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Afternoon Tea with "Rayven" and John Meszaros - the art of taking a break and latest news & events.
August 14, 2017
Afternoon Tea Week begins August 14. This elite and very British custom of Afternoon Tea developed as a snack to go between lunch and supper. It's more of a spacer than the American Office Coffee Break in which one goes to a machine, pours a cup of Joe and then returns to work. It's a time to appreciate the day and prepare for evening. Afternoon Tea Week was established in about the 1840's. About 4:00 PM seemed a good time. Dinner was seldom served until about 8:00. The meal consisted of three courses of snack: Finger sandwiches, scones or biscuits and cream, and sweets and tart pastries. The central idea was always a pot (or several) of warm tea.
The simple afternoon meal became a social event for the wealthy, and a favorite of Queen Victoria. grew into a social event, especially for those who spent their lives in the upper echelons of the day’s society. This became even more prominent once Queen Victoria herself took part in this tradition.
How to celebrate Afternoon Tea Week.
Taking a break
What Greek Wisdom Can Teach The Rest Of The World About Living
Studies in longevity often turn to the Mediterranean for advice and example. People here seem to be happier with less, and live longer, healthier, less-medicated lives. In the ancient world, including Egypt, diets and lifestyles were similar except on festival days when the populace splurged.
Let's look at 11 Greek secrets to living well.
They eat a healthy Mediterranean diet, heavy on vegetables, olives, healthy fats and oils, fish, whole grains and red wine (in moderation), and is thought to have extensive health benefits, contributing to lower rates of heart disease, obesity, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Research analyzing 1.5 million healthy adults found that those who followed the Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of dying from heart disease and cancer and a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. But is it just the food? No.
They take naps.
Originally this was an adaptation to living in a hot climate. This tradition carried to Meso-and South America and to England via the British colonies like India - hence that Afternoon Tea mentioned above.
In some of the smaller towns and villages, in Greece (And in Mexico when I studied there in the 1970's) businesses commonly shut down in the mid-afternoon for the siesta time and opened again around 5 p.m.
Because you start the day all over again at 5 o’clock and you can go on until 11 or 12 o’clock which is not uncommon at all in our part of the world.”
They appreciate the value of a good walk.
They take time for leisure.
They spend time outdoors.
During the warmer months, small villages and towns in Greece turn to the daily tradition of volta (translated as stroll or outing). When the sun goes down, Greek families will take leisurely walks up and down the main streets of small towns, and on the islands, they’ll enjoy a leisurely stroll along the shore. Fortunately, with the rise in popularity of the FitBit system, many of us are learning how to walk outside in order to get our 10,000 steps.
They ask the big questions.
The Early philosophers gathered to debate and argue. No topic was forbidden. If your opinion was different, no one bullied or unfriended you. You were simply expected to be knowledgeable enough to defend (without rude shouts and interrupting as we see in what passes for debate in our times) your opinion. Questions were asked such as: How do we live a good life? How should the city be governed? What is morality and how should we treat others?
As Aristotle once wrote, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
They take hospitality and generosity very seriously. They come together over good food.
Greek hospitality goes as far back as Odysseus, and it’s been embedded in Greek culture and families to this day. (Ever seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding?”). Villagers and residents of small towns who would take in travelers passing through, offering a meal and a bed, whereas now it generally refers to the hospitality offered to friends, family or acquaintances.
When I was growing up in the South Carolina Low Country and the Southeast Coast, the same hospitality was there. Food was brought to every grieving widow or widower, to celebrate a wedding or a birth, to church, to welcome someone new in the neighborhood and to bid them farewell, and on all major holidays. Providing a bed was not uncommon, either. It's a tradition still carried on im my own family today; a meal and a place to sleep for a traveler. When my daughter and children were evacuated during Hurricane Matthew last year, a cousin I hadn't seen in ten years (and whom she had never met) offered his college daughter's room to them. As I traveled to Florida this year, no concern was given to preparing a fine meal on no notice.
