March Wrap Up

Standard

This was a pretty great month! I managed to check off something I wanted to do this year, as well as check off something from the bucket list! And my goals for the year are still coming along nicely! 🙂

Writing: Writing has been slow, but that’s okay. I do have a finished short story that needs some lines edits. This month I came up with a few new ideas, so I have some plot bunnies growing. I also have been gathering ideas/images and putting them on a secret Pinterest board. So while my hands have been idle at the computer, my brain has been going non-stop.

Blogging: Look at me, being all consistent for three months. 😉 I am having so much fun being here, and I love being interactive with YOU in the comments. Also, the author of The Devil’s Heart, Candace Osmond, loved the review I wrote and shared it to her author Facebook page! Sweet! 😀

The Book Pile: I am still on track with my goal. I just started the third compendium in The Walking Dead series. Hubby got it for me at Christmas and I am finally sitting down with it. I will finish it soon and book six of the year will be under my belt.

Positive Vibes: I have added a lot of good things to my positivity journal. I didn’t take it when I went to Toronto, but I made notes and added them when I came home. My way of thinking has changed so much. I still have my bad days, but they don’t last as long as they did before. This journal has helped me with winter blues and my depression. This is one of the best things I have ever done.

Toronto Comic Con: This was on my personal list of big things to do this year. It was my first time there and I had so much fun! I now have ten comic cons under my belt. I hope I can get there next year as well.

Bucket List- The ROM: I have been wanting to go to the Royal Ontario Museum for the last five or six years. I was beyond thrilled when Mr. C was able to score us tickets for my last day in Toronto. Bonus: The Viking exhibit is happening right now, so we went to that first. I will be blogging about my time there soon. 🙂

So, how was your March? Tell me about it in the comments!

Advertisements

How To Have Fun at Comic Con When You’re Broke

Standard

If it is one place geeks love to be at, it’s a comic con. It is one of the very places when I am surrounded by people who get my passion for Star Wars or collecting Pop figures.

I went to Toronto Comic Con last weekend with my hubby. He timed my visit so that we could hit the convention together. I was super excited to go. In the weeks leading up to it  I was planning my fun on a limited budget. A lot of people were asking me about conventions and the cost of them. While I have gone to them and spent a lot of money, you don’t need a ton of cash to go to one.

I won’t go into to much about travel and tickets, but I will say this: If you are heading out of town for a con, there are a few ways to save cash. If you are staying at a hotel, check to see which hotels have a deal running with the convention. Hal-con usually has one with Delta, so we stay there. Also, if you can’t afford a three day pass or VIP, so what? Pick a day best for you and get a day ticket. (I suggest Saturday. It’s the busiest day but will have the most going on).

Celebs: Meeting actors is one of my favorite things to do. In Toronto, I didn’t have much cash to work with. So, I made a list of who I wanted to meet. Manu Bennett was my main priority. My husband met a bunch, so I tagged along with him. If you want to meet a celeb but have no cash, wait til their line up is empty or close to it. You’re allowed to go say hello to them. Just check with the volunteer running the line.

me and manu

Me and Manu. He was super sweet. I hate how I look here but who cares, I’m with Manu! 😉 

Celebs: Part 2 During the weekend, there are Q&A’s happening with the actors and sometimes with authors. These are FREE! Check the schedule for when these are happening. They are super fun and you can get a chance to ask a question. The best q&a I ever went to was John Rhys Davies. He was entertaining the entire time and even went full Gimli when asked a Lord of the Rings question.

*Note: There are some big cons that charge for certain q&a’s, which in my opinion is stupid. This is rare though. The few I seen that you needed a ticket was a Doctor Who event as well as a duo q&a with William Shatner and Patrick Stewart.

hodor

Me and Mr. C with ‘Hodor’! I tagged along with hubby to meet him. He was so cool and chatty! Loved him!

Authors: They don’t charge to meet them. So if you are a book nerd, go say hi, maybe buy a book and get some swag. Many have free bookmarks and such to give out.

sherry2

Author Sherry D. Ramsey at Caper Con a couple years ago. I am interviewing her soon!

