Sunday, December 23, 2012

Me and Christmas




The Glitz


One of the gallery rooms
My mother-in-law's fabulous tree
It is no secret that Christmas is NOT my favorite holiday. All the things about it that stink like the scramble for gifts, the crowds, the shipping and the worry all add up to a time of year that I sort of loathe. People use to tell me that once I had kids, it would all change and the wonder of the season would return. Hmmmmmmm. But that didn't happen. So I have sort of been wallowing in the holidays and then yesterday everything changed.

My family started a brand new tradition and we went to Irish Acres, Gallery of Antiques and had lunch at their restaurant there, The Glitz. It is in Nonesuch, Kentucky and the drive to get there was lovely with miles of handmade low rock walls. My hubby and I had been once before when we were engaged so 18 years ago was the last time I was there.
The thing is, it's not, on the surface, my kind of place. Three stories of antiques with rooms that look like, (well you can see them), so you get the idea. I don't like clutter, I don't like frou-frou things but while there is a lot of that there, that's not the important part. Everyone is so nice and walking through three stories of antiques and decorations with my kids was a lot of fun. Of course my kids, being mine, started thinking up horror stories that could occur in the gallery when they close it. Dolls coming to life, going after the poor security guard, etc. It was funny. The best part though was just being with them. Also, I have been very blessed to have a mother-in-law who thinks her grandchildren are hysterical and even though she herself decorates like a pro, (as is evident), she thinks my many eclectic ornaments on the miss-mash tree are beautiful too. So really, it wasn't lunch or buying more Christmas ornaments yesterday, but instead realizing that after all the hoopla, it's the little things that make the holiday. 
My mess.
More mess
Mamaw's house.
I hope everyone has an awesome holiday and I appreciate you all for being part of my life. :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

News

So I have exciting news that has nothing to do with me. On the 22nd one of my favorite books, Dex in Blue, will be free on ARE. If you haven't picked it up, you should, it's fantastic. And it's free so that's crazy awesome.

Another very huge deal is that Amy Lane's new Steampunk novel, Under the Rushes, will be out tomorrow. You know I have to say that one of the most amazing perks about having friends who are writers is the whole beta reading gig. To have your opinion be trusted is a wonderful thing. The drawback is that you read in serial form. So you get a chapter and then you wait and it's like being on pins and needles. "Will I get another chapter today?" For me, that experience is magnified even more when you're not reading a contemporary. Beta reading a paranormal is amazing because you're transported to another world. You're not familiar with things, even in a shifter story, because the set-up is different, things could go in any direction. What you expect, is never how it goes. I love that! The next step up from that is a fantasy or, as I came to learn, Steampunk.

May I say that I have read one other in my life? The Inventor's Companion by Ariel Tachna. That's it. That is the beginning and end of my "steampunk" knowledge. So when Amy first said she was writing one I was like...yeah...yeah...
Amy: Don't sound so excited.
Mary: No. (I texted her) Yeah! (And I added all the squeeing smileys)
Amy: It's going to be awesome, a guy fighting for what's right, a guy like Batman except steampunk.
Mary: (What is she talking about?) Super!
Amy: You'll see.
But really, Steampunk? *whimper*
And then, as usual, I started reading it...
By the end of the first chapter I was completely sucked in and by the end of the second I was sending her daily reminder messages:
Mary: Hey. Hi. How are you?
Amy: Well the kids...
Mary: Yeah, yeah, that's great. You got anything for me?
I was a book junkie looking for a word fix. And then it got to be, "I know I got 3k, can I get like a thousand more before you go to bed? How about just 500 words. Certainly you can write 500 more words. Don't be a weenie."
So I can say this about Under the Rushes, if you like to be transported to a different world, if the idea of the underdog...wait, Amy said it best herself here: 
 Rushes is set in a steampunk world-- think Victorian era with fantastical machinery and a little bit of unexplained magic thrown in. There are cravats and coat tails and giant jumping conveyances shaped like crickets and trains that are shaped like millipedes. There is a friend who is insane and terrifying and brutally masochistic (and sadistic about making our hero join in) and streetwalkers with hearts of gold (and sweet little flower mouths, for the fun stuff!) and in the midst of it all is our hero. Dorjan. Who had everything he loved--his achievement, his father, the steadiness of a lifelong friend--stripped away from him in an instant, and, ten years later, is still fighting for justice on the streets of a corrupt city. I love Dorjan. He is tortured, determined, and still, after all of that, kind. His best friend and tormenter, Areau is twisted and cruel, but also brilliant and charismatic and necessary. His lover, Taern, is young, persistent, and cocky to the point of madness. The three of them dance around each other, they tumble, they wound, they scathe, and then they minister balm and kindness.

Yep, that's it in a nutshell and because I want to read the whole thing together, and of course have the paperback to keep, my copy was pre-ordered.  Really, don't miss it. You won't be disappointed.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Winter

I love Winter. I missed it so much when I was on the rock for 8 years and now that I'm back, I'm so thankful.

Something about being inside on a cold day, or on a rainy day, warm, safe, curled up with tea that makes you count your blessings. Summer seems like such a flimsy excuse for a season but winter is more sturdy and dependable. I like autumn too, when the air is crisp and there are smells of wood burning and rain on cement but really, winter brings out my inner child and makes me just want to go around hugging everybody. So as for my blessings they include my children, my husband, my family, my wonderful friends, amazing fans, a warm cozy home and my laptop that seems to have (knock on wood) stopped freezing. I got a a desktop they last time it died that I'm just not ready to transfer over to using. But so there we are, thank you everyone for being with me on my writing journey.