Photo 365 #327

Socks was not impressed with my photographic ambitions last week.  She wanted me to ignore the flowers in the ditch and pay attention to her, darn it.

Don’t believe me?

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Put down the camera and pet me dammit!

Serious Socks is serious (and much more social than before we left on vacation).  That look means business, yo.

(c) 2015.  All rights reserved.

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Photo 365 #326

We had a big weekend.  Saturday I did some garage saling while the older kids worked at a 5k and the younger ones had a play date, then we prepped for Cricket’s birthday party.  We prepped more yesterday morning and had a heck of a good time at the party yesterday afternoon.  Cricket’s godparents (and their spouses and new babies) both came, as did my aunt and uncle, my step-grandma, and my mother-in-law.  It was a houseful, but it was fun. 🙂

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Of course, all that fun can make for some tired little boys (okay, it makes for a tired mommy, too), and as five o’clock approached, Thumper finally lost the will to stay awake.  After announcing that he was going to get a book, he made a beeline for his room, returned with said book, then passed out on the couch (on top of said book).

I love that I’m raising readers.  Falling asleep with a book is a not-uncommon occurrence in my house, and it makes me smile every time I stumble upon a scene like this one. 🙂

Do your kids love to read?  What are some of their favorite books?

(c) 2015.  All rights reserved.

Photo 365 #324

wpid-20150626_185139.jpgLast night was the Corn Carnival parade, which is always a lot of fun.  We took the kids and had a great time, although hopefully the boys acquire some patience in time for next weekend’s Fourth of July parade.

In this picture, Cricket was unhappy that they weren’t throwing candy to him.  He spent a good couple of minutes telling me how if he waved to the people in the parade, then they would throw candy at him.  He made sure that he waved at every single float, but not all of them were giving out candy, and he finally got upset about it.

In the end, both boys came home with sacks full of candy.  Now to make sure they don’t eat it all in one sitting… 😀

(c) 2015.  All rights reserved.

Photo 365 #323

Yesterday was Cricket’s fifth birthday.  I can’t believe he’s five years old already!  I swear he was just born a week ago.

I posted a picture of him with his last-minute gift (he gets the real ones at his party on Sunday) on Facebook last night, but he wouldn’t hold still, so it came out kind of blurry.  I took a couple of the two of us snuggled up on the couch after that, but he wouldn’t sit still for those, either.

Happy Thumper is happy. :)

Happy Thumper is happy. 🙂

Thumper, on the other hand, sat still and smiled for his.  It was an odd reversal of personalities.

Still, it’s nice to have a picture of Thumper that isn’t blurry.  Usually I can’t get him to sit still for anything without holding him in place, and even that doesn’t usually work.  Maybe tonight, though, he’ll sit still long enough to catch some candy at the Corn Carnival parade, assuming it stops raining long enough for the parade to go on…

(c) 2015.  All rights reserved.

And now for the review!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s posts as much as I have (don’t forget to check out the deets for the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of the post).  I’ve been a fan of A.F.E.’s since our Authonomy days, and I am beyond thrilled to see Darkhaven in print.  It’s a wonderful book, full of all the things that make a story great: fencing, fighting, chases, escapes, true love, steampunky goodness…The list goes on.

And the writing!  The writing is so beautiful.  For example:

“…the scents of a summer night caressed her with their familiarity…”

Scavenger_day06“She hesitated, her skin crawling with tiny spiders of unease.” -If that’s not evocative, I don’t know what is!

“As the sun rose higher in the sky, prying into the shade of her hood with bright inquisitive fingers, she had slipped into the narrow gap between a dueling room and a weaponry.”

“The books were mainly vast tomes with leather bindings, bearing such enticing titles as Upon the Principles and Ordinance of Government and An Assessment of Trade Relationships Between Mirrorvale and its Neighbors.”

That last line actually made me…

Pssst! Wanna sneak a peek?

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Great!  Because today I’ve got an excerpt from Darkhaven by A.F.E. Smith.  It’s a great scene, and I hope it hooks you as much as it hooked me. 🙂

Stay tuned afterward, because I’ve got all the deets on a great Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of the post!

As was fast becoming their habit, she and her father had started that evening by arguing. They’d always argued, of course, but not like this. Not as if each would rather kill the other than concede the fight. Ayla knew she couldn’t beat Florentyn in a real fight, either in human or in creature form, but she hoped this battle of words would be different. Her father probably wouldn’t go so far as to physically chastise his wayward daughter.

Probably.

She had to keep trying, anyway, for Myrren’s sake.

Scavenger_day05‘You can’t do that to him,’ she said for the tenth time in as many days. ‘He is your true heir, your pure-blood son. I’m only half a Nightshade.’

On the other side of the desk, her father sat motionless and in shadow; no need for light when only Changers were present in the room. Ayla resented the fact that he’d summoned her into the library as if he had every right to control her movements. That he’d made her stand in front of his desk like a stripling awaiting punishment, not a fully grown woman. She resented a lot of things. But she had to concentrate on the one that mattered.

‘You can Change.’ Florentyn’s face showed no more emotion than the ancestral busts adorning the bookcases to either side of him. ‘Myrren cannot. I have no choice but to disinherit him.’

‘I won’t take his birthright away from him, Father.’ She lifted her chin, but he was as impervious to her defiance as his Firedrake form was to steel.

‘You will start accompanying me on state visits. It’s time you began to learn what is required of Darkhaven’s overlord.’

Ayla bit her lip. Always he dangled that in front of her:

Photo 365 #322

One of the many things we did on vacation was cruise the Wildlife Loop at Custer State Park.  We saw a bunch of neat animals (buffalo!) and just generally had a great time.

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This is one of my favorite pictures from that part of our trip.  I just love the way the road curves into the distance.  I could have stayed here and stared at this scene all day. 🙂

Unfortunately, the boys needed a nap after drinking in all this glorious nature, so I had to content myself with this picture.

(c) 2015.  All rights reserved.

Photo 365 #321

Even on vacation, I found gorgeous flowers to photograph:

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This beauty lives at Reptile Gardens in Rapid City, SD, and has many pretty friends there. I love the way this image turned out, don’t you?

(c) 2015. All rights reserved.

Darkhaven, the movie!

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Today I’ve got a real treat: A movie cast for Darkhaven, handpicked by the author herself!  This would book would make a wonderful movie, so I hope Hollywood is paying attention.  Also, if anyone knows where to get hold of a time machine, let us know – it would make casting so much easier! 😀

Stay tuned afterward, because I’ve got all the deets on a great Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of the post!

I always have difficulty with casting my characters, because no one in real life looks quite like the people in my head. I always say that if my books were going to be translated into visual media, I’d like them to be either anime or graphic novels. Nevertheless, I’ve given it a go.

Scavenger_day04Darkhaven is set in a capital city, Arkannen, into which people from many different countries have migrated over the years. Most people’s heritage is a mixture of cultures/influences; they tend to think of themselves as Arkannenites before anything else (much as Londoners are Londoners before they are British). So although Mirrorvale and its surrounding countries don’t have exact real-world analogues, I’ve chosen actors who have quite a diverse mixture of backgrounds…