Britain Day 3–To Cardiff!

I’m a day behind and I’m sorry–I just don’t have time to post every day because I’m having fun, dammit.  Below is my post for 27 September.

——-

I’m on the First Great Western train from Paddington Station in London to Swansea, Wales, stopping off at points west, including Cardiff Central, which is my destination.  For the journey out, I booked a first class seat and I’m sitting here typing on a table, with my laptop plugged into an outlet in the wall, and it’s VERY VERY QUIET in this carriage.

First class on First Great Western train to Cardiff 9-27-14

Spiffy. I like first class. :)

Photo: Elizabeth West

Going back, I’ll be on standard class *sigh*.  Returns are more expensive — silly, as it’s the same route, so I chose not to go first class going back to London.  I’m sure there is some reason for it, but I haven’t figured out what it is yet.  It’s not a long ride so it’s not a big deal.

Out the train window, there’s not much to see.  When you get to a station, all you see is the station, and most of them are located in industrial districts.  We’re heading toward Reading.  My seat is facing backward, which isn’t what I thought I booked, but the carriage is practically empty.  If I’m in the wrong seat (it was hard to tell), I’ll just switch when/if someone kicks me out of it.

England is green 9-27-14

England from a train. It is very green this time of year.

Photo: Elizabeth West

This is not the first time I’ve ridden the British rail system–a relative took me to Brighton the last time I was here.  The trains used to be run by the government but they’ve all been privatized now.  It’s clean, it’s nice, and I wish to hell the toilets on airplanes were as large as the one in this carriage.  Maybe first class is on planes–that’s out of my budget and experience (someday).

It’s cloudy but the sun is peeking through, which is making it very difficult to see my screen.  I’m going to stop writing this soon and just look out the window and take snapshots if I can.  I haven’t worked much on Secret Book, but then I’ve only been here for two days.

More impressions:

  • It’s hard to type on a moving train.
  • When you go through a tunnel, your ears pop as if you’re going down or uphill (I’m guessing it’s the air pressure).
  • The bacon butty, the most British of all sandwiches, is delicious.
Bacon butty on train to Cardiff 9-27-14 GOOD

With HP sauce, of course. (Americans–HP is like A-1 but tangier and more delicious.)

Photo: Elizabeth West

We just passed a freight train near Newport, which was on an adjacent track.  I’m seeing signs in Welsh now.  It’s my understanding that U.S. passenger trains have to defer to freight trains.  The U.S. is something like 39 times the size of the U.K., and why the hell didn’t we get trains like this set up before it got so expensive to do so?  I’d gladly pay extra tax to get something like this.

Trains rock.

 Photo:  Vermatt / Wikimedia Commons

  • The people in London are as nice as I remember them. I had to ask a couple of people where to go from Richmond Station and at Earl’s Court.  They were very helpful.  The whole tube/train thing is starting to come back to me now.
  • First impressions of Cardiff? BUSY.  Busy traffic, busy people, tiny buildings all smooshed together. But it looks pretty lively, and I think I’ll like it.

——-

I just got back from the Llandaff Ghost Walk.  Here is the trailer for this unique tour.

There’s an option to purchase a walk plus a twilight supper.  I did this, but I was the ONLY one who did. So I got treated to a lovely meal at the Mulberry Street Restaurant on High Street in Llandaff, just down the road from the Llandaff Cathedral where the Walk begins.

Carmelized onion and goat cheese tart on a bed of rocket. Almost too pretty to eat. Tiny, but richly delicious.

Carmelized onion and goat cheese tart on a bed of rocket. Almost too pretty to eat. Tiny, but richly delicious.

Photo:  Elizabeth West

The staff at Mulberry Street was lovely; they took very good care of me.  Tom in particular recommended a place for Welsh cakes.  I’ll try his suggestion.

Then, it was on to the Ghost Walk.  This tour takes you around the district of Llandaff, a village that occupied the site before Cardiff was built around it, near the Llandaff Cathedral.  Author Roald Dahl was born there.

This tower looming over you in the dark of night, against a cloudy sky faintly glowing from the lights of the city, is seriously spooky.

Image:  coolplaces.co.uk

Our fabulously entertaining guide John Hutch and his trusty steward Pete Simmons (who brought up the rear and was available to help if anyone had to leave the tour) took us down past the Cathedral and around by the River Taff near the weir.  He showed us where the river used to run, which corresponded to one of the more pathetic ghosts.

