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!

Thursday Thirteen 009: Thirteen Places to Get Mah Stuff.  

Posted by L. J. LaBarthe in

So, Life and Nothing But is now KINDLE READY! and available therein. To celebrate, today's Thursday Thirteen is Thirteen Places You Can Buy My Stuff. Ready? Goodo.

1. Amazon.
Aka, KINDLE. Which is here. Go like me or buy me or something nice like that. :)

2. BookStrand.
Which be here.

3. The Book Depository.
Ooh yeah. (This is the one that made me smile like a Cheshire Cat today. Because I am a big fan of the Book Depository.)

4. Powell's.
I love Powell's. I spent a lot of money and time in there while in Portland. And it made my day to see me for sale there.

5. All Romance Ebooks..
I have so much in my wish list here, it isn't funny. And it's awesome to see myself listed there.

6. Android.
Now, it is telling me that it's not available in my country, so I can't see it, but apparently if you are in the US, you can. So here, US Androidees.

7. Borders.
They may be closing shop all around the world, but they still list me for Kobo Readers, so yay!

8. Kobo Books.
And again in Kobo format.

9. The Reading Room.
Which I'd never heard of prior to finding this. Huh. Very cool.

10. Pages EBooks.
Another one I'd never heard of prior to this>

11. Dreamspinner Press.
First publisher's website, yay!

12. Noble Romance.
Second publisher's website, natch!

13. Diesel EBooks.
Last and certainly not least, here.

It's a little self-promotional, this Thurs Thirteen, I know. I'm taking today as a wee celebration day for having Life and Nothing But out in Kindle on Amazon. Hurrah!

Giveaway Winners.  

Posted by L. J. LaBarthe in , ,

Congratulations to the winners of my book giveaway over at Amara's!

Jason won Life and Nothing But and Roro won City of Gold. I hope you both enjoy the books and thanks for dropping by.

I had a great time at Amara's, just as I did at JS's last month. Guest blogging is great. To come, blogging at Ella Jade's in September and at Lou Sylvre's in February 2012. (So far. XD)

Six Sentence Sunday 001.  

Posted by L. J. LaBarthe in

Originally published on Livejournal, 17/7/11.

From No Quarter.

Gabriel looked around, taking in the shape of the land, the glint of sunlight on water on the river in the distance. It was quiet, save for the sounds of birds and small animals who made their home here in the greenery of the hills near Xi'an and he felt instantly more relaxed and at peace.

"Beautiful spot," Gabriel sat down on the grass, lying back and leaning on his elbows. "Should take you to Mt Aspiring in New Zealand one of these days. That's my favourite place to relax and commune with nature. It's... beautiful, although beautiful isn't a strong enough word for how lovely it is."

Other Six Sentence Sundays.

Guest Blogging: Amara's Place.  

Posted by L. J. LaBarthe in

Originally posted on Livejournal, 12/7/11.

I'll be at Amara's tomorrow/today, guest blogging, so do come along and say hi! I'll be talking about inspirations, bathrooms, cats and of course, writing.

Click the banner above or alternately, click here.

Thursday Thirteen 008: Thirteen Sentences.  

Posted by L. J. LaBarthe in , , ,

Originally published on Livejournal, 7/7/11.

Today's Thursday Thirteen is thirteen sentences from things I've written. I've limited it to four works – two that are published (Life and Nothing But and City of Gold) and two that are works in progress (City of Jade and No Quarter). So here we go. Sentences that I picked at random. Also, mea culpa, the works in progress really are still in progress, so any errors, etc, are as yet unfixed.

1. "Difficult and somehow insulting, as if all we are good for is war and when that occupation is taken from us, we are patted on the head and sent off to languish in occupations that are best left to the city's militia."
- City of Jade.

2. " So, I went and had a look around; Shamshiel's ranting at the other Grigori and his wings look a little bare -- he looks like he's a moulting chicken."
- No Quarter.

