Sick Day

Hello, hello. I woke up with raging pain and pressure from a sinus infection. The symptoms have been there for a while, but I put off calling the doctor in case she wanted to see me. But I called her today and asked for some meds, which she’s supposed to call in for me (huzzah for not having to make an appointment yet!). In the meantime, I took some aspirin and Benadryl. The pain is just pressure now and my nose has stopped dripping thick yellow mucus, but I’m woozy and can barely focus. I’ll resume my posts next week. See you then!

Gotta Get Outta This Place

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone today? As I’m typing this (Tuesday afternoon/evening), it’s kind of dreary and the sky spit on us for the first time in a while today. Not much, but at least the ground got wet. Anyway, it’s time for another ‘get to know me’ answer post. This week, we have the number 33 for the lovely Alena. I’ve already done 47 (you can find the list of prompts in that post), 13, and 43. I still have 11 and 27 to go. Feel free to pick another prompt or number between 1 and 50 and I’ll add it to the list. Today’s prompt is “which country do you wish to travel to?”.

Not really.

When I was younger, this would’ve been an easy question. Japan. It’s always been the place I wanted to go to the most in the world. I mentioned I was a weeb in the last post, so this should come as no surprise. Aside from anime and manga, I love the music and the food looks amazing and I’m interested in the culture and all of it. So, of course I want to go there. It’s still in my top three places to go, but slow boats are expensive and I have to worry about accessibility and finding places that meet my needs and all of that crap, so travel in general is difficult. Plus, as I’ve grown, I’ve realized there are so many other places I want to go to as well.

Like England or Ireland or Scotland. All three if we ever actually made it that far. Plus other places. Go big before we go home. We watch far too many British cozies and occasionally find Irish and Scottish shows as well, so they’ve piqued our interests. Mostly the ones with the really nice scenery. Plus, I’ve seen the giant butt plug shaped building in London enough on TV that I kind of want to see it in real life. I don’t understand some of the architectural decisions over there. They had to have seen it in the design phase. Someone had to have pointed it out. But it would be nice to explore the more scenic parts of these places.

It’s called the Gherkin, but it’s obvious what it is.

Australia would be fun too. It seems like a gorgeous place and has amazing animals (flying foxes and wombats!). I guess I don’t really need an excuse to want to go places. Just a desire to go. Australia is one of those places. No idea why I want to go. It just seems like a good idea.

But, like I said, traveling is hard. I can’t fly. Technically, I suppose I’d have to talk to my pulmonologist now that I’m on the vent, but I was told a long time ago not to do it. Even if my lungs could handle it though, I still can’t because in order for cripples to fly, they have to transfer you out of your wheelchair and put it in with the cargo. That’s a big nope. And the horror stories about broken wheelchairs at the other end of flights… no, thanks. So, flying is out. Maybe one day I’ll be rich enough to afford a cruise somewhere nice, but for now, I’ll just dream about it.

Wombat! Look at it! It poops cubes.

Plus, there’s a plague, so I’m not leaving the house anyway. As always, feel free to leave your thoughts or questions here or on my social media page! See you next week for more randomness.

Cool Beans, Bruh!

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing this bright and beautiful first Wednesday of August? Why is it August already? I guess that just means there’s only two months of summer left in Texas. If we’re lucky. But anyway! Things here are okay. Still puttering along. If you stalk me, you know all about the ‘getting to know me’ thing I’m doing right now. You can find the list of prompts here. There are still plenty to choose from if you want or you can randomly pick a number between 1 and 50. I’ve already done 47 and 13. Today is 43. And 33, 11, and 27 will get us through August. Today’s prompt is courtesy of Heather Vendetti and asks what outdated slang I still use. This is probably going to get cringe. You’ve been warned.

As many of you are aware, I spent far too much time in the Yahoo chatrooms, which is where a lot of my slang comes from. I still use rawr way too often and shmexy. I don’t use it (I don’t actually remember ever using it. I received it a lot though), but every time I see ASL, my mind immediately translates it to age/sex/location and it gets very confusing for a minute. Ttyl and ttfn were also big in my vocabulary back then and still pop up occasionally. Oh! And I still use kthxbai, but it’s almost always sarcastically. Also, it’s not slang, but I never really made the transition to proper emojis. I still use XD and >___> and </3 and the like when I feel the need to use them. Mostly because I’m too lazy to switch keyboards on my phone. Yes, I’m that lazy.

