Monthly Archives: December 2008

BPAL Update – “Highwayman” and “Bess”

So Highwayman was my ‘novelty’ sample. A number of people who’ve tried it say it really does smell like leather. Leather? I love the smell of leather!

Here’s the description:

“Stand and deliver! Vetiver with gardenia, blood red rose, night-blooming jasmine, a dash of cinnamon and a faint hint of leather.”

How can you not love this?

Well, as it turns out, quite easily not. I’m not sure what it smells like, but it isn’t leather, and it isn’t very good – at least not with my skin chemistry.

But…I now am a devotee of Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs, because it’s definitely true that you only have to find the right sample vial, and you’re theirs for life. I am absolutely in love with “Hollywood Babylon” and “Bess”.

Bess wasn’t even supposed to be for me! My mom bought a sample of it, wooed by this description:

I grieve and dare not show my discontent,
I love and yet am forced to seem to hate,
I do, yet dare not say I ever meant,
I seem stark mute but inwardly do prate.
I am and not, I freeze and yet am burned,
Since from myself another self I turned.
My care is like my shadow in the sun,
Follows me flying, flies when I pursue it,
Stands and lies by me, doth what I have done.
His too familiar care doth make me rue it.
No means I find to rid him from my breast,
Till by the end of things it be supprest.
Some gentler passion slide into my mind,
For I am soft and made of melting snow;
Or be more cruel, love, and so be kind.
Let me or float or sink, be high or low.
Or let me live with some more sweet content,
Or die and so forget what love ere meant.

Inspired by the tragic, ill-fated love of Queen Elizabeth I and the Earl of Leicester. This is our modernization of a 17th-century perfume blend favored by British aristocracy: rosemary, orange flower, grape spirit, five rose variants, lemon peel, and mint.

First off, while I love good queen Bess, I don’t like citrus scents, rosemary, or mint particularly much. Citrus scents often give me a headache. But my mom didn’t like the sample, and gave it to me. I tried it with extreme trepidation, and….I adore it. Oddly, it’s musky, but it’s a ‘clean’ musk that’s sort of hard to describe. When I’m wearing it, I’m driven to keep sniffing my wrists – which I tried to do in a stealthy manner while at work. They already know I’m crazy; they don’t need to add wrist-sniffing to my list of odd behaviors! 😆 And it’s really cool that it’s based on an actual 17th century perfume blend.

So I’m definitely buying a full-size bottle of Bess, plus one of Hollywood Babylon, because I’m pretty much loving that one just as much.

Two more fragrances left in my sample pack. I’m reluctantly wearing Masabakes right now (reluctantly because I really want to put on more Bess!) and I’ll reserve judgment until a bit later. I didn’t think I’d like it at all when I first put it on, but now it’s beginning to smell a bit like cinnamon and spice, so…

BPAL – Update: “Harlot” and “Hollywood Babylon”

Finally! Two scents I like!

I put Harlot on before I left for church in the morning, (good thing no one asked the name of my fragrance!).  It’s another vanilla scent, this one crossed with roses.  The only flaw was that it’s delicate enough to be worn off by 1pm when I went to work.  My friend tried to catch a whiff, and said she could only smell my gum!  When I wear it again, I may have to bring the bottle with me, and replenish it mid-day.

Since Harlot was gone, when I got home, I tried a little Hollywood Babylon.  So far, I’m loving this one.  It’s more robust, so I think it will stay with me longer, and it smells like really juicy cherries and musk.  Sort of candy-like, but without the annoyingly sweetness of Bordello.

BPAL Update – “London” and “Blood Kiss”

I put on a little Blood Kiss this morning, and ew, hated it. On my skin, at least, it had a very harsh, cheap-perfume smell. I suffered with it for a couple of hours, and it didn’t improve. Scratch this one way off my list!

