WWW Wednesday May 24 2017

Welcome to WWW Wednesday!

This meme is hosted on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m Currently Reading:

Deadly Cargo (Jake Mudd Adventures #1) by Hal Archer

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book.  Jake Mudd is an entertaining character, who, despite his best efforts to avoid trouble, finds himself right in the thick of it.

Sometimes you need to get muddy.
Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
Former mercenary Jake Mudd travels the galaxy transporting goods to out of the way places. He operates under the radar to avoid enemies hellbent on settling old scores.

When a lucrative delivery gets hijacked, he goes after the package for the payoff he desperately needs.

With the help of his trusty blaster and an alien woman who stirs memories he’s traveled light years to forget, he sets out across a strange and treacherous world.

Tracking the cargo turns from difficult to perilous when he falls into the thick of a planetary struggle.

With more at stake than his life and the safety of his beloved ship, Jake fights to outrun and outgun the growing threats. But the worst threat of all may be the one he brought with him.

You can check out Hal Archer’s website here.

Deadly Cargo is available on Amazon.

What I finished reading recently:

The Council by Kayla Krantz

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review and I’m so glad I did!  Loved this book!  You can read my review here.  Heres the blurb from Goodreads:

The Council is the governing Coven over the Land of Five, a region entirely inhabited—and split apart—by witches with varying powers. Lilith Lace, a witch thought to be born powerless, happily resides in Ignis, the Coven of Fire, until she suddenly develops telekinesis, an ability only seen in some witches born in Mentis, the Coven of the Mind. When The Council finds out about her odd development, she’s taken under their wing and is finally told the truth—everything she’s learned about the Land of Five, herself included, have been nothing but lies.

If you’d like to check out this book or Kayla’s other books you can check out her website here.

The Council is available at Amazon.

What I think I’ll read next:

Goodreads blurb:

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.

With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.

Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.

Top 10 Tuesday

 

The Top Ten Tuesday Meme is hosted by the blog The Broke and the Bookish.  Every week they recommend a topic of Top Tens to post.  It highly recommend their blog, hop on over to their blog and check it out!

For this Tuesday, the topic of the week is Summer Reads Freebie!  In no particular order, here’s my recommendations for some summer/beach reads, books to go in your beach bag, the BEST books for summer.  Some of these I have read already, most are on my TBR list 🙂

 

1. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

    Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal…
A murder…a tragic accident…or just parents behaving badly?
What’s indisputable is that someone is dead. But who did what?
Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads.

This book is now an HBO miniseries!  It premiered February 19, 2017 and concluded April 2, 2017.

 

by Herman Koch

2. Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch

Once a celebrated writer, M had his greatest success with a suspense novel based on a real-life disappearance. It told the story of a history teacher who went missing one winter after having a brief affair with a beautiful student of his. The teacher was never found. Upon publication, M’s novel was a runaway bestseller, one that marked his international breakthrough.

That was years ago, and now M’s career is fading. But not when it comes to his bizarre, seemingly timid neighbor who keeps a close eye on him and his wife. Why?

From alternating points of view, where no one is to be trusted, Herman Koch weaves together an intricate tale of a writer in decline, a teenage couple in love, a missing teacher, and a single book that entwines all of their fates. Thanks to M’s novel, supposedly a work of fiction, everyone seems to be linked forever, until something unexpected spins the “story” off its rails.

With ever increasing tension, his signature sardonic wit and world-renowned sharp eye for human failings, Herman Koch once again spares nothing and no one in his gripping new novel, a barbed performance that suspends readers in the mysterious space between fact and fiction. (from Amazon)

3. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

In this multi-award-winning, bestselling novel, Margaret Atwood has created a stunning Orwellian vision of the near future. This is the story of Offred, one of the unfortunate “Handmaids” under the new social order who have only one purpose: to breed. In Gilead, where women are prohibited from holding jobs, reading, and forming friendships, Offred’s persistent memories of life in the “time before” and her will to survive are acts of rebellion. Provocative, startling, prophetic, and with Margaret Atwood’s devastating irony, wit, and acute perceptive powers in full force, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once a mordant satire and a dire warning.

