The Girl Who Called the Stars by Heather Hildenbrand
Coming July 18th, 2018
Be very afraid of the Shadows.
I know what I’m not. Human.
I can’t remember my life before Earth, but I’ve grown up hearing the stories of a planet ravaged by war and a people in need of a leader who will bring them out of the darkness. I’m supposed to be their light.
My future terrifies me.
But I’m done waiting to have a real life. If I ever want a chance to live free of the Shadows, I’ll need to fight for it because freedom is never free. No matter what galaxy you call home.
The Sweetest Oblivion by Danielle Lori
Coming June 20th, 2018
She’s a romantic at heart, living in the most unromantic of worlds . . .
Nicknamed Sweet Abelli for her docile nature, Elena smiles on cue and has a charming response for everything. She’s the favored daughter, the perfect mafia principessa. . . or was.
Now, all she can see in the mirror’s reflection is blood staining her hands like crimson paint.
They say first impressions are everything . . .
In the murky waters of New York’s underworld, Elena’s sister is arranged to marry Nicolas Russo. A Made Man, a boss, a cheat—even measured against mafia standards. His reputation stretches far and wide and is darker than his black suits and ties. After his and Elena’s first encounter ends with an accidental glare on her part, she realizes he’s just as rude as he is handsome.
She doesn’t like the man or anything he stands for, though that doesn’t stop her heart from pattering like rain against glass when he’s near, nor the shiver that ghosts down her spine at the sound of his voice.
And he’s always near. Telling her what to do. Making her feel hotter than any future brother-in-law should. Elena may be the Sweet Abelli on the outside, but she’s beginning to learn she has a taste for the darkness, for rough hands, cigarettes, and whiskey-colored eyes. Having already escaped one scandal, however, she can hardly afford to be swept up in another.
Besides, even if he were hers, everyone knows you don’t fall in love with a Made Man . . . right?
If you want to learn more about the author, check out this INTERVIEW!!!
The other day I was walking through the neighborhood with my sister when we heard a child crying in one of the houses. I could tell my sister was distressed over the wails we were hearing, and she admitted that when she hears a child crying all she wants to do is go and comfort them. She appeared to have to physically tear herself away from that house to keep moving on by. Honestly, it’s not surprising considering she’s spent her whole life taking care of children. She babysat, worked in daycares, got her degree in Early Childhood Education and went on to be an amazing teacher, and is now an even more incredible mom. She loves kids, she wants to take care of them all, and that sort of maternal instinct has always been in her long before she was a mother.
Now, when I heard that child crying I found myself actually walking faster. All I wanted to do was get as far away as possible. Even a happy child isn’t exactly pleasant for me to be around. My nephew is the sweetest most loving little boy in the world, and my patience wears thin after about an hour. I can’t help but recall the number of times people kept insisting that one day I’ll want kids of my own, that when I have a child it’ll be different, that somehow I should magically be able to care for a baby at that point. Basically, I’m a woman and I should want kids and that there should be some innate maternal instinct in me. But I don’t think that’s the case at all.
I’m currently going through a divorce, and oddly enough one of the ways people have sought to comfort me is to point out that I still have several good child bearing years ahead of me. Yet, the one thing I have actually been relieved about in having this divorce is that I no longer have to have a baby. We had been trying because he really wanted kids. I went into the marriage knowing that, and had believed that what everyone said was true, that eventually I’d want babies of my own. The years went by and it never became an urge for me. We only started trying because my doctor screwed up and didn’t put in a prescription for birth control. We figured that perhaps now was the time to try then, and he seemed quite excited over the idea. At times it kind of felt like I did, but truthfully I just wanted to make him happy. Every month I didn’t get pregnant was a relief for me.
I’ve been around babies. I don’t want to hold them, I definitely don’t want to change a diaper, and I don’t want to be the one person they have to rely on most in the world. Because being a mother is an extremely important job, and no one should become one just because that’s what they’re expected to do. I’m glad that I realized this before I actually did have a child. If I do get married again I’m going to make sure him and I are on the same page; that neither of us want children. Because if you do want kids, then you shouldn’t be denied that joy anymore than someone should have the burden of feeling obligated to have them either.
