Blogging · Books · Uncategorized

Blogger Recognition Award

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I’ve been tagged for a Blogger Recognition award. Aw, shucks.

First, I would like to thank Valerie @ Valerie’s Musings for nominating me and my little old blog. Her blog is a new one for me, but given what I’ve seen so far she’s a pretty cool lady. I mean, she’s a librarian…that automatically makes her amazing.

Second, I would like to thank all the little people…Oh wait, sorry. It’s not that kind of award.

The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 10 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

How I Started Blogging:

I started this blog at the beginning of the year, almost a year into my separation period. Before my ex and I had split up I was writing frequently and working on multiple stories that I hoped to turn into books. Then, alas, all of that disappeared. With the stress of finding a new job, a place to live, divvying up our belongings, etc. I lost all inspiration and motivation to write. To be honest, I lost some of my motivation to read, also. I decided to start blogging for a couple of reasons: a.) I wanted to get back in the habit or writing again so that hopefully it would give me inspiration for more stories, b.) Starting a book blog would give me more motivation to up my reading game, and c.) Because I never have enough people to talk about books with in real life. Thus far, it’s all been working out pretty well.

Advice to New Bloggers:

  • Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. I’ve read lots of posts where people admit that they feel like their own sites aren’t good enough, that they don’t have enough followers, that they don’t post enough, etc. My advice to those people is simple: Don’t worry about it. If you enjoy blogging, then do it for that reason alone. Just have fun with it. If you spend too much time worrying about how many followers you have you’re probably going to take the enjoyment out of it. Remember why you started blogging in the first place. At the end of the day, all that matters is what you are getting out of this.
  • Talk about yourself sometimes. I don’t mean you have to put all your deepest, darkest secrets out there, but it’s a good thing to let your readers get to know you. It’ll make them feel more connected to you and your blog and it’ll keep them coming back.

My Nominees: 

I’m not good at nominating people. I appreciate all of you and your blogs and I don’t want to leave anybody out. So, if you’re reading this I hereby name you as a nominee.

 

 

 

 

 

Blogging · Books · Uncategorized

The Little Things

As I’ve been trying these past fifteen years few months to make some improvements to my mental health, I’ve had to start thinking more about the little things. It’s a terrible habit of mine to focus on the negative and completely forget about the positive. I dwell on things to the point of no return. (I’m sure you’re all smart enough to understand why this is a horrible, self-destructive habit.) What I really need to learn is to focus on more positive things and to let the negative go more easily. I’m not trying to become one of those people who eat rainbows and try to shove positive vibes down your throat all the time, because, honestly, I find that incredibly unrealistic and unattainable. I do, however, recognize the fact that being a more positive person is beneficial to my overall mental health.

These are some of the positive things I’ve been thinking about lately. They’re little things, but they make me smile, nonetheless.

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  • Books – This one is clearly a no brainer, given that I have an entire blog dedicated to books. Books have always been my biggest source of comfort. For me, there are few experiences that make me happy than wandering around a bookstore for hours, discovering new stories, worlds, and characters. Without books I would be a lost freaking soul.

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  • Animals – Not just my precious little fur babies, but animals in general. I can be having the worst day imaginable and the second I see a dog/cat/squirrel my heart explodes and my brain goes *squeeeeeeeeee* (Yes, I have literally made that sound before.) Life is so much better with animals.

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  • Chocolate + peanut butter – The most sacred of all food combinations. Give me something that consists of chocolate and peanut butter (especially Reese’s!) and I reach an instant state of ecstasy.

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  • Baking –  Not to toot my own horn, but I am a damned good baker. Even though I don’t do it professionally anymore, it’s still one of my favorite things to do in my spare time. There’s something incredibly satisfying about making a delicious, beautiful treat with nothing but a few ingredients and your own two hands.
  • Texts from my best friend – She sends me the most random, silly messages sometimes and I absolutely love her for it. She always knows how to cheer me up when I need it.
  • Dancing – Whether it’s my weekly dance classes or just dancing around to music at home, dancing always boosts my mood.

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  • Cemeteries – Most people find cemeteries creepy or sad, but I love them. I find walking through the cemetery a very quiet, peaceful activity. I love trying to read the old, faded headstones and being among the stillness of the statues. It works wonders for helping me clear my head.
  • Halloween – You guys, HALLOWEEN IN COMING. Have you seen all the decorations that are popping up in stores already? 😍 I get a tad obsessed with costumes, candy, and Halloween decor this time of year.

That’s all for now. Hopefully I will be able to come up with more things in the future and continue making progress on this.

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Are you a naturally positive or negative person? What are some of the little things that make you feel happy? 

