Fear and Laundry turns ten (part 2)

February 22nd, 2021 marked ten years since I first published my YA novel, Fear and Laundry.

It’s strange for me to think about that.

Back then, I was reading a lot of YA, and while the books were brilliant and I enjoyed them, I kept wishing they’d feature characters who reminded me more of me and my friends as teens. There were, it seemed, no books to be found anywhere about girls growing up in West Texas who were into horror movies and rock music and hung out at a laundromat that doubled as a punk rock venue.

Go figure 😊.

I did read one novel featuring secondary characters who sorta started to come close, but then…it turned out they were supposed to be the losers in the story. I remember being amused by that and thinking, “Maybe I oughtta write a story from the POV of the ‘losers,’ then.”

Around that same time, I read a biography of Kurt Cobain (Heavier than Heaven by Charles R. Cross), and for a while after I finished it, I couldn’t stop thinking about Cobain and how I wished his fans had had the opportunity to tell him in person just how much he and his music had truly meant to them.

Years prior to that, I was at a club show in my hometown, where a member of the headlining band (who were not local, and who shall remain nameless) stepped up to the mic and said he and the rest of the band had spent much of the day driving around, checking out our fair city. The audience cheered at this…but then this guy sneered and went on, “What a [bleep]-hole! Take my advice and get out of here as soon as you possibly can.” Pretty funny, yeah, but also horribly rude. Whether he meant it or not (I got the feeling he really did), the comment always stuck in my memory.

My only point in relating all of these seemingly random anecdotes is to say that the inspiration for Fear and Laundry came, as it does for all stories, from all over the place and over the course of many years. The book is peppered with tributes to cultural influences that, for better or worse, helped to shape (warp?) my young mind. It is a love letter to the nineties as I remember them, and to many of my teen self’s favorite things.

A grainy photo of me as a teen, sitting in front of a sculpture of my high school’s mascot. My plaid shirt proves it’s the 90s :). Pretty sure I’m wearing my Nightmare Before Christmas wristwatch from Burger King (which I still have), too. I wish it still worked!

As the ten-year anniversary of the book approached, Steve and I started talking about celebrating it in some way, maybe with a special re-release. Because what says punk rock and DIY better than a 24-karat gold-plated edition, amiright?!

Okay, so maybe that was just an April Fool’s Day joke.

(The digital two-book set is a real thing, though, and includes all-new inner artwork created by Steve. These are his interpretations of some of the fliers, t-shirts, and other ephemera described in the text. Speaking of which, I resisted the temptation to revise the text of Fear and Laundry again [I’d already done that once, in 2013], so, yes, both the book and its follow-up contain rough edges. But they are stories about punk and DIY, y’all—the form fits the content 😉!)

What is no joke to me is how humbled and grateful I am to still be here ten years later, still writing, and knowing that — unlikely as it might seem to me—people continue to read about Veronica Montez and her pals.

If you are one of the kind readers who has ever offered your time and attention to these books…Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Fear and Laundry 1 & 2 may not be autobiographical, but they’ve allowed me to share bits and pieces of my own story. Believe me, I don’t take that for granted.

Teen moi again, looking rather pleased.

Now I can rest easy knowing that, now and forever, there will be at least one book out there about an odd little teenage girl growing up in West Texas who likes horror movies and rock music and hangs out at a laundromat with her friends. Whew. Just what the world always needed, I’m sure 😉!

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Myles

Yesterday’s Demon

Hi y’all!

I hope this finds you all healthy and doing well. Just wanted to drop in for a second and let you know that my latest e-book, Yesterday’s Demon, is now available for download on Amazon. Get it for a limited time for only 99 cents (Or you can read it for FREE with your Kindle Unlimited Subscription)!

Here’s the cover by Victoria Cooper Art. Isn’t it gorgeous?!

She’s got a talking dog, a magic rock, a supernatural mystery to solve, and a hot friend determined to make her his.
Can an ex-vampire girl find love and redemption after more than nine centuries of iniquity…or will her dark secret doom everything she’s ever longed for?

Technically, this is The Sharpest Kiss book 3. I hadn’t intended to write another full-length installment in this series, but after finishing Back to Bite You, I started to think it might be fun to make books 1 and 2 available together in a boxed set, and to include one or two short stories in the set as “bonus content.”

Well, the first “short story” I wrote quickly turned into a novel, so…I decided to release it on its own instead. You can read the full blurb on my official website here and enjoy a free preview of the book here.

While Yesterday’s Demon takes place after Back to Bite You (and many of the characters from the first two books appear in it), I have tried my best to make it enjoyable as a stand-alone story, meaning you should not have to read books 1 and 2 in order to follow its plot.