They’ve unlocked the secrets to longevity.
The little Mediterranean island of Ikaria has one of the healthiest, longest-living populations in the world. Ikarian men are nearly four times as likely as American men to reach the age of 90, and often in better health, according to a 2012 New York Times article, “The Island Where People Forget To Die.” They also have lower rates of depression and dementia. Their secrets to long life? A fresh, healthy Mediterranean diet, lots of outdoor and leisure time, strong families and communities and plenty of sleep.
They tell stories.
As a mythological fantasy writer, I found this part particularly meaningful. Arianna Huffington wrote in The Gods of Greece:
“In our longing to understand ourselves and our world, the gods of the past, very much alive today, can show us our way into the future. Because they are so natural, so human in their divinity, they can help heal our culture’s split between the earthly and the sacred, the secular and the religious. In the Greek gods, the eternal and the divine are fully at home with the ephemeral and earthly. The natural is the divine, and therefore nothing is accidental or meaningless.”
They knew the fine art of creating their own happiness.
Stoicism was one of the ancient Greek schools of philosophy founded in Athens that remains relevant to this day. The Stoics believed that stress and unhappiness are not the result of external events, but rather the product of our own internal judgments, and therefore that happiness, too, can only be found within. The Stoic philosopher Epictetus said that the one way to happiness was to look within; to “cease worrying about things which are beyond the power or our will.
“Stoicism took off because it offered security and peace in a time of warfare and crisis,” HuffPost Managing Editor Jimmy Soni wrote in his book Rome’s Last Citizen, a biography of noted Stoic, Cato the Younger. “The Stoic creed didn’t promise material security or a peace in the afterlife; but it did promise an unshakable happiness in this life.”
So take a tip, Live long, prosper, and chill...take that sip of tea with friends and make new ones...in person and not just on the Book of Faces.
Last week we met J. T. Lozano and learned about his character Rayven.
Today Rayven speaks!
1. Go ahead and introduce yourself.
Hello everyone, I am everyone’s favorite Bad little Birdy, Rayven, but you can call me Ray. I would say where I’m from, but truth is that doesn’t really matter. According to my parents, I’m what you call a “bad egg”, but I don’t really give a shit about what they or anyone else says about me.
2.Tell us where and when were you born.
I was born in a small southern shitty town on the outskirts of an even crappier big city. I don’t remember the day because I have never celebrated the day I was unleashed into this world, but I do know it was in the month of October. I like to say it was on Halloween because on that day I can be anything I want to be without any judgement from people.
3. How would you describe yourself?
I am a no shits giving, bad attitude havin’, pissed off woman who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty in order to get what she feels she deserves, and you can quote my ass on that.
4. Tell us about where you grew up.
I grew up in the streets of this great nation of ours. I ran away from home as soon as I could and learned everything I know from bouncing from city to city living off the streets. I learned how to get what I needed and nothing more or nothing less.
5. How old are you?
Age is but a number, and I don’t know which number applies to me.
6. Did you have a happy childhood? Why/why not?
My childhood was happy in my own way. I got to see a lot of places and did a lot of different things. Contrary to popular belief though, I did not sell my body for booze and drugs. I learned a lot and made some friends along the way, I lost some too. I had my share of bad times but the good times far outweigh them in any day, so I’d say I had a happy childhood.
7. Past/ present relationships? How did they affect you?
I have had my share of relationships, both good and bad. I mean who hasn’t made the occasional bad mistake when they were young? I look back on them and believe it or not I am grateful for both because they have each taught me something about who I was and who I am now. The bad ones taught me that no matter how ugly things get, there will always be a way to start over as long as
you aren’t afraid to take the first step. They also taught me that if you want others to respect you, then you must respect yourself first. The good ones taught me that even though there are mean and ugly people out in the world there are some genuinely good-hearted people who have a heart of gold. The good ones taught me that the right person might be difficult to find, but they are out there if you are willing to be patient and keep your eyes and faith open.
