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Interview by an English Witch

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Catherine here– If your day can use a smile or two, go to

http://www.catherineemclean.com/english-witch-interviews-darq.html

 

because Darq is in England as a guest of none other than Mrs. Baker, the English witch, who invited Darq to tea  today (and to interview her).

The two are even baking Darq’s Fruity Cake for the orphans. The recipe is also revealed.

There are lots of pictures of Darq and Mrs. B that Darq, Mrs. B, Penny Blake, and I think you’ll enjoy, so please feel free to comment. Or, if you’re curious what elements were used in the photos that makes the food (or anything else) look real, leave a comment!

Have fun (I and Penny sure did!)

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Posted by on January 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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2017 – The New Year!

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Darq here – as you can see, the gown Catherine made for me is sensational. It’s this rich, fire-orange-red velour with a glitter netting vest of eight layers with an enormous train.  Here’s the back view –

img_5673-use-backviewThe train’s eight tiers are alternating between pink and black netting. There are seven flowing “chains” that are incrediably lightweight. As you can see, there are “jewels” dangling from two of the upper, shorter chains. Here’s a frontal view of the dress and the vest –

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and, of course, there are the shoes!

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All in all, I had a very nice New Year’s eve party and will soon be back at the farm. Then it will be off to England where I’ll be interviewed by a witch and baking Fruity Cake for her orphans.

I wish you and yours a peaceful, joyful, and happy New Year!

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and me, Catherine E. McLean, author of JEWELS OF THE SKY, a sci-fi adventure novel where two weeks after the book debuted, I found a doll that looked just like Darq, the story’s starfighter pilot and heroine. The story is  about –

Survival or extinction? 

Mercy or miracle? 

One woman’s choice.

    Being a direct descendant of the captain who massacred the Mayans, Darq is a Wysotti woman and a duty-oriented, pragmatic interstellar fighter pilot. She doesn’t believe in miracles or forgiveness, or that J’Hi-inti (god) would ever rescind the death curse on her people for what happened to the Mayans. Only J’Hi-inti hears one compelling plea for reconciliation and decides to let chaos rule— and test Darq. After all, she’s a wild card like her nefarious ancestor. What will she do when she faces the ruthless alien fleet commander who spearheads the blitzkrieg that is to finally destroy her homeworld, and who she once witnessed murder her cadet comrades?  Blinded by hate and survivor guilt, all that stands between survival and extinction, heaven or hell, for Darq and her people is mercy— or a miracle.

For other books and stories by Catherine, go HERE

New, lighthearted, sci-fi short story with a romantic twist has been published in Nebula Rift – check out “Christmas on Kifel”here.

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Posted by on January 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Steampunk Darq!

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CATHERINE:  As you faithful readers know, Darq was invited to a Steampunk themed Halloween Party at a castle in a faraway land. As usual, the MIB and Darq would not disclose the location to me. And when Darq learned of the bat-shapeshifting Count Dracula, who was to be there, she got the Men In Black to give her a ray-gun-stunner for the occasion (and to go with her steampunk outfit). Using the instincts and quick reflexes of a starfighter pilot, the bat didn’t have a chance. Darq zapped it. Funny thing is, the stunned bat just grinned and grinned, mumbling Happy Halloooween!

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For those that are not familiar with Steampunk, it’s a subgenre of science fiction/fantasy about machines and technology based on steam power that utilizes gears, chains, mechanical automatons, clockwork mechanisms, etc. and is usually set in a Victorian era world. Darq’s outfit includes 11 pieces (clothing and accessories) made exclusively by me from trolling Pinterest for ideas. The foundation is, of course, “unmentionables” (underwear) befitting a Victorian Lady–this is two pieces, top and “petticoat.”

10-halloween-2016-undiesNext came the taffeta blouse with mutton sleeves, metal cuff links, and a lace jabot with heart-gears-cameo worn with an overskirt with an underskirt. All cinched in with a bustier laced up the front and tied off with a large (and expensive, $7) medallion-watch-gears buckle. Dangling from the tie ends are gears. An intrepid Steampunk Victorian Heroine can never have too many throwing stars–I mean gears.

