Strange writing habits

An interesting article on strange writing habits of others! Writers: Do you have your own strange writing habits?


People often believe that writing is all about inspiration, which is a sort of esoteric mambo jumbo. Some writers went as far as to develop strange habits, rituals almost, as if to persuade the muse.

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TGIF: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a *bleep*


51zyjmrt1ylBlurb from Goodreads: In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F**k positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.” In his wildly popular Internet blog, Mason doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected American society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—”not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.” Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.

There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

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Book Beginnings on Fridays

Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted at Rose City Reader where you share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.


Charles Bukowski was an alcoholic, a womanizer, a chronic gambler, lout, a cheapskate, a deadbeat, and on his worst days, a poet. He’s probably the last person on earth you would ever look to for life advice or expect to see in any sort of self-help book.

The Friday 56

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted at Freda’s voice.

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

Here’s the blurb from Page 56:

The truth is that there’s no such thing as a personal problem. If you’ve got a problem, chances are millions of other people have had it in the past, have it now, and are going to have it in the future. Likely people you know too. That doesn’t minimize the problem or mean that it shouldn’t hurt. It doesn’t mean you aren’t legitimately a victim in some circumstances.

It just means that you’re not special.

I found this book had some really good points, was helpful in some ways. In other ways it was just a long read with a lot of F-bombs lol.

Like any self-help book, you take what’s useful to you, and if that helps–great!

Thanks for reading and Happy Weekend!


Review: The Chalk Man


In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.
In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead.
That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.
Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.


I loved the whole premise behind this book…mysterious chalk drawing–what could be more intriguing! I was so excited to read this book and I wasn’t disappointed.

The Chalk Man is told from the point of view of Eddie and toggles back and forth from events that started it all in 1986 to 2016 when it all comes together.

The story opens with a morbid discovery in the woods, a body of a young woman found brutally murdered.

I loved how the author dropped little bits and pieces of information on what has happened and what was found. And as each of the characters grow and mature, we learn more about each of them, too. There is definitely more to each characters story, but what surprised me most was what the reader discovers about Eddie, the main character. He seems fairly normal, but certainly has his issues, too.

The book is superbly written, with lots of red herrings, twists and turns in the story that kept me hanging on and wanting to read more.

It’s not until the very end when we discover who killed the girl in the woods, and believe me, you can’t even guess who did it!

I have to say, I LOVED the ending. I never saw it coming. It was strange and sad, and somewhat horrifying.

Have you read the Chalk Man? What did you think of that ending?

Thanks for reading,




Mythical Monday: Trooping and Solitary Faeries

Trooping faeries and Solitary faeries…what are they?

I’ve mentioned previously that faeries can be classified as Seelie and Unseelie. Faeries can also be classified as either Trooping and Solitary.

W.B. Yeats and writer James Macdougall have used these classifications and Katherine Mary Briggs, an English writer and folklorist added the category of household spirit.

Trooping Faeries

Trooping FaeriesTrooping faeries got their name because they often travel in long processions. They are often gregarious and live in groups.

If you ever stumble upon a trooping faery, chances are there are others of the same kind close by.

They can live in mounds, hills or in faeryland. They can be large or small, friendly or sinister, helpful or mischievous.

They are similar to the Seelie Court, though whether they are good or evil depends more so on their actions in groups.

As far as faery hierechary goes, Trooping Faeries are generally thought of as the fairy Pixiearistocracy. Some examples of well known Trooping Faeries are Pixies and Nymphs.

The Heroic Faeries, a class of Trooping faery, live like the medieval nobility with a court and a king and queen, knights and ladies. They are typically human size. They enjoy hunts, battle and sporting matches as well as feasts and balls. They are the most powerful and also the most beautiful of the faeries.

If the Heroic Faeries are the nobility, then the Rustic faeries are the peasants. The Gentry are in between the two. They tend to be more refined that the Rustic Faeries. They are also the faeries who are most likely to interact with humans. Many of them have human ancestry.

Whether Heroic, Rustic or Gentry, they all will congregate in groups called Fairy Rades, a matter of great importance. They usually occur with the coming of summer, though they can occur at any time of year.

They wear their finest clothing during a rade, are either on foot or mounted, with music and revelry.

