Thoughts on the wild, the weird, and the romantic from author Joy Nash

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Joy Nash is a USA Today Bestselling Author and RITA Award Finalist applauded by Booklist for her "tart wit, superbly crafted characters, and sexy, magic-steeped plots."

» Thursday, April 27, 2006

Anyone Missing a Pyramid?

This is the coolest thing I've seen in the news in a long time. A massive pyramid, one-third larger than the biggest pyramid in Egypt, has been masquerading as a small mountain just outside the town of Visoko, Bosnia, 20 miles northwest of Sarajevo.

The first pyramid discovered in Europe, and not just any pyramid, but the biggest one of all! Once excavated, it could be over 700 feet (70 stories) high, about a third taller than the Great Pyramid at Giza in Egypt. Who would have thought it? But the discovery doesn't stop there. Apparently two smaller hills nearby could be pyramids as well, connected to the main structure by miles of man-made tunnels.

How old is the complex? The area has been inhabited by humans for at least 24,000 years, with evidence of permanent settlements dating back 7000 years. The pyramid may be older than that, perhaps some 12,000 years old. By comparison, the Great Pyramid of Giza is only 4500 years old. The oldest pyramid in Egypt, the Step Pyramid of Zoser in Saqqara, is less than 5000 years old.

So we're talking old. Really old.

The "mountain" was the site of a Roman observation post and later a medieval fortress. However, it seems the pyramid underneath had been buried and forgotten long before Roman times. Even though the hill just happened to be a perfect pyramid shape, oriented to the cardinal compass direction points.

The local tourist traps have already started selling pyramid key chains and t-shirts. Excavations will be going on all summer, and I'm sure lots of curious visitors will be on hand to take a look.

I'll be looking for more info on this story in the months to come, that's for sure!

Until next Friday...

Joy Nash

» Friday, April 21, 2006

Out to Dry

Sitting here amid wet clothes draped all over the house, waiting for my new dryer to be delivered. The old one conked out a couple of days ago, which is a major emergency in a house with five people. How did our grandmothers do it? I guess I could have strung a clothesline outside, but it's spring, and I have allergies and I'm not thrilled with the idea of pollen all over my clothes.

The final Grail King edits were out of here yesterday. Whew. Thank God. Now I can concentrate on Immortals: The Awakening, which is due in October. And at some point there will be edits on my contemp romance, Twenty-Nine and Counting, but since that doesn't have a firm release date yet, I'm not sure when those will arrive.

So what to blog about today? Thought I'd give a list of the books I've been reading lately. I have a pretty eclectic taste, so there should be something for everyone.

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams (Pocket 1988 ISBN 0671742515) This book made me so sad that Douglas Adams died such an untimely death. The man had such an underhanded wit it's impossible not to be in awe of his talent. From the back cover: "When a passenger check-in desk at Heathrow Airprot disappears in a ball of flame, the explosion is deemed an act of God. But what god would be hanging around Heathrow trying to catch the 3:37 to Oslo?" Turns out it's Thor, the Norse god of Thunder, and he's on a convoluted mission to confront his father, Odin. I liked this book even better than the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, which I re-read last year.

From the old, old, keeper shelf: Portrait of Jennie by Robert Nathan (Populalr Library, 1939) I happened to spot this gem in my basement while looking for something else, and I had to pull it out and read it. I read it as a teenager, but it had been lying around my parents house for a long time before I found it. It's so old the price was 35 cents! There's not even an ISBN. It's a beautiful little story about an artist and the woman who tries to travel through time to find him. Very unusual. I don't know if you can find it, but if you can, it's worth the effort.

Ride the Fire by Pamela Clare (Dorchester 2005 - ISBN 0843954876) I heard great things about this book so I bought it on Amazon. I loved the Colonial wilderness setting and the psychological authenticity of two wounded souls trying to heal each other.

