Friday, June 28, 2013

Small Things & Books

Lots to talk about today so let's just jump right to it, shall we?

First up is Celebrate The Small Things hosted by VikLit where participants share whatever they happen to be celebrating from the past week. Here are my celebrations:

—The Red Sox are in first place in the AL East. I am clinging to this at the moment because (although it always makes me happy when the Sox are in first place) it's been a rough week for Boston sports. But, seriously, congratulations to the Blackhawks who beat the Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals. It was a great series.

—I took my niece to the mall this week. It's always fun to take her shopping. I don't remember being that into clothes and shopping when I was her age, and I certainly don't have her talent for putting outfits together. As she reminds me often. This trip, she looked at what I was wearing and said, "Well, it matches." Anyway, we had a great time and I bought a new pair of jeans. That were on clearance. Win-win.

—I've read a couple of awesome books, which is a perfect segue into my next topic...

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse (June 2013 edition)...

This monthly book club is hosted by The Armchair Squid and asks participants to share their thoughts on the books they most enjoyed that month. Since I love talking about books and adding new titles to my TBR list, this seemed like a perfect group for me.

While I will post every book I read this month in a few days, the one title I've selected to feature here is...

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Here's the synopsis from Goodreads:

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

I LOVED THIS BOOK.  I loved the characters. It's a dual POV that alternates between the two MCs, and I loved the character voices. They felt real to me. I love that it takes place in the 80's because I am a total 80's child. I love the music it mentions, and the movies and television shows.

And I love, love, LOVE the fact that this book has a Dicey Tillerman reference. I don't know if you know who Dicey Tillerman is but she's the MC of a YA series (first book is Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt) that I have loved for years. She is on the list of my all-time favorite literary characters and when I read her name in this book, I squealed with delight.

I just wish this story had gone on longer. Which is weird because I loved the ending and thought it was very fitting for the book, but I didn't want it to end. I wanted to stay with these characters and follow them around everywhere they went and press my face up against their living room windows just so I wouldn't miss a moment of their lives.

Unless that's weird. Then I don't want to do that. 

Except I totally do.

§§§

That's gonna do it for me today. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a great weekend!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Elevensies

Last week, the wonderful Tara Tyler was good enough to bestow upon me the Liebster Award.

Recipients of this honor are asked to answer eleven questions written by the presenter. So here are Tara's questions and my responses:

1. What's your nickname? (make one up if you don't have one)

Galactic President Superstar McAwesomeville. True story. (note: not a true story)

2. What genre do you read the most?

Lately I've been on quite the YA kick. I can't help it. There are some truly awesome people writing some truly awesome stories. But if I'm not reading YA, I'm probably reading historical (medieval) fiction.

3. What celebrity would you love to meet?

Joss Whedon. But you probably already knew that.

4. What is your favorite age?

The middle ages.

5. Facebook or Twitter?

Twitter, I think.

6. What awesome thing will you do when your book is published?

I can't answer this question because doing so feels too much like tempting fate. I'll let you know when/if I actually do publish my book. But it'll probably involve medieval weaponry.

7. What book would you like to see turned into a movie?

This is a tough question because I love books and I love movies, but I think The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King would be a pretty cool movie because it's a pretty cool story and there would be pirates involved.

8. Where were you born?

A hospital. Though there is sometimes speculation that it was a barn instead.

9. Name a place you'd like to visit some day.

Great Britain

10. Are you a summer, winter, fall, or spring?

If you mean which is my favorite, I'm a fall kind of girl. If you mean wardrobe/cosmetics colors, I have no idea.

11. Any regrets?

Well, I probably should'nt have had all those Oreos for breakfast, but other than that, I think I'm good...

§§§

Next up comes the part where I am to nominate other recipients and offer them eleven questions of my own to answer. I never do the official nominating part, but I did come up with eleven questions, so if you're so inclined, please consider yourselves tagged. Or, answer whatever questions you want in the comments. Or just ignore the whole thing altogether. We're very laid back here at My Pet Blog. Just don't ask my blood pressure...

1. To be or not to be?

2. Where's the beef?

3. Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

4. Why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near?

5. How about it, punk? Do you feel lucky?

6. Do you want fries with that?

7. What's your damage, Heather?

8. Who was that masked man?

9. What is your name?

10. What is your quest?

11. What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

§§§

Aaaaaaaaand that's gonna do it for me today. Thank you to Tara Tyler for the shout-out. Be sure to visit her blog as she's one of the hosts of the Thrill Of It All bloghop going on today (Heather M. Gardner is the other host).

And, as always, thanks for stopping by. Have a great Monday, all.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

It's Raining Men (of Foxwick)

Today on My Pet Blog, we are celebrating Cherie Reich's latest release, Men of Foxwick. 

Check out that gorgeous cover art!

This fantasy short story collection features five men from the Kingdom of Foxwick.