A woman not wanting to have a baby should be something that is more widely accepted. Whenever I’ve told people I don’t want kids many act like I’m just being ridiculous, and that I’ll regret not having a child. However, my sister upon hearing such actually laughed and told me how happy she was that I’d finally decided to forgo babies. She knows me, and, as she pointed out, as much as I love her son I’m not one to want to spend a lot of time with him. I’m not even willing to babysit unless it’s just her making a quick run to the store. It’s those that don’t know me, those that think women are just meant to have kids, those are the ones that are so concern over my own personal choice. If you want children then have them, but those that don’t should be allowed to enjoy their life the way they choose.
Having a child should never be an obligation. It shouldn’t be something you do just because you’re a woman, and women have babies. Have a child because you want to take care of them and love them and because they matter to you. I can see how happy my sister is with her son, and how she’s happy to adjust her life to take care of him any way she can. It brings her joy. For me, though, it would’ve ultimately made me unhappy, and I don’t believe I could be a good mother in that case. Knowing such, it would be insanity for me to choose to have a child just because someone thinks there’s some hidden maternal instinct in me. There isn’t. And that’s okay, because there doesn’t need to be for me to have a full and happy life.
Midsummer’s Bottom by Darren Dash
Coming June 21st, 2018
…the fey folk!
All of the fairies named in the play are obliged to attend every performance, due to a deal that they struck back in the day with a mischievous Master Shakespeare. In an attempt to disband the irksome Midsummer Players on the eve of their twentieth anniversary, Oberon and Puck hire a human agent of chaos to infiltrate the actors’ ranks and set them against one another by focusing on secret attractions and grudges that have been lying dormant up to now. Sparks will fly, and everyone will come to blows, but it’s all executed with a wink and a grin, and there will be more smiles than tears by the end. At least, that’s the plan…
Inspired by the Bard’s immortal play (which it also weaves into its plot), this light-hearted Comedy is a novel in the spirit of the movies Smiles Of A Summer Night and A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, and the musical A Little Night Music. For lovers of Shakespeare, chaos and fairies everywhere.
Darren Dash is better known as Darren Shan, under which name he has sold over 25 million books worldwide, mainly in the YA market. Darren was born in London, but has spent most of his life in Limerick in Ireland, close to the forest where Midsummer’s Bottom is set, though he has not seen any fairies there… yet! Darren studied Sociology and English at Roehampton University in London, then worked for a cable television company in Limerick for a couple of years, before setting up as a full-time writer at the age of 23, and has never looked back.
*If you’d like to know more about the author, check out his INTERVIEW!!!
This is a shelfy drawer thing that I got when I was 15. It was basic unpainted unstained wood, that I think might have cost like$10. I recall it being for holding CDs, not sure, and I never used it for that. It’s always been a random junk drawer, but useful.
When I got it, as you can see, I covered the sides with clippings from TidBits newspapers, and painted the rest in my cool designs. If you’re wondering about the bottom, I’d originally planned to do it all in blue and green, but it just didn’t work out, and that’s when I went with the black and white with newspaper print. However when it was all done I then realized that I forgot to paint over the bottom piece, I rather liked it and left it that way.
But I never sealed the sides to protect the paper, and after years of moving from state to state, and house to house, and now with a cat who thought it was a scratching post, it’s been rather damaged. Figured as my tastes have changed, though honestly really not that much, I thought I should redo it. Realized later that it’s been almost 15 years since I first decorated it, considering I’ll soon be 30 😦 . Who knows, maybe when I’m 45 I’ll update it again.
I peeled off the news paper as best I could with a letter opener and pocket knife. I’m super high tech. Then I sanded it down to loosen up any more that I could, and ultimately to smooth it out to be painted. There was also wholes where the screws on the sides were screwed into it, and so I patched them up with wood filler and sanded some more. I then added a layer of gesso so that hopefully the paint wouldn’t look all lumpy. Surprise surprise, gesso on paper caused everything to get all wonky, but it did make it where I could pull off nearly all the rest of the newspaper, which I then sanded some more, and then added a new layer of gesso to the sand and layer some more. Until it seemed smooth enough, consider the Elmer’s glue that just wouldn’t come up. During this whole process I vacuumed a lot trying to keep the dust and paper particles from sticking to it.