Shopping: The downfall of  nerds. So much geekery, so little money! The bigger the con, the more vendors and artists there selling their wares. I *try* to roam around a bit first before I shopp. If I see something a vendor, artist or author is selling and I have no cash, I always ask for a business card. That way when I have money for fun stuff, I can order from them. I should add, that on the last day of a convention some sellers will have sales. So you might be able to score some good loot at a cheaper price.

nerd

I love business cards. This is some of my geeky ones. 

Cosplay: While I don’t normally dress up, I love checking out costumes, taking photos and talking to cosplayers. It all adds to the fun when half the crowd is dressed up. Sometimes certain groups dress up, like the Steampunk Society and the 501st Legion. If you like a costume, ask the person for a pic or get one with them. Just remember to be respectful!

me and vader

Me hanging out with the dark side. 😉

white walker

Kick ass white walker costume.

Panels: There are often various panels running during the weekend. I have gone to writing themed panels, author talks, debates, and other fun things. These are all FREE. If you go to a craft session, you might need to pay a small fee for materials. I went to a plushie making panel once. It was only $5 to go.

Con Food: I can’t stress this enough: TAKE WATER WITH YOU! At least one bottle. Not only is it cheaper, but lines can be long. And you will get thirsty. On day one of Toronto Comic con, I ignored my own advice. Tsk tsk. We ended up paying six bucks for two small waters. Also, carry a bag or backpack and take some snacks. Eating at a con can get pricey. We ate their once this time, and paid $20 for just two hot dogs and two cans of pop. Usually the best deal is a piece of pizza and pop.

The main thing is to have fun when you go. Sometimes you find something priceless, like a new best friend.

me

Me and Laura. Met her in 2013 in line for Dean Cain. Instant friends. Love this lady ❤ I see her every time I am in Toronto for a con. 

I’m sure I missed a tidbit or two. How do you save money at comic con? What are your favorite things to do?

 

Book Review: The Devil’s Heart by Candace Osmond

Standard

Hey everyone!

I am back from an awesome trip away. I came home feeling refreshed and inspired. For the next few weeks I will be writing about Toronto Comic Con, posting author interviews and more! 🙂

So, when I was packing for my trip, I decided to take my e-reader. I didn’t expect I would have a chance to do any reading, but I took it just in case. It was good thing I did, as I missed my second flight to Toronto, and had a three hour wait in Halifax.

So I took out my Kobo and started reading a book I was anxious to start. The Devil’s Heart by Candace Osmond. Book one in the Dark Tides series.

When Dianna Cobham accidentally breaks an enchanted ship-in-a-bottle she’s washed away to 1707 Newfoundland and taken prisoner aboard a pirate ship captained by the infamous Devil Eyed Barrett. Dianna fights to survive by proving herself indispensable to the crew, all the while forging a secret plan to get back home.

But when Dianna learns of the Devil’s vengeful mission to seek and kill her ancestors, her hopes for returning to the future transform into an elaborate plot to save her lineage. Can she charm the Devil’s heart and change his mind before it’s too late? Or will she sacrifice herself to save the man hidden underneath it all?

dark tides

The book blurb sounded yummy and right up my alley!

Part of the appeal for me was the setting. I’m an East Coaster and my dad was from Newfoundland. It is a stunning place. I also love the ocean and the sea, and I was looking forward to diving into this book! I wasn’t far into it when I was thinking “Thank God there is going to be another book.” I was loving it and wanted more.

Candace is a fantastic writer and story teller. Her style of writing is beautiful. I eagerly devoured each line. During my stay in Toronto (to see Mr. C)  I finished this book. For the first time I was thankful he likes to read his Facebook feed at night and in the morning. I felt guilt free grabbing my Kobo. 😉

This story had so much to offer. An adventure, mystery, romance, pirates, characters with layers, magic and time travel. What a yummy combination!

