LIGHTS EXTRAVAGANZA

LIGHTS EXTRAVAGANZA

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Crowds fill the streets in front of retailer windows in New York City as the stores vie for viewers of their Christmas displays. Macy’s started the tradition in 1883 when it debuted an animated shop window. This was followed by stores in other states across the country, but we’re only talking New York City here. This tradition is also in lobby’s of major hotels and office buildings: the Palace, the Harley, the St. Moritz and the Park Lane hotels and the Park Avenue Plaza and Gulf and Western office buildings.

Rockefeller ice skating

Rockefeller ice skating

We strayed up and down, round the town, all the way to Rockefeller plaza . . . and wouldn’t you know it, right across the way was the most spectacular lights extravaganza  in the city, on the facade of Saks 5th Avenue.

The famous tree at Rockefeller Plaza

The famous tree at Rockefeller Plaza

Click here: Saks Fifth Avenue Christmas Light Show 2015

ABOUT SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

For years, it’s been rumored that a Yeti lives on the roof of Saks Fifth Avenue, making snowflakes during the holiday season. He’s inspired Yeti trackers around the world. He’s reportedly been spotted by security cameras. Now, he’s a holiday superstar, with a starring role in Saks Fifth Avenue’s windows and light show, a plush toy ($55) and a furry book by Stephan Bucher ($25).

Saks decor

Saks decor

And just in case you didn’t know Saks Fifth Avenue, it’s one of the world’s pre-eminent specialty retailers, renowned for its superlative American and international designer collections, its expertly edited assortment of handbags, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics and gifts, and the first-rate fashion expertise and exemplary client service of its Associates. As part of the Hudson’s Bay Company brand portfolio, Saks operates 41 full-line stores in 20 states, five international licensed stores, 72 Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH stores and saks.com, the company’s online store.

Do you have a favorite something about the holidays?

Rockefeller Plaza

Rockefeller Plaza

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FANTASY OF FIREWORKS

FANTASY OF FIREWORKS

fwFireworks fwFireworks-History-Gear-Patrol-Lead- fwfourth-of-july-fireworks-statue-of-liberty fw1Fireworks fw4th_fireworks sofliberty fw0701_fire_crop fw1024px-Artilleryshells1 fw1024px-Hogmanay_Party fw1024px-Miamifireworks fw1280px-1_epcot_illuminations_2010 Inspired by the fireworks, and my painting project of Coney Island, I’m writing a few memories. Those fireworks bring back more than my youth at the beach. They bring up the history of our freedom and the celebration of it all.

Tuesday night is here again. The day and sunshine used up . . . riding, swimming, volleyball, handball. Time to cuddle on a beach blanket. Uh oh, wait a minute . . . did I say cuddle? I meant to say time to watch the fireworks. Didn’t you say that’s what you were doing Tuesday night after a day at the beach? Who watched the fireworks? Did I? Did you? The Coney Island sky is filled with fireworks color and the sounds of fireworks filled the air. No one knew where to find anyone. Maybe on the sand, maybe on blankets, maybe in the shadows under the boardwalk. That’s what Tuesday night was about. We all hung around so we could do our Tuesday night thing. Was it romantic? Was that what Tuesday night was, romance on the beach? Yeah!

What started this thing called fireworks? The earliest records of fireworks dates back to 7th century China where they were first used to frighten away evil spirits with their loud sound and to pray for happiness and prosperity.

America’s earliest settlers brought their enthusiasm for fireworks to the United States. Fireworks and black ash were used to celebrate important events long before the American Revolutionary War. The very first celebration of Independence Day was in 1777, six years before Americans knew whether the new nation would survive the war; fireworks were a part of all festivities. In 1789, George Washington‘s inauguration was also accompanied by a fireworks display. This early fascination with their noise and color continues today.

In 2004, Disneyland in Anaheim, California, pioneered the commercial use of aerial fireworks launched with compressed air rather than gunpowder. The display shell explodes in the air using an electronic timer. The advantages of compressed air launch are a reduction in fumes, and much greater accuracy in height and timing.

