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.

Hello Friends

I feel like it’s been a while.  Life is busy.  A little stressful.  But good overall.

On Saturday, I fulfilled one of my admittedly odd lifelong ambitions.  I went to the movie theater by myself.  Again, I know it’s weird, but for some reason, I’ve always wanted to experience seeing a movie just with myself.  I decided to go see Divergent.  It was really good.  For the most part, it stayed true to the book, though it was definitely watered down.  For once, I was strangely okay with that.  Maybe because I’ve only read through the series once and I’m not quite as emotionally invested in it as I am in Harry Potter or The Hunger Games.  It could also be because Veronica Roth’s books are long and very intricately detailed.  I’ll probably have to read through the trilogy again before the next movie comes out because I don’t really remember all that happened, especially in the second one.

One recently announced book-to-movie adaptation that I probably will not be seeing, however, is The Giver. I might change my mind as the release date draws nearer, but from what I’ve seen in the trailer… I’m just not interested.  Nothing I saw in that trailer even remotely resembles the utter magic that the book held for me the first time I read it in middle school and every time I reread it after.  That book is a masterpiece and one that really impacted me as a reader and, consequentially, as a writer.  I’ll be curious to find out what other fans of the book think of it.

I also saw the new Hobbit movie again.  I still think there are too many orcs, too may elves, and not enough Bilbo and the Dwarves. But what do I know?

On the book front, I finished reading The Amazing Crystal by Gerald Lizee.


I’m not a sci-fi reader, but I really enjoyed it!  I posted reviews on both Amazon and GoodReads, but I thought I’d share it here too.

Here’s the deal. I do not read a whole lot of science fiction. In fact, I could probably count on one hand the number of Sci-Fi books I’ve actually read and enjoyed. Add The Amazing Crystal by Gerald Lizee to that list.

Set in a futuristic society, protagonist Lydia receives an amulet from her grandfather, who has gone into hiding our of fear that he may be robbed or kidnapped. This amulet, it turns out, possesses the ability to communicate with whom it chooses and influence the world around it.

Something I loved and that makes The Amazing Crystal very unique is that it plays out like an action show, with episodes instead of chapters. This makes for a fun and fast-paced read with no slow spots in the narrative. The descriptions are vivid and yet, Mr. Lizee tells the story in such a way that even those of us who’ve spent more of our time in the worlds of romance and fantasy will understand and enjoy.

Congratulations and 5 stars to Gerald Lizee. I look forward to reading his future works!

The next book that I’m reading and reviewing is The Calling by Louise G. White.  It’s a fantasy and it looks right up my alley!  I’m really looking forward to reading it!


Finally, I’m about two chapters in to my newest manuscript!  While the sequel to Cemetery Tours is in the editors’ hands, I’m enjoying having something new to engage me.  It’s really excited about the story, and even though it hasn’t been in my head very long, just since January, it’s already better developed than ideas that have been brewing for years.  It’s kind of funny how the brain works like that.

Well, that’s about all I’ve got for today!  Talk to you all tomorrow!


My Second Trip to Lubbock

Alright, I’m home again.  This last trip was at least a little less glitchy than the first one.  It was a quick, two-day trip, but I got absolutely no work done, so I’m very happy to be home.  Not only am I awaiting a book from a new author friend in the UK (, I also won a new book on a Facebook giveaway (, which is really exciting, because I never win anything, and I’m reading/proofreading a book for a friend!  So yeah, busy, busy, busy!

However, I really want to get on to tell you about the TWO movies I saw yesterday.  Yep.  TWO.  In one day.  Double Movie Day is sort of a new holiday tradition that my sister and I started last year.

The first movie was Disney’s Frozen.

I loved it.  It was everything a good Disney movie should be; beautiful, funny, and full of GREAT music performed by several Broadway stars.  My sister was really geeking out over that, especially Idina Menzel and Jonathan Groff.  It also managed to surprise me and keep me guessing, which I’ve always thought of as kind of a rare thing for a Disney film.  They’re always enjoyable, but it’s usually pretty easy to predict what’s going to happen and I don’t remember the last time a Disney movie really shocked me.  Frozen did it.  It also made me laugh out loud and my sister already has the soundtrack memorized (“Let it Go,” performed by Idina Menzel, is not only my favorite song, but also my favorite part of the movie).

My other favorite part is Olaf!

“I don’t have a skull… Or bones.”

Needless to say, Olaf the Snowman is the best character in Frozen.  My sister and I have pretty much been quoting him non-stop since we stepped out of the theater yesterday afternoon.  When I first saw the previews, I thought he was going to be weird and a little creepy, but it is impossible to not love Olaf.  “I’ll be a… HAPPY SNOWMAN!”  So.  Stinking.  Cute.

