Monday, May 30, 2016

I Need An Evil Object

I have reached the point in my new novel where I need an evil object. It contains the power to destroy the world. What is that object?

Here's a few bits and pieces about the book- It concerns a 25-year old black wizard who is forced to buckle down and assume guardianship over a vast hoard of magical and evil objects gathered and stored for the purpose of keeping them out of the hands of evil-doers. His adversary is his two-years younger female sibling who has become a corrupted, demented megalomaniac who wants to kill him and gain trouble of all these objects. She arranged the murder of their father, and the young man was nearly killed  the same attack. He has since hooked up with a not quite 21-year old white witch-druidess with a complex heritage. Together, with a little band of black and white practitioners they have to protect the magical treasure hoard, and especially this one particular object that rests in a vault deep beneath the earth underneath the 1600's family homestead. The sister can only gain access to the treasure and this object upon the death of the current guardian, her brother.

The brother is a potter, like his father before him and so forth back in time. The white witch/druidess wotks in her family's nursery.

What is the simple, unassuming object that contains all the evil energy that when it falls into the wrong hands has the power to destroy the world?

I need an evil object...but it has to be an ordinary object...and a back story, if possible, although I could probably think of a story...any suggestions?

Friday, May 27, 2016


I'm from a family that's sensitive to spirts. This we inherited from my mother's side of the family where there were several female psychics among the relatives. I have felt ghosts and heard them, and been plagued by a poltergeist as a teenager after we moved to Westfield when I was an unhappy fifteen-year old missing the friends I grew up with.

We were talking about ghosts at work today. When my friend Darlene moved into her husband's family home built in the 30's there was some ghostly activity with objects being moved around-particularly a set of coasters that were moved and arranged about the first floor. At lunch time we'd go to  her house to eat and I'd bring my camera and take pictures of orbs on and about the staircase, a hot spot in the house.

One day I went up to the second floor to shoot some pictures in her room where things had happened. I shot a few pictures in two other rooms on the second floor, and then opened the door of the fourth room, a junk room. I snapped a series of pictures and then stood in the doorway reviewing them on the camera. I was stunned to see an orb moving from the far side of the room, across to the left side of the room, and then coming closer in each succeeding frame. It gave me goosebumps and I quickly stepped back into the hall and pulled the door shut. I hurried downstairs to show her the pictures and the first thing she said to me was, "What in the world happened to your a name badge?" I looked down and was surprised to see that my name tag, usually horizontal was nearly vertical. I hadn't hit it on anything. It was even more unnerving to discover, when I went to straighten it, that the magnet that clips it on was half inside my bra! To have something like that occur and not even be aware of it happening kind of rattled me. What a fresh ghost! She was telling Kristina about that this morning.

My parents, both gone now, haunt the house downtown where they lived on the first floor. My sister and her husband lived upstairs. My brother now lives downstairs and they've had a lot of activity there. Most recently it's the strong scent of chocolate chip cookies baking that permeates the whole house. Mom made a lot of chocolate chip cookies for us through the years. Things get moved. They hear music and voices. My sister-in-law saw someone standing behind her in the upper oven door and no longer can live in the house. She's even more sensitive to ghosts than we are. Curiously enough we all have French Canadian relatives and have inherited this trait from that side of our families.

So, when I write about ghosts in my books I'm drawing from experience. Jessica's Roommate in Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume III, is set in the real haunted two family house I lived in. John and I lived on the first floor. My brother, who was not married at the time, lived on the second floor where the majority of the hauntings occurred, including an apparition of a man that walked right through him. His cat Smokey Joe did get locked out on the sun porch while he was at work. The ghost didn't like his high top bright red nylon sneakers and threw them around the apartment. I worked nights and tried to sleep days but there was always a lot of footsteps and thumps and thuds upstairs that were more than a cat could make while my brother was at work. Some of the events in  the fictional story are taken directly from real life events that occurred in that house.

My fiend Patrice has also led a haunted life. I need to catch up with her on that the next time we're together.

Kelly, by the way, saw our late cat Diego three or four times today passing through the kitchen. She even had to get up and check to make sure Revere was still sleeping on the couch. It was a short-aired black cat, not fluffy smoke gray and white Riley-Beans, in the kitchen. Revere was sound asleep on the loveseat in the living room while she was seeing this other cat. I've seen my Maine Coon cat, Hyper, a few times, but not recently. We had her put down when Kelly was two or three. She had cancer.

