Texas Renaissance Festival

Alright, here we go!  Pictures from this past weekend at Texas Renaissance Festival.  The theme for the weekend was All Hallow’s Eve, so my friend and fellow author, James William Peercy, invited me down to sell a few ghost stories.  I am so grateful to him and his beautiful wife, Claudette for taking me under their wings.  They are just the most amazing, wonderful, selfless people you could ever hope to meet and James’ books, The Wall Outside series, are just so beautiful and magical.  If you enjoy fantasy, I highly recommend you check out his work.


Although I can do things all by myself, I always prefer not to.  Besides, weekend excursions to Renaissance festivals are always so much more fun with friends.  So I took my trusty house elves, Kat and Rachel (Rat) to help me out.

Before we reached the festival, we made a quick stop at this cool, old, haunted town called Anderson.

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After we arrived at the Festival (OMG it was so muddy), we unloaded all the books from the car and then set out to explore the grounds.  Naturally, we first found ourselves in the Enchanted Forest.

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The rest of the grounds were equally beautiful.

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And the arts and crafts were absolutely breathtaking.

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Oh, and there were books too.

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I also had to get my picture taken with my Great-Great-Great-Great several times over Grandfather, Robert the Bruce.


But I think my favorite new friends that I made were Pip and Owlbus Dumbledore.

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How did you spend your Halloween?

Living in Dreams

On Saturday night, my sister and I attended one of the best concerts we will ever see.  Ed Sheeran came to Texas and we had floor tickets.  I’ve never had floor tickets before in my life, so I had no idea what to expect.

After spending more than seven hours on my feet in the stifling early September heat, I can tell you that I have mixed feelings on the whole floor crowd thing.

For one thing, like I said, it’s super hot.  Plus all the sweaty people literally surrounding you, running into you, and smelling like farm animals makes it like a million times worse.  I’m not sure if people in Texas smell like farm animals because… well… it’s TEXAS, but I swear, I smelled sheep and dogs and horses at that concert.  And pot.  There was definitely pot.

For another thing, people on the floor like to shove.  Everyone is vying for a better view.  I mean, I was too.  It’s very constrictive and if you have any sort of social anxiety or anxiety in general, I don’t recommend floor tickets.  There was also a lot of fainting due to heat and so many people.

Speaking from a perspective standpoint, however, floor tickets are AMAZING.  It was like being a part of the show itself.

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For those of you who’ve been to concerts, you’ll know that headliners often have opening acts.  Ed’s opening acts were a British guy whose name I didn’t catch but was very talented and… Christina Perri!

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Christina is a delight.  She is a great musical talent with a phenomenal voice and beautiful songs.  In between songs, she told us about her life spent singing songs and dreaming of performing and making music.  She spoke of the nay-sayers and the self-doubt and moments of feeling like she simply had nothing to write, nothing to sing about.  And yet, she fought through.

“You are living in my dream right now!” she exclaimed before diving into her hit song, Human.

Naturally, she ended her set with my absolute favorite of her songs: A Thousand Years.  And of course, as she sang and we all sang along, I couldn’t help but think of Twilight.  I know, I know, Twilight is lame, but hear me out.  When the books first came out, my sister and I read them all.  And I’ve got to be honest, I thought they were fun.  I thought they were kind of magical.  They were a great escape.

But you know, what I love about Twilight isn’t really the story or the characters.  It’s that it’s brought a lot of readers all over the world a lot of joy.  It isn’t a story that really makes you think or a great literary masterpiece by any means.  But it is a story that millions of readers all over the world love, and it inspired a beautiful, amazing, wonderful song.  I realized there, living inside Christina Perri’s dream, that that song inspired my dreams as well.  I would love to write the kind of stories that make readers happy, that connect and resonate with them.  I’ll never be a literary genius and my books are really just for fun.  They’re not very deep or profound.  They’re just fun.  I want my books to bring that same kind of joy.

