Showing posts from April, 2018

Monday Musings: Reviews, Lorehaven, and Writing Updates

The title seems like a lot, but I'll try to keep it tidy. First off, I finished reading a book for the first time in almost a month. Second, I completely missed a (couple of) review(s) at the end of March. Bad me. Anyway, here's to catching up. Reviews Hellboy Vol. 6 This collects two shorter stories following Hellboy's departure from the BPRD in volume 5. The first follows Hellboy's encounter with a trip of mermaids, who strike deals with a sea witch to gain their revenge on our hero. Needless to say, it doesn't end well for them. There's some really great heart in this story as there usually is in Mignola's stories. The other story follows in the aftermath of the first and features the return of Hecate, queen of witches. She tries to convince Hellboy to embrace his destiny. Again. As usual, he'll have none of it, though the epilogue makes it clear that he's going to have to face that destiny one way or another. (I also read t

Monday Musings: Portals

Yesterday's prompt for the April Fae art challenge was Portal. Since I've been doing a poem a day this month as well as the art challenge, I started brainstorming what a portal poem might be like -- and what portals have been special to me over the years. The tendency in fantasy movies and shows like Once Upon a Time is to have a swirling vortex as the gateway between worlds. (I'm not immune to this image. In fact, the main method of inter-world travel in the Non de Velai books is a shimmering silver pool, though it often appears between two trees.) But the portals that appear in fiction are often more varied than that. The first portal stories I can remember seeing were The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland . The portals in these stories are naturally occurring phenomena: a tornado/twister/cyclone (whatever term you prefer) and a rabbit hole. While tornadoes weren't common where I grew up (outside of hurricane season), holes in the ground were common enoug

ThrowBook Thursday: Top 10 Books

Yes, I know this is a ThrowBook Thursday post, and therefore it's supposed to be about a book that's stayed with me over the years. But I honestly wasn't sure which one book to talk about this month, and I thought I could revisit my top 10 books. Only I haven't actually done a top 10 books post. I've done posts on my top 10 books to reread , top 10 fantasy books , top 10 non-fantasy/sci-fi books , and even top 100-ish books . So today I'm going to do a Top 10 Books post, with an emphasis on why these books have stayed with me. These are the books that I would choose if I had to choose only ten books to be able to read for the rest of my life. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell One of my perennial favorites, this novel is the perfect mixture of fantasy and so-called "literary" fiction. It blends the humor and social commentary of authors like Austen and Dickens with the magic of Tolkien. It has spiritual, moral, and emotional depth. It features cr

Coco Review: Family and Creativity

If you've been around me for any length of time, you know I'm usually always late to the game when it comes to keeping up with pop culture. Movies are no exception, even when it comes to movies I'm very excited to see. All of this is to say I've finally seen Disney/Pixar's Coco (and much sooner than I usually see movies after they've left theaters). There are spoilers ahead, but I've done my level best to keep them vague in regard to BIG TWISTS out of respect for those who (like me) are late to the game. If you're unfamiliar with the movie, Coco is about a boy named Miguel whose family has forbidden music for generations -- all because his great-great-grandfather (a musician) left town and never came back. Not to be undone by his betrayal, his wife, Imelda, decided to support her family by becoming a successful shoemaker, a business the entire family continues to operate today. There's only one problem: Miguel loves music, especially the

Watercolor Wednesday: Narnia and AprilFae

I know I'm late with this month's art post. I haven't been as actively computering this week and it's always slipped my mind when I've been active. So here we are. I did a couple of Narnia paintings centered around Shasta and joined the April Fae art challenge on Instagram, so I've been very steadily making paintings and drawings for the last two weeks. I also did some prep sketches for the next couple 100 Myths drawings, but I'm saving those for once the final versions are done, probably after April Fae is over. First up, the Shasta series. This first one is a rendition of Shasta's night among the tombs of the ancient kings of Calormene. Note the cat keeping him company. I loved the colors in that one so much I wanted to do a portrait of Shasta with the same scheme. But first, a practice sketch. Then the colorized version: Day one of April Fae was the Fool, so I drew a Faerie hunter who felt foolish for taking a bet. Day tw

Beautiful People: Favorites Edition

Beautiful People is a blog link-up hosted by Paper Fury and Further Up and Further In . This is the last edition (for now), and it's all about favorites! 1. Favorite genre to write in? Fantasy for sure. I occasionally write something sci-fi-ish or horror, but fantasy is where I belong. 2. What book (a real actual published book!) do you think your character would benefit from reading? Mortimer should probably read Uprooted . Merlin would benefit from Narnia. Bryn should probably read The Book Thief . 3. Favorite piece of dialogue you’ve written? You mean I have to choose? Robin's conversation with Vivienne from Albion Academy is probably at the top of the list. It's one of the earliest snippets from that book and really helped me define their characters. 4. What did your character want to be when they grew up, and what did they actually become? Merlin wanted to be anything but a wizard. I don't think that's working out for him so far. Br

Top 10 Tuesday: Fictional Old People

Today is a special day in my family: it's both my grandmothers' birthday. In honor of that, I wanted to do a top 10 fictional grandparents post, but given the shortage of fictional grandparents that came to mind, I expanded the post to include non-grandparent characters who are also in a mentoring/parental relationship with characters who are at least 1 generation younger than they are. Grandma Fa (Mulan) The original Disney #GrandmaGoals, Grandma Fa is the old person many of us aspire to be. She speaks her mind, isn't afraid to sass off about the ancestors' lack of luck ("They're dead."), and loves her family deeply. Gramma Tala (Moana) The Disney #GrandmaGoals of the latest generation, Tala isn't afraid of her reputation as the village crazy lady. In fact, she embraces it. She's also the village's storyteller, passing on her knowledge of her people's history and culture to the younger generations. She doesn't let Moana forg

Monday Musings: The Little White Horse and Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick

With the musicals post last week, I'm sure some of you were wondering if I was still reading. The answer is yes, and I have two books to talk about today: Elizabeth Goudge's The Little White Horse and Joe Schreiber's Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick . The Little White Horse I picked this one up because I wanted to compare it with the film The Secret of Moonacre . While it lacks some of the book's characterization, the film does a surprising job of keeping the themes of pride and repentance. However, the main story is still vastly different. The quarrels in the book are over much smaller and meaner things (like the use of pink geraniums) than in the film (which uses family feuds and heritage to a greater extent). I enjoyed some of the humor of the story and the character of Robin a great deal. Robin is like a Puckish version of The Secret Garden 's Dickon, and his determination that he'll marry Maria is endearing only because she agrees and thei