Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Tuesday Musings...Merry Christmas!

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet in the snow, stood puzzling, how could it be so?  It came without ribbons.  It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.  And he puzzled and puzzled 'til his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.  What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.  What if Christmas, perhaps, doesn't come from a store.  What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."

Dr. Suess, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesday Musings...

"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."
Albert Einstein

Saturday, December 15, 2012

New Review: TBR A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang

From Amazon.com:

The man of her dreams might be the cause of her nightmares. Six months ago, Abby Sinclair was struggling to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Now, she has an enchanted iPod, a miniature unicorn living in her underwear drawer, and a magical marketplace to manage. But despite her growing knowledge of the OtherWorld, Abby isn’t at all prepared for Brystion, the dark, mysterious, and sexy-as- sin incubus searching for his sister, convinced Abby has the key to the succubus’s whereabouts. Abby has enough problems without having this seductive shape-shifter literally invade her dreams to get information. But when her Faery boss and some of her friends vanish, as well, Abby and Brystion must form an uneasy alliance. As she is sucked deeper and deeper into this perilous world of faeries, angels, and daemons, Abby realizes her life is in as much danger as her heart—and there’s no one she can trust to save her.
There is a pile, that is actually a pretty impressively large pink and orange box, filled with a lonely pile of TBR's.  The dreaded To Be Read Pile.  Innocently enough, this pile began as a place to gather the books lovingly purchased at a local bookstore's closing.  Then, as these things often do, it took on a life of it's own.  A sad almost Island of Forgotten Toys kind life.  New inhabitants arrived sometimes daily.

This is where A Brush of Darkness ended up.  It had always been on my radar.  I love a good cover, and when this book originally had it's book birthday, there was a bit of buzz about the outrageous (cover your eyes for heaven's sake!! *sarcasm*) outfit the main character, Abby had on.  This amused me, and had to check it out to see what the fuss was all about. 

The story piqued my interest, and became a line on my must read list.  Which lead to, unfortunately, a trip to the TBR pile.  (Cue the dreaded music!)

Fast forward to last week.  Stuck in my book slump, feeling simply annoyed with the few I had close by, I ventured towards that poor pile of lonely books.  And there it was.

Two days later (give me a break here, my one year old likes Goodnight Goon and Where's Baby's Christmas Present right now!!), I became blissfully recharged in my reading vacation status.

Rarely do I actually read almost every single word of the book I'm currently reading.  But, I devoured Abby's story like it was my favorite pretzel covered in dark chocolate covered with M&M's with a side of Dr. Pepper.

My, oh my...from the moment Brystion walks into Abby's life (she also better hide that enchanted iPod from me.  Just sayin.), the smolder and shivering made it almost impossible to put A Brush of Darkness down.  Add to that a missing Protectorate, a horny lil unicorn, an overprotective angel, and a host of OtherWorld drama that somehow manages to build a world without having to over explain every single detail and you have the perfect solution to a book slump.

And the steamy?  Sigh.  Sexual tension is one thing, but this is tangible run your fingers all over and enjoy every single secong "no regrets" that never seems to end.

The best part of waitng so long to get on board?  The next two books are already out.

Oh, yeah....

Check out the In The Dreaming website for more info...


 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Different Ways

Ever notice that you can ask two different people directions to the same place, you often get two entirely different routes?
Are they both right?
As I've journeyed along my bellydance path, I often find that different teachers suggest similar techniques for some moves (a shoulder shimmy is pretty standard) but have variations as well.  For that shoulder shimmy, do you just isolate the actual shoulder itself, or can you use the pectoral muscles to add sharpness?
Early on, one of my teachers (who I loved dearly!) taught a beginner's second level class.  It was fun, but in all honesty, it felt like I was doing the same movement over and over without the next level growth I had been expecting.  Move your shoulders back and forth only advanced to place your hands in a doorway to help isolate your shoulders. 
This wasn't necessarily wrong, but I realized that I needed more.  I learned differently, and processed things better when I had technical instructions. 
Just using your "shoulders" to shimmy produced a soft, gentle shoulder shimmy.  Adding in the pectoral muscles gave the movement power and allowed accents to bring it to another level.
Was either of these wrong?  Nope.  They were both right. They just produced different results and increased my dance "vocabulary."
Art is somewhat subjective, and having the basic tools mastered allows you to bring different levels to your creation. And learning from different teachers only expands your vocabulary.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas On Wherever Island Excerpt Tour & Giveaway!!!




An outrigger cut through the surf. The tallest boys ran into the waves and pulled the boat onto the sand. Through the crowd of children, Marti saw a tall, sturdy man in red shorts and a T-shirt jump from the boat. From the neck up he was a traditional Santa. White beard and red hat contrasted his black skin. Cliff and Marti watched children receive small gifts and candy from the boat and rush off.
Cliff called out. “Does Santa Mon have presents for big children?” He took Marti's hand and drew her close to Santa, whose puckish grin and green eyes reminded Marti of the Chicago ticket seller.
Santa nodded. “Christmas is a time of giving. So true. What gift does the gentleman have for his beautiful lady?”
Marti felt her face flush and wondered if Cliff blushed in the dark. How embarrassing that the Santa thought they were a couple. Cliff knelt and scooped wet sand. With a smile he stood and placed a perfect white scallop shell in her hand.
“A fine gift for your lady.” Santa nodded, pushed his boat into the water and called, “Merry Christmas to all,” and was gone.
Marti smiled at Cliff. “Ah...thanks.”
He looked at her. “Santa Mon was right. For a beautiful lady.” He leaned forward.
She turned to the side and his lips met her cheek. In this amazing romantic setting a handsome man kissed her and she desperately wanted to kiss him back. But she refused to be seduced by a tropical moon and ocean breeze. A vacation fling was not her style. She was loyal. She was loyal to Ben and ignored the voices inside her head reminding her Ben was with his wife.
Cliff whispered, “I'm sorry, Marti. That wasn't a good idea.”
She nodded and dropped the seashell. He bent and stuffed the shell in his pocket.
The hotel desk clerk walked past, calling in a sing-songy rhythm, “Time for Christmas cake! Santa Mon's lucky Christmas cake!”
Marti began to follow him.
“Wait!” Cliff took her arm. “The sun is ready to drop below the horizon. You must watch.”
“Yes,” the manager said, “you may see the green flash.”
“That's not real.” Marti was sure she'd read the green flash was a myth.
“The green flash is real.” Cliff nodded. “If you see one, they say your life will never be the same.”



About The Author:



Amber Polo has had a lifelong love affair with libraries and dogs. A fascination with lost ancient libraries and curiosity about why werewolves outnumbered dog-shifters in literature inspired her new urban fantasy series filled with librarian dog-shifters.

 

"Released" Book One of The Shapeshifters' Library celebrates St. Nicholas Eve as a magic night for the dog-shifters. They celebrate in the old style with wassail, gingerkucken, and old fashioned traditions.  Share their fun. Read The Shapeshifters’ Library Book One.

 

TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY:



Enter to win a copy of The Shapeshifters’ Library, a Starbarks Coffee Hound mug, plus some treats for your favorite dog.

 

Rafflecopter Code:

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Buy links for Released:
Amazon

Book Trailer for Christmas On Wherever Island: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4enl721U0s

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday Musings...

"Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who only dream by night."

Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bellydance Bliss

This past weekend, a troupe mate and I had the pleasure to rehearse with a live band for a show that we are doing this Wednesday (you know, the one Wednesday people go out because they are usually off the next day, unless you work at Walmart!). 
The players in this adventure had never met face to face, and only two of them communicated via email and a few fast phone calls.  We each took it on faith that we would do the best for each other.
And we did.
I had never danced with a real live rock band, or even to a rock tune.  Most of the music I dance to is wither Middle Eastern inspired, electronica, or just plain not even close to main stream.  To say I was a bit nervous (not only for the choreography working, but for the energy we would share...what if they didn't like or understand what kind of bellydancer I am?) would be an understatement.  But, all things happen for a reason.  I was just hoping this one wouldn't be a lesson learned.
What happened was magical...and SO INSPIRING that we are thinking of continuing our odd yet perfect relationship of mutual admiration.  The live music and vibe pushed my dancing to another level, and I know my bellydance partner in crime felt the same.
It's all a part of taking that leap...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday Musings...

"Fear not for the future, weep not for the past."
 
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cover Reveal: Pie Girls by Laauren Clark

I'm so excited to be able to join the cover reveal tour for Pie Girls by Lauren Clark!!  A Buckeye Girl Reads introduced to me Dancing Naked in Dixie, and I fell in love (read review here!), so when the chance came to join in on the fun I jumped!!

So, without further ado, here it is!

 
 
 
Princess, Southern belle, and spoiled-rotten social climber Searcy Roberts swore on a stack of Bibles she'd never return to her hometown in Alabama. After eloping with her high school sweetheart and moving to Atlanta, Searcy embraces big city life Carrie Bradshaw-style. But now, Searcy has a teeny, tiny problem: Her husband's had a mid-life crisis. He's quit his job, cancelled her platinum American Express, and run off with the "new" love of his life. Searcy finds herself back in Alabama with no job, no money, no husband, and no plan. After a frigid welcome home, she finds out that life in the small town Deep South is much harder at 36 than it ever was at sixteen. When she's forced to take over her mother's fledgling business, Searcy deals with sullen employees, strange ingredients, and the business owner next door who's made it his mission to make her life miserable. Will 'Pie Girls' be an epic failure, or will Searcy find the courage to persevere?
Author Bio:
Lauren Clark has been a voracious reader since the age of four and would rather be stranded at the library than on a desert island. In her former life, she worked as an anchor and producer for CBS affiliates in Upstate New York and Alabama. Lauren adores her family, yoga, her new Electra bike, and flavored coffee. She lives near the Florida Gulf Coast. Visit her website at LaurenClarkBooks.com.
Where to find Lauren:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Time is of the Essence...Or, What Rachel Brice Taught Me

There are days when I wake up and think of all the wonderful things I need to accomplish that day.  From yoga, to choreography, to practice and drilling, and costume creation time.  Then, there are the everyday things...laundry, work, blogging, reading, raising an incredibly active one year old (a workout in and of itself and my most joyful and challenging activity!!), and the whole shebang. And then, the day sets in.  I lose all the joyful and end up just barely accomplishing some of the everyday.
Time management used to be my forte.  I had calendars, white boards, lists...
I call this time B.B.B.
Before Baby Boy.
The other days I wake up and try my hardest to not get caught up in the everyday.  The frustration.
As a bellydancer, or any kind of artist, inspiration isn't always enough.  Perfecting and practice are essential.  Thinking about drilling or costuming isn't enough.  It can help...keeps the mind engaged and inspires us.
One of my biggest inspirations is a person.  In my circles, she somewhat of a goddess...we giggle like fangirls and share our favorite youtube moments, choreographies, and memories.
Rachel Brice. 
And now, we have Datura Online to feed our obsession. 
But, this isn't just about that.
Last week on Facebook, Datura Online had an hour of Office Time with the Professor herself.  Ask a question and get your own slice of the wisdom pie. 
So, I logged on, thinking to just lurk and learn.  But, as I read the q&a, I became anxious.  I knew that I wasn't dedicating the time I desperately needed not only for my dance but for myself.  I saw no way to get in the impossibility of practice when there was someone who needed me and other everyday tasks that also demanded my limited time.
And so I asked.
Honestly, I didn't think I'd get an answer, but, figured, what the hay.  At least I would try.  A step in the right direction.
But an answer I got.  After the giddiness sunk in and I stopped squeeing, I smiled.
Simple and easy.  In a way. 
You see, I needed someone to tell me to take time for myself and my dance.  Practice isn't the only way to perfect your art.  You need to plan.
And so, now I plan.  With a cup of tea.  While ze bebe naps.  Then, I dance!!!!
Thanks Rachel.  Here's to month one.  And dusting of my trusty planner. And a pencil.
YIEP!!


Check out Datura Online and the awe inspiring awesomeness for yourself!!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Dream A Little Dream and GO FOR IT!

Anytime we here that little voice inside our heads, the one that expresses our dreams, our hopes, and even our fears, we have a choice.  To listen, or block it out, and do the "right thing."  Usually, the "right thing" isn't truly what is right for us, but we do it anyway, either held back by the fear of failing, the fear of change, or even the fear of succeeding.
It takes mountains of courage to understand that what may be right for everyone else isn't necessarily right for us.  And then, we can decide to leap...or keep walking on the same path.
Or in my case, shimmy *big grin*.
What started out as a book blog is an evolving enigma, a part of the new path that has allowed me to remember what it feels like to create, evolve, and even become that little girl who loved to make things and dance around in her bedroom when she thought no one was looking. Except now, I don't mind people looking.  As long as they aren't stalking me.
I would draw in my room, write stories, and paint, all alone, afraid to show anyone.
Well, it is time to grow up. 
Once someone tells you the job you have will lead you to not being able to walk, to never dance again, even all alone in your room, it may just be time to remember all those things the little girl in you remembers, and take that leap.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Book Review...Dancing Naked in Dixie By Lauren Clark

Dancing Naked in Dixie by Lauren Clark, from amazon.com:
 
Travel writer Julia Sullivan lives life in fast-forward. She jet sets to Europe and the Caribbean with barely a moment to blink or sleep. But too many mishaps and missed deadlines have Julia on the verge of being fired.

With a stern warning, and unemployment looming, she's offered one last chance to rescue her career. Julia embarks on an unlikely journey to the ‘Heart of Dixie’—Eufaula, Alabama—home to magnificent mansions, sweet tea, and the annual Pilgrimage.

Julia arrives, soon charmed by the lovely city and her handsome host, but her stay is marred by a shocking discovery. Can Julia's story save her career, Eufaula, and the annual Pilgrimage?

Contemporary romance isn't my usual glass of wine, but once in a while, a girl likes to change things up just a bit.  Add in a little southern hospitality and the holiday season?  I'm all in.
 
First person isn't always my favorite perspective to read. Getting a peak insidesomeone's inner thoughts can feel like the author has made the choice to tell you absolutely everything in a non-stop inner dialogue that can make any premise seem like a encyclopedia of information dumping instead of story telling.  Phew. Thankfully (and joyfully), Lauren Clark avoids this and allows Julia to develop through her own experience and the experiences of those she encounters in this seemingly sleepy southern town in such a charming way that it made me want to get off the beaten path and take a long deserved pilgrimage down south myself.
 
Quaint, a little sassy, and sweet like southern sweet tea (by the way, I always have to do half sweet tea and half water!), Dancing Naked In Dixie has everything a typical contemporary romance could want...the ruggedly handsome somewhat attached (though I never can get why these men can't see the true colors of the perfect girlfriend who secretly covets the money and power he provides while simultaneously and insecurely snapping at the nice girl who's new in town) good guy, the charming if not somewhat quirky family, the evil developer trying to change the town and ruin all the traditions that have made Eufala unique and full of southern hospitality, and the heroine who just can't see that her life would be that much better if only she would leave her crummy city life and take a chance on herself and love. 
 
Plus there's a Batman reference to make the fan girl in me squeal in delight.
 
If I had any complaints, it would be that it took me a few minutes to get over the weird feeling that maybe her new editor was a bit creepy.  And then we find out exactly who he is...and then some. That first feeling may have been justified. And Shug...loved him, but his name had to grow on me.  Bless his heart.  Or his name's heart, if possible.
 