An Earthly Knight by Janet McNaughton (Harper Torch 2003 - ISBN 0060089946) The title of this book is a line in the medieval Scottish ballad of Tam Lin, and this book is a modern retelling of the tale. I picked this up as part of my research of Scotland and Scottish/Celtic mythology for my Immortals book, which takes place in Scotland. I loved the story.

Beast by Donna Jo Napoli (Simon Pulse 2000 - ISBN 0689870051) Another retold fairy tale. This book is a twist on the classic Beauty and the Beast tale, although most of the book is the Beast's early life as a man and the circumstances surrounding the curse that causes him to lose his humanity. Quite lyrical, and an interesting window into Persian and Islamic culture, as the Beast is portrayed as a Persian prince.

Anyone But You by Jennifer Cruisie (HQN 1996 - reissue - ISBN 0373771460) What can I say? Any Jenny Crusie book is like a chocolate bar - irresistible. Love those older women/younger man books, too. Can't wait to read Jenny's new book with Bob Mayer, Don't Look Down, but for some reason even though I preordered it on Amazon they put it on backorder. Grumble. I want it now!

Confessions of a Lingerie Addict by Jennifer Ashley (Dorchester 2005 - ISBN0505526360) A fun contemp about a female disc jockey hiding two lingerie personalities - one practical, white and cotton, the other wild, red and silky. I was chuckling all through this one. How can you resist a heroine who is constantly comparing herself to romance heroines and lamenting that book heroines never have to do mundane things like buy toilet paper? A light, quick, witty read.

Moon in the Water by Elizabeth Grayson (Bantam April 2004 - ISBN 0553584243) I must have picked this one up for free at RT last year, because I don't remember buying it. I don't usually read American set historicals (despite the fact that there are two on this list). But I'm a sucker for forced-into-marriage stories and this was a great one. The characters were wonderful and the descriptions of riverboat life on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers in 1867 were very vivid.

Until next Friday...

Joy Nash

» Wednesday, April 12, 2006

April Girl

I missed posting last Friday because I was out of town. So here it is, a couple days late. Also last week - my birthday! I celebrated by hunting up a poem my husband gave me when we were dating. He didn't write it himself, but it's probably the most romantic gift he every gave me.

Here it is:

Always Marry an April Girl

Praise the spells and bless the charms,
I found April in my arms.
April golden, April cloudy,
Gracious, cruel, tender, rowdy;
April soft in flowered languor,
April cold with sudden anger,
Ever changing, ever true --
I love April, I love you.

Ogden Nash (1902 – 1971)

Makes me want to cry! In a good way, of course.

Until next Friday...

Joy Nash

» Friday, April 07, 2006

Magic Sucks!

Hi Folks!

Today Friday Night Reflections welcomes back television talk show maven Ophelia! Ophelia's very eager to interview Marcus Aquila, a Roman blacksmith and a key character in The Grail King, coming this August from Dorchester Publishing.

Ophelia (eyeing Marcus): That's right, Joy. I never tire of interviewing large, hunky men, even ones from the past. Maybe especially ones from the past. They're always so...uncivilized.

Marcus (snorting): I'm a Roman citizen, Ophelia. Not a barbarian. You'll find me very civilized.

Ophelia (doubtfully): Hmm...I see. Well, I suppose appearances can be deceiving. Marcus, tell our audience a little about yourself. Where were you born?

Marcus: In Rome. I came to Britannia as a boy of ten with my father, Lucius Aquila. He was a commander in the army, investigating the suspicious death of my uncle, Aulus.

Ophelia: Lucius discovered his brother was murdered, didn't he?

Marcus: Yes. By a crazed Druid named Madog. Once Aulus was dead, Madog enslaved his soul with dark magic. Under the Druid's foul influence, my uncle's ghost nearly killed my father.

Ophelia (gasps): Oh, my! How awful!

Marcus: Yes. Magic sucks, Ophelia. And it's not pretty, either. I was hiding nearby when my father battled my uncle's ghost in a cursed Druid circle. I was sure Father was going to die.

