Welcome to my new distraction!

The title says it all.

What’s on the eReader: Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse

TrailOfLightningBlurb: While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel the rez, unraveling clues from ancient legends, trading favors with tricksters, and battling dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the killings, she will have to confront her past if she wants to survive.

Welcome to the Sixth World.

Publisher & Date: Saga Press, June 2018

Book Link: Trail Of Lightning; Rebecca Roanhorse



This book was recommended to me by a friend in my writing group. At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it; my taste in novels is very different from others in the group, but the Native American storyline really interested me.

I was grabbed by the first line of the novel, and by the end of the first chapter, I KNEW this story was not going to let me down. I was right. Just the viewpoint alone kept me reading; a story with so many Native references, by only disappointment was that I couldn’t pronounce the Native words. I’d love to hear what they sound like so I’ll be ready when I purchase the second book of the series (I so am).

I’m not going to go into detail about this story, that’s not my thing and the book blurb I put at the top pretty much sums it up. If you’re looking for something in UF that is definitely different, then I suggest you give this a try.

5 out of 5 stars.

A Wiccan Journey: Wicca; there’s an app for that.

AWiccanJourneyOne of the things I love about technology is all the apps. I am an app fanatic but my poor phone doesn’t care for them. It constantly reminds me that I have very little memory left and I’m afraid one more app might put it over the edge.

Some of my favourite apps are Wicca related. While these might seem a little useless, I use mine quite a bit especially when I’m out to purchase something. Apps are not a substitute for a good Book of Shadows or Grimoire, but a hectic schedule can cause one to forget, and since we all carry our phones with us to begin with, why not have apps that help us on our journey?

Screenshot1Apps come in all shapes, sizes and price range. Most are free and come with the annoying ads, but the idea of free apps falls into teaching and many believe that it is our duty to pass on to new practitioners, our knowledge and experience for no payment. This is most evident with covens, but it pertains to just about all aspects of Wicca. This is why you can find just about all the information you need on a particular path online through blogs and Wiccan sites. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Wiccans have to do things for free, on the contrary, but teaching and providing a service are two different things.

There are so many apps it can be a little overwhelming on what to choose. My advice; take it one at a time. No two apps are the same and some are definite you get what you pay for. If there’s a free and paid version, I would suggest going with the free first. See if it’s a right fit for you or gives you what you’re looking for. Sometimes apps can overlap, so you need to make sure the one you’re downloading isn’t a duplicate.


The one app I would love for someone to make, would be a blank or empty online Book of Shadows. Mine is such a mess, and I do so much on my computer to start with that having it online would be so much more useful and easier for me to access. I found one, but it wasn’t user friendly and Google sends me to sites where I can purchase physical ones. They are pretty, but not what I’m looking for. Maybe I’m asking for too much, but seriously, my handwriting sucks, but I know, one day there will be an app for that too. I just have to be patient (said no Aries ever).

Movie Night: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

IMBd Link:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1972591/

Rating: PG-13

Tagline: Raised on the streets. Born to be king. [This is the one I liked]

Genre:  Action/ Adventure/Drama


Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy – whether he likes it or not.




First off let me say, this is a Guy Ritchie movie. Yeah, Madonna’s ex-husband, but don’t let that sway you. You’ve probably seen his stuff and you don’t even know it (both Sherlock films, The Man from U.N.C.L.E), so you probably have a good idea of his directing style-a lot of action with some incredible stunts. This movie is no different.

We’ve all seen the late Nigel Terry’s movie EXCALIBUR or perhaps the 2004 King Arthur with Clive Owen and Keira Knightly (I haven’t seen that one), so there is a bit of lore that one needs to follow for this story. I can assure you, even though this is a different take on that lore, it’s one that I found very interesting.

The tale of King Arthur is full of magic and honour but Ritchie takes it one step further by envisioning not only a story that sets itself apart from others, but makes Arthur more ‘real’ (for lack of a better word) for the time. Yes, it’s all well and fine to imagine the noble age of Knights and Kings, but not everyone lived that life, and here is where our hero is forged; not as a quire, but as a street-smart thief who ends up in his fair share of trouble.  It is this very trouble that sets him on the path to become King.