Well- our loved ones remain close. Patti told me last night that when she was here on Wednesday my mother's spirit was close to me, she could feel it strongly. Mom watches out for all three of us. It was her mother, Betty, who said, "If you don't get it right the first time, you come back again and again until you do."  Guess I'll have to wait and see what happens down the road!

Unlike horror movies, the ghosts in my life don't hurt anyone, have no evil intentions. They're merely watching over us, keeping us close. I can live with that.

Red Bird

The cardinal was my mother's favorite bird. As I sit here this morning the house is quiet. Kelly has a day off from work today making it a four day weekend for her. She and John are still asleep. I have to work, so it's me and the cats watching the sun rise, listening to the world wake up and begin to stir through the open kitchen door.

And the male cardinal is in the big oak tree like a bright red jewel among the green leaves, singing his mating song.

We had a long-haired black cat named Fantomas in 2001. He was a strange cat. I remember the day he caught a male cardinal and proudly brought it to the back door. He hadn't killed it. I looked at him and yelled, "No red feathers! Put that bird down!" He dropped the cardinal and the bird just lay there on the deck. I shooed Fanto away, gently scooped up the cardinal and set him on his feet on the deck railing. He sat there for a few minutes pulling himself back together before flying off. His little adventure with the fluffy black cat didn't hurt him any, he continued to hang around the yard and I imagine the cardinals that arrive every year in our yard like clockwork are relatives of that cardinal.

Fantomas never caught another bird. I still remember the look on his face as I ran screaming out the back door at him! Poor cat! But that certainly was one lucky bird that day!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Big X- Watching the Clouds in he Sky

I was driving home from work tonight and as I turned up the street that leads up the mountain I live on in a sort of zigzag pattern, I happened to look up in the beautiful blue sky and there it was, a huge white X made by intersecting airplane contrails right over my house.

I was going to take a picture, but by the time I got my cellphone out of my pocketbook (it got stuck in the pocket inside) I was already too far up the mountain and there was a car behind me. I was going to circle back around but the X was dissipating...a lost opportunity.

It was one of the coolest things I've seen, lately.

The best cloud formation I personally ever saw was a witch astride a broom about to take another bite out of an apple she was holding in her left hand. It was one of those jaw dropping moments, and of course the pone was in my pocketbook in the backseat and the clouds were moving fast across the sky ahead of a storm. Kelly saw it the same time I did, but she didn't have her phone with her that afternoon.

The second coolest cloud formation was the head and long neck of a dragon with its mouth open as if roaring, complete with jagged teeth and white cloud vapor pallid like flames.

But my all time personal favorite cloud formation that I actually got a picture of was a deep gray, smoky gray and white Old English Sheepdog loping out of the clouds. A few days later amid thumbprint clouds scattered above it there was a black-faced sheep. Got a picture of that one, too.

I really need to remember to throw the camera in the car- I'm missing some good stuff up there!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

It's True What They Say

It's true what they say about time and old friends. It doesn't matter what the length of time between visits or contact, once you step back into one another's lives it's as if no time at all has passed.

I saw that when I was growing up between my mother and some of her nursing school friends, her friend Catherine in particular. Mom had three kids to raise. Catherine had between seven and nine kids. Mom would call her once in awhile and go to visit her or Catherine would find an afternoon to visit Mom. Otherwise it was an exchange of Christmas cards annually. But those times when they managed to get together, they talked and laughed and it was like they'd never been apart raising their families.

This has happened between me and other friends, Carol in particular. There was a time when she lived in New York state, and then out in California. When she moved back east we both had daughters but saw one another again and it was like she'd never been anywhere but close by.

My old friend Patti visited me today after finding me on facebook this past weekend. Way back when fate, destiny, a high power, whatever it was, threw us together. She's the one who bought me the home pregnancy test and gave it to me to take home and use in the morning when she suspected I was pregnant with Kelly. She's the one who stayed with me and John for as long as she could when I was in labor. I ended up having to have surgery and she had to leave before Kelly's arrival at 2:47AM on June 26th, but she came to see her later on. We went through a lot together and had some fun times, some rough times, some good times...but somehow with her raising her son and me raising Kelly in different states we drifted apart for awhile, too busy with family stuff and health issues and whatnot. She was striving toward completing her college education also.