Ophelia: But he escaped.

Marcus: Barely. I had nightmares about it for years afterwards.

Ophelia: Which is why you now hate anything to do with magic.

Marcus (scowling): Yes. As I said before, magic sucks.

Ophelia: And how do you feel about Druids?

Marcus: Are you kidding? They suck, too. I hate the crazed idiots. The Roman government of Britannia had them outlawed for good reason.

Ophelia: And yet, as I understand it, your best friend is a Druid.

Marcus: Ah, yes. Rhys, the traveling minstrel. We were friends for years and all that time, he never told me of the real reason he visited my home--to keep an eye on my younger half-sister, Breena. Rhys is a member of an outlawed clan of Druids who dwell on the sacred isle of Avalon. He deceived me, and I don't know if I can ever forgive him for that. Magic sucks.

Ophelia: And yet, you can't seem to get away from magic. The Druids of Avalon are interested in your half-sister Breena because she has the Sight. And what about your stepmother's brother, Owein?

Marcus: My stepmother, Rhiannon, is a Celt. Her younger brother, Owein, was an apprentice to Madog, the Druid who murdered my uncle and tried to destroy my father. Owein helped Madog every step of the way. After we left the northlands, Rhiannon was afraid Owein had been killed along Emperor Hadrian's great Wall. To tell you the truth, I wouldn't have been sorry if Owein had been killed.

Ophelia: But he wasn't.

Marcus: No. He went into hiding, practicing his foul Druid arts in the mountains of Cambria. Magic, as I've said, sucks.

Ophelia: Um, I see. Well, then, tell us a little about Clara Sempronia.

Marcus: Clara's the daughter of Sextus Sempronius Gracchus, the fortress commander in the Roman town of Isca Silurnam, located in what you call Southern Wales. I want Clara to be my wife, but Commander Gracchus won't hear of it. He's determined to have Clara will marry well, and though I'm a patrician, my family's a disgrace. My father abandoned a Senate seat to marry a barbarian Celt. And I practice a trade--blacksmithing. Roman patricians look down on tradesmen.

Ophelia: So you want to marry Clara. But doesn't she have magic, too?

Marcus (with a pained expression): You know something, Ophelia? I'm getting really sick of all this woo-woo stuff. Magic's like a sucking chest wound, in my opinion. Who needs it? Yes, Clara has magic, though I didn't know it when I fell in love with her. Her magic is linked to a mysterious silver Grail. The cup was stolen from her and she's determined to get it back. Do you believe the fool woman ran off into the mountains looking for Owein, hoping he would use his Sight to help her find the Grail! But I can tell you, if that hulking, red-headed Druid gets his hands on a magic Grail, the last thing he's going to do is give it to Clara. Rhys wants to get to the damn thing, too, before Owein does. And so does another Druid--some hidden sorcerer who's been calling up violent winter storms and playing with Owein's mind. The whole situation is a mess.

Ophelia: And it only gets uglier, doesn't it?

Marcus: It sure does. So do you understand now why I say magic sucks? There's just too much of it floating around for my taste. You know, I'm the only one who doesn't give a damn about the wretched Grail. I just want too find Clara and get her home safely. Preferably before Owein (the rat bastard!) talks her into bed.

Ophelia: Well. Good luck with that, Marcus. I think. Though according to Joy, The Grail King isn't exactly your lucky book. Except for the very last chapter, when you meet your true love.

Marcus (snorting): Knowing Joy, I bet my true love has more sucky magic than I ever want to see in my lifetime.

Ophelia (laughing): I just bet she does! We'll have to wait for your book, Guardian of Avalon, to find out how you deal with that.

Marcus (grumbling): You know what, Ophelia? Magic sucks. Big time.

Joy: Thank you Marcus and Ophelia! Readers, check back next month when Clara Sempronia, heroine of The Grail King, takes the hot seat!

Until Next Friday,

Joy Nash