The mystical and magical elements in this movie are unique in their own right. Excalibur is more than a sword it is an amulet bound to Arthur’s bloodline; a secret that is not revealed until later. Arthur is crude, brash and far from honorable. He thrown into circumstances beyond his control he learns to be more than what his is, and rise to defend his people.


5 out of 5

Official Move Trailer:


Writing Update: February 16, 2018.

writingupdateChapters: 13

Word count: 77,552

First Draft Deadline: March 31/2018

Well, so far so good. I’ve managed to keep to my schedule and have written at least 1k every day. Some days it’s less, other days it’s more. Days I have long work shifts I rarely write as I’m in no mood to by the time I get home. This isn’t a problem for me as my shifts are far between and I get more than enough time to make up for the days I work.

I’ve focused on one novel; SURVIVAL RULES. I want this done by spring so I can revise and get it ready for pitches come summer. I’m still having difficulty finding a beta reader. I think it’s the whole zombie thing that puts people off. I understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (so to speak), and I did find one person, but it’s still early and most times the understanding of swapping manuscripts ends by the second chapter. Apart from finding a paid beta (if you know of any who can handle this genre, let me know) I’m stuck. I’m told I’m a strong writer, but I need that second pair of eyes.

I’m about 2/3 through the story. Everyone understands what’s going on and their main goal is to survive. I’ve killed off one of the original characters; original as in the first group the MC was a part of. I plan on killing off another in this chapter and a third later on. As for secondary kills, just one so far and there have been about four secondary character kills. Overall, I don’t think that’s too bad. I changed who I would kill off for this chapter. I wanted this death to not only reveal a key element about the zombies (which I can carry over into the other novels), but it has to have an impact, and not done just for shock value. The first death brought up that no-one is safe. The other two secondary character deaths will drive the MC on her journey. This death will set her on a quest; a journey that won’t be resolved until the last book.

Looking at that word count-it’s scary. This could easily be a 100k novel. I’ll probably lose words during revisions, but not by much. Maybe 10k or so.  I *am* a strong writer. I don’t add paragraphs of info dump or backstory. I also don’t go on and on about their day or describe things to no end. Maybe the reason I’m so worked up about this number is because of the other zombie novels I’ve read. They’ve all been the first book of a series so if it was a long novel, naturally they break them up. It follows that whole more content=more money bullshit (there’s a blog post idea). Personally, I HATE it when I’m left hanging, especially when the main plot hasn’t come to a resolved or satisfactory ending, which happened in most of the novels I read. I’ll probably complain about this in future updates, but just bear with me.

Until next month . . .

Adventures in Restaurants: Theatre Food.

RestaurantLogoRemember when you were a kid and the snack bar in theatre’s was limited to pop, popcorn and candy? The concession stand was always a fun place because it was full with all the crap your parents never bought when they went shopping. Every possible candy item, popcorn and soda was right before your eyes, and choosing what you wanted was always the hardest part for me. Sure, popcorn was a must, but the sky was the limit for the rest.

Drive-In’s were always different. More of an adventure and you got a wider choice of food items. Now we had hot-dogs, fries, hamburgers; geez, it was like barbequing in the back yard. Dinner and a movie! At the drive-in here, they have pizza. Floored me the first time I saw that. Who needs to go to a restaurant when you can eat at the drive-in!

The simple days of theatre food are gone, my friends. We went to see the movies on the weekend and the whole thing was an adventure in over-abundance. Huge bags of popcorn, large-sized drinks, and if you get a combo you can tack on a bag of candy. That’s just at the concession stand.

Our local Cineplex has the regular snack food; popcorn, drinks, candy, but a few other options as well. There’s one stand where you can purchase wraps, sandwiches, premium nachos and hot dogs. If you’re really hungry you can turn it into a meal by adding fries, sweet potato fries or poutine along with a drink (soda). Oh, it gets better. Don’t like regular popcorn? No problem! Now you have a variety of flavours to choose from; cheddar, sour cream and chive, garlic parmesan, all dressed (ew), jalapeño and cheese, caramel corn, kettle corn, chocolate-drizzle caramel, Chicago Mix (?), and rainbow(?). But wait! There’s more! If you don’t care for all that ‘junk food’, and want a somewhat healthier alternative, why not try some frozen yogurt or a smoothie! Top your yogurt with either fruit or sweets.

