Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Aria's Quest - Full to Overflowing

Section 4
Getting to Know Each Other
Part 2
Full to Overflowing

Aria ended up spending the rest of that day just following Joey around as he worked and talking with him. He seemed to drink up her stories of fairy life, and she in turn was fascinated by his stories, both about the church and about his own life. She agreed to meet him back at the next day and flew home with a mind that was full to over flowing.

Flying back home, Aria thought over her conversations that day with Joey. She had learned a lot, both about Joey, and about human life in general. Sometimes she learned the most just by the questions he asked her! The things that amazed him seemed common place to her, and she would usually turn the questions around eventually to find out how things worked in his world.
Most of what she had learned so far was surface stuff though. That was frustrating, but building relationships takes time. Aria was a little bit worried that she wouldn’t be able to find any way to help Joey, but she tried to stay confident. After all, don’t most people have at least one thing in their life that they need help with?

When Aria got back to the apartment she had a pleasant surprise, Robyn had come over for dinner! “Robyn, Darryl, Gina! Wait until I tell you what happened today!” Aria said once she got done saying hi to everyone.

“Did you drink more coffee?” Robyn asked, teasing her.

“No silly!” Aria said giving him a little shove, “I finally met a true believer!”

“Congratulations Lassie!” Darryl said with a big grin.

“That’s wonderful Aria!” Gina added, “Now all of you gather round the table before the food grows cold and Aria can tell us all about it.”

Aria had a lot of fun that evening telling her friends about Joey. They were all really excited for her, although she noticed that Robyn got a weird look on his face when she mentioned that she’d met a male human. She didn’t really know what to think about that, so she just shoved it to the back of her mind. She could have probably talked all night, but she said her “good nights” early, she wanted to make sure she had plenty of energy for what ever the next day had in store for her!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Yoda: Dark Rendezvous

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I realized the other day that I've kind of abandoned my first love in reading, Science Fiction! I love fantasy, but I decided it was high time to work some Science Fiction back into my reading diet. Why did I start with Star Wars? I have no clue. I just was randomly looking for books and decided that a book about Yoda was a GREAT way to restart reading Science Fiction.

"Yoda - Dark Rendezvous" by Sean Stewart is a Clone Wars novel. I was a little nervous about it because I've never really liked the Clone Wars novels as much as the rest of Star Wars canon, but it's about Yoda! I'm glad I picked it up, because I definitely was not disappointed!

In this book Count Dooku has decided to try and take out Master Yoda by inviting him to his hideout under the guise of forming a treaty. Yoda, knowing this is probably a trick, decides to go anyway, and takes along two Jedi Masters and their Padawans.

Stewart took the time for us to get to know the young Padawans before they left for Dooku's hideout. We meet them as they prepare for a Force Tournament. Scout is nervous as she faces the tournament because, while she's always worked hard, the force has never been strong in her. This is her last chance to prove her worth, and if she doesn't she knows she will probably be reassigned to the Agricultural Corps.

Whie doesn't have as much to worry about. He has a close relationship with his Master, and the force has always been strong with him. He does, however, occasionally have prophetic dreams that can be well, disturbing, to say the least. One of his most recent one's has left him distractable, and that will affect his performance.

We learn a lot about both Padawans through the tournament, and Scout amazes everyone! But no one is more astounded than her when she's assigned a Master and told she's going on a trip with Master Yoda!

One thing Stewart did a magnificent job with was his portrayal of Yoda. He did an incredible job at recreating the beloved Master, and he threw in a great mix of laughter as well. Both from Yoda, and through out the rest of the book! If you like Star Wars at all, I recommend this book.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

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"The Last Olympian" by Rick Riordan is the fifth and final book in the series "Percy Jackson and the Olympians." The series is about the half-breed children of the gods, the demi-gods, and the adventures and struggles they go through. It is written towards the middle school level, but I thought it was a really fun read as an adult as well!

In "The Last Olympian" Percy and his friends face their greatest challenges yet. Kronos is posed to attack Mount Olympus, and he's managed to lure most of the gods away. This means it's up to Percy and the rest of the demi-gods to prevent Kronos from destroying Olympus, and maybe all of civilization in the process!

Mount Olympus is located above New York City, so the demi-gods are provided with extra challenge as they try to preserve the city while fighting Kronos's forces. They are also provided with some interesting help because of their location, but I'll let you read the book to find out how that works! Oh yes, and did I mention there is a traitor in their midst?

I was a little sad reading this book knowing that it's the last book in the series, but then I got to the end and there's a note from the author that indicates he will be writing more. It looks like there will be a new series with the same premise, but some newer characters. I can hardly wait to see what he does!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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My first introduction to "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde was the inclusion of his character in the movie "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." After reading "Dracula" recently I decided I wanted to go and read other classics in the genre of the fantastic. I was amazed when I learned that it was by Oscar Wilde!

When I was younger I was part of a program called "Home Link." It was a school designed to allow the home schoolers in the area (we have a lot of them!) take elective type classes that are hard to teach at home. One of the classes that was offered was drama - and me being me - I of course took it!

In 9th grade we spent the entire year working on producing "The Importance of Being Ernest," by Oscar Wilde. Why we spent a whole year on it is a story for another time and place, but it was an experience I'll always treasure. I played Lady Augusta Bracknel, and by the end of the year I could quote that play back and forth! All three acts, and Lady Bracknel didn't even appear in the second act! I could quote large portions of it for years afterwards.

Reading "Dorian Gray" brought back a lot of memories for me. Obviously the two stories are very different, but the writing style was most definitely recognizable as Oscar Wilde. He has a way of having his characters say the most absurd things, but making them seem to make sense in the scene.

