Oh. My. Gosh.

I have been anxiously waiting for months, poised and ready, for the newest album by Nightwish to be released here in the USA. As the time for its release approached, I began vainly counting down the hours, my fingers hovering above my mouse, prepared to click the very nanosecond it became available. It was worth the wait.

Very, very worth it.

I know that power metal isn’t for everyone. But this album is so amazingly epic that I can already picture the scenes in my next book thanks to it’s achingly beautiful, powerful score. A gorgeous blend of both instrumental and lyrical songs, it contains some of the most hauntingly wonderful music they have yet produced, in my humble opinion. After being blown away by the power and exquisite work of Dark Passion Play, I honestly wasn’t sure that they would be able to outdo themselves.

I am exceedingly happy that they proved me wrong. Yes, I know that their lyrics sometimes border on the overly dramatic, but that’s part of the fun. I certainly hope that they release an instrumental version of this album, just like Dark Passion Play. I have been refueled to start writing again, inspired by their symphonic/orchestral metal. Or, as my brother and I like to call it, “rockestra.”

I honestly can’t decide which song is my favorite at this point. As I continue to listen to it, there are elements in all of the songs that I like. Even the song “Slow, Love, Slow,” which has a very jazzy feel to it. I don’t normally care for jazz, but I appreciate the broad spectrum that it brings to this album. It shows that the musicians aren’t limited in their talents, that they can literally play just about anything.

I have yet to find another band that has captivated me like Nightwish has. I’ve searched for similar artists, but as far as I’m concerned, Imaginaerum just proves once again that Nightwish is in a league of their own.

And if my book is ever made into a movie, I’m going to beg Tuomas to write the score for it, plain and simple. It’s going in the contract.


SlayersSlayers by C.J. Hill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. Loved it. Yes, the characters were rather “campy” and didn’t have much depth to them. But the story was awesome and the action sequences were seriously meant for a movie. I loved the whole premise and honestly, this was one of the more realistic “dragons-still-exist-today” storylines that I’ve read. Like X-Men meets Dragonheart. I am so excited for the sequel. I want it. I want it now. This is my new guilty pleasure.

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The Snow Child

The Snow ChildThe Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was so amazingly, beautifully wonderful in every sense that I didn’t want it to end. My heart ached with love for the characters in this story and their triumphs and tribulations. There are few stories that I have read that make me feel so connected and so attached to the characters and their longings, but this author absolutely captivated me from page one. Her descriptions of the raw landscape and how it was both magnificent and treacherous painted an amazing backdrop to an exquisite story.

I loved Jack especially. His soft-spoken strength and the struggles that he felt were so real and so heartfelt. I wanted happiness for him and for Mabel.

This is truly one of the most beautifully written stories I have experienced. It’s a must-read for anyone looking for a little magic in their lives.

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Unicorn Poop and Other Temptations

Why is it that every time you do really well with your eating habits that someone just HAS to wave a piece of cake or a sundae under your nose? Our church was fasting last week, and since I have blood-sugar issues I can’t go completely without food. So I did a fruit and veggie/whole foods fast, basically cutting out processed foods and drinks. I was surprised at not only how many people were touched spiritually within our congregation, but also at how AMAZING my body felt. I didn’t realize that it would be that physically rewarding, to be honest. I’m a junk-food junkie. I just am. Hand me a Pepsi and some Milky Ways and I’m happy. But the last week was really satisfying and my body starting feeling really, really good, even in that short amount of time. Exercise on top of that – oh yeah, I was feeling smexy.

So I thought to myself, why not continue this? You’re craving good foods now. Stock up on some more fruits and the veggies you like and keep it up! Now, I’m not overweight, but I do have to work to keep a healthy size and any muscle tone. (Unlike my father, who is around 5’6″ and weighs about 130 lbs soaking wet. And that’s after eating a bag of potato chips and two steaks. And sitting in front of the TV for 12 hours. Seriously. Did he pass that wonderful metabolism to me, his only daughter? The one who had to struggle to lose weight after gaining 40 lbs after high school? Oh no. That would have been very, very convenient. No, instead he chose to pass that along to my brother, who would kill to weigh 130 lbs. Jerks, the whole lot of them.)