I enjoyed my trip down to Eufala much more than I would have thought.  Maybe it's because the leaves are changing, and the air is crisper...or that I just love the holidays and secretly want my own historical house in the south, but I found Dancing Naked In Dixie to be the kind of sweet story you want to cuddle up under a comfy and cozy blanket.  And a good glass of wine...
 
(Provided for review...visit Lauren Clark's website here.)

Friday, September 21, 2012

There's a First Time For Everything

Take a deep breath.  Now let it out.  This has been my new mantra lately.  The future is always uncertain, and when we find ourselves at a crossroads, we have a choice (obviously).  To take the easy path, or the new one that can be scary.  Risk versus reward, easy versus hard.  Or, hard versus harder.
Over a year ago, I had a simple injury that I brushed off that eventually became incredibly serious.  And scary.
One that meant possibly losing the ability to walk, and with it, dance.
Now, I'm no prima ballerina.  Tribal bellydance is a beautiful exploration of self and expression, and by no means can the average person make a living doing it.  Some do, but, I've never seen myself as that person.  The journey, for me, is more about self, creating, sharing, and enjoying life how it is meant to be enjoyed!
And this all could be gone.  I was devastated.
You know that saying, when times are tough, you find who your friends are?  Well, times were tough.  And I was pregnant with my little bundle of joy.
I thank those who supported me, and those who didn't.  The people who stood by me gave me the faith to believe and never give up.  And the other ones?  They made the decision I had been dreading/hoping to make that much clearer and easier.
On Sunday, I'll be dancing in my first real show since healing and becoming who I am today.  Beyond the excitement and triumph of this moment, there's a new challenge.
The number the ladies and I will be performing is the very first tribal fusion number I've fully choreographed.  I've done other numbers (mostly improv and cabaret style), but this is my first full on piece.
Here's to where we've been, where we could have gone, and where we are and should be.
And remembering the choreography!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Review: Released by Amber Polo (And if you love libraries and sheep dogs...)

(Provided by author):

Released by Amber Polo

 
Love dogs? Love books ?Love libraries? Hate Book-burning werewolves?

Once long ago the Shipsfeather Academy was a training ground for an ancient race of dog-shifters whose mission was to protect the world’s knowledge. A powerful curse sealed these librarians in the basement of their building and gave the control of the town to a pack of book-burning werewolves.

Librarian Liberty Cutter watches in horror as the town’s public library goes up in flames and plans to re-establish the library in the abandoned Shipsfeather Academy building. Chronus, the Old English Sheepdog headmaster of the academyand leader of the dog-shifters, knows he must make some changes to continue to keep his pack safe. But even if he could persuade Liberty to believe in a talking sheepdog, how far can she be trusted? And will she ever be able to care for him as a man. He has to try, because Liberty Cutter and her staff of zany librarians may hold the key to the dog-shifters’ freedom…and the future of the town.


Being a book lover and an expert library loiterer, the chance to review a new book that somehow intertwined these two things definitely piqued my interest.  But, the real reason?  Bunnicula.

Let me explain.

Bunnicula was one of the first books I became obsessed with when I was younger.  Vampire bunnies draining vegetables to the pale, werewolf daschunds, and of course, the most lovable pup protecting his family.  Now, Released by Amber Polo is far from Bunnicula, but let's just say the cheese has transformed into charming.  And delight!

Once you get past the abruptness of being thrown into Liberty's life (in a frantic opening that introduces her and her situation in a frenetic and information overload way)...a librarian raised by her aunts who desperately wants to learn of her town's history as well as her own but whose library (dream job!!!!!) has mysteriously burned downed but is now being moved into the equally mysterious abandoned old school that always seems to have someone watching her from the shadows as she passes.  PHEW! Wait, the once part!!  At this point, the charming, if not adorable, and dare I say cute (I love sheepdogs) storytelling takes over and we find out the real mystery of this town.  The shape shifting dogs are the librarians of the world, protecting humans and working with them to make the most glorious libraries you can imagine.  And their arch enemies?  Werewolves who split from their canine cousins ages ago in their selfish wolfish ways who burn books and libraries in their quest to destroy both the books and their protectors forever.

The doggie librarians in Shipsfeather have been cursed to stay below grounds in the abandoned school which in turn keeps the werewolves out.  Will this stop the burning?  Or are the books and their caretakers doomed?

I simply adored this book...from the Dewey references (charming!!!!!) to the plethora of dog breeds that so represented their wonderful characters to Liberty herself, it was simply a delight to read. The other characters (Elsie, you mangy Alpha and Harry...we saw that Marley and Me!) added a rich and colorful layer that only made the read more enjoyable. Plus, a little romance thrown in? Who could resist? Sigh...a silver haired dashing man and sheep dog who loves books and a little adventure. Again, sigh...If there was one thing I longed for, it was an epic battle between the wolves and librarians (to really teach those book burners a lesson!), but there's always book two!

Quirky, quaint, and romantic, Amber Polo has delivered a breath of fresh air to this book blogger that was desperately needed.

Once in a while, you come across a story that isn't the newest most popular book obsession but is so worthy of being happily recommended that you know your book vacation would have been a little less sunny without it.  And here it is...

(Thank you, A Buckeye Girl Reads...always a delight.  For serious!!!  Book provided on Kindle for review...)