The story of "The Picture of Dorian Gray" is in many ways a story on the nature of sin and how it changes you. A painter friend of Dorian's creates a master piece portrait of Dorian. Prompted by some comments of a mutual friend of theirs, Dorian idly wishes that he could remain youthful and "pretty" forever, and that the painting could change instead.

For whatever reason, his prayers are answered. Dorian never grows older, but every sin and stain on his soul shows up in vivid detail on his painting. Scared at first, Dorian begins to enjoy his freedom and pursues whatever catches his fancy.

I found the progression of his descent to be interesting, although at one point the musings that Wilde went into got a little tiresome. I would say more about the end and the consequences, but I'd rather let you read the book for yourself! Be prepared though for the Victorian turns of phrase and ideas. If your not used to it you might find it a hard read.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Aria's Quest - That First Day

Hi! Welcome to my story - Aria's Quest. If your just joining in here's what you need to know:

Aria is a Woodland fairy on a quest in the city. She must find a human and find a way to make their lives better. Aria decided this would be easiest if she found a true believer, someone who already believed in fairies that she could easily converse with, and so the first part of her time in the city was taken up searching for one of those. She's finally found a true believer and now she's getting to know him and trying to figure out how she can help him.

If you want to read the back story just follow this link: Aria's Quest

Section 3
Getting to Know Each Other
Part 1
That First Day

Aria spent a long time that first day simply listening to Joey talk. They moved from the mural of angels to talking about some of the other fascinating pieces of art in the church. Aria loved to learn, so it was no chore to listen to him talk on and on.

On Joey’s part, he found himself caught between two loves. He loved to tell stories, especially when they were true, and he’d always wanted to talk to the fairies again. After awhile though, he started to feel embarrassed, he’d done all the talking! She seemed interested, but what if he was really boring her to death? They were up in the front of the sanctuary looking at an ornate carving when he finally said, “I’m sorry, your probably getting bored listening to me tell all these stories.”

“Not at all! They are very interesting. I’ve always loved to learn new things. How do you know all these stories anyway?”

“Well, I’m the janitor here, and I listen a lot. Mr. Jacobs, one of the ushers, was here when this church was first built and he loves to tell the stories behind these pieces. He comes in once a week to make sure that the pencils in the pews are sharp. Takes him a few hours because he’s moving really slow these days. I always make sure I have work to do in the sanctuary while he’s here so I can listen to his stories. Plus, well, people tend not to notice the janitor. So I sometimes learn things just as I work.” He blushed a little,” Some of that I don’t really want to know, but some of it can be pretty interesting.”

Aria laughed a little at his embarrassment, but she understood! “Back home I used to spend a lot of time reading, like I said I love to learn, and people would forget I was there because I was being quiet, so sometimes I’d overhear things that I didn’t really want to hear either!”

“So you’re not from the city?” Joey asked, curious about his new friend, although he wasn’t sure if he had the right to call her that yet.

“No, I grew up in the woodlands. I’ve only recently come to the city.”

“What was life like in the woodlands?”

So Aria began to tell him all about her woodland home, and the fairies that lived there.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cast in Courtlight by Michelle Sagara

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"Cast in Courtlight" is book two in the Chronicles of Elantra by Michelle Sagara. I enjoyed the first book, and I found myself just as caught up in this one!

Kaylin grew up on the streets of the fiefs, found her way out of that life and became a Hawk, serving the people and enforcing the law. Her life has always been rough, but she knows how to handle herself, and she can't really imagine life as anything different. Until she gets called up before the Barrani High court, and her world changes forever.

Of course this isn't the first time Kaylin's world has been turned upside down, so other than the fine dresses they make her wear (and who can blame her?), she handles it amazingly well. Her healing abilities are needed by the High Lord's heir who has fallen sick under mysterious circumstances. Soon she learns that there are other circumstances that need her attention, and that there are those who desperately want to keep her and her power as far away from the High Court as possible!

I really liked where Sagara took this story, the character development was well done, and there were some really interesting twists that I appreciated. The only thing that bothered me was all the intrigue, which was necessary, but a little confusing at times. I'm looking forward to the next book!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Meet the Author - Lisa Shearin

Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to interview author Lisa Shearin. If you follow my blog you've seen me review her three books, "Magic Lost, Trouble Found," "Armed and Magical," and "The Trouble with Demons." As some of you noticed, Lisa somehow found my second review and left me a comment! I was jumping up and down in my chair (much to my husband's amusement) when I got that first comment! We've exchanged several e-mails since then and I now also follow her blog.

Lisa kindly agreed to take some time out of her busy life to do an interview - so I'll let her tell you more about herself!

JM: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Family, hobbies, interests, things like that. Whatever your willing to share!

Lisa: Of course I love reading and writing. And my husband and I are avid fencers. But when I got my first book contract and had to start writing books on tight deadlines, I had to give up fencing (since I also have a full-time day job in addition to writing). Recently, Derek and I decided that we really wanted to get back into fencing, so in another two weeks, it’s back to NBS Gym with us. www.nbsgym.com

My Olympic fencing weapons of choice are the foil and epee. And while I was working on the manuscript that would become Magic Lost, Trouble Found, I took private rapier and dagger lessons, and took a lot of notes for future book use. My fencing coach, Wes Caudill, helped me block out the fight scene in the first chapter of Magic Lost, Trouble Found, and is always available for any and all of my combat-related questions.

