Friday, February 22, 2019

Getting To Know Me.

To my dearest friends and followers,

I realized something a few weeks ago that I decided I needed to change. Other than the "About Me" tab on my page (which doesn't say a lot about me as a person), most of you don't know who I really am. I want to change that. I told my husband what I wanted, and he took the time to sort of interview me so I could share it with you. Here's what we came up with:

David: Okay, let's start with an age old question, one passed down from generation to generation, one that's answer varies greatly. What's your favorite color?

Me: Green, but purple is a close second!!
So, green has actually been my favorite color for as long as I can remember. I used to have one of those View-Master toys, and one of the pictures inside was a Barbie as the Ireland Princess. I think that's when it started. I really liked the green countryside behind her, the green dress she wore, and her bright red hair. I fell in love with Ireland then and associated the color green with that. Now I like the color for what it is. I think of it as nature's blanket. I like pretty much any green, but olive and sage are my favorite shades.
After that, I like purple. Lavender purple and deep shades like indigo or eggplant. I think it's an enchanting color. I don't know how to describe my reasoning, but I think I understand why purple was a royal color.
I think both colors, green and purple, fit very well into the fairy world I so enjoy, so there's that. XD

David: Recently, you shared Weenie's origin story, how about you? Where were you born?

Me: Santa Cruz county, California.

David: And then you've moved a fair amount, yeah?

Me: Yeah, quite a bit.

David: Where've you lived?

Me: So, I grew up on a ranch in the Central Valley. My family and I raised several hundred boar goats. We had chickens and lots of dogs. It was honestly the best life. Due to - some misunderstandings, my family had to move. We were still in the Central Valley for about 2 years before we moved to South Dakota. I was 15. We lived in a really nice house. I had a huge bedroom with a balcony. We had deer and turkeys in the yard pretty much every day. We also had a lot of snow. I decided pretty quickly I liked visiting the snow, not living in it. We lived in that house about 2 years before moving again. We kept doing this. My parents had their own reasons, but I'll be honest. I hated that we kept moving. I wanted to stay in one place. Anyhow my sister and I lived with our brother in South Dakota for 3 months. She and I then lived in California again for 3 months with our other brother. Not long after that, she and I went to Oregon for the summer and came back to South Dakota once summer was over. We decided it was time to move out and she and I packed up some of our things and moved to Oregon where I lived for roughly a year. I got married and live in California again, this time in San Diego.

David: I thought it'd be fun to add in some things you like to do to cheer yourself up, does anything come to mind?

Me: There are a lot of things which include my hobbies, like drawing, writing, making things, and so on. I guess what really comes to mind for me are having a clean space and my candles. When I'm ready to sit down and do the things I mentioned above, I have to have my space. For me, that looks like having the bed made, cleaning the floor, dusting my desk, putting things where they belong. And then I light my candles, most of which are scented with lavender essential oils. Once that's done, I feel relaxed, I feel happy, I feel like I can get on with my day. It's pretty much daily routine at this point.

David: Alrighty, one last question. What would you say has been the most influential book you've read?

Me: I've read so many books, I would think it would be a difficult question for me to answer, but it's actually not. Most influential book for me is, without a doubt, Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. I read it when I was about 12 I think. I was reading anything I could find that I had watched as an animated Disney movie. There was something more enchanting about Peter Pan than the other stories I had read. Mr. Barrie had a knack for turning simple things into beautiful moments. I immediately fell in love with the story and the illustrations. Usually I would get a book that was not illustrated unless the original copy had them, but these particular illustrations brought so much life to the story for me, I wanted that copy regardless. I had written stories all my life pretty much. I never thought anything of it. When I read Peter Pan, I knew I was going to be a writer. I wanted to write something as hauntingly beautiful as that. I then had a dream that was, in a word, bizarre. It inspired me to write my first novella though. I didn't have a computer at the time, so I wrote the entire thing by hand in a journal I had made. The story underwent many titles, but eventually I called it The Enchanted IslandI definitely recommend Peter Pan to anyone who loves to read, regardless of age, because it is a book that is timeless and should be enjoyed by all ages. Though the copy I shared is not the most popular or the newest edition, it contains the illustrations by Elisa Trimby that I so love.

David: I read Peter Pan myself about a year ago, and it was definitely cool to hear the original story! 
Well, thanks for letting me be a part of your blogpost, Love!

Me: Thank you for helping me!! XD

That's all we have for you guys. Maybe you feel like you know me a little more? If you have more questions for me, please leave them in the comments. Thank you so much for reading!!

Yours truly,

Friday, February 15, 2019

Her Origin Story.

My dachshund, Weenie.

