Whispering Wind: A Short Story

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing this fine Wednesday? Things are normal here. I couldn’t think of anything to blog about, so I dug through some of my old writing assignments and decided to post one from my Intermediate Fiction class at SMU. It’s from 2010. I haven’t revised it since then or even read through it to see if it’s worth posting. I vaguely remember the premise. Sorry in advance if it sucks, but at least you get to see how I’ve grown as a writer if you’ve read my recent stuff! It’s just under 2,000 words, so it’s not too long. As always, feel free to leave your thoughts or comments here or on my social media pages.

Whispering Wind

It was a crisp autumn afternoon and the sun was shining brightly through the leaves of the trees that surrounded the pond.  Just visible through the trees was a wrought-iron fence that encircled the water and the sea of markers, some simple and others ornate, that named the ones sleeping beneath them.  The gravestones stopped near the edge of the pond; about halfway between the last markers and the water, a little girl sat in the sun where the grass was green.

Though alone, the girl was laughing and smiling and talking away.  As the shadow of a cloud passed over her, the girl looked up and asked, “Are you happy?”

The only response was a breeze that rustled the leaves of the nearby trees.  The leaves shone like jewels in the sunshine and the girl smiled.  She sat quietly for a few moments and stretched her arms towards the sky.

“Do you love us bunches?”

A ripple in the pond made the sunlight dance over its surface.  The girl stared out over the pond in awe, her bright green eyes sparkling.  She broke out in laughter and clapped.

“Yay!  I love you too!”  She paused as her laughter died and continued to stare over the water.  “Hey… do you miss us?”

A gust played with the ruffles of her black dress and caused her long, auburn hair to drift across her face.  Two leaves, one gold, the other reddish-orange, swirled around her as the wind died; they settled softly on her lap.  The girl smiled and picked up the leaves by the stems.  “I miss you too…”

The girl’s conversation continued for awhile as she described the events of the past few days to her unseen companion.  She explained that everyone had been sad and that they had tried to hide their tears from her… that she didn’t understand why everyone was sad when they told her that Heaven was a happy place.  She giggled as she talked about her puppy, Mickey, and how cute he looked when she put her dolly’s hat on him.  As she talked, she would occasionally hold the leaves out in front of her as far as her arms would stretch and smile.  Each transition in her conversation was acknowledged by a light wind, a rustle of leaves, or a ripple of the water.

A tall woman in a black pantsuit approached the girl and knelt nearby.  A breeze blew the woman’s reddish-brown hair across her face, and as she brushed it back, an older version of the girl’s smile and bow lips appeared.  The woman stretched out her arms and said, “Come ‘ere booger bear… what’re you up to?”

The girl got up, careful not to drop the leaves, and ran to the woman.

“Mommy!  Lookie… I got a present!”  She held the leaves up so that her mother could see them clearly.  “This one’s for you, though…”  She held out the gold leaf so that the woman could take it.

Taking the leaf, the woman asked, “Where’d you get these?  They’re very pretty.”

“From daddy.”

The girl said this so matter-of-factly that a frown flickered across the woman’s face.  “From daddy?”

“Yup… he misses me and you, mommy… but it’s still okay because he’s happy and he loves us bunches.”  The girl wrapped her arms around her mother’s neck and hugged her tightly.

“I see… but… it’s time to say bye-bye to daddy.”  The woman hugged the girl close, tears glistening in her eyes.  She kissed the girl’s forehead and, as soon as she was sure that she wouldn’t cry, she rose and shifted the girl to her hip.

They each held their leaf securely as the woman carried the girl towards a group that surrounded the newest stone marker.  As they approached, the people separated, revealing a few rows of chairs, a dark casket, and a picture of a man in his early thirties with the same vibrant green eyes as the girl’s.  The woman sat close to the picture and cradled the girl in her lap.  The others gathered, some sitting and others choosing to stand, and the pastor took his place next to the casket.

As the man with the white collar spoke, the girl stared at the picture next to her.  She remembered that every Sunday he would make waffles for her and her mother and he would give her extra syrup… she remembered the day that he brought Mickey home for her and how cute Mickey was with the red bow around his neck… and she remembered the bedtime stories that he told her.  She also remembered getting in trouble for running out in the street… and she remembered getting sent to time-out for not listening to him and her mother when they told her that it was time to turn off the TV.  The memories flooded through her mind but one stuck out to her.

