A Map of the World

map of worldNow I am officially a geek, having purchased the above antique map from 1778. I’m sorry the picture isn’t better. That’s the Pacific Ocean in the middle of the map, with North and South America off to the right. I’ve always loved old maps, which show the world as it used to be. I’m amazed at the accuracy of this one, drawn by a British cartographer when the US was embroiled in the Revolutionary War against Britain. The bottom of the map shows the voyages made by Captain Cook when he was looking for the continents which were believed to be below the equator (to balance the earth, you know, so it wouldn’t topple over.)

The map also shows the Sandwich Islands (now known as Hawaii) where Capt. Cook lost his life.

Have you ever heard of New Holland? Me neither.

Map-new HollandToday, we know this large land mass as Australia. But when this map was drawn in 1778, Holland had claimed it. The British had not yet started the migration that turned the continent into Australia.

Here’s the last section I’ll show. If you look at the right coast, you can see the United States in its infancy. It includes only the 13 original colonies alongside the Atlantic Ocean.

map coastal USOne last factoid about the map. The Brit who made the map died at the young age of 23 – in a debtor’s prison. All this careful, detailed, knowledgeable work he did, and he couldn’t get paid a living wage. Now his maps are relatively expensive. My daughter said, “Mom, that better be a freaking treasure map leading to a pot of gold!” lol Not exactly, but I love it.

Duke of Devonwood

Devonwood 200Sneak Peek Sunday – Duke of Devonwood

Miranda is not about to let some English duke tell her what she can do with her own inheritance. This is, after all, the twenty-first century. Luckily, she’s determined, hard-working, and maybe a touch devious. She vows to do whatever it takes to foil the duke…

The Duke of Devonwood could handle Miranda and her schemes…if only she weren’t so enticing.


“As for you, Ms. Foxglove—” The duke smiled. “I suppose you mean to imply that you are a woman of vast experience?”

“Let us say, instead, useful experience.” Miranda toyed with the ends of her hair, which just happened to reach the top of her boobs.

He stopped in front of her. “Am I correct in assuming that you’ve decided to use your sex appeal to influence my behavior?”

His eyes were cool, but they were definitely fastened on her stroking hand.

“You have such a low opinion of yourself?” she said. “I couldn’t simply be attracted to you?”

“Let us say,” he murmured, deliberately mimicking her, “that I’ve been the target of many a devious scheme. I try to keep my wits about me when women come on to me.”

Amazon                     Nook


Swimming with Dolphins

dolphin smile

Is the dolphin “smile” the reason why humans have such an affinity for these amazing marine mammals? Or is it their friendly and playful personalities that make them so appealing? Dolphins are featured in human records all the way back to Greek mythology.

One of the most amazing and fun activities my family ever experienced was swimming with the dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico. They are so playful and friendly and swam among us, letting us pet them. They are very social and attuned to each other, which is why you so often see pictures of them jumping and diving together. When we were swimming with them, they were always in pairs. They did “kiss” us and wave bye-bye.

The highlight of our swim was a trick in which two dolphins swim up behind you and together they lift you in the air and plow forward in the ocean, giving you an amazing ride.

They are strong, but gentle. They seemed to be having as much fun as we were, but who really knows? Though I must admit I’m not the type who ever fancied being pushed through the air by dolphins, I was really glad I did it. (nope, not me in the pic)

This was one of the best activities my family has ever done, worth every penny. We even bought the video afterwards, which is something I’ve never done before or since.

This is an expensive outing (plan on $150-200 per person). We were told that part of the reason for the high cost is that some of the money is used for research to help the dolphins. I hope that’s true. The trainers we met said they (the trainers) were all marine scientists and the animals were treated well. It was definitely not an amusement park type setup but…

There is controversy over using dolphins to entertain humans, and I can see the problem. These dolphins had been trained to perform and, although their pens were “invisible” to us, they were not fully wild.

On the other hand, there are marine scientists who argue that the money raised through allowing human interaction with dolphins provides funds for research and education that will ultimately help the dolphins. Also, bringing humans into closer contact with dolphins is seen as a way to develop support to save not only the dolphins, but other sea creatures as well.

Dolphins are under threat not only from man (fishing, coastal development, etc.) but also from the general threats to the sea and to all marine life (pollution, pesticides, loss of habitat, etc.).

Ultimately, their fate will most likely depend on humans.

Let me leave you with a few facts about dolphins.

They are social animals who live in groups. They only breathe consciously, not automatically as humans do. They don’t sleep as we know it, but do nap for a few minutes at a time. It is believed they communicate with each other through sounds they make. And finally, to keep us somewhat on topic, dolphins are sexually promiscuous and the males compete for females (in much the same way human males do through displays of power, fighting for dominance in the pecking order and showing off.)

They are awesome animals when seen up close. If you ever get a chance, please put in a good word for them. Keep them smiling!


Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf

RedThis week, I’m posting from a work in progress. The current title is Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf.

Excerpt: “Then I am the big, bad wolf,” he declared. “Haven’t you heard of me?”

Little Red nodded. “Every girl knows your tale.”

He straightened casually and stepped away from the tree. “Then you’ve been warned,” he said. “Let’s move on from the nursery tale.”

“Move on?” She clutched her basket, but her heart thudded with delight. He smelled like fire looked – hot and sparkling and blazing with heat and hope. She sucked in a deep breath of wonder.

Wolf’s arm reached out and snagged her waist. “You’ll give me a kiss, won’t you? I’m sure a kiss is nothing new to you.”

She giggled. “I don’t kiss and tell, naughty Wolf.”

 “That’s good.” He pulled her closer, his touch gentle. “You’ll never want to tell what we do together.”

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If you want something to read now, try Eclipse of the Heart. More details on my Bookshelf. Eclipse 200x300Thanks for stopping by.