Scepter of Fire – Cover Reveal

My good friend and CP Vicki Weavil‘s next book “Scepter of Fire” (a companion book to “Crown of Ice“) is getting a cover reveal today. I met Vicki shortly before she began writing “Crown of Ice,” and as an early reader of the manuscript I instantly fell in love with her writing. Vicki has grown a lot since “Crown of Ice” was published. She published her first sci-fi novel “Facsimile,” but while that was in production she began writing “Scepter of Fire.” It was really wonderful to see an author so passionate and inspired by their work, and Scepter was written in record time (which considering how fast Vicki writes in general is saying something!)

Scepter of Fire” continues in the tradition of adapting stories of Hans Christian Anderson. Whereas “Crown of Ice” was based on the snow queen myth, “Scepter of Fire” is inspired by Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Steadfast Tin Soldier.”

If you haven’t pre-ordered it, you should do so today! To entice you, here is the stunning cover:

Scepter-of-Fire-FINAL-eBook-Cover-March-3-2016-1-683x1024

 

 

 

Title: SCEPTER OF FIRE
Author: Vicki L. Weavil
Pub. Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback & eBook
Find it:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Scepter-Fire-Crown-Vicki-Weavil/dp/1944816593/

B&N: http://www.amazon.com/Scepter-Fire-Crown-Vicki-Weavil/dp/1944816593/

TBD: https://www.bookdepository.com/Scepter-of-Fire/9781944816599

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29993585-scepter-of-fire

Sharp as pine needles, and twice as bitter, seventeen-year-old Varna Lund’s determined to become a healer. At least patients don’t care about her looks, unlike the young men who spurn her for eighteen-year-old Gerda or even her younger sisters. An ugly duckling among swans, Varna hopes to bury her passionate nature in useful work.

Her healing skills are put to the test when Varna encounters Erik Stahl, a young soldier who’s deserted the battlefield to carry his injured friend, Anders Nygaard, to safety. Varna, enlisting the aid of Gerda, cares for Anders in secret.

But a brutal betrayal catapults the four young people into life on the run, where Varna discovers her old mentor is actually a powerful wizard. Seeking the enchanted mirror hidden by a former Snow Queen, the wizard hopes to use Gerda as a pawn in his plan to aid the invading emperor.

Other forces ally against the wizard, including an auburn-haired sorceress, an enchanted
reindeer, a brilliant scholar, and a young woman traveling with a wolf. Along with the soldiers and Gerda, they vow to prevent the mirror from falling into enemy hands. But tempted with promises of beauty and power from her now devilishly handsome mentor, Varna must choose between her own desires and the good of a society that’s never embraced her.

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Steadfast Tin Soldier”, SCEPTER OF FIRE is a companion book to CROWN OF ICE.

 

 

 

 

Pinocchio the Vampire Slayer continues

For those of whom missed my initial review of this series, I strongly encourage readers to do so.

Van Jensen and Dusty Higgins have put out the 2nd part of their Pinocchio the Vampire Slayer series, and again I was impressed.

The book started off with something that initially is something I would be inclined to hate. It being a sequel, we are immediately bombarded with new characters, in this case, new puppets. Not only are they new, but they are an entire acting troupe. For those of whom know my particular love affair with “Hamlet” the fact that they were an acting troupe certainly helped me love them, but the first few pages did have me questioning Van’s writing choices again. Much like last time, Van proved his decisions were good ones. The addition of these characters is quickly earned by the writer, and mid-way through the comic you (and some of the other characters) are almost wondering how the first comic left them out.

Other than that, the comic maintains the dark and sinister look, and is balanced by the entertaining humor that is sprinkled throughout the new tale. The characters we were introduced to in the first, begin to develop more fully in this one, as they learn to deal with new situations. In particular, Pinnochio’s new dilemma, which you’ll have to read to find out, allows us to get to know more about him. I appreciated this in the comic, and look forward to finding out what happens in the third installment.

I think buying both volumes would make a great gift this holiday season. Especially for those darn kids who are impossible to buy for.