The top I sanded and gessoed as well. The top had some deep groves on it, and so I used a flat plastic spreader. I had one that was the width of the top so as to try to get in evenly as possible. It didn’t end up perfectly smooth, but it did help when I did get to painting it.
Here’s my cool little work area in the living room in front of the TV. It’s where I do my best work. I Used high gloss black paint that I’m not sure why I have. It is the paint I used on the fireplace, but that was an accident considering the first time I painted it it was flat black, and I accidentally grabbed the gloss and didn’t notice till it was almost done, and still have no idea where that can came from. But since I have it I used that, so now it’s shiny.
I went to Hobby Lobby and went through their awesome furniture knobby section to get a collection of random ones. As the title states, this piece is rickety. Nothing sits quite right, and unless I spent top dollar (which isn’t worth it) it’s never going to look like a pristine piece of furniture. I just want it to look cool, so I figured I’d go with the rickety bit and have it look like a piece that’s been fixed and parts replaced several times, so that means random knobs and worn/sanded drawers.
Actually the drawers were an accident. As you saw in the original, there were some specific designs, and while I sanded them and they felt smooth, when I painted them it was very clear to see what used to be there. So make sure to sand, wipe with a damp cloth, and sand again a few times to actually get it smooth. Well, I was fixing that and it made it look rather cool and I liked it. One of them was just rough and needed another sanding, and the 4th was just to go with the style I’d decided to go with. I had planned on doing papered sides again, but I didn’t really have anything that’d look right. Then I considered painting quotes on the sides, but I hate painting words, and knowing how hard it was to repaint over the others I wrote, it really made me hesitate. After I did the drawers though, I decided that perhaps less is more. Keep it classy, and so…
“I wear the chain I forged in life….I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”
–Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Okay, this is probably pretty strange to have as your favorite Christmas quote. I’ve even written about it before, but it doesn’t matter I still love it. However, I think the thing I love most about A Christmas Carol is that it isn’t just about the magic of Christmas during December, it’s about a man who learns about the magic of giving and caring for others that he carries with him all year long. I love Christmas movies, they’re sweet good fun that makes me happy, and something special to look forward to this time of the year. For some reason I just can’t bring myself to watch them in other time no matter how awesome they are. Yet, with most of them it tends to be just about something magical that happens then, and doesn’t really focus on the things that Christmas is supposed to be about. Peace on Earth, good will toward mankind. Which isn’t something that only happens in the month of December, or at least it shouldn’t be.
My coworker came in today and was talking about how happy he was that the person in front of him in the line at McDonalds bought his meal, because he’s actually broke but you know you gotta eat. He didn’t understand why they did that, and apparently hadn’t heard about these things people do, mainly at Christmas. I explained it to him, and he still seemed a bit perplexed. Which is sad. Someone doing something nice, albeit without really knowing whether the person behind them really needs help paying for their meal or not, shouldn’t be a perplexing experience. It should always be considered nice, and something we need to show appreciation for, because we definitely should never take such for granted, but it also shouldn’t be considered so out of character for people in general.
Whether you believe in an after life or not, I think something to be considered is the weight of your actions. The chain we’re building around our neck may be far heavier than we realize, and the weight may be dragging us down to levels we never would’ve imagined us sinking to. No one starts out in life thinking so little of the people around them. So ready to pass on by terrible things they see, and pretend it’s not happening because they don’t want to get involved. We’ve become a society who is quicker to take a selfie of themselves at some terrible scene to show that we were in fact there, than we are to step up and take action to help others. I watched a video done by Burger King that showed people would go up and complain and be so upset if they got a burger that looked like someone had smashed it to pieces, but they would sit there and watch a kid be bullied and messed with and have his food taken from him. Because that wasn’t their problem right?
