Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Lights

Today I've got a guest post at Jack Lewis Baillot's blog. Jack, in her amazing sweetness, has a book blog party for her book, Haphazardly Implausible, in which she has offered a spot on her blog to other authors . . .instead of asking us to host her. I'm hoping she'll give me the opportunity to return the favor early next year - if you haven't met her yet, she's a gem.

Another bright gem of a blog friend, Tara Tyler, awarded me with an amazing new blog banner . . .that I have yet to put up. But it's awesome, and it looks like this:

 I'll either figure out that tiny technicality of putting it up today or another day. It's a result of winning the 300 follower giveaway that she had with Cassie Mae. I meant to have a huge announcement in BIG LETTERS, but this will have to do:


Every one of us is unique, amazing, truly one of a kind.

I believe that each of us as the opportunity to shine, to light up dark circumstances, to brighten a regular day, to bring warmth to each occasion.

Each of you that has visited here on my blog, commented, been a blog buddy, given helpful advice, invited me to participate in a blogfest (or several), has been a light in my life.

Thank you.

I believe that God created each of us for the unique way that we call all fill a singular purpose - to shine the light of hope and love in other people's lives.

Keep Shining.

Together we can light up the world.

Merry Christmas!!!

BTW, I will be taking a sleigh ride around the blogsphere this week, stopping by for a jingle here and there, but this is my last "real" post of the year. I'll be back January 2nd for IWSG, which I have the honor of co-hosting with the renowned Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh and Jamie of Mithril Wisdom.

Remember to check out Jack Lewis Baillot's blog today.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Sleepy Hobbit Movie Experience Review, and a Thank You

Sleepy Hobbits wandered in a daze through our house and a myriad of activities on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and then after over-sleeping on Monday, rushed out of the house abruptly for expected journeys to an orthondontist, and to the last day of our homeschool co-op before Christmas break.

Despite experiencing sleep deprivation over a packed full weekend, we loved seeing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at 12:01 a.m. Friday morning. The theatre rocked with Hobbit and LOTR enthusiasts, many of whom dressed in full costumes as hobbits, elves, a number of Gandalf impersonators, a few trolls, and a Dad we know dressed as a Nazgul. (Not my hubby but a friend of his) The joy of watching the movie with a dozen or so old friends, and several hundred new friends (made while chatting about all our favorites parts of the book for three hours before the movie started) was eclipsed only by the movie itself.

After several charade and skit renditions of LOTR scenes, and a rousing rendition of The Green Dragon song, the lights went low, voices lulled to mere murmurs, and then cheered as the first glimpse of the Shire came into view.

The history and richness of Middle Earth was played to the full through Jackson's direction. Bilbo's character and conversations came to life with the excellent acting of Martin Freeman. We were "Good Morninged" properly, sung to by Dwarves throwing plates and then more somberly around the fire, left with a sense of emptiness when Bilbo awakes to discover the Dwarves have already left without him . . .and then the adventure kicks into high gear. I don't want to spoil it for you, if you haven't already seen it, but I highly encourage you to go, even if you haven't read the book.

You really, really need to read The Hobbit. I don't care if you can't make it through LOTR's massive pages of description, at least read The Hobbit. I feel (and I'm being completely subjective and biased about this) that it's Tolkien's best book ever. It was the first one I ever read, and I read it for the first time near the end of my third grade year. Then I read it again and again, and again, and again. In fifth grade, I pulled my first all night reading session over a re-read of The Hobbit. It's also the best Tolkien book for reading aloud to your loved ones, or listening to on cd/tape/MP3.

Having said that, you might realize that I am a bit of a Hobbit purist. In other words, I had a tough time with the fact that Jackson brought in all those other parts of Middle Earth history and background to the movie. I want to watch it again, just knowing that it will be there. I should have known going in, but I still found myself muttering under my breath "but that didn't happen in the Hobbit" at different points in the movie. Thankfully, I was sitting next to a few other purists who were doing the same thing so they didn't think I'd gone Gollum on them.

