Tangled Yarns

Tangled Yarns

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


My mom says I'm solar powered. And on days like today, I'd say she's right.

I struggle in the darker months, when the shadows loom earlier and earlier, playing on old fears and foolish anxieties. I can manage pretty well all the way through mid-January. The holidays bring a distraction, with Halloween's silliness, Thanksgiving's bounty, and the glitter and gaiety of Christmas and New Year's. Then the is a whirl of birthdays in my life that keep the good feelings going for a few more weeks. But the end of January and beginning of February....that's when I've had it. Even though the days are slowly gathering more light, it happens too slowly in those few weeks. I've had enough of the stagnant darkness. The monochrome look of the world is no longer being offset by joyous colors and music, and Valentine's Day is only a special day because the kids need to take treats to school. I don't hate it, I just don't see the need to feed Hallmark any extra money.

But February 15th...that's a special day. It means we are officially half way through the month. March is coming! And March equals spring. I can endure any snow storm, or cloudy day, because I know the grey grungy snow will slowly sneak away. I went for a walk yesterday, and saw the sneak preview of that.

The sky was no longer the icy blue of winter, but something sweeter. Sunbeams were no longer bleakly blinding, but had the power to bath me in warmth. Patches of meek yellow-green grass peeked through the dwindling mountains of snow. Even the trees seemed to dare show some color. The bark is no longer the wet mat black that so thirstily drinks up the meager offerings of a tired sun. I see hints of green lichen, and some greyish brown peering from the branches. The world is gaining courage and letting it's spirit show again!

I stopped in a few places, just to take in this long awaited change. Closed my eyes, and enjoyed a deep breath that didn't sear my lungs with cold. Heard birds! Chirping, whiring, chittering, calling, gossiping birds. Hear the river of melted water flowing down the streets gutters and into the almost flooding the street drains. That trickle of dirty water rushing around minature glaciers might not seem so special, but to me it's a sign of hope. Change is coming.

When that thought hit me, I had to pause. I do love the longer days, and the gentle warmth of spring. But what inspires me even more is the sense of adventure when I walk in the spring and autumn. Watching for those changes. From here on, I will prowl through my neighborhood, content with walking the same path over and over, if only to see what has been revealed since the last time I passed by. I will revel in the retreat of white, grey and black, losing precious ground to the watery pastels and deep browns of newborn spring.

At some point, though, the oppressive heat of summer will set in, and my unceasing battle with my lawn will be as hated as the struggle to keep the driveway cleared of snow and ice. Summer and winter are fixed entities. They offer no novelties. There are parties, fun, and stunning storms to pass the time, but very little change during those months. I find myself feeling just as sluggish in July's heat as I do in January's frigid weather. By August, I'm begging for fall. I'm ready to see the garishness of hotter months fly south for the winter, leaving me with cooler days, and the steady slide from bold splashes of flowers against vivid greens to flame toned leaves against a greying sky. To again prowl through my neighborhood, to see what changes nature has painted into the landscape.

So it maybe that I need that burst of sunlight, to recharge my batteries after all these months of darkness. I certainly felt rejuvenated after that walk. But I can't help thinking about how invigorating autumn is as well. How much I love the surprises one finds in these seasons of change.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Review: Pale Demon

Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

Book Blurb:
Condemned to death for black magic and shunned, Rachel Morgan has three days to somehow get to the annual witches convention in San Francisco and clear her name. If she fails, the only way she can escape death is to live in the demonic ever after . . . for ever after.

Banned from the flight lists, Rachel teams up with elven tycoon Trent Kalamack, headed for the West Coast for her own mysterious business. But Rachel isn't the only passanger along for the ride. Can a witch, an elf, a living vampire, and a pixy in one car survive for over 2,300 miles? And that's not counting the assassin on their tail.

A fearsome demon walks the sunlight, freed after centuries of torment to slay the innocent and devour souls. But his ultimate prey is Rachel Morgan. While the powerful witch with nerves of steel will do whatever it takes to stay alive, even embracing her own demonic nature may not be enough to save her.
New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison was born and raised in the upper Midwest, but has since fled south. When not at work in the Hollows series, she spends her time tending orchids, cooking with some guy in leather, and training her new dog. Her current vices include good chocolate, and exquisite sushi. Her bestselling novels include Dead Witch Walking; The Good, The Bad, and The Undead; Every Which Way But Dead; A Fistful of Charms; For a Few Demons More; The Outlaw Demon Wails; White Witch, Black Curse; and Black Magic Sanction.

My Thoughts:
I will not put up the video of me doing a happy dance, but I had to stop often to slip into my dancin' shoes! Jenks will forever be my favorite, but that cookie sniffing shoe maker is making a play for my heart! Trent plays a HUGE role in this book, and I say it's about time. He and Rachel have a marvelous chemistry, and their interactions are always my favorites, regardless of the book. To have an entire book of the two of the squaring off against each other, even while working together. Heaven.

For those of you who have not read this series yet, and are wondering what my fan-girl silliness is all about, I have a challenge for you. Go read the books. What makes them enjoyable is not only the misadventures, the mishaps, misunderstandings and myriad of good-looking men that make Rachel's life crazy, it's Rachel herself. She is the 'everywoman' - who cannot see why her friends see her as special and love her. She looks in the mirror and sees what we all see when we look at ourselves, her own flaws and mistakes. And then she tries like mad to overcome them. Comes to grips with her limits, pushes at them, does her damnedest to what's best and beats herself up when her best doesn't quite do what she hopes, or when she fails to foresee something and things go wrong. Rachel is, in a word, human. And in her rollercoaster of self-doubt and self-discovery, these books full of wonderous fantasy take on an element of reality that balances it all.

Publisher: Eos

Release Date: February 22, 2011

This book was read as an e-book ARC from Netgalley.com

Monday, February 14, 2011

Do your characters misbehave?

I keep going back to my serial story, trying to get the story moving again. I have a few ideas of where it's going, ready to attempt getting them onto the page. And what happens.

The characters decide they want to do something else. Usually nothing productive. All my little ideas that have been floating around get shunted to the side in exchange for scenes like this:

(Rory's POV)

I love lazy Saturdays. The scent of baked apple pancakes still lingered as I immersed myself into my guilty pleasure reading. Totally stuffed, cocooned in the best blanket ever, on my favorite couch, lemon ginger tea steaming on the table next to me, James playing jazz on the piano a few rooms over. Heaven could not be so sweet.

And for that blasphemous thought? Hell gets dropped upon me, in the form of Alex.

"Hey, Ro, know what sounds like fun?"Alex fidgeted to get comfortable, grinding me into the cushions.

"Beating you senseless and leaving you for dead?"

Alex licked the side of my face in retaliation. In the attempt to push him off me, my book got ripped, the tea is all over the room, the table is trashed, I'm not sure where the blanket went, and James is in the doorway making that Spock face - you know the one. Eyebrow up, and completely nonplussed.

Pointing at each other, "I didn't start it."

*end scene*

It's a lot of that. They want to play. They make me laugh. And in the meantime, back in my story, there's this guy in the foyer - been there for weeks at this point. Anytime I point him out, try to get them to deal with him...I get the story about this time, y'know the one, where Toby set the house on fire, or Tara ballgagged Alex and made him army crawl across the living room. It's like hanging out at a family party, rehashing all the old family stories. Lots of fun and kind of pointless.


I will get them to be serious, I will. But right now Rory and Alex are redecorating James' room. They came in with a few bags of magazines and are debating if porn is worse than Justin Bieber. This is going to get ugly. I wish I could just take pictures of what they do.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Turn, Turn, Turn

Dear Mother Earth,

I love the change of seasons.

I need them.

The mud and mess of early spring morphing into the lush multi hued splendor of summer transitioning to the contrast of autumn: warm colors meets cool weather. I even need that crisp splendor of a true winter. Blinding white snow, breathtaking  cold. The kind that sends me burrowing into my cave of covers, hands shivering around a steaming mug of tea.

What I don't need  is this grey sludge. The slap of freezing wind when I open the door. The icicles no longer glitter merrily, they sparkle menacingly as I trudge beneath them to the mailbox, each one threatening to pin me to the frozen landscape.

'Tis well past the time for you to turn over a new leaf. I had my time to love the beauty of stark naked branches against an icy sky. I am well into my hatred of dreary darkness, wet socks and numb fingers.

It's time to gain a few more minutes of sunlight, to lose the ridiculous amount of layers I'm wearing to keep from getting frostbite.

Turn a little faster, please, Mother dear, it is time for another season. I need it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

To Victory

A trickle of sweat runs down my spine as I snap the last wet shirt and pin it to the loaded clothesline. My sunglasses help dull the blinding blue brilliance of the cloudless sky. Stretching my aching arms, I savor the summer scented breeze. Sun warmed grass between my toes, fresh laundry on the line…this is the perfect day. This is a picnic day. I see a pitcher of sweet tea, a basket of food and a good book in my future.
Then I see my nemesis. A black stare leaves me cold. The one that reminds me of our impending showdown. The one that requires me to wear socks and shoes. On my perfect picnic day. I glare back, defiant. I will win this battle.
And then I will enjoy the sweet scent of freshly mowed grass with my perfect picnic. It smells like victory.

The pic is mine. This is dedicated to the Decepticon that lives in my carport and makes me battle it to get the lawn mowed every week. And because I'd rather mow the lawn then shovel the driveway again.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Twinkle Toes

I want to dance through the cosmos
Swirling and leaping through the ballet of galaxies
I want to revel in the beauty of the universe
Painting with infinite hues and unending canvas
But I live in a finite existence
My feet firm on the ground

Photo by Birgitta Lindsey
I found the picture at Stories without Words and you can find more of Birgitta's work at Birgitta's Fine Art America site

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review: Foreigner by C J Cherryh

Book Blurb: It had been nearly five centuries since the starship Phoenix, lost in space and desperately searching for the nearest G5 star, has encountered the planet of the atevi. On this alien world, law was kept by the use of registered assassination, alliances were defined by individual loyalties not geographical borders, and war became inevitable once humans and one faction of atevi established a working relationship. It was a war that humans had no chance of winning on the planet so many light years from home.

Now, nearly two hundred years after that confict, humanity has traded its advanced technology for peace and an island refuge that no atevi will ever visit. The the sole human the treaty allows into atevi society is marked for an assassin's bullet. The work of an isolated lunatic? ...The interests of a particular faction? ...Or the consequences of one human's fondness for a species which has fourteen words for betrayal and not a single word for love?

My Thoughts: This is not the typical Space Drama kind of sci-fi book. It touches on sociology, politics, family dynamics, superstitions, lingual anthropology, culture clashes and psychology. Not only does it feed my inner sci-fi geek, it feeds my school geek as well!

Foreigner is the first of a series, which seem to be set up groups of three - a very fortunate number, by atevi reckoning. Atevi society is feudal, full of high intrigue, formal manners and strong traditions. The human colony, abandoned by its ship, has built up its island in the image of old Earth - right down to its love of technology for technology's sake. To keep the peace, there is one human allowed on the mainland, to interpret, to regulate the flow of tech to keep it from ravaging the balance of the atevi world. Bren Cameron is the current paidhi, or interpreter. And the planets align in just such a way that his quiet role is elevated to major player in mainland politics. He gets greater insights into the atevi than his training ever hinted at. Often at gun point, or at the least while under fire. For as cerebral as I find this book, it certainly does not lack action.

Publisher: DAW

Released: November 1994

This book is owned by the reviewer

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


“What are the rules?”

Her shoulders droop. She ticks the points off on her fingers with the barrel of the gun. “6 weeks between concussions, I can only shoot him once a month, I can’t stab him with anything bigger than a dinner fork.”
He holds his hand out for the Glock. “And?”
Her carefully blank look fools no one.
“And no kicks to the head while wearing skates.” She slaps the gun into his palm.
“He almost lost an eye last time.”
“Not my fault he didn’t pay attention during a fight.”