Happy Thanksgiving 2016


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I know this is a little strange for non-Canadians, but Happy Thanksgiving! (No, I’m not mixing the holidays up.)

Not what I meant when I told you to carve the turkey thanksgiving joke

I am so thankful for all the amazing things in my life. I finally got to trade vows with my husband last summer, we’re departing for our Japan trip shortly, and we really don’t have anything to complain about. I’ve pre-scheduled some posts while I’m gone, but I doubt I’ll be able to answer any comments until I get back. I wish everyone the best, and I hope you take a moment to meditate on the things you’re thankful for too. A mindset of gratefulness can do amazing things for a person’s well-being!

For my fellow Canadians, I hope you enjoy your turkey/ham/special dinner and time spent with family. If you don’t have those things for one reason or another, I hope you find a way to celebrate anyways.

The meal isn't over when I'm full, it's over when I hate myself - Louis CK

Not Just For Writers


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As a writer seeking to better myself, I follow Kristen Lamb’s blog. She’s given some incredible advice over the years, much of it entirely for free! But every so often, some of her posts reach far beyond just writing and author advice. Her latest post, Why I Hate “The Giving Tree”–But How This Story Makes Us Better Writers, is one of these.

Now, I had to google “The Giving Tree” and reread it again before I could remember what it was about, and it never actually had an impact when I read it. I guess because it didn’t have magic or animals in it (then, as now, I was very partial to a particular kind of books). Reading it now, I think it’s rather brilliant. Not that I necessarily like it, but I do admire it. But enough of my thoughts, it was Kristen’s that impressed me.

I’ve cherry-picked my favorite parts, but if you want to read the whole thing, definitely click the link above:

“Shel Silverstein didn’t write The Giving Tree with plans that it was a cautionary tale against toxic relationships. He didn’t write it to be some Christ-like example of selfless love. He wasn’t writing a tale of capitalism run amok or misogyny. According to him, he simply wrote a story about the complicated dynamics of human relationships. We, as the reader, assign whether this is a tale of warning or wonder, horror or hope.”

apples apple tree

“I honestly believe that stories we gravitate to as children says a lot about our fundamental nature, our strengths and weaknesses.

I always loved the parable of the Tortoise and the Hare, namely because one of my strongest traits is my persistence. I loved the parable of The Crow and the Pitcher because I was always good at finding clever ways to solve seemingly impossible problems. The stories I loved possibly reflected back personality qualities that even at a very young age, I possessed and was even proud of.

But then there was my dark side, a side I noticed even by the tender age of four when I was sounding out the words And the tree was happy. My tendency to people please (Old Man Whickutt’s Donkey) and my seeming inability to set a boundary with those who would take and take until I had nothing left to give (The Giving Tree) and me happily enabling my own self-destruction. The anger I felt toward the tree being a fledgling anger I felt for myself.

Why did the boy feel the need to take all the apples? All her branches? Why couldn’t he just take some? Why did the tree feel the need to offer all her apples and all her branches? Couldn’t he see he was killing her? Did he even care?

When it came to her trunk? Why didn’t she tell him to just go pound sand?

God, how many times have I done the same?”

teddy bear child's toy

“Our culture is guilty (my POV) of assuming that every child’s story is to serve as a role model. Don’t bully. Be a good friend. This is what happens when you learn to share. But literature serves a higher purpose.

Isn’t the point of being a parent to rear a fully developed person more than simply being an activities director? That we are charged with rearing a grownup with fully developed empathy and a sense of injustice? Doesn’t it say something when a child reads a story like this and is incensed at the injustice of it all?

The children’s movie Inside Out explored how dysfunctional we have become regarding human emotion. We aren’t permitted to be angry, sad, disappointed, jaded or hurt. We can be depressed (because there is a pill for that). Yet these “negative” emotions serve a purpose. It is okay to be angry and sometimes it is downright warranted. It is all right to be afraid.

Our culture has become obsessed with never being offended and yet being offended is vital. There are things that should offend us. That is when real change is possible.

Insulating entire generations from ever experiencing negative emotions is in a word? Psychotic.

dark psycho teddy

Silverstein didn’t believe in happy endings being a necessity. He felt that set children up for failure, that things didn’t always work out. That if every book had an HEA then children would wonder what was so wrong with them. They didn’t always get an HEA in their lives. What were they doing wrong?