The second movie was, you guessed it, the midnight premiere of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.  As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I’m a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings movies, so I knew I was going to love Peter Jackson’s take on The Hobbit as well.  I fell absolutely in love with An Unexpected Journey.  Seriously, I loved everything about it.  I loved the new characters, the story, the music, Martin Freeman, everything.

I loved the Desolation of Smaug also, but I didn’t love everything about it.

NOTE: If you haven’t seen it yet, there are a few spoilerish things here, so stop reading if you don’t want to know.

First, what I loved:

1) SMAUG.  Oh my gosh, I love dragons anyway, but Smaug is AWESOME.  The fact that he’s voiced and brought to life by Benedict Cumberbatch might have a little something to do with that, but I think I would have enjoyed his scenes no matter what.  Seeing this great literary monstrosity brought to life was a thrill, and I actually shivered the first time he emerged from the heaping mountains of gold.  His last lines of the film were equally chilling.  “I am Fire.  I am Death.”  Way to go, Benny.  You’re the best.

Oh, I also laughed when Smaug looked at Bilbo and said, “You are familiar with me…” because as we all know, Bilbo and Smaug have met before… at 221B Baker Street!

2) THRANDUIL.  Oh my gosh.  I mean, I already knew I loved Lee Pace, but I kind of wish Peter Jackson would just make an entire movie about Thranduil.  He’s such a bad-a.  Seriously.  I loved him (even if he is kind of a jerk).

3) The Gimli Reference.

4) Every time Richard Armitage spoke.  Or moved.  Or blinked.

I’m not creepy, I swear.

5) Seeing Legolas again.

6) Beorn.

7) Stephen Fry.  I hated his character, but you have to love Stephen Fry no matter what role he plays.

8) Bombur!  Oh my goodness, I laughed out loud whenever that fat dwarf waddled onto the screen.

9) The Ring’s growing influence over Bilbo.  Oh, and STING!  Martin Freeman is just a flawless Hobbit.

10) The way everyone in the theater yelled, “NO!” when the movie ended.

Now for the things I did not love.  Just my opinion.  I hope I don’t offend.

1) There was no singing!  What the heck?  That was one of my favorite things about the first movie.  I loved all the songs, even the deleted ones.  There was one point where I actually thought Smaug was going to burst into song.  That would have been odd, but at least it would have been something!  But no.  The only song I got was the one by Ed Sheeran at the end, and I don’t like that one nearly as much as I like “The Song of the Lonely Mountain.”

2) So.  Many.  Orcs.  WHY?  I mean, one orc battle would have been understandable, two would have been tolerable, but seriously, orcs were shooting and being slaughtered almost every other scene!  They seemed to play a bigger role in this movie than the dwarves!  I understand that Peter Jackson is using this as a prequel/lead up to Lord of the Rings, which it is, but Tolkien’s story was a story about a journey, an adventure.  I don’t think he didn’t even know the significance of the Ring when he wrote the book.  He was just writing a kid’s story.  Too.  Many.  Orcs.  Go.  Away.

3)  Along with all these orcs, we got like, a million scenes of Legolas and Tauriel slaughtering these orcs.  Yeah, we get it.  They’re warriors.  This is not supposed to be a movie about elves killing orcs!  This is supposed to be about Thorin and the dwarves’ quest to take back Erebor.  Again, I feel like Legolas and Taurel played a bigger role in this movie than the dwarves and even Bilbo did!  My guess is that since Legolas was such a popular character from the original series, Peter Jackson wanted to use him as much as he could.  Tauriel, on the other hand, is a Peter Jackson creation.  I think he knew audiences, especially Tolkien purists, would be wary of a new, non-cannon character, so he tried as hard as he could to make people like her.  Unfortunately, in doing so, I feel like he sort of forced her on us.  She was a little too perfect, a little too compassionate, and not at all like a Mirkwood elf would be in Tolkien’s universe.  Evangeline Lilly is lovely and did a wonderful job, but I really did not care for the character.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say she’s a Mary Sue, but I didn’t feel she added anything to the plot.  Other than a useless love triangle, which I will tackle in point 4.

(If anything, we should have had more THRANDUIL).

4) The love triangle.  Seriously, is it so difficult to create a female character and NOT have her be anyone’s love interest?  I’m not trying to be anti-feminist or anything.  I just don’t understand the whole, every-movie-needs-romance thing.  If I want romance, I’ll watch a Nicholas Sparks movie.  But I watch Tolkien for the adventure and the journey and the story.

5) This wasn’t necessarily something I didn’t like, but I couldn’t help but notice that Bard looked exactly like Will Turner from Pirates of the Caribbean.

6) The SPIDERS!  Oh my GOSH.  I am not arachnophobic, but I was about to faint during that entire scene.  It was even worse than the Acromantula scene in the second Harry Potter movie!!!  And that was pretty bad!  (Note… I put this under things I didn’t like about the movie, but it was actually an effective and fantastic scene.  The fact that I put it under things I disliked is a good thing!)

Bottom line: I liked a lot more things about The Desolation of Smaug than I disliked, and I know I will see it again.

Okay, I’ve been typing at this post for over an hour now.  Time for food.

Dungeons Deep and Caverns Old

Have you ever had one of those days where you have projects that you want/need to be working on, yet at the same time, you become so immersed in a book or movie that you love that you can’t bring yourself to think of anything else?  That’s what I’m going through right now.

I have a new manuscript that I’ve been working on while my other one is being edited and reread and reread and reread.  I really like this one.  It’s an idea I’ve had in my head for a few years now and suddenly, over the summer, inspiration struck and I knew exactly what I wanted to write.  I didn’t start until recently, however, because I didn’t want to, as Meg Cabot would put it, “cheat” on my other manuscript.  I have a lot of ideas and whenever I’m particularly enthusiastic about one, I forget about ones that are in progress.  If I went with all of my impulses, I would never get one thing completely written.

Anyway, so this week, while I’m supposed to be working on this manuscript that I’ve been so excited about, I get on Pinterest, see one post about The Hobbit, and suddenly, I’ve forgotten everything I want to write about and become the thirteen-year-old girl, totally and completely obsessed with Middle Earth.  This time, however, I’m in love with Richard Armitage and not Orlando Bloom.  I’ve realized that taste sort of evolves as you get older.  Not that Orlando Bloom isn’t a handsome fellow.  He’s just, you know, not Richard Armitage.

I’m the only Tolkien fan in my family, though to be honest, I enjoy the movies a lot more than the books (please don’t hit me!).  Of course, I read the books in eighth grade, so maybe I haven’t really given them a fair shake.  I actually hadn’t even heard of The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit until I saw a trailer for the first movie.  Well technically, I had seen the really creepy cartoon version where everyone is not hot, but I didn’t realize what it was until the movies came out.  That’s when I decided that Legolas was the hottest thing on two legs and decided to read the books.

My friends in high school and I were obsessed with LOTR.  We went to see all the movies together, we had posters, we had T-Shirts, we each claimed a member of the fellowship as our own personal property (and believe it or not, I ended up dumping Leoglas for Pippin shortly after I discovered how insanely cute Scottish guys are.  On that topic, my sister and I took a trip to Scotland in July 2011 and as it turns out, Scottish guys are even cuter in person), and we watched all the extended edition box sets with audio commentary.

I am really waving my geek flag for all to see, aren’t I?

The point is, The Lord of the Rings trilogy was a big part of my high school experience and will always hold a special place in my heart because of it.  But, just like all fangirls, I go through phases and I actually went through a pretty long phase where I was into other things.  Then, Scotland happened.  Everywhere we went, I found myself humming the score to The Lord of the Rings.  My sister thought I was a nerd, but I couldn’t help myself.  Everything reminded me of Middle Earth.


Eilean Donan Castle.ImageImage

A mountain in Glen Nevis.ImageImage  Image

From atop a mountain.ImageImageMelrose Abbey.  One of my favorite places in the world.

For the record, those actually are my photographs.

For all of Scotland’s wonders, however, nothing compared to the beauty and sanctity of the Isle of Iona.



Iona is just one of those places that can’t be described.  You have to experience it.  Though I will say, I can never hear the song Into the West by Fran Walsh, Howard Shore, and Annie Lennox and not think of Iona.

“Don’t say we have come now to the end… White shores are calling. You and I will meet again.”

Anyway, this is getting way too deep for a blog post.  Long story short, The Lord of the Rings has had a huge impact on my life.  As fate would have it, there was a Lord of the Rings marathon on TV the week after we return from Scotland.  The fangirl in me has not only been well and alive ever since, but she’s been positively thriving since the first trailer for The Hobbit was released over a year ago.

Now, after having seen the movie three times, I have to say The Hobbit is phenomenal (and no, not just because Peter Jackson managed to create the previously unimaginable Sexy Dwarf).  I loved the music.  I loved seeing Frodo again.  I loved the scenery.  I loved getting to go back to Middle Earth, to a place that had meant to much to me growing up.  And may I just say that perfect casting did not exist until Martin Freeman was cast as Bilbo Baggins!  I loved him from Sherlock, so needless to say, I was ecstatic when they announced that both he and the ever amazing and beautiful Benedict Cumberbatch would be starring in The Hobbit trilogy.

Okay yeah, Benedict is a dragon, but he’s still kind of in it.

So yeah, that’s what I’ve been thinking about instead of actually writing my own stuff.  Maybe now that it’s out in cyberspace, however, I will be able to focus more on my manuscript and less on how much I love Hobbits and Elves and Dwarves.

Oh, and Gollum.  I freaking love Gollum.

Wish me luck!!!