8. What do you value above all else in life?
I value the chance to be myself and the ability to be able to speak my mind whenever I please. Too many people are too caught up in being who everyone wants them to be, not me. I say “this is me, take me the way I am or get the fuck outta my way and let me live my life my way” proudly. (You can edit that if you must)
9. What are you obsessed with?
I am obsessed with living life my own way, I have worked way too hard to get where I am to let others tell me what I can and can not do.
10.How do your beliefs make life better for yourself and the people you care about?
My beliefs allow me and those close to me to live our lives without worrying or caring about what others say or think about us. I know who I am and what I believe in, and that is good enough for me. If it’s not enough for someone else, then it’s just too freaking bad.
11. Biggest fear?
My biggest fear is losing myself and forgetting who I am.
12. What line will you never cross?
When it comes to my happiness and my friends, there isn’t a line I won’t cross.
13. What is the best thing that ever happened to you? The worst?
The best thing that ever happened to me….up to now it has been finding the place where I belong and where I can truly call home. The worst, is being born.
14. Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
I don’t have any embarrassing moments, just moments I would much rather not talk about and forget.
15. Biggest secret?
Oh come now, if I told you that it wouldn’t be a secret anymore now would it? Besides even a “bad egg” like me is allowed to have a secret here and there.
16. What is the one word you would use to define yourself?
17. What is your current goal?
My current goal is to keep living my life to the fullest and to be as happy as I can be each and every day.
Rayven’s Redemption Synopsis;
Rayven is a young woman who works at a strip club as a dancer. After dealing with a less than savory customer she decides she’s had enough and it’s a decision that her employer, Rico, isn’t thrilled with. Rico does his best to convince Rayven to stay, but when it doesn’t work he decides if she isn’t willing to work for him then she won’t be working for anyone else.
Hours later Rayven wakes up in a ditch struggling to break out of a plastic bag and catch her breath with no recollection of how she got there. As she slowly remembers what happened to her, she vows to get revenge on everyone involved by any means necessary.
And now John Meszaros has arrived to talk about his work! Welcome!
1. Who are you as a person? (brief bio paragraph)
I’m eternally curious and interested in a wide variety of subjects, from biology and paleontology to history and world cultures. I love to travel and see new places- particularly museums. I’m a highly visually-oriented person and, as a result, also an illustrator in addition to being a writer.
I’m always taking notes on facts that I read or places that I visit. I let those little bits of info tumble around in my head to generate new ideas for stories.
2. How long have you been a writer?
Like many of my fellow authors, I’d have to say I’ve always been a writer. I’ve been making up stories since I was in elementary school. It’s in my DNA.
If you mean when did I actually start creating works I wanted to publish- I started submitting stories to short fiction magazines in my Freshman year of college back in 2001.
3. Are you Traditionally or Indie published? If not yet, what are you considering?
My first novel is independently published. I’ve enjoyed the freedom Indie publishing has given me, even if my readership is still low. For my next book- a children’s story I’m writing based on ideas from my son- I’m going to try to go the traditional route. I feel like there’s more variety in children’s book publishers than in adult literature.
4. What writers inspired you? Favorite Authors?
I’ve been heavily inspired by the weird fantasy works of China Mieville and Jeff Vandermeer, along with classic fantasy and pulp adventure writers like Fritz Leiber and Harold Lamb. Classic pulp horror writers have also been a big influence on my work, including William Hope Hodgson, Algernon Blackwood and, of course, H.P. Lovecraft. Currently I’m really into the phantasmagoric cosmic horror of Jeffrey Thomas.
I’d have to say Bruce Coville is my favorite author. I grew up living in the strange, fantastic worlds he created, and those works have most certainly colored my own writer’s style.
5. What is your book/series about (elevator speech or quick tweet post)
It’s about a young woman, Sakura, who gains the powers of a god of fire and must learn to control and utilize her abilities.