One lucky commenter from the tour will receive:  Prize pack to include:  Large canvas Shipsfeather Library book bag, 4 signed books by Amber Polo including The Shapeshifters’ Library Book 1: Released, Amber's Relaxation CD, 2collectible dogs, & a tuft of Arctic wolf fur.

Please comment away and make sure you find Release for your own reading pleasure...and to see who wins this battle of the books!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tuesdays Musings...Released

The resignation letter in her briefacase would never be submitted.  This town needed a library.  It needed her. She couldn't leave now.

"We could try huffing and puffing."

Bliss smiled contentedly. "Magic is all around you.  Can't you see it?"

Just a few tidbits from my review of Released by Amber Polo...can't wait to share it with you!!!!!




Friday, July 20, 2012

How To Deal...Bellyance Drama

Bellydance has meant so many different things to me over the years.
The first time I saw it, I was a little girl hanging out (or so I thought...turns out I had a really cool babysitter) with a friend of my Mom's who just happened to teach bellydance at the college while she was in classes herself.  I loved the smiles on the ladies faces, and the fact that I was allowed to dance with them?  Wowsa. 
Thus began my love affair with the dance...
Years later, I had almost forgotten my love affair.  Life had gotten in the way, and I had forgotten that side of me that longed to create and enjoy myself.  Until a friend begged me to take a class at a local rec center.
It felt like I woke up and became me again.  (Now, don't get me wrong.  I've done theater, which was one of the best times of my life.  I have skills - you should see me paint a set floor or carve a carousel horse of of foam - and friends for life, but that too ran it's course.) 
To me, bellydance has meant women coming together in support of one another (try shimmying for the first time...it will get you giggling with the girls, trust me!) in a safe place, appreciating their bodies, and one another.  Bringing together a sense of community (sounds strange, right?) by sharing the dance not only for joy but helping others.  Bellydancers love fundraising events.  And then there is the art itself, and sharing that with others.
I didn't become a bellydancer to become famous, which I am so not.  The reason I mention this is that it reflects my agenda, if you will.  I want to dance with my "sisters," teach, and make myself the best I can be.  And enjoy, laugh, and create!
Suddenly, this beautiful art form has become stressful.  Sadly, and I won't go into many details, there is an element that has reared it's oddly uncomfortable head. 
What kind of shows we perform at, and what we do and why.
The feeling at the heart of our dance, since the beginning, has coincided with my feelings of the dance.  This is why I dance with the ladies, but...new members bring in new energies.  That I'm not exactly comfortable with, and not sure how to deal with.  Everyone takes something different from their experiences, and I'm trying to remember that. 
Instead of flying of the immediate handle (I've raged in my mind...it's like my baby, you know?), I've decided to channel that into creation.
New choreo, here I come.  I hope you're ready for me...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday Musings...Lucky



"I've never loved anyone the way I love you," he whispered.
"Lucky them."
Darkest Mercy, Melissa Marr




Without a doubt, Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series is a favorite...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Five Things I Love About Comic Con

I admit it, I've spent most of this past weekend either pouting like the sad little fan girl/geeky mess I am over not being at Comic Con this year.  But, thanks partially to twitter (um, Wil Wheaton and his gorgeous wife, Aspen Comics, the Nerdist, Felicia Day, and many, many others!!) I at least felt like maybe, just maybe I could have been a somewhat blind and semi-deaf fly on the wall.
Especially considering that the Whedonverse opened its loving arms to the ten year anniversary of Firefly...
So, in lovingly somewhat pouting deference to all things Comic Con, here's Five Things I Love...Comic Con style.

1.) Costumes.  The best (or at least most memorable for me!) group I ever had the pleasure of experiencing happened just as I was entering my first San Diego Comic Con.  What could be better than a whole family making their way in, complete with Imperial Soldiers, a Jedi Knight, and...wait for it...two little Jawas!!!  I squealed and knew, one day, that this had to happen for me.  (Second was the actual life size Wolverine.)  Sadly, I  missed the picture opportunity.

2.)  This is my most favorite experience.  Ever.  Chicago Wizard World a few years back...the panels were all sold out (free tickets, but you get the picture), but my husband, being the awesomeness that made me marry him (and give him grief when I feel the situation is dire!), snuck us in to a Joss Whedon panel just in time to hear the unaired episode story that to this day, makes  me tear up.  Let's just say it involves Buffy, some gorgeous leather boots, Willow...and Tara.  Oh, and saving the world.

3,) Done the Impossible...the DVD that chronicles not only Serenity's fan driven passionate following of all things shiny, but documented the fact that I was, in fact, at San Diego Comic Con,  Right behind Joss Whedon.  (I'm in there somewhere...giggle.)  This leads me add the whole fact that geeks (this is a complimentary word, I assure you) can gather and feel totally amped about a cancelled show.

4.)  This year, it was the Firefly Ten Year Anniversary panel...and the tweets that allowed me to sniff back those tears along with the rest of you...

5.)  Being able to geek out with your favorite artist/creator/geek/actor.  Connection on a level that only happens when the Comic Con beckons.

