Friday, 3 September 2021

Book feature: Ye Gods! The Law is an Ass! by Seelie Kay

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Paranormal Romance, Mystery

Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN: 978-1-4874-3357-4
Page: 145
Word Count:44705
Publication Date: 2021-09-03

Book Blurb:

It was the Great Lie, and it could destroy the Vampire Nation.

In First, We Kill All the Lawyers, vampire lawyer Donovan Trait survived repeated attacks by a serial killer. Now, after violating a marital agreement with the Vampire Coalition, and several ancient Vampire Laws, Donovan, and his newly-turned vampire bride are on the run. You see, in exchange for permitting a pure-blood vampire to marry a turned human, the Traits agreed to allow vampire scientists to monitor the conception and birth of their children. When Judge Shirley Magnusen Trait turns up accidentally pregnant on her wedding day, the fury of the Coalition is unleashed. The tribunal recommends unacceptable punitive action and the Traits are forced to flee to a mysterious island of vampire nuns. The Traits are, by profession, seekers of the truth. But this time, the truth may not set them free. In fact, it could start a revolution. Will the Traits escape the clutches of the Coalition and keep their babies safe? Or will their family be…eliminated?

Book Links:
Goodreads * eXtasy Books

A Quick Interview with Seelie Kay

Why do you write romance?

Because I am fascinated by the games people play to find and secure a lasting relationship, which is not always love. There’s the chase, the courtship, the falling, the surrender. That’s what I try to capture in my stories.

Do you prefer a certain type of romantic hero?

I adore smart, dashing gentlemen who aren’t afraid to live on the edge. They can be a bad boy, a billionaire, a prince, or a secret agent. That hint of danger just hooks me! However, I they have to be paired with strong, independent women who aren’t afraid to fight for what they want, even love.

Why did you write “Ye Gods! The Law is an Ass?”

Donovan Trait is a vampire lawyer. In the human world, a very respected lawyer. I wanted to give him the opportunity to shine in the vampire world. So I created a scenario where his turned vampire bride Shirley is unfairly punished for an unintentionally violating their marital agreement, as well as other outdated, outrageous, and outright discriminatory laws—she unintentionally  To survive and protect their unborn child, they must not only fight back, but also rebel. In this instance, human history provides them with the path. That gave me the opportunity to draw parallels between the fight for human rights and the rights of vampires who aren’t purebloods. It also allowed me to poke at the continued need of both societies to embrace social change. Perhaps surprisingly, the vampires lag far behind the humans in terms of equality and individual freedoms. However, in the end, the message is clear: Whether human or vampire, an individual is entitled to certain rights and liberties. And no human or vampire has a right to deny them.

About Seelie Kay:

Award-winning author Seelie Kay writes about lawyers in love, sometimes with a dash of kink.
Writing under a nom de plume, the former lawyer and journalist draws her stories from more than 30 years in the legal world. Seelie’s wicked pen has resulted in nineteen works of fiction, including the new paranormal romance series Donovan Trait, as well the erotic romance Kinky Briefs series and The Feisty Lawyers romantic suspense series. She also authored The Last Christmas, The Garage Dweller, A Touchdown to Remember, The President’s Wife, The President’s Daughter, Seizing Hope, The White House Wedding, and participated in the romance anthology Pieces of Us.
When not spinning romantic tales, Seelie ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. Currently, she resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, WI, where she enjoys opera, the Green Bay Packers, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine. 

Seelie is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS: Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!

Seelie on the Web:
Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Author's Amazon Page

Monday, 10 May 2021

Book review: BEING BETTER by Kai Whiting and Leonidas Konstantakos

Being Better, book cover image
 I received (gratefully) a copy of the book from Kai and volunteered to review it. I don't write reviews in the same way other people do, so I won't blame you if you would rather not go to the trouble of reading this review.

I won't rehash the synopsis nor the contents of non-fiction books, there are other reviews(1) if you prefer those instead. My review is purely based on my experience of reading the contents and how it will (or do) impact my life as a Stoic practitioner.