Erm, where was I? Oh, yes. Feeling good. I had peanuts and almonds for protein, lots of fruit and raw veggies, oatmeal for breakfast, etc. Yesterday I allowed myself a couple of cookies made by a friend (Unicorn Poop! No, really!) and a couple of slices of pizza. Then it was back to the grindstone. We’d gone grocery shopping, got lots and lots of fresh fruit and whatnot, so I packed it up and had it ready to go for today.

Then I was offered a free coffee from Dutch Bros.

I love Dutch Bros. I really, really love the word “free.”

I hemmed and hawed and finally decided to go with it. (Okay, so my hemming and hawing last all of 5 seconds. But I did think about it, okay?) White mochas are my favorite, so that’s what I went with. Heck, I’ve still got my veggies and fruit in the fridge, right? Yeah, we’re fine.

Then I was offered free pizza for lunch.

I love pizza. And I’ve already mentioned my love of the word “free.”

*sigh* Doesn’t look like my healthiness is going to make through today. Here’s to a better dinner tonight. (At least I know that no one’s going to be offering me free junk food there. Although I still have cookies that will be staring at me. Drat.) I’ve been fortunate that I haven’t had any major weight issues during my lifetime. I did gain quite a bit right out of high school, as mentioned before, but a year and a half of hard work and exercise got me back down to a healthy weight. Now it’s just a matter of wanting to be toned up again.

It takes a lot to find time to exercise and be healthy. I know I still need to work on it, but I’ve gotten to where I actually enjoy it as well. I think that’s a big key when it comes to exercise. Find something you enjoy that keeps you moving. Have fun with it.

Then you can eat your unicorn poop with a clear conscience.

Garfield copyrighted by Jim Davis.

I am so excited for the 16th of this month! We will finally have our photo shoot and get going on the cover for Prince of Light. It pays to know an actual photographer, let me tell you. My awesome friend, Alycia, who owns Echo Photography Studios, graciously offered to take pics of my brother’s girlfriend, who also graciously agreed to pose for the cover of my book. We’re still working on costume ideas, but I’m sure we’ll be able to figure out something. As soon as Alycia can get the photos up and running, I’ll be able to start playing around with Photoshop, something I absolutely LOVE to do.

I am still torn about a background for the cover. Dare I just keep it black and let the photo of the main character say it all? Or do I put something medieval and mysterious back there? So many decisions, my brain is about ready to implode. I’ve pored through dozens of Photoshop tutorial sites, some of which had the most amazing photos/effects I think I’ve ever seen. I know that I won’t really be able to envision the cover until I see the pictures for myself, but I’m really chomping at the bit here.

An enticing cover is a lot of pressure, to be honest. I mean, I’m “competing” against actual graphic designers. Paid by big publishers to make things look good. I mean, really, who wouldn’t want to read something like this? Or this? Or any of these, for that matter? I haven’t read any one of these in particular, but I want to. The covers are that slam-banging made of awesome.

What I secretly hope for is to see if I get some awesome fan-art once my story is available online. I love fan-art. I could peruse Deviantart for hours looking at all the amazing artwork. (Can anyone say Prince Nuada? Rowr. Pardon me while I wipe the drool from my keyboard.) Since he was part of the inspiration for my own elfin prince, I can’t help but feel fondly towards him. And Link.

Summer cannot come soon enough, that’s for certain.

The Name of the Star

The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1)The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, I totally loved this book! The author’s writing style was often humorous and light, but there were definitely several creepy moments. Not only is there a serial killer mimicking Jack the Ripper but there are ghosts as well? Yeah, that’s the making an excellent story. I’ve always been fascinated by the Jack the Ripper murders in the first place, so to add a paranormal twist was fantastic. I also loved how authentic the setting of the story felt. It was very clear that the author had spent time over in London and knew what she was talking about. While I felt satisfied by the ending, I would certainly love to see more, should the author decide to write a sequel.

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