Speaking of Gollum, I loved the riddle scene although I think at least one riddle was left out. I have to check my book on that.

If you want a more unbiased, less Hobbit-centered review, check out Jamie's awesome review at Mithril Wisdom. He has a better take on Jackson's directorial decisions, and I found myself wishing I had read his review first.

I did see it in 3D with all the fancy stuff, but since I'm not fond of 3D and only watched it that way for my kids, and of course the green Hobbit 3D glasses with the quote inside them, I can't give a review on the technical aspects.

One last thing today . . .and definitely not the least,

 I want to say thank you to Cherie Reich! I won an autographed copy of The Nightmare Collection, an autographed copy of Gravity: The Complete Trilogy, and a $10 gift card!!! WOW!!! THANKS for the early Christmas present, Cherie!!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hobbit Fest and Free Souls

Hobbit Fest is Here!!!! I'm so thankful that M. Pax joined me in hosting this event. She created the really cool pic, and set up the linky list! Make sure you check out her post, her funny Leonard Nimoy video, and say thank you!

I'm writing and posting early since I'll be going to the 12:01 a.m. showing of the movie. My kids insisted (really, it was them and not me), and I didn't want to cheat on my last answer. I'll probably update tomorrow with a short (promise) review. Update below

What is your favorite hobbit characteristic/or the one that you think closely resembles you . . .?

Well, I am really short, and slightly rounder than I would like. I happen to like second breakfasts since I get up two hours before my kids . . .at least that's my excuse. (I have been going to the YMCA and running their indoor track lately so I am becoming slightly less Hobbit-shaped)

If you could choose between a scrumptious second breakfast and a perilous unexpected journey – which would you prefer?
Oooh, I made this question up thinking of the hard choice between peach covered pancakes, and a day on the ski slopes - although that's not really that perilous.

I would like to say that I would take the unexpected journey, but I know myself too well. If there's peril and unexpectedness, I'm more likely to curl up in a quilt and stay at home.

I like my adventures managed in size-able chunks. I have snorkeled with Manta Rays, but that was a few years ago now and I researched the whole thing first . . .you see what I mean. I weighed the pros and cons and tried to take out any peril or unexpectedness, and so I had a good time.

Have you ever left behind something on a journey (expected or unexpected) and wished you could have it over and over again? (a pocket handkerchief?)

Too many times to count. I usually forget my toothbrush, but the worst forgotten item was a can opener on a camping trip when my new (17 years ago) hubster and I brought canned chili for dinner.
What is your Favorite part or quote from the book that you hope will be in the movie?
 Another hard question . . .why did I make up ones like this? Umm. I really want the runes on the map to be cool, and I'm looking forward to the dwarves showing up in ones, twos, and threes at Bilbo's door. There's so much that it's hard to choose. I'm looking forward to hearing the dwarves sing, and Bilbo's first touch of the ring, and the riddle contest, and Beorn, and the eagles.

I guess I hope the movie does a really good job with Beorn.

UPDATE!!! PARTIAL MOVIE REVIEW! Stayed up really late, woke up late for my own Hobbit Fest, loved the movie, and loved seeing it with an enthusiastic crowd of Hobbit lovers!!! No, it doesn't follow the book exactly (I can be an exacting purist with book to movie renditions), but The Hobbit is beautiful, striking, and exciting. The acting is superb, the graphics are awesome, and the soundtrack is wonderful. Hope you all go and enjoy it soon!
In other awesome exciting news . . .

Free Souls, the final book in the Mindjack trilogy by Susan Kaye Quinn, is out now!!!! Just in time for Christmas! The question is, can I wait for my hubster to give it to me, or do I buy it right now? The whole trilogy has been a family favorite (meant for YA, but my 11 year old who eats and breathes books loves them).

Free Souls (Book Three of the Mindjack Trilogy)Available at Amazon
 And Jack at However Improbable has her first book out today! Check out:


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cheers, Cavanaugh Pt 2 Trivia Answers

Many Thanks to Alex, and Many Best Wishes for Christmas for Alex and the Mrs. C!

