Monday, August 24, 2015

Reading Challenge 2015: Update

I've been busy this summer, and I have some more posts to make regarding my Colorado Bucket List, but first how about some updates on that reading challenge?

Here's a reminder of the things that were on the list:

I already posted about a book in a genre I don't typically read (my choice here kind of felt like a cheat, but oh well). Now I can add a book from my childhood (okay, more than one book from my childhood).

I'm currently working on a book recommended by someone with great taste and a book that was originally written in a different language (technically the first book could also be the second book, but I think I'm going to split them up because again, that would be cheating...). I've also finished a book I've been meaning to read (for about 15 years or more), and I'll report on that one later.

So here are the books:

First, a book from my childhood. In this case, I not only read a book from my childhood, but the book from my childhood, as in the exact same paperback, which I stole from my mom when I was visiting recently (okay, I didn't really steal it cause I asked first). Here's the book:

I read a lot of Andre Norton when I was a kid. And by a lot I mean A LOT. This book is about a dude who specializes in gemstones, the freaky-weird stone he inherits from his father, and his telepathic cat-critter Eet. I remember pretending to be Murdoc Jern and hunting through the front yard for cool-looking rocks, but I didn't actually remember much of the book. Except for Eet. Telepathic cats tend to stick with you.

I also re-read The Beast Master, which was one of my favs. I had a bigtime crush on Hosteen Storm, and I remember crouching over my typewriter writing a story that was a total ripoff of this book when I was probably 10 or so. Here's that original paperback from when I read it as a kid, although I did the reread on audiobook because I saw it at the library and thought, Wow, I didn't know you could get Andre Norton audiobooks!

I enjoyed reading both of these, though I liked The Beast Master more. I think it was because The Zero Stone, is written in first person, and Norton's style, which is a bit sticky and overwrought at the best of times, is even moreso in first person. I'd still like to read the sequel, and I've already started the sequel to The Beast Master. I also discovered the series was extended starting fairly recently with a new Beast Master and her adventures. Somehow I don't really want to read those, though. Hosteen Storm will always be the Beast Master to me.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Weekend Adventure

For our first summer adventure, the kids and I visited the Dinosaur Resource Center in Woodland Park. My daughter and I "discovered" it when we were driving down to Garden of the Gods in the spring, and we put it on our list of places we wanted to check out.

It's a small museum, but has a lot of neat stuff. There are displays of fossils here that aren't on display anywhere else in the world, some of which were discovered in Kansas or nearby in Colorado. Some of the fossils are still in plaster jackets, not entirely restored, and some haven't even been officially identified or named yet. There's also a working restoration area where you can watch people working on restorations/reconstructions (no one was working today, but we could still take a look at the workspace).

I was also really interested in the role 3D printing has played in creating models of different critters. This technique was used to create full-body reconstructions as well as reconstructions of skeletons--using a female pterosaur skeleton to project the size and shape of a male, for example. Overall, a fun beginning to our last-year-in-Colorado explorations.

My new phone takes pretty good pics, so you should be able to click on these photos and see big, hi-res versions.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Colorado Bucket List

In about a year, when my daughter graduates from high school, I’m planning a big change. After 20 years in Colorado, I’m heading back across country to Illinois, where my family lives and where I grew up.

It’s strange to realize that I’ve lived in Colorado longer than I lived in Illinois. But Illinois still feels like home, and there are other reasons for making the move, too, at least one of which is financial, and several of which are personal.

Knowing we’ve got a deadline, my kids and I are making a list this summer of places we want to see in Colorado before we head back out to the plains. I’ll be posting some info about these locations, the trips, why we picked them, and how things went. We probably won’t make it to all of them—in fact, we undoubtedly won’t—but we’re going to do what we can. Some of these places we’ve visited before and just want to see them again. Others are places we want to see before we go.

Some locations that have already made the list:

    •    Elitch Gardens (for one more visit)
    •    The Denver Zoo
    •    St. Mary’s Glacier
    •    Cave of the Winds
    •    Seven Falls
    •    Royal Gorge
    •    Sand Dunes
    •    Mesa Verde
    •    Leadville
    •    Georgetown
    •    Black Hawk
    •    Central City

That’s just the beginning. We’ll see how far we get.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Favorite Things!

Favorite things for this week:

3. Alex Ovechkin dressed as Alexander the Great with a hockey stick and a horse with emo bangs. Snagged from Russian Machine Never Breaks.

2. The Official Return of The X-Files! To celebrate, a vintage picture of David Duchovny wearing a teacup.

1. Marian Hossa celebrating his daughter Mia's birthday with his family. All together now: D'awwwwwww!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Favorite Things--Video Edition!

An exuberant 1-year-old American bulldog mix named King interrupts the weather report on live TV, possibly in search of steak treats.

This pit bull loves when his daddy sings to him.

Jonathan Toews buys Girl Scout cookies and fails at ironing. Also there is a puppy.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Favorite Things Friday the THIRTEENTH!!

This week's Favorite Things.

Chris Pratt, Chris Evans, and Jimmy Fallon photobomb people at the Super Bowl.

Alex Ovechkin donates a car to the Washington Ice Dogs of the American Special Hockey League. You gotta read this whole story. It's worth it.

I know this one's been all over, but dude! The oldest man in Australia knits TINY TINY sweaters for TINY TINY penguins to help them recover from oil spills. If that doesn't make your heart all squishy I don't know what will. (Also, one of these penguins needs a Pens jersey. Get on that, oldest man in Australia!)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Cover Reveal! And some Book Recs

Drum roll, please....

Below is the cover for my upcoming release, Summoning Sebastian, from Samhain. It'll be coming out this August. It's a followup to Necromancing Nim. If you read Nim, you'll know there were some loose ends left behind. This book ties them up.

And some book recs. I did some editing work on both of these, and they're both very good, very involving stories. 

When the mine waste dam above them broke, it scoured the entire valley clean of all vegetation and many inhabitants. Almost every family lost a loved one or more, as well as their homes, gardens, and live stock. Worst of all they lost a sense of dependability and security. Life would never be the same. Clary Gibson was determined that her son, Ben, would not spend his adulthood deep in the coal mines of West Virginia digging for coal—like his ancestors. Her husband, a proud miner, wanted nothing more than having Ben join him in the mine. The marriage which had been rock solid, took a near fatal blow while they tried to put their lives back together, as well as cope with opposite dreams for their children. A very emotional, involving read. (Warnings for child loss.)

This is a really powerful book, but it can be difficult to read. If you have trigger issues, be sure to read the synopsis first to see if it might be an issue. I can disclose that it does have a happy ending. It's an amazing story about an amazing woman. It was a great honor to work with her to get her story out.