Thought

120407_chainsaw

My thought of the day is: There is something unsettling and inherently wrong about a screaming librarian.

This day was supposed to be relaxing. I was supposed to get up, have breakfast, watch 30 minutes of TV, finish my mediation paper, and pratically finish my sexual orientation and the law paper.

What happened?

I was awoken by a chainsaw, which made it impossible to hear anything in my apartment. I sought refuge in a coffee shop, where I was ousted by the sound of 6 screaming babies and their mothers yacking in what I assume is a “new mommy” club. I then went to the library, which is normally full of loud children on the weekend, who I assumed would be in school. The children were gone, but the librarians were actually yelling at people!!! YELLING LIBRARIANS!

My first track as a ‘recording artist’

gravitation-microphone

I’ll Forget You – Sung by Richard Pearson

So what have I been doing instead of writing erotica or studying? I’ve been recording!!! I have somehow managed to turn my study into a mini recording studio by doing all sorts of strange things to muffle the sound. I tinkered with it a bit, and now I have my first rough track for the public to hear. I would love any feedback!

Just click the picture ot the link!

Marbury V. Madison

So, when I was a Thurgood Marshall School of Law as a first year I was not required to take “Constitutional Law” This means that I need to take it this semester, with mainly a bunch of 1L students. I’m not if there is a reason why TMSL does not make this a 1L class, but I am hoping that I will do well since I will have less stressful classes than the other 1L students. Here is my brief on the case:

Π    Marbury    V.    Madison     ∆
Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (U.S. 1803)

Significant FACTS with relevance to outcome of case:

  • Thomas Jefferson beat John Adams in the presidential election of 1800.
  • Jefferson was not to take office until March 4, 1801.
  • Before Adams took office, Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1801, which created ten new district courts. These new courts requires new judges to be appointed, and the act gave the president the authority to appoint them.
  • Shortly before Jefferson was about to take office, Adams appointed numerous Federalist Judges to cause issues for the soon to be Democtratic-Republican controlled congress.
  • These appointments were called “midnight appointments”
  • William Marbury was one of President Adams’ “midnight appointments.”
  • All of the necessary paperwork and procedures were completed to secure his appointment as a justice of the peace for Washington, D.C., EXCEPT:
    • Secretary of State John Marshall – himself a midnight appointee to a somewhat more exhalted judicial position – failed to deliver his commission.
  • Upon assuming the presidency, Jefferson ordered his Secretary of State – James Madison – not to deliver the commission.
  • Under authority of the Judiciary Act of 1789 (The Judiciary Act of 1801 which created the additional courts modified this act), Marbury sued to ask the Supreme Court to issue a writ of mandamus to force Madison to deliver the commission.

ISSUES:

1.    Has the applicant a right to the commission he demands?
2.    If he has a right, and that right has been violated, do the laws of his country afford him a remedy?
3.    If they do afford him a remedy, is it a mandamus issuing from this court?

Key Plaintiff’s Argument:

Marbury argues that the Constitution was only intended to set a floor for original jurisdiction that Congress could add to.
Key Defendant’s Argument:

Argues that Congress does not have the power to modify the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction.

Lower Court’s Ruling:

N/A

William Marbury brought his case directly to the Supreme Court because the Court had original jurisdiction over the case.

Analysis:

Short Answers to Issues:
1.    Yes
2.    Yes
3.    No.
——————————————

The court determined that Marbury had a right to the commission because it was signed by the President and sealed by the Secretary of State.

Since they found he had a right to the commission, they had to look at if they had a remedy. They found that the remedy that Marbury was seeking (a writ of mandamus) did exist. Because the denial of the commission was a violation of the law, a writ of mandamus could fix that.

The legal definition of a writ of mandamus is:

A writ of mandamus or simply mandamus, which means “we command” in Latin, is a document issued by a superior court (appellate court) to compel a lower court or a government officer to perform mandatory or purely ministerial duties correctly.