6. What is the setting and genre?
The genre is fantasy, leaning towards the darker side, though certainly not as grim as Game of Thrones or the like.
The story is set in a fantasy version of medieval Japan that features ghosts, magic and folkloric monsters alongside mortal warlords and peasants.
7. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
The character Fumito is definitely my favorite. He’s a storyteller by profession, and always interested in collecting new scenes for his writing. Very much like myself.
8. What character is most like you?
There’s really a little bit of me in all the characters. I consider them all based on aspects of my personality. I identify a lot with Fumito’s interest in hearing and telling stories. But I also identify with the priestess character, Ikuko, who is sort of the emotional center for the other characters.
9. If you had a supernatural power, what would it be?
Well that’s an easy one. I’d have the ability to shapeshift into any form I wanted. Most of my time would be spent as some sort of gelatinous sea creature exploring the ocean depths. Probably a siphonophore or swimming sea cucumber.
10. Would you say your book has a message or underlying theme? What is it?
The big underlying theme of my book is dealing with trauma, both physical and emotional, and learning to heal. My characters get put through the ringer pretty hard, but I try to give them at least a somewhat happy ending.
11. How are you marketing your book?
I’m still working on marketing strategies. Mostly trying out different advertising agencies on Goodreads, Facebook, Amazon, etc. I’m also working on getting more reviews to increase my book’s visibility.
12. Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I’d love to meet the artists Ray Troll and Wayne Barlowe. Both of them have produced books that meld their art with writing, which is something I’d love to do since I’m an illustrator as well as an author.
13. A wonderful thing has happened! Hollywood wants to make a movie of your book! You get to pick the actors & actresses. You want________________for your lead characters.
That’s a bit tricky since my characters are Japanese and unfortunately there aren’t a lot of Asian or Asian-American actors in Hollywood right now.
A younger Masi Oka (Hiro from, well, Heroes) would perfectly fit Fumito’s personality.
Charlyne Yi looks pretty much exactly like how I picture the character Sakura in my head. And I feel like she could pull off Sakura’s cranky personality well.
Honestly, I’d love an animated version of my novel. If that ever happened, Shelby Rabara (Peridot from Steven Universe) would have to be Sakura’s voice.
Dante Basco (Zuko from Avatar: the Last Airbender) would be perfect for Fumito’s voice.
For Sakura’s love interest, the priestess Ikuko, I think Cree Summers would be amazing.
14. What music do you hear (what songs) remind you of your story?
Since the setting is Japanese, I hear a lot of Yoshida Brothers when I’m writing. Also a lot of action anime soundtracks.
15. What Favorite foods
You mean what are my favorite foods? I love experimenting with different types of pizza. I’m a big fan of baked potato pizza and Thai peanut sauce pizza.
I’ve recently become a huge fan of arepas ever since I found a food truck near my job that serves them.
16.What makes you laugh/cry?
I’ve got a pretty silly sense of humor, so absurdist comedy always makes me laugh. Pretty much anything from Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. I also love puns. the more cringe-inducing, the better.
I get pretty emotional around issues of depression and feeling like a failure since I’ve struggled with those issues myself, and had several dear friends and loved ones who have struggled with them.
17. What do you want written on your head stone and why?
“He gave his best”. Lately I’ve had a couple frustrating set-backs in life, but even so, I still try to do the best job I can with what I have.
18. Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Oh my, yes. I love traveling and exploring. I’m particularly fond of visiting paleontological museums. I used to work at the University of Michigan Natural History, and the experience carved out a special place in my heart for museums.
I’m an artist in addition to being a writer, so I try to draw whenever I can.
I love plants and have a huge collection on my windowsill- mostly cacti and other desert plants. Lately I’ve also been really into geology. I find the stories the rocks tell about our Earth to be absolutely fascinating.
I collect a lot of different things: books, rocks, dinosaur models, concert posters, vintage role-playing games, scientific articles. I could go on.
