Thursday Thirteen. The Backup Edition.  

Posted by L. J. LaBarthe in , ,

Because I'm working on City of Jade right now, things historical are on my mind. So this week's 13 is traditional and folk music of thirteen locations that make an appearance in City of Jade.

1. Byzantium.
This isn't technically from Byzantium, because all the period music I can find is religious and I refuse to believe the people of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire had no other kind of music. Such a cosmopolitan empire, the Eastern Roman Empire, with such a rich culture and heritage would in no way, not by any anthropological pattern, have no other form of musical expression. /rant.

So here is a medieval dance piece - The Three Basse Dance.

2. Goreme to Antioch.
I chose Irfan for the Turkic lands, because they play traditional instruments with original songs written about the history of Turkey. This one is Return to Outremer, Outremer being the Holy Lands and what the Crusaders called it during the Third Crusade in the twelfth century.

3. The Holy Lands: Syria and the Levant.
Traditional music with a slight twist - only because of the dance in the video, which I wanted to include because it's a beautiful dance. So here is Autumn Ward: Rose of Damascus.

4. Persia.
The beautiful traditional rythyms and dance of Tajik-Persia. Folk music and dance of Persia.

5. Uzbekistan.
I think this is a tourist video from a cafe in Bukhara, but I also think it's as true to the history and culture of pre-Mongol Uzbekistan as I can find on Youtube. Having said that, the bored expressions on the faces of the dancers are made up by the fantastic overrobe the young woman explaining the music and dance is wearing, and of course, the music and dance itself. Uzbek traditional music and dance.

6. Turkmenistan.
This is only eleven seconds long but it's so awesome, I had to post it. I can just imagine Misahuen and Gallienus riding up that causeway towards the fortress with that music sounding in their ears.

7. Kyrgyzstan.
A group of young ladies playing the Komuz, shot at a wedding. Short clip but well worth watching for the incredible talent. Kyrgyz traditional music.

8. Turpan Oasis, China.
Because Turpan has belonged to various nations and empires over the passage of history, it's known by several different names depending which country you happen to be in. Turpan is the simplified Mandarin name, although it is also known as Turfan and Tulufan. It's at the north-eastern end of the former Shanshan Kingdom. This is a fabulous video of local dancers and musicians. Uyghur dancers and musicians in Grape valley near Turpan.

9. Chang'an, China.
Ah, Youtube, you did not disappoint me. This is a piece by the Ensemble Conservatoire Superieur de Xi'an (Chang'an). This piece is from the T'ang dynasty and is called Yu Lin Ling, which means 'The Sound of Rain on a Bell'. The story of this piece is as follows: Following a rebellion in 756AD, the emperor, Minghuang, was exiled to the west. The patter of the rain on a wooden bridge reminded him of the sound of the bell, his homeland and his love. Later, the emperor was to associate this piece with his love for his concubine, Yang.

10. The Gobi Desert and The Great Wall.
I have no idea what he's singing, I don't know who he is, This is from the Chinese TV show Taizu Mishi; the traditional Chinese art is gorgeous, the video clip is epic, the music is very stirring and epic and his armour is *fantastic*, a really lovely suit of Qing Dynasty armour. (Which is also very heavy.) So, here is Jing Zhong Bao Guo by Tu Hong Gang. From 2006.

11. Hangzhou, China.
Something a bit different. This is the musical fountain light show at West Lake, Hangzhou. Each night, there is a music, fountain and light show on the lake for the public.

12. Tian Mu Mountain, China.
And now for something completely different... Huiping Mo perfoms yoga asanas on Tian Mu Mountain. This clip has some breathtaking shots of the scenery of Tian Mu (which means 'Eye on Heaven') and is where Misahuen and Gallienus' story concludes.

13. Secular Byzantine Music.
While the Orthodox church might have tried to stamp it out, it couldn't get rid of non-religious music entirely. And huzzah, I found some. Byzantium's secular music tradition is being painstakingly restored by Greek musicologist, Christodoulos Halaris. So here is A Border Guard Was Building a Castle, which sounds to me like a melodic fusion of the Persian and Turkic sounds with western European courtly music. For those interested, Kourostatis' channel has oodles and oodles of Byzantine secular music.

Thursday Thirteen 011: Thirteen Places I Want To Visit Before I Die.  

Posted by L. J. LaBarthe in

This week's Thursday Thirteen is Thirteen Places I want to visit before I die. So without further ado and in no particular order, off we go.

1. Egypt.
2. Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
3. The Great Wall, China.
4. Istanbul.
5. Goreme, Turkey.
6. Carcassone, France.
7. Stonehenge, England.
8. Petra, Jordan.
9. The Eifel Tower, Paris, France.
10. Hadrian's Wall, England.
11. Hot Mud Pools, Rotarura, New Zealand.
12. Red Square, Moscow, Russia.
13. Mongolia.

Six Sentence Sunday 004 & Books.  

Posted by L. J. LaBarthe in , ,

This week's Six Sentence Sunday is from my short story Sunburnt Country, out in serial form in the Something Happened on the Way to Heaven serial published by Less Than Three Press and out at the end of August.

He was about to say something when Raziel stopped dead in his tracks and stared, pointing.

"What on earth is that?"

