The Government Sector

Rose has been in management since she was 18; first she managed one coffee shop, then two…now she has moved on to a grocery store!

The City of Evlantis is ruled by women, for women. The city is divided into six clique-like sectors.

The women of the Government Sector love law and order. They enjoy solving problems, especially in committee. They enjoy passing laws to make things in the Queendom run smoothly, and they like the admiration they receive for their high status in society. There is a lot more to Government than meets the eye. In order to keep the City of Evlantis in line with the Constitution handed down by Mother Eve, a good politician must know when to apply the law and when to turn a blind eye to infractions. The women of the Government Sector are wonderful hostesses. True, the pressure they put on themselves to make everything perfect tends to attract high-strung women, but the Queendom would fall apart without their contributions to the public good: passing new laws, reviewing and destroying archaic laws, running the courts, and working with the Soldier Sector to ensure the Queendom is as peaceful as huwomanely possible.

The Origin of the City of Evlantis, the city where The Queendom of Evlantis and Sephora’s Revenge take place

The city of Evlantis was centuries old. It had been founded by Eve, the Mother of all Huwomanity, but abandoned when the area was depleted of game, and when drought fell upon the land. For a while, so the records of herstory reveal, women and men lived as nomads. The Mother of all Huwomanity was said to have lived 939 years. In the latter years of her life she expressed a wish to return to the city she founded. Returning to the ruins of the abandoned city, her people found the area rich in game, and fresh water was plentiful. Structures were patched and re-built upon the early foundations of the city, and the Mother of all Huwomanity died surrounded by her people in the place she loved most on earth.

It was common knowledge that the Mother of all Huwomanity held a fierce bitterness and prejudice against men, a trait that she passed on to her daughters. There were many legends explaining how the Great Mother of All came to walk upon the earth pregnant and alone. The most popular legend told of how the goddesses had created the Great Mother in their image. Afterward, they created a man to impregnate her. That man abandoned her, not realizing that she was superior to him as the bearer of huwoman life. There was nothing but loneliness and death for him, so the legend went.

Yet the goddesses had not been kind to the abandoned Eve. The Mother of All had borne the curse of twin sons. In her bitterness she ruled them with an iron hand, until one rose up and slew the other in a fit of jealous rage for a favor she had justly shown. The grief this caused pushed her bitterness into full-fledged hatred, and she counseled her daughters and many generations of granddaughters never to give their hearts to men. She taught her descendants to see men as treacherous beings, inferior to woman.

Women had never liked the nomadic life. The leaders who ruled after the Great Mother made improvements in the city. Women could achieve favored status by making discoveries in the fields of animal husbandry, farming, the arts of subduing men, medical science, self-defense, and other life skills that would allow them to stay at their home hearths instead of roaming from place to place.

The Great Mother’s legacy of hatred toward mankind took root in her children and their children until, over many centuries, men’s rights were obliterated completely. They became slaves to the women, valued only for their ability to do physical labor and to impregnate the women as and when it was demanded of them.

 

The Genesis of the Alternate Earth of the Unfallen Series

In book one of the series, The Queendom of Evlantis, the Earth is populated by two groups of people, though neither group is aware that the other exists. Here is the creation story of this alternate earth:

In the Garden of Paradisia, Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Though she tried every wile she possessed to tempt Adam to indulge in the fruit with her, he remained stalwart in his resolve and true to the command of his Maker not to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree.

When the Creator of the Universe came to visit, Eve hid in fear. After a time, the Master told Adam that Eve had been cast out of the garden and banished beyond a high wall built of sheets of rock that the Master had called forth from deep within the earth to surround Paradisia. From that day forward, there were two rules in Paradisia: not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and not to cross the great wall.

Adam had thousands of acres of land to explore and cultivate, but he was lonely, more so than before Eve had been created for him. Often he stood at the wall weeping for his lost mate. Whenever the Creator visited Paradisia, Adam was asked if he wished to have a new woman. Adam held on to hope and always asked if Eve could come back to him. The answer was the same for 939 years. Eve was on the other side of the wall, but could not return to the garden.

In the 940th year after Eve’s departure, the Master visited Adam and told him that Eve was gone forever. The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil had claimed Eve’s life, and she no longer walked upon the earth. Adam mourned a few years more, and then, the next time the Master visited, Adam agreed to take a new woman to be his soul mate and companion.

The name of his new wife was Aurora. Though she was curious about many things, she saw that her husband was crippled by a great hurt. Adam never told her about Eve, but he made it clear that he did not wish to lose Aurora, and treasured her greatly. She was a brilliant woman. Her intuition told her Adam had lost a woman who came before her, one who disobeyed the command of the Master. She loved Adam and wished to cause him no pain.

Centuries passed. In time, Aurora bore twelve children. Pain at the loss of Eve struck Adam less often, though there were times when he grappled with sadness, especially when a certain flower, a scent, or a particular birdsong reminded him of her.

