Literary Tattoos

The woods are lovely dark and deep…

I love literary tattoos, I even have one. For the book lover, it is like taking a moment from a story and making it a part of you. My own tattoo is from Lord of the Rings and reads, “Not all those who wander are lost.” LOTR is one of my favorite stories, it helped introduce me to the genre, and I spend a lot of time wandering both literally and figuratively. That is why it speaks to me. I have included a bunch of photos from my Pinterest that I have found beautiful. Tell me what you think.


Link

I’ll eat you up I love you so.


Link

Climate change makes me think of The Lorax and how we have so much to protect.



(via @cinderhellaaa)

In the end, isn’t this all we have?



(via @littlemisssunshineyday)

Link

Shel meant so much to me as a child.



Link

I think of this quote often when I have much to do.


Link

I wrote this on a slip of paper and put it inside my grandfather’s casket.


Still I Rise

BY MAYA ANGELOU

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.


I think if someone described me as a hurricane I could be happy with my life.


Dune’s words never rang so true as they do now.


I have to end on a little Harry Potter love. Because why not? The word “Always” means so much to us lovers of the J.K Rowlings worlds.

Stepping Outside of Ourselves

Through Science Fiction and Fantasy

I immerse myself in magic daily.

I sink into the unbelievable and the strange, the unkind and the just, and I live another life inside a multitude of worlds. It isn’t escapism; it is an education. Books are nothing more than ink and paper, or bytes on a hard drive. But the fantastical, whether it is science fiction or fantasy, is more than words on a paper. It is a collection of ideas that have shaped me, moved me, infuriated or inspired me, and changed me. Ideas challenge our core beliefs and allow us to experience moments outside of our sheltered selves. Fantasy and science fiction are magic.

Psychologically, fantasy starts at an early age. Children fill in their gaps in their understanding with the make-believe. They make sense of their world, probably incorrectly, but it helps them shape the floodgates of sensory input they are bombarded with. As we grow and learn that there is no boogie man under our bed, we have as adults, the luxury of stopping and asking ourselves, “what if there really was a boogie man under my bed. What would that be like?” That thought experiment is why sci-fi/fantasy is so essential for teaching readers about our greater selves. Because through the fantastical we can ask, “What would I do to battle the boogie man?”

Reading is both a very personal and a very solitude endeavor, but I can talk about which books of the sci-fi/genre affected me profoundly and taught me something. From the powerful words of Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” to Harry Potter’s ten thousand examples of strength in the face of adversary, here are a few that have shaped me and why:


Ender’s Game
(Ender’s Saga #1)
by Orson Scott Card

Not all is what it seems.

“I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one. Or at least as close as we’re going to get.”

–Colonel Graff – Ender’s Game

On the surface, Ender’s Game is about a genius child taught war games. Ender wins everything, but he doesn’t know what winning really means. Nor does he learn until too late what his victories truly are. Sometimes the games we play end up being real and have a profound impact on our lives, because alas, not all is what it seems.

Ender’s Game said “look deeper,” “understand deeper”, and try to get past the skin of things into the meat of the story or the truth of the idea. I can’t say I’ve always been successful in doing so, but I’ve always appreciated and been inspired to try.


V for Vendetta
(V for Vendetta Complete) by Alan Moore, David Lloyd (Illustrator)

Tyranny and villainy are more than people in power, it is the shackles of ideas.

“People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.”

― Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

Damn right. Tyranny is everywhere — not just the massive scale tyranny of oppressive regimes, but tyranny and villainy on a small scale. We are surrounded by it. V, the title character from V for Vendetta helped me recognize it, or at least put a story and a visual to it.


“Remember, remember, the fifth of November.”


Although age and experience temper decisions and perspective on life, the story of V for Vendetta was profound for me as it took an extreme and fantastical tale and made it feel real. Maybe I would have to be V or Evie, or some semblance of both, rising above the chains and tyranny that hold me one way or another. Maybe not. The power of this book is in the idea that one can rise above the manacles of society, or Tyranny as it is and be greater.


Old Man’s War
(Old Man’s War #1)
by John Scalzi

My age is something to be celebrated.