The book was released in 1985, but what a perfect time to pick it up again!  It premiered as a 10 episode series in April, 2017.  It’s now set to have it’s second season to premiere in 2018. (from Amazon)

4. 1984 by George Orwell

It is 1984, and the worlds’ three major powers-Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia-are constantly at war. In Oceania, where the Party is in power, the thought police unearth every act of dissent, and Big Brother is always watching. Winston Smith, a dutiful citizen of Oceania, works for the Ministry of Truth as a propaganda writer who rewrites history to suit the needs of the authoritarian government. But when Winston falls in love with fellow worker Julia, they begin to question the very system they work for, placing them in immense danger. Pursuing their forbidden love affair, Winston plans a rebellion against the Party in order to regain the freedom to shape his own future. But the ever-watchful Big Brother will not tolerate opposition, and for those who speak up against the system or dare to think what the Party does not want them to think, Room 101 awaits them . . .

1984 is George Orwell’s haunting prophesy of the future, which has held multiple generations of readers spellbound in its chilling and terrifying vision of life under a totalitarian regime. Powerful and unforgettable, this still-relevant novel explores the obliteration of truth, individuality and liberty in a world where the ruling power seeks to control everything, from information to thought and memory. (from Amazon)

Check out here why the New York Times is calling 1984 a must read for 2017.  “1984” shot to No. 1 on Amazon’s best-seller list this week, after Kellyanne Conway, an adviser to President Trump, described demonstrable falsehoods told by the White House press secretary Sean Spicer — regarding the size of inaugural crowds — as “alternative facts.” It was a phrase chillingly reminiscent, for many readers, of the Ministry of Truth’s efforts in “1984” at “reality control.”

5. The Destroyers by Christopher Bollen

   When Charlie and I were young, we played a game called  Destroyers. . . . We were sharpening our instincts, jettisoning attachments. We were honing strategies for survival. . . .

Arriving on the Greek island of Patmos broke and humiliated, Ian Bledsoe is fleeing the emotional and financial fallout from his father’s death. His childhood friend Charlie—rich, exuberant, and basking in the success of his new venture on the island—could be his last hope.

At first Patmos appears to be a dream—long sun-soaked days on Charlie’s yacht and the reappearance of a girlfriend from Ian’s past—and Charlie readily offers Ian the lifeline he so desperately needs. But, like Charlie himself, this beautiful island conceals a darkness beneath, and it isn’t long before the dream begins to fragment. When Charlie suddenly vanishes, Ian finds himself caught up in deception after deception. As he grapples with the turmoil left in his friend’s wake, he is reminded of an imaginary game called Destroyers they played as children—a game, he now realizes, they may have never stopped playing.

An enthralling odyssey and a gripping, expansive drama, The Destroyers is a vivid and suspenseful story of identity, power and fate, fathers and sons, and self-invention and self-deception, from a writer at the very height of his powers. (from Amazon)

Now available for preorder.  Release date June 27,2017.

6. Relativity by Antonia Hayes

A “beautifully written, heartbreaking” (S.J. Watson) debut novel about a gifted boy who discovers the truth about his past, his overprotective single mother who tries desperately to shield him from it, and the father he has never met who has unexpectedly returned.

Twelve-year-old Ethan Forsythe, an exceptionally talented boy obsessed with physics and astronomy, has been raised alone by his mother in Sydney, Australia. Claire, a former professional ballerina, has been a wonderful parent to Ethan, but he’s becoming increasingly curious about his father’s absence in his life. Claire is fiercely protective of her talented, vulnerable son—and of her own feelings. But when Ethan falls ill, tied to a tragic event that occurred during his infancy, her tightly-held world is split open.

Thousands of miles away on the western coast of Australia, Mark is trying to forget about the events that tore his family apart, but an unexpected call forces him to confront his past and return home. When Ethan secretly intercepts a letter from Mark to Claire, he unleashes long-suppressed forces that—like gravity—pull the three together again, testing the limits of love and forgiveness.

Told from the alternating points of view of Ethan and each of his parents, Relativity is a poetic and soul-searing exploration of unbreakable bonds, irreversible acts, the limits of science, and the magnitude of love. (from Amazon)

7. The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell

Imagine that you live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbors for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really?

