Through Jade's Eyes

This blog is about the fictional character, Jade del Cameron (www.suzannearruda.com), and the historical time period in which she lives.

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Location: www.suzannearruda.com, United States

I'm the author of the Jade del Cameron historical mystery series set in 1920's Africa. Lots of action, intrigue, mystery and a dash of romance. Follow me at www.twitter.com/SuzanneArruda *The audio link (view complete profile) is an interview by Baron Ron Herron (9/17/2009, Santa Barbara {CA} News-Press Radio, KZSB, AM 1290

Monday, January 25, 2010

BONUS BLOG: TAKING A ZEBRA TO A BOOK FESTIVAL

This is a slightly different turn for this blogsite. This morning I posted my usual historical blog (Shot an antelope in my pyjamas) but this is a bonus blog about an exciting book event.

Two weekends ago I had the honor and privilege of being one of the many authors to participate in Kathy L. Patrick’s Pulpwood Queen’s Girlfriend weekend. (www.pulpwoodqueen.com) For those of you not familiar with the Kathy or her work, she’s promoted literacy through her book club chapters, not only in the U.S., but in at least five other countries. She’s a vibrant, wonderful lady who happens to love Tarzan and Africa, and this weekend looked to be exciting, fun, and very unusual.

Now, I’m a hermit at heart. I’m not even on facebook. I’d be more comfortable with being on getoutamyfacebook. Large groups are difficult for me. I always flashback to when I taught junior high and high school and expect a parent-teacher conference. (“Hello,” I say, “my name is Suzanne Arruda.” “Oh,” says the lovely other person. “Oh, I love your mystery books in Africa, but I was wondering why you gave my daughter a B- on that last test.”) You get the idea. I needed to do something to bolster my courage.

Now, I know that most of the attendees went to this event with friends. It makes everything more fun. I took Mr. Yum Yum – he’s a stuffed zebra.

(Mr. Yum at home with his good friend, Mrs. Goober (alias Simba Jike)

It might not have been my best choice – he does get car sick, and I hated to have him lose his stuffing all over the back of the clean car. But he promised to be my best bet to help me out at the “Come as a Barbie fashion show.” I came as safari Barbie, and Mr. Yum Yum graciously let me take not one, but two shots at him with my cap rifle. (yes, I carried a real knife and a toy rifle to this event – It was in Texas! They know how to deal with it! And for some reason, my husband didn’t want to let me shoot at him.)

(Mr. Yum and the author ready for action)

In short, Mr. Yum Yum was a great hit, the weekend was wonderful, and my greatest thrill came when N.Y. Times bestselling author Mr. Pat Conroy actually bought my latest book, Treasure of the Golden Cheetah. How cool is that?

Oh, and I believe Mr. Yum Yum is thinking about going on facebook. And visit me at www.suzannearruda.com

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1921 – I SHOT AN ANTELOPE IN MY PYJAMAS

In the 1930 movie, Animal Crackers, Groucho Marx said, “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know.” He probably didn’t know it at the time, but hunting in “pyjamas” happened nine years earlier.

The un-named author lived in “an old German thatched roof’ house under “the slopes of a towering mountain.” Greeks, Indians, Africans, English lived in the village nearby. Fruit and vegetable gardens lay to the north and south. To the east was the chief political officer on the other side of a clear stream.

Two “bold and cunning bushbuck” were satisfying their hunger on the author’s “bedding shamba” (a shamba is a vegetable garden). The author first hired to “askari” (soldiers) to keep night watch and he armed them with his own “.250/.297 Westley Richards.” He admitted to this being a “light weapon” but hoped it “would not awake our lightly sleeping political officer who (he feared) when roused, would give vent to an early morning hate!” Clearly not a morning man.

The vigil was to no avail. He still lost cabbages and strawberries at an alarming rate. Just as he considered making a trap, he was alerted one morning by his house servant with “Jambo, Bwana. Pongo yiko hapa, karibu mto!” Loosely: Good day, sir. The bushbuck (are nearby) here, coming to the rivers!”

“It was about 6:30 a.m. and a fine exhilarating morning.” He took his “250/.297,” handed his “Lancaster 12 bore” to his servant, and set out. He was in his pyjamas. “There was no time to dress and pyjamas and a British warm (robe) are regal robes in a land of naked peoples.” The bushbuck ran towards the servant who shot with the 12 bore. They gave chase to the wounded animals and ran into the political officer, also in his “pyjamas.” With the aid of the political officer's dogs, they tracked the bushbuck and finished them.A gift of bushbuck meat to the political officer made up for rousing him out of bed.

So this man shot a bushbusk in his pyjamas. (How it got in his pyjamas, we don’t know.”)


