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.

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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!

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These crystals almost look like thorns

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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!

Jo-Ann

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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!

Jo-Ann

ROW80: Round 1 Week 8 Sunday

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I’ve been a bit behind not only in my ROW80 posts, but also in my weekly posts as well. That means I haven’t exactly been doing great with my goals, unfortunately.

I had to do a bit of travelling last week. It’s always nice to get away for some girl time! The only drawback is it leaves my absolutely wiped out. Completely exhausted.

No meals were cooked, and it was late in the week before any laundry got done.

I could have scheduled some blog posts, but I didn’t.WriteThatNovel

I could have done some reviews of the books I’d read, but I didn’t.

I didn’t paint.

I didn’t yoga.

But I did get a bit of writing in, so there’s that! I finished up a humorous short story that I was working on for my Writer’s Group anthology.

And I even started writing a new short story. It’s a bit of background to the novel I’ve been working on. If nothing else, it has helped me work out some details.

I picked up some new books at Costco when I was there.

51zyjmrt1ylThe Subtle Art of Not Giving a Bleep

From Amazon:

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, Manson 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.

I read this last week. Not my usual read, but I was curious about what Mark Manson had to say about letting go of stuff. He made some really good points on how we view the world and how we view ourselves and then he kinda turned everything upside down. Review to follow!

The Chalk Man is another good one that I can’t wait to start! 35356382

From Goodreads: 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.

 

Beyond the Sentinel StarsRight now I’m reading Sherry D Ramsey’s Beyond the Sentinel Stars.

From Amazon: Luta Paixon and the crew of the Tane Ikai have made it back to Nearspace safely, but that safety is short-lived. As if a disastrous diplomatic mission to the crow-like Corvids isn’t enough, Luta’s old enemy Alin Sedmamin is back—and asking Luta to help save his life. In exchange, Sedmamin is offering secrets stretching back more than a century into Nearspace’s past—secrets that could prevent a war.

Meanwhile, Luta’s brother Admiral Lanar Mahane is faced with an awful truth: the Protectorate is spread too thinly across Nearspace to offer adequate protection or defense when the aggressive Chron turn their murderous sights on Nearspace again. They must forge new alliances if Nearspace is to survive, but it’s almost impossible to know who to trust.

As interstellar conflict looms on the horizon and a political plot of tremendous scope and daring threatens to destroy Nearspace from within, Luta and Lanar will test the bonds of family and the strength of hope as they struggle to maintain peace in a world that seems destined for war.

For those who love speculative fiction, it’s an excellent read!

Thanks for reading!

Jo-Ann

 

 

Mythical Monday: Lady of the Lake

Lady of the Lake

The legendary Lady of the Lake appears in many of the tales of King Arthur. Also known as Dame de Lac in French, she was a woman of great magical power.

There seemed to be several “Lady of the Lake”. The most important was Niniane (also known as Viviane, Vivien or Nimue). Other names she had been referrred to include Nymue, Nimueh, Vivien, Vivienne, Ninianne, Nivian, Nyneve, or Evienne.

Niniane later became the guardian of the sword, especially when the dying Arthur returned Excalibur to the lake.

 

Where Did She Live?

The River Brue, Glastonbury
At the time of King Arthur the Brue formed a lake just south of the hilly ground on which Glastonbury stands. According to legend this lake is one of the locations suggested by Arthurian legend as the home of the Lady of the Lake.

According to legend, she lived in a castle beneath a lake that surrounded a mystical island called Avalon.

A great enchantment was cast upon her castle to hide her land from intruders, also believed to be a Celtic Otherworld.

Glastonbury is believed by many to be Avalon, though there are a number of locations in Great Britain that are traditionally associated with the Lady of the Lake.

Other possible locations include Martin Mere, Dozmary Pool, Llyn Llydaw, Llyn Ogwen, Llyn y Fanc Fach, The Loe, Pomparles Bridge, Loch Arthur.

It is now generally believed that the Lady of the Lake, including her connection to Arthur’s sword Excalibur, is of Breton origin. The Lady of the Lake is generally said to live in the forest of Brittany. 

Lancelot

It was said she was the foster mother of Lancelot and raised him beneath the waters of her lake after the death of his father, King Ban of Benoic.

Lady Lake MerlinMerlin Loved Her

Merlin is said to have fallen madly in love with the Lady of the Lake.

