Today is…WHAT?

Today is the the day that we all say, “WHAT? February’s over ALREADY? Where has this year gone? I’ve got to get my butt in gear!”

At least, that’s what you should be saying. That’s what I’m saying. So I’m signing off to get some serious work done.

What are you doing today?


Lucky Birthdays

Many customs say that it is lucky for a child to be born close to a parent’s birthday. This is a good thing, for my birthday is only three days after my fathers, and Soteria’s is four days after my mother’s.

Fourteen years ago, Fairy Goddaughter Ariell missed her father’s birthday by a mere seven minutes and seven seconds…so she must be the luckiest one of them all!

We celebrated to the nines yesterday, starting off the day with a delicious breakfast that included homemade blueberry pancakes and a present-opening ceremony that rivaled Christmas. (Around here, everybody gets presents!)

As Joe was cleaning up to take a birthday picture with Ariell in their new (and signed!) Collins River Logging t-shirts (if you haven’t seen Ax Men, you won’t know what this is), Joe Collins Himself gave my Joe a ring to wish him a Happy Birthday. It was so wonderful to hear his unmistakable voice on the phone, and such a joy to see Joe’s and Ariell’s smiles as they laughed and chatted. (Joe Collins is an incredibly nice guy. And I am the best girlfriend EVER.)

The last present of the day was a card for Ariell, in which I wrote some silly business and then signed it with the address to her new website…which is the geeky intarwebz equivalent of giving a girl a new car. Please pop by yourself and see the gorgeous design, her bio and publishing credits, and all the silly comments from her friends.

We bought glow-in-the-dark bracelets and Kassidy put together a playlist for the midnight dance party (the goal was to stay up until 12:07 and ring in Ariell’s birthday like the New Year) — but it was a very long day full of lots of shopping and even more fun and sleep beckoned. I wasn’t the only one losing consciousness, and to everyone’s grumpy chagrin, we went to bed. Kassidy says we should have had more coffee. She’s probably right.

But none of that changes the fact that yesterday was a wonderful day full of smiles, and today Ariell is one year older. Joe turned 41 yesterday and Ariell’s 14 today…it’s going to be a fabulous (and lucky) palindrome year!

I hope you are all having a similarly amazing weekend. xox

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Farewell Discovery

I was watching live on NASA TV while my dad was taking this picture from his front yard.

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Princess Alethea’s Fairy Tale Theatre: Episode 4

Episode 4: “The Giant and The Tailor” (4:42)

One of the less-popular Giant Tales, those of you with difficult employers will definitely appreciate this one.

It also illustrates one of my favorite writing quotes from author James Maxey: “Swagger when you lie.”


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No More Tears

I had an “attack” this weekend, if you will, of dry, scaly, puffy eyes. I should have taken a picture so I could post it here and show you. Unfortunately, vanity prevailed and I shyed away from cameras.

This sort of thing happens to me from time to time — so rarely that every time it happens I forget what it is and start treating it the wrong way. So when the skin beneath both my eyes started to puff up and dry out last week, I started treating the area with Eucerin…first nightly, and then three or so times during the day. It only got worse. And then, as we were driving out of town on the way to Newport News, with my eyes all itchy and skin-pully, I remembered my Dad’s warning.

Dad had some trouble with his eyes once, and our very knowledgeable opthamologist told him that sometimes contact-wearers can suffer from mild infections (especially in Spring, when the pollen is high). This manifests itself as very bad dry skin on the upper eyelid and/or lower eyelid. The knee-jerk reaction is to treat the dryness. What you should REALLY be treating is the infection.

The treatment is simple — I’m going to tell you here and hopefully save a bunch of you contact lens folks from similar fates. Buy a bottle of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo and use it as an eyewash (“No More Tears”, remember?). Put some on a damp, lukewarm washcloth and scrub (gently, but the best you can) your eyelids, outside–and as much inside as you can tolerate. Then rinse your eyes out with tepid water.

Don’t wear eye makeup, and do this wash as often as you can for a couple of days. Even if you only do it every morning in the shower, you’ll still start to see a difference right away. If, after a couple of days, the skin is still badly chapped, treat it with a very small bit of Vaseline, making sure not to get any in your eye. This is very important. You want to make sure your eye stays clear of gunk.

The pain in the neck part of this is that during this time you should really wear glasses instead of contacts for as long as you can tolerate it — of course, the fact that we don’t like glasses and wear contacts instead is what got us to this point in the first place…

Every time I am forced to wear my eyeglasses out of the house, I have this strange feeling that I’m going to end up lost in the woods and attacked by a bear. To date nothing close to this scenario has happened, but that hasn’t stopped the scene going through my head every time I step out that front door without my contacts in. Catie Murphy–a well-known eyeglass-wearing author who lives in Ireland and hails from the state with a bear (of sorts) on its flag–once asked me if I wouldn’t be more afraid of being lost in the woods without contact solution, or a case, or fresh disposable replacements.