"It's a big blue whale," Tommy said calmly.

"I can see that, but ... why is it here?" Raziel stared at it.

"It advertises beer, mate," Tommy stifled a laugh behind a cough.

"It's made of solid concrete," James added helpfully, grinning broadly at Raziel's astonishment.


posted a link of 15 YA/Children's books you should read, and then posted a list of her favourites. Before I passed out last night, I pondered this myself and below is a list that is a little bit longer than fifteen - mainly because I couldn't choose. Oops!

Books I loved as a child/young adult:

1. The Stone Cage - Nicholas Stuart Gray
2. Black Beauty - Anna Sewell
3. Carbonell (trilogy) - Barbara Sleigh
4. Star Ka'at - Andre Norton
5. Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis (esp. The Last Battle bc of Jewel the Unicorn.)
6. The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster
7. Gobbolino the Witch's Cat - Ursula Moray Williams
8. The Water Babies - Charles Kingsley
9. V - A. C. Crispin
10. The Silver Brumby - Elyne Mitchell (and the rest of the Brumby books.)
11. Cats in the Belfry - Doreen Tovey (and all her other books.)
12. The Famous Five books / The Malory Towers books / The ...of Adventure series - Enid Blyton
13. Watership Down - Richard Adams
14. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - Ian Fleming
15. The Phoenix and The Carpet trilogy - E. E. Nesbit
16. The Black Stallion - Walter Farley
17. Charlotte's Web - E. B. White
18. Born Free - Joy Adams
19. The Green Grass of Wyoming - Mary O'Hara
20. Forever - Judy Blume.

A lot of books featuring magical and/or talking cats and other animals. It's a mixed bag, really. What are some of your favourites from childhood/teenagerhood?

Forthcoming Release: Sunburnt Country, 24th August.  

Posted by L. J. LaBarthe in

Coming on August 24th: "Sunburnt Country" by LJ LaBarthe at Less Than Three Press.

Sunburnt Country is the story of James, a young man working in outback Australia. One day, Archangel Raziel appears and tells James that he can hear demons. He needs James's help to find his book of magic that has been stolen by an Archdemon named Adramelech. After convincing James that Raziel is who and what he says he is, they set out to try to find the book and Adramelech. James is deeply unnerved by the events leading up to getting the book back. However, James cannot deny that he is attracted to Raziel, an attraction that is mutual and eventually consummated. Archangel Uriel arrives, telling Raziel to protect James and the town while he fights Adramelech. Adramelech manages to outmanoeuvre Uriel, confronting Raziel and James in James's home. As Raziel and Adramelech prepare to fight, James grabs the book. Uriel arrives to fight Adramelech and Raziel goes to James. James and Raziel spend time together and come to an understanding: to pursue a relationship together.

Read an excerpt here.

Sign up for the serial anthology release here.

Thursday Thirteen 010: My Laptop Table.  

Posted by L. J. LaBarthe in

Today's Thursday Thirteen is brought to you by exhaustion, because I am exhausted. So it's not terribly exciting, and I'm not entirely sure LJ will work for me to be able to post it at all, but I'll give it a red hot go.

Thirteen Things on My Laptop Desk.

1. Laptop (duh! XD)
2. Laptop cooling pad.
3. Medications.
4. USB sticks.
5. Modem.
6. Pens.
7. Silver feather charm on a chain.
8. Cigarette lighter.
9. E-Cigarette.
10. Mentos.
11. Lipbalm.
12. Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael sigil on a cord.
13. BPAL scent 'Seance'.

Wasn't that exciting? :) Now to see if this will post and then go to bed, because I'm unbelievably weary, folks.

And a wee pimp too - Harmonica and Gig by RJ Astruc.

Blurb: When a territory engineer dies in suspicious circumstances, three qverse experts are brought in to investigate. Initially the three hacks choose to work separately on the case, but as they continue their investigations they discover clues leading to some of the most powerful figures in the qverse. Soon the hacks realise they are more than just investigating the crime, they are part of it, and part of an even greater scheme to unbalance the long established foundations of the qverse itself.

Available here:

ETA: And LJ isn't even loading, so Blogger first.

Six Sentence Sunday 002.  

Posted by L. J. LaBarthe in ,

Six sentences from a work in progress novel, the sequel to City of Gold. Where the first story takes place entirely in Constantinople in the year 1131AD, the sequel, City of Jade, takes place on the Silk Road, from Constantinople to Chang'an, China, now modern-day Xi'an.


"I did not know you had that," Gallienus said in surprise.

"I hunted often when my homeland was at peace." Misahuen's eyes were narrowed, his entire focus on the riders thundering towards them.

"Are you skilled?"

"Skilled enough."

Gallienus nodded, returning his attention to the riders and when they were in range, he gave the command.

Other Six Sundays.

"Life and Nothing But" Kindle Partay.  

Posted by L. J. LaBarthe in

To celebrate the Amazon Kindle release of Life and Nothing But, I'm having a wee party here. More of a shindig than a party, actually. Maybe a hootenanny. A Blue Light Disco for you Aussies who remember those ;).

So do drop in and say hi, chat, eat the virtual nibbles and lets talk books, Kindles, E-Readers, and my novella on Amazon! Which is *drum roll* here:

Ta da!