Blogging · Books · Fiction

The Book Titles Tag (and a kitty)

As you can see in the above picture, we take reading very seriously at our house. Even the cats feel the need to snuggle up with a book on occasion.

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The Book Titles Tag

This one has been floating around the blogosphere the past couple of days and I’ve enjoyed seeing the creative answers that everyone has come up with so far. So, let’s give it a shot…

1. Title that’s the story of your life – Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances

2. Title that describes your perfect weekend – The Forbidden Library

3. Title of an adventure you’d like to go on – A Wrinkle in Time

4. Title you want to name your child – The Name of the Wind

5. Title of your ideal job – Scriber

6. Title of a place you’d like to visit – Ocean at the End of the Lane

7. Title of your love life – The Taming of the Shrew (I’m the shrew)

8. Questions you ask yourself – Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

9. Title of a kingdom you want to rule OR name – A Court of Thorns and Roses

10. Title you’d name your band. – Pack of Dorks

11. What is your current mood? – The Hunger Games

12. What is your favorite color? – Blue Bloods

13. How do you feel about 2017 so far? – Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

14. Where do you want to travel? – A Paris Apartment

15. What are your summer plans? – A Song of Ice and Fire (It’s pretty hot and humid here and Charlotte, while Canada was pretty damned cold.)

16. What are your 2017 goals? – Much Ado About Nothing

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It’s your turn! If you’ve read this far, consider yourself tagged. Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Blogging · Books · Uncategorized

Oh Canada…

We’ve finally reached the end of our week long stay in Canada. (Technically, I’m still at the airport, but I don’t usually count travel time as “vacation.”)

First off, I will say that Banff and Canmore were both gorgeous places. I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere as awe-inspiring in my entire life. I’ve been in the mountains before, but seeing the mountains in North Carolina and climbing a mountain in Canada are two very different experiences. In addition to the mountain scenery, I also walked alongside waterfalls and a most majestic blue lake. At times it felt like I had stepped out of the real world and into the pages of one of my books. It just didn’t look real. 

That being said, I can’t find it in myself to lie to my readers. My week in Canada, albeit beautiful, was difficult. I went there with my boyfriend and his family, which had me slightly on edge to begin with. I’ve been around his family before, but not for extended periods of time, so I was a little unsure of what I should expect. In addition, I had already gone into the trip knowing that I would be a bit out of my element, as they are all really into hiking and outdoorsy activities, whereas I am not. (My idea of “hiking” is typically no longer than 3 miles and on somewhat even terrain.) The majority of our trip was spent hiking up steep hills, 7-10 miles at a time. I was worried about this from the get-go. I really wanted these people to like me (and didn’t want to ruin my boyfriend’s vacation), but I had no idea whether or not I was capable of doing that kind of strenuous physical activity. 

After spending a long (sleepless) day traveling and arguing over bedroom arrangements, we decided to start off our first real day there with an exhausting 10 mile hike up to the Plain of 6 Glaciers. I did pretty well for a couple of miles. It wasn’t exactly fun, but I was keeping up and thought I might actually be okay…

Then shit hit the fan. Halfway up the mountain we reached a large, unexpected expanse of ice. There wasn’t much of a foothold and we were at a 45 degree angle. I made it a few steps out onto the ice and then I froze (no pun intended). My brain failed me at that point and my anxiety took over. I began to cry. Halfway up a mountain. In front of my boyfriend’s mom and his kid. And at least 10 strangers. So much for thinking I would be okay. 😕 (Pictured above is me at the top of the mountain, post-embarrassing freak out.) 

The few hiking adventures I went on after that weren’t as bad or terrifying. Still reeling from my humiliation, I did my best to trudge along and try to keep my cool. For the most part, I did okay. I was still uncomfortable and in pain half the time, but at least I was able to keep the panic at bay. 

The most enjoyable part of the trip was when I went off by myself to explore downtown Canmore. That’s where I found the cool bookstore I mentioned previously, plus some other really fun shops and places to check out. Most of our meals were cooked at home, but at least when I went off by myself I was able to check out some local Canadian food and beer. (Pictured below is the amazing poutine I had with duck bacon and truffle oil. 😍)

It wasn’t all terrible. I really did enjoy certain aspects of the trip, but truthfully I am happy knowing that I will be back home in a few hours. 

(Bonus picture: LOOK AT THE AMAZING GRAVEYARD BOOK SHIRT I GOT AT THE BOOOSTORE.)

Blogging · Books · Uncategorized

Wave Your Weird Flag!

