Imaginary Surprise Parties

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing? I’m tired despite sipping on a Pepsi. Lazy. Zero motivation to do anything. All I have the energy for is stupid games and reading. Shame on me. Apparently, the 22nd is National Goof Off day, because of course that’s a thing, so I thought about flaking and not writing a blog post this week, but no. I won’t be that lazy. At least not this month. However, I’m still out of ideas to ramble about, so I’m just going to pick another random question suggested last week by Jen. The question: “If someone threw you a surprise birthday party, what would the theme be?” And now for the answer…

I have no idea. Is bbq a theme? Is food a theme? Themed surprise parties sound weird to me. How is the guest of honor supposed to know what to wear? Not giving me a chance to plan an outfit? Rude. So, hopefully something with a theme where jeans and a Henley are appropriate. Or shorts and a t-shirt if you decide to throw this party in summer. But really, please don’t throw me a surprise party.

As far as actual themes go, the first thing that comes to mind is Sailor Moon, but Jen would have to plan that party. Or X-Men. Maybe DC villains. Howl’s Moving Castle! I don’t know. How about a gender bent Disney theme? Yes. I think that would be super fun. And creative. Could be as simple as wearing a character’s outfit or adapting the outfit into something that fits the desired gender. The possibilities… Why not?

I’m trying to think of less childish party themes. No Gatsby parties. I know it’s just a “roaring ’20s” party, but I hate the book and anything named after it. Maybe a fancy tea party, but with a steampunk theme. Or some kind of fae party. Decadent feast and dance for days (it’s imaginary, so I can be as fancy as I want). The outfits. Oh. Yes, please. But you’d have to mix up the music a bit. It could be fun.

Something mythology related. A Hades and Persephone party? Don’t forget to get me a Cerberus plushie. Something Norse, maybe. A feast in the halls of Valhalla. How should I know? It’s surprisingly difficult to think of party themes for myself. I guess that’s why these things are best left to other people. So, what theme would you pick for my surprise party? What theme would you pick for yourself? As always, feel free to leave your comments and questions here or on my social media pages!

Friendly Stories

Howdy, howdy! How’s everything going this lovely Wednesday? Did you have a good week? Things here are okay. I’m currently trapped in my room with Mardi. She thinks it’s cruel and unusual punishment and is making her indignation known through alternating bouts of high pitched yelping, whining like she’s all alone in the world, and silent sulking punctuated with deep angsty sighs. Why is she locked up with me? Because there are people doing things in the house and we don’t want her underfoot, bothering them. No biggie. But she’s not a happy puppers and my presence means absolutely nothing in this situation. Ah well. Anyway, I spent all day Monday trying to come up with a blog post idea. Nothing. So, I put out a plea for ideas on Facebook and Jen (lil sis) sent me a bunch of ideas! The first thing she wanted to know was what type of story I would write my friends into. So, I’ll ramble about that today.

It should be “The people they know” actually.

To be honest, if we’re friends, you’re probably already in a story. At least partially. I’ve used your nicknames or personality traits or quirks or some part of your looks. I’ve probably mashed your bits together with those of other people I know. Kinky. But, anyway. I’ve most likely trapped a piece of you inside a story. Creepy, right?

As far as the type of story goes, it’s my usual fare. Horror, dark fantasy, mysteries. Sometimes you live and sometimes you die. I don’t actively decide which bits of who go into which characters. It’s not until after the fact that I notice stuff like that. And by then, the character is its own entity with only a vague resemblance to the people I know. I will say that you all usually end up in characters that I like, so if they die, I’m sad. But I love my villains, so I don’t know how comforting that really is. Probably not at all. Sorry!

Now, if I actively chose a story to put a friend into, I’d have to think about where they would fit and what kind of story would make them happy. Unless I’m mad at them, then it would be what kind of story makes me happy. But I digress. Let’s take Jen for example. Most likely a novel or even a series. A main character, because she deserves some attention, and definitely a happy ending. No horror or psychological thriller. Some kind of action fantasy, probably. A found family type of subplot. Also a romance thread, but not something super important to the story. Some kind of magical powers that take time to manifest and grow along with her emotional growth throughout the story. And, since it’s Jen, I would include her in building the story and world and characters. So basically, if I actively built stories for friends, they’d end up being personalized. That’s fun.

So, yeah. I do include people in my stories, all genres. Kind of. But I can’t do it knowingly unless I tailor a story to a person. What about you? What kind of stories do you write the people you know into? Are you aware when you do it or does it just kind of happen? As always, feel free to share your thoughts and comments here or on my social media pages!

