Bird Groups: Fun Facts

Ok, this may sound weird, but as a writer there comes times when you just need to know what a group  of animals are called. Today, I am going to be talking about groups of birds.

Most  of us know, a gaggle of geese, but did you know that only refers to geese on water? If you’re talking about a group of geese in flight, it’s called a skein. But if they are in V formation then it is called a wedge of geese. Didn’t think this would be so complicated, did you? Actually if you happen to see a V formation of swans, it is a wedge too. But who, I ask, has ever really seen a wedge of swans?

Here are a few more fun group listings in case you’re curious.

A murder or muster of crows (sounds like a book, huh?) An unkindness or congress of ravens, a chattering  or murmuration of starlings. Ok, the starlings sound noisy.

Let’s talk about the barnyard birds. A rafter of turkeys – (Why? Like they can even make it up to the rafters?) A raft of ducks (ok that makes sense), unless they are in flight then they are a team. A peep of chickens (cute) or a brood of hens.

And for some groups of birds that no one will probably ever see – a charm of hummingbirds (charming, but they move so fast it’s hard to even see one), a descent of woodpeckers, a convocation of eagles, an ostentation of peacocks, and a  colony of penguins.

And to finish this off, here are a few of my favorites: A pitying of turtle doves, a bouquet of pheasants, a parliament of owls, (yep, better watch for that one), and an exaltation of larks.

Well, hope you enjoyed my fun facts of the day. Stop by and visit my new website at http://www.elizabethrosenovels.com.

Elizabeth Rose

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Sunday’s Sample – Thoroughly Modern Amanda by Susan Macatee

This Sunday’s Sample is Thoroughly Modern Amanda by Susan Macatee!  Here’s the Sample from Susan’s historical romance.  Thanks for being our guest, Susan, and sharing your sample.

ThoroughlyModernAmanda_w7277_750-200x300“Your stepmother told me she returned to the future after being shot.” He brushed a hand over his chest. “I don’t like that idea much.”

“There must be another way.” She lifted a hand and laid it atop his. “I don’t like the idea of you being shot either.”

Jack held his breath. Her fingers rested over his heart. He grasped her hand, entwining their fingers.

Her face colored. “We should be getting inside. It must be near time for supper.”

“Wait.” Jack grasped her wrist to keep her from pulling away. “What about this Randolph? How do you feel about him?”

“I-I’m not sure. My stepmother says he’s not right for me.” She scowled.

“Because he’s old-fashioned?” Jack guessed.

She lifted her gaze to his. “Why do you say that?”

“It’s what your stepmother told me. Why she doesn’t want you to marry him.”

Amanda smiled. “Yes. He’s boorish and has outdated ideas. He believes a woman is only useful when she’s tending to her home, man, and children.”

“But you work for him.”

“It’s a great opportunity, such that it is.” She shrugged. “What about the women of your time?”

“They can do any type of job they want and are qualified for.” He grinned. “They even get to fly into space with the men.”

Amanda gasped. “You can’t be serious.” She lifted both hands to her mouth. “What a wonderful place to live!” She dropped her gaze and twisted her hands in her skirts. “But I’m sure with all those modern women to choose from, you’d have no interest in an old-fashioned girl like me.”

“Amanda…” Jack took both her hands in his. “I’ve never met anyone like you. When I first saw your photo—”

“My photo?” She frowned. “Where did you see it?”

“It was in the house where you found me, but in the future. It was hanging on the wall at the bottom of the stairs.”

“In the house Randolph is building?” Her lower lip trembled.

Jack leaned forward, unable to stop himself, and lightly brushed his lips over hers. She tasted sweet, like cinnamon and sugar.

She reared back, her lips in a firm line, but then opened, as he enfolded her pliant body in his arms. He stroked his hands around her back and pulled her as close as possible. Her heart beat swiftly, like a delicate, caged bird.

The kiss rocked him to his core. Although he’d dreamed of kissing those lush lips, the reality was so much better. An ache formed in his chest at the thought of going home and never seeing her again.