“Do not mourn me, friends
I fall as a shooting star
Into the next life.”

― John Scalzi, Old Man’s War

Old Man’s War challenges the ideals of age and ageism. Often in our society, youth is celebrated while aging and being aged person is seen as a failure of some kind. I am getting older and there is not a damn thing I can do about it. But something I do have, that I did not have twenty years ago, is more experience and wisdom. What if we took that wisdom and separated it from our failing bodies? What if we harnessed that knowledge, held on to it, and used it? What could we do with it for the progression of humanity as a whole?

In the end, we are so much more than our failing body parts; we are a collection of ideas and ideals. I am, at any age, worth celebrating.


Childhood’s End
by Arthur C. Clarke

The problems of a utopian society.

“Utopia was here at last: its novelty had not yet been assailed by the supreme enemy of all Utopias—boredom.”

― Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood’s End

Searching out a utopia in thought or action is impossible because it is not real. Struggle brings progress. I see this often in art, music, and literature. It is not the pain of conflict that brings development, it is the trying again and again till you succeed that does. When one is given everything, the will, and hope that pushes one forward disappears. You become bored.

I don’t often search for utopia in my daily life. However, sometimes I need to remind myself that perfection is overrated. It is the foibles and the incorrect that give life meaning and make things interesting.


World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

Societies from all over the world are different, but in general, we want the same things.

“You can’t blame anyone else, … , no one but yourself. You have to make your own choices and live every agonizing day with the consequences of those choices.” 

― Max Brooks, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

Weird that I would learn so much from a zombie book. World War Z is a collection of experiences from different cultures fighting the same thing. It reminds me of many rereads that people from Indonesia, the US, or Europe or anywhere else, although separated by culture and diversity, want to live and survive. We are not so different and I am constantly amazed by that.


Life is long, and our understanding of things as we age is sometimes slow. Books bridge the gaps between our epiphanies and let us experience things without having to live through them. Is this list the end of my appreciation, of my education? Of course not! I have lived a thousand lives through the thoughts and actions of thousands of characters, and I hope to live a thousand more lives before I die. As V would say, until the day the last inch of me has faded away and enter into the ether, I shall strive to learn. I shall endeavor to look deeper, understand deeper, try to get past the skin of things into the meat of the story or the idea and I will keep reading the magic that is science fiction and fantasy.

Happy Publication Day!

Asylum I: Some things Should Not Be Forgotten by Sian B. Claven

Sian B. Claven’s Asylum I: Some Things Should Not Be Forgotten is available now – read an excerpt from this new horror novel below and pick up your copy today!



About – Asylum I: Some things Should Not be Forgotten

Hans is a brilliant doctor, sent to an Asylum in the middle of nowhere to continue his post-world war experiments on the insane.
Karen is a bubbly nurse whose sole intention in the world is to do good and help those that cannot help themselves.
Good intentions cross into power hungry mania in this horrific tale of how all their failed experiments come back to haunt them, and how the Asylum holds its own secrets.
“Asylum makes your hair stand on end. This is creepy and dark, yet incredibly fascinating. To delve into the mind of the ‘scientist’ at this asylum is to find sheer madness roiling in those depths, as well as utter self-delusion. The very stones of this madhouse is drenched with horror … a clever and twisted MUST read!” Elaina J. Davidson.


Excerpt Teaser

Support Indie Authors – Buy a copy and leave a review:

Amazon 

#ANDTHENTHEREWEREFIVE-Literary Figures to be Stranded on a Desert Island With

Someone asked me, if I were stranded on a desert island what book would I bring… ‘How to Build a Boat.’

How fun is this? Rachel Read It posted a #andthentherewerefive post about her five literary figures to be stranded on a desert island with and that got me thinking about my own five. How do we approach this? Do we go with fun people or useful people? I have very few essential island skills so I would have to make up for that somehow.

  1. William – Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss.

I need a coconut, dung from a cow, a blanket, and a week to make our skyscraper treehouse.

William on his treehouse making abilities

I mean, duh. He can build anything including an incredible treehouse with a rope elevator. I want my own treehouse. Why don’t I have a treehouse already?!