I told my mother about the variety and her only reply was . . .

“What happened to just having ordinary popcorn?”

Yes, what indeed. I’ve yet to try anything outside of the normal, but one day who knows?


Does your theatre offer more than just the usual fare? What do you think of all the extras?

Of Writers and Prose: Writing after an illness.

Quill-And-Ink-Line-Art-300pxI have a very unusual factoid about myself; I went into the emergency room of the local hospital once a year for about seven years. A few times it was minor (seriously sprained ankle) a few other times it was serious (mild concussion, appendicitis), but even with the minor health problems, it still knocked the hell outta me, and put me off of my writing routine.

Getting sick can throw a writer off faster than anything. It’s a strange feeling too look at the open word file and know I wanted to write, but the words weren’t there. My mind goes silent. It’s disconcerting as my brain is constantly at work; plotting out ideas, dialogue or scenes. From the moment I wake up until I fall asleep, that’s all I think about, and not always about the same WIP. I have distractions, work, games, life and the internet, but even at night as I try to relax and fall to sleep, I play out in my mind a plot or idea for a story.

Out of all the health issues I had, the concussion was the worst. Not only did I not feel like writing, I didn’t feel like doing anything. It was a good week before I even entertained the notion to open a word file and fell into my nightmare. I stared at the words on the page and no matter how many times I read or re-read, nothing came to me. I literally had no idea what to write. This wasn’t writer’s block. This was something else and it scared the hell out of me. The idea that I may never create another story scared me so much I refused to look at any word files. My fear turned to anger and I deleted the story desktop icons on my screen. I wanted nothing to remind me of what I couldn’t do anymore. My husband was incredibly supportive. “Just leave it alone,” he said. “It’ll come back to you. Do something else.”, but that was it. I don’t know how to do anything else. I can’t paint or draw, can’t sing or play music. Writing is the only creative outlet I have and I’ve been doing it since I was seventeen. For those few weeks, I never felt so absolutely useless. I don’t’ know how else to describe it.

I focused on work and played games. I was still in a fog at work; and they gave me short shifts to help me heal. It was a good two weeks before that feeling set in. You know the one; you’re supposed to be doing something, but you don’t know what. That was my brain telling me that I hadn’t written anything for a while and I need to get my ass in gear. I was excited. It was another week before I opened a word file, but the words didn’t come easy. I found my attention drifting to other things, things that didn’t require me to think. Games mostly, but in that non-thinking mode, it would poke at me; and I’d go and look at the file again. Slowly, over the course of another week the words came, but not in the way I expected. I was writing new words, but revising the pages I already had. I re-read scenes and found countless ways to improve them. I was pleasantly surprised to find my creativity had kicked up a notch. This is part of the reason why I re-opened my zombie survival novel.

The second worst was my appendicitis. Three weeks of recovered and I had to be careful how I moved so not to rip my stitches. Any kind of pain is a creative killer for me. Game over. Done. It drains my energy and forces me to focus on being comfortable instead of creativity. The recovery was a slow process, but I did manage to get a few pages written.

I’ve told you all of this because I’ve always been a strong advocate for being in the best mindset for writing stories. I dislike the adage of a writer having to write every day, because quite fucking frankly, we’re not always up to it and forced writing to me, it worse than not writing.

If you’re sick, take care of yourself. You are the instrument in which the stories flow. If the instrument is not in proper care, the story suffers. Be good to yourself. That’s all that matters.

Nail Art: The benefits of a weekly nail bath.

As pretty as nail art can be, the chemicals from acetone, gel, and acrylic polish can take a toll on our nailbeds. That’s why I do a weekly nail bath using essential oils and a cold-pressed oil, and the results are well worth it. The splits and cracks that were so noticeable when my acrylic nails came off are practically gone. Along with using hand moisturiser 2-3 times a day (depending on how many times I washed my hands), careful filing of my nails and using a cuticle oil twice a day, I can easily restart my 50 Shades of Nail Polish blog series soon.