So next I put on London. This one was a very nice rose scent, but it was only a rose scent. No undertones, nothing but rose. I doubt I’ll buy a full sized bottle of this, since there was nothing unique about it, but I’ll keep my little imp. Possibly I’ll layer it with one of the other scents – it might even smell nice with Bordello…

BPAL Update – “Bordello”

My samples from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab are finally here! See my previous post:

And they threw in two extras: ‘Psyche’ and ‘Masabakes’. After I opened all the teeny bottles and gave them a sniff, I decided to give Bordello the first trial wear.

My first impression was that I liked it quite a lot. In the beginning, it had a very vanilla-y scent, which I love. A half hour later, it smelled more strongly of fruit, kind of a plum scent. Now, several hours later, I’m not quite so enthralled. If I had to describe it, I’d come up with “candy sweet”…very, very sweet, full of vanilla and marshmallow. It’s lovely, but it’s not really me. And also, since it’s quite a delicate scent, I had to put on a lot in order to smell it at all. Not my description of a ‘bordello’, unless it’s also a candy factory. 😆

Tomorrow I’ll test-wear a different one.

Dr. Who Sings! He Dances! (Maybe)

Tennant Eyes Dr Who Musical

21 December 2008 11:53 PM, PST | From

Doctor Who star David Tennant is keen for the cult TV show to be turned into a musical – because he loves “a song and a dance.”

The Scottish actor is adamant the sci-fi programme would easily translate to the stage, but would prefer to keep a musical version on TV screens as it would be difficult to find the time for a long-running live production.

He says, “Doctor Who: The Musical has been mentioned. I would be up for it. I love a song and a dance. The thing about a musical is you have to commit for a year and a half and it’s eight times a week.”

Tennant was recently forced to pull out of his run in a London production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet due to a back injury.

This is just a quickie, but I had to post about this. Three of my favorite things in the world are Dr. Who, David Tennant, and musicals….but together? If it’s done right, it could be great, something along the line of the supreme coolness that was the Buffy musical. If we could just get Joss Whedon on board – he is a WhoFan, and there was talk of him directing/writing an episode….

I’m just not sure the world is ready for a conga line of dancing Ood. On the other hand, there is this to prepare us:

A Little Writing, a Little Costuming

It’s a funny thing, sometimes, when you meet a character for the first time in a story you’re writing.

I just finished posting a new chapter of my book-in-progress on Goodreads, and it was a fun chapter to write.  Not only did Pullo and Arassa get to fight (I know, I know, everyone’s waiting for that first kiss – it’s coming!), but I also got to meet my Chracian Queen.  She’s been briefly mentioned a few times, in other chapters, but this is the first time she appeared in the ink.

And she’s so completely different than who I thought she was.  I wasn’t even sure, the first few times I mentioned her in the story, that she was even going to be more than simply a character for other characters to talk about, and I envisioned her as this quiet little woman, one who doesn’t care if other people speak her story for her.  I even gave her (as a first-draft name) the name of a different woman, in a different book of mine – the name of someone who actually is a quiet little woman.

So imagine my delight in being surprised.  My main character, Arassa, might not be pleased to meet Cele, but I am.

And because that wasn’t much of post (I have Christmas gifts to wrap), I’m including these pictures.  They have zero to do with Arassa, but they’re so exceedingly cool.

For anyone who likes 18th century costuming, that is.


Look at the embroidery on that.  So gorgeous!


A close-up of the embroidery:


For even more pics, see the “Inspiration!” page on my costuming website:

Snow and Snow Ice Cream

I was snowed in today and didn’t have to go to work!

Here’s a couple pictures taken in my garden:



And here’s two taken on my street:



But the best thing about snow days (other than not having to work!) is making real snow ice cream.

Snow Ice Cream

2 eggs, well beaten

1 cup milk

1 cup cream

1 cup sugar (or 3/4 cup honey)

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

bucket of fresh, clean snow

In a 2 quart bowl, mix beaten eggs, milk and cream. Blend in sugar, mixing well. Add vanilla and salt. Put into a gallon container and gradually add snow, mixing well, until of desired consistency. Serve immediately (melts fast!) or freeze. Makes about a gallon.