A blind teen seeks a place in the kingdom. A dragon seer journeys to Wintermill to spy on the queen. A sword master's worst fear comes true when he fails to protect the royal family. A king falls in love with an herb witch, but will she feel the same way? A hunter will rise to the challenge to hunt down a man-eating monster.

Short stories in this collection: Blind Scribe, Dragon Spy, Sword Master, Courting Magic, and Monster Hunter.


An Excerpt from "Blind Scribe" in Men of Foxwick

Dallan counted his steps as his mama and he weaved through the busy streets of Foxwick. Twenty-six, twenty-seven. They’d passed the fruit stand and were now farther into Foxwick than he’d ever been in his fifteen summers. People, just moving shadows, brushed against his shoulder. He scrunched toward Mama to make his lanky frame smaller. The odor of sweat and manure combated the more pleasant scents of flowers and baking bread. A bead of sweat trickled into his hairline, and he longed for the comfort of their small house.

“Keep up, Dallan.” Mama’s skirts brushed against his pants’ legs.

“Where are you taking me?” He clung to her arm and dragged his feet. They’d gone too far. The shadows darkened, as if the sun had slipped behind the horizon, and he had no clue where he was now.

She halted mid-step before yanking him forward. “I do not wish to do this, but we have little c-choice.”

“Do what, Mama?” He wanted to dig his heels into the pavement and halt their progress. Had she decided he was more trouble than he was worth? Times were tough, and he was such little help. He tried to plow straight—despite counting his steps and placing one foot in front of the other—but he often tripped over the rocky soil. He tried cooking, but he couldn’t even boil water without scorching it. Though he wasn’t too bad as a tailor because he could count stitches and feel where he needed to go, he still needed guidance.

She pulled him closer. Rough stone rubbed against his arm through his thin shirt. A sob hitched in Mama’s throat as she emitted a mouse-like squeak. She embraced him tightly and then smoothed his damp hair from his face. “My sweet boy, I’m so, so sorry.”

“What’s wrong?” His heart pounded like a horse galloping across an open field, each hoof beating the ground in a frantic rhythm.

§§§

To purchase Men of FoxwickAmazon / Amazon UK / Smashwords / Kobo / Nook

About the Author: A self-proclaimed bookworm, Cherie Reich is a speculative fiction writer, freelance editor, book blogger, and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her books include the horror series Nightmare, a space fantasy trilogy titled Gravity, and a fantasy series The Foxwick Chronicles. She is Vice President of Valley Writers and a member of the Virginia Writers Club and Untethered Realms.

Her debut YA Epic Fantasy novel Reborn, book one in The Fate Challenges, will be released on May 23, 2014.

For more information, please visit Cherie’s website and blog.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Halfway Point

As we're just over the halfway point of the year, I thought I'd check in with the goals I set for myself at the beginning of 2013 to see just how well (or not well) I'm doing with things.

1. Publish Effigy

Well, it's not published yet, but as it's currently with the proofreader, I am somehow making progress here, and accomplishing this very important goal is not out of the question. There's still a long way to go, though, and I'm sure it's much longer than I think it is.

2. Participate in NaNoWriMo 2013

As it's not yet November, this goal is kind of null and void. But I do have plans to participate. And win.

3. Be a better blogger.

Hahahaha. Yeah. I haven't done so well with the whole blogging thing so far this year. My intention is to blog three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) but, with the exception of the A to Z Challenge, I'm probably only averaging once a week.

4. Walk, run or bike at least 500 miles.

As of this posting, I have run/walked 171 miles. I'm a little behind. By, like, 100 miles, but I always start slow. It's hard for me to get motivated in February. The temptation to stay cozy and warm under afghans is just too strong to resist.

5. De-clutter

I've made only one trip to Goodwill so far this year. I have another large piles of stuff waiting to go. I could be doing better on this one, but it could be a lot worse.

6. Read 60 books.

According to Goodreads, I've read 49 books so far this year, and I know I've read a few that didn't get listed on Goodreads, so I guess this goal is well in hand. Yay me.


Aaaaaaaaaand.....That's gonna do it for me today. I'm off for a action-packed shift at The Store. Thanks for stopping by and have a great Monday.



Friday, June 14, 2013

Celebrate Good Times



Welcome to this week's edition of Celebrate The Small Things, the weekly bloghop that celebrates the good things (however seemingly minor). Please click on the pic on the left for a complete list of participants.

Here's what I'm celebrating this week:

—I attended my fabulous goddaughter's dance recital. She's been dancing since she was three and I haven't yet missed a recital. I love seeing how much she's grown as a dancer. I know I'm probably not the most unbiased person on this subject, but she's damn talented and I am so proud of her.

—I've spent much of the last week writing a scene for my WIP. Yes, a single scene (but I've written, like, three drafts of it so far). It doesn't have an proper beginning or ending yet, but it's been an interesting process so far and I'm honestly just happy to be writing something. That's not to say that my creative floodgates have broken open or anything, but there's at least a steady stream trickling through.