On a midsummer night, as a festive neighborhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible? (from Amazon)

 

8. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.

With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.

Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.(from Amazon)

I LOVED The Girl on the Train…can’t wait to read this!

9. Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

Kevin Kwan, bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend, is back with an uproarious new novel of a family riven by fortune, an ex-wife driven psychotic with jealousy, a battle royal fought through couture gown sabotage, and the heir to one of Asia’s greatest fortunes locked out of his inheritance.

When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside—but he’s not alone. The entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe to stake claim on their matriarch’s massive fortune. With each family member vying to inherit Tyersall Park—a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore—Nicholas’s childhood home turns into a hotbed of speculation and sabotage. As her relatives fight over heirlooms, Astrid Leong is at the center of her own storm, desperately in love with her old sweetheart Charlie Wu, but tormented by her ex-husband—a man hell bent on destroying Astrid’s reputation and relationship. Meanwhile Kitty Pong, married to China’s second richest man, billionaire Jack Bing, still feels second best next to her new step-daughter, famous fashionista Colette Bing. A sweeping novel that takes us from the elegantly appointed mansions of Manila to the secluded private islands in the Sulu Sea, from a kidnapping at Hong Kong’s most elite private school to a surprise marriage proposal at an Indian palace, caught on camera by the telephoto lenses of paparazzi, Kevin Kwan’s hilarious, gloriously wicked new novel reveals the long-buried secrets of Asia’s most privileged families and their rich people problems. (from Amazon)

10. I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

“I Am Pilgrim is simply one of the best suspense novels I’ve read in a long time.” —David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“A big, breathless tale of nonstop suspense.” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“The pages fly by ferociously fast. Simply unputdownable.” —Booklist

A breakneck race against time…and an implacable enemy.

An anonymous young woman murdered in a run-down hotel, all identifying characteristics dissolved by acid.  A father publicly beheaded in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square.  A notorious Syrian biotech expert found eyeless in a Damascus junkyard.  Smoldering human remains on a remote mountainside in Afghanistan.  A flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity.  One path links them all, and only one man can make the journey.  Pilgrim.(from Amazon)

ONE MORE FOR GOOD LUCK…

11. Find Her by Lisa Gardner

Lisa Gardner’s runaway New York Times bestseller—a fast-paced thrill ride featuring Detective D. D. Warren.

Seven years ago, carefree college student Flora Dane was kidnapped while on spring break. For 472 days, Flora learned just how much one person can endure.

Miraculously alive after her ordeal, Flora has spent the past five years reacquainting herself with the rhythms of normal life, working with her FBI victim advocate, Samuel Keynes. She has a mother who’s never stopped loving her, a brother who is scared of the person she’s become, and a bedroom wall covered with photos of other girls who’ve never made it home.

When Boston detective D. D. Warren is called to the scene of a crime—a dead man and the bound, naked woman who killed him—she learns that Flora has tangled with three other suspects since her return to society. Is Flora a victim or a vigilante? And with her firsthand knowledge of criminal behavior, could she hold the key to rescuing a missing college student whose abduction has rocked Boston? When Flora herself disappears, D.D. realizes a far more sinister predator is out there. One who’s determined that this time, Flora Dane will never escape. And now it is all up to D. D. Warren to find her. (from Amazon)

 

There it is!  My Top Ten (+1 Extra) Reading List for Summer 2017!

How about you? Have you read any of these yet?  Have I missed any good ones?  Hit the Comment button, I’d love to hear from you!

 

New Review: Worlds With Ruby by C.P. Cabaniss

Worlds With Ruby by C.P. Cabaniss

When you’re already dead, why should you be afraid?

When Ruby finds herself on the edge of a cliff in a land between life and death, with an ominous creaking coming from the nearby woods, she is left with no choice but to follow it to its source. Nothing is what it seems and Ruby soon finds herself being whisked away to worlds beyond her imagination. Worlds in need of saving. Along the way, she discovers that in saving these worlds, she is saving herself.

First of all, I’d like to thank the author for giving me the opportunity to read this short novel!  It was a quick read, dreamy and escapist and I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially as I got into the story.

