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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Feature & Follow #1 (Parajunkee's #159)

I've never participated in any of Parajunkee's meme's before, so I have no idea what I'm doing.... but I'll pretend I do.

This weeks question is:

Q: What do you do with your books after you are done reading them?

If I loved them, I keep them (me and my sister read them.) If I can stand to be parted with them, I give them to Goodwill, where someone less fortunate might find them and enjoy them! I also sometimes donate to the library (but only if I'm sure they won't throw them out, like a lot of libraries in my area are doing because they don't have the funding or space to put them.)

If they are religious in nature, I give them to the community church's library! 

And yet another option, is that sometimes, I ship them to my best friend! We live over 3,000 miles away from each other, but if the book is special enough, I spring for the envelope and send it to her!

I'll admit, I can be selfish with my ARC's. I usually keep them, because I rarely get one that I don't like (read: get attached to.)! 

As a side note, I prefer to be followed via RSS. Here is my feedburner:

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tired and Two more gone.

I've been sick lately, so I've been sleeping on the couch in the living room.
I had taken some medication the night before, so I could (hopefully) finally have a good night's sleep.

At about 7 in the morning, I was awoken by conversation between my mom and my sister.
I had been briefly conscious when they went out to feed the horses this morning. I heard

"I think we should wake Rachel up and tell her," Said my mom.
" -m-" Olivia was cut off, as my mind let me wake up totally.

"What?" I asked

"Something sad happened last night." she said.

My mind went to my dog.
She's 14 human years old, diabetic, blind, and has a recently discovered lung problem (akin to doggie asthma)
It was plausible that she had passed away in her sleep.

"Maggie passed away in her sleep last night?" I asked.
"No, the goats died last night. A Coyote got them." She said.
She continued "Granny got up this morning to let Taz (her West Highland Terrier) out and he barked and scared them away. They hopped over the fence, but the goats are dead."

I got up. I put on yesterdays work clothes (jeans shorts and a camp-halfblood T-shirt.) I grabbed a ponytail holder and my bandanna. I put my hair in a messy bun, put my bandanna on and went with my mother and sister to fetch Pablo (a boy my sister's age that helps us with the tougher chores around the ranch.)

We ate a sparse breakfast at McDonald's, and came back home.

I had only let out a few tears. I was determined not to cry when we had company.
But when I took out the trash, I decided I had to see. Did they suffer? These goats were like my dogs! They were family, and I had to know.

I turned back out the door, already crying and ran to their pen. I knew they were dead, but my eyes were expecting to see them standing, wiggling their fluffy tails back and forth, perhaps pushing each other away from their stack of hay.

They were lying there, legs straight out. Eyes wide open. Rigormortis had set in. Ants were interested in their tongues, and the flies had honed in on their bodies. It registered that they didn't suffer as much as they could.

Tinkerbell didn't fight. Her neck was broken, but no blood had spilled.
Columbia fought a little, and along with her broken neck, a patch of blood spilled on to her salt and pepper fur.

I looked at Tinkerbell's gazeless eyes, through my blurry ones again.

I turned away and hugged the nearest horse's head. She licked my arm and nickered at me.

Horses know grieving. No one can tell me differently.

My mom hobbled out from our newly painted fence, and hugged me. The horse didn't leave us.

I wanted to dig their grave, but mom told me I wouldn't be allowed. My lungs are suffering, and I had an appointment at 'my hospital' up north the next day. It was a sweltering 100 degrees and my mom didn't want me to pick up Valley Fever on top of whatever I already had going on.

So I came in side, cold all of the sudden.
I wrapped a blanket over my shoulder, cried some more and notified my long-distance best friend. (probably wrecking her vacation in the process.)

I cried some more. I stared at my books... and I stared at the outside. I thought about the loads of time I woke up the goats when they were sleeping...because they were so still I thought they had died.

I thought about the ribbon I won at the county fair with my photo of Columbia.
I thought about feeding them flowers, and them getting buckets stuck on their heads.
I thought about when they scratched their backs with their own horns. I thought of them bleating, and how it sounded like children screaming.