Like Raine, I like to be creative in my fighting style. Though unlike Raine, I’ve never used a rose bush branch as an offhand weapon. I prefer the more traditional offhand weapons: a dagger, a second rapier (fighting with a pair of rapiers is also known as a “case” of rapiers or Florentine style), a dueling cloak (though I never quite got the hang of that), but what was just too much fun was a rapier and a bullwhip. Yep, you heard me right. Believe me, nothing distracts an opponent like a six-foot whip wrapping around their blade. Hmmm, a bullwhip. That sounds like a weapon Raine would like.
JM: Have you always enjoyed writing? Did you know you wanted to "grow up to be an author?"

Lisa: I’ve been writing ever since I learned to put letters together to form words. It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do.

JM: Were you published anywhere before the Raine books?

Lisa: I tried to write some short stories for publication, but they kept turning into novel chapters. I also have two finished manuscripts that eventually became the basis for my Raine Benares books. I consider them my “starter/practice books.” They’re in my office closet and that’s where they’ll stay. ; )

JM: Does your writing support you full time, or do you have an outside job?
Lisa: My “day job” is as a writer/editor at an advertising agency. I love it.

JM: What would you say is the hardest part about writing a book?

Lisa: It’s what I like to call the “murky middle.” I’ve gotten the book started, I know how it’s going to end, and I have a few big scenes for in between – it’s bridging the gap and weaving all of the various story points together in the middle of the book that’s the toughest part for me.

JM: What would you say to any aspiring authors who are looking to get published?

Lisa: Writing is hard work, it’s lonely work, and a lot of the time it’s unappreciated and misunderstood work. But it’s also the best job in the whole world. You have to want it badly enough to ignore what anyone says or thinks or implies. There will be people who think that if you haven’t been published, that you’re not a real writer. Nothing is further from the truth. If you write and work hard at it, you are a real writer regardless of whether you’ve ever signed your name to a publishing contract or not. Believing in yourself is half the battle. Don’t give up.

JM: Do you have anything in the works other than the Raine books…or are you pretty focused on that series for now?

Lisa: I’m completely focused on Raine’s world right now. As you can see from the map in The Trouble with Demons, Raine’s world is big and I’m only using a tiny portion of it right now. I have a lot of world left (and characters) to play with.

JM: I just want to say a big thank you to Lisa for taking the time to let us get to know her better! Look for her next book, Bewitched and Betrayed, to come out next year! Also don't forget to check out her website: www.lisashearin.com

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Pillars of Creation by Terry Goodkind

Just a quick note for those of you following Aria's Quest... It's been a crazy week or two, which is why I never got it posted last week, but I do hope to get it up this week! I'm hoping to work on it more later today if things don't go crazy on me. I also have a surprise in the works for you guys that I think you'll really enjoy :)

Buy it Now!

"The Pillars of Creation" by Terry Goodkind is book 7 in his series "The Sword of Truth." This book is written in a bit of a different focus from the rest of the series. It's still set in the Midlands, don't worry about that! But instead of having Richard and Kahlynn as the center of the story, we meet a girl named Jennson, who turns out to be Richard's half-sister!

I liked that we broke away from the main story in this book. He did that some in another one of the books, but no where near to this extent. In fact, we don't actually see Richard and Kahlynn until the very end of the book!

Jennson has been through a lot in her young life. Darkhan Rahl, her father, has been hunting her for her entire life simply because she was born of his seed, and born ungifted. Descendants of the house of Rahl who are born ungifted are like holes in the world. They can't be seen or touched by magical means. Jennson doesn't know all of this though at the beginning of the book, she simply knows that her father hunts her, and that her mother has always done whatever she could to protect her.

Unfortunately, Jennson's mother dies, and this sets Jennson off on a quest to learn more about her past and avenge her mother's death. I found her story very intriguing because she gets pulled to the dark side, but it happens so subtly that she believes that she's fighting for and doing what's right. I think it was a masterful portrayal of how easily people can be mislead with just some simple lies. I really enjoyed this story and I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Trouble with Demons by Lisa Shearin

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"The Trouble with Demons" is the third book about Raine Benares, and unfortunately, the next one doesn't come out until next year! I'm going to have wait...and maybe even longer than that because the library can be slow! Some day's it's a sad thing to be a poor book-addict...

I loved this book! Previously we've been following the adventures of Raine, a girl who really wasn't anything that special until a soul-sucking rock with incredible power decided that she would be it's new master. Since then her magical power has grown infinitely, and she's had to fight off a host of people who want her dead so the can have the rock's (the Saghred) power for themselves!

In this book she's still fighting for her life, but now Demons have been added to the scene. Apparently the King of the Demons has been stuck inside the Saghred for awhile now (remember how I mentioned it sucks souls?), and now the Queen of the Demons thinks she's found a way to get him out.

Of course there are still all the old players competing for the Saghred, and Raine is having romantic complications as well! Shearin did a really good job with continuing the character development in this book. Yes, there is a lot of magic and action, but she didn't let that simply carry the book, she let the characters grow and develop through everything as well!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Wall Was Peeing!!!

You heard me correctly - our wall was peeing! This is the second time there's been a leaking problem, but the first time it was just a bubble appeared in the wall. After that happened they said the roofers had fixed it.

Yah. Right.

When it initially burst I didn't get any photos because we were too busy running for a bucket and towels. But seriously - we hadn't even noticed the bubble was filling - and next thing we knew it was spraying every where! After that it would go through periods where it was filling and then Mo would push on it to make it pee so that it wasn't just dribbling down the wall and onto the heater.

Here's what it looked like while it was filling...

Eventually the downpour stopped and we drained the bubble completely. The repair man showed up and told us that the roofers had promised they fixed the leaks, but another apartment had the same thing happen with this downpour. The leak was supposedly fixed, downpour comes, bam! Not very happy with the roofers right now...