As part of his 365 day challenge, James wrote a post yesterday on what makes him a “weirdo.” I wasn’t even halfway through his post before I realized that I had to accept his challenge and write about my own weirdness.


I accepted the fact that I’m a weirdo a long time ago. There have been periods during my life when I tried to hide it and just wanted to be “normal” like everyone else, but that ship has long since sailed. Being the same as everyone else is boring. None of the people that are close to me are normal by any means. If they were I probably wouldn’t find them as interesting or want to hang out with them. If I was normal they probably wouldn’t want to hang out with me either. Being weird just makes life more interesting.

So, let’s talk about a few of the things that make me weird 🙂

  • Sleeping with a blanket at all times – I have to sleep with some sort of blanket/covering over me at all times. I don’t care if it’s 90 degrees and the air conditioner is broken. I’m still sleeping with the damned blanket.
  • My random fear of ladders – I don’t have a fear of heights. I pole dance in my spare time, meaning I regularly hang upside down from the top of a metal pole with no mat underneath me. Ladders though? You can’t pay me to climb higher than the first step on a ladder. I can’t even explain that one.
  • I make weird faces all the time – I randomly make goofy faces at people all day, simply because I enjoy it.

  • Tearing my food into pieces – I tear  a lot of foods apart into pieces before eating them. (Sandwiches, breads, granola bars, cookies, bananas, etc.) For some reason I am physically incapable of biting into a cookie or a banana. I have to break it apart with my hands first and then eat the pieces. Yes, sometimes this makes a bigger mess than it would be to just eat it normally.
  • Costumes! – I love making and wearing costumes. I would wear costumes all the time if it was appropriate. I make/wear costumes for my dance shows, Halloween, the Renaissance Faire, and this adult/exotic club we go to periodically. We need more costume-themed bars and restaurants so that I can just go out in costume all the time.

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Do you consider yourself weird? Do you embrace it or try to hide it? 

Blogging · Books · Favorites · Fiction · Uncategorized

Shelf Evolution

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While perusing my beloved bookshelves last night I noticed how many different kinds of books I’ve collected over the years. The majority of them are either fantasy or classic literature, but there’s a smattering of everything else mixed in. Some are books that I will continue to read over and over again; others I will probably never revisit, even though I enjoyed them at one time.

I love seeing diversity on a person’s bookshelves because it gives you a glimpse into how they’ve changed over time. My own shelves are a reflection of this.

I enjoyed the usual suspects as a young girl: Dr. Seuss, Curious George, Amelia Bedelia, The Berenstain Bears, Fairy Tales (the Grimm brothers and Hans Christian Andersen), Roald Dahl…to name a few.

By late elementary/early middle school I was interested in mystery/horror type books. That was when I discovered R.L. Stine’s Fear Street series, Face on the Milk Carton, and Flowers in the Attic. My mother was a fan of Sandra Brown and Mary Higgins Clark at the time, so I read whatever books were laying around the house. Middle school was also when I first discovered the Harry Potter books.

I didn’t really read much “young adult” in high school. Truthfully, I don’t even remember there being a YA section at the bookstore back then. (Wow, that sentence makes me sound like an old fart, doesn’t it?) There probably was one somewhere, but I never really looked for it. I had a more varied taste in literature by this time, which school probably influenced somewhat. That was when I started reading classic novels, Shakespeare, and Poe. I also read whatever the big sellers were at the time – James Patterson, Mitch Albom, Nicholas Sparks, and Dan Brown. (All of which make me cringe now.)

College was when my tastes started leaning towards what they are now. I fell in love with historical fiction and fantasy. (My exposure to fantasy had been limited prior to this. Had I discovered the genre earlier I believe I would have been hooked.) I rediscovered fairy tales and the modern re-tellings of them, which over the past 2-3 years has opened my eyes to the world of young adult literature. Authors like Neil Gaiman, Patrick Rothfuss, Terry Brooks, Sarah Maas, and Colleen Oakes have found their way onto my shelves and I know they won’t be leaving any time soon.

Some people keep the same tastes in books throughout their lives. Then there are people whose tastes are constantly changing. To me, it seems pretty indicative of what we are going through in our lives at the time. I used to read mysteries because I was bored with life and was looking for more thrill/excitement. Historical fiction helped teach me about the world during a time when I was looking for more culture. (I didn’t have the money to travel.) Now, with all the ups and down I’ve been experiencing the past few years, fantasy helps me escape from reality when it’s just too heavy.

Even though my preferences have changed over the years, one thing has always remained constant: Books have been there for me, as a friend and form of therapy when I’ve needed it. Sometimes, even when I don’t realize I need it.

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How have your book preferences changed over the years?