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, September 27, 2010

1920's KENYA – “CUSTOMS OF THE KIKUYU” –part

CAN’T GET TO ONE OF MY BOOK EVENTS? YOU CAN SEE PART OF ONE HERE courtesy of Mr. Patrick Balester. http://bit.ly/a5wNIn

Jade del Cameron made friends with Jelani, a Kikuyu youth, in her first adventure, Mark Of The Lion, and nourished that friendship throughout her time in East Africa. For her, the friendship was born more out of appreciation of a person’s bravery. While she never fully understood or agreed with the Kikuyu’s beliefs, she respected them.

Most everyone who lived in Kenya Colony had encounters or dealings with the Kikuyu Tribe of Africans. Most did not understand them at all and many of those people never tried, choosing to ignore this entire culture or possibly to exploit it. Others endeavored to learn about their beliefs and customs and pass on their knowledge to others. And so the East African Standard ran a short series of articles in February, 1920 on Kikuyu customs, written by C. Wightwick Haywood.

Mr. Haywood began his articles by commenting on the Kikuyu’s sacred tree groves. He explained that these clumps of trees, standing alone on a hilltop were untouched by any axe as they were the home of Ngai, which is explained was their Spirit. (Ngai is the Maker). The trees had been surrounded by a plant parasite, often a “rubber vine” to the point that the original tree’s branches were merely a non-living support for the vines foliage.

“The Kikuyu consider this form of tree sacred, because it grows from the heavens downward, and not from the earth upwards, as is the habit of all well-behaved and properly brought up trees. They say that Ngai plants the weed in the top branches so that he can make his way down to the earth, and that the white milky juice of the parasite is part of the ‘Ngai’ put there to keep the tree from withering up in the longest drought.”

The Kikuyu believe that Ngai “commands the rains, makes the crops grow, causes the goats and cattle to give milk, and the women to bear children.” But, the author ads, this is done only as long as the Kikuyu observe certain rituals.

Next week: Rituals for Rain and Ngai’s other gifts.

Quotes taken from The East African Standard, Febr. 21, 1920

By the way, The Crocodile’s Last Embrace just received a starred review by Publishers’ Weekly who called it “rip-roaring.” Romantic Times gave it 4 Stars and called it “Enormously fun” and Library Journal’s starred review stated “Do not miss this one.”

MORE MYSTERY TOPICS:

1) Does mystery have to equal murder? I weigh in with the Suspense Sirens on their blog posting at : http://bit.ly/cpprpx

2) Interested in some insight into what makes me and Jade tick? Go to SCENE OF THE CRIME http://bit.ly/ao2gjg for an interesting interview at a great website by author J. Sydney Jones.

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. THE CROCODILE’S LAST EMBRACE will be released Sept. 7, 2010. An excerpt and information on ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

This blog made the short list for Best Author's Blog as awarded by www.completelynovel.com Thank you everyone who voted for me.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

1921-22 – “GROWING UP IN NAIROBI – WHAT DID BEVERLY DO?”

CAN’T GET TO ONE OF MY BOOK EVENTS? YOU CAN SEE PART OF ONE HERE courtesy of Mr. Patrick Balester. http://bit.ly/a5wNIn

A careful reader recently asked me about Beverly Dunbury’s care of her baby. In the book, THE CROCODILE’S LAST EMBRACE, Lady Dunbury is depicted as feeding her baby girl a bottle of formula. The reader asked what types of formulas were available at that time, especially in Africa.

Infant formulas are by no means a modern phenomenon, and an answer to this readers query rested on page 119 of the book. Jade is investigating a ramshackle home put together from various crates. One of the crates bore the advertisement for “Allenburys’ Foods –Your Baby’s Welfare.”

Ads for Allenburys’ Foods appear as early as 1898 in The British Medical Journal where they report a three stage infant formula. “Milk Food No. 1” was “manufactured from fresh cow’s milk, so modified as to present all the constituents of human milk in their true relative proportions.” It was sold in a “dessicated form” to be mixed with “boiled water to obtain a pure and sterile food suitable for infants during the first three months of life.”

“Milk Food No. 2” was similar to number 1 with the addition of “maltose, dextrine, and soluble phosphates derived from the digestion of whole meal with Malt Extract.” This product was recommended for ages three to six months. Finally “Allenburys Malted Food No. 3” was designed for six months and up. It was not advertized as a milk, but “a farinaceous food prepared by improved methods after Baron von Liebig’s formula.”

As to their availability in Nairobi, by 1921, Nairobi had become a city complete with many stores, each receiving fresh shipments of goods that came into Mombasa Port and up the rail lines several times a week. Ads for Allenburys Foods appeared in both of the Nairobi Newspapers as early as 1920.

Next week: More Kenya Lore.

Quotes taken from The Crocodile’s Last Embrace, The British Medical Journal, No. 1934, January 22, 1898. Images from The Leader of British East Africa, Jan 31, 1920 and The East African Standard Jan 31, 1920

By the way, The Crocodile’s Last Embrace just received a starred review by Publishers’ Weekly who called it “rip-roaring.” Romantic Times gave it 4 Stars and called it “Enormously fun” and Library Journal’s starred review stated “Do not miss this one.”

MORE MYSTERY TOPICS:

1) Does mystery have to equal murder? I weigh in with the Suspense Sirens on their blog posting at : http://bit.ly/cpprpx

2) Interested in some insight into what makes me and Jade tick? Go to SCENE OF THE CRIME http://bit.ly/ao2gjg for an interesting interview at a great website by author J. Sydney Jones.