Aurora taught her children above all to follow the commands of the Master. For Aurora and her children, there was no death or mourning, no wailing or pain. Adam alone bore the shadow of sadness that Eve’s sin had cast upon the garden. Life in the garden was perfect. There were challenges and discoveries that made every day seem like a new adventure. They lived like kings and queens in their own natural paradise, laughing often, working hard and playing harder, and wanting for nothing.

Once in a while Adam wondered about something: if Eve no longer walked the earth, why was Paradisia confined by a wall? But Adam’s obedience to the Lord God was so perfect that he let his trust in his Master overshadow his curiosity, and in time, his happiness became complete. For Adam did not know that when Eve was cast out of the garden, she was pregnant with his issue.

Sephora Gave Me Nightmares

CAM02346In the Queedom of Evlantis, where women are in charge and the men are in chains, most of the heroes are women.  The villain, Sephora, is also a woman.

I wanted to create a female villain so diabolical that readers would hate her. I didn’t want her to possess any redeeming qualities. From the feedback I’ve gotten so far, I succeeded. There was only one problem. She slipped out of my control for a while.

I managed to contain her activities to my agenda in book one.  In book two, however, Sephora ran away with the plot for a while. I stopped writing. I found myself weeping, especially over the damage she did to Hannah, one of my favorite characters. I even had trouble sleeping as Sephora began to give me nightmares.

Then, one day, I figured it out. I am the woman in charge of this world! I headed to my computer and deleted the worst of the worst of her actions, including what she did to Hannah. From that point on Sephora never gave me another nightmare!

The Battle of the Bags

imageMy devotion to the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle was influenced by a television commercial I saw as a child. It began with a moving picture of a Native American man canoeing down a river. On his journey he encountered pollution. It ended with a tear on his face and the message: “People start pollution, people can stop it.” I do what I can to save the earth. My trunk full of reusable bags so that I never have to use plastic ones is a huge “can do” for me. (Pictured here with one of my favorite bags featuring a Nancy Drew book cover)

The battle of the bags always surprises me! I come to the battle armed with my smile and my reusable bags. I announce, in a nice way, that I don’t want any plastic, but more often than not I have to plead with clerks not to use them. “Are you sure?” I am often asked, as a clerk tries to put something in plastic, and I have to convince them! Most of the time, the victory is mine, but every once in a while….well, let me take you to less than a week before Earth Day 2016…when this happened to me!

I ran into a store to buy sunglasses. I picked up a few additional  things and everything except one item fit nicely in the reusable bag that I had with me. At the check out counter I unloaded the contents of my bag and handed it to the cashier.
“Hi!” I greeted her with a smile, “I don’t want any plastic bags. Could you please put my items in this?”
“Certainly,” she answered. She began to scan my items and put them into my bag.
So far, so good. I glanced quickly at the displays over the counter and remembered I was out of chewing gum. I chose my favorite flavor and added it to my pile of purchases. It wasn’t long before the cashier scanned my last item: a bottle of bleach, the kind with a built in handle. Deftly she moved my reusable bag aside to set the bleach in a plastic bag.
“Oh, no thank you!” I said. “I really don’t want the plastic bag!”
“But it’s bleach!” she replied.
“It’s all right,” I assured her, “I’ll carry it separately, by the handle.”
When she removed the bleach from the bag, I felt elated! I had won!

I enjoyed that feeling until I unpacked my purchases at home. Inside my reusable bag I discovered…a plastic one! The clerk had wrapped my sunglasses in a plastic bag before throwing them in with the other items. It must have happened while I was distracted by the gum! Somewhere a Native American cries. Next time I’ll be more vigilant.

My Kitchen

My kitchen is a place where strange and wonderful things happen. Examples of the strange (they’ve only happened once): tuna manicotti, pumpkin soup. A sample of the wonderful: broccoli quiche, stuffed peppers. But I’m not just referring to recipes. My kitchen is a twilight zone of odd occurrences. Don’t take my word for it, judge for yourself!

A lonely little lemon in an onion wrap.
A lonely little lemon in an onion wrap.

 

I will admit to being somewhat skeptical, but I may have gotten a truthful explanation for this one.  Someone claims this lemon rolled off a counter and when it was set it back upon the shelf the lemon rolled right into an errant onion peel!

 

M&M droppings in the butter.
M&M droppings in the butter.

The jury is still out on this one, but I’m thinking tiny elves were running around on my counter tops in the middle of the night with their arms full of M&Ms.  One of them must have slipped in the butter, which surely alerted the dogs to their presence. The elves must have been forced to flee without collecting all of their candy. Note to self: train the dogs to be kind to visiting elves.

Cheese puff taco.
Cheese puff taco.

This one had some help from me. I walked by a counter and spotted one lone cheese puff sitting in a taco shell. I presumed a hasty snacker had accidentally dropped it there. I sacrificed a small bag of puffy cheesy snacks to satisfy my sense of humor, snapped this picture, and left my creation on the counter. Hopefully the elves had as good a laugh over this as I did!

Then there’s salmonella stew…but I’ll save that picture and story for another post.

Home Hearth

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The fireplace in the central room of any home is where Evlantian women gather to gossip, work on projects, tell stories, play games and sing songs. On cold or chilly days a fire is lit to spread warmth and light. Though separate from the kitchen, a savory stew or kettle of tea is often found simmering above the flames to welcome people around its sitting stones and comfy chairs.