A Faery Rade is dangerous for humans to observe, however a rowan branch placed over the door allowed humans to watch from inside the house. Bowls of milk are customarily put out for them.

sluaghIn Scotland, the Sluagh of the Seelie Court, and another type of Trooping faery, fly through the sky during a Rade, and kidnap any travellers that happen to be out at midnight. They are destructive and cause trouble.

They are spirits of the unforgiven dead, neither welcome in heaven or hell and are also not welcome in the world of Faeries.

They are dark spectres, and usually fly overhead in the form of black birds.

Also known as the Host, or the Host of the Unforgiven Dead, they would always fly to the west to capture the souls of the dying before they dissipate and they will only enter windows facing west.

There are several other known creatures who hunt in packs, Cwn Annwn are Welsh cwn-annwnhounds, whose arrival is considered a death portent. These hounds are similar to Gabriel hounds and Ratchett hounds in England.

Other malevolent faeries are the Duergar (grey dwarves), the Black Dwarfs of English folklore, Redcaps living on the border between England and Scotland. Dunters and Powries live in the same locations as the Redcaps but their main activity is making noise, which if it goes on longer than normal is a death or misfortune portent.

Solitary Faeries

Bean Sidhe Clann by Eithne O'Hanlon
Bean Sidhe Clann by Eithne O’Hanlon

Solitary Faeries are the opposite of the trooping faeries. They prefer to be alone and live in solitude. They can be found almost anywhere and have no formal dwelling.

They tend to be less inclined toward humans than Trooping Faeries but only the evil ones are truly hostile.

They may live alone, or in small families, often frequenting or haunting a particular place. They have no formal social structure as the Trooping faeries do.

Of all the faeries, Solitaries are most likely to obtain human midwives for their offspring.

They can be either domesticated or wild Solitaries, though these distinctions sometimes overlap.

Domestic Faeries, such as Brownies live with humans and help with the work. Wild brownieFaeries live in nature and protect it from humans.

Sometimes, domestic faeries cause trouble and sometimes wild faeries help with herding and the harvest.

If a domestic faeries is insulted, spied upon, thanked or given a gift of clothing it can go wild just as a wild faery can be very helpful by showing it kindness.

Some examples of Solitary faeries include the Habetrot or spring faery, the Irish cluricans and leprechauns.

Water Feary Reiko Murakami
April by Reiko Murakami

Nature faeries such as water sprites and mermaids are common in English folklore. The Scots have kelpies, shape shifting water spirits in lochs and pools and the Nuckleavee, a horse-like sea creature that can appear on land.

In Britain, Jenny Greenteeth haunts stagnant pools. She is a hag the pulls children and the elderly underwater and drowns them.

Cailleach Bheur is known as the wintry blue hag in the Highlands, the Churn-milk Peg protects fruit and nuts. The Brown Man of the Muirs is a guardian of wild animals.

Household Spirits

Household Spirits are usually found as single entities in a household, though they have been found to participate in a few trooping activities.

The Tutelary type, or guardians are attached to a human family and can be diviners or omen bearers. The household brownie and the clan banshee are included in this group.

I hope you enjoyed reading about Trooping, Solitary and Household faeries!

What would you do if you came across a faery? Would you interact with it or look away?

Thanks for reading,





Book Review: 18 Steps to Own Your Life: Simple Powers for a Healthier, Happier You


I had the pleasure of reading Keith McArthur’s 18 Steps to Own Your Life in exchange for a fair and honest review.

18 Steps for Your Own Life has to be one of the most practical self-help books I’ve had the pleasure to read.

It’s a short but compact read, filled with nuggets of common sense, practical life tips that will make your life easier, happier and healthier. No gimmicks, no guff, just solid advice that makes sense.

Author Keith McArthur breaks life down to 18 important categories where we can make vast improvements in our lives with small changes. He draws from his own life experience and also references the writings of other well known self help writers, compiling the best information out there into one practical resource.

He does not present himself as a guru, but as a human who has struggled with his own battles, both internal and external. He presents what he has learned from those experiences, what has worked for him and chose to share it with the world in the hopes of helping others.

Each of the 18 steps are presented, expanded upon and followed by a list of the key takeaways at the end of each section. My personal favourite section was on sanctifying your space.