Mo tried to create a spout so that if we have another downpour it wouldn't leak onto the heater - but the clay wouldn't stick to the wall. He tried though!

So um, we started apartment hunting this week. Since we had a problem when we first moved in with a leak in the bathroom. Then the bathtub cracked. Then we had the first bubble appear in the wall. Then the bathtub cracked again. Now this. And we've only lived here since December...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm

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I found this book quite by accident while I was ordering things on the libraries web-site, not even really sure HoW I did that since I rarely do anything other than order what I'm planning and move on, but I'm really glad I did!

"The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm" is a fascinating collection of fantasy from some of the top authors in the genre. Including two of my favorites, Charles de Lint and Neil Gaimen. The stories range from the more traditional, to set in modern cities, to adaptations of stories from places like Japan where you might not be accustomed to hearing stories from!

While I didn't fall in love with every story in the book, I did fall in love with quite a few of them, and I've found some new authors to read! I made a nice long list of authors, books, and other anthologies to read. I'll be ordering them one by one and sharing them with you!

It's hard to pick favorites among so many great stories, but here's a little bit about a few of them that stood out in my mind.

"CATNYP" by Delia Sherman tells the story of the fairies that live on the fringes of New York City. There's a fascinating adventure in the library that got my mind racing with ideas and possibilities! I have a fantasy story to tell about books of my own now. We'll see if it develops into anything readable.

"The Feary Handbag" by Kelly Link fascinated me because it wove together stories of the old world and the new.

"Never Never" by Burce Glassco takes a fun new look at the old story of Peter Pan and Captain Hook, this time from Hook's point of view!

"The Faery Reel" by Neil Gaiman is a poem that will make you want to get up and dance!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Vacation Memories

The Blogfire Carnival this week is all about our favorite vacation - so here's mine!

One year my Uncle called me up and said, "How would you like to go study Spanish in a Spanish-speaking country?" Well what do you think I answered? Of course!!! It took us some time to iron out the details and pick a school to attend, but in the end we decided on a one week course of study, right before Christmas, in Yelapa, Mexico.

The timing couldn't have been more perfect for me. I had taken Spanish 101 the previous Spring, but hadn't been able to follow it up immediately with the next course. So this would give me a refresher course before I dived back into the schooling world.

Yelapa is located near Puerto Vallarta in the Bay of Banderes. To get there we took a 45 min boat taxi ride. The actually ride was pretty uneventful, but trying to get our luggage to the boat from the beach (wading) was pretty interesting! I tried to sit where I'd get sprayed. I love the water and it was hot!

We had decided that I would do a home stay to stretch my Spanish abilities and my Aunt and Uncle would rent a room at a bed and breakfast. This was just a vacation for my Aunt so they wanted a little bit more comfort and privacy than I had. I loved my family! It was a bit confusing at times, but I learned a lot from them. Plus I was right on the water! This shot was about 6 feet from the house.

This shot is from where my Aunt and Uncle were staying.

Yelapa is basically built where the mountains rush into the sea, so it's all hills! My legs were sooo sore the first few days, but my calves were in pretty awesome shape by the time we left! To give you an idea, just to go visit my Aunt and Uncle I walked up this hill...

And then up these steps...

And there was another flight of steps before we got to our class room! This was our teachers house, and the little canopy to the side is where classes were held. It was just three of us.

Funny story about our teacher, Jean, she's actually from Canada. So somehow we managed to come away from the week ending our Spanish sentances with the "eh?"

This is a shot of the beach. Yes, it was down another hill! If we wanted to eat we had to go to the restaurant on the beach. So we'd head over there for lunch every day. Sometimes we had dinner there and sometimes I had it with my host family. One staple for lunch was this lucious chocolate cake. Hey - we were on vacation after all!

The language course was pretty intensive. We spent the morning in classes and most of the afternoon studying. But hey, if your going to study like that what's better than a hammock on the beach right?

And for one last pic - this is me and my host Mom - Rosita!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Disability Application...

This last week has been a full one for me - emotionally at least. I started a couple weeks ago gathering the information needed to apply for disability, got derailed by some life stuff, and sat down about week ago to start the application. It's a long process!

The first couple of steps were on-line. First I had to fill out a bunch of questions that basically proved that I'm eligible to apply for disability. Then I filled out the basic application. At this point I don't even remember what was on it. Mostly questions like "why do you think you qualify?" and general info questions. It wasn't actually too hard, but just making myself do it was really hard emotionally. I think it got easier once I had done that part because I had gotten over that first hurdle of making myself push through the emotion to do it.

The next step was MUCH longer! They said it only takes up to 3 hours...I think it took me about 5. This was the part where I had to fill in all my medical information and work history. It felt like a million questions! I could only work on it for about an hour or so before my stress levels would get to high and I'd have to stop. I finished that yesterday finally!

Today I took in the signed medical release forms. I was so mad about that too! Ok, so the web-site told me I needed to bring in 18 signed release forms. So I printed them up, filled them out (name, ssn, b-day, sig, addy, phone), and ended up with major writers cramp. We go in and what does the lady say? "Oh we only need one of those honey."

*forehead slap*

And then my husband asks me in the car why I hadn't filled one out and photo copied the rest...

*larger forehead slap*

I was not a happy camper. Apparently I'm pretty funny when I start swearing in Spanish and random British terms though...and pounding the steering wheel... (sorry Mom, I'm not perfect)

But the important part is....it's done! At least for now. *sigh* I still have to apply for SSI, but I'm waiting them to call me before I can do that. I guess one's a state thing and the other is federal? I guess I'll figure it all out eventually.