The Interwebz influenced my slang in more ways than one. Since most of my friends were spread all over, I picked up sayings from them that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. Cool beans and awesomesauce are still used regularly. I also have a tendency to add -ness to the end of words for no real reason other than it’s a habit I picked up from friends. Evilness is a word I use daily. I rarely use it, but Jen got “holey cheese and crackers” into my vocabulary. Cheeky bugger and cheeky minx still pop out once in a while even though I haven’t talked to the English Muffin (yeah, it was a stupid nickname) in over ten years. Friends make things weird.

Me on Facebook (jokingly): Okay, Zoomer. O____o I still say shmexy and rawr. Don’t shame my generation’s slang and I won’t tell you how much of a douchenozzle your slang makes you sound like. >___> Kthxbai. XD

And then there’s kawaii and adding -chan/san/kun to people’s names because I was kind of a weeb and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I still use kawaii and there are a couple of people I still call -chan, but I’ve mostly mellowed out when it comes to weeb stuff. I’ve learned to appreciate Japanese cultural rather than being an obsessive creeper about it. Oh, hey! Creeper. Definitely still one of my favorite words. And douchenozzle. I’m starting to think I use too much slang.

It’s also fun to use random slang from forever ago whenever I think about it. Poppycock is a nice one. Twitterpated. Hornswoggled. Weird old words are just fun to say.

But now, it’s time to say later days (can’t forget that one) because I’m hungry and can’t think of any more stupid things to say. As always, feel free to share your comments and questions here or on my social media pages!

Thoughts on VIOLET MADE OF THORNS

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing? Things here are about the same as usual. The fridge died, so that’s been annoying for Dad. A new one has been ordered though. Anyway, it’s book review time! This month, I wasn’t really in the mood for a cozy, so I went for a fantasy story instead. Violet Made of Thorns is the first in a duology by Gina Chen. It was released yesterday (the 26th) from Delacorte Press. As usual, I must thank them and NetGalley for access to an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get to it!

Pretty cover.

Violet Made of Thorns follows Violet Lune, the Seer of the Sun Capital, as she tries to navigate politics and romance and the annoyances of a love/hate relationship with the crown prince, Cyrus. She’s cynical and a liar and everything she does is to make herself irreplaceable. But between a prophecy, the appearance of a witch and beasts, and the inevitability of war, Violet is forced to confront her own selfishness and the perceived limits of her power before she can truly discover her abilities. The world is on the brink of destruction. Cyrus is the key. Can she manipulate him and save everything or will her meddling push everything over the edge?

Okay, I’m just going to preface this review by saying that the pacing was absolutely awful and it made me hate everything about this book. It was so repetitive. The first two thirds of the book are basically Violet assuring the reader that she’s a manipulative, ice hearted bitch who’s only looking out for herself. When she’s not doing that, she’s having some stupid argument with Cyrus that will just end in groping and kissing. Like, dude. Just screw each other already. And most of the action was squeezed into the last third of the book and given no room to breathe. It could’ve been great, but everything is so rushed by that point and I was so annoyed at the slog to get to it that I couldn’t enjoy it.

The characters… meh. Violet acts like she has what it takes to be a big bad, but she’s kind of a wuss. She lets herself get conned repeatedly (and she knows it), but keeps making the same idiotic decisions. I’m very much reminded of those dipwads who act like they have fighting skills and crumple into a crying mess the first time they get popped in the face. That’s Violet. Cyrus isn’t much better. He knows he’s being used by literally everyone, but he just lets it happen. At least he tries to make things happen even if he goes about it the wrong way. But all he really seems to want to do is get in Violet’s pants, so to speak. The rest of the characters are pretty standard for a fantasy and unremarkable. Meh.

There’s not really much more to say about this one. It has potential, but needs so much work. The relationship development is super inconsistent. The plot is fine, but the execution is horrible.

Ultimately, I just didn’t like Violet Made of Thorns. If I randomly come across the second book, I might pick it up, but nothing about the first one makes me want to seek it out.

starstarstar outlinestar outlinestar outline

Overall, I gave it 2 out of 5 stars. Mostly because I can’t do one and a half on most sites. There are better fantasy books out there, so I don’t suggest this one.