Content advisory: The main characters in this novel are younger than those in the first two books (late teens/early twenties), and the story contains only one or two mild curse words and some mild sensual content (plenty of kissing!) but no sex scenes and no gore. IMO, it has more of a YA feel to it than the other two books, and older teens might enjoy reading it. Just be advised that The Sharpest Kiss and Back to Bite You are both slightly more risqué than Yesterday’s Demon. So, if you are under eighteen, maybe wait to read those…or read at your own risk, lol! 🙂

I’m also excited to note that Yesterday’s Demon features the return of the band Blank Fiction from my first published novel, Fear and Laundry! Well…sort of!

Yesterday’s Demon features a band “named after” the “fictional band” in F & L. Meta enough for you ;)? Hard as it is for me to believe, Fear and Laundry will soon be ten years old, so in honor of its anniversary, I thought it’d be fun to reference that book, as well as to have my two fictional universes collide a little bit.

Because, um…

As with the first two books in The Sharpest Kiss series, I aimed for a lighthearted and humorous tone with this one, and my ultimate hope is that Yesterday’s Demon leaves you with a happy, uplifted feeling and a smile on your face. Hope you enjoy it!

Take care, and, as always, thank you so much for your support.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth

PS. I don’t know who made that Buffy gif. If it was you, lmk and I’ll credit you!

Pix. And a giveaway.

Hello out there. How’s everybody doing? Okay, I hope :).

Like most of you, I have been here at home for weeks now. Of course, for a writer, that isn’t necessarily all that different from the norm.

when-you-find-out-your-nomal-daily-lifestyle-is-called-quarantine-meme

My birthday was just over a week ago, and I made my favorite corn chip casserole again. The next night we ordered in a pizza. I also baked myself a cinnamon roll cake, one of my favorite desserts.

cinnamon roll cake

I know it doesn’t look like much, but it is really delicious :).

Steve got me these gorgeous multi-colored roses, and a friend sent me the postcards you can see in the picture. Aren’t they cute? The Twin Peaks one has a new home on my David Lynch shelf. Steve also got me an awesome David Lynch lapel pin for my collection.

(I guess I won’t be using that bag anytime soon, although I told Steve I can carry it around the house, like a little kid pretending I am going somewhere :)).

In book news, The Sharpest Kiss and Back to Bite You have all-new covers created by Victoria Cooper Art.

I think they are gorgeous, and I can’t wait to unveil the matching cover for book three, which will be published (most likely) later this summer. I have been working on it diligently, along with several other projects I’ve got in the pipeline.

In the meantime, I am giving away 100 electronic copies of The Sharpest Kiss on Goodreads. To enter, click below!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Sharpest Kiss by Elizabeth Myles

The Sharpest Kiss

by Elizabeth Myles

Giveaway ends May 24, 2020.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

I hope you’re all healthy and hanging in there. Sincerest best wishes,

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Two new novels, both available today.

Dear Readers,

Hi!

Yay, it’s October! Which means it’s that time again. Time for shorter days, cooler temperatures (in theory, anyway), and pumpkin spice everything.

Pumpkin donut

A yummy pumpkin donut I recently had from Dunkin Donuts. So good!

It’s also time, incidentally, for me to publish some new stuff!

My latest releases, The Sharpest Kiss, and Back to Bite You, are now available as e-books from Amazon.

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Yes, as you can see from the adorable covers (once again created by my awesome husband, Steve) they feature vampires. And romance. And donuts. And more romance!

This pair of short novels contain parts one and two of a complete story (although part one can be read as a stand-alone). They feature a cast of young characters (early to late twenties) living in the Houston suburbs when their normal, everyday existences are rudely intruded upon by a vicious member of the undead.

I don’t know about you, but I personally enjoy all different varieties of romance novels and vampire books (and donuts :)). These books in particular, I would characterize as “New Adult Paranormal Romantic Comedies,” or maybe “Romantic Horror Comedies.” They’re fun, light-hearted stories intended to be fairly quick reads, and which will hopefully entertain you, warm your heart, and leave a smile on your face.

If this sounds like something you might enjoy, I hope you’ll head over to my official website, elizabethmyles.com, and read the full blurb and an excerpt for The Sharpest Kiss. If you like what you read there, BOTH books are now available for purchase here and here, for the special, limited-time introductory price of only 99 cents each!

OR you can read them for FREE with your Kindle Unlimited subscription.

So, grab them today!

As always, thank you so much for your continued support of my creative endeavors. It means the world to me.

My sincerest best wishes (and a Happy October to you),

Elizabeth Myles

Friday Favorites – 05112018

The list of stuff I’ve been digging on lately. 🙂

1) X-Men

I’ve mentioned before my affinity for digital comics. Well, I’ve been reading a lot of X-Men books lately, at Steve’s suggestion. They’re one of his favorite titles.

I’d read a few X-Men books in the past, but lately I’ve been on more of a kick. Which is good, I guess, since we’ve got plenty of issues for me to choose from (the suggested reading order he wrote up for me me is quite lengthy. Ha.)