According to the Lancelot-Grail cycle (also known as the Vulgate cycle), Viviane refused to give Merlin her love until he taught her all his secrets. Once she had learned his magic, she then used her power to trap him. In some stories, she trapped him in the trunk of a tree, in others, he is beneath a stone.

Merlin even had the power of foresight to know what was going to happen, but he was unable to stop himself. He continued to teach her his secrets until she finally entraps him. 

Why Did She Entrap Him?

In early versions of the story, she entraps Merlin because of her hatred for him.

Later versions, as in Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur she does so because Merlin would not leave her alone. He was in love with her, though she did not love him back. She tired of his sexual advances, and was also so afraid of his power that she felt that she had no other choice. She traps him so he cannot escape.

Lady Lake ExcaliburExcalibur

In the Post-Vulgate cycle, the Lady of the Lake is called Ninianne. Here is where the story of the sword Excalibur was first bestowed upon Arthur.

When Arthur and Merlin first meet the Lady of the Lake, she holds the sword Excalibur out of the water. She offers it to Arthur so long as he promises to fulfill a request from her later, which of course, he agrees.

Sir Balin

Later, the Lady of the Lake comes to Arthur’s court to receive her end of the bargain. She asks for the head of Sir Balin. She blames Sir Balin for her brother’s death. Balin, in turn blames her for the death of his mother. Arthur refused this request, and Balin beheads her instead, much to Arthur’s distress.

Lady Lake PelliasSir Pelleas

When Sir Pelleas was rejected by Ettard–the woman he loved– the Lady of the Lake took care of him. She and Pelleas fell in love and were married. She became the mother to his son, Guivret.

According to Malory, she acted as an obedient wife, and also as an advisor to the court by subtly helping sway the court in the right direction. She was also a compassionate, clever, strong-willed, and sympathetic character. She is pragmatic, unflappable and knowledgeable.

Return of Excalibur

After the Battle of Camlann, the final battle of King Arthur, the Lady of the Lake reclaimed Excalibur. 

Arthur commanded Bevidere to throw Excalibur into the lake to fulfill the prophecy written on the blade. The sword was so magnificent, he couldn’t do it. He hid it behind a tree believing Arthur wouldn’t know what he had done.

When he returned to the king, Arthur asked him what he saw when he threw the sword in the lake. Bevidere said he saw nothing, and Arthur knew immediately he was lying. He ordered him once more and again, Bevidere disobeyed by throwing his own sword into the lake. 

Bevidere once again, told Arthur he saw nothing. Arthur orders him a third time to throw Excalibur into the lake.

Finally, he threw Excalibur into the middle of the lake. An arm rose out of the water, right up to the elbow, and caught the sword. It brandished the blade three times before disappearing into the lake. 

Nimue arrived not long after Bevidere returned the sword to the lake, along with Morgan le Fay, the Queen of Northgales and Queen of the Waste lands. They took took Arthur, wounded and near death, to Avalon for healing.

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Thanks for reading!

Jo-Ann

Glove Love: Lost and Found

This is not a Valentine’s day post. This story is about a lost glove.

Ya Gotta Have Good Gloves

Living  in an area with crazy winters, it’s always important to have a good pair of gloves. For years, I always had to have had a nice pair of leather gloves. I’d get them in the fall, or as a Christmas gift, and by February the left glove would be gone. Always the left. Why the left?

The only reason I could think of is it would fall out of my pocket when I was getting in and out of the car.

My Favourite Gloves

I got smart a few years back, and bought two pairs of inexpensive, but nice gloves at Costco. Two pairs, so if I lost one, I’d have a backup. I have had the same gloves for about four years running now. They were my warmest, comfiest, most favourite gloves I’ve ever had. I was feeling pretty proud of myself , too that I still had both sets of gloves.

Until this year.

One Missing Left

When I unpacked the winter clothes, there was a left glove missing. I was down to 1.5 gloves. I thought it would show up eventually. It didn’t. I still had a backup pair, though, so I was okay.

Until Friday two weeks ago.

Two Missing Lefts

I lost another left glove. I was down to two rights. I’d made quite a few stops all over town that day. It could have been anywhere. Honestly, I figured it was gone. I didn’t cry, but I wanted to. I could only hope that it would turn up eventually!