I was amazed at how emotionally draining this has been. It makes sense I guess, I mean I was having to repeat all the medical information about the last two years, bringing up all the memories, and listing out my medical problems and medications was NOT fun. But I was surprised by some of the things that upset me. Like filling out my work history. I expected that to be simply annoying, but I almost started crying thinking about all the things I can't do any more!

Ok, this is a pretty depressing post, but I wanted to share what's been going on. Cuz I know you guys care :) I'm doing ok. Knowing I don't have any more paper work to fill out (for a few days at least) helps a lot! Moses has been incredibly supportive and understanding through all of this. I don't know how I would have held it together with out him! And hey, who knows? I might actually get accepted...that would relieve a LOT of stress!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Time Sun!

It's time for the Etsy Bloggers Carnival again! This one is all about summer, option 2 is...

"2) Summer's here. Tell us about summer in your neighborhood. Do you have permanent sunshine and palm trees or do you cherish every little ray of sunshine?? What is your favorite part of summer?? Do you barbecue?? Do you wear dresses and sandals?? Are you out of school already??"

Now for me, summer is all about making a trip down to Cannon Beach. Oh other things are important too, grilled burgers, flip-flops, long walks, but the highlight of my summer is always my Cannon Beach trip! Why?

Well, it's been, oh goodness I don't even know how many years now! Anyway, my Evil Twin and I go to the beach together EVERY YEAR. Last year was the first year we didn't make it, and I was living half-way across the state for most of the year, and sick the rest of it, so we had a good excuse. Other than that, we always go! And always our beloved Cannon Beach.

We've gone down just the two of us, us with dates, us with friends or siblings, we don't really care who else goes, the point is that we go!

This year the plan is to try and go sometime in July. I usually have a good month or so in the middle of the summer and we're hoping and praying I'll be able to get my strength up enough for a trip! If we make it the plan is to make it a girls trip with the two of us and our dear friend Kat.

I hope we make it! And if not - we'll have to do a fall trip :P

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Couple of April Fools by Gregory Maquire

Buy it Now!

"A Couple of April Fools" is the next to the last book in the Hamlet Chronicles. I actually read the last book, "One Final Firecracker" first, so click on the title to read my review on that if your interested. I'm sad that this is my last book to read in this series, because I've really enjoyed reading it!

In "A Couple of April Fools," we join our friends as they sneak up on April Fools day. Miss Earth is distracted, and the Thekla is trying hard to figure out if Miss Earth and Mayor Grass are actually engaged, and that's why Miss Earth's so distracted. The rest of the students are debating the wisdom of playing tricks on each other this year.

Unfortunately, the trick that girls decide to pull on the boys turns a little bit nasty, and then Miss Earth disappears! This throws the whole town into an uproar. Speculation abounds. Where could she have gone? Did she run away with someone other than Mayor Earth? Did Mayor Earth hurt his hand losing his temper at Miss Earth? Did some other foul play befall her? You'll have to read the book to find out!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Some Explaining to Do

So I'm guessing from the comments I got on my award post, I have some explaining to do! I decided I could either answer each person individually, or just put up another post and explain myself :P So here goes!

1. First bone I ever broke was actually not mine...it was my cousins finger! Sorry Bonny!
We were about 7 I think, and getting ready to head up to our Granny's for a two week visit. Ever slammed your finger in a car door? Yeah, I didn't see her hand and I slammed the door. Broke her finger...and it was her birthday! Believe me I PAID for that one!

2. I've danced on the side of the free way.
Ok, this shot obviously isn't on the side of the free way, but it's one I love! I'm dancing with Aaron, and that's a black kilt he's wearing, and no, that's not his tidy whities peeking out - it's an under shirt! Anywho...back in my healthy days I was a swing dancer. The free way story comes from a time when some girls and I broke down on the side of the free way on the way out to go dancing. Since we had to wait to be rescued we decided to entertain ourselves! And what better way than by dancing? I'm just glad we didn't cause any accidents...

3. I once performed at the base of the Space Needle.
I spent a year as the co-leader of a drama group at my church. Among other things we did some street performances. One of them just happened to be in a park at the base of the Space Needle!

4. I had an article published in an Australian Craft Magazine.
This was earlier this year - and I was so excited!

5. My brother lives in Kathmandu, Nepal.
I miss him like crazy. He should be home in January!

6. I was once an extra in a movie.
This is a dancing thing again! I don't know if I made it into the final movie, but I got to dance as an etra in the indie film "Everyman's War." It's just finally coming out now...two years later! Don't know if I'll get to see it or not, but it was an experience to remember!

7. I've never been camping.
It just never worked out for one reason or another. Don't really see myself doing it at this point either :P

8. As a girl I raised pigs for food instead of having pets.
My Dad grew up a farm boy, and we lived on half an acre of land. He didn't really believe in animals unless they served a purpose, so instead of a dog or cat, I raised a total of 6 pigs! They tasted good too :P

I got an Award!

Thanks for this lovely award go to Splendid Little Stars - thank you m'dear!

I'm supposed to tell you 8 interesting facts about myself so here goes!

1. First bone I ever broke was actually not mine...it was my cousins finger! Sorry Bonny!

2. I've danced on the side of the free way.

3. I once performed at the base of the Space Needle.

4. I had an article published in an Australian Craft Magazine.

5. My brother lives in Kathmandu, Nepal.

6. I was once an extra in a movie.

7. I've never been camping.

8. As a girl I raised pigs for food instead of having pets.

Now I'm supposed to pass this on too...but I'm tired... so I'm not going to this time :P Sorry!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Armed and Magical by Lisa Shearin

Buy It Now!