Ed gave a similar performance of his song, I See Fire.  This is a song that has made me cry at least half a dozen times.  If Twilight is just a fun little escape, Middle Earth is a world that truly holds a special place in my heart.  It all began in middle school.  My friends and I were in love with the places and characters of Middle Earth.  Seeing it brought to life once again through The Hobbit movies was, in a way, like returning home.  Hearing Ed Sheeran sing his hit song live, however, with images of Smaug the Dragon flying and breathing fire in the background was nothing short of pure magic.  Music is powerful.  Books and stories are powerful.  They exist to transform and inspire.  They are proof that magic does exist.  That the human soul is something truly exquisite.  We are capable of creating these worlds and this music and… I just don’t even have words to describe how wonderful I think that is.

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I love you all.  Thank you for books.  Thank you for music.  Thank you for reading.

A Dream is A Wish

As many of you probably know, Disney’s live action Cinderella hits theaters Friday.  I am ecstatic.  I’ve already bought the soundtrack, the background on my phone is Ella and the Prince, I am already obsessed with this movie and I haven’t even seen it yet.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I love Disney, and I especially love Disney Princesses.  I always have.  I always will.  My mom had me watching all the old Disney classics before I could talk.

Case in point:


I mean, I really didn’t have a choice.  I was indoctrinated.  But I’m happy that I was.  Disney was a huge part of my childhood and it remains a source of magic, love, and inspiration in my life to this day.

I’ve heard all the arguments.  Disney gives young girls unrealistic expectations in love.  All Disney Princesses want is a man to save them.  Disney teaches girls to give up everything for guys they barely know.

Obviously, I don’t agree with these arguments.  I was raised on Disney Princesses (heck, I was raised thinking I was a Disney Princess) and I have never felt inclined to throw everything away for a man.  I never thought that my life should revolve around finding a husband.  I never wanted it to.  Instead, all those Disney Princesses I so loved and admired inspired me to dream of a life full of adventures and magic and yes, love.  But love doesn’t necessarily have to mean romantic love.

My favorite Princess was always Ariel.  I’ve made this known countless times here on this blog and on Twitter and in my everyday life.  I loved her because she was different and because she wasn’t afraid to dream.  I’ve heard the argument that she gave up everything for a man.  While that is true, it’s also true that she was dreaming of the world above long before she met Prince Eric.  She was curious, she was adventurous, and she was determined.  That’s why I continue to admire her to this day.

I could sit here and make cases for Disney Princesses all day.  Jasmine taught me to be independent.  Meg taught me that good people sometimes make bad choices.  Even Snow White taught me that chores are so much more tolerable with a little bit of music.  Although I will admit, Snow White really isn’t that smart.  In fact, she’s a downright ditz.  But oh well.

For me, Disney will always be a reminder to me to believe in magic and to believe in possibilities.  And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.  After all, if those who came before us had not dared to believe in the impossible, who knows where we would be today?  Would man have walked on the moon?  Would we have our modern medicine and scientific wonders?  I don’t know.  But I like to think that we, as a global community, will continue to believe in the impossible.

Back to Narnia

I had an in-depth conversation this weekend with a good friend of mine and fellow author, James Peercy.  He’s an author of fantasy (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7540755-james-peercy), and although I have not ventured into the realm of fantasy writing (yet), it’s one of my favorite genres.  I, of course, love Harry Potter (as expressed in previous blog posts such as https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/i-believe-in-dragons/).  I’m also a fan of Tolkien’s world and although I haven’t read the books, I’m really enjoying my journey into Westernos in Game of Thrones.  My favorite fictional land, however, to this day remains CS Lewis’ magical Narnia, Aslan’s Country.

I think there comes a time in all of our lives that we need a Narnia: a land of magic, a land of redemption, a land of beauty.  In it’s golden age, Narnia is a land untouched by greed or a thirst for power.  Its inhabitants live and coexist peacefully with love and respect for one another.  Narnia is, I believe, as close to my idea of Heaven as anything I’ll ever see on this Earth.  Except, perhaps, the Isle of Iona, but that’s another blog post.