Now the time has come when we're done raising our kids and we have time for friends again. I was so happy to see her walk through my kitchen door again today. We hugged, we sat at the kitchen table and we talked and talked for nearly two hours straight. I know her family, she knows mine. We both have some new acquaintances but today the focus was on plugging back into one another's lives and celebrating our friendship and its endurance through the years. It was a wonderful visit.

And tonight we texted back and forth, reminiscing some more and laughing together, reaffirming the bond we share, and promising not to let another seven years go by before we see one another again. My kitchen door is always open to her and I know if I go to her home I can walk right in and be just as welcome.

And we had cat stories to swap as well!

I went to work this afternoon with a smile on my face and a happy heart!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Reunion Tomorrow with Dear Friend

I received a friend request on facebook the other day from a girlfriend I'd lost touch with about 7 seven years ago. I worked with her in the late 80's, and she was almost Kelly's godmother (my mother pushed her half-sister into that roll and I have regretted not having had the backbone to stand up to my Mom back then ever since.) We exchanged some texts and emails. Now tomorrow she's coming to visit my house which has always been open to her. It'll be a fun morning! I'll hate having to go to work for my afternoon shift.

I've had few close friends in my lifetime. There were Joni and Elena in 4th through 9th grades before Mom and Dad uprooted the family. I found it difficult to make new friends as a sophomore in a strange high school- but eventually found Candy, Becky and Scott. I went off to college and met Carol who has been my BFF for decades. Our paths diverged but we stayed in touch and still get together when we can (we live in different east coast states). We have three girls between us. Next, I met Patti while working the nightshift at a toy-making company, and though our lives were very different, something clicked between us. We sort of drifted apart, occasionally touching base but the last time I saw her face to face was at her husband Steve's funeral.  Next, there was Darlene, and then Gail. My true blue friends remain Carol (Peech), Patti (Pattipuss), Darlene (Daisy) and Gail. That's my core girl gang. Amanda, Kristina, Maryann, Sissy, Missy, and CiCi are my satellite circle of friends.

I tend not to let many people get too close. My four besties have laughed and cried with me, been there through good times and bad. They know me better than anyone else, even my own family.

They know that when they don't here from me for long periods of time it's just because I'm writing.

So tomorrow morning,I'll anxiously be awaiting the arrival of Pattipuss, or rather, the return of Pattipuss! To her, I'm BuffySue.

We've got a whole lotta catchin' up to do! I can hardly wait!

Like they say, you can't choose your family, but you can choose your friends! How sweet that is!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Kudos to Kelly

A big thank you to my tech support girl, Kelly Buffum, who updated the Titles page today for me, adding the two new for 2016 books in the Talon series. I don't know what I'd do without her.

Speed writing yesterday and today- new novel is like an express train. Two main characters died last night. I was up until 12:30AM this morning writing that chapter. Dealing with the aftermath of the murderous demon attack today.

Beautiful day here but coping with numerous nasty no-see-me bites that are driving me crazy with their intense itchiness. Grabbed some extra strength Benadryl ointment after breakfast out with Kelly this morning and have applied it twice. Can only use it 3-4X daily so trying to hold off a third application until later, and the fourth just before bed because the itch was waking me up last night it was so bad. I hate this time of year with black flies, no-see-mees and mosquitoes out in droves. I have never had such a bad reaction to these bites before but am on immunosuppressant medication for the rheumatoid arthritis so I guess it's lowered my body's ability to cope with these bites- the bites are like welts! Will check with one of the doctors I work for tomorrow to see if there's anything RX strength I can use to calm the itch.

John is out painting the kick board between the bottom of the front door and the cement front steps. He just came to the door to let me know he removed a squatter from beneath the kick board. Seems a silver-colored snake had taken up residency there! Relocated although it wasn't pleased about the move.

And now, back to writing!

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Twisted Plot

I've been busy working on a new novel (fantasy/magic/romance). I'm about to start chapter 9 and so far there is much more going on than the main characters know, some surprising plot twists popping up out of the blue. I never know what's going to happen so even I have to wait to see how this all plays out!

