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All posts for the month December, 2011

Counting down

Published December 23, 2011 by christinenorris

Whoops! I didn’t mean to drop the ball an leave you all hanging here. Come to think of it, I really meant to put up my picture here too, and haven’t done it yet either. It’s all this holiday insanity. I also meant to extend the Weekend of Words to include the newest Library of Athena book, THE MIRROR OF YU-HUANG, but just never got around to it. 

But, there are three days until Christmas, and this is the last day at the day job before the break, so hopefully I’ll be able to put up some cool stuff and actually blog. Maybe I’ll make up a bunch of posts and schedule them for later in the month. 

Yeah, I wouldn’t count on that happening either. 

So here we are- enjoy your holiday, whatever one you happen to celebrate. I will be working on some new projects over the break, and getting ready to edit the next LoA book, THE SWORD OF DANU, and hopefully pulling together some kind of plot for the fifth and final book in the series, so I can write it this year. And I will be enjoying time with family who has traveled a long way to get here. Enjoy your friends and family, and I’ll see you next week. Hopefully.

Happy happy!

 

Weekend of Words #4 – The Ankh of Isis

Published December 11, 2011 by christinenorris

I won’t even explain this one. I’ll let it stand on its own, and if you want to know more, you’ll just have to buy the book 😛

 

The three of them stood in a stretch of golden desert. In the distance, barely visible, was a grove of palm trees. The treetops swayed gently in a breeze that Megan did not feel. The sun reflected off the white sand, nearly blinding them; it beat down on them with brutal ferocity. Behind them was more sand, and along the horizon ran a ragged mountain range. The peaks looked blue gray in the hazy heat.

Diedrich brushed the sand from his legs. “Excuse me? Ancient Egypt?”

Megan nodded. “Well, Sir Gregory’s version of it, anyway. We’re inside a story he’s written.”

“You people really are nuts. Where is my father?” Diedrich looked down at himself and swore loudly. “And what am I wearing?”

Megan giggled. Diedrich was bare-chested, with only a short white cloth draped around his waist. A wide collar of lapis lazuli, amethyst and gold hung around his neck, and a piece of wide-striped cloth, like a veil, sat on his head, secured with a gold circlet.

“Nice headdress,” Megan said. Her face twisted as she tried to hold in a laugh. Her own pajamas were gone, and both she and Claire wore simple, form-fitting, ankle-length white linen dresses with wide shoulder straps. Strands of lapis and amethyst beads hung around their necks, and several gold bangle bracelets on each wrist. All three had brown thong sandals on their feet.

“Is this a skirt?” Diedrich said. “Why am I wearing a skirt?”

“Because, in the book, we wear the clothes of the civilization we are in,” Claire said with a shrug, as if it should be the most obvious thing in the world.

“In the book?”

Megan rolled her eyes. Is he really this thick? “We told you that’s where we were going. It’s not my fault you didn’t believe us.”

“But—”

“Look, we don’t have time right now. We have to find your father and Rachel. And some shade.”

A dark square of wood sat on the ground near where they had landed. Megan picked up the Book of the Dead and shook the sand from it.

“It made it,” Claire said. “I’m amazed. I really didn’t think it would. You’re brilliant.” She took the book and looked over the cover. “Megan, you do realize you can’t read this, right?”

“I know, it’s in hieroglyphics or something,” Megan said. “But there should be a translation in the back. I saw it in there before.”

Claire turned the book over and opened the back cover. “Nope, sorry.” She showed it to Megan—the tag Sir Gregory had taped inside the cover and translation were gone.

Diedrich gave her a sidelong glance. “You really can’t read hieroglyphics?”

Megan groaned. “Uh, no, duh. This is great. Now what are we going to do?”

Diedrich took the book from Claire and looked through it. He put his arm around Megan’s shoulders and leaned close to her ear.

“You don’t think, being the son of an Egyptologist, that I never learned anything?”

Megan raised her eyebrows in an unspoken reply. Diedrich nodded.

She threw her arms around his neck, any suspicion she had about him forgotten. “I am so glad we brought you along.”
“Yes, well, I’m glad I can be of some use. Look, wherever we really are, and however you managed to get us here, can we get going, perhaps? It’s getting hot.”