3. He had not been inside Nick's abode at all, he realized, and he couldn't help himself from looking around curiously, trying to learn as much as he could about the man without being too obvious.
- Life and Nothing But.

4. Misahuen’s lips curved upward in the faintest of smiles, and then he was gone, walking into Constantinople with the merchant and the rest of his pack train.
- City of Gold.

5. He didn't feel like explaining it right then, for the vista of Antioch, golden and lovely, shimmering in the light of the sun, captured his attention.
- City of Jade.

6. "You are the most stubborn, bad-tempered, ill-bred patient in the history of medicine," Raphael was saying, obviously continuing a conversation that had been interrupted by Tzadkiel's call, " you have absolutely no respect for your condition, you refuse to follow my orders, instead gallivanting about like an Archangel of leisure, which you most certainly are not... what am I to do with you, Uriel?"
- No Quarter.

7. The scotch burned his throat on the way down, a welcoming burn that distracted him from his dark thoughts.
Life and Nothing But.

8. Misahuen was silent as the rest of the party he was with talked among themselves, and Gallienus watched, hoping against hope that Misahuen would turn and see him there in the shadows.
- City of Gold.

9. "I will guard it with my life," Michael said solemnly and Gabriel's lips twitched in suppressed mirth.
- No Quarter.

10. "Culturally, I suppose that yes, the Byzantine Empire is more Greek than Roman, but Byzantium grew out of the Roman Empire and so it is the Eastern Roman Empire."
- City of Jade.

11. Turning in a small circle, he couldn't keep the smile off his face as he saw the pinpoints of golden light that were hundreds of candles shining in the windows of every room in every cottage and, up on the hill above them, the windows of the castle.
- Life and Nothing But.

12. “It is traditional in my country to marry, but there are many who have lovers outside the marriage, lovers of both sexes.”
- City of Gold.

13. As he looked up, blinking away the snowflakes, Gabriel let out a slow breath as he watched the beauty of the Northern Lights undulating serpent-like across the sky.
- No Quarter.

Thursday Thirteen 007: Thirteen Titles; One Novel.  

Posted by L. J. LaBarthe in , , ,

Originally posted on Livejournal on 30/6/11.

The Archangels novel has gone through so many title changes, it's ridiculous. So, as it FINALLY has a title, thanks to the genius 4am brain of [info]meredith_shayne, here's the thirteen titles it had before achieving it's current title. (I'm sure there were more than thirteen, fyi, just that these are the ones I kept a record of!)

In order, from oldest to what it is now, finally, fixed! And I bet both [info]meredith_shayne and [info]jerusalemorbust breathe a sigh of relief, as I've been bemoaning titles to them both for... um. Months. >_<

1. Silver and Gold.
Chosen because Gabriel's power manifests as silver light and Michael's manifests as gold light.

2. Unexpected Destinies.
Yeah... no.

3. Craving to Entwine.
Saying it out loud made me cringe. A blog that my Noble editor Bonnie linked to had a piece about how if you can say your title out loud without wincing or cringing, that's the one to use. And it's true. This... was not the one to use.

4. Masquerade of Stars.
Doesn't fit this first novel, but it does fit the final novel in the trilogy so at least there's that.

5. The Coming War.
Which sounds good, but the story is about more than an approaching war.

6. Flying for Lovers.
Also made me cringe, but might be reused for a short story or something. Something that isn't so plotty as this.

7. Hope Remains.

8. In Silver and Gold.
I recycled and added a word and decided... no.

9. Uprising.
This was a solid contender for quite a while. I actually went back to it after discarding title #10.

10. Wings of Desire.
Which is a really awesome German film, and I love it, film and title both, but it didn't really feel right to me for this book.

11. Genesis.
Suggested by [info]meredith_shayne, while we were brainstorming, and I liked it but it still didn't really feel right.

12. Angels Speak in Dark and Light.
Too close to one of my all time favourite novels, Creatures of Light and Dark by Roger Zelazny for me. So, no.