I loved Dianna, the heroine in the story. She was believable in her actions with finding herself thrust in the past. She also didn’t let the men of the 1700’s treat her like women were treated at the time. The crew learned to trust and love her. I especially loved Captain Devil Eyed Barrett. There was much more to him than meets the eye. I don’t want to spoil the fun, so I will just say that the more I learned about him, the more I loved him. The supporting characters were also well written and developed. I especially loved Finn, a burly Scotsman.  He was loyal to the Captain, and became like a big brother to Dianna.

The big baddie in the story was a villainess. It was so refreshing to read a novel that had a female playing the bad guy. She was a pirate who was bad for the fun of it. She took what she wanted and didn’t look back.

The story flowed well and as a whole I thought it was excellent. It ended on a cliffhanger, so thankfully book two The Pirate Queen will be out next month! I am hitting Amazon soon to pre-order. I can’t wait to read more of their journey and see where their adventure takes Dianna and the mysterious pirate.

I will be doing an interview with Candace soon, so be sure to keep your eyes out for that! I can’t wait to chat to her as a writer and as a fan of her work! 😀

 

Checking In From Toronto!

Standard

Hey all!

Just wanted to pop by and make a quick update.

I have been in Toronto for a few days visiting my hubby who has been working here since Halloween.

I have been having a blast! I meant to schedule some posts but pre travel prep prevented it from happening.

I will be back later in the week with comic con stories,  a book review and more!

Hope you are all well!!

A Love for Movies & My Top 3

Standard

I am a huge movie buff, and I have been since I was a kid. My sister worked at a video store for twenty years. Which meant I often got free and cheap movie rentals. (Side note: I really miss video rental stores. Going with a friend or boyfriend on a Friday night to pick out a flick. Grabbing snacks and freshly popped popcorn for the evening. I worked there for a little while too.)

I had countless movie posters and spent my allowance on VHS tapes, and then DVD’s. (Lord I sound old 😉 )

Depending on the day of the week, my list of favorite movies would vary. Like books, there are too many good ones to pick just one favorite. I don’t have a top 10 or top 20…more like top 50 😉

But for the sake of this post, I am keeping it to three.

1-The Princess Bride

The-Princess-Bride_movieposter_1389551106

I have watched this movie at least five hundred times. I have watched it nine times in one week when I had one of the worst flues of my life. I watched it last week when it was on tv. I stoped my cleaning and sat to watch one of the best movies ever made. It’s a classic and if you don’t know who said “Inconceivable!”, “As you wish”, or have no clue who the six fingered man is, I suggest you stop what you are doing and find this movie. It has a little bit of everything…fencing, true love, revenge, pirates…the list goes on. This is my go-to movie no matter how I am feeling. If I was told I could watch one movie for the rest of my life, this would be it.

2-The Shawshank Redemption 

shawshank

I have a lot of feels for this movie.

First of all, it is a fantastic story with an amazing cast. A man wrongly accused of murdering his wife and her lover is sentenced to prison, and after years of being in Shawshank, manages to escape. I love the relationship between ‘Andy’ and ‘Red’. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman played them wonderfully.

I used to watch this movie with my dad a lot. It was his favorite too. We had watched it countless of times, and yet we loved when Andy made his escape every damn time. I lost my dad in May of 2009. It wasn’t until October that I took this dvd from my shelf to watch. It was his birthday and I wanted to watch our favorite movie. I admit, as soon as certain music pieces played, I started to cry. It was really hard watching it, because all I did was miss my dad. But now when I watch it I smile because of the memories I had.

3-King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

king arthur

When I found out Guy Richie was planning on a six movie franchise I was stoked. Aside from the fact he is a great director, the Arthurian story is one of my favorites. And the cherry on the top, some  of my favorite actors were set to star in it. Eric Bana, Jude Law and Charlie Hunnam. I was super excited. (And totally bummed that there probably won’t be any more movies. I blame timing and critics on that one).

Anyway, I loved everything in this movie. The actors did an amazing job. Jude Law played an excellent villain and Charlie Hunnam knocked it out of the park his role of Arthur. I loved the take on Arthur, that he grew up on the streets. It had bits of humor, action, great dialogue and more. I bought the dvd and watched the behind the scenes of the movie. Their was A LOT of hard work that went into that movie, between costumes and settings for filming. And that hard work paid off. Even every piece of music played was spot on. I often listen to it (the soundtrack) when I am writing.