I’m Obsessed

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing this wonderful Wednesday? Things here are okay. My writing is still only coming in spurts, but I’m reading a lot and trying to do other things besides stupid games. But I should be writing. I know. Anyway, I’ve been trying to figure out what to blog about today, but nothing is coming to mind. Ugh. So, since it’s getting late, I’m just going to share some songs that have been rotating through my head. I don’t know why. I just get obsessive sometimes and have to listen to certain songs. It’s weird.

1. I’m So Tired by the Beatles. One day, I thought “I’m so tired” and was going to tell the dog, but I ended up singing it at her instead and now it’s been stuck in my head for days.

2. Shut Up And Dance by Walk the Moon. I have no idea why I even know this song, but I’ve been listening to it far too much lately.

3. Labyrinth by Oomph. I go through cycles where I either listen to this one obsessively or forget it exists. Spotify only has the English version, so it’s not as fun as this one, but it’s still good.

4. Moonlight Escape by Buck-Tick. Sakurai Atsushi still makes me swoon. This one has subs if you turn on the closed captioning, so you can see how morbid it actually is.

5. Adam’s Song by Blink 182. This one randomly gets stuck in my head. It’s one of those times.

Surprisingly, I haven’t been stuck on Blue October lately. But yeah. These are most of the songs currently taking up space in my mind. The rest of the songs are basically some dudes screaming “fuck everything” because it’s super cathartic since I can’t do the whole primal scream thing myself. What’s currently stuck in your head? As always, feel free to leave your thoughts or questions or whatever here or on my social media pages!

March Is Here

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing this lovely Wednesday? Things here are okay. There’s some old lady neighbor drama going on, but things will eventually work out. Other than that, there’s not much going on. It’s late as I’m writing this because I procrastinated, so it’ll probably be a short post again. I haven’t made a goals post in a while, so I think I’m going to do that. These are just March goals. I’m not planning too far ahead because I’ve been really bad about keeping goals anyway, so what’s the point? Fingers crossed I can at least keep up with this stuff.

1. Write 4,000 words a week. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve met this goal five weeks out of eight. I need to buckle down and stick with it, but I’m lazy and haven’t really found the desire to keep up with it. It’s a me thing. I know. I’m enjoying the story and know where it’s going. When I do force myself to write, it’s not particularly hard and the distractions are minimal. So, it’s not that I need to switch projects. I just need to focus and find the reason I write again.

2. Read at least two books. I’ve already read seven this year, so I don’t foresee any problems meeting this goal. And only one of those was a book of poetry, so no… I’m not reading super short things and counting them. Though I do have a couple of novellas lined up for this year. But I also have a couple of 500+ page novels on my shelf. My reading varies. A lot.

3. Submit DS1 to another publisher. It’s been a couple of months since my last kindly worded rejection, so I should probably get it back out there. I still have a couple of places I want to try before I decide whether or not to trunk this one too.

4. Keep up with my miscellaneous stuff. Write blog posts. Post on my author profiles. Order groceries as needed. Try not to forget little things that pop up. Text people. The usual stuff that I do between mindless games and crossword puzzles.

That’s all, really. I was going to include socializing more, but I honestly just don’t want to. I’d rather listen to loud music. Don’t get me wrong. I love my peoples. But I prefer hermitting right now. Anyway, what are your goals for March? As always, feel free to share your comments and questions here or on my social media pages!

Thoughts on NOCTURNE

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing this lovely Wednesday? I faltered a little with my writing last week, but it’s just because I’m lazy. Otherwise, things are good here. It’s the last Wednesday of February already, so you know what that means. Book review time! This month, I felt like reading something in the fantasy vein, so after some searching, I decided to try out Nocturne by Alyssa Wees. It was released by Del Rey Books yesterday (February 21st). As usual, I must thank them and NetGalley for granting me access to an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get to it!

Gorgeous cover.

Nocturne follows Grace Dragotta as she rises to the challenges of becoming prima ballerina at a small Chicago company during the Great Depression. It’s been her dream since she was little, her escape from a hard life, but when she finds herself practically sold to a mysterious patron, she realizes the world is much bigger than she ever dared to dream. But is it a dream or just another nightmare that she’s entered?