This weekend, I decided to revisit Narnia in the form of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie.  As I was watching, not only was my love and adoration for Ben Barnes renewed, but I found myself thinking back to the conversation I’d had with James.  We’d spoken of all the things in life that cannot be explained, all the mysteries that remain unsolved, and all the wonders that have yet to be made known.  I thought, “How fortunate the Pevensie children were to discover a place like Narnia!  What I wouldn’t give!”

But then I remembered something else.  The Pevensie children didn’t really discover Narnia.  CS Lewis created it and gave it as a gift to the world so that we all might discover.  This amazing, wonderful, magical land is a product of one man’s creative mind, and in that moment, I realized how extraordinary that really is.  So many wonders of the world are God-given, it’s true, but just think of all the amazing things man has done in his short time here.  We’ve walked on the moon.  We’ve crossed oceans.  We’ve discovered the gift of flight.  The truth is there are very few, if any, things that we are not capable of.  That’s a terrifying thought, but it’s also, I think, a very profound thought. If we put even a little bit of thought into it, we could do amazing things, not only for ourselves, but for our planet and for all who inhabit it.  Instead of wasting energy fighting or obsessing over petty things that really won’t matter in the end, why not focus on the good?  On making the world a better place for future generations?

The human mind and the human spirit are incredible.  We were, after all, created in the image of God.  I think that means a whole lot more than we were created to look like Him.  We are capable of so much more than we’ve resigned ourselves to believe.  We were designed to do good, to make differences, to create worlds.  Maybe 2015 will be the year that we begin to acknowledge it.

Meeting the Authors and Discovering Witches

This last weekend was super.

It began Saturday with a book event at the Colony Public Library called Meet The Authors.  Several local authors gathered at the library to meet with readers (and each other), spread the word, and maybe sell a few books.

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While getting the sales and spreading the word about my books is always great (and very appreciated), my favorite part is always meeting and connecting with readers.  I met one girl who turned out to be an aspiring writer.  She thought it was so cool to meet people who’d actually written books and could hold them in their hands.  She even let me read the beginning of the story that she’d been working on.  I felt so cool and honored that she would trust me with that!  Definitely the best part of the experience.

I also talked with a mom and her daughter about Harry Potter for about an hour.  The girl eventually looked at me and said, “We’ve talked more about Harry Potter than your books.” That tends to happen.  I’m pretty sure I Tweet more about Harry Potter than I do Cemetery Tours.  That might not be the best marketing strategy in the world, but I’m a fangirl at heart.  I can’t help myself.

I also came home with several new books: Surviving Life by Jeanne Skartsiaris (fun fact: her half brother is Ed, Carol’s abusive husband in The Walking Dead! I’m sure he’s quite a nice fellow in real life), Moon Tears by M.M. Frische (she also writes children’s books; her first is called Miss Muffet & Bitsy and is totally adorable), Take 2 by Linda Bolton, The Empowered Woman by J. Nicole Williamson, and This Crumbling Pageant by Patricia Burroughs.

Finally, at the end of the day, one of the men who ran and coordinated the event asked me if I’d like to come back for an event around Halloween and give a presentation on ghost stories and sell some more books!  I am so excited, I can’t even tell you.  I’ve already begun planning out what I’m going to say (Hamlet, anyone?).

All in all, I’d say the Meet The Authors event was a huge success.

I spent the rest of the weekend reading A Discover of Witches, the first in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.


May I just say that I LOVED THAT BOOK.   Oh my goodness, it was magical.  I loved the characters, (especially Matthew, whom I pictured as Richard Armitage), I loved the setting, and I really loved how Harkness created such a beautiful and compelling story using so many different elements: magic, science, history, alchemy, religion, literature, romance, mythology… It was one of the most intricate and intelligent books I’ve ever read and I can’t wait to read the next two books.