Various chains and links, a pouch (for necessities), a magnifying glass (handy for starting fires), and a blue bottle (the content is an explosive liquid).

And, yes, Darq did lament about how tight the bustier was. She also complained the weight of all that metal on her felt equal to 20 g’s.

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Keep in mind that for the dauntless heroine of the era, one of the necessities is to make a swift getaway by running away — or maybe sprinting after villainous villains. To do that means raising the skirt and petticoats, which is done with straps, loops, and chain fasteners (which hang off the bustier).

 

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The overskirt, which is heavy wool, is lifted by leather straps with stud reinforcements. The petticoat is a metallic cotton, with heavy lace, and is lifted by cotton cord.

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A swifter departure is guaranteed with comfy boots —

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The boots come with a few woman-warrior necessities. Inside that large key is a dagger. The gear is a njnja throwing star.

Are you wondering about the ray-gun that doesn’t have a holster on the busier?

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Then —

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Take a look at the hat. Note the gear-weapons, the veil that keeps her hair tidy under exertion, the feathers (lethal quills), the various ribbons (to strangle or tie up a foe). Don’t see the weapon? Look under the hat–

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Pretty elaborate steampunk weapon, right? Can you guess what it originally was before it was converted it into the ray-gun? Need a better look at it? The original size is 2.5″ long but here it is enlarged–

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To the first person (who isn’t a relative) that comes up with the identify of this common, household part, I’ll send a $5 gift certificate. Deadline is November 30th, 2016.

Here is a look at the detail of the jacket and the sleeve cuffs–and Darq’s official photo to wish you all a Happy Halloween!

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NOTE FOR SEWERS:

I broke two needles and blunted the tip of a third. The first needle broke pounding through the wad of gathers on the mutton sleeves – taffeta is one tough fabric when bunched together. The other needle broke while zigzagging through the thick Naugahyde leather of the bustier.

When hand sewing the chain trim around the jacket, despite the faux-leather being thin, soft, and supple, I bent a couple of hand sewing needles (they now look like parentheses). Doing the hand work on the leather was also hard on my old fingers.

I calculated I have over $100 in materials and 30 hours of time in making this outfit.

Don’t tell Darq, but– I HAD FUN!!

I wish you all a very Happy Halloween!

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Darq returns to the farm for Thanksgiving and will blog on December 1st.

JEWELS OF THE SKY tells Darq’s story of Survival or Extinction. Mercy or Miracle. One Woman’s Choice.

Available at most eBook outlets in hardcover and eBook.

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Posted by on October 31, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Christmas 2015 & Karaoke ?

CATHERINE chuckles and sets the black T-shirt Darq gave her under the Christmas Tree:  This is one great T-shirt, thanks, Darq.

DARQ:  I thought the saying appropriate considering you’re a novelist who makes up stories!

CATHERINE:  Very fitting–I love it!

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DARQ swats aside another dangling ribbon:  Good grief, Catherine, I know you decorated your Christmas tree with all 36 of those fair ribbons you won this year, but really, it’s like plowing through a jungle.

CATHERINE:  Stop exaggerating. I see you found the gift your squad of Men In Black left for you.

DARQ: Yes, I did, but with all the gifts that were piled under the tree last night, it was shoved back, and way around to the other side of the tree.

CATHERINE: Stop complaining and go open your gift.  You’ve been curious ever since it arrived. (Catherine begins opening another Christmas gift.)

A minute later, Darq has her MIB gift unwrapped and squeals: “Karaoke!”

CATHERINE:  What?

DARQ scrambles to the nearest blank wall and starts singing into the handheld microphone–the MIBs gift to her–

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Darq’s voice booms through both stories of Catherine’s farm house: Have yourself a merry little Christmas…

CATHERINE grins and says:  Okay, okay, enough with the caterwauling–I mean singing. Go unwrap something else. Save the tunes for after we open all the presents.