The main part of this case deals with the fact that Justice Marshall found that the Constitution and the Judiciary Act conflict. That being so, the constitution is deemed the superior authority and thus, that is what the court follows. However Justice Marshall describes this much more in depth.

“It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.”  When a case comes to the Supreme Court, the Court must decide that case according to the law.  If “ordinary” (statutory) legislation conflicts with the limits imposed on government by the Constitution, the fundamental law must govern the ordinary.   If the legislature passed an act that the Constitution forbids – like a tax on interstate sales, an ex post facto law, or a treason conviction based on something other than two witnesses or a confession in court – the courts would have to strike it down.  Otherwise, the Constitution would not limit government.  Courts have this power because they decide cases under law; judges take an oath to uphold the Constitution, and this is part of that function.

Therefore, the court cannot give Marbury the write he seeks as it lacks the authority/jurisdiction to do so. The Constitution does grant the Supreme Court two categories of jurisdiction for the Supreme Court.

1.    Original
2.    Appellate

Under Article III of the Constitution Congress has the power to regulate the 2nd one. APPELLATE JURISDICTION. However, Article III does not vest Congress with that power over Original Jurisdiction. So, when the Judiciary Act of 1789 purported to give that power over Original Jurisdiction to the Court it could not do that, because Congress did not have that power to give. It was retained exclusively by the Constitution.

Holding:

The rule was discharged.
Meaning the case was dismissed.

Comment:

Although the particulars of this case are bizarre the purpose of this case is to provide a larger illustration. Basically that it is the court and not congress whose job it is to interpret the Constitution. If for some bizarre reason Congress managed to pass a law that was unconstitutional like making murder legal. Then congress would be able to show that it was unconstitutional and therefore strike it down. Since you cannot appeal a Supreme Court decision, the only way for Congress to get that fixed would be to amend the Constitution, as that is the only way to get around the Supreme Court’s ruling.

The City of Love

I don’t know what it is about New York that makes me so happy I am in love. I guess in a way it is partially because I always hoped it would happen that way. I’d be able to walk down the streets of New York with a smile on my face. A shining happy face amongst the scowles of the thousands of pedestrians, and I would know I was loved.

Now I’ve often said I have the best boyfriend ever, but since we have moved to New york I can only say he has become even more incredible. He has been totally understanding about my lack of finances, and so affectionate that it truly is a dream come true.

I’m not sure if this city brings it out in us, but there is certainly seems to be a connection if not a direct correlation!

General Update

Ellis Island

So it has been quite some time since my last post. Most of this was because I finally got a form of employment in the city. I now work in an internship designed to help me learn more about the legal side of immigration. It’s not a bad job, but it is a lot of work considering I do not get paid. However, with no pay comes a sort of freedom. I am able to take my time with assignments, and simply read through the history of files I find interesting. This helps me learn “through osmosis” as my attorney tells me. It is true, I feel I’ve learned a lot about how legal correspondence works. This week I finally got to work on my first motion. It was difficult, and the lawyer and I had some differences of opinion (although he found mine charmingly naïve) about what should be included. As I suspected, much of what is “absolutely essential” in law school is never used in actual practice. However, that is not to say what I’m learning in school is not valuable. I am working in an office which has a reputation and a lot of experience, so some things are assumed by both the lawyers and judges that would not be assumed of me as a law student. I really like learning about legal writing, and I am glad to have some extra practice.
Unfortunately, I do not know a lot about Immigration Law to write in the way I want. This means I have the attorney filling in large gaps.
Aside from my work, life in New York is wonderful! Brian and I won a $40.00 bar tab on Monday. We were listed as “Dick Pearson & Co.” and were so intoxicated by the end that we didn’t even get to use the entire tab! I told the bartender if he could keep the rest as a tip he should, if not he should buy himself some drinks! To learn more about my TRIVIA experience you should look at the blog of the guy who runs it. It is called East Village Idiot.