My own Witch’s Familiar really enjoyed the book too…


What are you reading this week?

I Believe in Dragons

I should be taking this time to write more on the Cemetery Tours sequel (or you know… sleep), but I have words in my head and they will not let me rest until I let them out.  So here it goes.

I hung out with some of my excellent, very good friends tonight.  These friends are hilarious, often inappropriate, and have introduced me to the heartbreaking and yet enthralling television series, Game of Thrones.  I have yet to read the books, because I hear they are longer and bloodier than the Bible, but I’ll probably get around to them eventually.  That is, if the series doesn’t just completely rip my heart out and leave me dying on the floor like just about every character in this franchise.

As awesome and wonderful as my friends are though, a few of them are also incredibly realistic (yes, I am saying that like it’s a dirty word).  They’re big fans of things like science and politics, and they’re pretty vocal about the world’s problems and how they believe those problems should be solved.  Tonight, they were talking about education, specifically the private vs. public vs. home school debate.  I’m not going to go into what was said, because frankly it was long and heated and I don’t remember most of the conversation anyway, but at one point, I overheard one of them say, “It’s just awful to teach kids *insert controversial opinion that I really don’t want to inflict upon my readers*.  You might as well teach them to believe in dragons.”

And it was at that point that I had to go and open my big mouth.

Me:  “You know, there are dragon legends in cultures all around the world.”

Realistic Friend:  “Yeah, that’s because there are lizards all around the world.”

Me:  “We even have a needlepoint dragon pillow in our church because St. George fought and killed a dragon.”

Realistic Friend: *Ignores me and goes back to being realistic*

Just in case you’re wondering, no, I do not actually believe in dragons.  I would love to believe in them, but sadly, I am a moderately intelligent person and I know that dragons exist solely in myth and fantasy.  But when you think about it, who’s to say that makes them any less real?  I’ve read several books that were far more real to me than certain things about this “real world” that we live in.

For example, when I was thirteen years old, my father lost his job.  Both he and my mother had to work two jobs to keep the family going, while I was left at home to watch over my sister, who was only six at the time.  The next few years were incredibly rough.  My family lost everything except for our house, which, looking back on it now, was a huge blessing and a miracle.  My mother, who’d lost both her mother and her best friend, had no one to turn to, so she talked to me about our family’s financial crisis.  I was only 14-15 years old, and I didn’t know what to do or how to help her.  She told me other stuff too that I won’t repeat on this blog, but I will tell you that it was something that a 14-year-old should never have to hear.  At one particularly low point, I broke down sobbing right in the middle of my first period class and had to be escorted to the counselor’s office.

I promise, I’m not telling you all of this to make you feel sorry for me or because I still feel sorry for me.  It’s in the past and I’ve been working each and every day to live for the future and not let what is dead and gone drag me backwards.  I’m just trying to set the scene, to give you sort of an idea why my brain works the way it does.

During this horrible, awful, no-good, very bad time in my life, I had one saving grace.  Well, as a Christian, I suppose I had two saving graces.  One, of course, was God.  The other… was Harry Potter.

Okay, yes, I’m a nerd, a huge nerdy fangirl, but put yourself in my shoes.  I was too young to go out and do things for myself.  Even if I had been old enough, I had to stay home most of the time to watch my sister while my parents worked.  Harry Potter was my escape, and Hogwarts, my sanctuary.  I needed that refuge, that time to not be smothered by thoughts of doubt and bankruptcy and fear.  Thanks to those books, I spent my days, and often my nights, exploring Hogsmeade, playing Quidditch, and fighting alongside the Order of the Phoenix (the final two books hadn’t been released yet).  And let me tell you, all of that was so much more real to me than all the crap that the “real world” was trying to throw at me.