John told us thrilling stories of the Welsh equivalent of a banshee, tales of ghostly horses galloping up the old Celtic trade road, and another that I won’t reveal because it’s seriously creepy and I don’t want to spoil the Walk for you.  I wasn’t scared (it’s extremely difficult to scare me with stuff like this), but I really loved hearing about all the history and the spooky stuff.  I’m not a horror fan for nothing.

The walk is a bit strenuous coming back up beside the Cathedral, and there’s a lot of standing around while you listen to the tales, so you want to make sure you’re in good form before you go.

My favorite part was the old Llandaff graveyard.  To get to it, you had to make a U-turn through a gate that only admitted one person at a time (like a stile, kind of).  I think I smacked the poor person behind me with it.

I like cemeteries–they’re quiet and peaceful, most of the time.  This one was covered in brush and weeds.  Here and there, the leaning tombstones pop up at you out of the dark when your torch (flashlight) hits them. They dot the land around a huge yew tree that grows in a stone circle, where you can sit and rest your feet.  It’s the last stop on the Walk, which then ends where it began, in the shadow of the great Cathedral.

Personally, I experienced no ghostly phenomena, but plenty of people have.  If you do, make sure you tell the steward because Cardiff History and Hauntings will document your experience.  Your story might even end up being told on the Walk.

Britain Days 1 and 2 – Primark and Richmond Park

25 September

It’s 11:30 pm here in England.  I’m sitting here watching a British version of Hoarders on TLC (yes really) after a lovely afternoon being shown around the centre of Kingston-upon-Thames and how to get to the train station, etc.

We hit up Primark (super cheap Walmart-level clothing) where I found a cute tote bag that my computer fits in and also has 1) a cross-body strap and 2) closes with a zipper completely.  What is up with bag manufacturers who leave the tops open–have they never heard of pickpockets!?

And why do we not have Primark in the U.S.?  I’m loading up, people!

We also went to Boots so I could get some toiletries. Though I packed far too much crap (I should not be allowed to start packing until a week before I leave–I do much better that way), I didn’t want to drag that kind of stuff here when I can just buy it.  I will try some British brands, but for now, I stuck with my familiar Olay moisturizer to avoid breakouts.

A visit to a place called Carphone Warehouse netted me a British pay-as-you-go mobile (a prepaid cellphone in American).  I got a cute little Samsung smartphone made for the kiddies and a talk/text/data card.  My PAYG won’t work over here.  Now I can get hold of my Welsh buddy and make calls, etc.  It’s as much for safety as information and keeping in touch.

Although I’ve been here before, it was a long time ago, and I wanted to note some impressions for you.

  • The stalls in the toilets at Heathrow go almost all the way down to the floor. I LOVE this. Near total privacy; no one can nick your carry-on out from under the stall.
  • Queuing. Yes, I forgot how great at that people are over here.
  • All the lovely red buses. J  I’ll be riding them a lot, most likely; Kingston-upon-Thames is a suburb, and it’s a bit cheaper for me to go further afield than taking the tube every time.  Plus, I have to go into town on the train to even get to the tube.
  • I have my own Oyster card! Though Transport for London (TfL) is phasing these out in favor of contactless debit/credit options, there are still a lot of people who will use them.  Visitors and people who don’t have cards come to mind.
Oyster

I can go anywhere now. It’s a thing of beauty.

Photo:  Elizabeth West

  • Okay, London, I know I don’t have a chip and PIN card, but if you run my card as credit, it will work, I promise. It’s not my fault the U.S. can’t get its damn ducks in a row and upgrade.

—————

26 September

Today, my auntie and her friend and I had lunch at a lovely pub and went to Richmond Park, one of eight Royal Parks and the largest enclosed green space in London. This was on my list anyway.

If you find a place with good fish and chips, you’ve found heaven.

If you find a place with good fish and chips, you’ve found heaven.

Photo:  Elizabeth West

Richmond Park is full of deer–they have been there since before the days of Tudor kings, when the land was set aside as royal parkland/hunting areas.  Because so many people wander around the park, they’re kind of used to them, and they don’t run away when you get close to them (mostly).  They roam around freely in the park.

This is the part the tourists want to see.

This is the part the tourists want to see.

This is the part nobody tells you about. 

This is the part nobody tells you about.

Photos: Elizabeth West

There’s an ornamental park within the park called the Isabella Plantation.  Find out more at the link.  I did not know this existed, but it was absolutely one of the loveliest places I’ve ever seen.