The plot. It’s basically a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but with throwbacks as far as Hades and Persephone. Grace is sold to the Beast (Master) who whisks her off to the land of the dead in a bizarre attempt to woo her. Things go wrong when Sleep starts meddling for his own foolish and selfish reasons. It gets a little complicated, but that’s okay. My biggest complaint with the plot is how easily Grace is persuaded to do what she does to Death. The whole time, she’s cautious and wary and does her best not to fall for any bullshit, but a two second conversation with a dude she knows is sus makes her act like an idiot. I found that a little annoying.

Characters. They were all a little flat. Not even Grace grew or changed very much. Death and Sleep didn’t have enough page time to really be explored. The bestie and the Mistress were static as well, but interesting in their own ways. But, if I’m being honest, I didn’t really expect much from them from the very beginning. Have you ever started a book and just known the characters weren’t going to learn anything? This is one of those books.

I usually save the writing for last, but it’s really the whole reason I picked up this book. The description and cover make it seem like it’s going to be poetic and lyrical and pretty. It is after a while, but it takes a few chapters to get into a groove. It’s not exactly what I was hoping for, but there are some nice phrases and musical bits. I admit that I looked at other reviews before I wrote this and one of the big complaints people have is that the prose is too purple. It’s overwritten. Well, it’s supposed to be. And for the most part, it’s lovely.

Last, the pacing is off. The beginning is super slow and a bit too firmly rooted in the real world, so when the fantasy elements enter into things, it’s jarring. But once I got past the real world and settled into the fantasy, I found that my desire to keep reading finally kicked in. From then on, I found it to be enjoyable despite the things it was lacking.

Ultimately, I enjoyed Nocturne for what it was. I was compelled to keep reading after things got interesting. But it’s not something I will ever read or think about again and that’s okay. Some books are just like that.

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Overall, I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. My initial rating was 4, but the more I thought about it, the more issues I had with it. It’s an okay book and if you’re into fairytales, it’s worth checking out. I don’t recommend it with zeal, but I don’t think it’s something to avoid either.

Who Do You Love?

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing this wonderful Wednesday? Things here are okay. I’m managing to write and read and all of that fun stuff. It’s been a little hard, but I’m doing it. The writing is fine, it’s just the forcing myself to do it that’s hard. For some reason, I still struggle with opening the document in a timely manner and finishing early. Instead, I procrastinate until 6, 6:30, then get annoyed when I’m not done until 8, 8:30. It’s a vicious cycle. Oh well. Anyway, as I’m typing this, it’s Valentine’s Day! That basically just means it’s Tuesday since I don’t celebrate. But, I thought I would use it as an excuse to remind some people that I love them!

1. Dad! It’s us against the world. I love and appreciate you.

2. Mardi. It counts. She’s a four-legged people.

3. The Minion. I tolerate you so much. Love to the family, though!

4. Lil sis (art is hers). You deserve all the glomps.

5. Danielle. Miss your face!

Short post is short, but that’s okay. These are my peoples. I love them.

Unpopular Opinions: KPS

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing? Things here are okay. The ice went away. I didn’t do any creative writing last week because I was lazy and meh. I’m writing this post a little early (it’s currently Saturday the 4th and, if I don’t finish it tonight, I probably will tomorrow) so that I can go to a doctor appointment with Dad on Tuesday (the 7th) if I want to. Anyway, I don’t have anything to ramble about, but the book I’m reading for fun is disappointing me, so I thought I could complain about it. This is not a review, just a rant. That being said, so many people recommended The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi to me. And it definitely sounds like something that would be right up my alley. You had me at kaiju. But I’m only a third of the way through and struggling with it.

The first thing I noticed about the book was that it tries way too hard to be funny. And it’s really not. I mean, I’m all for fluffy and fun and punny. You know this about me. But not everything has to be a joke. It’s a book. Even fluff should have a little depth… not much, but a tad. It definitely shouldn’t be a bunch of mediocre jokes strung together in the shape of a story. And the “I lift things” joke? It was cute the first couple of times. Remember, I’m only a third of the way through a pretty short book and we’re up to like the 50th time. It’s just sad now.

And the thing that I’m beginning to notice now is that there’s no real plot yet. Again, I’m a third of the way through. I should be able to see where the story is headed. Don’t get me wrong. Things are happening and backstory is being revealed, but there’s no cohesive plot yet. Not even a hint of one. Just some random events that don’t really form any bigger structure. I’m hoping that changes soon. Sometimes beginnings are a bit rambling until there’s this “Hey! There’s the story!” moment. I believe those beginnings should be edited more, but they happen. Fingers crossed a story shows up soon.