I'd never see them do those random things again.

My sister and Pablo dug the grave, under my 'miracle tree' (a special tree to me.) and laid them to rest there.

Animal Control stopped by, and we told them the story, as well the stories my grandmother had been told since the events of this morning (neighbor's four baby goats were killed, the rabbits down the road disappeared, and an entire shed of chickens were slaughtered by a canine.)

We don't live in the city, if you haven't gathered that yet.
He gently reminded us that we have the right to shoot to kill.

I typed up a short message on my computer and printed out 32 of them. One for each door in our small neighborhood, notifying our neighbors that they should be hyper aware for their kids, pets, and livestock's safety.

Pablo, my sister and I taped them to the house's doors. We talked to all the neighborhood characters and all of them said the same thing.

We have firearms. If I see it, I'll shoot it. (I love my eccentric neighbors.)

A neighbor even chased us down the road (she was inside when we taped the messages and figured we weren't far.) She told us that a stray Siberian Husky had been stalking her during her early morning walks.

I believe her. My dad once had the title of Sniper in the military (based on his accuracy. He never actually took on the position of one.) Me and my sister want him to teach us.

God willing, we'll never need to use the skill. But what would our excuse be if we didn't know it, and needed it?

We wouldn't have an excuse. Based on neighbor's accounts, this thing is getting more aggressive.
It won't be long before I'll be feeding the horses, on my own at four at night. While my grandma usually watches from her window, there's not much she could do in the event of an attack. I won't stand by and watch my animals killed.

I won't.

To be prepared, doesn't mean I'll have the opportunity to do anything about it. After all, the goats were completely silent last night. But it will make me feel better. It would sooth my mind.

Especially after I had to scramble on top of the hay stacks, to get away from an aggressive dog two years ago. Imagine if I was in the same position, except next time, it was after my sister, or the horses, or my dog...and neither of us could reach the cover of the hay, or the shed?

I've even been bit by a dog before. on the face (mangling my lip.)
Logically speaking, it's dumb for me not to be prepared out here.....
And dumber if something did happen while I was unprepared. Knowing me, I'd grab a rake or whatever I could, and I'd try to beat it. This thing, jumped over a fence that's taller than me. What's the likelihood I could beat if off with a rake? Maybe I could, but the odds aren't spectacular.

The other question that occurred, was, why would it all of the sudden target our area, so fast and so vicious? It only ate the rabbits....it just broke the necks of all the others and left their corpses. Like it killed just for kicks.

I think I have an answer.
The highway construction. It's steamrolled right over the last remaining patch of undeveloped land in between us and the desert. It's two blocks away.
It's home has been disturbed and it's angry and hungry and homeless.
Dangerous times call for desperate measures friends.

I'm tired. I feel sick in more than one way, and I would give anything to pet their fur again, or here them 'scream' as I cool them off with a hose.
Pay special attention to your loved ones. You never know when they can be ripped away from you by the jaws of a killer.
Human, or otherwise.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Great Illustrator Project

A while back ago, I was emailed by a guy named Tom Anderson about his new project. I'm really excited to talk about this project and I knew that a lot of my viewers would be interested in it.

I especially think this project will be of interest to my Children's picture book authors and to my viewers who can't wait to fulfill their dreams of writing illustrated novels. 

Tom's project (which you kind find here if you want to cut to the chase,) is all about making author's live's easier. The project will take archives of artwork from dozens of authors (45 artists last I checked!) and let you use them in a functional app, to sew together story and art. 


I can see many facets to this project, and many ways it can be used to your advantage. Here are a few sweet and to-the-point bullets:

  • A freeing, yet economically efficiant way of illustrating your novel with original designs
  • Letting the little writers in your life get free reign of their imaginations (go creativity!)
  • familiarizing yourself with art, and gaining a better perspective of the vast spectrum of art (not just pencil's anymore folks!) 
  • Creative presentations
  • Rough draft story boarding (Ok, this is kind of a 'creative presentation, but it's definitely different because I put it on a different bullet point. *winks*)
The best thing about a creative app like this, is that art is endless and it's expression infinite. If you can come up with a good way to use it, that isn't listed....guess what? You can use it that way.