Pond in sun Isabella Plantation

See?

Photo: Elizabeth West

On the way back, we heard what sounded like a cow bellowing.  We looked under a tree and there was a huge stag, at least 12 to 14-point, who apparently was none too happy we’d disturbed his nap.

Another stag in a meadow was wandering around, occasionally calling out and just looking cool.  We’re approaching the rutting season for these animals, so the boyz are strutting their stuff.

At King Henry’s mound, there is a maintained unobstructed view of the city.  It’s quite far, but if you look through the gap in the center, you can see the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

The slit in the center is the view. You can't see it in the picture because I took this with a smartphone. You'll have to come see it for yourself.

The slit in the center is the view. You can’t see it in the picture because I took this with a smartphone. You’ll have to come see it for yourself.

Photo:  Elizabeth West

Tomorrow I go to Cardiff, Wales on the train.  My B&B has internet, so I will post when I can.  This holiday is going by much too quickly.  I’ll just have to come back.  Oh darn.  :)

Aaaaand she’s off!

adventure

The holiday begins later today.  I so wish the flying were over–we all know how much fun trying to sleep on a plane can be.  I tried like hell to get an upgrade, to no avail.  But it’s okay.

Getting ready for a holiday upsets your routine tremendously.  Some people are anxious when they travel.  I get anxious beforehand.

–Did I pack everything?

–Did I pack too much?

–Did I pack the wrong clothes and oh my God will I look like an idiot?  (Seriously, I don’t know how to dress; this is a real concern for me.)

–Will my suitcase get lost?  (Shush, Rick Steves; I’m not going carry-on only because I don’t want to do laundry every damn night.)

–Will I be able to sleep on the plane?

–Where’s my passport/confirmation/lip balm/phone/water bottle/tablet?  No really– I NEED MY LIP BALM!

–Will I miss my plane?

–Will there be a delay?

–WILL I GET BUMPED AND HAVE TO SLEEP IN THE AIRPORT????

The Universe gremlins have sensed impending fun, and they’ve ramped up their efforts to try and spoil things.  I haven’t slept.  I’ve been eating crap for the last two days because I cleaned the house on Sunday, and I didn’t want to cook anything and dirty up dishes.  I couldn’t buy any fresh food.  And the trash man did not empty my *full* can yesterday so I had to call them.  AAAAUUUGGGHHH.

But really, it should be fine.  I’m much more prepared than Bilbo was.  And I’ll try not to forget my handkerchief.

See you soon!

Why of course, I’ll change my name! *blush*

Hope you are having a happy and safe International Talk Like a Pirate Day, yarr!

Just an announcement to say that I have purchased my domain name, so the URL of this blog will change to aelizabethwest.com.  You can still get here from aelizabethwest.wordpress.com, but you might want to update any bookmarks or anything in the next few days.

Kermit sour faceImage:  knowyourmeme.com

Yes, Kermit, I know change is hard, but Brian Keene had some very good advice about taking control of your public persona.  Anyone with a commercial (or potentially commercial) internet presence would do well to be mindful of it.

I’ll be on tumblr too, if I can figure out what the hell is going on over there.  Look for me at aelizabethwest.tumblr.com.  Be patient with it; the interface is crazy and it might look pretty rough for a while.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day 2014!

Avast, ye scurvy knaves!  Tomorrow be International Talk Like a Pirate Day (or TLAPD, as it be known on ye olde intertubes). Ye better be practicin’ yer pirate lingo, or I’ll keelhaul ye!

I won’t be writin’ a pirate-y post fer ye, as I’m preppin’ to go te that great seafarin’ nation o’ England.  Aye, it be just a few days and I’ll be off, but not aboard ship, more’s the pity.  No, I be havin’ to take a flyin’ machine, arrrr.  These days, it not be the most fun way te travel.

Arrr, this be the way to go.

Image:  Captain Woodget/Wikipedia.com

But I got me some comfy trousers, and I’ll be wearin’ me best boots and neckerchief (a scarf for ye fashionably impaired).  I’m told I look European in me glad rags, and as ye know, a good pirate likes to mix with the locals.

Bein’ as this TLAP Day be on a Friday, ye might be wantin’ to step out to the pub for some grog and a hearty yo-ho-ho with yer best mates.  So switch yer Facebook to pirate talk, quaff a flagon fer me, and don’t get yerself thrown in the brig!