Nothing, my Wee One. It is life. Fair is a weather condition.

Good stories also serve as catharsis. We need to watch comedy because we do need to laugh, but you know what? Sometimes what we need is a good cry, too. And maybe we aren’t yet “evolved” enough to cry over what is going wrong in our own lives, but we can cry for a beautiful tree that was rendered a stump.

And that makes us all just a little bit more human.”

Now I’m a real sucker for my happily-ever-after, but even I agree with Kristen.

What are your thoughts, readers? Did you remember this story? How do you interpret it? Do you agree with Kristen about the bad side of only giving children their happily-ever-afters?

By the way, if you’re a writer, definitely subscribe to Kristen’s blog!

Lucifer Returns


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Today I’m totally stoked because Fox’s TV series Lucifer is coming back for a second season.

the devil

Tom Ellis as Lucifer Morningstar.

Lucifer is by far my favorite current show (although there are old favorites still unshaken). The premise? Lucifer gets bored with Hell and decides to take a vacation in L.A. He opens a nightclub with his demon buddy Maze.

demon Mazikeen

Lesley-Ann Brandt as Maze.

Then he meets a detective named Chloe who is mysteriously immune to his supernatural powers of charm and persuasion. Intrigued by that and titillated by the idea of punishing evildoers, he starts helping her on her cases.

cop buddy

Lauren German as Detective Chloe Decker.

Did I mention that Lucifer has a badass brother angel?

the badass brother angel

DB Woodside as Amenadiel.

Oh, and Lucifer has a psychiatrist.

Humor me

Rachael Harris as Kim Martin.

So if you’re looking for a new TV show in the vein of comedy/supernatural/police procedural, look no further. It probably isn’t quite what you’re expecting.

Anyone else out there seen Lucifer? Are you thinking of trying it now?

Claws of the Curse: Cover Reveal!


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Exciting news! Here’s the cover for my next book, Claws of the Curse!
Claws of the Curse fantasy novel book cover
Big thank you to the folks at Deranged Doctor Design – you did a fantastic job.

Unfortunately, I don’t have an ETA for the book yet; my life has undergone some pretty big changes in the last year, and there’s a lot of work left to be done. But nothing helps me write a novel more than being inspired by an amazing cover!

If you’re wondering, this next book will be another fantasy novel, but featuring new characters. No more Toman and Esset… For now, at least. I’m not ruling out more Fire and Stone stories in the future, but there are no immediate plans.

If you are curious about the new novel, here’s the description of it that I’m working on:

Vhi never wanted to hurt anyone. Unfortunately, wild magic runs rampant through her body, and she can’t stop it from lashing out and hurting others. She’s sure she’s cursed. For this, her brother hunts her and civilization casts her out.

Rajin is a magical big cat with golden fur and a misanthropic personality. He would rather that humans didn’t exist, although human extinction would sit amicably with him too. Unfortunately, humans are better at hunting him than he, them.

When Vhi and Rajin’s paths collide, the cat is intrigued by Vhi’s pure heart. Unfortunately, the cure to her curse may lie with his hunters. Can Vhi and Rajin escape their respective hunters long enough to lift her curse?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Holy Hand Grenades and Gaudy Gods


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They found a holy hand grenade! Crusader-era hand grenade surprises archaeologists
Or at least, it’s a Crusader-era hand grenade (and those were holy wars, right? Riiiiiiight?)

And the Lord spake, saying, “First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it.

They pulled the artifact out of the sea, and it’s hundreds of years old.
Ancient hand grenade
As it turns out, hand grenades were actually somewhat common in Israel from the 11th to 13th century. Many experts believe these grenades carried a burning, flammable liquid…although other experts disagree, saying these “grenades” were actually perfume bottles. It’s less exciting than a hand grenade, but hey, I’m sure it made the ladies of the time a lot happier.

What do you think, readers? Hand grenade or perfume bottle?

In other historical news: Ultraviolet light reveals how ancient Greek statues really looked
I’ve always been a fan of Greco-Roman artwork. The pale statues and lifelike features have always spoken to me. There’s something magical about them.

