Up in Arms for Banned Books Week

Hello Humans and Spam-bots!

It’s been a beautiful first week-ish of fall. Highs in the low 70s, and a delicious crispness to the evenings and mornings. A seasonal chill that, unfortunately, wheedles its way into our apartment.

I’m sitting in my second favorite Starbucks in town crunching through a chonga bagel and making quick work of my ritual iced coffee.

I’ve been thinking a lot. About all kinds of things. For the first time in a long time my mind is rife with possibilities. I think it’s the realization that, while I do want to be a writer when I grow up, that usually means I need another career simultaneously.

I don’t know what that’s going to be. Until recently, I never really thought about it. A day job. Staying on at the Library seems the logical choice, but it’s also the easiest.

What about teaching? What about politics? What about moving to Japan to teach English?

That last one is my favorite. I always told Trevor I wanted to live in a big city for a year. Why not a big, foreign city? A real adventure!

The world is big. It’s full of billions of people, all with their own unique stories. I don’t want to tell those stories, but I want the experiences they can afford me, so I can spin them into new, original stories.

Experiencing the world is the only way to learn how to build a convincing one.

Also, I’ve decided that I want to science better.

Seriously though, I loved Geology, and reading all this Colonial Mars fiction has me missing the stories rocks can tell us.

So, I want to travel, I want to spend more time in nature, and I want the knowledge required to appreciate them both.

How do I do that?

Well, finish school. Trevor and I both want to finish our degrees, though I am much closer to my goal at the moment. Then, we want to buy a house here in Salem. We love Salem, and we want to call it home base.

So buy a house, live in it, make it ours and nice, and then rent it out so we can disappear into the wilderness of the world. At least for a year.

I don’t know how long it will take to do this, or how long we’ll adventure before we decide it really is time to settle. But, right now, I am restless.

(Side note, someone in Starbucks uttered that most-hated sentence, “Been thinkin’ about writing a book”. Because it’s that easy…)

I’ve just been feeling very passionate about a lot of things lately. It’s almost like a spiritual reawakening. I’m not sure why it’s happening now, or what to do with all of the energy, but I like it.

I want to change things. I want to share my passion and ignite it in others. I want to show the world that indifference is a cancer. And the only way I know to do that is to talk about it, write about it. Share.

So, what am I riled up about today?

Banned Books Week!

I even have a cute button that reads, “I read banned books” inside the outline of the state of Oregon.



The book I’m reading currently, Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, was never challenged as far as I know, but our next book club read, The Perks of Being a Wallflower sure has been! I just put it on hold today, so hopefully I’ll get it before the end of the week.

Also, I’m still waiting for one of the four (FOUR?) copies of The Aeronaut’s Windlass to find its way to the hold shelf, with my name poking out of it. I fear it’s going to be a long wait.
The Aeronaut's Windlass

But, next Saturday I’m going to see Brandon Sanderson and will spend HOURS nose deep in Shadows of Self. I absolutely. Can. Not. Wait.

Anyway, I’m running out of time to read, and I am already about 100 pages behind where I need to be. Dragon Age, and my lack of discipline, keeps getting in the way.

As usual, thanks for listening to me ramble. Much Love, Blogland.


Book Review- The Princess Bride by William Goldman

All right, I’ve found a couple minutes between reading and writing assignments, so here I am.

My limited free time has found me absolutely obsessed with Dragon Age: Inquisition. This is technically my third playthrough, but my second one only lasted 6 hours before I got bored and deleted it. I didn’t like the decisions or the back story. Humans are so boring, especially in a game that holds so many Elven secrets. So, now I’m over 60 hours into my Dalish Elf mage playthrough, and I’m romancing Solas, because I like sobbing in my spare time.

"Our Love Can Endure" by Mae'thnial Mahariel

“Our Love Can Endure” by Mae’thnial Mahariel

I’m not sure I’ve adequately conveyed my level of obsession. Phone background? Solas picture. Fan Fiction? Following nine different stories all about Solavellan (the name my particular brand of shippers have given the romance between Solas and the Dalish Inquisitor, Lavellan). A playlist has been made, chock-a-block full of sad/angry/confused songs that more or less scream, “WHY?” I’m even a member of a fan page on Facebook. I’ve got it bad.

And I regret nothing.

But, when I’m not gaming for hours at a time, I’m still reading, and so, let’s discuss The Princess Bride!

Princess Bride

Now, this will be an easy review because if you’ve seen the movie, you’ve read the book. I’m not kidding. Most of the dialogue from the film is verbatim from the book, which made it a fantastically fun read. Book Club, of course, loved it.