 Talk_Like_a_Pirate_Day

 

The Saga of Secret Book and the Upcoming Holiday Continues

I wrote a chapter on Secret Book at lunch last week that was so good I made myself giddy.

Anything is possible with…IMAGINATION. 

Anything is possible with…IMAGINATION.

Image:  philadams.co

I posted about it on Google+, and a friend said, “It is the most elegant drug.”  She’s right; I really did almost feel high.

Now if only I can get the rest of the book to that caliber.  I’m challenging myself with this one–not only is the scope and research more wide-ranging than anything else I’ve attempted, but it’s far more character-driven, and despite a rather difficult and speculative quirk, more literary.

Plus, I have two worlds colliding with these characters.  However, by a stroke of good timing, I’ll be able to cram some research into my holiday, both geographical and cultural.

On the bad side, by several horrible folds and stains in the fabric of time, I will miss the following:

  • The Doctor Who Experience will be shut for regeneration when I’m in Cardiff.
  • There will be a new Dark Arts exhibit at the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio the weekend after I leave.
  • My skating club decided on our Halloween show date, for which my coach and I have already choreographed something because I’ll miss three weeks of practice. I have literally been begging for a Halloween show for years.  It is now a fall exhibition and will happen at 7:00 pm on Friday, October 3.

I will be asleep on a train coming back from Scotland.  

Nooooooo!

Nooooooo!

This would have been my program:

If you haven’t seen the original 1985 Fright Night, I highly recommend it.  It’s great fun.

I’ll keep working on it.  Perhaps I’ll get another shot.  Or maybe the Universe is trying to tell me it doesn’t want me to skate any more—this is the second time it’s skunked me on a club exhibition.  A trip to Loch Ness trumps an amateur ice show, of course, but it still sucks.  You’ll have to give me a better reason than that, Universe, if you want me to quit.

Pittbull fight universe and me

Original image:  thememebinge.tumblr.com

Just to drive you crazy (heh heh), listed below are some of the things I’m trying to research for Secret Book.

  • The film industry in the 1970s, primarily in America but possibly the UK as well
  • Theater from about 1960 through 1978 or so (both London and New York)
  • Boys’ boarding school in England in the mid to late 1950s
  • London in the 1970s (this should be easy–my auntie can tell me)
  • Two things I can’t tell you about or they’ll ruin the story, one of which I’ve already mapped out (mu wa ha ha)

If anyone has any specialized knowledge of these things, or knows someone who does, I would appreciate any input you think might enhance the story.

In case you’re wondering, I’ve put the Rose’s Hostage sequel on the back burner for now, until Brian sends my manuscript back.  I can’t write anything until I know what he thinks I should change in the first book.  Well, I could, but I don’t want to.

Besides, if you knew what was going on inside my head right now, you’d be all over me until I finish Secret Book.  Only ONE person knows what happens, and that is someone with whom I had to discuss the psychology issues.

So until I’m finished and start querying, it will have to stay a secret.  I was hoping to get a large portion of it written before I go on holiday, but that probably won’t happen.  Looks like it will be a working holiday.

Maybe if the book sells, I can write it off!

Maybe if the book sells, I can write it off!

Image:  adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

That’s all for now on the book.  I’m counting down the days now until I can get the hell out of here.  If I can post between now and then, I will, but there’s a lot to do, so don’t count on it.  I still have to try on clothes, mock pack, get my hair done, work, clean the shit out of my house, and of course, write.

Look for pictures and commentary on all I’ll be seeing and experiencing.  I’m looking forward to sharing it with you!

 

Vocabulary: T Time!

Back with another vocabulary post!  Today’s letter is T, which stands for tea (I’m enjoying a cuppa right now, actually), tacky, television, and terpsichore.   And here we go!

Tardigrade – a tiny invertebrate, also known as a water bear, that is tougher than you.  Read this National Geographic article about why that is true (cool pictures too).

TARDIS – stands for “Time and Relative Dimension in Space.”  What? You don’t watch Doctor Who?

What in the name of Gallifrey is wrong with you?

What in the name of Gallifrey is wrong with you?

Image:  doctorwho.co.uk

It’s the Doctor’s spaceship.  Series 8 has just begun.  The Twelfth Doctor is played by Peter Capaldi, who happens to also be a huge fan of the long-running sci-fi show.  This is gonna be great, heh heh.

Okay, I’ll give you another Ta word, since the TARDIS isn’t a real thing. *sob*

Tachycardia – an excessively rapid heartbeat.