When Darq finishes opening her gifts, Catherine says: Beside the karaoke mike, what else did you get?

DARQ: J’adore perfume, a box of Belgium chocolates, and a CD of tunes that accompanied my mike. Oh, and a stocking full of cookies, M&Ms, and chocolate covered cherries. If I don’t suffer a sugar-high, I’m going to get fat eating all this candy.

CATHERINE laughs, then says: What gift do you like the most?

DARQ eyes Catherine: The three you gave me.  The Christmas Tree earrings–  IMG_4334

The Christmassy slippers– IMG_4309And this lounger you made for me, why it’s as colorful as Christmas wrapping paper. (Darq’s voice changes to a lower, quieter tone): It’s especially heartwarming to wear this robe because it’s like something I’d wear on my homeworld. And beautiful and comfy.

CATHERINE: It should be.

DARQ: What does that mean?

CATHERINE:  I bribed Agent M with four dozen chocolate chip cookies for a look at some Wysotti clothing catalogs.  Now, grab that mike and let’s sing a wish to everyone who reads this blog–

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be . . .

Have a wonderful Christmas Day.

**** DARQ will be attending another New Year’s Eve party at an undisclosed location, and wearing a new Erte-inspired outfit. Stop by New Year’s Day to see what she wore.

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Posted by on December 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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A Letter to Darq

August 10, 2015

Hi, Darq,

Got your note and noted it was delivered four weeks after you wrote it–likely the MIB bureaucracy and all that security scrutiny of theirs.  Anyway, so happy to get your pictures. Loved the one of you and hubby Atlatl at sunset along the pier. And, wow, that picture of the turquoise sea with that huge wave cresting over was astonishing. You’re as good a photographer as I am–maybe better! LOL

As to news from here? August is like Christmas for me because of the annual fair. This year’s was a milestone one, my 30th consecutive year of exhibiting. So, yeah, I went all out. I entered 38 projects and came away with 36 ribbons, 60% of those ribbons were first place blue ribbons. Which brings me to the photo below of your Valentine’s Day, Erte-inspired outfit, which took a first-place ribbon!

Fair week also included my volunteering in the home show building, which I’ve been doing for the past dozen years or so. And the Tuesday all-day stint left me bedraggled going into August 5’s Release Day Celebration for my third novel, HEARTS AKILTER.  And get this–I made a HEARTS AKILTER keepsake for myself–an apron (see picture below), which won a blue ribbon.

Speaking of HEARTS AKILTER, I’m on a blog tour to promote the book. The tour includes a Facebook Party with a group of other authors. There’s a $50 Amazon gift card as one of the prizes, and I’m giving away a gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press (publishers of HEARTS AKILTER). This Facebook Party is something new to swallow up my time to promote. LOL

Anyway, I’ve posted the blog tour stops, and I’ve also posted more information at my hub website about the Facebook Party.

Continue enjoying your R&R, Darq, and I look forward to your returning to Earth and visiting me this fall,

Catherine

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****Details of the Facebook Party are here

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Gone for the Summer ?

IMG_3540 6-1-2015 Heading Home Darq (1)

CATHERINE:  I managed to get a snapshot of Darq packing her things for the trip back to her homeworld of Wysa. If you are wondering like I was about all the two towers of shoes fitting in the trunk along with her clothes, well—

According to Darq, the MIB (Men in Black), have this molecular and atom compression gizmo that will get everything down into some sort of weightless, flat thread of light-energy. Not being a techno-geek, the process sounded to me a lot like the transporters used on Star Trek. Okay, so fiction is fiction and as long as you can suspend your disbelief, it’s kosher.  Right?

Darq will be back this fall . . . new shoes, new clothes. 

To be notified of her arrival, follow this blog or Connect With Catherine

Conversation and comments are always welcome!