That being said, let's get stuck in.

I have been a student and practitioner of Stoicism going for five years now. I started the practice because I needed to learn to deal with the incredibly stressful environment of the industry I was working in at the time. Since leaving my last employer, I am now fully self-employed, I have continued the practise purely because of the benefits to myself.

This book has enriched my practice but also increased my understanding of Stoicism as being more than a way of improving myself. Studying translations of the original texts of the Stoics is not easy for someone who is not a linguist nor a trained philosopher. Being Better, and the work done by the authors helps to make the original texts more palatable for a modern mind.

Stoicism is a practical philosophy that provides an antidote for troubled times, while it also keeps our ego and excesses in check when things are going well. Stoicism helps us to understand ourselves and other people better and to navigate a path through life’s challenges and successes. Zeno and his Stoics understood that the “good life” is rooted in communal living, which includes partaking in civic duties, building strong local ties, and being open to, and appreciative of, the universal community that extends across the whole world.

Stoicism won’t remove all of life’s obstacles, but it helps us to think differently about them. It won’t provide us with all the answers, but it gives us the ability to form the questions that ultimately lead to the solutions. Stoicism may be more than two thousand years old, but Zeno’s wisdom is as powerful as ever.”

Although a very practical philosophy, I found that there is more to learn about Stoicism and to understand my place in the greater society I live in. Oftentimes we see ourselves as an island, but with more study and greater understanding, it has become clear that my life has an impact on more than my own improvement as a person.

Using my work as a consulting engineer to explain: What I do directly impacts the products and companies that I work with. This then ripples out to the people and industries that end up using these products worldwide.

Although I have been aware of this for some time, the greater influence of what I do (or neglect to do) could have a much wider impact than what I thought at first. The details are not important, but what is important is that I need to be continually aware that I have to do the right thing, make the right decisions, and advise my clients to the best of my knowledge and abilities. This is not easy to do, but a constant reminder of the Stoic principles of wisdom, self-control, justice, and courage makes it possible.

Being Better reminded me that slacking on my own learning, could be detrimental to others around me. I love learning, but it is the awareness that it is continuous learning that contributes to living a virtuous life. I am by no means the only person who does what I do, so it also brings the added responsibility of bringing this mindset to those within my influence, Stoic philosophy notwithstanding.

One thing about Being Better that particularly spoke to me was “the principle of 'Only the educated are free' [which] embodies a continual search for wisdom and a perpetual questioning in order to know what to do or not to do and how best to succeed.”

Only once I understood the impact this had on Sparta (discussed in chapter 7) did it resonate with my own opinion of the situation in my own country. South Africa has had turbulent times due to corruption and crime at the highest levels of government.

Overcoming the wrongs of decades of history, by the more wrongdoing of the “uneducated recent past” will not be simple. But learning from the Stoics like Sphaerus could provide a way forward even for the modern problems that countries dragged down by corruption could benefit from.

This sounds like an impossible task for a modern country with massive issues of which economic decline is just one. But what will happen if I in my own small way manages to influence someone, who then influences someone else, who eventually is in the right position to make the right impact at the right time? I am not that important, nor do I think that it will necessarily be because of me living a virtuous life, but what if it does?

Another aspect that was clarified (at least to my mind) is the principle of “living in accordance with nature”.

...a Stoic’s appreciation of Nature goes beyond taking selfies and a superficial enjoyment of breathtaking sights and sounds. It involves a profound thirst for the kind of knowledge that helps us understand how the world works and our position within it.”

Living in accordance with nature has always been a matter of interpretation in many articles on the subject that I have read over the years, but I think that the authors explained it in a way that makes sense irrespective of my own beliefs.

Being Better is a book to introduce people to think about these things, and could have a much wider impact on how we think about our roles, our circles, our lives, than what we can imagine.

The questions posed at the end of each chapter raised my thinking about these issues. The book does not provide the answers, because the answers cannot be given. After all, it is up to us, up to me, to ask the right questions for our situations, to seek the answers that we need for our own lives and communities.