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. THE CROCODILE’S LAST EMBRACE will be released Sept. 7, 2010. An excerpt and information on ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

This blog made the short list for Best Author's Blog as awarded by www.completelynovel.com Thank you everyone who voted for me.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

APOLOGIES

My apologies to the faithful readers for not having a new Jade blog posted this morning. My head decided to come down with a cold and I've been a bit "out of it" today. I will endeavor to get something posted Tuesday.

Sorry

In the meantime, The Crocodile's Last Embrace is in book stores. Treat yourself to a great mystery adventure.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Here's to David Thompson

Dear Blog readers:

This week, the mystery book world was stunned and saddened to learn about the sudden passing of David Thompson of Houston's Murder by the Book and Busted Flush Press. I had the pleasure of meeting David when I was a green new author. He'd personally invited me to do a book signing at the store and it was the first time I'd gone afield to do an "event." He made me feel like I was already an established, famous author, sharing his love and knowledge of books with me.

In an era where authors and publishers worry about Printed books vs electronic, a person who loved books as much as David was a godsend. We can only pray for someone else to pick up the torch and carry on.

My heartfelt sympathy to his beloved wife, McKenna Jordan for her loss.

McKenna and the staff of Murder by the Book are hosting a special tribute to David which you can find here http://www.murderbooks.com/
I know I can't make it, but I encourage anyone who knew David or who just appreciates a good mystery to raise a glass of whatever you have on hand, be it a margarita or tea, and drink a toast to him.

Here's to you, David. We'll all miss you.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

1921-22 – “GROWING UP IN NAIROBI – THE GIRL GUIDES-PART 6”

CAN’T GET TO ONE OF MY BOOK EVENTS? YOU CAN SEE PART OF ONE HERE courtesy of Mr. Patrick Balester. http://bit.ly/a5wNIn

Jade and Beverly’s Girl Guide troop consisted of girls ranging in ages from 10 to 14. And while the reader doesn’t get to know the younger girls very well in THE CROCODILE’S LAST EMBRACE, one does get to spend some time with the oldest five girls. They would have made Agnes Baden-Powell proud with their devotion to duty, courage, pluck, and skills. They might have made her blush, too. They are a little too keen to resuscitate grown men.

The Handbook for Girl Guides gives many scenarios for rescuing people: from fires, drowning, runaway horses, and mad dogs to name a few. It is the treatment of a drowning victim that has Jade’s girls particularly interested. There is a picture on page 194 of the Handbook showing the approved Schafer method for clearing the victim’s lungs of water. Notice that the man has no shirt. Jade’s girls certainly did take notice in The Crocodile's Last Embrace.

Next week: More Kenya Lore.

Quotes and images taken from The Handbook for Girl Guides, by Agnes Baden-Powell

By the way, The Crocodile’s Last Embrace just received a starred review by Publishers’ Weekly who called it “rip-roaring.” Romantic Times gave it 4 Stars and called it “Enormously fun” and Library Journal’s starred review stated “Do not miss this one.”

MORE MYSTERY TOPICS:

1) Does mystery have to equal murder? I weigh in with the Suspense Sirens on their blog posting at : http://bit.ly/cpprpx

2) Interested in some insight into what makes me and Jade tick? Go to SCENE OF THE CRIME http://bit.ly/ao2gjg for an interesting interview at a great website by author J. Sydney Jones.

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. THE CROCODILE’S LAST EMBRACE will be released Sept. 7, 2010. An excerpt and information on ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

This blog made the short list for Best Author's Blog as awarded by www.completelynovel.com Thank you everyone who voted for me.

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Monday, September 06, 2010

1921-22 – “GROWING UP IN NAIROBI – DOING ONE'S DUTY

This blog made the short list for Best Author's Blog as awarded by www.completelynovel.com Thank you everyone who voted for me.


The original Girl Guides was not an organization geared towards dainty practices. It was devoted to teaching girls how to “Be Prepared” and become woman capable of assisting their country. That meant teaching them how to fell trees with an axe, make their own mattress in the wilderness (image) and save lives.

Life saving was not limited to binding up wounds, either. Page 161 of The Handbook for Girl Guides by Agnes Baden-Powell gave the scenario of a girl guide standing on a crowded train platform, already planning what to do should someone fall as a train comes. “You think to yourself, " Now, supposing some one falls off this platform on to the rails just as the train is coming in, what shall I do ? I must jump down and jerk her off the track to the far side into the six-foot way-there would be no time to get her up on to the platform again. Or if the train were very close, the only way would be to lie flat, and make her lie flat too, between the rails, and let the train go over us both."

Pretty extraordinary duties for a girl. But then again, the world had just experienced The Great War and everyone had felt the call to perform extraordinary duties.

Next week: Jade and Beverly’s Girl Guides


Quotes and images taken from The Handbook for Girl Guides, by Agnes Baden-Powell

NEXT WEEK: MORE OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES - TRACKING

By the way, The Crocodile’s Last Embrace just received a starred review by Publishers’ Weekly who called it “rip-roaring.” Romantic Times gave it 4 Stars and called it “Enormously fun” and Library Journal’s starred review stated “Do not miss this one.”

MORE MYSTERY TOPICS:
1) Does mystery have to equal murder? I weigh in with the Suspense Sirens on their blog posting at : http://bit.ly/cpprpx

2) Interested in some insight into what makes me and Jade tick? Go to SCENE OF THE CRIME http://bit.ly/ao2gjg for an interesting interview at a great website by author J. Sydney Jones.

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. THE CROCODILE’S LAST EMBRACE will be released Sept. 7, 2010. An excerpt and information on ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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