Maybe some will argue that turning to fantasy isn’t healthy, or that it can’t really help, and maybe it didn’t help us with our struggles or financial needs, but it saved me in a way that being realistic never could.  It saved my spirit.  It kept my sense of wonder and hope and awe and adventure alive, even when the world was trying as hard as it could to kill it.  There have been times in my life when I truly thought that such strife might devour me, that I might lose myself to the callousness and cruelty of what is supposedly real.  But every time I’ve come close, that small part of me remembers what it’s like to read those books for the first time.  Not only that, it remembers how it felt the first time I touched a dolphin, the time my grandmother taught me how to tie my shoes, the first time I held my newborn kitten (who is now almost 21), the day my parents told me I was going to be a big sister.  The girl who lived through those moments would never let herself succumb to fear and doubt.  That girl believes in hope, in beauty, in miracles.  She believes in the goodness of life and the power of love.

She also happens to believe in dragons.

A Very Sugary Review

Hi everyone!  Just a quick updated tonight.  It’s Friday night, which of course means I’ll be going out on the town, partying at the clubs. No, just kidding.  I’ll totally be sitting on the couch, with my blanket and my kitty, reading and writing.  Maybe I’ll get a little wild by popping open a bottle of water and watching a Disney movie.  Livin’ it up in the new year, yo.

Anyway, the real reason I’m writing this is to share my review of Heather Ellis’ latest book, The Sugary-Sherburts and the Stone Witch.


Five Stars!

What a fun read! The Sugary-Sherburts and the Stone Witch, written by young author Heather Ellis, tells the magical and fun-filled tale of Herbert, Charlotte, Kit, and Kat Sugary-Sherburt. The family lives in the town of Thornton, a city made entirely out of chocolate (when can I move in?). As it turns out, Kit and Kat’s adventure with the Stone Witch, a dastardly and terrifying witch who lives in a castle on top of a cloud, is actually a sequel. After following this fantastic adventure, of course I’m going to have to read the first. I’m so curious to find out what happened!

Miss Ellis is a wonderful writer. Her spirited voice and whimsical vocabulary (“The wind whirled…” “The rattling rooftops”) combined with an obvious flair for story-telling and imagination creates a wonderful world that puts one in mind of the workings of Roald Dahl and the legendary Dr. Seuss. As I read, I could see everything that Miss Ellis described, from the Sugary-Sherburts’ modest, chocolatey home (with a swiss roll doorknob!) to the wicked witch, Ola, as she wreaks havoc on … well, I’m not going to tell you. You’ll just have to read it!

This book is wonderful gift, not only for young readers and lovers of fairy tales, but for aspiring young writers as well. Heather Ellis is a fantastic role model and a fine example of a young person who still believes in following her dreams. Congratulations, Heather, on the fun and fantastical world you’ve created!

You can find the book on GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19396808-the-sugary-sherburts-and-the-stone-witch

And on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sugary-Sherburts-Stone-Witch-Heather-Ellis-ebook/dp/B00H4JABSG/ref=la_B00CWB21BQ_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388798433&sr=1-3

You can also visit Heather’s blog here: http://heatherellisbooks.wordpress.com

Or her website here: http://www.heatherellisbooks.co.uk

Enjoy and support the world’s awesome young authors!

It’s A Miracle!

This is pretty much irrelevant, but I just had to share.

I am one of those people that attract mosquitoes like a freaking magnet.  During certain times of the year, I can’t be outside for more than a few seconds without getting bitten.  I really can not believe I haven’t contracted West Nile yet.

In the past few years, my body has decided that it is going to be allergic to just about everything.  This apparently includes reacting to those pesky mosquito bites about ten times more than it used to.  For example, mosquito bites used to be itchy, but tolerable, and they used to get to about the size of a dime, if that.  Now, every bite causes whatever part of the body it’s on (arm, leg, etc…) to swell, get hot, and turn red.  They also itch like the dickens.

And yes, that was probably more than you ever wanted to know about me.  But I’m getting to the cool part, I promise.

Tonight, I stepped outside for a few minutes, barefoot, because I’m a southern girl and I don’t believe in wearing shoes unless I absolutely have to, and guess what?  I got three huge and extremely itchy mosquito bites on my feet.