Stoicism is not about doing the impossible or trying to singlehandedly solve complex social or environmental issues. It’s about consistently doing what you can within the life you lead using the personality, knowledge, social role, network, and skillset that you already have.”

And this in essence is why I decided to study Stoicism and why I wanted to read this book. To practice Stoic philosophy and to live a virtuous life with “the decision to strive for eudaimonia, that is to say, for a life worthy of being lived and for a world worth living in.”

I recommend reading Being Better because it increased my understanding of some of the practical aspects of Stoicism. The examples (both historical and modern) provided the practical ways that people have lived their lives in a way that can inspire every one of us to strive for eudaimoniaa life worth living.

A last comment: I own and study several translations of the works by Epictetus, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius. If you are interested in learning more about Stoicism, a comprehensive list is given at the end of the book with the appropriate references to the text in each chapter.

(1) Academic review, and Kai's comments about the book

Linzé's rating: 4.5 💜

Friday, 30 April 2021

The #CreativeLife 2021 A to Z Blog Challenge: Z is for...

Zero excuses

Nope, this is not a post to preach to you today. This is what I decided at the beginning 2019 - no more excuses. I take part in challenges like this blog challenge, Inktober, and NaNoWriMo so that I can plan to do creative things.

I love my job, but working too many hours is not good for my mental health or my need to create. So I made the decision to stop procrastinating and to stop using a bag full of excuses to not do the things I love.

Is it working? Yes! Do I need time some time to just binge on Netflix? Yes, but it is a decision and not just an excuse anymore.

Until next time!
💚 Linzé 

PS: Keep an eye out for a series about some other stuff I do like to do - coming very soon!

Thursday, 29 April 2021

The #CreativeLife 2021 A to Z Blog Challenge: Y is for...


The last of the three primary colours. I find it interesting that two of the three colours are considered warm colours - red and yellow.

Last year colours were some of the prompts we did for the #inktober52 challenge. Since I like illuminated letters, here is the Y I drew for the challenge.

Letter Y done in illuminated style with green and purple ink, with daffodils decoration, artist Linzé Brandon, signed LdV-V
Illuminated letter Y
Comments and sharing you art are most welcome on Twitter, thank you for visiting my blog today.

Until tomorrow!

💚 Linzé 

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

The #CreativeLife 2021 A to Z Blog Challenge: X is for...


Some colours have weird names, but who am I to argue? 😉

Here is one of them. The colour was generated using the website 
Comments and sharing are most welcome on Twitter, thank you for visiting my blog today.

Until tomorrow!

💛 Linzé 

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

The #CreativeLife 2021 A to Z Blog Challenge: W is for...


Watercolour paint used to scare me, until I realised that it is such a lovely medium to work with. I love combining it with ink.

Here is a painting I did for the lab I work with. It is now framed and hanging in the soon to be second safety test facility - my field of engineering expertise.

Watercolour and ink painting of iSERT house, artist Linzé Brandon, signed LdV-V
iSERT house (RF, EMC, and safety test facility)
in Montana, Pretoria, South Africa

Comments are most welcome on 
Twitter, thank you for visiting my blog today.

Until tomorrow!

💚 Linzé 

Monday, 26 April 2021

The #CreativeLife 2021 A to Z Blog Challenge: V is for...


Value in art is the lightness or darkness of a colour. It is the differences in value (contrast) that helps us to perceive a drawing or painting as lifelike or three dimensional.

Pretty nifty technique in the artist's arsenal don't you think? 😁

Hatching and shading to show value changes with a Mars Lumograph Black 4B pencil on white paper, artist Linzé Brandon
Hatching and shading to show value changes
with a Staedtler Mars Lumograph Black 4B pencil

Comments are most welcome on Twitter, thank you for visiting my blog today.

Until Monday!

💛 Linzé 


Book feature: Ye Gods! The Law is an Ass! by Seelie Kay

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Paranormal Romance, Mystery Publisher: eXtasy Books ISBN: 978-1-4874-3357-4 Page: 145 Word Count: 44705 Publicat...