 

God Loves, Man Kills was the basis for the film X-Men 2, and Days of Future Past was the inspiration for the movie of the same title. I liked both movies, but I thought both books were even better!

Cyclops

My favorite X-Man, Cyclops

 

2)  This guest post on Becoming Minimalist, about gratitude:

This pretty much speaks for itself, so I’ll just leave the link here:

I liked this quote:

“Think of something in your life that you tend to take for granted. It can be as simple as running water or groceries in your fridge, or that you get to listen to music you enjoy or read books that inspire you. Now consider, for a moment, what your life would be like if you didn’t have it?

Especially at times when I find myself caught up in thinking about how something is not quite right—flight is delayed, garage door is broken—I remind myself to pause and think: Imagine life without this. It doesn’t mean I don’t ever want anything or wish for something to be better, but this simple exercise fills me with deep gratitude for the many amazing things that do fill my life, and it offers a helpful way to prioritize where I spend my emotional energy.”

 

3) Amazon giveaways

Last month, I hosted a couple of giveaways on Amazon. It was so much fun I knew I wanted to do it again, so for my birthday, I gave away a bunch of books. There were winners for everything but one copy of The Princess Diaries, so I’m re-listing it again :). Check it out here:

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: The Princess Diaries (Kindle Edition). https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/2a9c6dd164ae8cd6 NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of May 18, 2018 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules. (Claimed! :))

I’m also giving away a copy of The Lunar Chronicles coloring book, because I think it’s cool and I sort of wish I had one. Ha.

Lunar Chron coloring book

(I’ll post the giveaway link when Amazon sends it to me). (Edit: This giveaway was over so soon, I didn’t have time to post the link! Congrats to the winner :))

Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that anything I write is particularly similar to any of the stuff I’ve given away. These are just books I really like, by authors I think are talented. They can be counted as influences of mine, I suppose, and definitely as recommendations! 🙂

These giveaways have been a lot of fun for me, and I think I’ll probably continue to host a few throughout the rest of the year.

4) My birthday

I turned 41 last month!

It was great. 🙂

Steve and I usually like to celebrate one another’s birthdays all month long, so…we did a lot of stuff. We attended several screenings of some of my fave horror and sci-fi movies  (The Brood, Videodrome, Nightbreed) at The Alamo Drafthouse, and he also took me to see Jonathan Davis perform when he came through here on his solo tour! So fun. I’m excited for JD’s new album! Only a couple more weeks to go.

Jonathan Davis

JD and his band. Photo by Steve

On my actual birthday, we went out for breakfast doughnuts and then to see The Avengers: Infinity War, which of course was awesome.

 

Then we went out for my fave meal, pizza and beer for dinner (Because I am classy like that. Ha). I had a great time. Steve sent me these gorgeous multi-colored roses.

 

 

5) Chips and Cheese Chili Casserole

Okay, this is probably one of the easiest recipes ever, but it is so, SO GOOD. I always joke that I could probably eat a whole pan in one sitting. I like it so much, this is what I chose to make myself for my birthday meal (a few days before my actual birthday…like I said, we tend to stretch out the celebrations to an inordinate degree around here :)).

chili chips and cheese casserole ingredients

I think this casserole would be great for a pot-luck, particularly if you made it a day ahead because it tastes even better after it’s been sitting in the fridge all night.

chili chips casserole completed

Probably not the healthiest thing you could ever eat, but also not the worst for you. The recipe says it’s gluten-free and with all those beans, it’s got to be high in fiber, right? So there’s that!

chili chips casserole leftovers_1

This is pretty much all that is ever left over.

FWIW, the recipe says there are all sorts of different ways you can make this casserole, and I’m sure that is true, but…the first time I made it, I used (1) 15 oz. can of black beans, (1) 8 oz. can of tomato sauce and (1) 14.5 oz. can of Amy’s brand Medium Chili, and this combo was so tasty, I have never bothered to change it. I think ONE time I tried it with a different kind of vegetarian chili and I just didn’t like it as much, so…these are the ingredients I normally stick with. I also like to use Kraft Triple Cheddar “Creamy Melt with a touch of Philadelphia cream cheese” in this, because it adds more tartness and pairs well with the sour cream (I think). Try it and see!

5) Craft beer

I’m not sure how Steve and I initially got into drinking craft beer, but it’s become sort of a hobby for us. We’ve been lucky enough to visit a ton of breweries around the state, as well as a few in other places.

Recently we went to Family Business Brewing Company in Dripping Springs, which is co-owned by Jensen and Danneel Ackles. The name is a nod to “Supernatural” – “Saving people, hunting things…the family business.” 😀

 

Their IPA, Cosmic Cowboy, was so good! I’m not into this craft beer stuff enough to know all the ins and outs about every different style, but I do know what I like and I am definitely an IPA fan. The hoppier and more bitter, the better IMO.