Also, the description is on the weak side. I fully admit that I’m not a visual thinker at all (I think in sounds and words, not pictures), so it’s more difficult for me to “see” things that aren’t either based in reality or described fully. Vague descriptions of mountains with tentacles don’t really help me, so it’s not as engaging for me as it could be. Even the human stuff has very little detail so far. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’d rather things be vague instead of 10 pages describing trees. But still, it’s super thin description all around.

I’m going to keep reading because I like the premise and it still has room to get better, but I’m not holding my breath. Plus, it takes a lot of hatred for me to put a book down. I’m nowhere near that point yet. If it gets better by Tuesday, I’ll add a PS to let you know. As always, feel free to leave your thoughts and questions here or on my social media pages!

PS! (February 7th, 62% through) Hey! There’s a plot. Kind of. Maybe. Okay, there’s potential for a couple of big plotlines, but if the one was going to happen, it should’ve been introduced way back in the beginning. The other one I could’ve made believe had been hinted at, but it feels like it’s probably not happening. Mostly, this book reads like a series of vignettes cobbled together to make a maybe-story. It’s not bad, just disappointing. Everything else I said still stands.


Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing this chilly first of February? I’m okay. I broke my writing streak on the 30th because who wants to write when it’s freezing and gloomy and you could be watching TV instead? I don’t even want to be writing this, but I am. But I proved to myself I could stick to a writing schedule if I wanted, so I’ll probably go back to my usual schedule next week (4 days of 1,000+ words, the blog day, and two days off a week). I haven’t decided about the rest of this week yet. But we’re here to finish off the number thing. This week’s prompt was chosen by Scotty, who sometimes stalks the blog. We’ve covered 13 (you can find the prompt list there), 728310614, and 11. And today, the prompt is “Tell me which book has made you cry more than any other book has.” This is a weirdly hard question.

I don’t remember being super emotional about books (or anything) when I was younger, mostly because I didn’t like explaining why I was crying if I got caught and would usually piss off whoever caught me because I would be like “it’s nothing” and apparently that was the worst possible answer. It was weird. I was weird. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become a sympathetic crier, especially if it’s a dude. TV, books, movies, whatever. If a character cries, I get misty. If a character I really like cries, I flat out cry too. I hate it. It was much more preferable when nothing affected me. I’m basically growing up to be a girl and nobody wants that (yes, I know that joke was sexist and I’m all for healthy emotional responses in both men and women, just not myself). Anyway, all this is to say that it was probably a book I read in the last ten years, but I’ll be damned if I can remember which one.

I’ve spent far too much time thinking about this one since it was chosen and I’m still coming up blank. Even with manga. The closest I can come to an answer is a Facebook post from August 13, 2017: “Might’ve spent three hours finishing reading a book today. There were probably tears. Strong, manly tears. Definitely not an ugly cry. Okay, maybe a little ugly.” It was about The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. I don’t even remember why it made me ugly cry. But apparently it did. That’s probably why it still ranks among my favorites. So, since it was Facebook worthy, I’m just going to make believe this is the answer.

And this is going to be a short post because I can’t think of any other books to ramble about. Anime, though. Definitely Fullmetal Alchemist. There are two particularly traumatic scenes that get me every time. If you’ve seen it, you know what they are. Anyway, what books made you cry? As always, feel free to leave your comments or questions here or on my social media pages!

Bonus pic of our icy backyard:


Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing? Things are normal here. I’m still writing every day. Huzzah! But we’re not here to talk about that. We’re here because it’s the last Wednesday of the month. You know what that means! It’s book review time. For the beginning of the year, I decided to go for something comfortable. A cozy mystery. Against the Currant is the first in Olivia Matthews’s new Spice Isle Bakery mysteries. It was released yesterday (the 24th) by St. Martin’s 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.

Against the Currant follows Lyndsay Murray as she and her family open a bakery in Little Caribbean (Brooklyn, NY). As if opening a business isn’t stressful enough, throw in a rival bakery owner who threatens to shut them down them gets himself murdered the very next day. Lynds is now the main suspect of a murder! Luckily, she and her meddlesome family are on the case despite her protests that she’s just trying to find more likely suspects, not the actual murderer. There’s a hot detective for a potential love interest as well. What could go wrong?