To my dearest friends and followers,

Today's post isn't about me. It's not about another author or a work of art I like. It's about her - my dachshund, Weenie. I decided to write this post in honor of her since her 11th birthday was yesterday (yes, she was born on Valentine's day), so it seemed fitting to me. Here's her origin story and how we got to where we are now.

Oh, where do I start? I guess I'll go back to before she was born. I had wanted a dachshund for a while, and I knew I was going to name her Amber. The spring after I turned 12, I got a red short-haired miniature dachshund. I'm still sensitive about this, so I'm going to skip the details otherwise I'll start crying, but basically Amber got super sick and after multiple visits to the vet, Amber died on November 27th, 2007 at 8 months old (I only know this because 13 year old me wrote in my journal an outline of a dachshund with tear drops and the dates March 11th, 2007-November 27th, 2007). Roughly 5 months later, my parents took me to look at dachshund puppies. I remember that day perfectly, as I sat down on the floor of the strangers home and this little female puppy came up to me and started licking me. She sat in the box on the seat next to me on the car ride home. Several people said it was good that I was replacing Amber, but that bothered me. I wasn't replacing her. She can't be replaced. I was simply getting a new dog. I named her Marcie, but she quickly earned the nickname Weenie.

She's been a pretty good girl. She's honestly a great comfort dog and likes to sit on my lap. She does seem to do a fair amount of barking, but it's ok because she's cute!! And she smells sometimes, but that's ok too because she's cute. XD She does have her moments though of getting into plenty of trouble, like not listening or chewing up the paper from the trash. She also growls sometimes if I try to get her out of her safe box.
Most dogs don't like to go in kennels, am I right? Well, Weenie is not one of those dogs. For as long as I can remember, a kennel has been a positive thing to her. I've always kept one in my bedroom with a blanket in it and she likes to lie down in it during the day, even when we lock her in it sometimes. It's her safe box. She has never spent the night in it though. She got to sleep in my bed.

I talk to Weenie a lot, and I feel like we understand each other pretty well now. When she whines, I ask her what she wants, and then she gives me happy feet if I name the correct thing. When she's upset and I tell her she's ok, she believes me. Except when she barks. I have no control over that. I didn't teach her to play fetch, she just knew that she had to bring it back if she wanted to keep playing. She's a super smart little doggie.
She's been through so much though!!

In 2010, just before her 2nd birthday, Weenie made the move with us from sunny California to the freezing cold of South Dakota.

In 2016, just before her 8th birthday, Weenie had a spinal disk injury and couldn't walk. She was on crate-rest for 8 weeks and recovered nicely.

In 2018, Weenie lost someone very dear to her. My sister had a chihuahua that was only a few months older than Weenie. She passed away unexpectedly this past summer, leaving Weenie alone. She started acting out, chewing things, escaping all of her enclosures, etc. And then she moved nearly halfway across the continental U.S. to be with me and my new husband.

Marriage for me has been a little difficult for her at times. She gets jealous. She barks a lot when the two of us are talking and not paying attention to her. She barks when he comes home from work and greets me first. She wants to be in the middle. Literally. We can't sit on the couch without her begging to sit between us (we've given in every time). She wants to be the center of attention and is adjusting. I'm adjusting too. So is David. They're getting used to each other, and she actually listens to him when he calls her now!! When he tried to take her out, she would literally hide behind my legs. Now she follows him to the door, slowly but surely. Everyone is adjusting.

She is doing pretty great though. She has a safe box at our house and a safe box at my in-laws house. She has toys at both houses. She gets to play fetch in the back yard, she gets to go for walks around the block, she gets to go to town with us sometimes for a trip to the pet store or Walmart, she gets to see her Uncle Dan every few weeks, she gets to lie in between us in our bed sometimes, she gets 3 meals a day, sometimes more because she's cute, she gets a bath once a month (she hates baths, poor baby), she has a new brother (my husband's little dog, Howard who also recently lost a buddy and gained a sister).
She's very particular about the whether and has been so for years. If the ground is wet from a recent rain shower, she's very hesitant to step off the path. She likes sunshiny days and recently has been wanting out to sun bathe next to Howard.

A few weeks ago, David and I were talking about how a dog reflects it's owners personality. I asked how Weenie and I are alike. He said we're both youthful and that couldn't be more true. Weenie is up there in doggie years, at 11 years old for us, but she acts like a puppy and likes to run, jump, and play. I asked David what it means then that Howard acts like an old man. David declared, "I have an old soul!"