Worksheets for the book will also be available, an absolutely fantastic way to stop and think about your goals and choices instead of skipping over to the next section.

18 Steps to Your Own Life is an excellent resource for anyone looking to change their life through their choices, habits, healthy mental and physical health and using your time more effectively.

18 Steps to Own Your Life is on sale at Amazon. Here is the link to get your own copy.

To view this book on Goodreads, go here.


41afkwdo9zl-_sy200_Keith McArthur got a second chance at life in 2017 when his little sister donated one of her kidneys to him. Now, he writes and podcasts about his journey to becoming happier and healthier. Keith is the creator of — a website, podcast, and book series providing high-quality personal-development content.


Mythical Monday: The Fey

Who are the Fey?

From the book Faeries, a collection of faeries artwork by Matt Dixon and Emily Hare
From the book Faeries, a collection of faeries artwork by Matt Dixon and Emily Hare

So, we’ve all seen those cute little fairy tale fairies in Disney cartoons and anime–Tinkerbell and the like.

Through the ages, Faeries weren’t alway little, cute and happy, spreading magic fairy dust wherever they go.

Here are the faeries that have originated from legends and folklore, the stories that have been passed down for millennia.

Don’t Offend Them

Fairies can be very sensitive and have their feelings hurt very easily. Folk from cultures all over the world have been wary and cautious of offending the faeries and have many superstitions to avoid losing their favour. Sometimes they leave out some milk for them to gain their approval.

Celtic Fae

brownieIn Scotland, the word for faery is sith, pronounced shee, just as the Irish Sidhe. Other Scottish names for faeries include the Still Folk, People of Peace, The Silent Moving Folk, Pixies, The Wee Folk, and Prowlies.

As mentioned in my last blog post on Mythical Monday, in Scottish folklore they have been known as either Seelie or Unseelie. The Seelie Court tends to be more well disposed toward humans, whereas the Unseelie Court tend to be more on the malicious side of things.

Fairies can be whimsical and mischievous, benevolent or malevolent. They sometimes help humans and sometimes cause harm. Either way, it is believed that fairies cannot tell lies.

Helpful fairies may sweep floors, tend to fires and wash dishes, though they are also capable of ruining or stealing crops, tools, food or drink. They have even been known to milk cows or ride horses at night.

Types of Faeries


Faeries can range in ranking from nobility, such as the Sidhe to Brownies and Pixies. Other examples of the Fey include:

  • Dwarfish, subterranean imps with magical powers, green hair and clothing.
  • Tiny, protective household sprites.
  • Beautiful winged females.
  • Nature fairies
  • Supernatural hags, monsters and giants
  • Morgan le Fay
  • Trooping Fairies and Solitary Fairies

Some say they are small in size, supernatural and have magical powers. They are typically invisible or can disappear at will, and can change their size and shape-shift into birds or other animals. They are sometimes beautiful and sometimes hideous.

They may don a magic cap or use herbs to become invisible and may have the power of glamour.

In Highland and Irish folklore the ‘fairy washer’ was viewed as a ghost, or as harbinger a warning imminent death.

Where Did They Come From?

There are many theories on where fairies originated. Some speculate that they are a natural or hidden species. Others say that they are the descendants of an earlier population that was driven underground by invading tribes. They may also be ancestral spirits or ghosts, or maybe even fallen angels.

The fey are not unique to Celtic, Welsh and Breton folklore. There are stories of fairy-like


creatures in other European traditions including the Latin and the Slavic, and medieval French romance. In China, India and Arabia are the Jinns, supernatural entities that can take on various forms.

Best Times to See Them

The most common time of day to see them is twilight. At one time, fairies would appear during any time of day, but as human beings populated more and more regions, fairies and their realms became less visible to us.

They are said to appear in “border regions”, such as twilight, the night between April 30 and May 1st and between October 31 and November 1st.

There is a strong connection between fairies and ghosts. Both are considered to be more active during these times, especially during the twilight hours, Halloween, the festivals of Beltane, Midsummer, Samhain, Wednesdays and Fridays and during hours of darkness.

Poltergeist activity has been blamed on fairies.

Abduction and Changelings

ChangelingThere have been many tales of abduction of humans by fairies. Sometimes they are women that are taken to act as midwives at a fairy birth or even as wet nurses. Human milk is highly prized by fairies.