The Walt Disney Company is the largest consumer of fireworks in the United States.

Who doesn’t love to see and hear fireworks? What do you think of fireworks?

 

INTRODUCING THE WORLDS OF MAKE-BELIEVE with K.M. WEILAND

INTRODUCING THE WORLDS OF MAKE-BELIEVE with K.M. WEILAND

K.M. Weiland

K.M. Weiland

K.M. Weiland lives in Make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY and NIEA Award-winning and internationally published author of the Amazon bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel, as well as Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic. She writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in western Nebraska and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.

 When did you first start writing?

Storming

Storming

I started writing when I was twelve and published a small newsletter throughout high school. I independently published my first novel, the western A Man Called Outlaw when I was twenty. But I didn’t really take it seriously as a business until my next book, the medieval historical Behold the Dawn, came out three years later. And now, here I am publishing my fourth novel! Storming, my action-adventure aviation novel about a barnstorming pilot in 1920 just came out this month.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

A Man Called Outlaw

A Man Called Outlaw

As a novelist, I am inspired by countless excellent authors and filmmakers. Specifically, Brent Weeks’s epicness, Margaret Atwood’s prose, and Patrick O’Brian’s sheer genius speak to me and urge me on. As a blogger, I’m inspired by the professionalism and creativity of people such as Joanna Penn, Porter Anderson, and Jody Hedlund.

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

 

 

Dreamlander

Dreamlander

Write for the love of it, first and foremost. As Anne Lamott says, “Being published isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But writing is.” Write the stories of your heart, not the stories you think the market wants. Write the story you’d want to read if you were one of your own readers.

 

 

 

 

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Behold the Dawn

Behold the Dawn

Oh, a plotter, definitely. My writing flows much easier when I have a roadmap to follow. I need to know where I’m headed if I’m going to reach my destination. My outlining process has evolved into a pretty time-intensive routine that usually takes about six months. I do all my outlining longhand in a notebook, simply because something about my sloppy handwriting seems to free my creativity. I start out by jotting down what I already know about my story (which has typically been kicking around in my head for a couple years already) and then asking myself “what if” questions to fill in the blanks. Then I progress to character sketches, using a list of “interview questions” I’ve collected over the years. (Anyone interested in the interview sheet can find it in my free ebook Crafting Unforgettable Characters.) Then I progress to a lengthy, plot-point-by-plot-point outline. Once that’s done, I organize it using the amazing writing software Scrivener—and move on to researching.

You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?

A Man Called Outlaw

A Man Called Outlaw

You mean other than a satellite phone? A boatload of coffee, a generator to recharge my Kindle, and a good pair of sunglasses. Who wants to be rescued, right?

http://www.amazon.com/K.-M.-Weiland/e/B002RCXQ00.

THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST

THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST

ANGELFor your reading pleasure, the classic story about the Ghost of Christmas Past . . . which reminds me to have joy and peace, to be kind, loving, patient, generous, good and faithful. Remember Scrooge?

Scrooge, the old miser, was a squeezing, scraping, clutching old sinner. He hated Christmas, and said it was nothing but “humbug.” He refused any Christmas dinner invitations, and slammed the door to anyone asking for donations to help feed the poor. He couldn’t stand giving his workers time off for Christmas, but did it because they would quit if he didn’t.

original illustration

Original 1843 illustration by John Leech

The Ghost of Christmas Past is the first of the three spirits to haunt Ebenezer Scrooge. This angelic spirit shows Scrooge scenes from his past that occurred on or around Christmas, in order to demonstrate to him the necessity of changing his ways, and to show him how he came to be a bitter, coldhearted miser.

Ebenezer-Scrooge

Ebenezer-Scrooge

After showing up in Scrooge’s house, the Ghost of Christmas Past takes his hand and flies with him over London. He first shows Scrooge his old boarding school, where he stayed alone but for his books, while his schoolmates returned to their homes for the Christmas holidays.

