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Victoria Dougherty: A Cold War Princess with the Sultan’s Slippers – @VicDougherty

I have had this interview in my save for an AWESOME DAY for quite some time. Considering this week the Cold War is all over the news (Veteran’s Day and more) I decided today was the AWESOME DAY! I want to welcome one of the sweetest most awesome, fun, festive, exciting, supportive, feel good human beings and authors I have met this year…The original Cold War Princess, Victoria Dougherty

cold-war-princess

She is pretty fabulous, and she has a very interesting personal story and is well versed at weaving very amazing tales! Welcome Victoria! Sit down, have a cup of coffee and let’s show these folks just how awesome you are!

Oh wait, I really want to stress going and liking her page and trolling through her photos. She posts black and whites and often with some awesome descriptions, for example one of my favorites (we both love noir so I giggled a lot at this)

Cafe Noir: Take sip. Inhale deeply on cigarette. Keep your eye on the guy in the raincoat who keeps looking at you over his newspaper.

Cafe Noir: Take sip. Inhale deeply on cigarette. Keep your eye on the guy in the raincoat who keeps looking at you over his newspaper.

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CG – Introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you. (As in tell us something NOT in your bio, give us a dirty little secret not having or having to do with your writing)

If you’ve read my blog, you know I come from the ultimate Cold War family – daring escapes, backyard firing squads, Communist snitches, bowlfuls of goulash, gargoyles, spies, killers and dangerous pursuits.  All of these are part of my recent family history and go a long way in explaining why I write Cold War thrillers.

I also love to drink rye whiskey, will eat anything with butter and cream as ingredients, and have an illogically happy marriage.  I wrote erotica when it wasn’t cool to do so.  I miss Christopher Hitchens every day.  And I’m a devout Catholic.  None of these facts feel contradictory to me.

She is also into black and white photography, goes with the noir soul (as mentioned about) here are a few examples from her site. One is of a bone church which really does exist.

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CG – Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into? (If you want you can – I would love it if you did – a max flash fiction of no more that 500 with the prompt of “LIGHT” since summer is almost here (Yes this could work with romance, mystery, humour, textbooks on quantum physics.. own it, title it and GO!)

YA! Although I probably have a pretty sick romance in me.

The Sultan’s Magic Slippers

fade-line-dividerBy Victoria Dougherty ©2013

In the Kingdom of Rah’a, it had long been rumored that the Sultan had risen to power not on the might of his crushing fist or the whip of his intellect, but in the cozy comfort of a pair of slippers he had taken from a dying soothsayer.

The Sultan’s slippers were all Pallah, the slave boy, thought about.  His own slippers – made of linen and burlap thread – itched his feet and made blisters on his soles.  They had been given to him by his master, Galgar, and held no magic.  Only sad memories of the loss of his mother and father and his unlucky tumble into slavery.

On most mornings, Pallah was dragged to the slave market by Galgar – pulled by a neck chain through the crowds.  Galgar’s lust for attendants was boundless, as was his personal joy at being able to mistreat them.  Jackal, Pallah thought.

Sheiks and wealthy merchants talked amongst themselves at the slave market, their jewel encrusted turbans bobbing with each nod of a head and their heavy silken capes rippling in the hot wind. As they stood next to one another with their arms crossed and legs spread wide, their colors overlapped like a desert sunset.

The boy had been to this market at least a hundred times, often seeing the same, doleful faces that had been sold back and forth to a dozen different masters.  But today, there was someone new.  A girl.  About his age.  Beautiful.  Her skin as smooth as a fresh fig.

“Scared?”  The slave boy whispered to the girl.  Galgar, his master, was considering her for purchase.  Her eyes were the color of soil.

“It is an honor to be looked upon by a man belonging to the Sultan,” she said.

The boy leaned into her, eye to eye, and sniffed the breath that seeped from her nose.  It smelled of cinnamon.

“He’s a brute and as brainless as an old camel.”  The boy murmured, and the girl smiled.

Though the slave boy didn’t know her, though he’d only seen her for the first time that day, his heart pumped in his chest as if it was a bird flapping to be let out of his rib cage.  He wanted to put his arm around the girl as he used to do to his best friend, Egon, and sing songs about snakes and their charmers while they walked back to their camels.  If he could have his freedom, this girl, and the Sultan’s Magic Slippers, he knew he would have it all.

