2. What is it about a vampire series that particularly appealed to you?
I’m more than half way through my life and to date haven’t really had much of an interest in Vampires at all, but somehow, reading your small script that was to be part of the audition I submitted, tweaked my curiosity and I really liked the fact there seemed to be an undercurrent swirling around the characters, a darkness which intrigued me, perhaps this is my doorway into a new realm and the start of a Vamp attraction.
3. What is one invaluable piece of life coaching advice that you would give to anyone?
A vital piece of coaching advice I would give anyone is to have Courage. To make a firm and true commitment to yourself that you are going to succeed through all life’s obstacles and challenges by having a courageous and continual perseverance. To understand you can summon strength and create optimism by being self-aware, appreciating your limits; accepting them and in turn drawing wisdom and inspiration from them. Your reactions to life’s challenges can then have freewill to change and with self-empowerment you can emerge triumphant in all future actions resulting in a positive outcome.
4. Where do you stand on the topic of pet couture?
Pet Couture – okay, this is unique and I’m on the fence here in the sense that I personally wouldn’t want to dress my pet dog, pig, horse up because I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to nature and the animal kingdom. However, I do understand the couture part of it can be an extension of the owner’s personality. For instance, I have a showbiz friend who loves dressing up and thus he dresses his dog in the most amazing outfits too, and his dog, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel loves it, you can see his love for it, he gets excited about dressing up. So I think if it is not harming the animal and there is genuine heartfelt communication between owner and pet, then let the couture continue. All that said; I have been known to put a hat or two on my dogs! I love hats and have a pretty big collection of them. I once put a Santa hat on my little Lhasa Apso and he hated it. I took a photo and he grimaced at the camera – it is the best ‘bah humbug’ Christmas picture I have the pleasure to own!
5. Who is the most interesting person you have worked with, and who would you most like to work with in the future?
The most interesting person I’ve ever worked with, hmmmm this is a tough question but to give as honest answer as I can it would have to be ‘Joan’. Joan was my Yoga teacher for about four years and it was this woman, who was in her sixties at the time (some 25 years ago) who opened a doorway for me to explore the true infinite potential of being human. To begin a journey of understanding, getting in tune with ‘self’ and the immeasurable possibilities that abound. I continue to practice Yoga to this day and can say with genuine ever-present experience, it is the only indisputable thing I have had in my life for the past 25 years. It saved me, released me, and helped me find freedom again and again and again. I lost touch with Joan many years ago when I moved away but I always feel a connection with her because of the interesting life path she so gently and wisely guided me onto.
6. What do you like most about recording audio books?
The best thing I like about recording audio books is learning new things. Uncovering new realms. Topics which my life has not yet touched upon. I’ve had an eye-opening life already but getting into Audio book narration and recording has increased that infinitely and pro-actively. There truly is no end to the inestimable possibilities of life, living and learning. For example, I have become educated about the views on Sex within the LDS community and the knowledge I found in that book was genuinely inspiring. I’ve found out about the ‘Furry’ community and just how massive it is in America and how people connect with Mother Nature in their own very unique way. I’ve gained knowledge about the lives of Jack the Ripper’s victims in Victorian London and it was a true thrill (and tear jerker) to act out these women’s desperate lives. I’ve read harrowing accounts of one particular woman who was devastatingly abused during her childhood at the hands of the Church and recording the book had me extraordinarily spellbound and indeed gobsmacked at what some adult men and women in charge of minors got away with – the book ‘Trust No-One’ is as heart wrenching as it is mind boggling in respect of Child Abuse in the UK. I’ve learned about the disgraceful manipulation of the Richard Nixon’s 1971 ‘War on Drugs’ in the USA and how this has morphed into a modern day slavery project together with the illegal motion of state funded prisons being built and then sold to the private sector with no money being returned to the common people who paid into it – there is huge injustice behind the whole facade. So many of these books are written by excellent and well educated writers and as yet have not ceased to amaze and teach me. Second to this learning curve is the opportunity to ‘act’ out the ‘voices’ and ‘characters’ which abound in the audio book arena. It is a challenge and a joy to produce these books and I really look forward to continuing along this new Vampire path to which you have welcomed me.
7. What’s next for you? What should we be looking out for?
What’s next for me, ah well, I still have many careers to be had I’m sure, I’ll continue to teach Yoga, be a musician, an artist and a photographer but best watch out for when I become a comedienne, I believe laughter is one of the best feelings a human being can experience and amongst the sore points of life, I rather enjoy making people laugh.
You can find Alicia in various places about the web:
And Lineage: A Beginning is out now on Audible, Amazon and iTunes. To celebrate the release, Newsnibbles is giving away 5 copies from the Audible.com site. If you would like one simply pop a comment below telling us so! First 5 comments get a download code!
You may have noticed that Newsnibbles has acquired a poet in residence – Jane Jago. Truth be told, she just turned up with a suitcase and a notepad, and no-one has been able to shift her, but she works for scones, and you lot seem to like her, so we thought we’d let you know a bit more…
1.How would you say poems differ from stories? Is it easier to make a point with a poem?
The two writing techniques are actually quite dissimilar. When I write a poem, from haiku and limerick to whatever, I am hearing a tune in my head. Stories are situations so the writing is more prosaic. While prose is shaped by character, verse is all atmosphere. If I have a point to make then my first port of call will be short verse, as that is where I feel my writing is snappiest.
2. Who is your favourite poet?
That’s a trick question, how does anybody have one favourite? But if you are intent on being mean I’d have to go for TS Eliot. Specifically Prufrock.
3. What are you working on right now?
Some Dai and Julia short stories, a detective novel, and….
4. What are you most proud of?
I can swear in five languages.
5. Pet couture, yes or no?
No. Never. Nohow. Contrariwise. If anybody was to put clothes on Dog he would probably bite their face off.
6. Describe your ideal sandwich.
Brown bread, peanut butter, banana and crisps.
7. Finish us off with a limerick about a badger.
There once was a Badger called Claire
Who found idiots got in her hair
When they talked all the time
Without reason or rhyme
Which made Badger as cross as a bear
And if you enjoyed this interview, you can find Jane all over the web on…
It’s Monday again, and that means it’s time for Feathers and Toast to perform a mystery mime for you to guess. We know you just guess in your heads, that’s OK, we’re over it. If you wanted to guess in the comments, that’d be OK too, but no pressure, you do what you feel comfortable with…
Congratulations to last week’s winners, Richard Goldman, Deva Palmier, Linda Henderson Eubanks, Joe Prantaitis, Paul Uhler, Mairi Sim, Hadie Mansfield and Patricia Anne Payne, who all correctly guess Turkey being stuffed.
This week’s clue is “something that might get over used on Cyber Monday”. Now, go forth and guess. Or don’t. Whatever.
And this week’s #MemeMonday is brought to you by Angelika Rust, and the letter C for cake…
Every Monday, our friends at Feathers and Toast perform a mystery mime for you to guess. The fact that you NEVER do, does not seem to perturb them, although it is starting to naff us right off. So, post a comment. Would it kill you? Seriously.
Anyway, no-one won last week, which was obviously, to anyone who was paying attention, a kite flying high and then getting stuck in a tree. So if you silently guessed that, well done. You don’t win a prize because you didn’t say anything. The clue for this week is something to do with an American holiday. We are assuming Thanksgiving, if you lack interest in American holidays. Obviously the world orbits America, so we’re sure you knew that anyway.