Yesterday was not an example of our daily morning routine, as it typically looks like me getting out of bed because she needs to go out. I take her out, she does her business, we come back in and I feed her kibble. I then sit in the kitchen until she's finished because if I leave her, she'll just follow me to the next room. I do this for every meal. Yesterday however, I got out of bed, took her out, came back inside, made her eggs for breakfast as I always do for her birthday, sang Happy Birthday to her, then gave her the eggs. When David came home from work, we took her to PetSmart and let her pick out a toy (she picked out a fox). Since then she has not let Foxy our of her sight. XD I am not a crazy dog owner.

I'd love for you guys to share what kind of pets you have in the comments!! As always, thank you so much for reading!!

Yours truly,

Friday, February 1, 2019

Traitor's Niece.

The Complications of Being Lucy.

To my dearest friends and followers,

I wonder if you remember fellow writer and friend of mine, Gus Kenney? He is the author of The Complications of Being Lucy series. I bring him to your attention today because I began reading the third book in the series this week, Traitor's Niece.

In April of 2017 (dang, it's crazy that was almost 2 years ago!!), I wrote a post where I reviewed the first book in the series. I completely enjoyed it and rightfully gave it the 5 stars it deserved!!
I happened to come across the first book on Facebook. I asked Gus Kenney if I could review his book on my blog, and he sent me the first book, The Changeling and the Cupboard, free. It was so good, I had to purchase the second book, The Changeling and the Borrowed Family. The third book, Traitor's Niece, was yet unpublished, but Gus was having a giveaway. Basically, whoever won would get a free copy of the book once it was published and would get a character named after them. I won and though I have yet to finish reading the third book, I am super excited to learn about the character I inspired for the story!!

As you are already well aware, I love fantasy and fairies, and I enjoy reading and studying the original folklore and myths around these creatures. I even read a book about a changeling several years ago (The Moorchild by Eloise McGraw to be exact) and really enjoyed it. Needless to say, I was excited when I came across the first book by Gus Kenney. In case anyone is wondering what a changeling is, here you go:

"A changeling is, in brief, the fairy being left behind by a fairy when it steals a human child."

 Based on my past research of changelings, I expected a great fantasy novel about a changeling. While I did get a great fantasy novel, Gus Kenney threw in several surprises, one of them being the changeling itself. I guess I was previously uneducated, but upon doing some research, here's what I learned:

"In some traditions, a log rather than a being is left behind..."

While this isn't quite the case in Kenney's books, this is closer to the version in his story.

Here's what the series is about based on the first two books I've read:
Lucy Bison has lived with her uncle, Mortimer, for as long as she can remember. She doesn't know her parents and Uncle Mort never answers any questions concerning them. Uncle Mort is a stern man with a list of rules for Lucy to follow, the most important being that she is never allowed to go into the park. On her birthday, Lucy meets a boy from the park, and her world is soon filled with fairies, magic, and deception. Lucy's uncle amongst other family members may not be her real family and Lucy may not even be human. When Lucy was an infant, she was taken by the All King, a.k.a. the Fey (fairy) King, and thus a changeling was left with her parents. However, Lucy was taken from the fairy world and another changeling was left in her place.
The stories follow Lucy and her family as mysteries unfold, the changelings are captured, the truth comes to light, and enemies arise, each one desperately trying to find and kill the real Lucy while her family does everything in their power to protect her.

Here's the synopsis for the book I am currently reading as written by Gus Kenney:
Traitor's Niece (book 3)
Sever all ties.
Lucy is a pawn. A dark means to a deadly end. An enemy, burning with centuries of betrayal, has made the opening move to shatter an already divided empire. His first step, the slaying of one of Lucy's guardians. Broken with grief and compelled by rage, Lucy embarks on a journey of vengeance to the shadowed and forgotten corners of five lands. With those she has left by her side, sacrifices will be made to bring her closer to retribution, but only if she doesn't succumb to the manipulations of a ruthless enemy first.

The Complications of Being Lucy series quickly became some of my favorite books, with Gus Kenney one of my favorite indie authors. He hopes the series will consist of 6 books. He is currently working on the 4th book, Daughter of Ash. Again, I cannot wait to finish the third book and find out what happens in Lucy's world (I'm a bit scared to find out as well though..."slaying one of Lucy's guardians." Nooooo!! ). If you want to know more about Kenney's work or just have a conversation with him (he's seriously a cool guy!), you can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook or his Facebook page @Lucybison.
As always, thank you so much for reading!!

Yours truly,

P.S. Random fact: After I reached out to Gus Kenney in 2017, he quickly became interested in my writing. It was wonderful to hear from him and he offered to proofread Beyond The Veil to which I agreed, so thank you Gus!!

† Encyclopedia of Fairies in World Folklore and Mythology by Theresa Bane @TheresaBane 2013 © McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers