Tangled Yarns

Tangled Yarns

Monday, January 31, 2011

The fabric of a story.

People talk about weaving words together to make a story. And I can see that metaphor. There’s the weft and warp creating the underlying structure to any woven piece, just as in story telling. And you can make some gloriously creative images within that frame work. But I don’t weave.
I knit.
Weaving is essentially a grid. Boring straight lines going up and down. My few ventures into weaving left me with plain squares of cloth. How…basic. But knitting…well there are loops within loops. Sudden crossovers, subtle merging of rows, bursts of new colors in unexpected places. It can make something much more three dimensional.
To me, this illustrates writing more clearly. The final work is shaped as you go along, increases and decreases adjusting the parameters of the world, each line is tied in with the last as the thread twists and turns. Occasionally the yarn spits out a giant nasty knot and you will spend hours getting it unraveled so that you can move forward. You can use the same pattern again and again, but each time the finished work is something unique. Each time you attempt it, what you end up with is better formed, more polished.
So I’m not going to weave words. I will knit you a yarn. I hope you enjoy the stories.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Run With It #4

We spent the drive out to the ranch in painful silence. There really wasn’t anything to talk about. We had no idea what was the problem.
It started six years ago, when I was finishing my undergrad degree. Deciding where to go for my Masters. Dreaming grandiose and ridiculous dreams of my future. With my husband, Parker.
We had floored everyone we knew by eloping on Spring Break the year before. Not because anyone doubted we’d get hitched. Just because we’d always wanted the rockin’ reception with family and friends around us. But Las Vegas gets to you, and we were ok with the idea of celebrating once we graduated. Two reasons to party, only once expense. It worked for us.
We found a sweet little shithole of an apartment, were insanely busy, but blissfully, blindly happy. We were busting our butts for finals. The fridge was empty, so Parker went to get some basics: beer, ramen noodles, pop tarts and milk. I only remember that because they found the list on him. He always brought a list, even though he never actually followed it.
He got hit by a car. Not sure the culprit ever even knew they hit someone. They certainly didn’t stick around.  
At the wake some asshat, claiming he knew Parker, made a pass at me. Something about the best way to grieve was to get laid, and he was the man for the job. Never meek or mild, I humiliated him before he was dragged out and dealt with by our friends. I walked into the apartment a few days later to find I had an unwanted, angry guest in the mood for revenge.
Five days in a coma, four emergency surgeries, three months of relearning to walk led to two words that sum up my one goal in life. Never. Again. I will never again be unprepared to defend myself.
I don’t remember any of the attack. I cannot recall a single moment of the funeral, nor being told Parker was dead. The last thing I can remember clearly is being kissed breathless by the man I love. Whispers of encouragement for my exam and how we’ll celebrate that night at home.
Then it’s just pain. And shame and anger.
My first clear memory is a newspaper article taped to the wall, with the words ‘Parker is dead’ scrawled across the top. Toby told me I insisted that be done when I kept forgetting. I hated losing it in front of everyone, and realizing it happened over and over pissed me off. I suppose that’s better than the numbness I feel now.
Cam and Toby lived in our building at the time. Just starting their computer consulting business, they had irregular hours and didn’t travel as far. I was lucky they came home when they did. They saved me. The Asshat didn’t make it. The well deserved consequences of taking on two men who collect forms of martial arts as a hobby. They’ve never told me what happened, and I don’t ask.

Alex’s POV
Dammit. Cazzo. Porca puttana.*
I keep checking in the rearview mirror to make sure Rory is still there. I know it’s stupid, but, fuck, it’s been four years since the last time someone came after her. And the Pack still hasn’t figured out why she’s a damned target to begin with or who is after her.
She’s pale. Silent. Huddled in the middle of the back seat between Toby and Cam, eyes unfocused. Suppressing a sigh, I turn back to the road.
Six years ago, Cam called in the Pack to help with a neighbor who’d been attacked. No. Mauled. Beaten. Bitten. Some Born bastard came for her. It happens, they get bored and want a new plaything. But he didn’t have a pack mark.  Neither did any of the others that came after. It didn’t make sense.
Even knowing how strong she had to be to survive, I can’t get past how fragile she seems. I bet against her living all those years ago, not that I’d ever tell her that. Helluva a fighter, our Rory. She’ll be an Alpha some day.
I look one more time in the mirror. It’s not like she going to vanish from the car. She’s intact, not a scratch on her. There’s plenty of us to keep her safe on the ride home. Hell, we even grabbed James. If the four of us can’t keep her safe…not gonna’ finish that sentence.
A low growl from the back grabs my attention. Toby murmured an apology. I’m not the only one frustrated by the lack of answers. He and Cam have given up more than anyone else in the Pack to solve this. Being away from everyone for months…it’s self-imposed exile.
Rory looks up at me, her eyes meeting mine in the mirror. Normally a laughing greenish-gray, now they hold fear, and trust. She trusts us to get her through this. Like Cam and Toby, I know that the sacrifices are worth it. We won’t betray her trust.
Rory’s POV

Everyone’s tense, even imperturbable Toby is losing his cool. I hate how much everyone has given up to help me. I wish I could tell them why, think of some clue from my past to assist in my own defense. I cower here, amongst my dearest friends, my chosen family, helpless. I see Alex watching me. Meeting his worried gaze, I know despite it all I am safe.

*Italian for 'Fuck. Son of a bitch.' Thanks to the Great and Wonderful Maz for help with swearing like a sailor in Italian. :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review : Badlands by Seleste DeLaney

Review by Jax
Book Blurb: After a brutal Civil War, America is a land divided. As commander of her nation's border guards, Ever is a warrior sworn to protect her country and her queen. When an airship attacks and kills the monarch, Ever must infiltrate enemy territory to bring home the heir to the throne, and the dirigible Dark Hawk is her fastest way to the Union.

Captain Spencer Pierce just wants to pay off the debt he owes on the Dark Hawk and make a life for himself trading across the border. When the queen's assassination puts the shipping routes at risk, he finds himself Ever's reluctant ally.

As they fly into danger, Ever and Spencer must battle not only the enemy but also their growing attraction. She refuses to place her heart before duty, and he has always put the needs of his ship and crew above his own desires. Once the princess is rescued, perhaps they can find love in the Badlands - if death doesn't find them first...

Ok, girl power over for the moment. Sort of.

Steampunk is fun, but it's very Victorian, which means this underlying tone of male superiority that pokes at me. Which is why I love that Badlands produces women like Ever. Stubborn, smart, fierce and wild. Even their princess.

There was a fantastic contrast between Ever's forthright, independent nature and the conniving manipulations of Henrietta. Seleste has a way of really defining her characters, making them stand out. Even the ones who play small roles. It makes the world she built rich and fun to visit. In  a short time, you get to visit the wilderness of an untamed mountain, the wild west of barely settled Texas, and the civilization of the Northeast Union. And can really feel the difference of those places from the people that you meet there.

Publisher: Carina Press

Release: February 28, 2011

More info:

The reviewer got this book as a advanced reader e-book from Netgalley.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Might as Well Challenge

Might as well

The Illustrious Wiswell has an audio challenge up on his site Bathroom Monologues

I've been considering doing audio, and he pointed me in the direction of using Audacity to record. See if you can make heads or tails of it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Welcome to Hell

I know there was something I needed in the kitchen. What the fuck was it? My gaze sweeping across the empty counters and table, I yank open the drawers. Nothing lights up that light bulb in my brain. The cabinet doors bounce as I slam them shut. Hands to hips, I struggle to remember what led to this hellish scavenger hunt.
Maybe it wasn’t in the kitchen. The office! Of course. Whatever it is must be in the office. I wander through the house, desperately retracing my steps. Every doorway seems to have the power to wipe my memory clean. The chaos of the desk brings me to my senses. Eureka! How silly of me to forget something so simple. It’s in the middle drawer in the kitchen. I’ll just run and get it.
4 steps to the stairs, 7 stairs and 5 more steps to kitchen. All of 60 seconds to get there. I cross that threshold…
Damn it! I know there was something I needed in the kitchen…