It was a stormy night a few months ago and she couldn’t sleep.  She had picked up Mickey and had gone to the study where there was still a light on.  As she peeked through the half-opened door, Mickey whined softly and she squeezed through the opening.  “Daddy… Mickey’s scared…”

The man behind the oak desk looked up and smiled.  He stood and moved to the sofa, beckoning her to him.  “Well, what’s wrong with Mickey, booger bear?”

“He doesn’t like the angry rain… it scares him so he can’t sleep…”

“So he’s scared of the thunder and lightning, huh?  Well, let’s see what we can do about that.  Do you want to sleep in here?”

“Yes, please!”  The girl smiled and held the puppy out to her father.

The man took the puppy so that she could climb onto the sofa.  After she stretched out, he set the puppy in her lap and took the quilt that was lying over the back of the sofa and tucked it around the girl and the puppy.  The man kissed the girl’s forehead and nuzzled her nose with his.  “That better?”

The girl nodded and grinned.  “Hey daddy…”

“Yes, booger bear?”

“Will you sing the song?”

The man chuckled and poked her nose.  “Anything for you.”

He went to his desk and pulled the chair around next to the sofa.  As he sat down, he began to hum her favorite tune and was soon singing “Hush a bye… don’t you cry… go to sleep my little baby… when you wake… you shall find… all the pretty little ponies…”  She had fallen asleep before he could sing anymore but she had felt the gentle pressure of a kiss on her forehead.

A moist drop on her cheek had brought her out of her memories and when she looked up she saw that her mother was crying.  The casket was being lowered into the ground and her mother helped the girl off her lap, standing next to her.  As they approached the grave, the girl looked up at her mother then at the leaf in her hand.  Her mother had told her that she was supposed to take some dirt and sprinkle it on the casket but she just stared from her mother to the leaf then to the hole in front of her.  With her mother watching her, she looked up at her once more then took a step towards the grave, holding the leaf out in front of her.

“Bye-bye daddy… I miss you, too.”  She opened her fingers and watched the leaf drift down and settle on the casket.

The woman smiled at the girl as she wiped her eyes then followed the girl’s example.  The girl watched as the other people dropped handfuls of dirt into the hole and said their goodbyes.  She was hugged by each person at least twice before her mother said that it was time to go home.  She went back to the grave one more time before her mother directed her towards the car.

“We’ll come back soon, daddy!”  She smiled and waved at the headstone.

The girl ran back to her mother and they walked to their car hand in hand.  As she was getting in the car, a breeze blew across the cemetery, rustling the leaves of the trees and rippling the water of the pond.  A bird sang from a nearby tree and the girl giggled.  She just smiled at her mother’s questioning look and, as the car door was being closed, she whispered “I love you too, daddy.”

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During the following months, the girl and her mother visited the gravesite every Saturday.  The girl remained the same, always laughing and smiling but the woman had lost weight and bags had formed under her eyes and her hair was unkempt.  The girl watched as her mother said less and less to the stone marker.  The length of her own conversations never diminished and each week her mother would have to tell her multiple times that they should get home.  Every time that her mother said it was time to go, she would think of something else that she had to tell her father.

It was still the same after four months, her mother wouldn’t say much but they would stay for an hour or so while the girl talked.  One Saturday in late February, her mother didn’t say anything to her father.  It was cold and cloudy but the girl jabbered on and on as usual.  Her mother stood silently by, swaying slightly, with her eyes closed.

Fifteen minutes into her conversation, her mother said “Let’s go, booger bear.  It’s cold.”

“But we just got here, mommy.”  She looked up at the pale face that was staring back at her.

“I know, but it’s cold and mommy’s tired.”

“Ten more minutes, please!”

A gust of wind blew the woman’s hair across her face, hiding her expression from the girl.  “You know mommy worked late, can we please go home so I can rest?  We’ll stay as long as you want next week, okay?”

“Five minutes?”  She smiled.

“Now, please.”  Her mother took a step away from the grave.

“But I still haven’t told daddy about Mickey’s new trick.”

“You can tell him next week, let’s go.”

“But, mommy…”  She was interrupted.

“That’s enough!  I am tired and cold and I said it was time to go, so march!”  The woman pointed towards the parking lot.