 

You can buy The Ankh of Isis at Amazon, B&N, Fictionwise, and My Bookstore and More

Weekend of Words #3 – The Ankh of Isis

Published December 11, 2011 by christinenorris

I know you’ve all been waiting on the edge of your seats for the next excerpt, right? Right? Well, sorry it’s so late, I got caught up doing weekendy stuff that involved a Christmas lighting crisis. We’re going to move on to Book Two of the Library of Athena series, The Ankh of Isis.  Megan is learning to like life at The Parthenon, and having survived her first adventure, is hoping for a nice, relaxing Easter holiday…

Megan sat on a stool in front of the kitchen’s center island and rubbed her sore foot. “I’m not up on purpose. Miranda woke me up while she was making the fire in my room.” She picked an apple from the bowl on the counter and took a bite. “I suppose it’s all right, being awake now. I have some things to do today.”

“Don’t talk with your mouth full,” Maggie scolded. “What kind of things could you have to do today, child?” She bent over and pulled a tray of fresh rolls from the oven, then tossed her oven mitts on the counter. “Surely your professors didn’t give you homework over the break, did they?”

Megan swallowed and rolled her eyes. St. Agatha’s College for Girls was much tougher academically than her school in New York City—where Megan had lived until seven months ago—could even dream of being. “Of course they did. Rachel is coming over today, and we’re going to work on our history papers and maybe into town to do some shopping this afternoon.”

Rachel Cuthbert was Megan’s best friend. They were both in third year at St. Agatha’s. They were in the same academic House, Whitmore, and on the House hockey team. One girl rarely went anywhere without the other. Megan had wanted to go riding today, but Rachel, for some reason, insisted she wanted to get some work done today.

“Ah.” Maggie nodded with a look of mock seriousness. “Important things, I see. Well, breakfast is almost ready. I think there’s enough time for you to get yourself back upstairs to wash and dress before your da comes down.”

Megan pushed out her lower lip. “But it’s vacation. If I have to do homework, why can’t I bum around in my PJs for awhile?”

Maggie cocked an eyebrow and put on that face that always made Megan feel guilty. Megan’s mother, Gwen, died in a car crash four years ago, leaving Megan and her father alone. Since they moved here to The Parthenon, the giant English manor, the cook had become almost like a surrogate mother to Megan.

She was about to give in to Maggie’s berating when she heard her father in the dining room. There was a thump and a loud curse. Megan gave an evil grin. Not only was she happy she wasn’t the only one who had a sore foot, she was spared Maggie’s lecture.

“Too late, sorry.” Megan dashed out the door. She heard Maggie’s tongue cluck in disapproval just before the kitchen door swung shut.

Megan finished her apple as she walked through a different door than the one she entered by and into the solarium. It was smaller than most of the other rooms, the floor tiled in terracotta, the outer wall, which faced east, paned in squares of thick glass. It was a cheery room, where she and her father took most of their morning meals. He already sat at the small, round table, perusing the newspaper.

“Morning, Daddy.” Megan gave him a peck on the cheek. She enjoyed her time with her dad. He worked so hard, sometimes long hours, and she was busy with school. Breakfast and dinner were practically the only times they saw each other.

His eyes never left the paper. “Good morning, Megums,” he mumbled. “Ready for school?”

Maggie came in with a tray of rolls, the pitcher of orange juice, a cup of coffee and a small pot of steaming tea. She glanced at Megan as she set the tray on the small table, shook her head and left without a word.

“Dad, I’m off all week,” Megan said in a gentle tone meant to remind. She reached for the basket of rolls. “It’s Easter holiday. You know, like Spring Break. How could you forget?”

He folded down the top of the paper and looked across the table. “Is it?” He shook his head and took a sip of coffee. “I’m sorry, Meg. I’ve been so busy with work these last few weeks that everything else has just gotten pushed to the back of my brain.”

Megan poured herself a glass of orange juice. “Problem with a client?” Her father was an investment banker, and always a little scattered when dealing with a troublesome client. “Who is it—Mrs. Sanderson again?” Mrs. Sanderson was seventy-two years old, very wealthy and hard of hearing. She also thought everyone was constantly trying to rip her off. Whenever she called, Megan’s father had to put everything else on hold until the old bat was satisfied.

Her father folded the paper in quarters and set it on the table next to his plate. “Nope, not Mrs. Sanderson, thank goodness. This one is still only a potential client. He’s a very wealthy man. Old money, but he’s successful on his own too. I’ve been trying to get him to sign with us for weeks.”

He picked up his knife and slathered his own roll with Maggie’s special honey butter. “I’m thinking about bringing him here for a day or two. You know, wine and dine him a bit, show him how serious we are about having his business.”
Megan raised her eyebrows. What was her father thinking? “Bring him here? Why in the world would you want to bring him here—we live in the middle of nowhere.”

“Why? The English countryside, of course. Fresh air, country living.” He laughed. “Actually, Meg, he’s an archaeologist. Curator of some museum in Berlin. I think he’s a fan of Sir Gregory’s.”