Fun presents & the really cool people who give them!

I have a cool friend.  She gave me this:


If you don’t know what this, I’m sorry to tell you that you are not one of the cool people…and by that I mean a geek.

I am proudly a geek, and thus I am happily running around my house, doing sonic screwdriver things to random objects.  My cat is pretty fascinated as well with the sound and light it makes.  I think he believes it might be a high-tech mouse (either that or he’s more of a cool people than I ever guessed).

If you’re still scratching your head over what this gadget is, here’s one more clue:


If you still aren’t sure, there may be no hope for your future gee- um, coolness unless you click this link right now:

Thank you, Bonnie!  😀

The Music of Writing Books

I have officially reached 200 plays of the theme song from HBO’s Rome. The count for the rest of the songs gradually lessens as it reaches the bottom of the playlist, because while I always play song number one (the theme song), I don’t always make it to the last. If 200 plays of one song seems excessive, let me explain.

Every book I write has its own soundtrack, a particular CD that I play over and over while I work on that particular book. My first completed novel was about a serial killer and I listened to Tom Petty’s Greatest Hits. “Free Fallin'” especially was my killer’s song. I’d pick up my pen, hit play, and by the time that song was into the first chorus, I’d be sucked so deep into my writing that I wasn’t even consciously hearing the music. Years later, hearing that song pulls me right back. I have no idea how many plays of that CD I listened to (this was before I had an Ipod keeping count for me), but it had to be an impressive number.

For the first book of my YA duo, I listened to the soundtrack from one of the Harry Potter films…leading to a curious split in my brain. Now when I hear that music, I don’t know which world to be sucked into – Hogwarts or the Tower, and it ends up being an odd mixture of both.

The second book of the YA duo, I was obsessed with Blackmore’s Night, specifically their album called “Ghost of a Rose”. Great stuff, now irrevocably tied to masks and a man called Dark, not renaissance faires as it is meant to be.

Having the same music playing over and over while I write is not nearly so maddening as it might seem, since the only time I really “hear” it is when I’m going under into the story or surfacing back out of it. And it serves an important purpose, because when I turn that particular music on, the creative part of my mind (the Othermind) is alerted that it’s now time to come out and play. Whether it bloody well wants to or not. And months after I’ve written the first draft and it’s time to begin revising the story, playing that same music again helps me get back into the story, back into the mood and feeling of the characters with much greater ease.

Plus, if I’ve heard the CD 200 times, who really wants to pay close attention to it? If I put on new music, I might be more interested in listening to the lyrics and tapping my foot to the beat rather than getting down to the writing. I might, I say, but of course I mean I would. The Othermind loves to be distracted by anything new, which is, I think, why so many writers tend to always use the same paper, the same pen, the same desk, the same little funny collection of frogs lined up on top of their monitor. Okay, so the frogs might be just me.

But 200 plays of Rome! I think that’s kind of cool, even though I have to admit that when I closed Word this evening, it was actually only 198. I clicked play 2 more times, just to make it a nice even number, thus maximizing the coolness.

Signed Books

I love getting the mail.

Today, I received my signed copy of Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris! This one’s especially cool, because not only did he sign it to me personally, but he also included a lovely message.


I thought it was funny when Neil Gaiman’s signature looked like “Nei Gul”…well, I can’t begin to even make letters out of Sanderson’s scrawl. It is decorative, though. I have to wonder if it’s one he invented just for signing books, or if it’s the one he’s always used. Can you sign checks with a signature like that, for instance?

I also like how “guy” his writing is. 😆

Next on my quest for signed books, Scott Lynch (assuming he ever comes out of hiding – the guy’s P.O. Box is closed, and his website and livejournal haven’t been updated in over a year) and the most holy of holy signature grails, J.K. Rowling.

I also want signed books from Susanna Clarke, Robin Hobb, Stephen King (nearly as impossible as Rowling), Robert McCammon, and Cody McFadyen.