Scrooge

The spirit also shows Scrooge the Christmas Eve when, as a young man, his beloved fiancee Belle ended their relationship upon realizing that he now cared more for money than he did for her.

What do each of the three spirits in A Christmas Carol represent?

The Ghost of Christmas Past represents memory.  By taking Scrooge through the different stages in his life, the Ghost of Christmas Past is showing Scrooge that he was once able to love and that he once cared about others.  But as he ages, Scrooge is shown how much less compassion he has for people, as well as how much more greedy he has become due to his lust for money.

achristmascaroldickens1225The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come represents death.  It is Scrooge’s fear of death that finally seals his fate and makes him change his ways.  More literally, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come represents the difference between heaven and hell, showing Scrooge how awful his life will be if he continues living the way he is, compared to how his life used to be when he had more compassion for the human spirit.

A_Christmas_Carol_-_Mr._Fezziwig's_BallIn the present, Scrooge is shown people enjoying themselves.  Scrooge never enjoys himself, and he realizes that Christmas Present symbolizes happiness and joy found in togetherness.  All of the people are poor, yet “content to be so” and happy to have each other.  Scrooge is stunned to see that his clerk has a crippled son.

episode_01_534x300“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future.” Scrooge does better than his word, and becomes a second father to Tiny Tim and a good friend to the Cratchits.  He also becomes a good Uncle.  Scrooge realizes, seeing the present as he did, that he has a ready-made family.  All he has to do is open his heart to them.

Here are the last two pages from the original book, A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens, pp115-116 (public domain-from the Library of Congress)

But he was early at the office next morning. Oh, he was early there. If he could only be there first, and catch Bob Cratchit coming late! That was the thing he had set his heart upon.

And he did it’ yes, he did! The clock struck nine. No Bob. A quarter past. No Bob. He was a full eighteen minutes and a half behind his time. Scrooge sat with his door wide open, that he might see him come into the tank. His hat was off before he opened the door; his comforter too. He was on his stool in a jiffy; driving away with his pen, as if he were trying to overtake nine o’clock.

“Hollo!” growled Scrooge, in his accustomed voice, as near as he could feign it. “What do you mean by comin here at this time of day?”

“I am very sorry, sir,” said Bob. “I am behind my time.”

“You are?” repeated Scrooge. “Yes. I think you are. Step this way, sir if you please.”

“It’s only once a year, sir,” pleaded Bob, appearing from the tank. “It shall not be repeated. I was making rather merry yesterday, sir.”

“Now, I’ll tell you what, my friend,” said Scrooge; “I am not going to stand this sort of thing any longer. And therefore,” he continued, leaping from his stool, and giving Bob such a dig in the waistcoat that he staggered back into the tank again—“ and therefore I am about to raise your salary!”

Bob trembled, and got a little nearer to the ruler. He had a momentary idea of knocking Scrooge down with it, holding him, and calling to the people in the court for help and a strait waistcoat.

“A Merry Christmas Bob!” said Scrooge, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back.

“A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you for many a year. I’ll raise your salary, and endeavor to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob! Make up the fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit!”

Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive form. His own heart laughed; and that was quite enough for him.

He had no further intercourse with spirits, but lived upon the total abstinence principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us every one!

The End

If you click this: “The Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, written 1911, you can read the book and enjoy all the illustrations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST

Angels all around . . .

 

My angel is all caught up in the holiday spirit. No matter what I say, she insists on coming shopping with me to point out all the flickering lights, the toys, the wrappings . . . all this while dancing around the Christmas trees and saying to have joy and peace, and to be kind, loving, patient, generous, good and faithful. She says, “Remember Scrooge?

 

Scrooge, the old miser, was a squeezing, scraping, clutching old sinner.” He hated Christmas, and says it is nothing but “humbug.” He refused any Christmas dinner invitations, and slammed the door to anyone asking for donations to help feed the poor. He can’t stand giving his workers time off for Christmas, but does it because they would quit if he didn’t.