19. What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I haven’t watched much TV lately, but I’m always a fan of nature documentaries. Particularly shows written by David Attenborough. I also like historical dramas like Boardwalk Empire, Ripper Street and Hell on Wheels.
In terms of movies, I love action-adventure films with unusual or fantastic settings. Movies like John Carter, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Pathfinder, Hellboy, etc.
20. If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
If I weren’t a writer, I’d love to be an aquarist or a museum curator.
21. What are you working on right now?
I’m currently writing and illustrating a children’s book about scarecrows for my son. I’m also writing a blog about cryptids that I’m eventually going to compile into a book.
22. What future plans do you have in writing?
I’m plotting out sequels and a prequel to At Yomi’s Gate, along with settings for several other fantasy series I’m going to write. I plan on combining my art with my writing to create illustrated novels.
23. What links or website do you have? List them below.
here’s the link for my book’s website: www.nocturnalseapress.com
And the link for my art site: www.nocturnalsea.com
Here’s my author blog (trying to update it more frequently): dilophosaurusbard.blogspot.com
To see my cryptid blog, go to: statecryptids.blogspot.com
I’ve also got another writing project at: astarapompdossier.blogspot.com
You can find me on Goodreads under my name: John Meszaros
Blurb: Storyteller and scroll-painter Fumito has been forced by his paranoid and homicidal uncle, daimyo Kotoheisei, to track down a young woman who bears the destructive god of fire imprisoned in a tattoo on her back. At stake is Fumito’s family, who will be brutally tortured and executed if he cannot capture her.
Yet when he finally finds Sakura, the tattoo-bearer, and her rescuer, the imposing but shy priestess Ikuko, he decides to help them escape rather than turn them over to his uncle, who will use the fire god’s power for terror and slaughter. The fate of Fumito’s family is sealed, but that is a price he desperately hopes he can live with.
When an ancient artifact merges Sakura with the god, granting her control over fire and the magma that is the very lifeblood of the world, she resolves to repay Fumito’s sacrifice by saving his family and defeating his uncle. But Sakura does not realize the full extent of her power and her rescue mission may end up hurting more people than it saves. And eventually her actions will bring her, Fumito and their companions into a confrontation with the creatures of the underworld whose dark magic is responsible for Sakura’s transformation
I can be found on Goodreads under the name Mary R. Woldering: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard
Recently I was asked:
If you could travel to any fictional book world, where would you go and what would you do there?
My own... I'd like to see if my historical characters are anything like those I portray. Outside my own, maybe aboard the Pequod in Moby Dick to join a whaling adventure, or in a real Conan the Barbarian adventure
Author Aaron Michael Hall has created some awesome trailers mentioning her new audiobook release. Take a look and a listen:
Rites of Heirdron Trailer: https://youtu.be/x1t6V0XgSLU
Rites of Heirdron Prelude (Narrated by Victor Bevine): https://youtu.be/4slC1MMDAyc
I'll be interviewing her in a couple weeks but she has something time-critical I need to announce NOW
Yes, currently I have a Rafflecopter where you can win either an audiobook of Rites of Heirdron or an ebook of Orbs of Trenihgea. No sign ups or email required to enter.
I'm always up for a good cause. Here is an event to bring Christmas to a needy family. Many authors are donating books, money cards, and swag for auctions in this event. If you would like to event There will be a big Fundraiser September 7-9 There are always spots for takeovers and more donations. Go to this site ASAP if you are interested.
In my teaser I mentioned the Black Rose Site... but I've run out of room. Next week We'll discuss Poets and Eclipses , Meet Fumito and Guy Donovan AND get an excerpt from "Healing the Wounds" By Me, Mark McQuillen, and Davina Purnell.
Til then make sure you have the right stuff for sun-gazing, watch out for traffic snarls at the moment of totality, and keep on Reading, Writing, Sharing everything and reviewing.