The plot is standard, but a little on the weak side. One mild argument does not a murderer make, especially when there are a plethora of other suspects with much better motives. The detectives in this book are the stupidest people ever. They only focus on Lyndsay and they don’t listen when far better leads are given to them. I mean, I’m okay with nosy people solving cases (it’s why I read cozies), but I hate it when the cops are this dumb. There were plenty of red herrings they could’ve followed that would’ve been fine, but they stuck with the flimsiest one. That was annoying. And I really hope the detective doesn’t end up being the love interest. He’s a dick. Just don’t. Also, there was a character who showed up twice pretty early on for absolutely no reason. All he did was start stuff, which any established character could have done, then he completely disappeared. What was that about?

I liked the characters, though there were a lot of them. While I understand the desire to introduce all of the family (and extended family) at once, all of the names were overwhelming and I couldn’t keep them straight. On top of them, there were two detectives, five or six suspects, and three or four extras. It was a lot for one book. But I liked the ones I could remember. Lyndsay, Dev, Reena, the grandma, and parents. All great with a lot of potential. The murderer was pretty easy to pick out, but a couple of the red herring characters were great and would’ve been just as plausible. Mostly, I think the characters are good and have the potential for growth if the series continues.

As far as the writing goes, it’s a bit repetitive, especially early on. Like, I heard you the first three times. Move on. And there were some tics that kept showing up in multiple characters. If it’s one character doing it, I write it off as a character tic, but if multiple characters do it, it’s probably the author’s go-to reaction when they don’t know what else to use (mine is shrugging or nodding). Lots of kissing teeth, which took me far too long to figure out since I didn’t Google it, but I learned a new phrase, so that was cool. Stuff like that. But it was a quick read nonetheless.

Ultimately, I was kind of meh about Against the Currant. If I catch the next book in the series, I’ll check it out to see if anything changes, but if I miss it, no big deal.

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Overall, I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. If you’re into cozy mysteries set in bakeries, go ahead and try it. There are some recipes included if you’re into that kind of thing too.

A Book For Bed

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing this fine Wednesday? Things are going okay here. I recently crossed the 10,000 words mark on the current novel attempt. I’m still writing at least a little every day. Meeting my goals. Fingers crossed I can keep it up. But anyway! Today, we’re doing another number thing. The lovely Melinda chose number 11. I’ve done 13 (you can find the prompt list there), 7283106, and 14. Only have number 1 left for February first unless someone wants to pick one of the remaining prompts. Feel free. This week’s prompt is “Tell me which book is the best to read while curled up in bed.” Uh, wait…

I was going to say that I don’t read in bed, but that’s not entirely true. There are times when I can’t sleep that I get Alexa to read to me. I’m too cheap to buy audiobooks, mostly because I prefer to actually read things (I just don’t retain things as well when I only hear them). But most Kindle books have an accessibility feature that lets Alexa devices read them aloud. It’s not perfect and she can’t read words different ways based on context (for example, tear is always pronounced like a rip even though it should be an eye raindrop), but it works well enough for the amount I use it.

Like I said, I can’t retain details well by just hearing them. I’m very much a visual learner. Show me something once and I’ve got it. Write the instructions down and I can figure it out. Tell me how to do it without the thing right in front of me and expect me to do it later… nah. I get distracted too easily without something to focus my eyes on. So, the only times I really listen to books in bed is when I’m close to some kind of action and super into it so I know I’ll focus OR when I’m annoyed/bored with a book and don’t want to waste time reading it but also don’t want to give it up. It’s usually the latter.

The latest book I read in bed was Lord of Silver Ashes by Kellen Graves. I bought the first book of the series without realizing it was self-published (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I usually do a quality check before I buy self-published things). The story was fun and I liked the characters, but the editing was absolute shit (and yes, they claimed they had an editor). So many continuity errors and typos and the em dashes… just stop. But I decided to give the second book a shot because I liked the premise. I shouldn’t have. It was even worse with glaring continuity errors that made the big reveals absolutely useless. Like… we knew that in the last book so why are you freaking out now? Anyway, I gave up half through and had Alexa read it to me. It helped make it more enjoyable not having to see all the errors, so I might try book three when it comes out. I’m invested and kind of a masochist, I guess. Blargh.

I also vaguely remember A Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke. It wasn’t bad, but there were so many words. It was dense and slow and I was only reading it for one of those stupid Kindle reading challenges, so I gave up a few chapters in and let Alexa read the rest a couple of chapters at a time when I couldn’t sleep. I admit it’s a good way to get sleepy. Listening to boring books.

So, I guess I do read in bed, but it’s usually because I’m not enjoying something about a book. Is that weird? What do you read in bed? As always, feel free to leave your thoughts or questions here or on my social media pages!