Her father slurped up the last of his coffee. “He’s hinted around that he wants to come here, and if it will seal the deal, I’ll be happy to have him.”

Huh? It seemed like an odd request, to ask to spend time at a complete strangers’ house. Even if it was the home of someone you admired. It struck her as, well, rude. “Whatever. It’s not like we don’t have the room. It could be fun, I guess, to have a guest.” She finished the last bite of her breakfast and decided to drop it. If her father didn’t think it weird, who was she to judge?

“Glad you think so, because he’s coming tonight.”

Megan’s jaw dropped. “Uh, Dad? A little warning?”

“What? I gave you a whole day. He called late last night, and said he would be in London today on other business, so I offered. You just said you’re off from school, so it all works out well.”

Megan sighed, her most dramatic teenage sigh. “Fine, I guess. Rachel’s coming over, so I’ll see you later. Have a nice day, Dad.” She kissed her father goodbye and went on her way.

The Ankh of Isis is available on Amazon, B&N, Fictionwise, and My Bookstore and More. Stay tuned…

Weekend of Words #2 – The Crown of Zeus

Published December 10, 2011 by christinenorris

So Megan’s all settled in at the Parthenon, when she faces her first of many challenges – the first day at a new school…

 

Megan slowly put on her uniform—a blue and gray plaid kilt, white knee socks, white button-down shirt and navy blue tie. She picked up her blazer; also navy blue, with the crest of St. Agatha’s College for Girls embroidered on the left breast. She pulled it on.
Megan leaned down in front of the vanity mirror to adjust her hat, a wool beret the same color as the blazer. She looked at herself and sighed. Ick. I hate uniforms. She missed wearing whatever she wanted to school. Uniforms, in her opinion, stifled individuality. Little drones that all look alike, marching along like good little soldiers.

“I suppose it’s not that bad,” she said to her reflection. The uniform didn’t really flatter her figure, but it didn’t make her look dumpy either. She pushed her hat so it sat at an angle. “At least it’s a nice color.”

Not really convinced the uniform was in any way better than wearing something from her closet, she grabbed her bag off of the chair and went downstairs.

Twenty minutes later her father dropped her off for her first day at school at the front entrance of a building that looked like a castle from the Middle Ages. Hundreds of girls, all dressed like she was, streamed in the front door.

Drones.

“Don’t forget, you’re supposed to stop in and see the headmistress first. Have a nice day, Meg,” her father said. He raised his hand to muss her hair, stopped, and patted her on the shoulder instead.

“Thanks, Dad. You too.” She kissed him on the cheek, opened the door and dove into the sea of bodies headed inside.

After being jostled and bounced down the halls, she finally found her way to the headmistress’ office and knocked.

A women’s voice answered. “Come in.”

Megan opened the door. The room was small and neat. Three walls were covered with portraits in heavy wooden frames, men and women dressed in black robes, mortarboards on their heads. The fourth, opposite the door, was taken up by a large window that arched upward toward a peak, like the window of an ancient cathedral. In front of the window sat a desk. Behind the desk sat a middle-aged woman. Her dirty blonde hair was pulled back in a severe, sensible-looking bun. She hunched over the desk, engrossed in paperwork. She looked up when Megan entered; she had a thin face with a small, pointed upturned nose, delicate cheekbones and round blue eyes.

“Can I help you?”

“Ah, yes.” Megan squared her shoulders and tried to stand up straight. “I’m Megan Montgomery. I’m a new student and this is my first day. They said I had to report to you.”

The woman shuffled through the papers on her desk and pulled out a manila folder. “Yes, of course. The girl from America. Well, come in child, don’t lurk in the doorway. Please sit down.”

A thick burgundy rug muffled Megan’s footsteps as she walked to one of a pair of high-backed chairs in front of the desk. She tried to look graceful as she sat down.

“Welcome to St. Agatha’s.” The woman gave a smile that reminded Megan of a cat who has just found a juicy mouse. She folded her hands on the desk, sat up straight, and looked Megan in the eye. “I am Miss Spencer, the headmistress.”

“Nice to meet you.”

Miss Spencer nodded. “Since you are from America, you are probably not familiar with our British education system. You are thirteen, correct?”

“Yes, ma’am.” Megan had never really called anyone ‘ma’am’ before, but Miss Spencer looked like someone who she should. “I’m in the eighth grade.”

Miss Spencer’s smile widened a bit, but it was still a smile that looked put-on for company. “It’s ‘yes, Headmistress’. And we don’t have ‘grades’ here. You are in third year.” The headmistress picked up the file and walked around to Megan’s side of the desk. “I’ve looked over your transcripts, and everything appears to be in order. But I must warn you, Miss Montgomery. Here things are going to be much tougher than they were at your old school. This institution is a tradition among many families from all over the world.”