****SPECIAL NOTE:  HEARTS AKILTER – Catherine’s fantasy/sci-fi romance is coming soon – Get on the “early bird” notification list for the release date and you could win a $25 gift card. Details are HERE

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Valentines Velvet and Satin–an Erte-inspired gown

DARQ: I wish all who stop by a Happy Valentine’s Day mine is going to be sensational because Catherine sewed another Erte-inspired gown for me so I could look fabulous at the dinner party I’m attending tonight in – oops, can’t divulge the location, national security and all that. Here’s the sneak peek at the gown–

IMG_2935 2015 Valntine notrain lteThere is nothing like velvet on my planet, Wysa, but I am totally in love with this fabric, and the satin lining. And the color.  And, yes, peeping out from the front hem is a pair of velvet and satin shoes!

IMG_2971I couldn’t believe how sumptuous this gown turned out to be. I love it, love it, love it!

And here’s the Erte illustration I picked out for Catherine to work from:

Erte ValentinesDARQ2015Oh, so you want to see the back of the gown?  Well, here ‘tiz–IMG_2960 lte

The “train” is attached to the back of the skirt, which is pleated. Catherine says the pleats allow the train to be wider than the regular skirt would have been. The train folds up and is draped over my shoulders.  IMG_2967 2015 Val lte

Since the dress is fully lined, Catherine did something interesting to the velvet side of the train–she twisted the fabric around to showcase the satin. . .

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And then she had a brilliant idea to flip to the velvet side, which she decorated with a butterfly–

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So, one outfit, many ways to wear it!

As to the clasp, it flips so it works for either the satin or velvet side.

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What’s the gown look like with the train is down?  Why–

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Notice the V-neckline of the front and that the back one is decadently deeper.

CATHERINE: Your husband will appreciate that.

DARQ chuckles, then says: He’ll appreciate more undressing me after he discovers that plunging back V.

CATHERINE: I thought you had a limit on things you can transport when you ship back home.

DARQ: This is a must-have item.  I love this gown more than the white and silver Erte outfit you made me for New Year’s Eve, 2013.

CATHERINE: Wow, and double wow.

DARQ: Besides, Catherine, this gown makes me feel and look ultra-classy.  So, what’s the plan for St. Patrick’s Day?

CATHERINE, shocked expression on her face: You need another gown?

DARQ:  No. I thought maybe I’d take you and your hubby out to dinner, someplace local.  So, I guess all I need is regular wear.

CATHERINE: As in a uniform?

DARQ: No silly, civilian wear will do.

CATHERINE: What’s Wysotti civilian wear like?

DARQ: Huh?

CATHERINE:  I mean, how different from Earth fashions is your civilian Wysotti clothing.  Can you show me a picture or two of what you normally wear?

DARQ: You know, it would be nice to wear fashions from my homeworld . . .  When I check in next week with fleet HQ, I’ll see about downloading pictures of current fashions so you can work from them.  How’s that?

CATHERINE: Sounds good to me.

*** Stop back on St. Patrick’s Day to see Darq’s civilian Wysotti-wear.  In green, of course, because St. Patrick’s Day is for the wearing of the green!

NOTE TO SEWERS:  Darq’s Valentine’s gown is rayon velvet. I bought the fabric more than 10 years ago for the bib and sleeve cuffs of a dress I made for my local Morgan Horse association’s awards banquet.  There was a lot of fabric left over. I used some a couple of Christmases ago, when I made my daughter an “old fashioned” Christmas Stocking. Still there was an L-shaped piece left, and that’s what I used for Darq’s gown. I used all of it. No scraps left.

Interestingly enough, the longest side of that L-piece of velvet remnant was just long enough to make the train–from shoulder seam to tip of the train is 40″.  The gown is fully lined with metallic, stretch satin.  The hardest part about sewing the gown was hand sewing the hem and attaching the lining to the sleeves at the cuffs. I must have tried six different hand-sewing needles before I found one that would pierce the tough rayon, slinky satin, and the metallic threads in the satin.

Now my only problem is how to preserve the gown without crushing the velvet. So if you have any ideas, please let me know.

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Posted by on February 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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