I admit, the though has never crossed my mind. But I still think about that bear. Every time.

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Contest for Young Women Writers

Attention all young women writers (I’m looking at you, Ellen and Sabrina and Ariell) — author Stephanie Dray is hosting the Cleopatra Literary Contest for Young Women.

Click the link and go to her website for full details, but here are some highlights:

* Deadline is March 1st.

* There are two categories for women ages 13-18 and 19-22.

* You do not need to be a US Resident to win.

* Entries must be based on a theme (see site for details) and are limited to 2000 words.

* Short stories, essays, poems, and excerpts from novels and novellas are welcome.

* Prizes are $100 cash or an e-reader, along with mentorship and a feature on Stephanie’s website.

Intrigued? I know you are. You can write 2000 words…EASY. You ALL can do this. There is no entry fee. I’ll be seriously disappointed if you don’t even try! Come on, girls. Kick some butt. Tell them the Princess sent you.

Click here for details: Cleopatra Literary Contest for Young Women

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I Am Not a Brand

…I am a Princess.

Seriously, though…author Maureen Johnson has a lovely little manifesto on her blog regarding The Thing that is Social Networking. You should definitely click over and check out the story on how she came to create this manifesto, and the woman who undoubtedly clubs baby seals. I certainly wanted to club her. I’ve been on panels with people like this. So have you. Don’t be this person. And don’t put “Author” in your Facebook name. (Seriously. Cut that crap out.)

I won’t steal her manifesto by copying and pasting it here either — you’ll have to go to her site and see it for yourself. Just know that I agree with 99% of it. The only change I would make is to take out “Post more cat pictures” and insert “Don’t be a jerk.”

As a compromise, I have posted here a cat who is famous for being a jerk. You’re welcome. Y’all have a nice Sunday, now.

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Princess Alethea’s Magical Elixir

New reviews are up at Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactc Medicine Show!

Title: The Winds of Khalakovo
Author: Bradley P. Beaulieu
EAN: 978-1-59780-218-5

If your reading habits are anything like mine, difficult pronunciation in a book can be a real turn off. If I scan down a book’s jacket and find that the main characters’ names are long strings of apostrophes and consonants, nine times out of ten I’ll put it right back on the shelf and move on. This is not the case for all books, of course — I shudder to think who would I be right now if I had never picked up Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain, but discussion over the pronunciation of “Eilonwy” often kept my best friend and me awake into the wee hours.

From the very front cover (the author’s last name is pronounced “bowl-yer”), The Winds of Khalakovo can appear daunting — so I will tell you right away that this is an excellent, epic, Russian-based fantasy about airships and elemental spirits… (Read more)


Also, for a unique spin this month, I talked a little bit about the dangers of being a book reviewer, and did several mini reviews!
Hexbound by Chloe Neill
Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
Starbound by Joe Haldeman
Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles by Michael Moorcock
Night School by Mari Mancusi
Ghost Town by Rachel Caine

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5-Minute Muse

I’m always curious about what/who creative people use as their Muse. There are many definitions out there — most of them lofty and romantic. My definition is a bit simpler: whoever or whatever motivates your lazy butt to create whatever it’s meant to create.

Yesterday at the gym, Misty asked me how it is I get up every day and make myself stay on that elliptical machine for an hour. I actually have a really good — and very true — answer to this question.

Iris Johansen wrote a book — I think it was The Ugly Duckling — where a woman’s family is killed, and she only survives by the skin of her teeth. She has to have facial reconstructive surgery so she looks nothing like she used to, and she is determined to ramp up her physical therapy so that she can take revenge on the people who killed her child. The therapy is exceptionally painful, but she keeps telling herself: “Five more minutes. Just five more minutes.”

I do that sometimes at the gym — especially when I’ve been on hiatus for one reason or another and I’m just starting back. Right around 30 minutes I start to feel horrible and I tell myself: “Just five more minutes.” A few times, it has only been five more minutes. Most days, though, I can push myself to do the full hour (plus a 5-minute cooldown).

I always hate that I get up in the morning too late to join Catie Murphy in Twitter with her #Wordwars, but perhaps I can rustle up a few of my freelance friends and do some “sprints” throughout the day to get me started. All I need to do is get started, really. After that, it’s just five more minutes.

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Princess Alethea’s Fairy Tale Theatre: Episode 3

Episode 3: “Sweet Porridge” (1:34)

The moral of this story is that you should always read the instructions first. Especially when dealing with an Enchanted Object.

Hope you’re hungry!

Check out Princess Alethea’s YouTube Rant about this fairy tale HERE.

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