There were some added scenes, like more fleshed out backstories for Inigo and Fezzik, and though I loved them, I can understand why they were condensed in the film.The book is a little disorienting because the narrator speaks directly to the reader, telling how his father read the story to him as a child, and once he revisited it as an adult, he discovered that his father cut out all the boring bits to tell a tale of “True Love and High Adventure”.

Now, I made an attempt, back in 2011-ish, to read this book, and for whatever reason, was unable to finish it. I was worried as I reopened it that I would succumb to the same problem, and be faced with the hard truth that The Princess Bride, a most beloved film, was based on a boring book.
The Princess Bride

I’m glad to report that the book is anything but boring. I loved it, and now cherish it on my bookshelf, glad to keep it safe there and in my heart.

I know this is a short review, but really, if you’ve seen the film (and if you haven’t, I say this: Inconceivable!) then you’ve read the book. That said, if you love the movie (and if you don’t, I say this: Inconceivable!) please, please, please read the book. You won’t regret it.

Now, this was a Book Club read, which means we’re down to three books left. Next up: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. We have a short month between meetings, so we opted for the shortest book remaining on the list.

I’m still reading a ton for school, though I’ll admit I didn’t finish Martian Time-Slip. I made it about 40 pages, but the slow story just couldn’t keep up with my Dragon Age addiction.

Moving Mars, by Greg Bear is doing much better, thanks to a shaky romance that reminds me just enough of Solavellan that I can read it with rapt attention.

Anyway, I just wanted to pop in, say hello, good work today, sleep well, I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.

Oh, wait. I’m not the Dread Pirate Roberts…


Close Only Counts in Handgrenades and… Book Lists?

Hello there!

I’m just swinging by to say hi, and share a little bit of my brain with you.

I’ve been thinking a lot about reading lately. Kind of obsessed with it really. I’m so close to making my reading goal for the year, that I’m more or less completely wrapped up in whether I’ll actually make it or not.

I’ve read 32 books so far this year. My goal is 45. I have a pretty good plan built up, but even then it’s cutting it close. I at least have school to augment my list:

  1. Finish The Martian Chronicles, should be done tonight or tomorrow morning.
  2. Martian Time-Slip by Philip K. Dick
  3. Moving Mars by Greg Bear
  4. Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

From here, things get tricky. There’s three book club titles left:

  1. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
  2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  3. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

But, after that, things are pretty up in the air. But, there are two new releases this fall that I’m super stoked about:

  1. The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher, releases Sept. 29th
  2. Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson, releases Oct. 6th

So, I have Jim Butcher’s forthcoming novel, the first in his new series, The Cinder Spires, on hold at the library. There are already 13 holds placed, and I’m number 12. So, it might take a while to get hold of that one. But, I’m going to see Sanderson on October 10th, which gives me four-ish days to reread The Alloy of Law, so that I’m all set for its sequel.

So, with all of those titles, and the reread of the first Wayne and Wax book, I’m at 42 books. Well, I’m over 200 pages into A Game of Thrones, so let’s just assume I finish it before the end of the year.

That’s 43. I still need two more books. And I have no idea what they’re going to be. It’s stressing me out, which is ridiculous. I have a million other things to stress about, but the mysterious two books keeping me from my goal are keeping me up at night.


Anyway, I only have about 50 pages left in The Martian Chronicles, and the sooner I finish it, the more time I have to reach my goal!

Have a good night blogland, and if you have any recommendations for my remaining two slots, share them in the comments!


A Fortnight with the Princesses

It’s actually kind of cold in our apartment. I dislike it.

I just finished reading A Princess of Mars, and I have to say I was thoroughly impressed by it. When one keeps the publishing date in mind, the story is really quite spectacular. My typically modern tastes and experiences with Science Fiction and Fantasy made the first few chapters of the book difficult for me. There are a lot of clichés and conventions, which in 1912 were groundbreaking, but are know fairly boring, and even irritating.

And I had a hard time letting go of those irritations. But, once I did I couldn’t put John Carter’s story aside. I loved the simple world building, and the overly generalized characters. Descriptions were quick and often straightforward, leaving nothing to the imagination, and personalities were told to the reader instead of displayed.

And yet I was thoroughly enthralled, and I plan on reading the other two stories in the original trilogy. I have to know if John Carter makes it back to Mars, and if Dejah Thoris and their unhatched child yet live!

But, before any of that, I have to start reading The Princess Bride. And Sunday I’ll start reading The Martian Chronicles. And if I can squeeze in a novella from The Kingkiller Chronicles, that’d be greeaaat.

Anyway, I just wanted to swing in and keep you all posted. I’m going to get ready for bed and start reading the next Book Club book. That meeting will be here before I know it…

Have a great night, Blogland!


Book Review- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Why hello there!

