Marriage Equality Ad

I saw this on Facebook and just had to share this. It is a beautiful ad that honestly made me cry when I saw it, partially because of the images and the beautiful music. I keep watching it.

The ad comes to us from Australia and it promotes marriage equality. The nearly two minute video shows a couple from their first meeting through their ups and downs to the proposal, and the cool part is that it’s from the perspective of one of them. It isn’t until the very end of the video that viewers see that it is a gay couple being portrayed.

I think it shows the beauty of any relationship: the struggles, the highlights, the sorrow, and the joy. It doesn’t matter who you are or who you love. It’s the love that’s important.

 

Andy Squared Cover Art

IT’S HERE!!!!!

I am so thrilled to be sharing the cover art for Andy Squared! It’s beautiful, and I absolutely love what the artists have done. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but… man I love this cover. Maybe I’m a bit biased, though.

The mood of the picture is just perfect. I love the two shadows at the top. To me they represent Andy and Ryder. And the teen at the bottom with the sunglasses is perfect. Even the font for the title is wonderful! I love the distressed look of it.

This is just so well done and I am once again proud to be a part of the Bold Strokes Books family.

Thanksgiving: Traditions New and Old

Thursday was Thanksgiving in America. My family traditions have changed many times throughout the years. We used to all join my grandparents at their house, and my grandmother made everything. It got to be a large stress for her though, so my aunt took over at her house once it was built. Soon after, though, things changed again. My uncle and his family decided to host Thanksgiving for his wife’s family, or they would join her parents. My parents and siblings decided we wanted to go to the movies on Thanksgiving. And then a few years ago my mom decided she wanted Thanskgiving to be a small affair at our house, with just the five – or six or seven – of us. Instead of having to wait until later to eat (like two or three) we can have our delicious meal whenever we want it (usually noon). This gives us plenty of time to relax and get to a movie without rushing. And by the time we get home, voila! It’s time to eat leftover turkey soup!

This year dinner was the most delicious we’ve had in years. My mom cooked the turkey in this baking bag or something. When dad went to cut the turkey, it literally fell off the bones! It was so tender and delicious; even the leftovers are yummy! We had potatoes and yams, squash and stuffing. There were rolls on the table and pumpkin pie with whipped cream for dessert. Sadly, a few of my favorite foods were missing: sweet potatoes, cranberry  sauce, and… turnips. I love mashed turnips but we didn’t have them this year. It was too much for mom to make all those other things, but I survived.

We ate around noon and went to the movies for 2:30. The Muppets was an incredible movie! I grew up watching their other movies and the show, and I am so happy to see them on the screen again! The movie was corny, hilarious, and full of good messages. There were parts that broke my heart and others that made me giddy. I hope that this movie is the start of the Muppets returning to our TV screens each week! This new generation knows so little – if anything! – about the Muppets, as evidenced by Selena Gomez in the film commenting that she had no idea who they were, but her agent told her to be there. (Clearly she must know off them, but she is a representation of a younger generation who did not grow up with them like I did.)

Turkey soup when we got home was good and I gorged myself on it and pumpkin pie. Naps were a must with my entire family. My sister later that night went shopping while I did my gift buying online. My parents did go out on Black Friday – bless them, I wouldn’t  – and I finished my shopping today.

Now I just need to wrap it all…

What are you most thankful for? I am thankful I have good health, that my family is together on the holidays and that they are all relatively healthy. I am thankful for my friends who have stuck by me in good times and in bad. I am thankful for my cat, Scout, who loves me unconditionally. I am thankful for Bold Strokes Books and their decision to publish Andy Squared in 2012. I appreciate everyone who works at the company, including the president of the company, the editors and cover artists and everyone in between for their help and kind words. And finally, I am thankful for everyone who will eventually pick up the book and enjoy it!

Book Review: Mystery of the Tempest by Sam Cameron

“The Tempest” is perhaps one of my favorite Shakespearean plays. I enjoy the magic and the characters, as well as the setting and the plot. When I saw this title first show up on the Bold Strokes Books website I was thrilled. And then horribly disappointed because I had to wait a few months to get my hands on it.

Well, on Friday my wait was over. And man was it worth the wait. I devoured the book that day – which I do regret a bit, because I didn’t take the time to savor it as much as I could have. The book was fantastic. The characters were well written, humorous and realistic. I felt like they were people I knew. Each one of them had some flaw that made them great characters because it made me step back and really look at what they were doing.

Denny, for example. He’s gay, very interested in men, almost desperate to lose his virginity, yet he hides who he is. Only his twin brother, Steven, knows the truth. When the opportunity presents itself, he hides in the closet he’s built around himself and lies. It breaks the readers heart as time and again he swears he’s straight. Especially when sweet Brian shows interest in him.

Oh, Brian… so wonderfully, painfully shy and quiet. He reminds me of myself in how much I’d prefer to be reading than socializing. But his interest in Denny is palpable. He hopes that he is gay but knows it can’t be true. Yet he’s so close to the truth! The UST (unresolved sexual tension) between the two boys is agonizing. So many times I wanted to jump into the book, smack them both, and tell them to get it over with.