Here are the answers for the trivia questions:

1. "Two Dollars. I want my two dollars." Better Off Dead
2. "Doc, you built a time machine... out of a Delorian?" Back to the Future
3. "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop & look around once in awhile you could miss it".
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
4. "Greetings Starfighter. You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada." The Last Starfighter
5. "Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold". The Outsiders

Of course, if you didn't know this already - Alex got all the answers on Monday. I kind of knew he would.

So, here's to hoping that Alex knows we (whole blogsphere) are all happy he is alive and well and not being chased by paperboys on bikes down ski hills; we know he must be from the future to comment from all the posts each day; we hope that he gets a fun day off with Mrs. C on a regular basis; we wish his Starfighter Byron well in all his endeavors; and we know he'll stay gold, because that's just the way Alex is.

Cheers again to Alex!!!

Last Reminder for Hobbit Fest this Friday!!!
I'm teaming up with M. Pax so it's going to be awesome!

What is your favorite hobbit characteristic/or the one that you think closely resembles you . . .?

If you could choose between a scrumptious second breakfast and a perilous unexpected journey – which would you prefer?

Have you ever left behind something on a journey (expected or unexpected) and wished you could have it over and over again? (a pocket handkerchief?)

What is your Favorite part or quote from the book that you hope will be in the movie?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cheers, Cavanaugh and Movie Trivia

Ever attended a Christmas party where you bump into the person who was always there for you during the last year. You’d thank them for being such a RockStar, right?

If there’s one person in the Blogisfear who you want to say cheers to, who would it be?

For us, it was a no-brainer: Alex “no hyperlink needed” Cavanaugh.

Alex is an awesome blogger who’s helped hundreds of us via book releases, guest posts, guest interviews and always positive comments. While we can’t have a live part-ay for the Ninja Captain, we can host a BlogFest.

In +/- 20 words, what does Alex look like? He's lean, medium height around 5'8" to 5'10", and has dark brown hair just above collar length.

In +/- 20 words, who could play Alex in a documentary? (Living or dead.) Viggo Mortensen

In +/- 20 words, who does Alex remind you of?

Alex reminds me of a family friend that we’ve known for years. He’s just a comfortable guy, someone you want to hang around on a regular basis.
In +/- 100 words, (excluding the title) write flash fiction using all these prompts:


This is where the fun begins . . .mwahaha. Just kidding. :-)

Ninja Captain Cavanaugh flew his Cosbolt on a mission of utmost importance: to bring good cheer and encouragement to planet Blog.
Fighting off the evil villains of doubt and insecurity with ease, but Ninja Captain Alex wanted to share the fight, so he recruited pilots to help him with a monthly IWSG.
Leading his squadron each month, Alex used  his telekinetic powers to subdue his foes, and taught all in his squadron to do the same.
At the end of the long fought battle, Alex celebrated the victory with a rockin’ guitar solo.

 For Bonus Points:
In +/- 40 words, leave a comment for Mrs. Cavanaugh - thanking her for sharing J

Dear Mrs. Cavanaugh, Thank you for sharing Alex with the blog world. I hope that you get to spend lots of time with him daily. I know you must be a tower of strength and encouragement for him. Thank you.

Join the Linky List
Be a follower.
Post your 200 (total) word contribution Monday, Dec. 10.
Have Fun!

Two winners – chosen by Alex – will each win one prize:

FIRST PLACE: A signed copy of CassaStar. (Or CassaFire)

In further honor of Alex, I have a few movie triva questions from 80's teen movies. A few of these should be pretty easy. What movies are these quotes from?

1. "Two Dollars. I want my two dollars."
2. "Doc, you built a time machine... out of a Delorian?"
3. "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop & look around once in awhile you could miss it".
4. "Greetings Starfighter. You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada."
5. "Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold".

Answers will be listed on Wednesday.