13. No Quarter.
HALLELUJAH. It immediately resonated with me. This was [info]meredith_shayne's 4am brainstorm, and her thoughts matched mine as soon as I saw it. No quarter is given in wars/battles between angels and demons; no quarter is given in love, when it's the possessive, primitive sort of love that Michael and Gabriel have. It's also the title of a Led Zeppelin song covered by Tool, the first verse of which fits *perfectly* the whole tone of the novel. And I quote:

Lock all the doors, and kill the lights.
No one's coming home tonight.
The sun beats down and don't you know?
All our lives are growing cold, oh...
They bring news that must get through.
To build a dream for me and you, oh.

So, a million thankyous, [info]meredith_shayne. I shall build a temple in your honour.

Oh, and also, the word count of No Quarter is currently 52465 words. I am so close to finishing the first draft. I'm aiming to have it done by the end of the weekend. Then I will ignore it for a week and work on City of Jade, then go back to it and start fixing it into a readable second draft. But being so close... it feels awesome. I'm quite pleased with how the feathery kids have turned out!

Thursday Thirteen 006: History!  

Posted by L. J. LaBarthe in , ,

Originally posted on Livejournal on 23/6/11.

Thirteen periods in history that fascinate me.

1. Late Byzantium.
This is the period between 850AD to the Fall of Constantinople at the hands of the Ottomans. It covers a lot of dynasties in terms of the Emperors and their families and saw the boundaries of the Empire fluctuate wildly. It's also the period that Constantinople was seen by some Crusaders as a jewel in the crown of plunder as part of the overall Crusade. The periods between wars and Crusades saw some of the most amazing creations in art, architecutre, literature and music and also the construction of Istanbul's most famous icon, the Haggia Sophia.
There's just something about this period in the history of the Byzantine Empire that I love and I can't quite put my finger on the exact what. Socially, the Empire was more conservative than the Early Empire or the Roman Empire which preceeded it (it's not called the Eastern Empire for nothing after all - Constantine shifted the capital from Rome to Constantinople and the court and society went with him, leaving Rome a sort of red haired stepchild of its own Empire). Constantinople was also enormously cosmopolitan, due to it's location as being the end stop for the Silk Route in the middle ages and being a port of call for Western merchants who were travelling east, so it definitely had a hugely fascinating and fluid population. Orthodoxy was the religion du jour, prior to the Ottoman conquest, and it was pretty strict. There's a lot of stuff written about Late Byzantium that's really fascinating, and the architecture and art definitely appeal. Plus I like military history and some of the most fascinating battles of the Middle Ages fall in the boundaries of the Empire. Plus, Varangian Guards, yay!

2. The Third Crusade.
The Third Crusade (1189–1192), also known as the Kings' Crusade, was an attempt by European leaders to reconquer the Holy Land from Saladin (Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub). It was largely successful, yet fell short of its ultimate goal—the reconquest of Jerusalem. Fascinating personalities - Saladin, Leopold V of Austria, Melisandre of Jerusalem, Eleanor of Aquitaine, etc.
I'm not a fan of Richard Coeur de Lion. I think he was an awful king and politician, but he was a damn good general. The court and culture of Westernised Jerusalem during the period is fascinating, as is the rule of Queen Melisandre, and of course, Saladin, who is one of those characters in history who is endlessly interesting.

3. 1150-1250 France.
My 'pet period' for want of a better term - years ago, I did living history reenactment in this period and it's always been a part of France's history that's fascinated me. There's intrigue, kings at war, feuds, Crusading, plotting, art, music, poetry, c'est tres bien!

4. Ancient Egypt during the reigns of Seti I and Rameses II.
Seti I and his son, Rameses II built some amazing structures in Egypt and left some gorgeous monuments: The Mortuary Temple of Seti I, Temple at Abydos, Great Hypostyle Hall, Abu Simbel, Abydos, Ramesseum, Luxor and Karnak temples.