Children are especially at risk of abduction, either accidentally entering fairyland or by being lured into the realm of the fairies.

Fairies have been known to exchange their own offspring for human babies, leaving their own misshapen fairy baby or changeling’ baby in exchange.

They rarely will harm those they abduct or lure to fairyland. However, a mistreated fairy will retaliate.

Fairies love dancing, singing, music, feasting and revelry with grand processions of whiteElves-and-Faeries horses adorned with silver bells. One can sometimes hear their music in the hillocks of Ireland at night. They have even been known to take a human lover.

More to come on Fairies! Every Monday, I will post another article in my series of Faeries.

What do you think? Do faeries really exist?

Thanks for reading!






Update: ROW80 Week 9 Sunday


WriteThatNovelIt’s been a slow week for painting. I still have my work in progress sitting on my easel. Maybe next week I will be more motivated?

I think I did okay with writing. I got between 500 to 1000 words a day each day. It wasn’t work on my novel, however.

I thought it would be a good exercise to write a short story about the parents of my main character. It’s helping me to get this information straight in my head so I can go forward with the rest of the story.

This background information on their story and who they are sets the stage for my two protagonists and introduces other characters as well.

What started as a short story seems to be growing into a novella…it’s taking on a life of its own!

I didn’t get my reviews done like I had planned, but that is on my agenda for next week.





35356382Beyond the Sentinel Stars


annihilationMy husband and I went on an actual date this week! We went to see the movie Annihilation.

I love Natalie Portman, and I found the movie fascinating but at the same time I walked out of the theatre wondering…what the heck did I just see?! lol

Sometimes I’m a bit slow, but I can’t help but feel that there was much more to this story that couldn’t be incorporated into the movie.

I just received the ebook from the library and I can’t wait to start reading it! Hopefully some things will make more sense and fall into place.

I always enjoy books so much more that the movies just because you know so much more about what is going on.

BreatheI made it to one yoga class this week! Yay! I took my dog Burger for a walk and went to a morning class for a change. It felt amazing but it did wear me out for the rest of the day. I’m not used to that much activity!

So, this week coming up, painting is on the menu as well as continuing with my background short story/novella and yoga class.

I also hope to finish off three book reviews. Phew!

Thanks for reading!





TGIF: The Chalk Man


Blurb from Goodreads:

You can feel it in the woods, in the school and in the playground; you can feel it in the houses and at the fairground. You can feel it in most places in the small town of Anderbury . . . the fear that something or someone is watching you. 

It began back in 1986, at the fair, on the day of the accident. That was when twelve-year-old Eddie met Mr Halloran – the Chalk Man.

He gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages for his friends and it was fun, until the chalk men led them to a body.

Thirty years later, Ed believes the past is far behind him, until an envelope slips through the letterbox. It contains a stick of chalk, and a drawing of a figure.

Is history going to repeat itself?

Was it ever really over?

Will this game only end in the same way? 


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Book Beginnings on Fridays

Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted at Rose City Reader where you share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.




The girl’s head rested on  a small pile of orange-and-brown leaves.

Her almond eyes stared up at the canopy of sycamore, beech and oak, but they didn’t see the tentative fingers of sunlight that poked through the the branches and sprinkled the woodland floor with gold. They didn’t blink as shiny black beetles scurried over their pupils. They didn’t see anything anymore, except darkness.


Start at the beginning.

The problem was, none of us ever agreed on the exact beginning. Was it when Fat Gav got the bucket of chalks for his birthday? Was it when we started drawing the chalk figures or when they started to appear on their own? Was it the terrible accident? Or when they found the first body?


The Friday 56

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted at Freda’s voice.

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

Here’s the blurb from Page 56:

“But if you had anything worth saying you’d have spoken before now, right? There must be a reason he wants to come and visit you after all this time?”

This was an excellent book and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Review to come!

Thanks for reading and Happy Weekend!




Freezing Fog

This morning, as I was making breakfast, my youngest son came bursting through the door after walking the dog.

“Mom! You gotta come outside!”

He ran upstairs, back down and outside before I could get my boots on. I didn’t know what happened. Was someone hurt? Was there an accident?

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“Just come and see!” He left, leaving confused looks between myself and my oldest son.