Worrisome Worries

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing this week? It’s a little toasty here in Texas. That’s about it. Got our second Covid boosters yesterday (today as I’m writing this), so if the past is any indication, I’ll probably be feeling a little blah today (tomorrow?). Hope not. Anyway, if you remember last week’s post, you’ll know that I’m doing a ‘get to know me’ thing. You can look at the questions here or you can randomly pick a number between 1 and 50. Last week was 47. This week is 13. And numbers 43, 33, 11, and 27 will get us through August. This week’s pick is courtesy of Jen and it’s an annoying one (which she will be super pleased about). The prompt is “thing(s) you’re worried about”. Ugh.

Everything? Is that an appropriate answer? I’m worried the world is collapsing. The U.S. certainly is. You can’t leave the house without worrying about a deadly virus and all its little mutations (well, I can’t. Other people don’t give a flip and just go around mouth-breathing on whoever they want. Asshats). Can’t even leave the house without worrying about being shot, whether it’s road rage or mass shootings or whatever. It’s insane. And during all of this shit, women are being denied safe access to healthcare. Don’t bother coming at me with your baby killer arguments. I’m not even talking about women who choose to abort pregnancies. I’m talking about women being forced to carry dying/dead fetuses because they aren’t allowed to have an abortion. I’m talking about women getting sick and potentially dying because their body doesn’t evacuate everything and they need the help of an abortion to clean things out. Abortions aren’t just about killing babies. The procedure is a treatment for many things. But the pro-lifers don’t think about anything like that. And it’s absolutely terrifying that politicians are making these decisions instead of doctors and their patients. That’s a slippery slope. The government already tries to tell me what kind of medical equipment I don’t need. Everything is a fight. Pretty soon, they’ll just start saying no to everyone who’s not rich enough to line their coffers.

And that’s just a tiny helping of the rational things I’m worried about. I have a tendency to take every scenario to a worst-case one. Even just sitting around the house, I worry about stupid things like sink holes and drunk drivers (even though it would be super hard for any vehicle to come crashing into our house) and planes falling from the sky and fire (I especially worry about that one at night) and power outages (again, more a night time fear). The list goes on forever. It’s disturbing how much I worry about things, usually stupid things. But I can’t stop.

None of that even touches on my personal worries. Like, what do I do when Dad drops dead? What does he do when I drop dead? Yes, we have plans in place, but I still worry. What if I’m alone forever? What if I actually find someone (which is even more scary than being alone)? What if I never succeed at anything ever again? School didn’t adequately prepare me for failure in my career choice. Why am I so horrible at being a person? I suck at maintaining relationships. I’m not good at speaking. I cry when I’m angry. Why am I such a mess? In other words, I worry about everything.

I think I should probably stop rambling and shove all of this back down into the deepest recesses of my soul where it belongs. Deep breaths. Force the smile until it becomes natural. There we go. Next week is book review time! These posts will start up again the week after. As always, feel free to leave a comment or question here or on my social media pages! And pick a number if you want. Jen picked two, so I guess I won’t count multiple choices as cheating.

Grossest Food

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing this bright and beautiful day? It’s been 100+ degrees here for a while now, so it’s been a little toasty. Nothing much to report. I’m looking at some smaller/independent publishers to submit DS1 to since I haven’t heard back from the ones I’ve submitted to thus far. And I’ve been reading a lot. I’m boring, I know. Anyway, I came across this ‘get to know me’ thing that I posted on Facebook for fun about a year ago. I decided to recycle it and asked people to blindly pick a number between 1 and 50. My friend Kyle chose 47 and Jen picked 13 (which will be next week’s post). The first picture is the post with the questions. Feel free to choose a number and I’ll use the prompt for the next available post.

So, 47 is the grossest food you ever had. This is a tough one. I don’t generally have a strong dislike toward food. I either like it or it’s just meh. That being said, the most horrible thing I’ve ever had in my mouth was a rotten oyster. Don’t get me wrong, I love oysters on the half shell. But one of the last times Dad and I went to Red Lobster, there was something seriously wrong with them. Dad gave me one, which I immediately spit out, then ate one himself (he didn’t spit because he’s a lady like that, I guess). There was a definite sewage taste to them. Blargh. Inedible. Then, the manager dude was a patronizing dipwad, so that made the whole experience worse. I can’t remember if that was the last time we went to Red Lobster or if we just avoided the oysters after that. But neither of us got sick, so yay?