I know it’s been awhile. And I know you all know why by now. I can only complain about my hectic schedule so many times, so just insert rant here.

School’s going well, and my classes are bomb.com this term. Anime Art History and The Literature of Mars. Yes please. I just finished reading H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds, and Trevor and I watched the 2005 movie with Tom Cruise. I’d seen it before, but had forgotten just how intense it was! Definitely a nail-wrecker.

Anyway, book club met a couple weeks ago to discuss Gone Girl, and I’m finally here with a little time to give it a review. In general, the Book Club felt pretty much the same about Flynn’s uber-popular novel: Great book, but we have a strong hate/love relationship with it.

*Here come the spoilers*

The first half of the book is spent split between the two main characters, Amy and Nick. Nick’s point of view is in the book’s present, detailing life since the morning Amy went missing. Nick’s chapters are pretty condemning, and though I wanted to root for him (He quoted The Sure Thing the first time they met, he’s gotta be a good guy, right?), the evidence was impossible to ignore.

Especially since Amy’s chapters are all diary entries spanning their entire 5 year marriage. And as the chapters get closer and closer to the day Amy disappears, the chapters get darker and darker. The diary tells the sad tale of a marriage gone sour after years of miscommunications, negligence, and indifference. It broke my heart to read, and it also terrified me. Amy’s chapters showed just how easy it is to take your spouse for granted, and as someone just through with their first year of marriage, it was a cautionary tale.

And then I got to part two.

So, you see, Amy’s chapters? Yeah, they’re bullshit. Turns out, Amy is a complete psychopath. And I mean that in the clinical sense. She has an utter disregard for anything but her own goals. She feels no remorse for her actions, and has no qualms with fabricating her own murder and pinning it on her husband.

So then I cheered, because I’d been right, Nick was a good guy! His wife is just fucking crazy (excuse my French). And then you find out that Nick’s been cheating on Amy for over a year, and that’s why she’s doing all this.

Now, I don’t think that infidelity is grounds for putting a man in jail for life. Especially when the wife is as unfeeling and removed as Amy. It’s understandable that Nick would cheat, really. But that doesn’t make it right either.

As the story progresses, Flynn twists things so hard that the feelings you had toward Nick circa part one are gone, and replaced with an unruly mixture of shame, fear, and awe. Shame, that he cheated and he continues to make poor decisions in that regard. Fear, because you can’t see how he’s going to get out of the web of lies Amy has set up for him, and you really want him to. And awe, because this crazy bitch thought of everything.

Seriously, everything.

And all you want is for Nick to get away. Which was a nice touch. Usually in these kinds of stories, it’s the wife who needs to get away, but Flynn takes the trope and spins it in a new direction. Refreshing.

But, and I hate to burst your bubble, but there’s no happy ending here. By the end you’re left with a sour taste in your mouth, a simmering loathing in your gut, and a tingling in your brain, like a waking limb.

This book is complex, and distressing. Hell, it’s just plain stressing. It keeps you guessing and it keeps you reading. I couldn’t put it down.

But I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it.

This story is beyond memorable. The characters are vivid, and the stakes are high. Also, I read this book while I was taking my Noir Lit and Film class, and it was really neat to see conventions from the genre linger in Flynn’s writing, and equally nice to see he recognize them and then make them her own.

Gone Girl is an extremely well written story that took root in my imagination. And though the story left me uncomfortable, it’s a good thing. Because I think that’s exactly what Gillian Flynn was going for.

Achievement unlocked.

Next up for the Book Club, The Princess Bride by William Goldman. I look forward to a much lighter, humorous read after this story.

As always, thanks for getting this far. I’ll see you next time!


Ramping Up for Fall

The air is different now. Even though it’s hot, and the sun is shining, the air doesn’t feel like summer anymore. There’s a crispness to mornings, and chill to evenings now. And though we’re all clinging desperately to our summer tans and tank tops, there’s no denying that fall is at hand.

Also, my Starbucks has Pumpkin Spice behind the counter (not available for purchase yet; calm the eff down). Fall is here.

With fall comes school. This online program is rigorous. Summer term ended on the 11th, and Fall term begins tomorrow. I just got to the point where I could relax. I’d come to terms with my sudden lack of responsibility, and was even enjoying it a little. And now it’s all back.

And though both of my classes are very interesting to me, they’re going to require a lot of my time. But, it’ll make the time go by that much faster.

My writing life has slowed, although I did get the opening paragraph of a new Caladria story down. I’m hoping to find time to finish it in the next couple weeks. But, I’m not going to beat myself up if it takes awhile.

I’m still reading, though starting A Game of Thrones right before school was probably a mistake. But, Trevor and I have been watching the show, and I couldn’t just stare at the books on my shelf anymore.