The Christmas spirit of giving and loving is a magic that should be carried with us all year round. We should want to do more for those around us. People constantly talk about how the world should be a better place, and they can’t understand all the terrible things that happen in it. The best way to make the world better is to start with yourself, because as you become better then all your interactions will be better, and you’ll help make the people around you better as well. It may not seem like a huge monumental change, but change rarely happens in some huge sweeping motion. Change takes time, and effort, and if we’re willing to do so then I think we would free the world of the chains that weigh it down so much.
You know what I find hilarious, is how big a hypocrite the average American is. We like to talk about how much better we are than folks in the Middle East, how we have freedoms and we don’t make our women cover up. No hijabs for our women, and definitely no burkas. And yet we’re constantly criticizing women and girls for the clothes they wear if they show even a bit of skin. If you’re wearing a short skirt and you get raped, well you shouldn’t have been wearing something so revealing. Of course no one wants to talk about the women who were wearing extremely conservative clothes and still get raped, because I’m sure there was some other reason she was asking for it.
But even before we get to the extreme of rape, there’s little things that constantly show how men in this country think it’s women’s responsibility to keep guys from being distracted by the fact there’s a woman in the room. One of the easiest places to notice this is at school. How many articles have we read where a girl was pulled from class, often missing several classes that day, because of something she was wearing. Now it’s one thing to have dress codes, most places of work have them, but the schools seem to be a bit extreme about them
I currently work in a college, I’m not allowed to wear jeans or flip flops, and that’s the end of the rules. Now I’m sure if I really pushed it to the extremes and showed up in booty shorts and a tank top they would probably make some new rules, but the average outfit I wear are the same things these girls are being punished for. One girl was wearing tights with a baggy shirt that hid all her curves and hung well below her butt. But they considered her tights too revealing, because apparently men don’t know girls have legs. Another case was a girl who got pulled for wearing jeans, a tank top, and a flowy long sleeve cardigan. The reason? They could see her clavicle. So I guess we should require girls need to wear turtlenecks year round.
We’re basically telling girls their education isn’t as important, and that men are in no way in control of themselves and if they realize you have a body under those clothes then they’re not going to be able to stop whatever they do to you. Of course they’re thing is that the girls are distracting the guys from learning. I’m sorry, but do you think that none of the girls may be distracted by the guys just because they think they’re hot? Especially high school, the kids are going to spend most of the time distracted by each other no matter what they’re wearing. What needs to be taught is regardless of what someone is wearing, you need to respect their space, and learn to turn your eyes away in order to get your work done.
But the most disturbing, isn’t when it’s high-schoolers they’re dealing with, but when it’s young girls in middle or even elementary school. For wearing cutesy little outfits, once again usually leggings under a dress or what not. What is wrong with these people to look at a little girl and say she’s too sexually provocative. And these aren’t girls dressed to look grown up, they definitely look like a little girl wearing the average little girl outfit.
We want to say we’re so much better than those other countries or religions that make women cover themselves from head to toe, and yet that’s basically what we’re asking of women now. Any time something untoward happens to a woman the first thing we blame is how they looked. It isn’t the perpetrators fault that you were too enticing for him to control himself, because apparently we’ve never taught men to keep their hands to themselves.
But far worse isn’t the men who may think this way, it’s the women who say it’s okay for men to think this way. So the question is, do you want to live in a country that is free and respects women, or do you want to go ahead and admit that you’d rather us wear a burka?
Yes, yoga was started in religions such as Buddhism, but the actual act of doing yoga isn’t really some huge announcement that you follow these religions. I was just watching a video about how a school has implemented meditation for students who are acting up, rather than give them detention. Since doing this they’ve noticed an improvement in students’ behavior and having to discipline children has dropped dramatically. But the majority of comments on there were either saying this violates the rule of separation of church and state or basically saying it’s demonic. Neither of these are true.
First off, meditation isn’t just for Buddhist, the Bible on many occasions mentions meditating on God’s word. So how about instead of jumping to conclusions on how evil the act of meditating is because someone mentions it in conjunction with yoga, you actually open your Bible and learn a bit about your own religion. Of course, upon pointing that out it sounds like I’m in fact saying it would be a violation of separating church and state. But have you ever been upset or angry and decide to go find a quiet corner where you could take a deep breath and mull over your problems and calm down and come to reasonable conclusion. To block out the rest of the world and really focus within and what you’re really going through. OMG you’ve meditated! Unless they’re asking them to pray to some god out there, then they are in no way bring church into the school.