"Armed and Magical" is the second book about Raine Banares, a seeker who finds people and things that are lost, or at least that's what she used to do. That was before a soul sucking rock decided that she was it's new master. She can't get rid of it without dying, but at the same time she doesn't exactly want to let it influence her into feeding it's soul.

Raine finds herself in the citadel with a bunch of guardians trying to keep her alive, and a bunch of goblins (and others) who either want her dead, or at least under their influence so they can influence the stone! Meanwhile Raine realizes that her magical power is growing exponentially the longer that she's connected to the stone. It's both exciting and scary at the same time, and things are changing faster than any of them can keep up with!

If your looking for a fast and entertaining read - this is a great book for you!

Star Trek - the Original Series

You could say that I grew up on Star Trek. I have many fond memories of watching both the Original Series and the Next Generation with my parents. I'm way to young to have seen TOS (the original series) live, but we sure enjoyed the reruns!

After watching the new Star Trek movie last month I've been jonesing for some classic Star Trek! I tend to watch tv and movies on-line while I'm working on beading, and since I finished going through all the episodes of Stargate on Hulu, it was time to look for something else!

My dear hubby had mentioned a little while ago that CBS has a "classics" section where they have a small selection of older shows. So I headed over there to check it out tonight, and I'm notw in Trekkie heaven! They have all three seasons of TOS on CBS, and that makes me really happy!

On the other hand, can you believe that the series that spawned a cult following that would last for at leas several generations was only 3 seasons? These days a show with a good run could have a full decade, and the many of the incarnationas of Star Trek that were to come later certainly had many more seasons!

One of my favorite Star Trek gimmicks has always been when they head back to earth, but in a different time frame, or when they explore an earth time frame through the holodeck. I was amazed to realize that the second episode of TOS ("Assignment Earth") involved time travel back to a very "groovy" era on earth!

And now that I've expressed my geekiness for the night, it's time to go back to beading!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Aria's Quest - At Last

Welcome to Aria's Quest! If this is your first time here this is what you need to know. Aria is a young woodland fairy on a quest in the big city to find a human she can help. If she's successful she can return to her tribe as a full adult. Aria's chosen to look for a true believer (one who already believes in magic and fairies) because she thinks that will make her quest easier...but finding a true believer may be harder than she thought! Read the rest of the story here.

Section 2
Part 9
At Last
Aria woke up late the next day, and debated going out at all. She hadn’t really taken a break since she got to the city after all! Of course the night before had been a lot of fun, so she could kinda count that as time off, even though they had been searching while they went pub hoping.
Eventually she decided to drag herself out of bed, comb her hair, raid the kitchen, and finally set off on her day. Even a half day of searching was better than nothing!

Today she decided to explore a church she’d flown by a few times on her trips. She’d avoided it at first, after all she was looking for a believer in fairies not a believer in God, but she decided it might be time to expand her horizons and just try everywhere! Besides, it was a beautiful building and she loved exploring these huge buildings that humans came up with.

The first thing Aria saw when she entered was a gorgeous mural painted to one side of the lobby. She flew over to hover in front of it, staring at the scene that was depicted there. There were human-sized beings, with wings that were covered in white feathers like a bird, and they were laughing and playing instruments. We’re these some kind of fairy that she had never heard of? She was so lost in thought that she never heard the person who walked up behind her.

“Beautiful aren’t they?” Aria gasped and spun around. It was just her and this human in the room, but, but, he couldn’t have been talking to her could he have? She was visible, it had kind of become a habit during the search, but could someone actually be seeing her and talking to her?

“Were you talking to me?” She asked, incredulous.

“Of course. There isn’t anyone else here. Well, unless their in hiding.” The young man ducked his head slightly, looking a bit embarrassed, “I hope you don’t mind me talking to you.”

“No! Not at all! I’m just surprised! So few people can see me! My name is Aria by the way.”

His face lit up as he responded, “I’m Joey! It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten to talk to a fairy!”

“You’ve talked to others?”

“Yeah, not since I was a little boy, but there were a few up at my Grandparents cottage that used to talk to me. My sister never really believed me, so I stopped talking about it, but they were there. I’ve seen a few here in the city, but never really had a chance to talk to any of them.”

Still a little caught off guard Aria searched her head for a way to keep him talking, “So can you tell me about this painting? Are these some kind of fairy?”

“No, those are angels.” He said as he launched in to a long and fascinating explination.

Now how was Aria going to figure out if he needed help with anything?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Looking for the Sunshine

Well, I have to admit that it's been a pretty frustrating week or two. First I had my friends going through all this junk, and then I've been dealing with a migraine for the last three days. Well, I'm trying hard NOT to focus on that today. I'm trying to focus on good things instead :) So here's a few rays of sunshine :D

1. My friends ARE doing better - even if I've been too sick to see 'em for a few days.
2. Strawberries. Blueberries. Fresh fruit in general!
3. My migraine is mostly gone today! So I can start to catch up :)
4. My hubby finished the laundry when my migraine got too bad yesterday!
5. I was able to sleep through most of the last few days.
6. SUNSHINE! There's been lots of it lately :D

So I am behind on just about everything, both things I need to get done and things I just want to get done. I normally have Aria's Quest up by today, and my goal is to get it up by tonight or tomorrow morning. We'll see if my head continues to behave and how it goes getting caught up on the rest of life! As much fun as I have writing, things like cleaning the kitchen and taking care of paperwork really has to come first :P

Have a great day everyone! And remember - look for the rays of sunshine in even your darkest days :)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Woods and Waters Wild by Charles de Lint

Buy it Now!