Well! You can imagine my surprise when I found it at the dog park! Trapped in the ice.

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It was hard to capture in a photo just how deep in the ice my poor glove was stuck. I tried tugging on it and there was no way it was moving. It was solid. It didn’t help that the glove itself was filled with ice, either. It was filled up like a glove balloon.

I planned on coming back the next day with tools.

The next day was freezing rain. I skipped my walk and forgot about my glove.

But the day after, Wednesday was mild and rainy. I thought for sure I’d be able to rescue my glove.

IMG_5780We were closer, but Burger said no way. I was able to pull two fingers up, but he rest was still solidly in the ice.

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By Friday, everything was frozen solid again. You can see where I got the last two fingers to stick up. I tried chipping some of the loose ice around it, but it was still in there good.

 

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Saturday, I brought help with me. It was time to excavate the glove.

 

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I recruited my husband and son to retrieve the sword from the stone…er, the glove from the ice. We brought a flat bar, a hammer and pliers.

 

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Digging away.

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Getting closer!

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Finally! My poor, frozen solid glove! Rescued! Thanks to my knights in shining armour!

Mythical Monday: Who was Uther Pendragon?

Uther Pendragon(c.AD 410-495) is the legendary father of King Arthur.

But what do we know really know about him and where did he come from?

One of the most famous accounts of Uther is from Geoffrey of Monmouth’s “History of the Kings of Britain”.

Victim of Treason

Last Monday, I discussed how Vortigern manipulated the Picts and was indirectly responsible for the death of Uther’s father, King Constantine. Constantine was killed by a Pictish assassin.

Uther’s eldest brother Constans was still quite young, and in addition, had been given to the church to serve as a monk. The kingdom was in chaos over who was to take over kingship. Vortigern insisted that Constans be put on the throne. This served him well, because as Constans’ advisor, he had full power and control over the kingdom.

Sadly, young Constans was assassinated as well, and Vortigern usurped the throne, taking over as High King of Britain.

Escape to Safety

Constantine’s two youngest children, Aurelius Ambrosius and Uther, the true heirs to the throne, were taken out of the country for their own protection. They were taken to Brittany, where they were raised at the court of their uncle, King Budic of Brittany.

Revenge and Return to the Throne

 

When they were old enough, Uther and Ambrosius returned to Britain. They took caerdoward5their revenge against Vortigern, attacking him in his castle called Genoreu on the hill known as Cloartius (Little Doward). The castle burned down and Vortigern perished in the flames.

Ambrosius was crowned high king of Britain, with Uther as his brother’s staunchest ally.

Even after the death of Vortigern, the Saxons continued to be a source of problems for the Britons. Ambrosius, Uther and their men continued to drive them back.

Stealing from Ireland

Merlin proposed a memorial the British victims of the “Treachery of the Long Knives“, a brutal massacre by the Saxons in purported peace ceremony during the time of Vortigern. According to Merlin, a suitable memorial would involve retrieving the stones from Giant’s Ring at Mount Killaraus in Ireland.

Aurelius sends Merlin, Uther and fifteen thousand troops to bring the stones back to Britain. Merlin moves the stones with his amazing skills and has them shipped over and across land to Mount Ambrius (Amesbury) and had them erected around the cemetery.

Quite understandably, King Gillomanius of Ireland was quite peeved at them stealing a part of his heritage. He attacked, but did not succeed in defeating Uther’s men.

Poisoning a King

In then meantime, a Saxon by the name of Eopa managed to disguise himself as a Christian and a doctor and enters the camp of the Britons. He poisons Aurelius at Winchester.

Paschent and Gillomanius

Paschent, Vortigern’s son fled to Germany to raise an army of Saxons. They invaded Britain.With Aurelius ill, Uther fought back, defeating them and forcing their escape to Ireland.

In Ireland, of course, Paschent and his Saxon army gain the support of King Gillomanius, still sore at Uther for stealing the Giant’s Ring and defeating him in battle. The Irish invade Wales with Paschent, landing near Menevia (St. Davids). Uther rushed to meet their army as Aurelius was still too ill to command forces in the field.

The Comet that brought the Pendragon name

On the way to the battle, Uther sees a dragon shaped comet in the night sky. Merlin interprets it as a prediction of both Aurelius’ death and Uther’s glorious future.