Another thing I remember strongly disliking was uni (sea urchin). I don’t think it was rotten or anything, but it had a very strong kind of muddy sea taste that was unappealing. Granted, we tried it at sushi place nearby, so it wasn’t the freshest specimen. We’re landlocked, so seafood is not a plentiful thing here and fresh (never been frozen) seafood isn’t really a thing at all. In other words, I would give sea urchin another shot if we were by the sea.

Oh! Tahini. The first thing you have to understand is that I trust my dad way too much when it comes to food. So much so that when he puts a spoonful of something in my face, I taste it without question. Rarely do I regret this reflex. But with tahini, I did. And he knew exactly what he was doing because he had tasted it first (I wasn’t around so I didn’t see his reaction). It was super bitter and awful. I don’t know if it was just the brand we got or what, but no. Just no. If someone who knew about tahini recommended a specific brand or whatever and a recipe called for it, we’d probably try it again (it was just for a sauce for something Dad made once). But just going to Tom Thumb and just grabbing whatever they have on the shelf? No thank you.

The one we had was thicker, but I can’t remember the brand.

I’m sure there are other things I really don’t like, but nothing is coming to mind. I was raised to try everything once. It was pretty much the only food related rule in our house. And it’s also the reason I’m usually willing to try things more than once if I haven’t eaten them in a while. Tastes change. Food is fun. What are some of the grossest things you’ve eaten? Was it something you’d be willing to try again under different circumstances? As always, feel free to share your comments or questions here or on my social media pages! And pick a number from above if you want!

Third Annual Reminder of Disability Pride Month

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing this week? It’s July, so I thought I’d remind everyone that Disability Pride Month is a thing. It seems to be one of the less controversial Pride/History months (probably because the media and marketing people haven’t taken it over and shoved it down everyone’s throats yet). So, I’ll keep reminding you that it exists. That cripple folk exist and not just for the sake of inspiration porn. But I don’t feel like being a downer or preachy, so I’m just going to leave you with a list of some of my favorite cripple characters!

A new flag!

1. Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist. Sure, he has prosthetic limbs (an arm and a leg), but that’s just part of life. When they work, they’re awesome. And when they need adjustments or Ed breaks them, well… Winry’s rarely too far away to fix them. How Ed loses his limbs is a big part of the story (forbidden alchemy), but then his disability isn’t too huge of a deal (though there are parts when he struggles with it, just like real life). He’s got a temper, hates being called short, and is underestimated at every turn. But he’d do anything for his family and he’s kind of a dramatic little bitch, so I love him.

2. Pick a Marvel or DC character and there’s probably some kind of disability in their story at some point. Deadpool is all kinds of disabled (physical disfigurement and PTSD to name a couple). Ironman has his heart thing. Hawkeye is mostly deaf. The X-Men are made up of people with genetic deviations. Barbara Gordon is paralyzed from the waist down and copes with depression. Daredevil is blind. The list goes on and on.

3. Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. But he’s a dragon! Fine… be boring. Hiccup is cripple too, so if you insist on human characters, there you go. Toothless is adorable and ends up trusting his human so much. It’s cute. Don’t judge me.

I’m going to stop there. Mostly because I’m too tired to find pictures of any of the others. I started this post late and am lazy. Anyway, who are some of your favorite disabled characters? Who are some that you suspect are disabled (differently abled), but it’s never actually confirmed in canon material? Feel free to share them here or on my social media pages!

Thoughts on THE ARCHIVIST

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing this fine Wednesday? It’s the last one of the month, so you know what that means. Book review time! I decided to try something a little different. It’s kind of dark fantasy meets mystery/thriller. It was a last minute pick from the “read now” selection because I forgot to request something earlier. But it sounded like something I would enjoy. The Archivist by V.S. Nelson was released yesterday (the 28th) from Matador Books. As usual, I must thank them and NetGalley for access to an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get to it!

Nice cover.

The Archivist follows Sun as she tries to free her and her sister Laure from an abusive father figure. To do this, she enlists the help of a young man simply known as the Archivist. He has special abilities that allow him to save the essence of people who are dying among other things he hasn’t discovered yet. Unfortunately, the trio end up in the snare of someone who lures him in by stealing the essences of suicidal teenage girls.