"Woods and Waters Wild" is a compilation of short stories by Charles de Lint - many of them from earlier in his writing career. I found it really interesting to read for many reasons. For one, it brought me back to my "roots" so to speak with De Lint because I was introduced to his work when a friend loaned me another one his compilations!

One thing that was different about this compilation than other works by de Lint that I've read is that he has a number of "high fantasy" stories included in here. While they were very interesting, the language was much more formal than I'm used to seeing from de Lint. It kind of threw me at first, but I enjoyed them as I got used to it!

I think my favorite part of the book was the section titled "Thomas the Rhymer." It contains three stories about Thomas, a simple story teller with Fey sight, that is given the gift of speaking the truth. Since this is all he speaks, his stories have incredible power to them. I love the testament to the power of truth and the spoken word!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Three Rotten Eggs by Gregory Maquire

Buy it Now!

"Three Rotten Eggs" is book three in the "Hamlet Chronicles" by Gregory Maquire. In this book we have a new boy joining the class - and his name is Thud. Well, that's his nickname at least, and it's a name that should give you a clue as to his personality. Thud is a bully at heart that has been kicked out of many, many schools. He's a compulsive liar, and many of the things he says shock our friends of Miss Earth's class room.

It's Spring time - and the kids of the town are all participating in a fund raising egg hunt. Unfortunately, things quickly turn south for Miss Earth's class and pettiness and lying ruin the competition. Then some of the students discover some eggs, some interesting eggs, and they manage to hatch them. What hatches are not, quite, chickens, but they sure are lovable!

Thud's lying ways spread to the rest of the class, and things get a little ugly. However, the kids learn a valuable lesson through all of this. And, eventually, Thud begins to learn to interact as a regular member of the class. It's a great read!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Is it June Already???

I can hardly believe that it's June 6th already! Normally I would have done a wrap up on May a few days ago, but it's been a rather crazy week, as you know if you've been following my blog! Things are starting to return to normal around here though...as normal as things ever get.

As for around here - I still haven't managed to give my blog a facelift! I keep getting side tracked >_> Oopsie! Here's a run down of what I DID get done this month :)

I put two pieces up that were a bit of writing.
Hopefully I'll do more next (erm this) month!

I did two movie reviews this month :)

Aria's Quest:

And of course, book reviews!

There was also a smattering of personal posts that I didn't list. As you can see from what I did list - I'm still doing tons of book reviews! That will continue, but I'm glad that I've gotten a little bit more variety in the blog as well. I'm hoping to get more personal writing up this month. I have one piece that's been floating in my head all week, hopefully I'll actually get it down on paper (ok in type) and published some time this week!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Centaur Aisle by Piers Anthony

Buy It Now!

Poor spellers the world over have often lamented over those pesky words that sound the same, but are spelled differently and have different meanings. You know, "Too, to, and two?" Well, in "Centaur Aisle" Piers Anthony has way to much fun with his words! Dor is a few years older than when we last saw him in "Castle Roogna," as is Irene, the Kings daughter. 

Trent has been training Dor to be King, and now he decides it's time to give him some practice! King Trent and his Queen travel to Mundania to facilitate a trade agreement, leaving Dor in charge as acting regent. One problem. King Trent doesn't come home when he says he will! 

Now Dor and Irene, alone with some friends, are headed on a rescue mission to save King Trent. Along the way Dor learns a lot about what it means to be a King, and the important role that a Queen can play in the King's life as he and Irene grow closer together. 

You'll laugh the whole way through as Anthony plays with his words just as much or more than he does in any of his other books! And don't worry about not knowing the different meanings of the different spellings, he's great at making things very clear with out making the reader feel dumb.

More Updates :)

So the good news is my friend is out of the hospital and recovering. I think she's going to be ok. I'm still worried about her, but the worst seems to be over.  Now she needs to figure out how to destress, deal with the bad family situation so it doesn't push her into episodes again, and how on earth she's going to deal with the hospital bill. She's definitely not out of the woods yet >_>

My other friend seems to be doing ok too :) That's a day by day thing...but I know today started out good for her...need to check on her tonight still.

I'm...tired. I pushed myself really hard the last couple days for Kat and my body held up while it was needed, and then crashed hard! I woke up at 3:30 this morning with an asthma attack. *sigh* Oh well, I had a new video game to play, and I finished a custom order for Selena, so I got some done today :) And then a 3 hour nap! The nap helped a lot :D

Thursday, June 4, 2009

And Update and Some Rambling

There is a lot going on right now. As I posted yesterday my friend Kat is in the hospital. She's been having seizure like episodes and blacking out since Tuesday.  They are calling them tremors. She's not flailing and only has minimal back arching. It's more like she's shivering all over. They've done all the tests and stuff as well, and there's none of the neurological symptoms that would go with a seizure.  

At this point the doctors are saying that it's pretty much stress related.  Knowing her life, I'm inclined to believe the doctors are right this time, although I have to admit that anytime a doctor diagnoses stress it makes me a little suspicious.  I also know that stress an do weird things to your body. I know it certainly makes all my health problems worse! 

She's going to be going home at some point tonight unless things get worse. The family situation is NOT good and her doctor is advocating she basically disappear from them for awhile.  She normally lives with a friend anyway so at least she has a place to stay.  She lives with my Evil twin :D  My Evil Twin has a rehearsal she has to be at tonight so my brother and I might be the ones picking her up from the hospital. Or maybe just Gordon. I'm really tired from all the activity of the last two days.

On top of all this...I have a friend who's been dealing with severe depression lately...and she's suicidal. Fortunately I'm not the only one who's there for her! It's still a really exhausting and emotional situation though.