Tchotchke – a knickknack or cheap ornament.

“I am Groot,” Groot said and snickered, pointing at the tchotchkes lined up on the spaceship’s console.  

“Can it, shrub,” Rocket said.  “Those are my special things.  Knock ‘em over and you’re firewood.” 

Teapoy (Indian) – a little three-legged table used for serving tea.

Tesseract – a four-dimensional cube within a cube.

I’m in your universe, messing with your mind.

I’m in your universe, messing with your mind.

Image: JasonHise / Wikipedia.com

Theremin – a musical instrument played by moving the hands in a field, creating oscillations that are translated into sound.  It is named after its inventor, Leon Theremin.

Composer Bernard Herrmann used one to great effect in the score for the original (superior) film, The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).  Click here to watch a video of Theremin playing his invention.  Then go watch the movie on YouTube.

Thespian – refers to the dramatic arts or tragedy; also an actor or actress.

Tilde (TIL-deh)– the little squiggle appearing over some letters; it indicates a nasal pronunciation.  Example:  the Spanish word mañana (tomorrow).

Titular – having a title, or referring to something or someone in title only.

Topiary (TOH-pee-air-ee)– clipping of hedges or shrubbery into shapes.

Read The Shining, by Stephen King.  There is a whole thing about the topiary at the Overlook hotel that will make you never feel safe around hedge animals ever again.

They look innocent enough… 

They look innocent enough…

Image:  travel-paradise.blogspot.com

Toff  –  British slang word referring to a member of the upper class.

Treacle (British) – what we call molasses in the U.S.  Also used to indicate something sickeningly sweet.

“Shall I flatter you, detective?” Moriarty cooed.  “You’re sooo smart, aren’t you?  Does that make you feel all special?” 

“That’s quite enough treacle,” Sherlock said.  “Get on with your evil plot.  I know you’ve got one.    

Trumpery – foolish twaddle, useless, worthless.  Can be either a noun or an adjective.

Tsonga – Bantu language spoken by people in Mozambique, Zambia, and South Africa.  I’m sorry I could not find a link to anyone speaking it.  Learn more here.

Tulle (French) – a thin, fine netting woven of rayon, silk, or acetate.  Used for veils and tutus.

Turgid – swollen, inflated.

“Looking a bit turgid there, Marge; been eating too many salty crisps, have you?” 

“Looking a bit turgid there, Marge; been eating too many salty crisps, have you?”

Image:  harrypotter.wikia.com

Twixt – between.

Twee (British) – dainty, cute or quaint to an excessive degree.

Typhoon – a tropical cyclone or hurricane, mainly Pacific

Like the one that caused this.

Like the one that caused this.

Image:  gilligansisle.com

Tyro (also tiro) – a beginner or novice in anything.

Tzimmes (Yiddish) – also spelled tsimmes, this is a Jewish dish, a stew made from carrots and other root vegetables and dried fruits.  It is eaten at Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year festival.

I don’t know about you, but I think this looks freaking delicious.

I don’t know about you, but I think this looks freaking delicious.

Image: toriavey.com

That’s all the T words I have for you today, people.  Not as many funny ones for this letter.   Until next time!

Sumer is A’Goin Out

Yes, that title would be my really terrible bastardization of The Cuckoo Song.  I apologize to any cringing medieval scholars out there.

I’ve been so busy working on Secret Book I completely didn’t notice there was a three-day weekend coming up (Labor Day in the U.S.).  Holy catfish, it’s almost September already!

My vacation is getting closer and closer.  I hope that 1) the time I’m away doesn’t pass as quickly as the last month has, and 2) that if the stupid volcano Bardarbunga (I always read that as Cowabunga) decides to blow its top, it waits until I’m already in the U.K.  I wouldn’t mind getting stuck there, but if I can’t go, everyone in Iceland will hear me scream.

Stop it.  Stop it now.

Stop it.  Stop it now.

 Image:  independent.co.uk

By the way, I have donated to the ALS Association, even though no one has nominated me for the Ice Bucket Challenge (officially).  Speaking of which, composer and one of my chat friends Bernhard P. Eder made this HILARIOUS video, in which he takes the Challenge.  I had to post this because it made me laugh at work.

Check out some of Bernhard’s music here!