He finally released her. Her eyes looked a bit glazed, her lips swollen and her hair mussed. He bit his lip, wondering what reception they’d get at supper.

****

Amanda’s knees weakened as a thrill raced through her body. No man had ever kissed her like that. Of course, she hadn’t had much opportunity with other men. And had never allowed Randolph to get so close.

She gazed into Jack’s eyes. His lips twisted into an adorable half-smile, his eyes bright, face flushed. Had he felt the same thing she had?

“Are you okay, Amanda?” His smile turned down into a frown.

“I-I think so.” She touched her lips, the sensation of his pressed against hers still with her. She was also very aware of his male scent. If she didn’t fear someone would discover them, she’d fling her arms around him for another round of kisses.

Addicted to Music Videos

Have you ever had a moment when you see someone and you dream of someone and you know instantly they’re a character in your book? Or, the vision of the character you are reading?  A few months ago, I had a fantastic idea for my historical series and I had this vision of an aristocratic man whose hair was unfashionably long, slightly curled, blond with dark roots. He was muscular, with a small patch of hair on his chin, tall, stiff, and deliciously arrogant.  I went online to Google images to search for pictures to piece together my character visually and ran across a picture of Chad Kroeger from Nickelback. I could not believe my good fortune because he is my hero incarnate or vice versa.  I am already a fan of Nickelback’s music but I didn’t really know what he looked like outside the few photos I found– so of course I started to Google the shit out of him.  This search would soon become an addiction, because I discovered the magic of music videos.

I found a string of Nickelback videos on YouTube and started to watch more for research than for anything else but by the end of the first one, I was hooked.  I watched every single video I could find and then moved on to other musicians/bands I enjoy.  I racked up quite a few charges on iTunes to purchase them and re-watch them.  Then I found VEVO, which steams nothing but music videos (And icky meth commercials). I have it on my television/computer constantly.  Here is what I’ve discovered…

Each video is a five minute or less adventure – little depth – little character development, little plot, just a quick snip of life or something like it.

Most have a message, one that connects the viewer with the artist(s), and the viewer with the world.

Videos are all show – none of that pesky show and tell like in writing a novel.

A story set to music – other than chocolate is there anything better?

Repetition is not a bad thing – it’s the chorus, which is the part everyone can sing along too – unlike in writing where it’s a no-no.

Nearly every musician/group/duo is HOT!!!!

As a writer, I have a thousand images, plots, settings, and characters in my head at any given time.  The possibility I could ever write them all down is slim to none.  If I wrote music videos, I could put these ideas into play and actually see them come to life.  I’d have the opportunity to work with famous men, visit exotic places, and be creative.

Now – On the flip side, I am finding some really great inspiration for my books by watching these videos.  Maybe it’s the way an artist moves his mouth, or the way their eyes drift from the camera and back to something off screen, or the way their bodies move.  I am picking up on physical attributes such as hair styles, teeth and body shapes.  These little tidbits are helping to strengthen characteristics and building stronger characters.

My recommendations thus far –

Jamey Johnson – Playing the Part – featuring a guest star, a picked on Gorilla, and LA.

Hurry Home – Jason Michael Carroll – Such a sweet song about a dad and his daughter – but it’s a complete story that should be made into a novel.

Lullaby – Nickelback – Bring the Tissues –I cried when I first watched this but I fell in love – it’s one of my favorites – again a great story that could be a novel.

Bitch Came Back – Theory of a Deadman – Power to the betrayed woman – a scorned woman comes back for revenge.

No Matter What – Boyzone (A completely new band for me) – Reminds me of steampunk and a pretty melody.

How Deep Is Your Love – Take That – It’s a remake but the music video gives me chills – think female serial killer and her devoted fans.

There are a few of my favorites.

How about you – Do you watch music videos?  Would you want to write music videos?  Any favorite songs or videos?

Toodles,

Michelle