Fearing that my only option for comfort might be to actually saw my own feet off, I suddenly remembered something I had glanced over on Pinterest.  It was a picture of a spoon and it was captioned, “Take the itch out of bug bites.”

I’m the kind of person who will try anything once.  Except food that I think looks like it could be gross or make me sick, but that’s a whole other kind of crazy.

Anyway, I Googled “Mosquito Bite Spoon” and sure enough, I found several articles that said that all you had to do to take the itch out of mosquito bites was to run a spoon under some hot water and press it against the bug bite.  Now I’m thinking, This has got to be some kind of placebo effect, but I figured there was no harm in giving it a shot.

I grabbed a spoon and ran back to the bathroom, where I did exactly what the article instructed.  It was soothing on the bites, sure, but I didn’t think it would actually get rid of the itch.  And it didn’t, immediately.  I decided just to forget about it.

Well, as I’m sitting here, watching Bad Ink, reading about marketing, and thinking it might be about time to go to bed, I suddenly realized, Hey… I can’t feel those bug bites at all.

I looked down at my feet.

Those bites are gone.

I can’t even remember where they were.

Astonished, I read through the article again.  My allergist had told me that the reason that people react to mosquito bites is that we are allergic to their saliva.  I’m sure that’s true.  However, according to this article, it’s the protein in the bite that makes us itch, and pressing a hot spoon to the area effectively kills off all that protein.  What does that mean?

No more itch.  Ever.

I’m not gonna lie… I kind of feel like a Hogwarts student, because this is definitely some kind of magic.

Finally, I have dominion over those pesky buggers that treat me like their own personal all-you-can-eat blood buffet.

Well, not really.  Technically, they’re still going to try to drain me every chance they get, but at least now I won’t have to suffer through the miserable after-effects!

Take that, you miserable little blood-suckers.

Self-Promotion and Harry Potter

As I round the corner and make my final sprint in this long road to publication, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, a lot of reflecting, and a lot of self-promoting.  When you’re an independent author, you’re not just an author.  You’re also an editor (though I’ve had a lot of help with editing), a publisher, a businessperson, a publicist… you name it.  The publicity and marketing is one of the most essential parts of being an independent author because, let’s face it, you’re not going to sell any books if no one knows that the book exists.  You’ve got to get yourself out there.  How do you get yourself out there if you’re an independent author?


I’ll be the first to admit it can be a lot of fun to talk about yourself.  I love telling stories and sharing experiences.  There comes a time, however, when all the me-me-me stuff begins to wear a bit thin.  Ever since I announced the release of my book, I’ve been spreading the word of Jackie and Cemetery Tours quite a bit.  This afternoon, I wrote a blurb about the book and myself for my University’s magazine.  I hand out postcards with the book’s image and information everywhere I go.  I’ve been posting non-stop on every social media site that I know.  I still love my book and I still love what I do, but I’m getting a little tired of talking about myself.

So tonight, I thought I’d write about the boy who changed my life, who has helped me throughout some of the hardest times in my life, and who has taken me on the kind of adventures I’d never have imagined in a thousand years.

Harry Potter.

I was in elementary school, probably fifth grade or so, when the first books became popular in America.  I distinctly remember everyone in my class reading The Sorcerer’s Stone.  I’ve always been a little behind on everything cool, so I really had no idea what the book was about.  I remember getting curious, however, after the first three books started popping in up the Scholastic book-order forms (always my favorite part about elementary school).  I was particularly intrigued by the strange creature on the cover of The Prisoner of Azkaban.  When I expressed my interest in The Boy Who Lived to my mother, she was iffy.  She’d heard rumors that the books were weird and not suited for kids, but I decided to read them anyway.  I was just sort of a rebel like that.