—Also on the writing front, I've created a new character for the same WIP. I don't know much about him yet except that he's going to be a bad guy. In fact, his name is currently "To Be Named Later" (which I think is probably a little long). But even in his character infancy, TBNL has completely destroyed my plan for the second half of the story. Stupid bad guy. Now I'm working without a GPS unit or a road map or any sort of directional guidance type thing. Which is scary and thrilling all at the same time. At any rate, I'm looking forward to seeing where this WIP ends up.

—On the health front, I've run/walked fifteen miles so far this week. And I still have two more days (this post will be published before my Friday jaunt) in which to log more miles. I wonder if I can break twenty.

And that's gonna do it for me today. What might you be celebrating?

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Dog Is My Co-Pilot, Part Two



Today is the Gator Girl's birthday.

The Gator Girl, for those who may not know, is my (now) eight year old Belgian Malinois.

And if you're unfamiliar with the breed, the Malinois is a part of the Belgian shepherd family. They're commonly seen in law enforcement/military fields because of their high intelligence and never-ending energy. The Gator Girl's name originates from the fact that many Malinois enthusiasts refer to the breed as "maligators" for their proficiency at protection work and/or taking down bad guys.

If you watch the show Person of Interest, Bear is a Malinois. While Bear is trained in Dutch, the Gator Girl is trained in French with a smattering of Russian.

And though the Gator Girl hails from very strong working lines, she is more noted for getting into things she's not supposed to and then hiding the evidence of her misdeeds.

You read that right. She hides the evidence. She breaks into cupboards, steals cookies and closes the cookie box so you won't know she's been in there. She broke into my glove compartment once to inhale the contents of a treat bag and then placed the tattered treat-less remains back inside and closed the box so I didn't know she'd been in there at all.

My wonderful, wacky, wild dog.

Cue slideshow...

Who knew that behind such a sweet, innocent face lurked
the mind of a criminal genius?


The Dynamic Duo, back when Big could tolerate being
next to her...


No stick is too large for Gator Girl!


The Gator Girl in the midst of a 9 foot broad jump


Able to leap 4,000 ft. mountains in a single bound!


And master of disguise!

Pleeeeeeeease, let me have the ball, mom!



Thanks for indulging me, folks. Have a great Monday!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Dude Abides (An IWSG Post)

Morning, all. Or afternoon, or evening, or whatever time it happens to be wherever you happen to be visiting from.

It's the first Wednesday of the month which means it's time, once again, for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group—the day insecure writers everywhere blog about their insecurities and offer support and assistance to others. (Click on the pic for a complete list of participants)

So, here's the thing...I'm not feeling particularly insecure at the moment. This is not to say that I'm bursting with confidence or anything because that would never happen (seriously, though, there's some major mental block where me and the word 'confidence' is concerned because it took me three tries to spell it correctly), but I'm not (at the moment) insecure.

I am abiding. The Dude abides.



Yeah, I still have things with which I am struggling (hello, blurb!), but I am not (at the moment) worried about them. Was I worried about them on Monday? I think I was. I was, at the very least, pissed off about them. Not sure what happened between now and then, but, whatever it was, I salute it because abiding is a much better state of mind.

And I thought I should take advantage of my lack of freaking out to thank all of you. You're very kind. You're a lovely community and you keep coming back to this blog to wade through the sarcasm and bad attitude to read whatever happens to come out of my brain that day. And then you offer me kind words, support and encouragement. You make me smile; you make me laugh. I appreciate it.

And I just wanted you to know.

Happy writing, all.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Not Writing

Well, it's the beginning of June which means it's time to revisit the writing goals I set for myself last month.

Sigh.

But here's the thing...I really don't want to. As you can probably infer from the title of today's post, I haven't been, of late, making much progress in the writing world (must be Monday, right?) and today's the day I have to own up to it.

So here is a quick review of last month's goals and—hey, what do you know—this month's goals:

1. Solve the major problem that is holding up all progress on Effigy's sequel, Second Nature. Or die trying. Well, maybe not die per say, but still, stop watching Scandal and get that plot hammered out.

The good news is I stop watching Scandal. Sure, it was because the season ended, but hey, it still counts. As far as hammering out the plot goes, I have made several pages of notes that may help me work things out. And, if they don't, at least my new pens are pretty.

2. Seriously stop ignoring Effigy's blurb. You need something more than "It probably won't be the worst thing you've ever read!"

I have several pages of notes on this, too, so technically, I suppose I did stop ignoring the blurb. I wrote a haiku blurb, and then a limerick blurb. Then I watched Merlin and "wrote" this blurb:

In a land of myth and a time of legend, the destiny of a great kingdom rests on the shoulders of a young woman. Her name is Haleine Coileáin...

(And in case you don't happen to watch Merlin, the above is the opening of each and every episode. Only 'young woman' is 'young man' and is followed by "His name is Merlin...")

Think anyone will notice?

Yeah, me too.

Anyway, I really don't like not accomplishing my goals. Fortunately, the solution for that is simple.

Accomplish them next time.

Have a great Monday, everyone! Thanks for stopping by.