This week was rather gloomy with bad news for John who still job hunting after having his job of 32-plus years simply eliminated (along with 339 co-workers whose jobs also disappeared at the same time). For nearly three months he's been searching for a comparable new job but his skills are primarily unique to the company that let him go. It has not been easy for him because his job was his life.

Meanwhile, Kelly's been actively job searching after being passed over for a job where she's been working as a contracted employee for over two years. She's had a series of interviews, including one push from Wednesday to Tuesday at the company she's at now. She had her last series of interviews at Smith & Wesson today and when she got home she found a very nice job offer with sign on bonus from the company she's been working at. So that was a nice ray of sunshine to end her week of interviews.

And this evening an old friend from my LEGO days (we were both 3rd shift injection mold machine operators) requested me to friend her on facebook, which I did. And then I found an email from her when I checked my personal email tonight. I'd been thinking about her recently, wondering what she's been up to. It'll be nice to reconnect with her.

And now I'm off to see what Ivy's father turns out to be- because she's just come to a startling realization at the end of chapter eight...I just don't know what's going to happen next until I get back into the writing zone and start typing!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Scheduled Book Signing

I will be at the READlocal event at the Agawam, MA Public Library on Cooper Street from 6:30PM-8:30PM on Monday, June 20th, 2016 with copies of My Magical Life for sale and signing.

I'm really looking forward to meeting the other local authors who will be featuring their books at this event.

My Magical Life makes for a great beach read!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A Dismal Homecoming

Got home from work tonight to an absolutely devastated husband- the company he was let go from back in February three weeks after he lost his mother told him he was not qualified for another position he applied for two weeks ago- when he had over 97% of the skills they were looking for. I have no idea how to lift him up out of this pit of despair he's fallen into over this. He's just so discouraged after three months of job hunting- there's no talking to him tonight. Kell and I are walking on eggshells. This sucks.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Five Chapters Down the Road Without a Map

From that dream that haunted me the other day a new novel is evolving.

I'm five chapters down the road without a map and enjoying the trip so far! Life is an adventure! I love it when a story just rolls out like a broad ribbon all embroidered with words and events that connect one to the other like the grid of roads on a GPS. What a journey! My destination will be another surprise.

This novel is turning out to be about a dark wizard and a white witch...that's all I can say because like with all of my books they just get written out of my head without any pre-planning and plotting, so even I don't know where they're going, but Kelly is already chasing me and catching up, doing the initial proofreading and editing of the rough draft pages I churned out yesterday. I heard her laugh in a couple of places, always a good sign! And she's already found the one thing from real life that I wove into the narrative (fairly early on for me, I usually bury it deeper into the novel but this fit so I put it in.)

Meanwhile, best friend Darlene was gifted Talon:The Familiarity of it All the other day (it was just released a couple weeks ago) which has prompted her to go back and reread books one and two in the Bryce and Dr. Talon trilogy. Book four, Talon:Finding the Familiar, is also out not (just released) and is linked to these three first books but is actually a stand alone novel using those characters but featuring a related new character and the people surrounding her. Probably confusing as written about here, but the next one will be even more so as it'll be about Bryce and Giles' son Cayle and fall between books 3 & 4 in time. Yeah, I'm out of order- throw the book at me!! (I'll catch it and read it!! Ha ha!)  Anyway- Darlene told me today she zipped through the first book (Talon:An Intimate Familiarity) and is starting the second book (Talon:A Sense of Familiarity) in the series to familiarize herself with the characters again and the sequencing of the story so she's more prepared to dig into book 3. Although she's read it already she told me today she enjoyed reading it a second time and picked up a lot more than she had the first time maybe that's why even I have to read my books over and over again- there's so much going on in them it's easy to miss something that links this to that.

I'm such a joyful writer!! :)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

In That Dream State Between Sleep and Waking

This morning, in that dream state between sleep and waking, a series of images passed before my mind's eye.. These images were so tactile, so vivid I could smell rain and wet pavement, feel the chill, raw night air, and woke with an uneasy feeling about what was going to happen.

My muse works best in these twilight moments, feeding me the start of a new story.