Uther wins the battle and takes the name “Pendragon”. With the death of his brother, he becomes king and orders the construction of two gold dragons, one of which he uses as his standard that is carried around with his army, the other was given to the cathedral church in Winchester.

Uther and Gorlois

After crushing the Saxons in the last battle, Uther held a celebration in London and invited all his allies. Among them was Gorlois, the duke of Cornwall. It was Gorlois’ strategy that had ultimately defeated the Saxons.

Gorlois brought his wife, Igraine. She was young and beautiful, and Uther fell instantly in love with her. In fact, his love for her was so obvious that Gorlois and his men packed up early and headed back for Cornwall. Uther was offended by his leaving early, and threatened the duke with war.tintagel2-bov

Gorlois sends Igraine to Tintagel Castle for protection. The castle is almost impossible to penetrate as it is surrounded by the sea on all sides. The only way into it is via a narrow, rocky passage–and there, three armed warriors forbid all entry.

In the meantime, Gorlois is in a town called Dimilioc (Tregeare Rounds). Here, he is besieged by Uther.

Merlin, Magic and Seduction

Uther consults with Merlin who transforms him to look exactly like Igraine’s husband. So while Gorlois was busy defending his castle against Uther’s men, Uther entered Tintagel as Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall.

He seduced Igraine, and it is on that night that Arthur is conceived. It is the next morning when it is discovered that Gorlois had been killed in battle.

The men of Cornwall had no choice but to surrender to Uther who later married Igraine and the future King Arthur was born.

Sir Thomas Malory’s “Le Morte D’Arthur” claims that the price for this deception was that Uther’s son Arthur had to be given to Merlin to be brought up as he saw fit.

According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Igraine also bore him a daughter Anna, sometimes referred to as Morgan in other sources. However, in Robert de Boron’s Merlin, Morgan le Fay is the daughter of Igraine and Gorlois, thereby making her half-sister to Arthur.

As a sidenote, Robert de Boron says Uther was responsible for the founding of the Order of the Round Table. Other stories state that Merlin made the Round Table for him and Uther gave it to King Leodegrance of Cameliard.

Pendragon Castle

Legend records that romantic Pendragon Castle at Mallerstang Dale in Cumbria was founded by Uther Pendragon. There is however, no archaeological evidence to suggest Dark Age settlement at the site, apart from the discovery of a Roman coin.

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The castle was not called ‘Pendragon’ until 1309, and before that date , was known as Mallerstang Castle.

According to legend, Uther tried to re-route the River Eden to fill the deep ditch which surrounds the castle to create a moat, but failed, which is alluded to in the local rhyme:-

“Let Uther Pendragon do what he can, Eden will run where Eden ran.”

Saxons and More Poison

Most of Uther’s reign was taken up with campaigning against Saxon and Irish invaders in the North of Britain.

In his old age, the sick and aging Uther later was drawn once again into war with the Northern Angles. He went north to aid King Lot of Lothian in battle and insists on leading his army himself. In some versions of the story, he is so unwell that he goes into battle on a litter. In others, he is propped up on his horse.

He defeats Hengist’s son Octa at Verulamium (St Albans), despite the Saxons calling him the “Half-Dead King.” However, the Saxons poison the spring that they drink from and Uther, along with many of his men died in the days that followed.

He was buried beside his brother Aurelius.

Arthur, who had just turned fifteen, became king of Britain.

Early References

 Though the History of the Kings of Britain was written in the 12th century, it’s interesting to know that it’s not Uther’s first appearance in legends and stories. He also appeared several times in earlier Welsh tradition.

A poem in the Book of Taliesin (some of which may date back to the 6th century) mentions Arthur and is named after Uther himself as Marvnat Uthyr Pen.

In the 10th century poem, Pa Gur (“Who is the Porter?”), one of Arthur’s companions is given as “Mabon ap Mydron, servant of Uthir Pen Dragon”.

Uther also appears in several early Triads of the Island of Britain and the personal name is known from other pre-Galfridian sources.

Ymiddiddan Arthur a’r Eryr (“The Colloquy of Arthur and the Eagle”), a poem contemporary with Geoffrey yet showing a primitive tradition independent of him, identifies the eagle as Eliwlat mab Madawc mab Uthyr and a nephew of Arthur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pendragon Castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ROW80: Round 1 Week 6 Sunday

ROW80

WHAT IS ROW80?
A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life.
Set challenges for yourself, write them up and post updates every Sunday and Wednesday. Add your link to the ROW80 Facebook page or the Linky here.