The Hobbit is here Friday! M Pax and I are hosting Hobbit Fest, and we would love to know the answers to these questions:

If you could choose between a scrumptious second breakfast and a perilous unexpected journey – which would you prefer?
Have you ever left behind something on a journey (expected or unexpected) and wished you could have it over and over again? (a pocket handkerchief?)
What is your Favorite part or quote from the book that you hope will be in the movie?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Writing Prompts, pt. 5

Writing Prompt Friday:

1. The gleam of a trophy from years ago

2. Tap shoes, sitting sideways on the floor

3. Dampness all around

4. A dance of leaves in the wind

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

IWSG, NaNo report, and Sleep-typing?

It's IWSG - that awesome time of month where writers everywhere in blogland take a moment to reflect on their insecurities, or to give inspiration, or maybe just give a rambling report on the state of writing? (no, that's not official that's just me this month)

Remember to stop by and Thank the Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh for his awesomeness - he started and continues to lead IWSG each month!

It seems like road blocks have been cropping up at regular intervals for my writing journey. I start, get up to speed, and an orange road block sign jumps out at me from behind an innocent looking bend in the road. I slow down, navigate my way through the orange cones and around the detour,  then creep up to speed again. (no, not the kind of speed that got me those speeding tickets mentioned in the And You Are Blogfest – I try not to do that anymore)

These road blocks have come in different ways: emergency trips to the hospital for my dad and my father-in-law, a friend whose daughter had a much needed spinal surgery needed some friends to sit with her in the waiting room, my oldest daughter’s intense dislike of the distributive property in algebra (solved now), two family Thanksgiving dinners on two different days, a need to rest and just read. (really that’s a need for me), my husband preparing to “do” video for three different winter dance recitals, a different dance class schedule (my youngest switched from four days of ballet to only one day of tap – should be easier but any change throws me off), upcoming ski and snowboard weekends to prepare for (do the ski pants fit, where did those poles go?), a Christmas tree, my friend’s homecoming for her daughter from the hospital, and silly things like having a very sleepless night because of our two dogs barking at an animal outside our fence, followed by a night of sleepwalking and possible sleep-typing.  I woke up by my laptop at 1a.m. and hoped I hadn’t updated my facebook status with gibberish or something even more embarrassing.

Somewhere in all of that, my NaNoWriMo project The Identity of Captain Wrath derailed, and my characters were complaining that I wasn’t writing them correctly. On a positive note, for NaNoRevMo, I did get quite a bit of work done for Champion in the Darkness. Two of my beta readers have declared it ready for sale, but I still need to give it a final read aloud for typos, grammar errors, and then I’ll be onto formatting.

So, one would think that in the midst of all those road blocks, the derailment of one project and the plain slowness of another I would feel really insecure, right?

Strangely, I don’t. Why not?

1.       Because of you, you, you, and all of you. (You know I’m talking about You, right?) Your support and encouragement has been huge!!! Thank you!

2.       Because I am still getting something done, a little bit at a time. Champion in the Darkness will be ready for February. I know it.

3.       Lots of prayer. Bible study. The sureness that God has a plan for me, and even if it’s looks a bit blotchy at close range, I’m sure that it will turn out good at a distance like a Monet.  (not because I’m beautiful but because Jesus is)

4.       I’m working on a new plan for The Identity of Captain Wrath. Have you ever seen any of the books that are released chapter by chapter in episodes? Well, I think (still in thought process) that I may be doing something like that. . .crazy? Maybe. If I go that route, I plan to release one chapter at a time every two weeks, and then at the very end compile it all together into book format . . .thinking that 24-36 episodes should be about right. I’ll be making up my mind on that over Christmas break (yes, I’ll be taking one of those from December 20ish to January 1st).
5. Because of you . . .yes, I'm back to you. Really, your encouragement brightens my day.
Remember to Give Back to Alex with the Cheers, Cavanaugh Fest!
And please feel free to join M Pax and I for Hobbit Fest on December 14th!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Baby Faces, And You Are and Make Believe

Trisha at Word + Stuff is celebrating her blogiversary with Baby Faces Blogfest
Here's my entry:
 I'm not sure exactly how old I was here . . .I was 4 pds 7 oz when I was born . . .so I think this is when I was between 6-9 months. I'll have to ask my parents for earlier ones someday.
Happy Blogiversary Trisha!!!
Emily and Tammy are hosting the And You Are? Blog Hop today!
These are the "And You Are...?" questions:

1. How many speeding tickets have you gotten? umm, do I have to answer this? I got three before I turned 18, and I've gotten three since then.