These images have haunted me throughout the day and now with the sun set and the twilight dissipating as deeper shadows of night obliterate the purplish hues of dusk I power up the laptop and off we go on a new adventure.

As I wrote on my goodreads blog earlier this evening, being a writer is akin to being an explorer, only the territory a writer explores, navigates and discovers is contained within the bony confines of one's own skull.

Huzzah! Off I go!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Stone Wall

Today I feel like I've hit a stone wall. I feel tired and I'm not sure I have the energy to get myself over this wall in order to continue my journey. The wall stretches for miles in both directions and I don't know if it ever ends. And while it's nice to think that there may be a place where the wall has fallen down or crumbled, making the climb easier, I also know that looks can be deceiving. A tumbled wall may hide a nest of snakes. It's possible to slip and fall while climbing over loose stones. Spraining an ankle or breaking a leg will only delay the journey.

It is up to me to get over this wall. I must have faith in myself as I face this challenge. I must just have Faith.

Obstacles are challenges- whether they are physical objects blocking your way forward, emotional issues that prevent you from moving forward, and even psychological demons like self-doubt, depression, fear...

Within each of us is an arsenal at our disposal with which we can tackle these obstacles. Determination, positive thinking, self-confidence, faith, joy, hope, trust, belief and strength.

We also have those around us- family and friends. Many hands make short work of tearing down a wall.

Tonight I will think about my strategy while my body rests and recovers from exhaustion and my spirit renews itself with sleep and meditation.

Tomorrow I will tackle this wall...and move forward.

Monday, May 9, 2016

House Warming

One of my co-workers and her husband just bought their first house.

Growing up, I remember my mother always buying friends and family members and co-workers who bought their first home a house warming gift. One time I vividly recall it was something as simple as a can of pea soup tied to the doorknob with a piece of string so hunger never visited their home.

I wracked my brain and decided to give her something pretty for inside her home and something pretty for the yard- things she and her family could enjoy for many years to come as they make that new house their home. I chose a butterfly bush that will have royal red blooms. We have a butterfly bush in our yard and it attracts beautiful butterflies- many of which I have never seen before. They find the flowers and stay awhile. My co-worker has a new granddaughter. I can see that little girl growing up chasing butterflies, marveling at them decorating that bush as she grows up. I can see my friend enjoying the flowers and butterflies too from her balcony, or while lounging poolside, or even while simply walking through her yard in quiet moments.

For inside her home I found a beautiful bamboo, laser-cut, openwork fruit bowl formed by connected rippled rings. It caught my eye the moment I saw it. This evening when I dropped the butterfly bush off she gave me a tour of her new house and there was the beautiful bowl on his dining room table with apples and bananas in it, serving it's purpose already and looking gorgeous- like a piece of art! She was very happy with it and the bush

The little plaque I also tucked into the gift bag was in her TV room reminding her to Love, Live and Laugh much.

It felt good to carry on one of my Mom's traditions by welcoming a friend and co-worker to her new home with simple gifts that will bring her happiness as they settle into their house and make it a home.

I wonder what other traditions I can bring back from when I was growing up?

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Nice Mother's Day

I woke up to cuddles with both cats who stuck to me like glue today...I am their surrogate Mom, after all!

When I came into the kitchen I found a card from Revere and Riley-Beans signed with paw prints, and a card from my daughter with a Barnes & Noble gift card tucked inside (she knows her Mom so well!). Then she and I went to breakfast and she paid.

During breakfast I had a text from my best friend Carol who was in the area so we went to the hotel where she had a suite and visited, then brought her home with us while her daughter went off with her boyfriend to visit his daughter. Both cats remembered Carol from her visit in January. Riley-Beans usually bolts and hides with company, but he came right out and laid where he could see her. Revere is much more sociable and hung out with us as we visited, ate lunch and then he sat at the kitchen table with us as we chatted before taking her to, where else, Barnes and Noble to meet her daughter so they could head home. Kelly and I visited the bookstore and I snagged two awesome books before we went home.

Tonight John took us for soft serve ice cream at the ice cream stand my parents used to take my sister, brother and me to all the time when we were growing up in my home town. On the way a cardinal flew by the window of my car and then veered off into a flowering crabapple tree. My mother's favorite bird was the cardinal and she had two crabapple trees in the yard when we were young and made crabapple jelly one year. I was like a quick Hi from Mom along the way.