“The world?” Megan asked. “Do their families all move here so they can go to school?”

Miss Spencer laughed like a parent whose small child just did or said something cute and silly. “No, no, of course not, dear. Some, like you, are day students, while others live in our dormitories. We pride ourselves on turning out the finest young ladies. To that end, you will be taking more subjects than you are used to, including Latin.”

“Latin?” Who speaks Latin?

“Yes. As well as Music, Math, World History, Science, Literature, Philosophy, Geography and Art. You will also be in a House.” She flipped open the file. “I’ve placed you in Whitmore. Your House contains about twenty girls from each year. Your Head is Professor Livingston, she teaches History. If you have problems in school, academic or personal, go to her. Each house also meets twice a week for tutoring and study.”

“I see.” Megan’s stomach felt as if it would drop out of her feet at any moment. All those classes, plus forced study? Megan had held her own at her old school, but she wasn’t exactly a straight-A student. I’m in trouble.

 

Remember, The Crown of Zeus is available everywhere books are ebooks are sold, including Amazon, B&N, Fictionwise, and My Bookstore and More

Weekend of Words #1 – The Crown of Zeus

Published December 10, 2011 by christinenorris

This little bit is from Book One of the Library of Athena series, The Crown of Zeus. Here’s the setup: Megan Montgomery has been forced (due to her father’s job transfer) to move from awesome New York apartment to a gloomy, lonely manor somewhere in the wilds of England. She, understandably, is not happy about this. Now we find her and her father arriving at The Parthenon, the estate  where she will be held captive living. They are greeted by Bailey, the dour and impeccably dressed butler, and shown inside.  Enjoy!

“Please follow me.” The butler led them across the entrance hall and up the staircase. When they reached the landing, Megan’s father stopped to inspect the large statue.

“This is beautiful. Where did it come from?”

Bailey’s face remained stony. “I believe, sir, this particular sculpture was discovered by Sir Gregory on one of his expeditions to Greece. It is the goddess Athena. This was Sir Gregory’s particular favorite. His pride and joy, if you will.”

Megan raised her hand, as if she were in class. “Uh, okay, question. Who was Sir Gregory?”

“He built The Parthenon,” was all Bailey said in reply.

“Sir Gregory traveled to Greece a lot, did he?” her father asked as they continued their climb to the second floor.

“Yes, sir. He was a noted archaeologist as well as a collector of fine art and antiques. Every treasure within the house, he discovered himself.”

Megan stopped at the top of the stairs to look at a portrait of a young man. His brown hair was short and neat, his head erect, but his eyes twinkled impishly, and he wore a crooked, rakish grin on his face. “Who’s this?”

Bailey pulled his shoulders back. “That is Sir Gregory himself. In his younger days, of course. He was only about thirty-five when this was painted, I believe. I had not yet come into his service.”

“He doesn’t look like an art collector,” Megan’s father said. “Or an archeologist, for that matter.”

“He liked to think of himself as an adventurer.” Megan thought she saw a flicker of a smile cross Bailey’s lips, but before she could be certain, he turned and walked away.

“This way, please.”

You can get The Crown of Zeus on Amazon, B&N, Fictionwise, and from My Bookstore and More

Weekend of Words!

Published December 10, 2011 by christinenorris

I know how it is. It’s two weeks until Christmas, and you are beginning to panic because you thought you were nearly done with shopping and then realized…

you aren’t.

I have the same problem. But maybe I can help you out just a little. You see, I have three books that are published, and available in many formats, from dead tree to Nook and Kindle and .pdf, whatever you could possibly want. Maybe you have a reader on your holiday list (it could happen). And maybe you look at my books on my website and think, “hmmm….maybe *insert name here* would like one of those, but I’m not sure. How can I read some of it and get an idea of what it’s like?

Well, I DO have some excerpts on the website. BUT, just for this weekend, I thought I could give you all a little bit extra, some snippets that people don’t usually see without buying the book first. Sound good?

Watch this space. This weekend I will randomly post bits from all three of the Library of Athena series books for you to peruse. Feel free to ask questions, I love questions. And, because I have a Kindle Fire myself, I checked out the new Kindle gift giving program. It used to be that if you purchased one, it showed up in the Kindle right away. NOW, you can schedule delivery, say, for 6 am December 25th. Cool, eh?

Hey, I’m just trying to help you out with your holiday shopping 🙂 I’m giving that way.

Stay tuned!