This holiday weekend, my plans look something like this:

  •  Skate
  • Remove some things from inside the house to the newly cleaned garage so they can be donated or thrown away
  • Clean the shit out of the house
  • Start trying on outfits (this could be really sad because I haven’t lost as much weight as I wanted to)
  • Shop for jeans (this, too, could end in tears)
  • WRITE
  • Read.  I’m trying to get through Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, which is rockin’ good, and Writing 21st Century Fiction, by Donald Maass
  • Watch the two Netflix DVDs that have been on my coffee table forever

Everyone out there, be careful whilst you bid summer a fond adieu.  I’ll be back this weekend with a vocabulary post, I promise.

Book Review! The Watchers: Book One, Knight of Light

I’ve been given a book to review!

For an upcoming blog tour, I am reviewing The Watchers: Book One, Knight of Light, by Deirdre Eden.  It is the debut novel of a fantasy series set in medieval England.

Ms. Eden is a writer and speaker who runs Eden Literary, a company that provides services to writers such as editing, critiquing, promotion, book trailers, and others.  I feel honored that I was chosen for a Powerful Woman Writer Award by her blog, A Storybook World.  You can see it at the bottom of my page and find the link to the site in my blogroll.

Eden’s Amazon biography says:

My goal in writing is to saturate my books with intrigue, mystery, romance, and plot twists that will keep my readers in suspense. I want to see fingerprints on the front and back covers where readers have gripped the novel with white knuckles! 

Aside from writing, I enjoy jousting in arenas, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, and going on adventures.

She’s well qualified to write the action scenes in this book.  And looks the part as well.  This picture is super cool.

Deirdre Eden knight Zion PHotography Studio

Photo:  Zion’s Studio Photography at Amazon.com

In The Watchers: Book One, we meet fiery haired orphan Auriella, who has discovered a strange new power within her.  Charged with witchcraft, soon she is on the run, pursued by wolves and the dreaded Shadow Legion.  They are the nemeses of the mysterious and legendary Lady of Neviah, whose identity soon becomes apparent.

Auriella and a fellow captive, a chirpy pixie named Cassi, are rescued from the clutches of an evil hag by Ruburt the dwarf.  The three friends travel through a dangerous world, until they reach the patronage of Lady Hannah, who adopts Auriella.

Enchanted by her new life and a burgeoning first love affair, Auriella begins to turn away from her destiny.  But she cannot escape it for long, and soon, her comfort and safety is threatened, along with everything and everyone she has grown to love.

Through heartbreak and loss and with newfound skills and experience, Auriella must face her enemy and fight for her chance to become not only a legend but a knighted protector of the kingdom.

Though I’m not a reader of high fantasy, I enjoyed this book.  Tiny pixie Cassi in particular was an amusing character.  She and Ruburt the dwarf provide comic relief, and they stick loyally by Auriella through thick and thin, as real friends do.

Eden is a Mormon writer, and the theological research she draws on in her writing supports the story beautifully without being intrusive.  Not being Mormon myself, I don’t know a lot of it, but the whole Watchers thing (see the Books of Enoch) doesn’t come across as preachy or even particularly religious.

I would have liked the author to take me through some of the transitions a bit more slowly–some of them seemed rushed.  But I’ve just read The Lord of the Rings again and recently finished Stephen King’s 11/22/63, so the slow tempo of both those books (especially Tolkien’s) may be coloring my perception.

This story would be fine for younger readers who can handle chapter books.  It’s fast-paced and the language isn’t too hard for them.  Young adults and even grown-ups who like a quick read and a good adventure will enjoy it too.  While reading, I found myself wishing I had a nerdy bookworm kid with whom to share it.  This blog post will appear on my Facebook page, and I’ll make sure my parent friends see it.

It looks as though Eden has at least six books planned in the series.  I’m anxious to see what happens next, and how Auriella’s adventures play out.  I think it would make a neat animated film (or a series of them).

Find The Watchers: Book One, Knight of Light on Amazon. Watch this cool book trailer here:

Exciting, yes?

Thanks to Laura Watkins and Theresa Sneed, Book Manager and Blog Tour Assistant of Eden Literary for providing a review copy to me.  Now go read!

RIP Robin Williams

No matter how we try to imagine it, we can’t know what is truly going on inside other people.  Actor and comedian Robin Williams battled many demons—among them addiction and depression.  This morning, he lost his fight.  My heart goes out to his family and friends as they mourn the loss of their loved one.

Rest in peace, dear man.  We’ll miss you dreadfully.

Happy Feet Two - European Premiere - Inside Arrivals

Image Credit: Dave Hogan/Getty Images