The girl didn’t argue, nor did she acknowledge her mother’s command; she just stared at the seemingly dark gray water of the pond.  The wind had died completely and large drops of rain were beginning to fall from the sky.

“Great… now it’s raining.  We’re leaving.”  The woman grabbed the girl’s arm.

“No!  It’ll make daddy sad if we leave!”  She pulled against her mother’s grip as the rain worsened.

“This is getting ridiculous… daddy’s not here!  He won’t mind if we go home!  Do you understand me?”  The woman was quivering with frustration.

As tears began to fall down her face, the girl struggled even more against her mother’s hold.

“That’s enough!”  The woman’s free hand jerked upward.  A flash of lightning silhouetted the sudden movement against the sky.  As her hand was just coming down, a loud crash of thunder caused the woman to flinch.  She stared at her half-raised hand and muttered “Oh my God.”

The girl was sobbing loudly now and between the sobs she let out, “He’s not at home either.”

The woman gathered the sobbing girl up in her arms and held her.  “Shhh… I’m sorry.  It’s okay.”

They stayed huddled next to the gravestone for a half hour before the girl had calmed down.  They rocked together, the rain hiding their tears.  Finally the woman asked, “Want to go get some ice cream?”

The girl sniffled and nodded.

As they were walking to the car, hand in hand, the woman looked over her shoulder at the marker and whispered, “Thank you for stopping me.”

So Tired

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing this lovely Wednesday? Things are fine here. Lazy. I’m ahead on reading and keeping up with slushing duties, though. But I’m tired all of the time. Until it’s time to sleep. Then, I’m wide awake for hours. It’s annoying really. And I’ve tried so many things to make it easier to sleep, but nothing really helps. I know all the tips about caffeine and screens and all of that, but I’m not that desperate. There are things I do to keep myself occupied while laying in the dark. Not that, you perv. And they usually help. I’m rarely awake until dawn anymore. I’m usually asleep by 4:30 at the latest (and considering I’m in bed between 2:00 and 2:30, that’s only 2ish hours). I do wake up 3 or 4 times after that, but I’m usually back asleep within half an hour. Anyway, I thought I’d ramble about my sleep tricks.

1. Story telling. If I’m at that point where I’m thinking about everything that’s going wrong in the world or fixating on bad memories, I try to tell myself stories. I can usually find a story to focus on just enough to interrupt my fixations. But lately, I’ve been having trouble even finding an idea that holds my attention for more than one night. I used to be able to slip back into the same story and either retell it or build on it for weeks (if not months). Nothing good or worth writing down. Just stupid self-insertion type stories. But entertaining enough to lull me to sleep eventually.

2. Multiplication tables. Do kids even learn these anymore or did that new math do away with them? If I’m slightly drowsy, but still getting distracted by negative thoughts, I’ll do these. Sometimes, it’s just 1s-10s, but I go all the way up to 25s occasionally. I’ve only made it all the way to 25×25 twice without falling asleep first. Usually, I make it into the 16s. But yeah, math makes me sleepy apparently.

3. The alphabet game thingie. That game from when we were kids where you would pick a topic (names, foods, whatever) and go around in a circle like “A… apple” and the next kid would do “B… banana” and whoever couldn’t think of something got mocked for the rest of the day? I do that by myself, but with band names. And I pick a song by the band to listen to before I move on to the next letter. For A, I’ve been flipping between Adele and Apocalyptica. But I at least try to mix up the songs a bit. The farthest I’ve gotten before falling asleep is S. But it’s fun and doesn’t require much attention, so I do it when my brain is especially bouncy.

So, now you know what I do in bed. It’s not especially exciting, is it? What about you? Do you have any tricks that help you fall asleep? As always, feel free to leave your questions or thoughts or comments here or on my social media pages! Hopefully, next week will be more exciting. Doubtfully, but we can hope.

Working Hard? Hardly Working.

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing this week? Enjoying your September and pumpkin spice? It’s still in the 90s here, so I have no interest in autumn drinks yet. But it’s time for the last ‘get to know me’ post unless someone picks another prompt or I decide to cheat and pick one myself next week. I might even look for new lists like this. I saw one about books the other day. Maybe I’ll hunt that one down for October or November. It’s just so much easier to write a post from a prompt. Anyway, if you’ve been following along, you’ll know that we’ve covered 47, 13, 43, 33, and 11. Today, Jen chose 27. The prompt is ‘work from home or office culture.’ I have no office experience, but I’ll try to think of something to say.