The Ghost of Christmas Past is the first of the three spirits to haunt Ebenezer Scrooge. This angelic spirit shows Scrooge scenes from his past that occurred on or around Christmas, in order to demonstrate to him the necessity of changing his ways, and to show him how he came to be a bitter, coldhearted miser.

After showing up in Scrooge’s house, the Ghost of Christmas Past takes his hand and flies with him over London. He first shows Scrooge his old boarding school, where he stayed alone but for his books, while his schoolmates returned to their homes for the Christmas holidays.

The spirit also shows Scrooge the Christmas Eve when, as a young man, his beloved fiancée Belle ended their relationship upon realizing that he now cared more for money than he did for her.

Thethe three spirits in A Christmas Carol represent?

The ghost of Christmas past represents memory.  By taking Scrooge through the different stages in his life, the ghost of Christmas past is showing Scrooge that he was once able to love and that he once cared about others.  But as he ages, Scrooge is shown how much less compassion he has for people, as well as how much more greedy he becomes due to his lust for money.

The ghost of Christmas yet to come represents death.  It is Scrooge’s fear of death that finally seals his fate and makes him change his ways.  More literally, the ghost of Christmas yet to come represents the difference between heaven and hell, showing Scrooge how awful his life will be if he continues living the way he is, compared to how his life used to be when he had more compassion for the human spirit.

In the present, Scrooge is shown people enjoying themselves.  Scrooge never enjoys himself, and he realizes that Christmas Present symbolizes happiness and joy found in togetherness.  All of the people are poor, yet “content to be so” and happy to have each other.  Scrooge is stunned to see that his clerk has a crippled son.

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future.” Scrooge does better than his word, and becomes a second father to Tiny Tim and a good friend to the Cratchits.  He also becomes a good Uncle.  Scrooge realizes, seeing the present as he did, that he has a ready-made family.  All he has to do is open his heart to them.

Here are the last two pages in the original book, A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens, pp115-116 (public domain-from the Library of Congress)

A CHRISTMAS CAROL—THE END OF IT

 

But he was early at the office next morning. Oh, he was early there. If he could only be there first, and catch Bob Cratchit coming late! That was the thing he had set his heart upon.

And he did it’ yes, he did! The clock struck nine. No Bob. A quarter past. No Bob. He was a full eighteen minutes and a half behind his time. Scrooge sat with his door wide open, that he might see him come into the tank. His hat was off before he opened the door; his comforter too. He was on his stool in a jiffy; driving away with his pen, as if he were trying to overtake nine o’clock.

“Hollo!” growled Scrooge, in his accustomed voice, as near as he could feign it. “What do you mean by comin here at this time of day?”

“I am very sorry, sir,” said Bob. “I am behind my time.”

“You are?” repeated Scrooge. “Yes. I think you are. Step this way, sir if you please.”

“It’s only once a year, sir,” pleaded Bob, appearing from the tank. “It shall not be repeated. I was making rather merry yesterday, sir.”

“Now, I’ll tell you what, my friend,” said Scrooge; “I am not going to stand this sort of thing any longer. And therefore,” he continued, leaping from his stool, and giving Bob such a dig in the waistcoat that he staggered back into the tank again—“ and therefore I am about to raise your salary!”

Bob trembled, and got a little nearer to the ruler. He had a momentary idea of knocking Scrooge down with it, holding him, and calling to the people in the court for help and a strait waistcoat.

“A Merry Christmas Bob!” said Scrooge, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back.

“A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you for many a year. I’ll raise your salary, and endeavor to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob! Make up the fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit!”

 

Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive form. His own heart laughed; and that was quite enough for him.

 

He had no further intercourse with spirits, but lived upon the total abstinence principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us every one!

The end.

 

Original 1843 illustration by John Leech

 

This link below is for the book “The Christmas Carol.” It’s all ok to use, I will use this link in my blog. It’s a sweet book.

http://1.usa.gov/1TjLrkz

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