Next week: More Africa news.
Clips and quotes are taken from The East African Standard. Febr. 11, 1921.

NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, and The Leopard’s Prey, all available in trade paperback. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH is available in hardcover. An excerpt and information on pre-ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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Monday, January 18, 2010

1921 WOMEN ENTER NAIROBI POLITICS

The East African Women’s League (E.A.W.L.) had long worked to better the lives of women in the British colony, but their charter did not call for them to actually get involved in politics. Therefore, when Mrs. McGregor Ross suggested at the January 1921 meeting, that the League should “take an active part in securing candidates for the forthcoming municipal elections,” the comment was ruled “out of order.” Yet the “feeling of the meeting was taken unofficially and was emphatically to the effect that women candidates should be selected and receive the support of the League.”

Not long afterwards, Mrs. Olga Watkins appeared on the list as having been nominated for the municipal council. Voting for the election was limited to those of “pure European” descent twenty one years of age or older. The voter should be able to read and write and either had to own (and reside on) property in the colony or be actively engaged in business. Married women, living with their husbands in the area were also qualified.

Mrs. Watkins was the wife of the Acting Chief Native Commissioner. In her newspaper interview, she stated that she was “chiefly interested in that side of municipal affairs that appertains to the welfare of our hones, and the women and children in Nairobi.” She also pointed out that she was NOT “standing as the representative of the Women’s League” but was “standing quite independently in the interests of women who may or may not belong to the E.A.W.L.”

Only a few days before the election, Mrs. Watkins was disqualified because “the seconder of her nomination was not on the voter’s roll.” However, by July, 1921, one of the duly elected commissioners had to leave for England and Mrs. Watkins won the seat. She made her maiden comments as a commissioner in July, 1921.


Next week: Hunting in “pyjamas.”
Clips and quotes are taken from The East African Standard.

NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, and The Leopard’s Prey, all available in trade paperback. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH is available in hardcover. An excerpt and information on pre-ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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Monday, January 11, 2010

1920’s NAIROBI NEWS: LOVE THOSE SUNDOWNERS

Mosquitoes and malaria. Gin and tonic. Each pair inexorably entangled with the other in the lives of the early Kenya colonists. Once someone discovered that quinine fought and possibly prevented malaria, it was mixed into Tonic Water. And once someone else found that a shot of gin made the tonic water bearable, the “sundowner,” an evening preventative drink, was born. Over time, the amount of quinine in the tonic water declined and, possibly, the amount of gin increased, but that was not important. By now the drink the more of a social ritual than a treatment or cure.

The ritual was big business, too. Not all sundowners used gin or tonic water. Whiskey and soda (with no quinine at all) was also popular. And for this drink, it was important to have fresh sparkling mineral water and a good gasogene. Tartaric acid and sodium bicarbonate were combined to release carbon dioxide and a siphon shot the carbonated water (soda water) into the glass.

And for a healthful morning drink, mineral water with a squirt of lemon was considered good for the constitution. Sort of a sun-upper.


Next week: Women enter Nairobi politics.
Photos from The East African Standard.

NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, and The Leopard’s Prey, all available in trade paperback. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH is available in hardcover. An excerpt and information on pre-ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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Monday, January 04, 2010

1921 NAIROBI NEW YEARS AND RACE WEEK

Nairobi hosted many gala events but none shone so prominently as “Race Week.” Actually, there were two race weeks, spaced approximately six months apart from each other, but the year’s end races were considered the highlight, culminating in New Year’s parties and balls.

The races that marked the end of 1920 and the start of 1921 provided an improvement in the form of a new grandstand. This was a much welcome addition as the weather for these races was marginal at best; damp and drear with a sodden track. But, as the Leader writer noted, “the ladies of Kenya nevertheless did themselves and the onlookers justice in the fashionable and pretty nature of their frocks, although decked to suit the whims of the weather clerk.”

The bandstand was also relocated and “Bandmaster Harvey and his band of musicians were not slow to take advantage of their more suitable and more comfortable location.”

One jewel was missing from the sparkling crowd. Governor and Lady Northey were on safari along with the entire “Government House party.” And where was Jade del Cameron? As readers of the Jade mystery series will soon learn (The Crocodile’s Last Embrace – release date in Sept 2010), Jade had gone to France to tour the old battlefields and from there, spent her Christmas holidays with a cousin in Andalusia, Spain. But don’t worry, she’s coming back to Nairobi in time to face a formidable foe and one mean croc.

Next week: More old Nairobi news.
Photos (Dec 25, 1920) and quotes (Jan 1, 1921) from The Leader of British East Africa.

NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, and The Leopard’s Prey, all available in trade paperback. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH is available in hardcover. An excerpt and information on pre-ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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