BlueBenchACS4x6After some thought, I have decided to move my main virtual home from AlyciaCCooke.com to AlyciaChristineS.com. When I started AlyciaCCooke.com and alyciachristine.artistwebsites.com many moons ago, I had wanted to have one site dedicated solely to my fiction writing and another dedicated to my photography and art. But things change and I find myself more in need of a unified place where people can go to discover any and all of my mediums of art. So here it is: AlyciaChristineS.com. This site will continue the “Ink Blots and Tea Stains” blog as well as store its archives. It will also hold links to my Photography and Art stores. There is a Fiction page and a Nonfiction page chronicling all of my published writings as well as those stray pieces still needing find a publishing home. I have multiple links helpful to writers, photographers, and other artists on the Resources page. I will also post all sorts of writing extras dealing with my fiction worlds on my Art & Whimsey page. Even though I will be shutting down AlyciaCCooke.com in a few months, I have decided to keep my full photography website at http://alyciachristine.artistwebsites.com for everyone’s convenience. If you wish to contact me with questions or want to sign up for my newsletter, please go to the Contact page.

In regular news, I posted a new Flashes of Perspective blog entry on my photography website yesterday, which deals with the photography rule of Centering. You can read it at: http://alyciachristine.artistwebsites.com/blogs/flashes-of-perspective-in-a-bulls-eye.html.

Next week I will upload new photos onto the photography website from three separate shoots: a October 19 nature photography shoot near Fort Davis, Balmorhea, and Marfa, Texas, and two October 20 event photography shoots in Pecos, Texas, and Midland, Texas, respectively. For now, I have included a preview photo from my work on October 19 near Balmorhea, Texas, for your enjoyment. “Blue Bench” is not up on the website yet, but it will be by next Friday.

My work on Dreamdrifter continues with full rewrites completed on Chapters 1 through 9 and roughly 47 pages of new material (about 10,000 or 11,000 words) added to the book overall. I look forward to continuing work on Dreamdrifter during November’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) writing blitzkrieg. After last year’s absence (see the October 31, 2011 blog), I am so happy to be participating in the challenge this year!

Finally, let us move on to today’s Creature Profile.

Creature Profile: Brownie

Real or imagined: Both

In mythology:

The brownie is a legendary creature popular in folklore around Scotland and England said to be a small, industrious fairy believed to inhabit houses and barns. It is seems to be the Scottish and Northern English counterpart of the Scandinavian tomte, the Slavic domovoi and the German Heinzelmännchen. The brownie may also be related to the mythological hob found in the north and midlands of England. By many accounts, the brownie is helpful if mischievous character. He is rarely seen, but often blamed for cleaning and doing housework as well as sometimes disarranged rooms. Cream and milk are considered favorable gifts to leave him.

In literature and entertainment:

In 1883 author Palmer Cox introduced a series of children’s books depicting brownies with whimsical illustrations and poetry. The fanciful folk were inspired by Scottish folktales but reflected the sensibilities of 19th-century American children. The first of the Brownie books is called The Brownies: Their Book.

In the 1988 movie “Willow,” two brownies are part of a colorful cast of characters which rally around protecting a baby girl from a dangerous and powerful queen. In my own book of Skinshifter and its accompanying books in the Metamorphosis series, Brownies are nicknamed “Toadstool folk” because of their habits of making their homes and some of their clothing from different forms of fungi. Brownies are friendly but mischievous characters. Turned brownies (that is undead brownies) are called boggarts in my series.

In reality:

The term “brownie” often refers to a specific type of camera created by the Kodak camera company in 1900. Designed and marketed for children, the Brownie camera was named after the popular characters created by Palmer Cox. Frank A. Brownell designed and manufactured the first Brownie camera, which quickly became popular thanks in part to its inexpensiveness and ease of use. Today, there over 125 Brownie models.

The brownie, as a baked good, is one of my favorite deserts and is tied to many fond childhood memories. Since I was allergic to milk and all milk-based products until I was in my late teens, my mom made special milk-free brownies for me as a kid. Her lip-smacking recipe is as follows:

Mom’s Moist Brownies:

1 ½ cup flour
2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup oil
¼ cup water
4 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup cocoa
½ cup pecans (optional)

Mix all ingredients by hand until well blended and bake in large pyrex glass (9 x 13 ½ inches) pan on 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-35 minutes. DO NOT OVER BAKE!

For more information about brownies, please see the following links:

The Brownie as a mythological creature: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownie_%28folklore%29 and http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/81831/brownie

The Brownie in literature and entertainment: http://www.amazon.com/The-Brownies-Their-Childrens-Classics/dp/0486212653/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351273356&sr=8-1&keywords=the+brownies and http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096446/

The Brownie as a desert: see above recipe

The Brownie as a camera: http://www.kodak.com/US/en/corp/features/brownieCam/ and http://www.brownie-camera.com/

Until we meet again, may your ink blots be liberal and your tea stains tiny.

[~]D Alycia