This list is far from complete, and I'm sure I could add more, but I forced myself to pick five.  For now...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New Review! The Darkest Seduction by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Seduction (Hqn)

From Amazon.com:
Possessed by the demon of Promiscuity, immortal warrior Paris is irresistibly seductive—but his potent allure comes at a terrible price. Every night he must bed someone new, or weaken and die. And the woman he craves above all others is the one woman he'd thought was forever beyond his reach…until now.
Newly possessed by the demon of Wrath, Sienna Blackstone is racked by a ruthless need to punish those around her. Yet in Paris's arms, the vulnerable beauty finds soul-searing passion and incredible peace. Until a blood feud between ancient enemies heats up.
Will the battle against gods, angels and creatures of the night bind them eternally—or tear them apart?

The first time I picked up a Gena Showalter book, I was hooked.  Sexy demon possessed misunderstood yumminess combined with female characters that lead the way for strong not to be afraid of who they are awesomeness.  (Yep, gushing.  Unabashedly.)  With each and every turn of the page, each new installment, the addiction rooted itself deeper into my hot little hands.  Add to this that each Lord of the Underworld has their own demon that makes each and every one of them memorable and incredibly sexy as well as unique.  Recipe for a fabulous book vacation.
And who did we all want to see more than anyone get his own book?  Paris, the keeper of promiscuity.  The one whose story threaded its way through each and every installment, from the tiniest glimpses, to the heartbreak and loss of Sienna.
Enter The Darkest Seduction....
Admittedly, when Sienna first entered the picture early on, it was not entirely unexpected.  Serious face, the enemy would be the one that Paris' demon would allow in for seconds...thirds...you get the picture. 
The chance to finally get Paris his own novel...sigh.
Without a doubt, it's a wonderful thing to get to revisit with old friends.  Catch up with what's been happening in their lives.  You know, your friends get married, hook up, start having lil demons.  The get togethers become less frequent...so, it's great when something happens to throw you all together again to catch up!
Even if your buddy has a new girl (you think) who is dead, possessed by Wrath, has wings, and just may be the end of all things you know.  (And don't forget the pregnant with twins mama, due at any moment, the new found female with her need to see herself everywhere, and we still have some questions about William.  Like, what's in that awesome conditioner, and where do I buy it?)
The hardest thing to digest about The Darkest Seduction?  Honestly, the being stuck down there for most of the story with the gang or up there (I hesitate to name either!) for a quick drink or two made this installment feel different from the rest of the Lord's stories.  Sienna is at once hard to like yet there is something about her that you love.  She knows she's done wrong, and switched sides when she finally knows the truth.  The Lords and their demons aren't responsible for the human races problems; they may just be holding on and helping keep somethings to a minimum.  Humans, just like the Lords and Gods/Goddesses, are each responsible in some way for their actions.
Hardest for me to get through, however, were her wings (the logistics kept getting in the way of my imagination.  Or maybe because of it!) and her invisibility (once again, logistics.  Yep, she's dead, but she has Wrath and those wings...and Paris looks crazy like that guy who wears his blue tooth, but you don't know he's wearing it?).   The prophecies always seemed to have loopholes, but everyone sees those differently and therefore reacts differently. 
Loved seeing everyone come together, and these scenes were actually my favorite...the Lords are so easily distinguishable from one another and memorable that you don't need a refresher to remind yourself who they are.  And their females?  The best girl's night out you could possibly imagine....Magi Mike, anyone?
While it wasn't my favorite novel of the Lords of the Underworld, I wouldn't kick out of bed for eating crackers.  And the conclusion of The Darkest Seduction was satisfying yet kept me wanting more...plus, who wouldn't love another reunion?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesday Musings...Afraid of the Dark?


"I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses."
Nietzsche



(Photo by Pixie Vision, featuring Rachel Brice, Zoe Jakes, and Mardi Love.  Not owned by blogger, but adored not only for the art that it is, but the gorgeous bellydancers within.)


Monday, July 9, 2012

Cover Reveal! The Artist's Inheritance by Juli D. Revezzo



The Artist's Inheritance

When Caitlin and Trevor settle into their new home, strange changes come over Trevor. He grows obsessed with a beautiful chair he’s carving.

Then nightmares deepen and ghostly manifestations call to Caitlin. She knows something’s not right, and not just her new found precognitive abilities. It’s the damned chair, she’s sure. Is it merely a mundane piece of furniture? If so, why is it attracting dark forces—forces brought about by an ancestral curse? The same dark forces that drove Trevor’s siblings to insanity and suicide.

Before Trevor's obsession leads to something far more deadly, Caitlin must convince him to sell the chair. But armed with only a handful of allies, and little experience of the supernatural, she must proceed with caution against the gathering hellish forces. If she succeeds, she will break their family’s ancestral curse. If she fails, she may lose forever the one person she cares about most: her beloved Trevor.

To check out Julianne's Amazon page, click here.

Other ways to find her (or as I like to say, stalk *wink*):
Twitter @juliannewrites
Site: http://harshadpassion.wordpress.com/
Book Blog: http://tarnishedgaslamps.wordpress.com/
tumblir: http://jdrevezzo.tumblr.com/

A self publishing author (an incredibly daunting task!), I'm so excited to follow Julianne's journey and share it with you! Look out for it in Mid-August!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesdays Musings...Learning to Fly

A sentimental favorite, and so smart for a lil guy.


"The more you try, the more you fly, and that's what really counts."