Then beyond that, there’s doing yoga moves. I saw a comment once talking about how Buddhist believe doing yoga will do something or other to the universe. I honestly don’t know enough about Buddhism to know what they may believe on the subject and I barely remember what the guy was specifically rambling about. But I do know one thing, if you believe in God, and believe he is the only God, then how on earth could doing yoga impower someone else’s religion? Either God is the only God or your whole religion is wrong. So you really got to ask yourself how strong is your faith if this is your fear.
More so, there are only so many ways the body can move. You’ve probably done bits and pieces of yoga without even knowing it. Every done a plank? It’s in yoga. Ever been doing push-ups and went into the push-up rest position? Ooo that’s downward facing dog. And if you’ve ever seen a runner stretching that weird stretch where the stick one leg far behind the other and lean forward to stretch the back calf muscle, you’ve have witnessed warrior 1, with perhaps their arms not up in the air.
A while ago I injured my back pretty bad; I had to do 6 months of physical therapy to be able to walk without being in excruciating pain. To be able to move and do simple tasks. I went to lift up a picture frame once and I couldn’t do it because my back muscles just wouldn’t move in that way. The exercises I did to strengthen my core muscles was pretty much yoga, with maybe someone weightlifting tossed in. Yoga just blends it into a smooth move from one sort of stretch and strength training to the next. But ultimately, it’s the sort of work out plenty of people have done in various ways.
For some yoga can be a spiritual act, but for most it’s just a way to build strength and balance while calming themselves down after a stressful day. I mean sometimes I need to go beat the crap out of my punching back to work the stress out, but sometimes I need my yoga DVD with the woman’s whose voice slowly puts my husband to sleep while I try and fail to do the position she’s twisting herself into. It doesn’t in anyway alter my faith in God, because for me it’s just a workout. And anyone who can see evil in the fact that a school has found a peaceful and positive way to help children deal with their emotions and be able to function in school, I think you’re the problem not the yoga.
A few days ago someone asked me, as a veteran, what I thought about the NFL players taking a knee. My answer was that I served my country to help protect freedoms. So simply put, they have the freedom to take a knee to show support for their cause. Whether I agree with it or not isn’t relevant. Freedom is freedom, even when it comes to people doing things you don’t agree with. Besides, at least this protest isn’t like many others that led to vandalism and chaos in the street. This is peaceful, but easily viewed by many. However, my problem is that what exactly is taking a knee doing to help with the problems in the world. I saw where someone else said such a thing, and another party responded asking what wearing pink does to help breast cancer, it’s just showing support. However, this isn’t a good analogy at all. I looked it up myself, because I was wondering if the ribbons sold, or the pink stuff flaunted as support of breast cancer in anyway really gives back to any actual research in trying to cure it or to help those who are suffering from it. The answer is neither. I came across a really good article discussing such. Think Before You Pink. Don’t like that one, here’s another. Breast Cancer: The Wearing of the Pink.
The fact is it’s easy to do something like take a knee or wear pink or whatever nice little symbol you can throw out there for your support in whatever cause you’re wanting to show you care about. What’s hard is actually going out and doing something about it. It’s hard to actually come up with solutions and then attempt to put them in action. It’s hard to even simply choose to give money to organizations that are legitimate (because please make sure they are before giving money) rather than save it for something you really want to buy yourself. I mean every time a cashier asks for even a dollar to go towards the children’s hospital I hesitate. That’s my dollar. I need that dollar. But do I really? Cause I don’t mind spending that dollar on a candy bar I definitely don’t need. But just giving money itself doesn’t do much either. They need people out there, being active. So you’re taking a knee because you hate the racism in the world, you want to stop police from overreacting in situations that end up getting someone killed, in general you want the world to be a more peaceful place that accepts people of all colors and gives them all the same opportunities. That’s a good cause to want to fight for. But while taking a knee may draw attention to this, it doesn’t help it.
So take a knee in protest, but then stand up and do something to actually change the world.