The story started out really strong. The pacing was tight and the plot was interesting, but when the climax showed up and there were only like 15 pages left, my heart sank. There was no way to wrap up all the loose ends for a strong finish in that limited of a space. But I kept reading. Only to be proven right. There’s zero satisfaction at the end, but it doesn’t feel like a cliffhanger where you know a second book is coming. It’s just a let down. I know… not every story gets a happy ending. I’m fine with that. But even the unhappy endings need to feel satisfying, like an appropriate stopping point has been reached. This one just felt like it didn’t really know where it was going, so everything kind of fell apart. I’m hoping for some kind of follow up (maybe a short story or novella) to wrap things up, but I doubt it’ll happen.

Nope.

The characters were great. Sun was strong and caring despite everything she had been through. Laure needed more page time, especially for her big reveal. It wasn’t as woven into the story as it should’ve been, so it feels like it comes from nowhere. Plus, I liked her more than Sun and wanted to get to know her better. But my favorite was the Archivist. Poor dude doesn’t even get a name. And he was never really taught how to be a normal human being. Instead, he’s basically a freak that people avoid because they don’t understand him. And he’s mostly okay with that. The rest of the characters were a little flat. There were too many of them in a relatively short book. And so many weren’t even introduced until later. There was no room to flesh them out.

There was a dual POV in this book. It switched between the Archivist and Sun each chapter. But the narrative voice didn’t actually change much between them. Everything read as detached and matter-of-fact. It was an interesting choice since most thrillers tend to have an excitable, compelling voice that drags the reader forward. Personally, I liked the tone of this book. It was different, but it fit the Archivist’s personality. Sun’s sections could have been a bit more lively and desperate to match her personality though.

Most thrillers are go go go, but not this one.

The writing was good. Everything flowed really well up until the last two chapters, when everything kind of imploded. It was a pretty quick read actually.

Ultimately, I liked The Archivist, but I felt it could’ve used some work, especially around the ending. It just needed some fleshing out. If there’s a follow up, I’ll probably check it out, but I don’t think I’ll actively go looking for other books by Nelson.

starstarstarstar outlinestar outline

Overall, I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. If it sounds like something you would love, pick it up. But otherwise, you’re not missing much.

Dad Appreciation Day

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing this week? Things here are quiet. Spent most of last week vegging and watching TV with Dad. He wasn’t feeling too well. We think it was just an inner ear infection. He’s mostly better now, so huzzah! Anyway, Sunday was Fathers’ Day and his birthday is July 18th (a Monday), so I figured I’d write a short post to say “I appreciate you!” As he knows, I’m bad at this. Please excuse the awkwardness.

As most of you know, I am my dad’s daughter. I get my inappropriate sense of humor from him. He’s the one who taught me that pretty much anything can be turned into something dirty. You can also blame him for the puns. So many puns. And he’s the reason I got into horror. He gave me Stephen King books when I was like 12 or 13, including The Stand (uncut). Is it any wonder I turned into a weirdo? But he loves me anyway.

And, of course, I have to mention the food. He’s the bestest cook ever. The pastrami and pulled pork and brisket. Mmm… there’s also the rare lasagna when he makes sauce from scratch and has the rest of the ingredients. Or baked ziti. And there are pots of beans with meat and he puts them on corn chips with a little crema agria and cheese on top. Can’t forget breakfast. Home fries with bacon. Sausage gravy and biscuits. Chorizo nachos. Everything with two eggs on top. Be jealous. It’s okay.

An old picture from Stonecoast because we obviously don’t take many.

He also takes care of me 100% of the time, even when he doesn’t feel well. So… I know I don’t say it enough, but I love you and appreciate you, Dad!

Coming Soon: Girl Flees Circus by C.W. Smith

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing? I recently heard from my fiction professor at SMU, C.W. Smith. After a disappointing Intro to Fiction Writing class with one of those elitist dipwads who think genre fiction is beneath them, I almost didn’t take the intermediate course. It was SMU. I figured all of the writing professors would be like that. But all of my classmates liked my weird stories (to be fair, the teacher liked my writing, he just tried to talk me out of my genre leanings) and many of them were going to take the class, so I gave it a shot. That’s when I met C.W. He was awesome and supportive and didn’t try to kill my love of horror and fantasy. I went on to take the advanced level of the course with him as well. Those were two of my favorite classes and he was one of my favorite teachers. Anyway, his new book Girl Flees Circus is due out on September 1st from the University of New Mexico Press! So, I’m shamelessly promoting it. I can’t wait to read it! Here’s the publisher’s promotional flyer:

I’ll remind everyone about this via social media on release day, just so you don’t forget. Congratulations, C.W.!