Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!  I hope you have a fun evening. 
We stayed home, had some friends over and stuffed ourselves with candy.

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We also had a Harry Potter marathon, which was fun because I haven’t seen them before.

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The movies do a good job of capturing the world of the books. 🙂

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What did you do for Halloween? 

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What Do You Guys Think About A Read Along?

Recently I’ve been going through a reading slump. As a book reviewer I have to read a lot of books…Like a lot of books. Right now I have 16 books that I have on my list for next month. 16 books, and it’s probably going to grow! *sigh*

So the past two weeks I’ve found myself looking at my stack of books and wishing it would disappear.  It’s not that I’m not excited about the books, I am! I can’t wait to read about Jason Bourne and immerse myself in the world of The Help. I just can’t seem to get myself to pick up a book and read it.

It’s taken some time, but I might have found a solution.I was wondering if you, my lovely readers, would like to read a book with me over the course of a couple weeks? Here’s what I’d do: First I’d give you guys a list of books and we’d decide what to read and decide how long it will take us to finish.  I’m thinking more than 2 weeks but no more than 4 weeks.  Then at the end of the week I’d post an update on how I’m doing, and you guys could either post on your blogs or talk about the book in the comments.

I think this could be a lot of fun. If I had someone(s) to read with then I would have more of a reason to get excited. And to actually finish a book.

So what do you think? Yes or No? Let me know! 😀

Read, Write, Review, Repeat – October Wrap-Up

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I can hardly believe that it’s almost the end of October! Why is it that when we’re kids the months drag along? Remember waiting for Christmas? Or your birthday? It was torture!  Now that I’m an adult it’s strange…Each day seems like a normal length and I fill it and keep busy, but then when I stop for a breath I realize that a whole month has gone. It’s times like this that I wish I had a better memory, and I could just bottle up a day or two here and keep them fresh for later when I’m old.

But today’s post isn’t going to be random musing and ramblings, I do actually have a plan. NaNoWriMo is quickly coming, so I decided I’d do a wrap-up post today, so I don’t forget to get it done. 🙂

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Reading: I’ve now reached 162 books for the whole year! Gosh, that seems like such a huge amount when I think about it. It’s been so much fun, keeping track of all that I’m reading. I love Goodreads.  My total for the month is 18, and I’m planning on finishing at least one more book. So hopefully it will be 19 books for the whole month! 😀 I read a lot of one star books, I had some disappointing reads.  I also had some surprising 4 stars.  My favorite fiction book this month is Pure, and my favorite non-fiction is Long Quiet Highway by Natalie Goldberg.  Two of the books I read this month were from NetGalley, and one was from Blogging For Books.  I’m so happy I’m able to review books for both websites. 🙂

These are some of the books I need to read next month: Sherlock Holmes Vol. 2 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,  The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck, and The Witch of Lime Street by David Jaher. 

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Writing: I didn’t keep track of my wordcount this month. I wrote a good amount of poetry for Mourning. I’m planning on writing 115 poems for the book and I’m at 46 currently.  This second poetry book is going to be amazing, it’s already blowing my mind.  I love seeing how much better it is than the first. I mean The Freedom of April was good as far as first poetry books go. But Mourning…I’m just in love with it. I know I’ve opened up a lot more, part of me was scared in the first poetry book. I was frightened of being completely real, and now there’s nothing holding me back in this second book.

Grant and I are still hard at work on What It All Means. We were hoping to publish it this month but that looks like it’s not going to happen. 😦  But we did finish the cover! Which I’m very proud of.

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Blogging: I’ve written a post every single day this month! That was really awesome, though hard sometimes. Thankfully I had a pretty good schedule and back up posts. Looking back at my goals post, it looks like I finished most of them. I reviewed 7 books, posted every day. I wasn’t able to publish the short story collection, and I didn’t finish Drawlloween. But I was apart of a link up and a showcase. I even wrote a horror story!  Thinking about all of October I feel pretty good.

Life: In other news I applied for a poetry magazine, but didn’t get in. That was disappointing. The magazine I found was perfect and I was really looking forward to to it.  Oh well I guess, there will be other chances.  And because I wasn’t accepted it’s given me the chance to apply for a publishing internship! Hopefully I’m able to get into that and then I’ll tell you all more about it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. 🙂

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Grant and I have decided to start a newsletter that comes out four times a year. We are very excited about this! I got the idea earlier this month because I was posting so often and I realized that my posts about publishing were getting lost in the shuffle. Our goal for the newsletter will mainly be to update people on our stories and poetry that are in the works, and those that are close to publishing. It will have some poetry, maybe a short story or two that we haven’t published yet and in it will we also review different things. Sometimes our favorite book or movie, and sometimes we’ll review our favorite coffee/tea shop or other place.  Anyway, stay tuned!