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CG – When it comes to the genre you do write in, what are a few of the books or writers that have influenced you and your own writing (yes I can actually ask a serious question?)

Raymond Chandler, Alan Furst, Dashiell Hammett, Harper Lee (CG – OMG you are my hero!)

CG – If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

Dream Cast

Adjusting for age, of course, since the actress I want needs to be about 25 years younger and one of the actors I’ve chosen is dead – here goes:

Julian SandsJulian Sands as Felix Andel (The Bone Church).  Because in his prime he was the quintessential, Old World romantic hero.  He’s smart, cultured, obscenely handsome, yet somehow manages not to come across as gay.

 “My name is Felix Andel or Marek Wulf or Marek Andel, or any number of combinations thereof, depending on who you talk to.  But most of the people I know call me Father.”

Michael Shannon as SrutMichael Shannon as the gypsy, Jura Srut.  I’ve seen him on stage.  He can play raw, angry, and terminally f*cked up like few actors can.

“I’ve got a dirty race, too.  The dirtiest one, but only half like you.  I’m a gypsy.  See?  You’re surprised.  I can pass, I told you.  Almost everyone I know is gone – been rounded up – but not me.”

Ian Richardson as priestIan Richardson as Cardinal Merillini.  Because he was so brilliant in the original House of Cards (British version).  He can play deeply flawed, horrifically corrupt, yet you still believe that he believes he’s doing the right thing for the right reasons.

 “Was there a reason you killed the German or was it for sport the way you murdered Father Duch in my bathtub?”

Lena-Olin-001Lena Olin as Magdalena Ruza.  I just want her to reprise her role as Sabina in the Unbearable Lightness of Being.  But softer – more pain, less artsy bravado.

“My mother hated the cold.  She also hated lipstick, marzipan and Lutherans.”

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Morning CoffeeCG – What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

Make coffee.  (CG – OK I am with you on that.. then? Jazz hands and Bacon)

CG – Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing (as in what candy / snack food / drink / 80’s hair band you break out in song too when you just cannot figure out the next line to write and that bitch of a muse is off on her own hunt)?

Reaching out to my writer friends on social media.

CG – What do you do when you’re not writing? (ie: What festive things do you do for fun? What things do you do when you make yourself have fun, and what is on the top of your list to do when you actually take two days for you (and family)

I love to walk, drink cocktails on my porch, cook horribly caloric meals, have long conversations into the night, and write naughty limericks.  If I had two days to spend with my family, I’d take my kids to Disneyworld, which is apparently the happiest place on earth – or so the brochure says.

CG During the zombie apocalypse, what fictional character would you want watching your back?

Definitely that Bruce Willis character in the Die Hard movies.  Either that or Uma Thurman’s character in Kill Bill.  Wait, those are movies and we’re talking literature here.  How about Harry Potter?  He could conjure a spell that would take care of the walking dead, right?  Maybe one of Travis Luedke’s vampires.

CG – If your book was a meal what would it be? Meat and potatoes? Vegetarian? A light nouveau cuisine?

This is so easy – Chicken with Tarragon Cream sauce and herbed rice – French style.  I think it’s called Chicken Fricassee.  It’s heaven in a copper pot.

Let’s make this a real Cabin Goddess “Interview and a recipe

CG – Create a drink (with or without booze) representing your book in name an ingredients (this could be a renamed established drink)  My husband is the mix master in our family, so he came up with this one:

Fun_with_Dry_Ice_by_Bookwrm17Martyr’s Blood

  • 1 shot plum brandy
  • Some B&B (think vermouth to a martini)
  • A pour of hot, raspberry syrup
  • Mix and voila!
  • Serve with brandied cherries in a pewter goblet and take two Advil.

“MAKE MINE A MEAL” Create (or rename) a recipe for a dish, an appetizer or a dessert that goes with your book.