5. Renaissance Italy.
15th - 16th centuries particularly. So much came out of this period - Christine de Pizan, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Luigi Pulci, Matteo Maria Boiardo, Ludovico Ariosto, Castiglione, Machiavelli, Giotto di Bondone, Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Brunelleschi, Leone Alberti, Andrea Palladio, and Bramante and such works as Florence Cathedral, St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, and the Tempio Malatestiano in Rimini.

6. Imperial Rome.
Emperors! Invasions! Conquests! Defeats! Poisonings! Intrigues! Spartacus! Gladiators! SPQR! Yeah, Rome was cool.

7. The Kievan Rus.
The Kievan Rus' was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240. Byzantium quickly became the main trading and cultural partner for Kiev, but relations were not always friendly. Rus'-Byzantine relations became closer following the marriage of the porphyrogenita Anna to Vladimir the Great, and the subsequent Christianization of the Rus': Byzantine priests, architects and artists were invited to work on numerous cathedrals and churches around Rus', expanding Byzantine cultural influence even further. Numerous Rus' served in the Byzantine army as mercenaries, most notably as the famous Varangian Guard.
Kaching, Varangians! I find the Varangians to be not just fascinating but awesome. This might be helped by friends who historically reenact them, admittedly, but the history of them is really cool. They were to the Byzantine Emperor what the Praetorian Guards were to the Roman Emperor, but more loyal to the office than the person on the throne, so there was a few murders and such. Plus, they got paid in Imperial sanctioned plunder and lived on the grounds of the palace in Constantinople. Anna Comnena, daughter of Emperor Alexios I wrote The Alexiad which is full of gushing, glowing praise for them, probably helped by the fact she was married to one.

8. Medieval Russia.
The Grand Duchy of Moscow is taken to originate with Daniel I who inherited the town in 1283, eclipsing and eventually absorbing its parent duchy of Vladimir-Suzdal by the 1320s. The power of Moscow expanded further, annexing the Novgorod Republic in 1478 and the Grand Duchy of Tver in 1485. It remained tributary to the Golden Horde (the "Tatar Yoke") until 1480. Ivan III, during his 43-year reign, further consolidated the state, campaigning against his major remaining rival power, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and, by 1503, had tripled the territory of Muscovy, adopting the title of tsar and "Ruler of all Rus'". By his marriage to the niece of the last Byzantine emperor, he established Muscovy as the successor state of the Roman Empire, the "Third Rome". Ivan's successor Vasili III was also militarily successful, gaining Smolensk from Lithuania in 1512, pushing Muscovy's borders to the Dniepr River. Vasili's son Ivan IV (the later Ivan the Terrible) was an infant at his father's death in 1533. He was crowned in 1547, assuming the title of tsar together with the proclamation of Tsardom of Russia.
Sort of expanding the Rus but separate in itself. Not that Muscovy as it was called really took off as the Third Rome.

9. The Gansu corridor during the Tang Dynasty.
As part of the Northern Silk Road running northwest from the bank of the Yellow River, it was the most important route from North China to the Tarim Basin and Central Asia for traders and the military. The corridor is basically a string of oases along the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. To the south is the high and desolate Tibetan Plateau and to the north, the Gobi Desert and the grasslands of Outer Mongolia. At the west end the route splits in three, going either north of the Tian Shan or south on either side of the Tarim Basin. At the east end are mountains around Lanzhou before one reaches the Wei River valley and China proper.The Tang Empire fought with the Tibetan Empire for control of areas in Inner and Central Asia. There was a long string of conflicts with Tibet over territories in the Tarim Basin between 670–692 CE. In 763 the Tibetans even captured the capital of China, Chang'an, for fifteen days during the An Shi Rebellion. In fact, it was during this rebellion that the Tang withdrew its western garrisons stationed in what is now Gansu and Qinghai Provinces, which the Tibetans then occupied along with the territory of what is now Xinjiang. Hostilities between the Tang and Tibet continued until they signed a formal peace treaty in 821.
If this sounds interesting to you and you like history based film and don't mind a bit of fiction thrown into your fact, watch Warriors of Heaven and Earth, which is set right in this period of time, in this exact spot. It is awesome and shows how awesome the history is.