When I got outside, I could see why he was so excited.


My iphone pictures cannot do this wonder of nature justice. It is apparently caused by freezing fog. Gorgeous ice crystals were on every tree, every branch and it was stunning!


These crystals almost look like thorns




Above is the view looking down my street. As far as the eye can see, the trees are white crystals. Gorgeous!

Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!



Faeries: Seelie and Unseelie Courts

Mythical Mondays

Faeries are magical, enchanting creatures and a major part of European folklore. They have fascinated and frightened people for thousands of years. 

The Fairy folk are generally believed to be kind and helpful, but can be spiteful, especially if they’ve been offended. There have been tales of terrible luck to those that have been disrespectful or have damaged, by accident or on purpose, mystical sites such as fairy rings, paths, hillforts and trees.

Offerings such as milk, butter or wine has been said to win their favour.

The Seelie and Unseelie Courts are two groups of fairies in Scottish folklore.

The Seelie Court

The Seelie fairies, such as pixies, brownies, selkies, leprechauns and nature elementals Seelie Faerieare generally considered to be light, good and benevolent. The word Seelie stems from the Middle and Northern English word seely, and the Scots word seilie, meaning happy, lucky or blessed. Seilie Wichts is a Lowland Scots term for fairies.

The English word silly is derived from Seely and is recorded in numerous works of Middle English literature such as by Geoffrey Chaucer. 

In contrast, the word Unseelie means unhappy, misfortunate, unholy. 


james_browneThe Seelie Court is often looked at more favourably in human terms. They are more kindly disposed, or at the very least neutral toward humans who obey their laws. They are known to seek help from humans, warn those who have accidentally offended them and return kindness with favours of their own. 

They are capable of gratitude by rewarding any kindness done to them such as gifts of food, good health and fortune, and even being saved from danger or death.

Both courts, Seelie and Unseelie must be treated with caution. Fairies from the Seelie Court are quite capable of their own mischief and will not hesitate to avenge insults, though you’d much rather encounter a Seelie fairy than an Unseelie fairy.

Seelies are known for playing pranks on humans but with a light hearted attitude. They don’t necessarily realize how they might be affecting the humans they play pranks on.

Hobgoblins are one of the most common types of Seelie Fairies. An example of a famous hobgoblin is Puck in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. They are known for their love of pranks and practical jokes, not taking the joke too far. They can also be kind and generous. 

The Seelie court is ruled by the Fairy Queen, often named as Titania or Mab, as suggested800px-johann_heinrich_fc3bcssli_058 by Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.

In Irish folklore, the last High Queen of the Daoine Sidhe – and wife of the High King Finvarra – was named Oona. In the ballad tradition of Northern England and Lowland Scotland, she was called the Queen of Elphame.

The Unseelie Court

unseelie-courtThe Unseelie Court consists of the darkly-inclined fairies. They do not need to be offended to bring down their assaults. They appear at night and assault travellers, often carrying them through the air, beating them, and forcing them to commit such acts as shooting at cattle.

Just at the Seelie Court is not always kind hearted, the Unseelie court is not always malevolent. However, if forced to choose, most will prefer to harm rather than help humans.

Some can become fond of a particular human if they are viewed as respectful, and would choose to make them something of a pet.

The Unseelie court are known to not lie, but they do equivocate, and use ambiguous language to conceal the truth.

Many tales recorded in Medieval times were of Unseelies in human form that would seduce men and women into the woods with a luring embrace. Once kissed, they would be trapped into 7 years of servitude in the fairy realm.

Once a human had been lured to fairyland, they would spend years there in human time,unseelie which translated to only a matter of days in fairyland. When they were finally sent back or managed to escape, they’d be very old and decrepit, or immediately disintegrate into a pile of dust. 

Another legend was if a human stared too long at one of the Unseelie, the dark fairy would take on the image of a dead relative. 

Common characters in the Unseelie Court are Bogies, Redcaps (vicious creatures with hats drenched in human blood), Bogles, Boggarts, Abbey Lubbers and Buttery Spirits.

The Welsh fairies, Tylwyth Teg and the Irish Aos Sí are usually not classified as wholly good or wholly evil.

What do you think? Do you believe in faeries? Let me know in the comments!