                                                                                                        Roo from Winnie the Pooh

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Eight Minutes



As a bellydancer, the best advice I ever received to keep my practice a part of my every day life was the rule of eight minutes.
Sounds simple right? And eight minutes really that long. Right?
Wrong. It is. Especially when you're doing glute shimmies for eight whole minutes. Eight long agonizing minutes. But, let me tell you, it works.
That simple little work out keeps my muscle memory, gives the inspiration to want to do more, and fits in to my hectic life.
Find the perfect songs, and you are on your way. Put on the tunes, and shimmy away.
With this time alotment, I either drill one move (ie glute shimmy, oblique shimmy, arabic) or a drill of combined moves.
Now, this means my muse and I are on the same page and we get a little time together every day.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday Musings...Nix

“Can’t hear… call back… good luck…”
“Nïx, I know you’re faking the static.” She could picture her sister blowing into her fist directly at the receiver. The static abruptly stopped.
“Why?”
“It seemed less rude than the alternative.”
“What’s that?”
Click.” 

Just a little goody from one of my favorite Immortals After Dark Series by Kresley Cole, Nix.  Love her...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Flexibility

When to read, that is the question.  And when to dance. 
I've had to learn flexibility all over again, not just for my body, but for my time and mind.
Make the effort, or the time will just pass on by.
Why do we feel we have to wait for things to happen?  This is the silliest thing, yet we all do it.
Things that I will no longer wait for...
Eight minutes of drilling.
Sun salutations...what a beautiful way to greet the day.
My book vacations.  Especially when the beautiful garden and sunshine are cooperating. And there are soooooooooooo many books I'm dying to get through (hello, Larissa Ione, you kill me!  And don't get me started on Lothaire staring at me and begging me to get on with it!!!).
Enjoy my beautiful life, that is full of so many blessings.
And last, but not least...this blog.  Update and reviews...now that I've finally getting my balance on.

Anyone have a book they can't wait to read, or is the best they've read so far this Summer?  OR, is your list like mine?  So much to do, so little time.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Jump Start...HELP!!!

Whenever I sit down and try to write, read, or generally take a breath in the last few months, there always seems to be something (ahem, or someone who is terribly adorable) that seems to get in front of me actually getting anything done.  Now, while this isn't a bad thing, it's put a definite cramp in my style. 
Here's to a book jump start...and gallantly attempting to finish Paris' story (those of you out there are gasping in horror that it has taken me almost three months to get through this one when it used to take only days, if that!), getting on with the creative flow (and yoga flows!), and re-learning a work life creative multi-tasking balance.
Suggestions anyone?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday Musings...Who?


"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."
Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday Musing...A Little Wicked


"It was a wicked and wild wind that blew down the door to let me in."
Coldpla

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday Musings...Beliefs



"Live your beliefs, and you can turn the world around."
Thoreau

Friday, January 13, 2012

Book Review....Kitten-Tiger and the Monk by Carolyn Crane

From Amazon.com (novella from Wild & Steamy):
Sophia Sidway, Mid-City's most dangerous memory revisionist, seek out the mysterious Monk in the wasteland beneath the Tangle turnpike, hoping for redemption...but it turns out that the Monk is not all pious, and the turnpike is not a turnpike at all.
I've been a fan of the Disillusionists Trilogy from the very first words I read (of course, I was introduced to the series by some of my favorite book bloggers) and still can recall to this day the exact moment I yelled and raised my hands .in frustration (the good kind, I think) at the end of Mind Games (book two). I tend to enjoy books I yell at. Come to think of it, I may have yelled at this series more than once...
When I ran across Tiger-Kitten and the Monk, the title threw me off. Shrug. Because I needed it. This may seem a little odd...to NEED. But you didn't hear me ranting after I finished the Double Cross. Just saying.
Tiger-Kitten and the Monk is a short little treat that gives us more insight not only into Mid-City, but the characters we've come to love to hate to love, as well as the Tangle. (Honestly, I still have no idea what exactly it looks like. Even with the insight Sophia lends at the end. Spoilery-ish.)
Entertaining if not too short, the novella focuses around Sophia, the minion (if you will) of Otto Sanchez and the memory revisionist I like most like to yell at. Sophia is seeking out the Monk, the one disillusionist no one knows the identity of (save Packard) who is the ultimate in disillusioning. The end all and be all. And Sophia is tired and done with hurting others as well as herself. Too bad the Tangle (er, road) leads to the one man she most and least would want to see. And maybe she'll get a little more than she bargained for.
Until you may want to rant a little once again.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Where have all the bookstores gone?

I love the smell of a bookstore. It may seem odd, or you may wrinkle your nose, but it's true. I love it.
Maybe because I have fond childhood memories of going to the bookstore with my mom and begging for a book. Trading so many sink fulls of dirty dishes just to have that one book that I could sneak read with my flash light...
I love Tuesdays (almost as much as Wednesdays...new comic day!). Walking in, checking out the new release section. Looking for that new book to rush home to read. Or maybe spending a few hours with a hot cup of caffeine in hand, perusing the aisles for new treasure.
I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine, woefully sharing my sadness at my local Borders shutting its doors. She shared her sadness as well, telling stories of how she would take her kids there with homemade (and home brought) hot chocolate for hours of fun in the children's section. I made the off handed comment about how great their own bookshelves must look when she dropped the bomb on me.
They didn't go to buy books. They just went for the atmosphere. The free atmosphere. My jaw must have hit the floor faster than if you'd handed me celery with peanut butter (I hate celery, even if you put peanut butter on it.) because she asked if I was okay.
Okay? SERIOUSLY?
Herein lies one of the problems. Don't get me wrong. I'm sure this wasn't the only reason I've lost the main source of my credit card purchases. I'm sure she must have bought a book every other time, right?
Nope. At this point, I bit my tongue all the while my mind was racing. A bookstore isn't just a playroom. They have to make the rent and the payroll. My only hope is that her little ones got an appreciation for books and will carry this tradition on at a library.
And now? I travel a few more miles to get my fix, even if I can get new treasures cheaper on Amazon.
And who knows, maybe there will be an independent bookstore in my future...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Review...Immortal Rider by Larissa Ione