10. Ur.
Ur was an important city-state in ancient Sumer located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar in Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate. Once a coastal city near the mouth of the Euphrates on the Persian Gulf, Ur is now well inland, south of the Euphrates on its right bank, 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from Nasiriyah. The city's patron deity was Nanna, the Sumerian moon god, and the name of the city is in origin derived from the god's name. The site is marked by the ruins of the Great Ziggurat of Ur, which contained the shrine of Nanna, excavated in the 1930s. The temple was built in the 21st century BC.
Ur and Petra are two of the most amazing places of the ancient, ancient world. I'd love to see them both, but I think a good chunk of Ur's been destroyed during the two Iraqi wars.

11. Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
The initial design and construction of the temple took place in the first half of the 12th century, during the reign of Suryavarman II (ruled 1113 – c. 1150). Dedicated to Vishnu, it was built as the king's state temple and capital city. As neither the foundation stela nor any contemporary inscriptions referring to the temple have been found, its original name is unknown, but it may have been known as Vrah Vishnulok after the presiding deity. Work seems to have ended shortly after the king's death, leaving some of the bas-relief decoration unfinished. In 1177, approximately 27 years after the death of Suryavarman II, Angkor was sacked by the Chams, the traditional enemies of the Khmer. Thereafter the empire was restored by a new king, Jayavarman VII, who established a new capital and state temple (Angkor Thom and the Bayon respectively) a few kilometres to the north. It is a unique combination of the temple mountain, the standard design for the empire's state temples, the later plan of concentric galleries, and influences from Orissa and the Chola of Tamil Nadu, India. The temple is a representation of Mount Meru, the home of the gods.
Very little known tidbit - Crusaders made it to Cambodia during the Second Crusade era and Third Cruade, and there are carvings on part of Angkor Wat that commemorate this. Cambodia in general is somewhere I'd love to visit, but particularly Angkor Wat.

12. Mongol Invasion.
The Mongol military tactics and organization helped the Mongol Empire to conquer nearly all of continental Asia, the Middle East and parts of eastern Europe. In many ways, it can be regarded as the first "modern" military system. The original foundation of that sysem was an extension of the nomadic lifestyle of the Mongols. Other elements were invented by Genghis Khan, his generals, and his successors. Technologies useful to attack fortifications were adapted from other cultures, and foreign technical experts integrated into the command structures. For the larger part of the 13th century, the Mongols lost only a few battles using that system, but always returned to turn the result around in their favor. In many cases, they won against significantly larger opponent armies. Their first real defeat came in the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, against the first army which had been specifically trained to use their own tactics against them. That battle ended the western expansion of the Mongol Empire, and within the next 20 years, the Mongols also suffered defeats in attempted invasions of Vietnam and Japan. But while the empire became divided around the same time, its combined size and influence remained largely intact for more than another hundred years.
Another film rec here, Mongol, which is about the early life of Genghis Khan and is shot in Mongolia, stars Mongolian actors, was directed by a Mongolian and Chinese joint venture and really is an amazing film. Plus, Mongolia. Beautiful.

13. Babylon.
It was an Akkadian city-state (founded in 1867 BC by an Amorite dynasty) of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers (55 mi) south of Baghdad. Babylon, along with Assyria to the north, was one of the two Akkadian nations that evolved after the collapse of the Akkadian Empire, although it was rarely ruled by native Akkadians. All that remains of the original ancient famed city of Babylon today is a mound, or tell, of broken mud-brick buildings and debris in the fertile Mesopotamian plain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The city itself was built upon the Euphrates, and divided in equal parts along its left and right banks, with steep embankments to contain the river's seasonal floods.
A few relics survived, like the Gate of Ishtar, which is *gorgeous*, all lapis lazuli and gold. I idly wonder if archaeologists could use depth photography or whatever it's called and see what lies beneath the tell that's the remains of Babylon today. Like x-ray photography of the earth. There's a name for that and I can't think of it!