Science has gone and ruined it for me. How? It’s gone and revealed that all of this incredible artwork was actually painted in an incredibly tacky fashion.

Tickles the Tacky Archer

(IFLS has a video and a brief explanation on how they discovered this clown-town paint job.)

Really though. I know the Roman satirist Juvenal mocked the Roman populace for being sated by “bread and circuses,” but I didn’t think even their gods would look like they belonged in circuses.

What do you think, readers? Am I an uncouth troglodyte for bearing such a mocking opinion of this disfigurement of art, or do you find them reminiscent of so many childish coloring books now too?

Summer Is Women’s Winter


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I’m one of those people. Yes, one of those people. The one who’s always cold. It will be crazy hot outside (say, mid-thirties Celsius – mid-nineties to you Americans), and I will be packing a sweater around because the second I step foot inside, I know I’ll be freezing. ‘Cause y’all have the AC on too much.

So while the below video is a very humorous portrayal of this trait divided across gender lines, I take it to new heights. The other women laugh at the fleece blanket that I cuddle up in while they’re complaining about the heat.

So ladies, take pity on me, because if you feel like the ladies in the video, imagine how it must be for me; when you’re warming up, I’m still cold.

How is it for you, readers? Are you like me, always cold, or like the guys, laughing at the cold people?

The new DQ is all for ME


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So. Exciting news. A new DQ opened by my house! Well, a few blocks away, but STILL. DQ. ICE CREAM NOM NOM. Yep, I’m gonna be fat.

In celebration of all things Dairy Queen, I found some cool facts:

Though Dairy Queen has been around since 1940, they didn’t invent their trademark Blizzards until 1985. They sold more than 175 million Blizzards in the very first year. Source.
That’s right. It took them 45 years to invent my favorite ice cream. Then again, it still happened before I was born, so it’s all good.

DQ logos and branding

The original logo. See the rest of the logos below, but click this one to read the history!

The Green Tea Blizzard is the #1 seller in China. In the U.S., the most popular Blizzard is Oreo. Source.
Yeah… I’ll stick with Oreo too. In fact, Oreo with caramel is my favorite.

Technically, the soft serve you order at DQ technically isn’t ice cream. It has to contain 10% butterfat to be considered ice cream and only contains 5%. Source.
Don’t care, had ice cream.

No Doubt was formed at a DQ in 1986. Eric Stefani and Greg Spence met while working at the same Dairy Queen and often talked about starting a band together. They finally did, and looped in a bunch of other musicians to round out the group. Source.
I’ll leave it to you, dear readers, do decide whether this was a good thing. ;)

The phrase “Dairy Queen” is mentioned in the social universe about once every 18 seconds. Source.
So I’m not the only one.

Dairy Queen’s soft serve recipe is a highly guarded trade secret. And just like KFC and Coke, they’ll never reveal the ingredients. “[The formula] is kept in a safe deposit box and there are only a few keys to it,” DQ’s chief branding officer, Michael Keller, has said. Source.
Keep it safe, DQ. Keep it safe.

I’m so full of onion rings right now. Mmmm…

Entrepreneur GO


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Yeah, yeah, yeah, another Pokemon GO post. This’ll be my last one… maybe.

But seriously, these are funny! It’s not just churches hopping on the Pokemon GO bandwagon. Savvy entrepreneurs (children and legit business alike!) are taking advantage of the craze.
These two kids set up at PokeStops:
Pokemon GO entrepreneur selling chips mystic instinct valor teams
PokeGLO Pokemon Glow

And why wouldn’t they take advantage of those who can’t play GO for hardware reasons?
need a new phone for pokemon

One bartender is simultaneously increasing her tips and conducting an interesting case study on which team tips the most…
Pokemon GO tip jars team mystic instinct valor

Oh, and these guys want a peek at you:
optometrist pikachu

Anyone have some to share? Most of mine came via Bored Panda!

Holy PokeStops Batman!


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Well, if you haven’t heard, Pokemon Go seems to have made a habit of putting PokeStops and gyms on churches. Bad idea? Maybe. But some churches are cleverly capitalizing on it. Check out the church signs below:






I particularly like St. Andrew’s.