But, I’m here, plugging away. One more year of this, and I can finally devote substantial time to all the projects I want.

One more year…

It’s all worth it. Right?


The Comedown from the Perfect Trip


Vacation was quite possibly the best four days ever! We ate all the delicious food, drank a ton of beer, and spent nearly every waking moment outdoors, soaking in the unlikely sunshine and warm weather. We both rocked sunburns, though mine turned to tan well before Trevor’s. My Alaskan man is by far the whitest person I know.


That look? I’d just spotted my first whale in the wild. A juvenile Gray Whale. I was completely mystified, and a tad emotional here.

As promised, have some pictures sprinkled throughout this post!

But now we’re back, and life is settling back into that all too familiar sprint. Work, eat + read, homework, sleep. Work, work, eat + read, homework, sleep. Somewhere in there I squeeze in a social life, but usually it’s just playing Magic The Gathering with our circle of friends. Or maybe staying up far too late to watch a couple episodes of Game of Thrones while we snuggle on the couch.

I like those nights.


Trevor caught this as we made our way down the 114 steps of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

I’m still reading, and a lot. Summer school has kept me dashing from novel to novel, and this Noir Literature and Film class has been awesome. Probably my favorite class so far at ASU, and I have this professor again in the fall, for a Science Fiction class. I’m excited.

I’m still reading for fun, though I’ve kept that to novellas and short fiction since I finished The Gentleman Bastards. And, of course, there’s Book Club. We’re meeting next week to discuss Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I started it tonight, and so far, I actually enjoy it. We’ll see what everyone has to say Wednesday night.

After this we’re reading The Princess Bride, which will be fun. And my next pleasure read? I want to do something brand new. Something I know nothing about. But, also something fairly manageable in size. I only have a week off from school before I’m write back at it.

The Rogue Brewery Tour Train! So much fun!

The Rogue Brewery Tour Train! So much fun!

Maybe something different. Like, I, Robot. Or Lord Valentine’s Castle. Or maybe the newest Veronica Mars book, because why not?

Who knows? Certainly not I.

And writing? How’s that going?

Well, it’s not. And it’s slowly eating away at me. But, edits for Vessels are coming along, with only three (?) more chapters before the changes can be made in the computer. That’s going to take forever, but it’ll be worth it to see just how drastic the change is.

Tidepools during low tide at Cobbles Beach at Yaquina Head.

Tidepools during low tide at Cobbles Beach at Yaquina Head.

Plus, round two edits will go much faster, since the first round deal with a lot of the cohesion problems. I’m looking forward to it, kind of.

I haven’t dug up Cards yet, true to my word. But, after a bit of silence, Mal poked his head in, wondering just when he’d get to tell the rest of his story. And of course, Whit, Cora, and Jacob had to chime in as well. So, looks like there will be a sequel! I always thought so, but it’s nice to know that almost a year later, those characters still waiting around.

And what of Jordinn and Ellesaire? Of Joanna and Troy? Well, they’re still there. But, they’ve waited a long time as it is. What’s another year of school? And that story is still very much alive in my mind. I’m eager to get back to it. I won’t start the Cards sequel until the first draft of Jordinn’s Story is finished.

So, tentative plan:

I’d like to have Vessels ready for round two edits before Christmas. I’d like to continue editing through numerous drafts until I’m done with school. Any writing on Jordinn’s Story, or various short pieces for Caladria in the meantime is great! Once school is done, I’ll go back to normal human work hours. And if I can swing it, maybe even a little less. Like 30-ish. From there it’ll be all about polishing Vessels and finishing the rough draft of Jordinn’s Story. Once that’s done, I’ll start editing Cards and begin writing its sequel.

Me after nearly falling face first into the fragile ecosystem, and slippery by nature areas known as tidepools.

Me after nearly falling face first into the fragile ecosystem, and slippery by nature areas known as tidepools.

And of course, I’ll be reading constantly throughout.

School and the second job definitely threw a wrench in my writing spokes, but I think the lessons in time management and prioritization are worth it. I have accomplished a lot with very limited time. So when life calms down, I’ll have room to work on all the projects I want, and the skills to prioritize them and actually finish them on a set schedule.

And that’s invaluable to a writer.

Anyway, I have to go watch a movie for my noir class. Then to bed, so I can start my final paper in the morning before work. And then Saturday morning, I’m off to pick up my childhood best friend from Portland! I can’t wait!

Trevor took this postcard worthy shot from the walking path up from the lighthouse. It was a perfect trip.

Trevor took this postcard worthy shot from the walking path up from the lighthouse. It was a perfect trip.

Have a great night Blogland, as ever, thanks for reading this far!