If you've been around me long enough, you know that I'm usually completely incapable of  'average.' Even if the road less traveled does kick my butt from time to time, creativity (and being different in general) is a big part of my life, and it will always remain so. I like the idea for this app because it takes a typically hard industry (that being, the art of words) and applies it to it's opposite (technical mathematics, in the form of an app.) 

If you'd like to support this endeavor, and receive goodies in return, check out the official kickstarter and donate!

Click here

UPDATE: We've raised $8,000 so far! The higher we go, the more the app will have (for specifics, see the kickstarter!)

If you would like to hear an almost-author's view of how this app could have been applied if she'd had it a year earlier, click here.

The Time I Dealt With A Rude Famous Illustrator

First, I'd like to say that I won't be naming names. That's not what this post is about.

On to the story!

Once upon a time, my sister wanted to be an author. She was eight (and a quarter, thankyouverymuch) years old. At the time, we were both enrolled in a 4H (um...tribe?Club? It's been so long!) as clovers.

We joined a club called 'Book Making' were we listened to a short lecture by out teacher, and then received assigments.

My sister was a whiz kid. She had the highest calculated vocabulary (out of all the kids, of all ages in that group...) and she wrote a book called The Horse Heroes.

It was a funny/energetic story about the horses at the ranch we volunteered at. In the book they were all superheroes behind the human's backs and each had their own superpower.
Rough Rowdy,
Karate Cookie,
Luscious Lacy
Super Sissy
Agile Annie
Sheriff Cody
and the side-kick Gloria the Goat. (she had a superhero moniker too, but I can't remember it at the moment.)

And then, she picked me to illustrate it! It was wonderful and fun for an 11 year old to do!

Last year, I ran across the book (the pages had been laminated and bound.) And my mom thought we could actually publish it (it's an adorable story, and it has an impressive range of events in it.) But I wanted to have a proffesional illustrator to do it nice.

I contacted an illustrator (his illustrations appear in one fairly high profile middle grade novel), and we volleyed emails back and forth about the subject of the story and etc.
Then he told me he was going on vacation and he wouldn't be emailing me for a couple weeks.

So I waited a month, and re-emailed.
I waited another month and re-emailed.
and eventually he emailed back and said he wanted nothing to do with my venture.

How rude.

I know in my heart he must have had his reasons.... but it was mean to lead me on for months...conversing about the novel and etc.

I one day hope to pick it back up again and seek out it's publication.
and perhaps I have an option to look at.

There's an app being developed by Tom Anderson. It's called The Great Illustrator. You can pick the background and insert different characters to illustrate a book or project of any kind! I'll seriously consider it!

Had this app existed a year ago, it might have saved me the heart ache of being treated like poo by someone I respected.

If you'd like to read more about on it's kickstarter page! Click Here

Saturday, March 30, 2013

COVER REVEAL! Of Silver and Beasts by Trisha Wolfe

Of Silver and Beasts (A Goddess Wars Novel)
Release Date: June 1, 2013
Genre: New Adult Dark Fantasy
Cover Reveal Organized by: YA Bound
Cover Designed by: Steven Novak

Summary from Goodreads:
In the sand-covered queendom of Cavan, the goddess once saved a young Kaliope’s life, preventing the mercury her father attempted to hide in her blood from reaching her heart. Now, a cybernetic clamp filters it, but the silver streaks swirling faintly beneath her skin are a constant reminder that she’s different.

When nineteen-year-old Kaliope is chosen as head of the Nactue Guard, she becomes the sworn protector to her empress. In the midst of an invasion on a neighboring land, Kaliope is placed in charge of guarding Prince Caben, the last heir to his kingdom. But when they’re attacked by the feared Otherworlders, Caben and Kaliope are abducted and taken below to a realm where they must fight for their life in a caged arena. 