At first, I have to admit, it seemed a bit odd and I wasn’t sure where it was all going.  As the story progressed, I found myself understanding Ruby more.  She’s a very likeable character, strong, but still with her own internal struggles that she learns to deal with.  The story advances, she deals with being a hero and saving other worlds, to examining her own self and her own weaknesses until she is finally ready to move on.

I liked the concept of translucent beings in the afterlife.  She was fearless because she had nothing to fear.  She was already dead.  I liked the worlds she visited, in fact, I would have liked to see her spend more time in these worlds.  Maybe in Book 2?  We shall see!  If you are looking for a quick read that is escapist, entertaining and thoughtful, this book is for you.

What kinds of books do you like to read?  Is Worlds of Ruby something that appeals to you?  I’d love to hear.  Post in the comments or send me an email 🙂

I received a copy of The Worlds of Ruby in exchange for a fair and honest review.

C.P. Cabaniss

Author Bio:

C P Cabaniss lives in South Carolina where she teaches Mathematics at a community college and writes about the things of her imagination. When not writing she enjoys reading the novels of Brandon Sanderson and Dean Koontz, among others.

C P is inspired most when caring for her horses, exploring old cemeteries, traveling to historic sites, and touring old naval ships.

Website: cpcabaniss.wordpress.com

Goodreads

Amazon

 

 

 

New Review: The Council by Kayla Krantz

The Council by Kayla Krantz

The Council follows in a similar vein to the Divergent series. There are separate covens and each coven has a primary ability in which they can do magic.  There is a also a ruling group (the Council) and a rebel group.  The main character, Lillith, is a strong character, just discovering her own unique and unexpected abilities.

LIillith is a witch who is powerful enough to overcome her disability, a childhood injury to her leg that had been caused by magic.  The daughter of Unequipped parents, she is not expected to have any magical abilities  That all changes at the Arcane Ceremony, where she and everyone around her are shocked when five goblets light up, each relating to a different power.

Mysteries about why she has these magical powers when she comes from Unequipped (non-magical) parents, her parents refusal to give her information on her injury, and the strange witch that shows up at the ceremony lead the reader into wanting to know more.

I love the idea of witches living in this dystopian world of separate covens being able to harness separate powers related to their individual element.  I found Kayla Krantz’s writing drew me in and I found it hard to put down.  I was dying to find out what was really going on and what was going to happen next!

I would have like to have seen more development between the characters Clio and Helena. I am excited to read Book 2 when it comes out

I received The Council as an Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I’d like to thank Kayla for the opportunity to read this awesome book!

You can receive your own copy of The Council here: The Council at Amazon.com.

Kayla Krantz

How to Be Creative in the Morning

I subscribe to Jeff Bullas’s blog.  Today,  he had excellent article on creativity that I thought was awesome and had to share.

7 Hacks For Maximizing Your Creativity In The Morning.  It’s a guest post guest posted by Justin Kerby.  Well done and very interesting with all the science behind each beneficial hack.

All of the hacks that he lists are equally important, it’s definitely worth reading the entire article.  For this post, I’m going to talk about exercising out doors.  It’s the one that resonated with me the most and helped me get going when I was at my worst.

Yes, I used to go to the gym, and hey, I know how great it feels great to hit the treadmill, work up a good sweat and push some iron.  It’s fun to go with a friend, but to be honest, I find
the gym atmosphere a bit stifling and uninspiring.  It might be because of anxiety.  Some people enjoy that environment, and that’s okay!  If your moving and getting in shape, that’s great.  The gym just isn’t for me.
Since Burger and I started hitting the trails, I feel refreshed and energized after our little hikes.  Maybe it’s the cold, the  fresh air in my lungs or just because I’m chasing a silly dog around.  But being out in a field under the wide blue skies or under a canopy of trees with a brook gushing and percolating beside us is so wonderfully peaceful.

“You let the prefrontal cortex rest, and all of a sudden these flashes of insight come to you. It supports creativity, positive wellbeing [and] reductions in stress. There are all kinds of reasons why it’s helpful.”

Kerby recommends 35 minutes of moderate aerobic activity first thing in the morning, but if that’s not possible, even 10-15 minutes of brisk walking can improve creativity.

Credit: http://www.jeffbullas.com/2017/05/12/creativity-in-the-morning

It can sometimes be a little hard to get motivated.  Some days, it seems almost impossible.  It’s so much easier to hit the snooze button, go back to bed or say to yourself, ‘I’ll start tomorrow.’

Before you even have a chance to hit the snooze button, get up.  If you think about it, you will talk yourself out of it.  You will make every excuse in the book. Once you’re up, you’re up.  That’s it.  Your tired body just has to deal with it!

I used to get up and have breakfast before I planned to head out.  I can’t do anything without breakfast in my stomach!  Well, guess what.  I’d have breakfast, and while I was eating, I’d check my Email, Facebook read a book, whatever.  My walking shoes, or my rubber boots would be sitting in the hallway waiting for me.  I did my best to ignore them and I was very good at it!  Before I knew it, hours had gone by and I still hadn’t gone out the door.

The weather has to be pretty bad to keep us from our walk!

So now, I get up, throw on some yoga pants, slap the leash on the dog and go.  I’m out the door before I even have time to think and start talking myself out of it.  I haven’t yet, had any regrets about going out without breakfast.  In fact, it just tastes all that more delicious after an energizing walk in the woods.

Eight Ways to Fight Depression and Anxiety

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to help boost me out of depression and anxiety.  It’s been a rough year, and I’ll just leave it at that.

I’ve been feeling better lately, a very good thing, and I’ve been encouraged to get back into the saddle and start doing some things that I used to do.  I haven’t painted in years, and writing was such a huge mental chore that it just didn’t happen.  Procrastination was my friend.

So, I’ve compiled a list of things that have helped me out of my depression.  I still have a ways to go, but I am making progress.

  1. Exercise.  Getting moving is one of the hardest things to do when you feel depressed and anxious but it really does help.  Start small.  Put your shoes on.  Walk outside for five, ten minutes.  I found a lot of times, once I got out the door, I was fine, I enjoyed being out.  The hardest part for me was getting those darn shoes on.
  2. Talk to someone.  Someone who understands depression and/or anxiety and gets what you are going through.  Sometimes, when I would try to explain to people what I was going through, their responses would only make me worse.  In hindsight, they likely don’t want to see suffering, and so made excuses for the way I felt.  I got everything from hormones to stress and blah, blah, blah.  I was surprised actually, how many people that I thought were ‘normal’, confided in me that they, too suffered from one or both conditions.  And yes, they got it.  They could relate to the devastation that these silent diseases can cause.
  3. Do something creative.  I avoided painting for years.  I thought my art work just wasn’t good enough.  I made the excuse that I was uninspired.  And writing was just too hard. And I wasn’t very good, anyway.  My occupational therapist assigned me painting sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 1:00.  It’s an appointment that I am expected to keep.  So at the appointed time, I go to my studio and I paint.  Just something simple.  Just for me.  And knowing I didn’t have to hang it on the wall took all the pressure off.  It was enjoyable and now I look forward to my painting sessions.  I even sneak into the studio when I don’t have an appointment.  Yes!  That’s progress.  It’s the little things, right?
  4. Get a rubby rock.  What’s a rubby rock?  It’s just a smooth stone from the beach.  My therapist gave it to me to help deal with agitation and nervousness.  It helped to calm me down, because my focus was switched elsewhere.  You could also use a stress ball.  Same idea.
  5. Accept invites for dates.  My anxiety would have me turning down invitations to go for coffee or go to a movie or go out with a group to dinner.  Go.  Even if it’s just for an hour.  Let them know in advance that you can’t stay long.  If you are having a good time, by all means, stay. On the other hand, if you are not feeling up to it, then you have already made your excuse to leave.
  6. Make sure you get enough sleep.  Eight hours is a good amount.  Too much or too little sleep can affect your mood.
  7. Get sunshine!  Aim for at least fifteen minutes of sunshine a day.
  8. Eat healthy and eat enough.  Food can have a huge effect on our mood.  Too much sugar, caffeine can make you feel worse.  Don’t skip meals, that can make you irritable and tired.  Boosting your B vitamins helps too.

 

Of course, if these techniques just aren’t cutting it, be sure to get professional help.  Know that the dark thoughts are not you, but part of a condition that can be helped.  Know that it will get better.

I made this list more or less off the top of my head.  There are far better resources out there if you are coping with depression and/or anxiety.  Here’s a few interesting ones:

Coping With Depression

Natural Depression Treatments (WebMD)

Thirty Ways to Improve your Mood

My 500 Words 31-Day Challenge

500 Words and Who Started It

Today is my first day doing the five hundred word challenge.   I stumbled across this challenge when I was hunting for information on blogging and how to improve your blog on Jeff Goins site.  He is a fantastic resource for information on writing, blogging and marketing, by the way.  Check him out!

Today was an incredibly busy day juggling multiple appointments, an airport run, feeding the kids, walking the dog, blah, blah, blah.  I didn’t have time for any yoga, I missed my usual morning walk (Burger gave me the big puppy dog eyes when I went out the door without him).  No breakfast with coffee or perusing my email with a little writing on the side.

Nova Scotia Writer’s Federation

This evening, I attended a workshop held by the Nova Scotia Writers Federation called “So You Want to be Published“.  Everything I have right now is a work in progress and far from ready to be published.  A girl can dream though, right?

One of the points made this evening was “Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work.”  I found a reference to it in this article.  It was based on an interview with painter Chuck Close, who says he’s never had “painter’s block” in his life. The “just show up and get to work” motto is a great creed to live by, especially if you want to be prolific and creative.

True.  Just sit down and do the work.

As Picasso said:

Inspiration exists.  It just has to find you working.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, here I sit, 10:30 at night, working.  I should be winding down for bed.  But, I am committed and I will do this.

A dear friend sent me this, to inspire me to get my butt in gear and get writing.  I love Stephen King’s work.  He’s an amazing writer and incredibly prolific.

 

He writes two thousand words a day.  Two thousand!  Holy crap.   I have participated in NaNoWrimo for the last three years running, and each time was a struggle to get the time (and energy!) to get my word count in.  If  you’ve never heard of Nanowrimo, it is also known as National Novel Writing Month.  Writers from all over the world participate by committing to
write 50,000 words during the month of November.  This is the amount of words in the average novel.  This amounts to 1,667 words per day in order to meet this goal.  Imagine writing 2,000 words every day.  Amazing.

Well, if he can do 2,000, surely I can five hundred right?

That’s the plan.  Wish me luck.  🙂  Thank you.

After my crazy day, and missing out on my walk this morning, I came home from the workshop and as tired as I was, I knew I would feel so much better if I got a good walk in.  I knew Burger would enjoy it too.

I walked in the door, swapped my kick ass boots for my bright, blue rubber boots, threw on a raincoat and clicked the leash on Burger.  Out we went into the wet, dripping night.  It was a nice rain, not too cold.  Burger walked happily beside me, he didn’t even pull once.

We pulled around a corner that I always felt was a bit creepy.  The streetlight stretched the shadows of the large chestnut trees that lined the sidewalks.  I glanced over my shoulder, sensing that something just wasn’t right when above my the streetlight began flickering.  It finally went out, leaving us in darkness.  The street was deserted, no cars came or went, nor was there anybody out on this rainy, drizzly night.

The streetlight ahead of us, down about four houses was still lit, and we quickened our pace to go back into the light.

So, as I’m walking I’m thinking…that would make a great story idea, right?  So, I started with this…

Lucy was glad for the company, but worried what the younger girl would think if it happened again tonight.

“You didn’t have to walk me home, Jen.”

“I wanted to, I don’t like it when you’re scared.”

“I’m not scared.”

“It’s dark though.  Aren’t you even a little bit?”

I didn’t answer.

We walked in silence for a bit.  Long shadows of  trees were stretched around us.  The streetlight hummed over our heads.  I eyed it, licking my lips. I could feel my pulse speeding up.  I wiped  my hands on my jeans.

 

Maybe tonight it wouldn’t happen.  Maybe tonight it will be alright.  I looked down at Jen.  A small smile escaped my lips.  Maybe she’s me good luck charm.

I was mistaken.  The streetlight flickered and Jen’s eyes went wide.

“What’s happening?” she asked.

“Hurry.  We have to go.”

She stopped.  “Why?”

She’s oblivious, I thought.

“Because we have to.”  I didn’t have to look up at the light to know it was flickering faster now.  “It’s coming.”

I pulled her arm and began dragging her down the sidewalk.  Her feet moved like stuck cement blocks.

“What’s coming?” she persisted.

The light went out then, and blackness settled around us.

“The Dark,” I said, proud that I was able to keep my voice steady in spite of myself.    “The Dark is coming.  Run!”

 

Fantasy Fiction: Low Fantasy vs. High Fantasy

Who doesn’t love getting into a good fantasy fiction?

There are oodles and oodles of different types of fantasy genres in literature, and they can  be broken down into their own subcategories.  Fantasy almost always involves some form of supernatural magic.–Wikipedia defines Fantasy as”

Fiction with strange or otherworldly settings or characters; fiction which invites suspension of reality 

Fantasy falls under the umbrella of Speculative Fiction, defined as any narrative fiction with supernatural or futuristic elements.  Fantasy is then broken down into categories by Setting and Theme.

High fantasy, a subgenres of fantasy, is set in a fictional fantasy universe with it’s own set of rules and physical laws, or by the epic stature of its characters, themes, and plot.

Low fantasy stories on the other hand, are usually set in a fictional but rational world.  A lower emphasis is placed on traditional fantasy elements.  There is a tendency for less magic and a less fantastical, more ordinary setting.

According to Bestfantasybooks,

Common thematic elements include struggles for power, moral ambiguity, and cynicism about society and the flawed nature of the human condition. Moral Ambiguity and a flawed humanity are perhaps the biggest contrasts to High Fantasy and are key to creating a grittier, more realistic world. Magic is also a point of divergence: magic envelopes the worlds of High Fantasy, but in Low Fantasy, magic is not the focus or in some more extreme cases, might not even be present in a Low Fantasy world (example, Jennifer Fallon’s Second Son’s trilogy).

A Review

Speaking of low fantasy, I recently had the pleasure of reading Lady Blackwing by Devorah 

Fox.  It was an advanced reader copy in exchange for a fair and honest review of this science fiction mini. This was my first time reading any of Devorah’s books and I enjoyed this light fantasy very much.

Lady Blackwing is about a young barista, Mercedes, an interesting and kind character. She’s a hard worker, at school and at the coffee shop though she still enjoys making time for writing. After a strange but minor accident, she finds that she is able to control situations, and make them happen as she saw fit.

I found Devorah’s writing to be fresh and fun. I liked that the story was a quick read, and at the same time, I found myself wanting more!  Well written and entertaining.  Please click on the links to check out more of Devorah’s work.

Devorahfox.com

Goodreads

Twitter

On May 10, Lady Blackwing will be launched on Amazon. 

We are Never Getting a Dog.

 

From the time my youngest son Ethan learned to speak, he has wanted a dog.  He’s always loved our cats.  But, he argued, cats don’t play with you the same way that a dog does.

Excerpts of conversations over the years:

“Mom, can we get a dog?”

“Absolutely not.”

“Mom. Why can’t we have a dog?”

“No.”

“Mom, I need a dog.”

“No, Ethan.  You don’t need a dog.”

Don’t get me wrong. I like dogs. I have friends who have dogs.  The way I saw it, life with a dog might be great for some people, but hey, I was not going to be fooled by the charm of these sweet, furry creatures.  They’re a lot of work!  The frequent walks, poop cleanup,  the fur ball tumbleweeds rolling across the floor.

I’m a cat person.

I was always a cat person.  Litter duty and food duty, that’s about it.  They don’t even need to be bathed.  They take care of that themselves.

Our cat Jag is an absolute sookie baby. He’s adorable and he loves to snuggle.  He can be a bit skittish at times, and he has his independent moments, but that’s okay!

“How do you think poor Jag would feel about having a dog in the house?  It wouldn’t be fair to him.  He’d be scared to death.”

That did nothing to deter Ethan.

It was the beginning of March, 2016.  Ethan’s birthday was coming up.