I'm trying hard to put everything in God's hand and not stress. It's hard not to though. Both girls are like sisters to me. 

I've spent a lot of time with Gordon through all of this - because he's really close to both of them too! We've had some great moments. He's worried about me though. He keeps saying it must be dangerous to be his sister. I'm his biological sister and I've been so sick...and he considers both these girls sisters as well...

We stopped yesterday to get me dinner at Subway - you know the line "Subway - Eat Fresh!" How about "Zombies - Eat Flesh!" instead? Ever since Gordon said that line (he got it from someone else) it's been randomly sneaking into our conversation :P

We drove past a motorcycle cop today (doing lots of driving) and he was just standing there messing with his mini-computer. Gordon's reaction? "Is he playing Sudoku?"

Kat is at OHSU - which is a massive hospital complex across the river in Portland.  She was in that area when this all started. Anyways, it's a pretty decent drive as it is. Then, once you get there, it's built on this hill, has about a million and a half buildings, and it's very confusing! So on top of our long drive, Gordon and I kept getting lost! We finally have it figured out now though. It's still a lot of walking even once we did figure out where to park and how to get places though...

The parking is horrible over there! So far we haven't hit anything though :P 

Moses made dinner tonight. :) Rice and chili :P Nice and simple. 

I'm tired.

Did I mention I'm tired?

This is really didn't end up as random as I thought it was going to be...but I'm sure you won't mind.

Oh and here's how you can know I'm REALLY tired - don't even want to bead :P

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Real Quick

Not really going to post today - and I don't know what will end up happening tomorrow. I have a really close friend in the hospital dealing with seizure like symptoms that are getting worse...and the doctors don't know why it's happening. So between that and my own health problems I'm exhausted. Hope all is well with you guys. 

~ Ruthie ~ 

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Aria's Quest - Pub Hopping

Welcome to Aria's Quest! If this is your first time here this is what you need to know. Aria is a young woodland fairy on a quest in the big city to find a human she can help. If she's successful she can return to her tribe as a full adult. Aria's chosen to look for a true believer (one who already believes in magic and fairies) because she thinks that will make her quest easier...but finding a true believer may be harder than she thought! Read the rest of the story here

Section 2
Part 9
Pub Hopping

Robyn and Aria stayed to have dinner with Darryl and Gina before they went out for the evening. Darryl approved of their plan to hit some of the more Irish-style pubs, and Gina just shook the spaghetti spoon at Robyn and said, “Don’t you be getting the lassie drunk! She’s a nice girl and you’re a nice boy! Don’t forget it!”

“Yes ma’am Mom!” Robyn said with a mock salute. Gina sighed and went back to serving them dinner.

The two young fairies visited three different pubs that night.  The first, O’Malley’s, was the most traditional of the three. It was full of old timers and they both thought it would be the most likely place to find a true believer. Sadly, though they heard haunting songs played about fairies, everyone was too deep in their Guinness to notice the fairies sitting on the edges of their cups.  Robyn was a good host and made sure that Aria got her first drink of Guinness before they left. She’d had ale before, and while she liked the Guinness, she’s wasn’t overly impressed. Something that Robyn had to tease her mercilessly about.

The next pub, O’Shannon’s, had more of a mixed crowd. There were some older clients sitting in a cluster in the back, a crowd of business men off to one side, and on and near the dance floor a younger crowd had gathered.  Aria and Robyn spent time in each of the crowds, doing their best to be noticed, but once again failed miserably. 

It was getting pretty late by the time they got to the last pub on their list, The Irish Lassie, and Aria wanted to go home, but Robyn convinced her it was worth one more shot.  This was the youngest and hippest of the crowds that they had seen that night, and Aria fell in love with the music that was playing.

“You like it do you?”


“It’s a punk band called ‘Flogging Molly.’ They’re quite popular.”

“I can see why!”

“Oh hey, there’s another drink you have to try before the nights out, and it looks like someone just ordered it.  Follow me.” Robyn flew over to the bar where the bar tender was smoothly pouring order after order.  Aria’s eyes lit up when she smelled coffee and she followed him enthusiastically over to where the bar tender had just gotten done messing with a mug. 

“What is it?”

“It’s called Irish coffee, quick, take a drink before they take it to the customer!” Aria perched on the edge of the cup and started to take a cautious sip - that turned into a long drink. She just barely left the cup in time to avoid getting knocked off balance by the server who was taking it to its rightful drinker.

“That was good! What makes it different from normal coffee?”

“Whisky my dear girl, whisky!”

“Hmmm…I think I like whisky, and I definitely like Irish coffee!”

“I thought you would!”

The two of them managed to sample a couple more Irish coffee’s before they finally gave up on The Irish Lassie. Yet again, no one had noticed them, but neither of them really minded. They’d had a lot of fun, and they decided that was more than worth it. 

Aria also decided she was going to sleep in the next day.

Monday, June 1, 2009

We have a Winner!

Woohoo! I started up a Top Commentator contest on my blog this last month...and we have a winner! Congratulations go to...

Theresa of

She has won a $10 gift certificate to either of my shops! Theresa is a great friend and I'm very excited to be able to give her this gift! 

I want to say thanks to everyone who left comments on this blog :) I've had plans for changes and improvements and just not been able to get to them. I'm hoping this will be a better week and I'll get to work on some of those though. Thinking positive! 

Now for my geeky moment:

~ Top Commentator had 12 comments (runner up had 10, thanks Eclectic Element!) 
~ 100 comments total for the month.
~ 32 individual commentators.

I look forward to seeing what this next month holds and who the contest winner is!