Blood feuds often begin and end at home hearth. A woman who has been insulted in her own home, at her own hearth, may start a vendetta that sometimes stretches on for generations. When peace is made, whether by mediation or by illegal means, home hearth is where the peace contract is signed.

A woman and her daughters will fight and die to protect their home hearth. Since the city is contained by a wall and the population carefully controlled by the Quickening Committee, inheritance of homes is a hot topic of gossip and speculation. Woe to the woman whose status is so low that her home’s hearth is a puny excuse to burn kindling. Greatly exalted is the woman so royal and privileged that her hearth is vast and the fire burns continually and warms dozens.

Destination: Evlantis

I can’t remember the date, or even the year, when the idea for my series first occurred to me. I do remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the inspiration struck. I was in my kitchen. I had my hands in hot, soapy water and I was washing the dishes. The radio was on. My daughters, both teenagers now, were very young. I have a vague impression that my youngest a toddler at the time.

The series started then, in my imagination at least, and it lived there, growing ever and ever bigger until after my father passed away. He haunted me until I sat down to write. The toddler was in elementary school by then. Thoughts of what a “girl world” would look like consumed me in that interim period.

Writing about it was a relief, as if I had finally reached a destination I had been longing for. As I wrote I would frequently scribble notes or sketches, like the one pictured, to keep myself firmly acclimated in this alternate world. Evlantis would intrude into my “real” life and sometimes I found myself saying, “I’m sorry, I have one foot in Evlantis today” to explain to my why my attention was elsewhere. Here is a brief overview of this fascinating girl world…

The city itself is on the coast of an ocean. The People’s Palace, where the High Queen resides, is the focal point of Evlantis. Six pie-shaped wedges shoot out from the center. Each wedge is known as a Sector, where women of somewhat similar temperament and vocation live. The population is tightly controlled by a committee. No more than one thousand women may live in a Sector. A wall, not pictured in the sketch above, surrounds the city and the members of the all-female army stand guard upon the wall to keep the citizens in.

Flat Tire Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday 2014 I discovered that changing a tire is like riding a bicycle—it is a skill that you don’t forget!
I discovered that changing a tire is like riding a bicycle—it is a skill that you don’t forget!

 

Back when I was a teenager, I asked my dad to teach me how to change a flat tire and he did. Not even a week after that, one of my tires blew out while I was driving and I got to practice my new skill. Sometime between that day and this one “they” invented services that will come to your car and change your tire for you, so I retired my tire changing skills…until Easter 2014. That’s when I learned that changing a tire is like riding a bicycle. Once you learn how, you never forget! Here’s how to change a tire using my method:

 

 

 

  1. Choose a major holiday and plan a busy day.
  2. Dress up.
  3. Promise a friend you will drive her to church and pull into her driveway fifteen minutes before the service starts.
  4. As you back out of her driveway hear the sound the car makes when one tire is flat.
  5. Jump out of the car to assess just how flat it is. Air low: you can drive a very short distance. Air completely gone (rim resting on the street): don’t drive anywhere, no matter how badly you want to get your friend to church on time. Riding on a tire rim turns an inexpensive repair job into a phenomenally expensive one. I know this from experience.
  6. Get out of the way of traffic.
  7. Head to the trunk to find the jack, the thing to take the bolts off with, and the spare tire. Display these items near you.
  8. Begin to unscrew the bolts on the hub cap.
  9. Be approached by a kind gentleman who asks if you need help. (This happens every time.)
  10. Say “Yes! Thank you!”
  11. If you have a friend who needs to get to church on time in the car, divide the tasks for the tire up and keep working. For you: remove the hub cap, look for WD 30 in the car when it would help the kind gent to have some, and later, put the decorative piece back on. For the gent: jack up the car, remove the bolts on the flat tire, remove the flat tire, put the spare tire on in its place, and put the bolts back on.
  12. Offer effusive thanks to the kind gent as you merrily fling the flat tire, the jack and the thing to take the bolts off with in the back seat of your car and speed away!

With my heart racing and my hands grimy I made it to the front door of my friend’s church one minute before the service started! I still can’t believe it.

The Cat Bag

IMAG0295Me, cross? Almost never. But I do have an obsession with cross-stitch—particularly and exclusively with the counted kind. Frequently, between the hours of seven p.m. and nine p.m., I can be found hunched over my craft table, huddled under an OTTLite®, working on my latest project.

Here’s my most recent completed project to date. I started “Cat Bag” by designer Lucie Heaton in August 2013 and finished it February 18, 2014. I sew, also, and wanted to put the design directly onto a piece of linen fabric instead of purchasing the tote bag as suggested by Cross Stitch Gold Magazine. (The design appeared in their August 2013 issue.) After not being able to find the 20 count natural linen locally, I found the perfect piece of linen online at Needle in a Haystack.

Now all I have to do is sew it into a tote bag! It is for my sister, whose birthday is in September. There is a slight chance it will be done on time, LOL