Day 30: Grateful

I will be the first to tell you that I’ve made a lot of stupendously stupid choices in my life, so I am exceedingly grateful that, in spite of my youthful stupidity, my life has turned out surprisingly well. I have fantastic friends and a fabulous family, and while I am always glad to see them all happy and healthy, I am doubly so in this current moment. Too many people have been lost already.

But today, I want to take a little time to remember other things I am grateful for that are perhaps less serious in tone (but also, perhaps not). So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here are some of the other things I am grateful for:

How about you – what are you grateful for?

(c) 2020. All rights reserved.

Day 14: Book

It’s no secret that I love books. I love reading them and I love writing them and I love reviewing them. I love thinking about them and how they relate to my life and the world around me. Books are my life.

And yet, I’m just not feeling super bookish lately.

Maybe it’s the quarantine getting me down. Maybe it’s refereeing one too many fights over inconsequential things between my boys. Maybe it’s having a to-do list a mile long and not really knowing where to start. I don’t know.

I had planned to read a bunch and write a bunch while I’m at home because this is the perfect time for catching up on such activities, but I’ve hardly done any writing or reading. I mostly feel like imitating a bump on a log. It’s not a very productive way to spend my days, but when they all blur together, what else is there to do?

I guess it all comes down to Yoda’s wise words:

Do, or do not. There is no try.

I need to keep my brain active, or it will atrophy. I can do that by reading books. And hopefully by reading more, I’ll be inspired to write more.

But after spending my day fighting with one of my kids, I think I’m going to veg out in front of the TV tonight and start in on the brain exercise tomorrow.

How are you handling the current need for social distancing and isolation? What are some of your favorite books?

(c) 2020. All rights reserved.

Wild Wednesday

It’s been a wild Wednesday.

Things got off to a rocky start this morning when I backed out of my garage. There was much loud swearing, and I really don’t want to talk about it, except to say that as a result of getting off to a rocky start, I was unable to resist trying one of the donuts that greeted me as soon as I walked in the door at work. I was also unable to resist one of the gourmet cookies that arrived this afternoon. And I was unable to resist Godfather’s Pizza come suppertime.

The sky swore today.

I happened to look out the window by my desk about 4:00 p.m. and I couldn’t believe what I saw. It looked like January outside, except for the part where the grass was still green. They said I could leave early if I wanted, but I wasn’t worried about the roads, even though everyone forgets how to drive in snow between May and November. I just took it easy, only getting mildly annoyed when the person behind me with the super-bright dims seemed to ride my bumper for ten miles before finally going around me. But I made it home safe and sound, and my kids made it home safe and sound, so it could have been a whole lot worse.

Besides, I got a book today.

Everyone knows that books make everything better, and this book in particular is very exciting. I’d actually completely forgotten it was coming. About a month ago, A.F.E. Smith posted on her Facebook page that she’d run across a box of proof copies of her third novel, Windsinger, and asked if anyone would want one. Naturally, I said yes! And when I finally made it home tonight, a pretty, pretty signed copy was sitting in my mailbox, just waiting to be read. (You can check out my review of Windsinger here, and my reviews of Darkhaven and Goldenfire here and here.)

I’ve been struggling a bit with reading lately, so it was a wonderful reminder that there are loads of great things out there to read (as if I really needed a reminder of that). I seem to read in fits and starts these days – when I’m reading, it’s all I can do, and writing is the same. Maybe it’s just that I feel so pressed for time, like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do. Maybe it’s some weird manifestation of something I’m not entirely certain of. I don’t know.

There’s an awful lot I don’t seem to know these days.

But maybe things will look brighter in the morning.

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

I sing the wind…

*taps mic*

*glances round*

Hello? Is this thing on?

Oh, good! It’s been far too long, hasn’t it? I can’t remember the last time I’ve gone…um…*checks calendar*…four and a half months without a single post. But school’s out for summer (cue Alice Cooper), and I am ready for the break. And what better way to kick off summer than with a book review?