Had text messages and facebook messages from friends throughout the day...

And now I'm going to write for an hour or so.  The perfect Mother's Day!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Reorganizing and Stuff

It was a busy week at work but I still managed to get stuff done. I finished writing all the little insert pieces at the beginning of each chapter which more or less serve as a timeline of events that fill in some background on current characters and characters merely referred to by them during the course of the novel.

I'd just been inserting these bits at the beginning of chapters randomly as they were written but then realized that placed in order of occurrence they present a chilling glimpse into the past and a better understanding of what is going on throughout the novel if they are all placed chronologically. Therefore, yesterday at lunch I jotted down notes and numbered the inserts by the time they occurred in the past, and this morning during breakfast before work I spent 35 minutes cutting and pasting them all (28 of them) and getting them at the beginning of the correct chapters.

Tonight, after dinner, I printed out a rough draft copy- the copy that I will scribble on and write notes all over to make changes and improvements, and fill in what might still be missing to make the whole thing a more cohesive novel. I'm really putting a lot more time than usual into this novel because I like the concept I came up with and want to give it the treatment it deserves. This one has the potential to be a breakout novel.

Handle with care...not that I haven't poured my heart and soul into everything else I've ever written- it's just that I've learned a lot in the past year since I began self-publishing my body of work (and there's oh, so much more of it sitting in the dining room!) that I want and need to apply these things to this novel.

There's another story kicking around in my brain pan, shuffling it's feet, tapping its fingers trying to get my attention...we'll see. I always do multiple projects at a time. Who knows...this novel lurking in the back of my mind may get done first!

I never know how things will go.

Monday, May 2, 2016

A quote from a New Novel Nearly Written

This is a male lead character who is no longer human talking to a young woman with a prosthetic lower limb, to put it in context in a nutshell for you-
   "Men are fools," he says. "The real beauty of a woman lies within the body and the mind. External appearances are merely pretty packaging that can fool a man into believing that he is capturing a prize when in reality his so-called prize is nothing more than a hollow confection who will never be able to satisfy his deepest cravings and desires."

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Post Book Signing Event

I had a wonderful day yesterday at the Articulture Westfield event, meeting four other local authors,  buying two of their books that interested me. I also met a number of local artists- one of whom I've been friends with on facebook for about two years but had never met in person. I bought a gorgeous slightly abstracted rooster print from an Afghanistan War veteran who paints to relieve post traumatic stress and anxiety. My best friend, Darlene, bought the matted print of the same image. Wish I could have afforded the full size painting...maybe next show! There was music upstairs that filtered downstairs throughout the day. Family and friends stopped by to show their support, and I was able to make some valuable contacts within the community who had, until yesterday, been unaware of my work. I was also able to pass on some upcoming book signing info to an author and hope to see her at that event.

Overall, I was happy and excited to be there to give my work some exposure. I have so many books that people were surprised, and maybe a little overwhelmed by learned that less may be more.

I was somewhat disappointed in that there were no signs indicating to people walking in off the street that the artists and authors were located on the lower level. I think we lost potential customers and contacts because many of those people just assumed it was a musical event on stage upstairs. I'm not sure if the ticket sellers were actually telling people the event was on both levels. Many people who found us in the lower level had come down to use the rest room facilities and wandered in from there seeing the lights on and hearing voices. That's my only criticism of the overall experience. There should have been more signage and direction to the lower level.

Otherwise- now I'm preparing for the READlocal event at the Agawam Public Library on June 20th where My Magical Life will be the only book I will be promoting, selling and signing. Showed the real cats in my house- Revere and Riley-Beans- the small plush standing black cat that represents Evangeline's wise-cracking familiar, Jazz, from that book I will be using as a prop and promotional tool and laughed like crazy! While Riley was busy giving the fake cat nose kisses, Revere was busy sniffing the toy's tail! They are too much! Also have a lovely antiqued leatherbound journal with an embossed pentagram and leather ties that will represent the grimoire Evangeline and Ardis want to find in the book. One end of the table will have these props representing images from the novel- the other end of the table will be promoting the book as a great beach read with a beach towel, sand chair and sunglasses as props.