So here’s the skinny:

  • We have 4 rounds a year, each running 80 days.
  • Your goal can be anything you like as long as it is measurable (e.g. number of words/pages, specified amount of time to spend on writing per day/week, number of pages edited, etc.
  • Once you have settled on a goal, you write it up on your blog and link to it on the Goals Post at the beginning of each Round.
  • If your goal changes before the end of the 80 days, simply write up a new goals post and link to it on the latest check-in day post here on our blog or in our Facebook Group.
  • Check-ins are twice a week on Wednesday and Sundays. Write up a blog post of your progress and link to it on that day’s Post.
  • On Twitter we use a hashtag of #ROW80 if you wanna come hang out; feel free to host sprints, share links. See the next point…
  • If you happen to find us after a round has begun, just write up your goals post and hop on in whenever. We’re a friendly bunch.
  • Be sure to grab the ROW80 badge from the sidebar on the ROW80 Blog (right click, save image location, then chuck it in your blog’s image widget or grab some basic image html and use a text widget).

 

Writing:

I got lots of work in on my short story this week. I wrote and rewrote the same story three times!

In the first, I realized it needed more ‘story’. There wasn’t enough background.

In the second, I added more story, but it made the characters kind of unlikeable. Not my intention! This is supposed to be a humorous story!

The third rewrite came out much better. It seems to have more ‘flow’ to it and the characters more likeable. I got some good feedback from my husband and The Geeky Book Lady.

Now, I’m waiting on more feedback from my friends in my Writers Group. We are working on an anthology of humorous short stories, with the proceeds going to support the library where we meet.

I also got some novel edits in, 500 words or so. I changed a few things in the edits I had already made in the same chapter, and I was much happier with how it flowed.

Painting:

I got a couple of hours of painting in on Friday. It’s a start, at least!

Work in Progress
Work in Progress

Here’s the reference photo, as you can see, I still have a fair bit of work to do.

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Yoga

Yoga:

I made it to one yoga class this week. Considering that I’d missed class for two weeks in a row, I am going to pat myself on the back for that!

 

 

 

 

I switched my blog over from being self-hosted to WordPress.com. It wasn’t too challenging, moving my followers over had to be done by the Happiness Experts at WordPress, but other than that it went pretty well.

I have a bit of work to do to get a few more features back up and running, but for the most part it seems to be working well. Phew!

How about you? Did you reach your goals?

Have a wonderful week and thanks so much for stopping by!

Jo-Ann

Review and TGIF: Dark Beneath the Moon by Sherry D. Ramsey

Dark Beneath the MoonLuta Paixon has plenty of trouble on the Tane Ikai, with relationships in flux and the sticky problem of two captains on one ship. But when an alien artifact, the remnant of a long-ago war, shows up on the other side of a newly-discovered wormhole, the crew also find themselves pressed into the service of the Nearspace Protectorate. The Tane Ikai‘s task: covertly deliver an alien historian to the site to decipher its meaning—and possible threat.

Jahelia Sord is a woman with a grudge against the world, and against Luta Paixon and her family in particular. She has her own secrets to guard, and an alliance with the notorious PrimeCorp—one she’ll keep only as long as it suits her own hunt for vengeance.

When a mysterious attack leaves them stranded in an uncharted new system, Luta, her crew, and Jahelia must try to put their differences aside and decide who to trust, while they uncover a shocking truth about the Chron war and what their old enemies are so afraid of…

 

The crew of the Tane Ikai is back for more mystery and adventure. This second novel in the Nearspace series is full of intriguing mysteries, covert operations and action.

The characters are more in-depth and developed. Rei, especially is one of my favourite characters, and I love that we get to learn more about her.

 

The Chron is an alien race that viciously attacked and almost wiped out Nearspace generations before. As quickly and mysteriously as they had appeared, they disappeared without a trace. There were references to them in the first book, this time we get to learn a whole lot more.

The Protectorate has discovered a new wormhole with ancient alien artefacts. They are believed to be of Chron origin and secrecy is of utmost importance. Luta’s brother, an Admiral in the Protectorate has asked her to deliver an alien historian through the wormhole to assist them.