So that’s it for my October. How was yours? Did you get everything done? Tell me about the best thing you’ve accomplished this month, I’d love to hear. 🙂 

FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT 2015 – Book Review: Dark Carnival

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This year I was able to write a post for A Fortnight of Fright, a blog series by A Book Addicts Guide and a two other lovely bloggers.  Fortnight of Fright is two weeks of Halloween themed posts written by tons of other bloggers and authors. Check out all the posts there’s been everything from book reviews like mine to recipes to movies written about.

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Goodreads Synopsis: In this anthology, several authors and illustrators explore the dark and hidden dangers that lie within a carnival that has come to town. But it is no ordinary carnival. It’s The Dark Carnival.
And when The Dark Carnival comes to town, there’s no promise that anyone can leave…alive.

Contributors include: Kristen Strassel, Meghan Schuler, Claire C. Riley, J. Elizabeth Hill, Jessi Esparza, Debra Kristi, Ryan Bartlett, Michelle Ceasar Davis, Brian LeTendre, Ken Mooney, Eli Constant, Mari Wells, Lucas Hargus, Kat Daemon, T.A. Brock, Calyn Morgan, Emily McKeon, Gregory Carrico, Kristin Hanson, Nicole R. Taylor, C. Elizabeth Vescio, Brian W. Taylor, Kate Michael, Ezekiel Conrad, Jamie Adams, Bobby Solomons, Mark Matthews, Jamie Corrigan, Kristin Rivers, Kristen Jett, Sheila Hall, Suzy G, Kim Culpepper, Ruth Shedwick, J.C. Michael, Wulf Francu Godgluck, Ashly Nagrant, Amy Trueblood, Vanessa Henderson, Tawney Bland, Julie Hutchings and Stevan Knapp.

My Review: I heard about this anthology from watching some YouTube videos by the WordNerds. Horror isn’t something I usually read, unless Neil Gaiman writes it. But there was something about an anthology that interested me. I am a scaredy-cat,  movies with zombies or paranormal activity are hard for me to watch. But there was something about a collection of short stories that beguiled me. I guess I thought that horror in small doses would be okay.  I was both right and wrong.

THE DARK CARNIVAL was an amazing entry into the genre of creepy stories. I mean this collection has everything, people gone crazy, demons, aliens, and every story was completely different.  Each was unique in its own way.  I feel like the collection starts off with some of their less creepy stories.  I found myself thinking: “Oh this isn’t so bad.” HA! The stories definitely get darker further into the anthology. No spoilers but not everything you eat in the Dark Carnival is at it seems. 😉  I liked this anthology because it didn’t overwhelm in the way a novel would. There wasn’t too much creepiness that would give me nightmares, but just enough for me to put it down at the end of a story and peek out from my blankets to make sure I wasn’t going to die. 😀

I ended up giving THE DARK CARNIVAL four stars on Goodreads. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone, especially in this month of October. I promise, you won’t see carnivals the same way again.

Top Ten Tuesday – Halloween Edition!

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Today’s theme from The Broke and Bookish is Halloween Freebie! I’ve been seeing lots of cool posts, from talking about creepy covers, to book recommendations even for those who get scared easily!

So today I’m going to talk about the top creepiest books I’ve read this year. I don’t think I’ll get to ten because honestly I tend to stay away from anything that’s going to keep me up at night. But I hope you enjoy anyway!

1) Dead Girls Don’t Write Letters By Gail Giles: This book I picked up at random because it was small and the cover looked interesting.  It’s about a family whose daughter dies in a fire, but then awhile after her ”death” she writes a letter saying it was all mistake and she actually didn’t die.  The daughter comes home and the family soon realizes that she’s not quite like the daughter they remember.

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2) The Graveyard Book By Neil Gaimen: A whimsical yet at times creepy story of a boy raised in a graveyard because he’s being hunted by a murderer. I loved this book a lot, but I was definitely scared by it at times. Nonetheless I would tell people to read it and I would read it again because the story is just fabulous.

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3) The Orphan Master By Jean Zimmerman:  This book was almost too much for me! Set in 1663 in the colony of New Amsterdam, this story is about finding out who is killing the orphans of the town.  It was a bit long, but an okay book.  I won’t give too much away but the murderer is also a cannibal, so that was creepy.

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4) Dracula By Brahm Stoker: Here’s a good book! Now this is a book I would read again, even if it I did find it creepy at times. Everyone should read this. 🙂

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5) Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children By Ransom Riggs: I loved loved loved this book. I loved the style, and the characters and the pictures.  About a young boy named Jacob, who sets off on a journey to Wales after the death of his grandfather. This book kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time, and I may have jumped a couple times as well. 😉

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So there we have it. Five books from me. Don’t forget to put a link to your TTT post, I can’t wait to read it and comment! 🙂 

Trains Dream of Sweet Things – A Short Story

I had a very hard time today, coming up with an idea for a blog post. It didn’t dawn on me till late this evening that I might be feeling a bit burnt out. I thought about writing about going to see The Martian, but the words just weren’t coming. I thought about sharing poetry, but nothing seemed right. So instead I’ll share with you a short story that I wrote for a contest (which I didn’t win but whatever.)  Thanks for reading, and don’t forget about my giveaway! There’s only five days left to enter. 🙂 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Trains Dream of Sweet Things

They laid the train tracks back to front and this caused a great deal of confusion – you’d think you were on the train to New York and arrived in Kinshasa, or to Shanghai and found yourself lost in Istanbul. But that was then, and this is now. Now men with shiney shoes and money in their pockets rebuild old tracks to be better. “Everything must have order,”  they say, “we have fast, new trains now.”