2. Can you pitch a tent? It depends on the tent. If you mean one of the small, fancy ones with interlocking tent poles, then yes. (but not as fast as my husband)

3. What was your worst vacation ever? I love vacations, so this one is hard. Have I had a "worst" vacation? Umm. Once I slept for over 27 hours, sick from an allergic reaction on a camping trip in the middle of nowhere, but the rest of the vacation was good so that still doesn't count. I think getting sick over Christmas year after year when we visited my cousins (when I was a kid) was the worst. I thought for a while that I was allergic to Christmas. (my food allergies were unknown at that point - but ham, wheat, mayo (eggs), and corn all played a large role in Christmas dinners at my Aunt's house. Ham makes me puke repeatedly, and the others make me nauseous or break out in rashes, or worse)

4. What was the last thing you bought over $100? Groceries. Oh, you mean, a single ticket item . . .umm, each of three family season ski passes - my husband teaches lessons so his season ticket is less than $100, but the girls and I get the big ticket ski pass)

5. We're handing you the keys to what? Too many dream cars . . .a convertible VW bug, a Jeep Wrangler, or a Dodge Viper - all preferably stick shift, not automatic.

6. What was the last meal you cooked that made even you sick? A Hobo Stew I made about three years ago that not even our beagle dog would eat . . .it was really bad.

7. Fill in the blank: Oh my gosh! Becky, look at her butt! It is so big. She looks like ____? A rap guy's girlfriend? Or the back of a moving van? Or unfortunately, me. Must return to diet.

8. What was your first car? a Mazda GLC - it was an awesome car, and the one in which I received the most speeding tickets.

9. Your best friend falls and gets hurt. Do you ask if he/she's okay or laugh first? It depends on the fall . . .if it's a tripping kind of fall, then laughter.

10. What's the worst song ever? Lady in Red . . .really, it's way too slow of a slow song, and I don't like the tune.  I know that so many people love it, but I just don't. Really, really don't. The singer's voice gets on my nerves as he holds out reeeeeeeeeeeeed. AAAAGH. The bad part of this is that my husband really likes this song. Our taste in slow music is so different that we didn't have a special slow song at our wedding . . .and I love dancing with him (even cheek to cheek as long as it's not that song).
Lynda R. Young at W.I.P. It is celebrating the publication of her short story, Birthright, with the Make Believe Launch Party!
Exciting news! Lynda R. Young’s short story titled Birthright has been published by J. Taylor Publishing in the Make Believe anthology launched TODAY! Virtual cake for everyone!! Make Believe is currently available in e-book format and includes Paranormal Romance and Fantasy stories inspired by the image on the cover. This will make great holiday reading.
Birthright by Lynda R. Young
Christa can mask the pain and hide the scars, but running from a birthright is impossible.

She’s tried to escape her grief by fleeing to a small town in Florida. Much to her frustration, the locals think they recognize her even though she's never been there before. To make things worse, a man named Jack spouts outrageous theories about her.

Both spur Christa to bolt, to start fresh yet again, but there’s something about Jack that intrigues her enough to stay. The only problem? Someone else wants her to leave, and they won’t stop until she’s dead. 

Blurbs from all the stories included in Make Believe can be found on the J. Taylor Publishing website HERE.
About Lynda R. Young:
Lynda R. Young lives in Sydney, Australia, with her sweetheart of a husband who is her rock, and a cat who believes world domination starts in the home. She writes speculative short stories and is currently writing novels for young adults. In her spare time she also dabbles in photography and all things creative. You can find her here: Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Donna Hosie’s Newest book, The Fire of Merlin is out and ready to read!
David Powers King is having a 800 Follower Build Me a Blog – Hop!

Now, I'm off to teach, and will be back to blog hop in the afternoon . . .