From the back cover....
They're here.
They ride.
The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse.
Born of a match between good and evil, four siblings stand between hell's minions and everything they want to destroy. They are the Lords of Deliverance, and they have the power to ward off Doomsday...or let it ride...
Immortal Rider
Sexy, powerful, and immortal, Limos is on a crash course with destiny. She's been marked as Satan's bride and her jealous fiance wants her all to himself. The only way this Horseman can keep herself-and everyone else-safe is to keep her distance.
Arik Wagner knows the saying "love hurts" better than most, yet he never thought stealing a kiss from Limos would land him in Hell. Literally. It takes all his military training to survive the demon torture, but once he's topside, Arik realizes that the agony has just begun. With the Apocalypse looming and Satan demanding his bride, will Arik and Limos surrender to the desire smoldering between them? Or will giving in to their passion unleash hell on earth?
Missing your favorite daytime drama? I have the answer for you!
There are no shortages of hot steamy scenes (you know the kind...just imagine your favorite soap hero/heroine accidentally coming out of the shower only to see the one person he/she hates yet secretly longs for and will do anything to protect, even from the nasty mistakes they've made in the past that they've hidden from everyone they love that could now ruin their lives forever?)
You may think that soaps are cheesy, and I admit they can be...however, they are one of my absolute favorite guilty pleasures. Until Larissa Ione.
And I'll tell ya why. Each storyline in a soap somehow ends up repeating itself, even if its only partially. Yep, there's that one evil character who seems to be every one's daddy, and everybody hooks up (well, almost everyone) eventually. And every character has lied and cheated and is keeping secrets. This is where Ione sets herself apart.
Maybe it's the demons. Or the angels. It's most definitely the Horsemen.
Finally, a heroine I can sink my teeth into. Not only do I love Limos in her sassy ways, she has a great big ol heart thanks to her bros. Did I mention I'd love to crash at her pad? Sigh...always a soft place in my heart, those Hawaiian Islands. She's tough when she has to be, saucy when the time calls for it, and lays it on the line when the moment arises. Like any young immortal being, she has made her mistakes in the past. And, just like any immortal being, when you grow up, things catch up with you.
Arik sees the tough side, accepts it, and pushes past it. A tough military guy with connections with the Guardians and super secret military faction. Who gets in a bit of trouble over a little kiss. Scorching hot kiss, but if her only knew how that kiss would make things end up. Or where. Sigh...
There is a nice crossover with the Underworld General Hospital (demons and a hospital? Paranormal Soap Opera HEAVEN!) and we get a visit from some old friends as well as a look into the other Horsemen. Not to mention Harvester and Reaver...
If I had one complaint, it's that Satan himself is the Big Bad but doesn't make much of an appearance...something I'm hoping will show up as the series progresses.
Now, I'm left waiting and totally wanting for Thanatos' book.
Soap Opera? Nah, so much better...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Oh, How I've Missed You!

The last year has been both a blessing and a curse. Blessings are often accompanied by a few bumps in the road. The view and the journey normally well worth the bumps. Or chuck holes. Or craters.

The injury came just before the bundle of giggles that now gives me a never ending supply of warm fuzzies on a daily basis.

And now, with the New Year comes new beginnings, as well as new challenges. The ankle isn't as flexible as it was before, which makes much of the choreography an incredible challenge. Translation: This bellydancer can't dance in as many shows with her belly sisters as she would like, and teaching is on a break right now. Heartbreaking, but every single day I fight the good fight to get my muse back in her right place. (I love physical therapy. Really.)

The other change? I'm a mom. (Which still surprises me...I mean, they let me take this lil guy home? Aren't they afraid of what I'll do? Are they crazy? The answer is yes, obviously!) Work has taken a back seat to snuggles, spit up, and yoga with baby! Forget trying to read the book a day I was averaging...as you can tell by the frequency of posts over here.

Enter scheduled posts, my shiny new laptop (evil virus claimed old faithful with all my media. I'm still hopeful the hard drive can be saved.), and new wireless router. Let's see how the game turns out.

New Year's resolution...try to not let this page go to waste.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tuesday Musings For A New Year

It's a New Year, and each and every one of us seems to filled with the feeling of promise. Promise of things to come, of what we can be, and what we cam do.
In honor of this glorious feeling (the hope of it staying somewhere inside each of us all year long), I give you one of my all time favorite sayings. Which I may have used once before, but it's my party and I'll repeat it if I want to.
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams."
Henry David Thoreau
Happy New Year, and may all your roads lead to your dreams...