They go through measures to make sure they are not being followed. Unfortunately,  Jahelia Sord manages to follow them through the wormhole. She is a whole new character on the scene with her own agenda in mind.

Jahelia’s motivations are certainly questionable. Working for PrimeCorp, she has her own grudge against Luta and her mother.

Parts of the story are told through her POV. She certainly has her own unique voice and she is not a very likeable character because of her attitude and issues, though she certainly is entertaining!

Luta and her crew along with Jahelia find themselves under attack and in trouble. They reluctantly work together to find a solution to get back home.

In the meantime, Luta has her own set of problems when her health declines. It’s a race to escape the Chron, try to find their way back Nearspace and find her mother before its too late.

Once again Sherry had done an amazing job growing Nearspace and beyond, as well as adding new alien species and technology.

I thoroughly enjoyed Book 2 in the Sherry Ramsey’s Nearspace series and can’t wait to start reading the third book in the series Beyond the Sentinel Stars. 

For more information about Book 1, One’s Aspect to the Sun, you can check it out on Goodreads here or see my review here.

It’s Friday! The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Blurb from Goodreads:

It all started at a dinner party. . .

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors–a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all–a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family–a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

View on Goodreads

View on Amazon

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.

 

 

Anne can feel the acid churning in her stomach and creeping up her throat; her head is swimming. She’s had too much to drink. Cynthia has been topping her up all night. Anne had meant to deep herself to a limit, but she’d let things slide–she didn’t know how else she was supposed to get through the evening. Now she has no idea how much wine she’s drunk over the course of this interminable dinner party. She’ll have to pump and dump her breast milk in the morning.

The interminable dinner party. What could possibly go wrong?

The Friday 56

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

Rules:
*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:

I took Cora from Anne and sent Anne upstairs for a nap.” Marco leans against the back of thesofa and rubs his hands up and down his thighs. Then he starts to jiggle one of his legs. He is restless.

“Do you have kids, Detective?” Anne asks.

“No.”

“Then you don’t know how exhausting they can be.”

“No.” He shifts his own position in the chair. They are all getting tired. “What time did you go next door to the party?” Rasbach asks.

Hmmmmm!  Never a dull moment in this book! What do you think?

Thanks for reading and Happy Weekend!

Jo-Ann

 

Review: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Blurb from Goodread:  Rule #3: Don’t stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty – especially if they learn of her Sight – and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don’t speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don’t ever attract their attention.
But it’s too late. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost — regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.

Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr’s stunning twenty-first-century faery tale.

As soon as I found this book on another blog and read the premise, I knew I had to get my hand on it!

Aislynn, her mother and her grandmother were all born with the Sight. That means that they see faeries. Everywhere.

The average human is oblivious to their existence and the tricks that they play. 

These are not the cute, magical, Tinkerbell fairies that sprinkle dust to give good luck. These faeries are dark and mischievous. They can be glamorous or frightening. They are not creatures that you want to have hanging around.

Aislynn must pretend that she cannot see the faeries. If they become aware they she can see them, she risks being killed or at the very least, blinded.

The Summer King has chosen to court Aislynn. Most girls who are courted by him fall head over heels, but Aislynn sees through his glamour, and her fear of faeries demands that she stay as far away from him as possible.

She is unwillingly pulled into the Faery world, conflicting with her friendship and the beginnings of romance with Seth. Aislynn was a strong character who stands up for herself even when she is afraid to.

I absolutely loved the way the relationship between Seth and Aislynn grew. Aislynn fought any romance with him for fear of jeopardizing their amazing friendship. It developed as a slow burn that I found it touching and warm.

I would liked to have seen more background on Aislynn’s mother and her role in the story. It was a great start, but then the reader was left hanging about what happened, her connection with the Summer King and why she died.

I enjoyed the writing, though it was a bit confusing at times and I had to go back and reread. I did like the way it was written with multiple POVs. I enjoy getting into the heads of the other characters.

I was completely captivated by the story and wouldn’t put the book down until I found out how it ended. What was going to happen to Aislynn? To Seth and the Summer King? 

I enjoyed the ending, but I wonder if it wouldn’t have been more interesting if it things hadn’t worked out quite so perfectly.