The list one last time.

I’ve never really thought about office culture before. If I compare it to college, I probably wouldn’t mind it. Being in a company where I’m doing my own assignment/job and mostly interacting with co-workers in need be or even semi-social situations doesn’t sound entirely horrible. Now, if it’s a group project, hell no. I hated them in school and would hate them at work. I was usually the one doing most of the work because I valued my grades. Put a paycheck on the line and I’d end up doing all of the work. No thanks. But yeah… as long as I could keep my head down and do my own work, I wouldn’t be opposed to a mundane office job. Pre-plague anyway. I wouldn’t want one now.

Working from home is fine. It’d be easier on me because my computer and everything is already set up for me. Being able to do things via email instead of face to face is divine. I would hate it if I was required to make phone calls. And random Zoom meetings would be horrible. But working from home sounds like a better choice overall. Which is why writing seemed like a good fit for me. I do the bulk of things on my own and (so far) everything else is done through emails and submission portals. No one has to hear my voice and that makes me very happy.

It’s me! And video calls are worse.

However, working implies that I get paid regularly, which I don’t. So, I can’t really tell you which of these scenarios I would prefer. I have to be super careful about any paying job I get because I have to worry about losing my benefits. It’s a whole thing. I mean, they took away my SSI and made me apply for a different version of Medicaid because the government started paying me a whole $12 extra a month which put me above the SSI cutoff. Not that anyone could actually live on what the government gives me. But I require Medicaid in order to survive, so my options are get a super high paying job with excellent benefits even though I have zero work experience, marry a multimillionaire and hope the prenup gives me a few million to live on just in case, or stay poor. So, yeah. Easy-peasy, right?

There you go. I’m not opposed to office work, but work from home sounds much better. What about you? Are you an office minion or do you prefer doing your work in your underwear? As always, feel free to leave your thoughts or questions here or on my social media pages!

Thoughts on Evangeline’s Heaven

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing on this last Wednesday of August? Are you ready for all things spiced pumpkin? I’m not, but according to people who are into that, it’s already happening. Coffee, donuts, beer. Enjoy! I’m just going to sit here and wait for all things peppermint to start happening. But, enough about that. It’s book review time! This month, I decided to go with another fantasy in the hopes of having a better experience than last month. Evangeline’s Heaven by Jen Braaksma was released from SparkPress yesterday (the 30th). As usual, I must thank them and NetGalley for giving me access to an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get to it!

It’s a nice enough cover, but her wings are violet, not blood. And why is she naked?

Evangeline’s Heaven is basically a retelling of the fall of Lucifer from his daughter’s perspective. Throw in a little Romeo and Juliet romance arc and you’ve got the story. War between the Commoners (fought for by the Dragons) and Dominions (fought for by the Archangels) rock the Seven Heavens. Evangeline (a mixed blood angel who happens to be the daughter of the leader of the Dragons) wants to save her father’s life, but makes some unsettling discoveries along the way. She’s forced to team up with Michael, the son of the leader of the Archangels in order to save the Heavens from more chaos. But things just keep getting more complicated.

I’ll be honest with you… I was hoping for something more like Angel Sanctuary and less of a thinly veiled ‘eat the rich’ rant that randomly waffles between God sucks and God is great and settles somewhere around God might be okay. C’mon. Do better. I don’t mind a story with the moral of ‘the upper class is horrible and needs to realize the lower class are people who deserve rights too.’ But don’t force it down my throat repeatedly on every page. Let it unfold naturally in the story. Otherwise, especially in a story about angels and shit, it feels super preachy. No one wants that. And I know. You’re judging me right now and assuming I’m a heartless asshat just because I get annoyed when writers don’t know how to be subtle. I assure you that I’m not. I completely agree with the message. It’s the method of how to get that message across that I disagree with. This book is basically the equivalent of shouting down at someone until they play dead just to get you to shut up. That doesn’t work when trying to persuade people to think your way. It just isn’t a healthy form of communication.

Okay, now I’m just being a dick. Apologies.