Kaliope struggles to protect her princely charge, keeping him and herself alive while battling inhumanly opponents, and trying to save the stolen, sacred relic that will restore her empress’s life force and all of Cavan. And if she can somehow awaken the goddess within her, she may save what’s most important.


I open my mouth to say something comforting, but I’m unsure of what. In this moment, I’m reminded that I know little about him. Other than the sarcasm and desire to understand nothing of my queendom, he hasn’t allowed me past the surface. But then, I have my own walls, hiding things I’d never want him or any other to know. And I understand that need to hide them. You can’t trust anyone. “Caben…” I start, but still can’t find the right words. He lowers his hand from his face, never taking his eyes off the glinting water top. “You’re right,” he finally says. “Let’s find the access to Lilly’s section.” A hollow pang hits my chest, and I’m not sure why. Something in his voice sounds lost, broken. I imagine the gears around my heart spinning faster, trying to keep up with my racing heart. When he sidesteps me, I reach out and grab his arm. “Caben, I didn’t mean—” “It’s fine, Kal,” he snaps. “We have work to do.” “No, I’ve said something to offend you.” I drop my hand, but keep close to him, not allowing him to leave my side. Goddess, trying to understand the male brain is harder than anything in protector training. I’ve heard people say that you have to tip-toe around a woman’s emotions, but a man’s ego is every bit as fragile, if not more so. He releases a heavy breath through his nose and walks back to the pool. He sits down along the edge and rolls up his pants, then slips off his boots. “I honestly don’t think Bax or his goons will be returning tonight.” He sinks his bare feet into the water and sighs. Glancing at the back of the cave, I plant my hands on my hips. We don’t have time for indulgencies, but the prince is still my charge. If it were my empress, I’d give her anything she’d ask for. Allow her as much time as she needed to collect herself. I have to watch over his mental state as well as protect him, so I try to push the pending need to find Lilly aside and sit down next to him. “Here,” he says, turning his hand out near my crossed feet. “You have to feel this.” A smile tugs at the corner of my mouth. “I can remove my own—” “Have you never been pampered a day in your life?” he asks, lifting an eyebrow. “I know that the Nactue are fierce and will put a hurt on any man for touching them. But try to relax.” “Is that the rumor in Perinya?” “What?” I bite my lip, suddenly regretting my blurt. “Nothing. Never mind.” From the corner of my eye, I see his lips pucker into a pinched smile, as if he’s trying not to. “Ah,” he says, like he’s made some great universal connection. “Well, there are many whisperings about the Nactue. Some I dare not repeat for fear I’d leave here missing a limb, but that’s one, yes.” He takes my booted foot and begins to unlace it. “I’ve heard that the empress’s protectors are untouchable—forbidden to give themselves to men. And that they’ll snap a man’s neck just for making an advance.” My mouth drops open. Appalled, I counter, “That’s not true.” “All right,” he says, as if he hasn’t just insulted my very existence. “It’s only rumors. Things men jaw about in pubs. The unattainable woman is a fantasy, Kal. Don’t be offended.” “Unattainable?” I grit my teeth, trying to maintain my composure. “Tell me, prince. Do men in your country just go around bedding every woman they can in order to keep them compliant?” I shake my head. “If their fantasy is a woman that would have nothing to do with them, it seems to me it’s their way of feeding their egos after being rejected.” His eyes widen. “No! How does your brain come up with these—” He bites off his words, his lips thin as he presses them together. “Look, it was a joke.” I nod, many times. “Another joke. I’m glad that our hard work and sacrifice is amusing to the men of Perinya.” Caben lets out another sigh and slowly pulls off my boot. His warm fingers skim my calf as he inches up my pant leg. “Just stick your foot in,” he says, then adds lower, “while I stick mine in my mouth.” Unexpectedly, I laugh. “At least it’s now clean,” I say. “Would you like some help getting it to your face?”

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