Here are a few pictures of just how bad my nail beds were and how they’ve improved. These are all pictures of my left hand.


December 2017

February 2018


There are several oils that are good for your nails; grapeseed, argan and avocado are among the most popular. For my nail bath I use grapeseed oil mixed with three essential oils; tea tree, lavender and clary sage. Along with those, I add two vitamin E capsules to the soak as well. While the grapeseed oil is rich in vitamin D, C, and E, I use it as a carrier oil for the essential oils.

It will take a while for your nails to show an improvement, although a crack that appeared in my thumb had repaired within a couple weeks. Eating healthy also improves nail beds which is why during the summer months, my nails are healthier.

You can find a list of some of the best carrier oils for nails HERE.

Essential oils are an added bonus for your nail bath. Not only are they beneficial, but they smell wonderful. Many, like tea tree and clary sage, can be used for other purposes. I find using the bath with these three a great way absorb the benefits of all three.

You can find a list of five essential oils that are beneficial for nails HERE.

I hope in the near future to have a YouTube channel so I can upload videos of my nail art along with the reboot of my 50 Shades of Red Nail Polish series; doing video swatches of the polish instead of just pictures.

A Wiccan Journey: Spell-casting and curses.

AWiccanJourneyThere are two words people associate with Wicca; spells and curses. They instantly bring to mind bubbling cauldrons of foul-smelling liquid, or old women with warts on their noses muttering in some ancient language and pointing a bony finger. While these images will always be around, in reality spells and curse make up a small part of the practice. I liken them to prayers with other religions, and like prayers it’s up to the individual on how to use them. Let’s take a deeper look.


There are as many types of spells and they can be as intricate or as simple as you please. My simplest definition of a spell is a series of words-spoken or written, which focuses personal energy to fulfilling an achievable goal. Most revolve around acquiring love, wealth and happiness, while others are more for finding harmony within oneself. There are two minds within the community on if/when one should cast. On one hand you have the saying ‘do what you will, so long as it harms none’; this allows for all sorts of spells to be cast for just about anyone. Cast whatever spell you want, as long as no-one gets hurt. Makes sense.

Others see spells as something more personal; that should only be done with the intent of good and not for any sort of gain. That there is a morality to spellcasting that can’t and shouldn’t be ignored, and there are consequences attached to the spell (Law of Three). Spells also require a lot of personal energy, time, and focus. Three reasons that some feel negates any reason for casting beyond a personal endeavour.

I feel spellcasting boils down to the caster. Myself, I don’t do a lot of spells. I think I’ve done a total of three in the last fifteen years. All three times were during low in our life and we needed a little extra to carry us through or protection. I don’t think I would ever do a spell for someone else. Like I stated, it takes a lot of personal energy and focus, and many times non-magic folks just want a quick fix to their problem or situation. While a wave of the wand works in Harry Potter, that doesn’t work in the real world.


Curses are strictly cast for revenge or what the caster would perceive as justice. Unlike a spell, there are no positive side-effects of a curse. You are sending out negative energy into the world, and according to the Wiccan Rede and Law of Three, what comes around goes around, and will bite you hard in the ass when it does. My personal take on curses is that they are done so in desperation; which can make them all the more powerful. All magic evolves around energy-all forms of energy, and the more energy you have to put into a curse, the more power it will have.


Whether you cast a spell or a curse, please be away of the intent around it, for once it goes out into the universe, you can’t take it back.

Meet Guest Author, Brad C Baker…

Brad is a member of my real life writing group and so happy his dream is finally coming true!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

I was born in Toronto, Ontario, where I now live with my Malamute huge dog called Crallick. Crallick is named after the primary character in my debut book and is probably just as big a force to be reckoned with!

My love of storytelling really began when I discovered roleplaying games such as Dungeons and Dragons, which allowed me to explore the different facets of a character and the different routes each scenario could take. However, even before this, I was a fan of many sci-fi and fantasy franchises and loved the work of Tolkien.

My love of travel and adventure began to develop as I grew older, seeping out into the real world. This led me to hitch-hike across Canada once and also across North America on two separate occasions. My wanderlust knew no bounds! I loved meeting new people and hearing their stories, as there was always something…

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