Then there is Steven, the twin. He seems like a great brother but has many flaws. He lies about getting into the Navy SEALS program, sleeps with many girls, and has a friend who is just a little shy of not only graduating high school, but also being thrown in jail for a number of charges. I wanted to sympathize with him as much as I wanted to toss him around and knock sense into him.

But the book is so much more than the characters. It’s funny. From the first few lines I was laughing! The boys get themselves in so many situations that leads to hilarious one-liners. And the mystery! I wanted to know what was going on, and I didn’t see it coming at all! I find that very refreshing in a book. Far too often a mystery is formulaic. This one is not. It left me hanging until near the end and I prayed everything would turn out all right.

And when I turned the last page and thought the book was over? A teaser at a sequel: The Secret of Othello. Be still my beating heart! I cannot wait for this book to come out in 2012. Will all three boys be in it? Will their relationships change and progress? What is the new mystery about?

In a way the book reminded me of the Hardy Boys series because of the mystery they need to solve. It’s far from exact, but it seemed vaguely similar to me, and that was exciting. Also, because of the setting and the boys love for the ocean, it reminded me of Flush by Carl Hiaasen. However, while that book deals with illegal dumping polluting the crystal waters, this one looks at fraud, extortion, a burning ship, and much, much more.

For more details on the book, check out the Bold Strokes Books site. The book can also be purchase at Amazon.

Letterboxing, Books, and Counting Down

I don’t have a release date for Andy Squared yet. I’m sure I won’t get that for awhile. However, I decided I would do something fun to countdown, help gain some interest in the book, and also bring to light some interest in other great books! My idea was to combine two of my favorite things (new and old) into one: creating stamps for letterboxes from the covers of some of my favorite books.

Each month I’ll plant a new box to honor one of my favorite books (and I have a lot of them!) and hopefully by the end I will be able to make a stamp for the cover of Andy Squared!

First Finders will get a copy of the book that the stamp is based on (if the book is available to me at a reasonable price, anyway, because some are out of print and hard to find).

For November I did Geography Club by Brent Hartinger. Those interested in finding the stamp can check out the clues on AtlasQuest here. I was really proud of the carve, too. It’s not 100% accurate to the cover, but that’s okay. I added my own little flair to it. What do you think?

Winter Storm Alfred

So my last post was about ten days or so ago. When I said first snow, wow… that was really the understatement of the year. What was forcasted as 6 inches for my area ended up being 18 in my town. And because the trees still had their leaves on them… the damage was massive.

I’ve never seen a snowstorm like that this early. And I hope I never do again, especially with green leaves still up in the air. The weight of the snow on the branches was just too much and they came down. It was the creepiest thing. The sound outside was typical just after snow: not a sound could be heard, and even passing cars were muffled by the insulated air.

But the branches breaking cracked loudly in the air. Snap! Crash! A minute would go by, then another Snap! Crash! I went outside and looked down the street to a friend’s house and half her tree was lying across the road. I ran down to see how she was doing and as we stood outside talking, Snap! Crash! from her backyard. Everyone had to stay clear of the trees because they just kept coming down! No one knew where the next would be or where it would land!

Can you see the vehicles under that mess?

The first that fell on my Camaro landed hard and I cried. Then another on my 4Runner. One fell in front of our house and grazed it, sliding down the front windows. We screamed, thinking it was going to crash through. My cat bolted from the room, her tail puffed, ears flat, and eyes wide. There was nothing we could do. Absolutely nothing.

We were lucky because we didn’t lose power until later that night. But once it was out, that was it. We thought it would come back the next day, but boy were we wrong. Nearly four days with no power. It ended up coming back late Tuesday night, and by then I was DESPERATE for a hot shower. It’s amazing what you miss when you don’t have it. Forget TV or the internet. I just wanted warmth: warm food, hot water to get clean, and heat.

After the power went out, we went to bed. Or should I say we tried to. Every time we heard the Snap! Crash! we bolted from our beds to see what was hit next. At some point I was too exhausted to care anymore. After all, the damage was already done. What more could I do? I couldn’t very well go out there and stop branches from falling without risking injury to myself. When I woke up the next morning, my cars were even more covered; you could hardly see them! It looked like a warzone outside! Power lines were down everywhere. Branches, trees littered the ground and road. Roads were blocked and detours were everywhere. It was crazy.

Even more insane was school. It was shut down for an entire week because of it. The school I teach at didn’t have power until that Friday. Sadly we have to make those days up, and because of the length of time, we are already out of snow days. And it’s only November 9th!! This does not bode well for the rest of the winter.

I didn’t read much, but I did do some knitting, crocheting, stamp carving, and letterbox planting. I did a puzzle by flashlight. My family spent time together in the same room for warmth, company, and the one light we had going by generator.

When the power went back on, we heard that faint beep of the phone as if it was put back on its base, and we screamed (again) and ran around the house turning on every light we could JUST BECAUSE we could. And within half an hour I took a very long, very hot shower. :)