Jag
Jag the Cat Photo credit Ethan MacDonald

“What do you want for your birthday, Ethan?”
“A dog.”

“We’ve already discussed this.  We’re not getting a dog.”

“Then I don’t want anything.”

*sigh*

He put up some pretty good arguments, I have to admit.  One being that there were almost no kids in the area for him to play with.  He wanted to get outside, run around and get exercise.  That way, he wouldn’t be staying inside on the computer or playing video games.  He would be out with his dog.  All the time.  It’s hard to argue with that logic.

Of course, there were the promises, too.  Walk him everyday.  Feed him.  And yes, even clean up his poop.

You can see where this is going, right?

It took a month to find him, but on March 31, the day before Ethan’s twelfth birthday, we brought Burger home from the SPCA.

We couldn’t imagine life without this adorable pup now!

 

Wait!  What about the cat?

So, things were a little tense for about a week.  Jag was not one little bit happy with this large, goofy intruder in his home.

We managed to come to a compromise, though.  Burger stays downstairs.  He has the run of the main floor (minus the sofas).  He does not go upstairs.  He doesn’t even try!  He’s an amazing, well behaved dog and we feel so lucky to have him with us.

Jag stays upstairs when he needs peace and quiet but he’s quite content to come downstairs, too.  Unlike Burger, he is allowed on the sofas and is quite happy to give him his na-na-na-na-na look when he’s sitting up on his perch.

What does Burger have to do with Creativity and Inspiration?

Well, it’s like this.  Not long after Burger came into our lives, depression and anxiety robbed me of my ability to enjoy life.  I actually hadn’t painted in years.  My attic studio might has well have been on Mount Everest as up two flights of stairs.  I couldn’t make it.  Even when I managed to muster myself up there, at the encouragement of my boys, I would spend a lot of time just staring at a blank canvas.

Writing also became almost impossible.  My ability to concentrate and focus were affected.  It was even difficult to carry on a conversation.  I could not remember what I was doing from one task to the next.

Then comes Burger.  And walks.  And dogs parks.

It’s a ritual for us now.  I drop Ethan off at school then Burger and I make our way to the park.  I’ve increased my walk from 10-15 minutes per day to 35 minutes.  It’s awesome for both of us.

Walking gets me out and feeling better than I have felt in a long time.  And with the arrival of spring, I’ve been inspired to do some art work in my studio.

From my Studio

Here’s an acrylic painting I’ve been working on.  It’s been through several layers of colours and shapes and I think I’m finally happy with it.  It’s called Three Wishes.

 

Today was a gorgeous day, it’s finally starting to warm up on the East coast.  Here’s some pictures I took on my walk with Burger this morning.

Little signs of hope.  The warmth in the air, the blooming of pretty, colourful flowers is so refreshing.

Feeling so very thankful right now for all that is well with the world.

Pretty Mayflowers

 

 

 

 

Book Reviews

 

In my Kindle right now, I have two new Advanced Reader Copies that I can’t wait to start reading!

I will be reading The Council.  This is Book One of the Witch’s Ambitions Trilogy by Kayla Krantz.  Sounds exciting doesn’t it?

Here’s some background

Genres: Epic Fantasy, New Adult, Romance

The Council is the governing Coven over the Land of Five, a region entirely inhabited—and split apart—by witches with varying powers. Lilith Lace, a witch thought to be born powerless, happily resides in Ignis, the Coven of Fire, until she suddenly develops telekinesis, an ability only seen in some witches born in Mentis, the Coven of the Mind. When The Council finds out about her odd development, she’s taken under their wing and is finally told the truth—everything she’s learned about the Land of Five, herself included, have been nothing but lies.

 

Also, right now I am reading Lady Blackwing by Devorah Fox.

Mercedes is just trying to make her way through life: taking classes, working her shift as a barista, and writing short stories that she never seems to finish. After a minor accident, she finds herself imbued with startling powers. She projects future events and rewrites the past, with disastrous consequences. Her first attempts to use her strange talents incite a zombie attack and bring an Egyptian goddess to life. Stunned by awesome abilities that she can’t seem to control, Mercedes wonders if she’s been cursed. Can she be cured? And if she can’t, what then?