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Stop Hating Your Body Challenge

On Tumblr, someone posted a Stop Hating Your Body Challenge:
New Years is coming up, I have a challenge for you.
On your own blog make a text or photo post, about what you’ve learned this year. I want you to make a body positive post.
I want you to make a promise to yourself, to move forward and think positive, to remove toxic people and things from your…
So here's my response:

Last year at this time, I was recovering from a horrible month. I had panic attacks daily, no appetite and couldn’t keep food down when I did manage to eat. I lost 20 lbs in less than a month. Pretty much in the last two weeks of December. It was a horrid way to lose the weight, even if I needed to do so for health reasons.

I’ve recovered slowly from that hell. But kept the weight off, in good ways. Eating good foods, in appropriate portions. Walking, playing with the kids, working out. I’m happy with the way my body looks now.

It’s not a model’s body. I’ve had two kids, which brought about some stretch marks and other changes. No matter how toned I get, you will not see the muscle definition in my abs. But I have curves! Didn’t have those before the kids. And that hell I went through…lost more from my waist than anywhere else, which just shows off the 38D’s that I got from having my kids. Fair trade for the stretch marks, I think. And I love my legs. They look great even when I’m not in heels. I may have thick farm girl arms, but from muscle not flab.

Even still, it was tough to look in the mirror and start to like what I saw. As a teen, my family called me Twiggy. 5’6” and barely 100 lbs all the way through college. Before you think that is an ideal to work toward, let me tell you that I barely had hips, much less breasts. I got stopped more than once to be lectured about eating disorders I never had. I was everyone’s little sister, or just one of the guys. If not for the long hair, I probably could have been taken for a boy. Being Twiggy was not great for my health either. But hitting the 178 lbs mark was not any better. Just different issues, physically and mentally.

I’m mostly healthy now. My weight fluctuates from 135 to 140. Oddly, it’s higher when I’m working out regularly rather than when I stop. Or maybe not…that whole muscle mass thing. Either way, I’ve been skeletal skinny and I’ve been uncomfortably heavy. There were hard parts to both situations. And benefits. I do miss the days when I could eat 2 foot long subs and not worry about the weight. But I’ve gotten many more compliments on my figure, even at my heaviest, then I ever did when skinny.

Now, I love my body. Not because of the size it wears, or in spite of its flaws. But because it’s me. And I deserve it. I deserve to be loved, to be taken care of. To enjoy life and food, friends and fun times. I treat myself with respect and give my body the attention it needs. (Yeah, take that in every way you want. Because, dammit, the body needs that kind of attention. Perverts. *wink* I love you.)

I hope that the lessons I learned this last year are not lost in the chaos of this one. And I hope that someone out there can learn from them too.

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Review by Jax
Book Blurb:
In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.
Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.
As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?
Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

My Review:
Do you believe in Divine Intervention? Clara Gardner does. But then she's part angel looking to fulfill her purpose. Just as soon as she figures out what it is. Visions from God should come with a manual.

At 16, how many people know what they are supposed to do with their life? Clara handles the notion of having her fate decided incredibly well.Until her heart takes her in another direction. Will she become one of the sorrow filled Black Wings? Or is it possible that destiny is not as immutable as one might believe?

I love books that leave you with deep questions, ones that make you think about the nature of life, as well entertain. This book did that. It also leaves plenty of room for sequel, which I do hope is fated to come out quickly.

Publisher: Harperteen

Release Date: January 4th, 2011

The reviewer received this book as an eARC from NetGalley.

This review was originally posted on Bea's Book Nook