2. Ripley from Aliens

“Get away from my palm tree. YOU BITCH!”

Ripley on a desert island

There is actually a book that the Aliens movie is based on or vice versa. I am not sure. But, I have read it. Ripley is an amazing character. She would have us eating coconuts and protected from the scary aliens that also live on the island.


3. Harry Dresden – The Dresden Files

“I lunged, low and quick, and drove about a foot of cold steel into his palm tree. Hey, I don’t care what kind of coconut or mortal or hideous creature you are. If you’ve got a palm tree, and loose coconuts, that’s the kind of sight that makes you reconsider the possible genitalia-related ramifications or coconuts of your actions real damned quick.” 

Harry Dresden talking about genitalia smashing and coconuts, apparently

Harry is a magician and can get us off of that island in no time. Plus I would love to witness the snark between Harry and Ripley.


4. Rachel Morgan – The Hollows Series by Kim Harrison

I am a person who appreciates the magic and a good bit of snark. I need snark on my desert island. Two different kinds of magicians throwing around all the magic. Sounds like a fun time to me.

“Shouts of dismay rose as the white flesh splattered against the table. It was only a coconut, but one would think I was pulping a decaying heart by the noise the big, strong FIB officers were making.” 

Rachel declaring that it is only a coconut

5. Algaliarept “Al” from The Hallows by Kim Harrison

Gary Oldman is actually Algaliarept. True story.

“I only snatched the coconut to get your attention,” I said. “Now that I’ve got it, this is what I want.”
“Damn my dame!” Al shouted, hands raised to the ceiling. “I knew it! Not another coconut!”

Al does not like coconuts

I guess I am on a snark kick. He is snarky and powerful and can pretty much do anything. The only caveat is that he can only come out at night. Also, he is a lunatic. A powerful lunatic, but a lunatic. I see him screwing with William a whole lot.

Happy Publication Day! – Archangel (Shadows Advent, #1) by D. William Landsborough

D. William Landsborough’s Archangel: The first novel in the upcoming Shadows Advent Series, releasing February 12, 2019! See the synopsis below and order your copy today! let’s support Indie Authors!

Win a copy of Archangel.


“Uriel brandished one of his daggers, its silver steel somehow managing to glint off the tiniest light in this new, dark world.”

Archangel – D. William Landsborough

Synopsis

Angels are on the brink of extinction.

Demons rule over mankind.

It has been a decade since Earth descended into ruin. Smothered in black clouds lies a land plagued with nightmares and pain, the aftermath of the war between Heaven and Hell. The Archangel Uriel has finally been given leave to descend to Earth. He alone can renew the fight against the darkness and reignite the war both sides thought was over.

With a mission that seems impossible and a reluctant half-demon helping him, Uriel must go against everything he ever believed in if he wants to bring light back to the world. But the archangel soon finds that this new world is far worse than he ever imagined, and the vicious fangs of demons are the last thing he should fear.

Archangel is the debut novel from D. William Landsborough and the first in the Shadow’s Advent series. 


I give Archangel 5/5 stars. It is well worth the read. I recommend Shadows Advent to everyone who likes to read fantasy (any subgenre)/lovecraftian/sci-fi. You won’t regret the time invested in the story. The cover is also well done. I absolutely love the image used for Archangel. I look forward to reading more of D. William’s works. 

Author Jacob Rundle – Review found here.

Order your copy now!

Amazon 
Kobo 
B&N
Add it to your Goodreads Shelves


About The Author

D. William Landsborough (known to many as just Doug) is a writer of dark and urban fantasy, with a sprinkling of whatever else crosses his mind at the time. His debut novel, Archangel, is the first in the Shadow’s Advent series, and he has a non-fiction book on the way, too, in addition to his Nightshade series. Doug grew up on fantasy; he read about Drizzt Do’Urden from an early age, devoured the Chronicles of Amber, and consider Sam and Dean Winchester role models…to a certain extent. He loves being a Dungeon Master for Dungeons & Dragons, watches too many horror movies, and likes to fit in his freelance editing career when he can. He is an active member of the Twitter author community and hosts #WhoNeedsAHero every Friday so everyone can show their villains some love. dlandsborough.com

When the Word “City” Means So Much More

The City In the Middle of the Night – Charlie Jane Anders

“I close my eyes and imagine that when I open them again I will have outgrown all of my feelings. Sometimes I clasp my eyelids until I almost see sparks”

Excerpt from The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

About

From the publisher, “If you control our sleep, then you can own our dreams… And from there, it’s easy to control our entire lives.” 