Aside from that, I wanted more from the characters. We’re constantly with Evangeline who is super whiny and annoying. Now, I don’t have to like the main character in order to like a story as long as I like the side characters. The problem here is that all of the characters are flat and beyond stereotypical. Lucifer is suave and manipulative and hiding dark deeds and desires. But he loves his daughter. But, does he really? The couple of times he shows this love could also just be him manipulating her for future plans. And then there’s Michael. He’s just a lovesick teenager, really. There’s nothing special about him. The few other characters we get to meet are just filling their role. They don’t have any personality. It’s sad.

The plot had potential, but it needed a little more thought. Some things were great, like the key/book thing, but a lot of it felt rushed and random. It definitely seemed like it was written by a pantser (someone who writes without plotting things out first) who didn’t bother to go back and smooth out certain details. I’m a pantser. It happens. And maybe this was completely plotted. I have no idea. It’s just a feeling I get.

Ultimately, in case you didn’t pick up on it, I did not like Evangeline’s Heaven. I was hoping for so much more, but it fell flat. Oh well.

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. If you’re super into the fall of Lucifer stories, check it out. I guess. But you’re not missing anything by giving it a pass.

I’m Not Stylish

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing today? I’m currently feeling better. It’s been a little up and down since I started the antibiotics for my sinus infection, but I feel better than I have in a while, so fingers crossed. The pain is way down and the pressure is fading, but my mucus is clouding up again. We’ll see how goes. But let’s get back to the ‘about me’ thing we’ve been doing. I’ve done numbers 47 (you can find the list of prompts in that post), 13, 43, and 33. Number 27 will be the last one unless someone picks another number. Today, I’ll be answering number 11 for Danielle! The prompt is: favorite style of clothing.

Are we talking about clothes I wear or just clothes I like to look at? I’m pretty sure I recently did a post about pretty clothes I like to look at. Yup, here it is. As far as what I actually wear goes… jeans and shirts. In the summer, I mostly wear cut off jeans (jorts if you’re into portmanteaus) and t-shirts. It’s the easiest stuff to get on and pretty much the only stuff that doesn’t look completely stupid on me. I have to wear tops larger than I actually need so they will have enough give to get over my arms (they don’t move much, so the shirt has to stretch). T-shirts look fine no matter how big they are (to a point past what I need anyway… I wear XL, but 2XL looks mostly fine, and 3XL starts looking wonky). Fancy blouses, not so much.

I also occasionally wear dresses during the summer. If we’re going somewhere. So, I haven’t worn one since at least 2019 thanks to the plague. Most of my dresses came from Earthbound Trading Company and have that stretchy crinkle top that flares out into a skirt. They look okay. I also have a dress I got from Scarborough Faire that I actually kind of like. I like all of my dresses. I mean that I like it on me. My closet needs to be cleaned out, though. I never wear any of my skirts or stuff like that.

It’s far too hard to find a picture of me in a dress, so here’s one from when I was young and brave/stupid and went to clubs. And (holy crap) I actually kinda believe I look attractive in this pic.

In winter, I switch to jeans and long sleeve shirts, most of which are henleys. Same reason as why I wear mostly t-shirts. Easy to get on and look acceptable in larger sizes. Plus, most of my winter shirts are warm and snuggly. That’s about it. I do have a handful of sweaters, but I should probably replace most of them. I only really like two of them, but one is old and a little tight and the other looks plain. The plain one is great and cuddly, but I really only wear sweaters when we’re going somewhere nice. I’m not really sure it counts for that. Also, my sweaters are in women’s sizes, so they’re smaller than most of my tops. I usually buy unisex/men’s sizes since they’re about half a size larger.

But mostly, I like shoes. At home I’m almost always barefoot or wearing fluffies (slippers). But I love my Converse. I have a black pair and a white pair with shiny rainbow stars. I switch between those and flip flops or sandals in summer. In winter, I tend to wear boots if we go somewhere. I love my biker boots that I bought when I was sixteen or seventeen. My other favorite boots are a bronze pair I got a few years ago. Only got to wear them twice before the plague ruined everything. It’s been so long since I’ve worn any of my other shoes that I can’t remember which ones I still have. Oops.

And that’s enough rambling about clothes. I love lots of styles, but this is what I wear. Sorry for rambling and not actually saying anything interesting. Gold star to anyone who makes it this far! As always, feel free to leave your thoughts or questions here or on my social media pages.

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.

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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.