Anyway, these are just my thoughts on these movies. There are many great films out there. What are some of your favorites?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Valley of Silence by Nora Roberts

Standard

Oh my. *le sigh*

Last night I finished book three in the Nora Roberts ‘The Circle” Trilogy. And I was totally in love with it. As my mother said, it was delicious. (I love my momma, and every time she talks about these books, that is how she describes them).

Book Blurb:

The battleground has been chosen for the final showdown between those selected by the gods and the minions of the vampire Lilith. But there is one vampire who dares stand against her. And his love for the scholarly queen of Geall will complete the circle of six – and change the face of eternity.

Having traveled through the Dance of the Gods to the land of Geall, the circle finds themselves convincing then training the people of Geall to defeat Lilith’s vampire army. The Valley of Silence is a forbidding place for the battle of all battles, but the circle continues to prepare through magic and a few early stakeouts that test their strength individually and as a team.

Moira finds herself playing the roles of warrior and royal, as she follows the tradition of her people and prepares to take the crown before leading them into battle. And if that isn’t enough, she finds her thoughts turning to Cian more often than not.

So what’s a chaste and intelligent young woman to do when given less than a month with the man she loves, who’s not a man, but a vampire? And how will the people of Geall fare against an army of blood-thirsty vampires who have had centuries to prepare?

nora r

I have been anticipating this book since I started book two.

For starters, the epic battle between Lilith the vampire Queen and her army with the circle of six comes to ahead. I was afraid for our band of ragtag misfits. Even though they prepped, trained and prepared as much as possible, I wondered if they would make it. If they would all come home safe.

My favorite couple, Cian and Moira, FINALLY get together!!! I loved seeing them get their happily ever after. Cian was my favorite character from the beginning and he just got better and better. While all the characters grew and improved throughout the series, Cian was well developed right from the start.

I loved that we seen how Lilith was turned, and what happened to her in the past. The vicious and slightly mad vampire queen was well written. The battle ground itself felt like a character. I didn’t see it coming when Cian had to fight his vampire urges on site, but it added another level of danger.

It took me a couple days longer to read this book, simply because I wanted to savor it. All the lose ends were tied and good won over evil. And a goddess gifted a vampire with the gift of a life of a man with the woman he loved.

I am such a sucker for romance and a good HEA.

So now my problem now is this: what do I read next? 😉

How to Critique a Story When You Don’t Know What You’re Doing

Standard

It isn’t always easy to give feedback when an author, friend or otherwise, asks you to be be a beta reader. At least, it isn’t always easy for me.

I’m not used to critiquing. In the beginning, I was crap, no doubt about it. But over the years I have slowly gotten better at it. Between people reading for me and being a beta for others, I have grown better at giving helpful feedback.

Tip 1) It isn’t easy if you feel like you are going to hurt someone’s feelings. Just approach it with tact and know that the author needs your help. Writers can’t approve and grow if everyone keeps telling them “oh I loved your story” with no other input.

Tip 2) Read the story first as a reader. Don’t worry about picking out issues unless something catches your eye. Then read the story again, slower this time, and keeping an eye out for issues with characters, plot and even grammar. Not every beta reader will find every problem. Just do what you can.

Tip 3) Don’t focus on the negative. I try to point out one positive thing for every few points of constructive criticism. Writers need to know what they are doing right, along with the hiccups of their story.

Tip 4) Take notes. As you are reading, jot down what you like, the plot issues, etc…Then later on use these notes to organize your thoughts when giving feedback.

Tip 5) Make sure to let the author know if this is a genre you typically read or not. I know when someone is reading one of my vampire stories, if the supernatural isn’t their thing, then my sights are set low for how much they enjoy it. And that is totally ok. I am looking for issues with pacing, if I have a cardboard character, etc…

I hope this helps. I still don’t feel totally comfortable giving someone feedback, but I do my best. And after all, practice makes perfect. 😉