Set on a planet that has fully definitive, never-changing zones of day and night, with ensuing extreme climates of endless, frigid darkness and blinding, relentless light, humankind has somehow continued apace — through the perils outside the built cities are rife with danger as much as the streets below.

But in a world where time means only what the ruling government proclaims, and the levels of light available are artificially imposed to great consequence, lost souls and disappeared bodies are shadow-bound and savage, and as common as grains of sand. And one such pariah, sacrificed to the night, but borne up by time and a mysterious bond with an enigmatic beast, will rise to take on the entire planet–before it can crumble beneath the weight of human existence”


Stats

“Bianca is the most unusual person I have ever met.”

Excerpt from The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Hardcover 
  • 368 pages
  • Expected publication: February 12th, 2019 by Tor Books
  • ISBN0765379961 (ISBN13: 9780765379962)
  • Edition Language English

“The video cuts out. I’m left staring at empty space, feeling sorrow for a woman who died a long time ago, one way or another.”

Excerpt from The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

My Thoughts

The land bakes, or freezes depending on where you are. Human ingenuity and creativity have completely stagnated. Once cutting edge technologies ten generations ago, have now begun to fail. Cities that are separated by almost pathless land have become mythical and divided on the governance of their citizens. While political and societal upheaval shakes the foundations of the city, Xiosphanti, people begin to rage at their cog-like existence in the dying machine of their city while ecological disaster looms in the distance.

Sophie, a student from a more impoverished background, plods day to day at her wealthy school. She is attracted to Bianca, her roommate, who comes from the upper class and is in a different social stratosphere than her. This attraction shared between the two of them emboldens Sophia to take the fall for some of Bianca’s more questionable choices and this starts Sophie’s path as either a savior or her undoing.

The name Charlie Jane Anders is synonymous with excellent writing and incredible world building. Her previous works: All The Birds in the Sky, Six Months Three Days, Rick Manning Goes for Broke as well as few others have garnered her a Nebula Award for Best Novel, a Hugo award for Best Novelette as well as a smattering of others. Anders has significant science fiction writing cred. With all that being said I had gigantic hopes and excitement for this book, and sadly it fell flat for me.

There is a whole lot of good in this book. Anders is a master world builder and she created a unique world system complete with politics, races, gender identity, sociology, and a rich colonial history. She also interwove prominent environmental concerns and adaption into her world system. Ander’s has a unique approach that I appreciate as a reader. Instead of just saying, “it was blindingly hot.” She talks about environmental and architectural adaptation to a world with no definitive circadian rhythm and how that can play mary hell with humans ability to mentally rest and physically sleep.

The world bisects into light and dark. The light side is scorching and blinding while the dark side never sees the light. It has a complete lack of warmth. It reminds me a bit of that scene from “The Chronicles of Riddick” where they are trying to escape the underground prison, and as the sun starts moving across the landscape, the ground explodes from the heat. This is pretty cool when you describe an entire society based around the presence of too much or too little warmth. The impending doom of the cities due to much imperialism. To much rigid control. The reader knows that the end is coming, but not how.

Each character has a definitive voice. I never once got confused about who was talking or how they were feeling about a situation. I loved peeking into the minds of the main characters: Sophia, Bianca, and Mouth. Each viewed the world very differently and how, by the end of the book, each character has changed in their way is bittersweet. Sophia comes into her own while other characters show their true colors.

The relationships and interactions between the main characters were hard to read but ultimately became a source of strength for the writing. Bianca is a classic character of privilege. She floats through life and dabbles in politics or other things that tickle her proverbial fancy while not reaping the consequences of her actions. At the same time, Bianca abuses by Sophie. Sophie gives her a chance after chance while Bianca ultimately does not deserve her. In the end, Sophie finally sees the true Bianca and how she will never develop emotionally, nor will she see past herself or her wants and desires for something greater.