We’ll call this Ponúry, which means “sorrow-lovely” in Czech:

Ponúry 

veal-brain

Or in other words………
Scrambled Veal Brains with Topinky (Czech bruschetta)

Serves 2

  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 brain of veal
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 Tablespoons well-used lard
  • 4 slices rye, French or Italian bread.  Sourdough will also do, but don’t use wheat, multigrain or anything that doesn’t have a good crust.
  • 2 Tablespoons diced onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Paprika

Directions

  1. Heat a sauté pan over high heat for 1-2 minutes.  Add butter.
  2. When butter has melted, add veal brains.  Stir like you’re stirring scrambled eggs until fully cooked.  The consistency will be much like scrambled eggs, though the color will be grayish brown.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste

Topinkyscarmbled veal brains

  1. Heat 2 Tablespoons lard in iron skillet or sauté pan until good and hot (about 1-2 minutes).  Add bread slices and fry until both sides are browned.
  2. Spread remaining lard over fried bread (think cream cheese on a bagel), then sprinkle with diced onion, salt and pepper, and paprika.

You’re good to go!

Fast & Furious

  • On the Rocks, Blended or Bottle and a Shot Glass? Rocks – only not my whiskey.
  • Coke or Pepsi? Coke
  • Zombie Apocalypse or mysterious pandemic? Zombies
  • Poison or Assassin?  Assassin
  • House of Mirrors or House of Horrors? Mirrors
  • Superman or Iron Man? Superman
  • Learn battle techniques from a viking or a ninja? Ninja!  They’re sneaky bastards!
  • Beret or Stocking cap? I hate to say it, but beret.
  • Chainsaw arm or shotgun leg? No contest – shotgun leg.  Now imagine a woman in a beret with a shotgun leg.

Meet the Author

Victoria-DoughtertyVictoria Dougherty has for nearly twenty years distinguished herself as a master storyteller, writing fiction, poetry, drama, speeches, essays, and television news segments/video scripts.

In Prague, Ms. Dougherty co-founded the acclaimed Black Box Theater, translating, producing and acting to sold-out audiences in several Czech plays – from Vaclav Havel’s riveting “Protest” to the unintentionally hilarious communist propaganda play “Karhan’s Men.”  Black Box Theater was profiled in feature articles in USA Today, International Herald Tribune, and numerous European publications.

Currently, Ms. Dougherty lives with her family in Charlottesville, VA, and has recently completed a thematically linked Cold War thriller series.

Blog, Cold | Facebook | Cold Eye on Tumblr | Twitter | Pinterest

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A sneak peak at her upcoming novel….

Bone Church in Kutná Hora Kostnice Sedlec

Bone Church in Kutná Hora Kostnice Sedlec

The Bone Church

After secretly witnessing the murder of his father at the hands of a Nazi thug, Czech hockey star Felix Andel sets his sights on revenge. Soon Felix and his half-Jewish lover, Magdalena Ruza, become embroiled in a Prague Underground plot to assassinate the man who ordered the hit on his father: Hitler’s nefarious Minister of Propaganda, Josef Goebbels.

But in the surreal and paranoid underworld of wartime Prague, Felix and Magdalena must forge unlikely alliances in their quest—with a mysterious Roman Catholic Cardinal, a reckless sculptor intent on making a big political statement, and a gypsy with a dangerous sex life.

When the assassination attempt against Goebbels goes wildly wrong, fierce historical winds blow the lovers in separate directions. Critically wounded and slipping into a fog of extraordinary visions, Felix’s destiny is sealed at The Bone Church, a mystical pilgrimage site on the outskirts of Prague where he experiences a religious conversion. Magdalena, abandoned by the Cardinal who promised her safe passage out of the country, goes deep into hiding lest she be rounded up and transported to Auschwitz.

Twelve years pass.

Bone Church in Kutná Hora Kostnice Sedlec</a

Bone Church in Kutná Hora Kostnice Sedlec

Felix, now a Jesuit priest, is an emissary for people in trouble. From Vienna, he runs a Vatican-financed operation that smuggles prominent dissidents out of Soviet-occupied countries. Only this time, it’s Magdalena who needs his help. After a long exile in various political prisons, she turns up in a bleak corner of the Czech countryside – disgraced, impoverished and struggling to stay alive. Felix’s superior in Rome, the Cardinal who betrayed Magdalena, reluctantly dispatches him to collect her.

With government security forces closing in around them as they run for the border, the émigré priest is forced to confront his past…and the fragility of his faith.   

Victoria Dougherty: A Cold War Princess with the Sultan's Slippers - @VicDougherty

2 Comments

  1. Excellent blog post. And more hot than ‘cold’ 🙂

  2. Kriss, thank you. You are the best. I’ll have you over for scrambled veal brains and topinky some time – but I prefer whiskey to martyr’s blood 🙂

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