I’ve read a ton in the last nine months. Some I enjoyed, some not so much, but today I want to talk about Windsinger by A.F.E. Smith. It’s the third book in her Darkhaven series, and it’s been sitting on my phone just begging to be read for an entirely unforgivable length of time. I don’t even know what happened; it arrived last year, but for the first time ever, reading held no joy for me, so in my phone it sat.

What’s it about? Glad you asked!

Ayla Nightshade prepares to meet with the Kardise ambassador to sign a treaty between Mirrorvale and Sol Kardis. However, negotiations are halted as the ambassador is discovered dead in his chambers, poisoned by the same bottle of taransey he and Ayla had shared the night before.

Ayla has been framed for murder and the peace between two kingdoms is at stake. Tomas Caraway and his Helmsmen must rush to prove her innocence before war destroys all they have fought for.

Along the way they discover the plans for a Parovian airship, the Windsinger, which reveal a chamber designed for a special cargo: a living one.

Together Ayla and Tomas set out to uncover their real enemies – a search that will lead them closer to home than they ever anticipated.

If you’ve read the first two books, you won’t want to miss this one, as it brings back a load of interesting characters and throws a whole new set of challenges at them. After slogging through a semester of Milton, this was a refreshing adventure that I couldn’t put down. It was brilliantly well-written, and I loved seeing how Ayla and Tomas’s relationship had grown, how Ayla herself had grown. The love they have for each other is evident, and a joy to see.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is about that love:

‘Anyone can hate,’ Caraway said. ‘It’s love that requires courage.’

But it’s not just about Tomas’s love for Ayla and their children, it’s about love for Mirrorvale as well, and really, it applies to us as well. There is so much hate in the world, and most of it’s senseless, much as in this book. If we can all remember that love is more powerful, and try to show it more in our daily lives, perhaps the world will become the better place we’d all long to see. This book is a wonderful reminder that love can accomplish anything.

In short, if you haven’t read this book, or the others, you definitely should. Pick up a copy at HarperCollins, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or anywhere that fine books are sold, and let me know what you think! After all, nothing cures a book hangover like a great discussion. 🙂

Have you read the Darkhaven novels? What did you think?

(c) 2018. All rights reserved.

Just when you thought I was out of inspirational quotes…

Today’s quote is one of my absolute favorites to come from this project, and it’s courtesy of Katie M. Dean:

never-be-afraid-because-you-will-change-at-least-one-life-with-your-writing-and-its-okay-if-that-life-is-yours-katie-m-dean

Seriously. There is so much I love about this quote that I don’t even know where to begin. It was like getting hit by lightning, a slap in the face of pure duh.

Like, why hadn’t I thought of this sooner?

This is quite possible one of the best quotes I have ever read. About anything. And I have a whole spiral-bound notebook full of quotations that I’ve been keeping for the better part of two decades – this one trumps them all.

Love. This.

What is your absolutely positively all-time favorite quote?

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

I’m going off the rails on a crazy train

You can’t sleep through life if you wants to live it. -Alice Walker

Well, here it is – the end of the first weekend in November. How the heck did that happen?!

It’s been a good month since my last post, and all I can think is, “Well, so much for blogging every day this year.”

Sure, I could whip out a bunch of posts and backdate them all, but I don’t have the time. Or the mental energy.

School is kicking my butt. And while I’m happy to be back in a classroom and happy to be reading and learning so many wonderful things, I am exhausted, and rather frustrated with myself for not doing this years ago. I should have done it right away, instead of waiting.

But hindsight is 20/20, and that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?

I ought to be nigh unbreakable by the time I finish this degree.

Despite my best intentions, I expect I will not be posting much the rest of the year, though I will post when I can. Midterms are behind me, thank goodness, but the end of the semester is rapidly approaching, and I have some big projects ahead of me. Between school and work and family, something’s gotta give, and that something is this.

Next semester promises to be even more hectic, as I’m adding a class to my already heavy load. If you’re the praying type, keep me in yours – I’ll need all the prayers I can get to keep me awake and engaged. Pulling all-nighters was so much easier when I was twenty!

But this, too, shall pass, and hopefully something wonderful awaits me on the other side.

What’s new with you? Are you excited for the impending winter holiday season? Do you have big plans for the coming year?

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.