I am giving this book a lower rating because of pacing. This story is slow. So much so that I almost DNF. I kept waiting for the story to pick up and get going, and it did at about page 250 or so. But during the first 250 pages, I was waiting on any inertia to start the characters moving towards their outcomes. Ultimately the ending saved the story and tied everything together. This is an impressive character study and example of worldbuilding however the pace of the story made it very difficult to read for me.


Procurement

An ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an open and honest review. Quotes are taken from an uncorrected ARC and may change upon publication.


“I let out a tiny gasp, which sounds monstrously loud to me after so long kept silent.”

Excerpt from The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

About the Author – Charlie Jane Anders

I’m the author of All the Birds in the Sky, and the forthcoming The City in the Middle of the Night. Plus a short story collection called Six Months, Three Days, Five Others, and a novella called Rock Manning Goes For Broke.

I’m probably the only person to have become a fictional character in a Star Trek novel and in one of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City books.

I used to write for a site called io9.com, and now I write for various places here and there. 

I won the Emperor Norton Award, for “extraordinary invention and creativity unhindered by the constraints of paltry reason.” I’ve also won a Hugo Award, a Nebula Award, a William H. Crawford Award, a Theodore Sturgeon Award, a Locus Award, and a Lambda Literary Award.

Plus much more.

#Bookcook American God’s American Pie

About the Book – American Gods by Neil Gaimon

You can find my review here

Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.

Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.

Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, American Gods takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You’ll be surprised by what – and who – it finds there…


Ahh, the quintessential American dessert. What better way to celebrate the war between the old gods and the new than with a slice of apple goodness.

I hear even Thor likes a slice in Valhalla or Biloxi. Wherever he is at this moment.

Here is a great recipe for an apple pie I have made a few times. Don’t drop it on your metal breastplate, apple goo never comes out of the ringlets.


APPLE TART WITH ALMOND PASTE FILLING RECIPE

“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.”

American Gods – Neil Gaimon
Apple Tart with Almond Paste Filling | wildwildwhisk.com

Apple Tart with Almond Paste Filling

  • Prep Time 25 mins
  • Cook Time 50 mins
  • Total Time 1 hr 15 mins 

This Apple Tart has a hidden layer of delicious homemade almond paste underneath the apples. It is a wonderful dessert for Fall and will for sure be a hit at any of your holiday dinner parties. Course: Dessert Servings: 8 – 10 Author: Wild Wild Whisk

Ingredients For crust:

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 oz unsalted butter 1 stick
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon cold water

For almond paste:

  • 1 cup almond meal/flour
  • 1/2 cup powder sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For apple topping:

  • 2 large honey crisp apples or 4 small ones
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter – melted

Instructions

  1. For almond paste, add almond meal, sugar, egg white, almond extract and salt to a bowl, mix well until combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Almond paste can be prepared well in advance and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
  2. For the crust, place flour, sugar and salt in the food processor fitted with the dough blade and pulse a few times to mix.
  3. Cube the butter and add to the flour mixture. Make sure butter is cold. Pulse several times until butter is about pea size and mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Add cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough starts to pull together. Be mindful not to overmix, you still want chunks of butter in the dough to create a flaky crust.
  5. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured board and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic and rest in the refrigerator for an hour.
  6. Roll dough out into a circle about 1/4” thick and large enough to fit your tart pan. Transfer the dough to your tart pan and lightly press into the bottom and sides. Let the extra dough hang off the edge, then take your rolling pin and press along the edge of the pan to take off the extra dough.
  7. Cover the dough in plastic and place in the freezer.
  8. Move your oven rack to the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400°F.
  9. Peel and cut apples into 1/8” thick slices.
  10. When the oven is ready, take the crust out of the freezer. Take the almond paste, lightly spread and press it to the bottom of the crust so it covers the entire surface.
  11. Arrange the apple slices on top of the almond paste. Brush the melted butter all over the apples. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle on top.
  12. Bake for 50 minutes.
  13. Let cool on a wire rack before serving.