I won’t even begin to tell you how quickly I read the books, or how deeply I fell in love with the characters.  The movies only intensified my bond with the characters and the story (however, I would be lying if I said I thought the best of the movies was better than the worst of the books… the books are always better!  Though The Hunger Games movie was pretty damn awesome…).  Beginning with the release of The Order of the Phoenix (the book), I attended every midnight release of every book and every movie (except the sixth movie… I was working at camp, but I saw it that weekend!).  I remember the night that The Order of the Phoenix was released, I stayed awake all night reading.  I was so exhausted the next morning that I actually fainted, so my mom ordered me to stop reading and take a nap.  Apparently, she’s been trying to come between Harry and me for years (don’t worry, she loves him now).  I still finished the book later that day however, totally bawling my eyes out because of what happened to Sirius.  I loved him so much.  Why couldn’t he catch a break?!  Couldn’t he have used Polyjuice Potion to go outside?  I mean, really!  Sure, JK Rowling, you can give him a reason to drink, but don’t torture him!

Sirius had been one of my absolute favorite characters ever since the first time I read The Prisoner of Azkaban.  Confession: After I finished the second book, I couldn’t find the third one anywhere.  Desperate for more Potter, I decided to skip the third one and go ahead to The Goblet of Fire.  That was a bit of a mistake since I found out that “notorious mass murderer” Sirius Black wasn’t actually a mass murderer at all, but Harry’s fiercely loyal, protective, and reckless godfather.  Basically, one of the biggest plot twists in English literature.  Still, it didn’t ruin Prisoner for me in the slightest.  I’ve read it so many times, I could probably recite it word for word.  I still tear up every time the Sirius falls to his knees in the Shrieking Shack and begs, “Believe me. Believe me, Harry. I never betrayed James and Lily. I would have died before I betrayed them.”  Even though she died before the book began, Lily has always been another of my favorites.  In my mind, she was the very heart and soul of the books.

Being a member of the so-called Harry Potter generation was a gift.  We grew up alongside Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  We learned to believe in forces even more powerful than magic; love, loyalty, friendship, bravery, sacrifice.  Reading the books got me through some of the hardest months of my life.  From the time I was in seventh grade up until halfway through high school, my family suffered the loss of my father’s job, my mother taking two jobs to support the household, and bankruptcy.  During the summers when both of my parents worked and before I could drive, my sister and I stayed home alone inside our house all day.  It was a rotten way to spend summer.  However, it was also during that time with Harry that I began writing again.  I had always enjoyed writing when I was a kid, but it was through my love of Harry Potter and my desire for more adventures at Hogwarts and I began writing seriously.  Okay, I’m talking about myself again.  I’m sorry.

Before I sign off for the night, just a few more things.

1.  Richard Harris will always be Dumbledore to me.

2.  Fred Weasley was my first fictional crush.  The day that the seventh book came out, I spent the entire day reading and had plans to attend a sock-hop dance at my University after I finished.  I almost ended up not going because I was so devastated by Fred’s death.  It was like losing a friend.  I didn’t tell anyone because I was the only who’d read the book, but I was trying not to cry the entire time I was at the dance.  Also, they probably would have thought I was crazy.

3.  I like Ron, but personally, I think Hermione could have done better.  She’s happy with him though, and that’s all that matters.

4.  Professor McGonagall is one of my heroes and my favorite Hogwarts professor after Lupin.

5.  There are very few things I wouldn’t do if it meant that JK Rowling would write more Harry Potter books, especially about the Marauders.

6.  I am a proud Ravenclaw.

7.  I want a pet dragon.  And a phoenix.  And a pygmypuff.  And an owl.

8.  One of my favorite movie characters is Lucius Malfoy.  I thought he was perfect.

9.  One of my absolute favorite scenes from the books is the Quidditch World Cup and I was exceedingly disappointed that I didn’t get to see it in the movie.

10.  I think I loved the side characters and backstories (Fred and George, Sirius, Remus, Neville, Luna) more than Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  And I love them a lot.

Mischief Managed.

*** UPDATE ***

Apparently, I don’t have to do anything for JK to write more Harry!!!!  LOOK!!!