Yes, faster, faster, more people need to go from here to there, don’t think, don’t worry. Everything will be fine.

If only they would ask us, thought a lowly train.

“The dreamers are my favorite. After twenty-five years of gathering tickets, helping businessmen not get lost, and listening to women tell me stories of the husbands they ran away from, I’ve come to the conclusion that dreamers are my favorite type of people.

They’re easy to spot.  Dreamers always sit next to the window. The dreamers are quiet, they don’t always look you in the eyes, but when they do, you see their eyes are wide and round, bright and alive, and full of the stars. The dreamers watch the rolling hills and cities with fascination, getting high off of the speed, becoming alive in midst of the daily life of a train.  Why are dreamers my favorite you ask?

Because they see something that most don’t.  Normal people come and go, they spill their morning coffee on the red rug, they let their babies scream for an hour. Normal people complain when the weather causes delays, they complain about each other, they spit and throw trash and dig their nails into the seats.

Dreamers do none of these things. They know that the train is every bit alive as they are. The dreamers can feel the train welling up with power at the station, the dreamers clasp the arm rests with white knuckles, gasping with pleasure as we all take off.  
The fact of the matter is, some of us know the truth, some of us don’t. Some of us are respectful, some of us aren’t.  My dreamers are present and alive.”

The ticket manager’s head nods as he finishes talking, and he drifts into sleep.

Yes, the train thinks, the dreamers are my favorite too.

“Evenin’ mister, twopence shoe shine sir?” A rough young cockney voice asks. Feet attached to briefcases hurry on without a second glance at the blond haired lad.

“Please ma’am, twopence shoe shine?”

“Leave me alone boy.” The matron scolds, pushing him back slightly.

The boy rocks on the edge of the tracks, waving his arms like a decapitated chicken.

“Steady there laddy.” An arm grabs the boy by his suspenders and pulls him back onto the platform.

“Dangerous thing to be doing there me boy, playing on the tracks like a wee youngin’.” The man has red cheeks barely visible underneath a black beard.

“I wasn’t playin’” The words are cross though the face is grateful.

The man’s eyes twinkle, “Well then I suppose you were shining the train’s shoes?”

The boy laughs, pulls off his cap, rubs sweat off his neck, and asks hopefully,

“Twopence shoe shine sir?”

“Aye, why not laddy, I might have some change to spare.”

The man sits down upon the boy’s wooden box and idly reads a small book while the boy works his shinning trade.

“Well lad, you’ve done a good job. Thanky.” The man hands the boy a few coins, tips his hat and walks into the crowd of people unloading from the train.

The boy stares at the coins in his dirty hands; he has more money today than he has ever in his whole life.

Thunder rolls in the background, shoes clatter on the platform, constant noise, constant movement. He’s always wanted to move, to fly, to go away.  A fresh chance smiles sweetly up at him from his hand. On the side of his body the boy feels the dim ache of the bruise he received last night from his drunk uncle.

The boy smiles back at chance, and buys a ticket.

The train feels the boy’s tattered shoes climb aboard and feels his excitement,

“I’ll take you on an adventure!” The train hoots.

The conductor takes pity on the small boy. He takes out a blanket from his trunk in the front of the train and lays it on the boy’s lap.  A small twinge in his heart makes a tear slip unwanted from his eyes. He remembers another boy from years ago.

“Grandpa!” The conductor can still hear the other boy’s voice.

“Such a long time ago.” The old man says, and strokes the train’s railings. “A long time ago. Before you and I were friends.” The old man sighs and feels as though the train sighs with him.

Then his old ears hear something else, the screech of the train’s brakes.

Oh, the train thinks, I was having such a pleasant time.

The train puffs and roars, rearing back against the hands of its masters. Sparks scatter off the tracks. Matter against matter collides into each other’s fiery embrace.

The ticket collector sees his dreamers flash before his eyes.

The boy is sleeping as walls surrounding him close around his body.

The conductor is thrown out the window, spreading his blood on the green of England.

The train’s last thoughts are “Now I’ve done it.”

From the platform the people standing can see the two trains moving at speeds too fast, brakes grinding, and finally fronts colliding with a sickening crash.

Men use briefcases to shield themselves and those nearest to them, while others huddled in doorways get up to survey the mess. The firetruck comes, the small town’s only doctor is rushed out of bed, but it’s no use. No one makes it out alive.

Rain dripping from the rusty gutters makes a curtain between the platform and the tracks.