The many sides of Broadway

One of the biggest reasons I was excited about finally living in New York was the theatre scene. I have been doing theatre for about 15 years, but in the south it’s not considered a prestigious past-time, like oh say….football. In some ways I have to admit I enjoyed this. As a self-proclaimed actor I was considered interesting, and the title carried with it a sort of exoticism. In New York, when you say your an actor, it is generally met with a “and how is that working out for you?” kind of nod. So, I miss the status of being more interesting because I was not afraid to bare my soul, body, voice, talent on a stage in front of many viewers.

However, moving to New York gives me something I have never had. Access to theatre 24/7. Whether I am in a subway with rhyming beggars, on the streets with live musicians, or in a Broadway, off-Broadway, or off-off-Broadway theatre. I am constantly surrounded by people working in theatre as a business rather than a hobby. Since I moved to New York I have seen two shows, and I think they sum up a lot about the variety of theatre you can see here within the “Musical” category. The two shows were:

 

 

Spring Awakening

This was definitely the crowd pleaser of the two that I saw. The show is young, (there are only two actors who play adults), and has music that is very emo-pop with a Broadway twist. I had heard the soundtrack, and enjoyed it, but the songs were kind of hard to really place within the context of the show. The show takes place in the late 19th century (1890’s) in Germany. Although the musicals addition of microphones and general music type makes it feel wonderfully current/timeless. Kind of like a modern day Shakespeare. At any rate, it’s about kids who are kept in the dark about sex, and what happens when parents refuse to talk to their kids or even recognize that their kids grow up and will be sexual human beings. This makes for an incredibly interesting plot, and because of the presentation I was hooked by the end of the first song. As an actor, I was immediately impressed with the talent of the cast. The singers sung intricate and tight harmonies. Many of the actresses looked incredibly young, and most actors were in incredible shape. The lights, the set, everything had this polish that I’ve rarely seen off a Broadway stage. It was incredible. Perhaps the most “awakening” experience was the fact that they managed to write and produce a show on Broadway that has the first act ending with two actors having sex on stage, while the other actors are singing and present on stage. They also managed to do this in a way that did not seem forced, weird, or cheesy. I cried, but mainly just at the idea of these children all wanting affection from their parents who are incredibly cold and afraid of the sexuality of their children. I was slightly disappointed to see that they gay characters were kind of reduced to comic relief, but I guess wi  teen pregnancy, domestic abuse, and death by improper abortion, adding on dramatic gay subplots would have been a little much. Having said that, the show still managed to not be bogged down in the doom and gloom of it all. True to emo-style the teenagers might have complained, but they were upbeat about it.

The other show was:

  SITPWG

I know the score of Sunday in the Park withGeorge backwards and forwards. I can sing every song, and I own the DVD of the original production with Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin. So my expectations were incredibly high! Luckily this production actually exceeded my high expectations. One of the reasons was not only the incredible acting, but the use of media on an entirely white canvas of a stage. There were projected images to illustrate George Seurat’s painting, was simply incredible. Towards the middle of this clip you can see how some of it works:

 

 I cried, the audience cried, it was just beautiful. Jenna Russell who is the female lead in the show is one of the finest actresses I have ever seen in a musical. She broke your heart portraying both “Dot” a model who is in love with George, but cannot be with him because of the artists inability to connect with her as a human being, and as “Marie” the child of “Dot” who is nearing the end of her life and is trying to convince her grandson the artist (also named George) the importance of not only being an artist, but being human. Connecting. Although I certainly enjoyed “Sunday in the Park with George” more, it is more difficult to recommend. The music is not exactly hummable (to use Sondheim’s self-criticism from Merrily we Roll Along) and the plot is very similar. The genius of course being that pointillism works that way, but for someone who is just wanting to be “entertained” rather than attending “art” the show is a hard sell.

The nice thing is…you don’t have to sell it! There are plenty of theatre goers who want intellectual art, and plenty more who just want to be entertained by some good songs they can sing along to in their car. Both are constantly available in this city, and that I love. In the south, even the incredible theatre scene in Houston, these options are just not as readily available. Primarily out of lack of demand, but for people like me who want it all, it is nice to have it at last.