The day after the Family Business tour, we did a 5K at the Rentsch Brewery in Georgetown, and their beers were really good, too. (This is the Double Dry-Hopped IPA, which was pretty amazing). The race was fun — nice weather for it!

rentsch beer

Pic by Steve

 

6) Concerts with my husband

There was a time in my twenties when I remember being really burned out on going to concerts. I’m not sure why, but they just didn’t hold much appeal for me anymore. Then Steve and I started going to more and more live shows again, and now I love them.

John 5

Last month we went to see John 5…and I took this blurry photo of him.

We’ve been lucky enough to see tons of bands perform over the years. This past week we saw Mastodon. They’re hugely talented and put on a fantastic show. This was especially cool because we’d made plans to see them twice before and both of those shows had ended up being canceled. They said they hadn’t played here in two years! So, yeah…it was great to finally catch them again.

Mastodon

Much better pic of Mastodon by Steve

Okay, I think that’s all I’ve got for now. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!!

XOXO,

Elizabeth

 

Birthday giveaways (part 2) :)

I’ll add each giveaway link to this post as it goes live over the next few days. Xo – Elizabeth

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See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: The Princess Diaries (Kindle Edition). https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/e9e4ce88f0cb151b NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Apr 30, 2018 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: The Abandon Trilogy: Abandon, Underworld and Awaken (Kindle Edition). https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/8234e49a9b4a4729 NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of May 3, 2018 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.  (This has now been claimed. Congratulations to the winner! :))

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: This Lullaby (Kindle Edition). https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/7d68fc163f1c6a43 NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of May 4, 2018 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules. (Claimed :))

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: The Gentleman’s Scandalous Bride: A Sweet & Clean Historical Romance (The Chase Brides Book 7) (Kindle Edition). https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/6c5882672f492fd6 NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of May 5, 2018 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules. (Claimed :))

No one won the Princess Diaries giveaway, so I’ve relisted it :).

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: The Princess Diaries (Kindle Edition). https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/4826d907485bed23 NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of May 8, 2018 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules. (Ended :))

(Kindle photo by Pexels)

Birthday giveaways :)

In honor of my birthday, which is this month, I’ve decided to give away some stuff :). Namely, popular books by some of my favorite YA authors (but there may be other things as well).

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If you’re in the US, head over to https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/e9e4ce88f0cb151b for a chance to win: The Princess Diaries (Kindle Edition). NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Apr 30, 2018 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.

(This giveaway has ended, thanks! :))

I’ll be listing other giveaways throughout the week, so check back if you’re interested. And as always, thanks so much for all of your support. It means the world!

Sincerely,

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Celebratory giveaways!

It’s official, The Real You has been out in the world for an entire year now!

I know; How did that happen?!

2017 Flew by SO QUICKLY.

But it was an incredible year.

20170210 cropped

A screen cap from February, 2017

Watching this little book truck along and find an audience over the past twelve months has been amazing. Thank you so much for buying and/or reading. Really. 🙂 🙂 🙂

To celebrate The Real You’s birthday, the follow-up e-novella, A Very Merry Carreen Halloween will be FREE all day tomorrow, Friday, January 12th.

There are also giveaways for paperback copies of Fear and Laundry and The Real You going on right now, over at Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Real You by Elizabeth Myles

The Real You

by Elizabeth Myles

Giveaway ends January 15, 2018.
See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

 

Enter Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Fear and Laundry by Elizabeth Myles

Fear and Laundry

by Elizabeth Myles

Giveaway ends January 15, 2018.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

These will likely be my last giveaways listed for a while, so if you’re interested in trying to win one of these stories in physical format, now is the time to pop on over and enter!

Good luck — and thanks again, you guys. You rock!

Sincerely,

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10212017 (General updates–plus a new book announcement!)

Since it’s been so long since I last updated, this is going to be a kind of long, rambl-y post…with lots of pictures :). I’ll do my best to keep it organized in some fashion, though.

Where to start?

The summer went by so fast!

Back in July Steve and I saw Matthew Sweet live. This was a dream come true for me and I sort of blubbered all through the show.

I know, how embarrassing :X.

I hadn’t expected to get that emotional but sheesh…so many of his songs just mean so much to me! Hearing them played live made me think about the past, and what a lonely and depressed teenager I was back then. It’s not an understatement to say music was one of the things that got me through those rough years, and some of Matthew Sweet’s albums in particular, helped me so much. So, yeah. That show was an a-m-a-z-i-n-g experience for me. I just wish the audience had been livelier. They just sat there–while I wanted to go nuts, lol :).

Matthew Sweet marquee

I also got to see Guns N Roses live again in September, in San Antonio. They put on a really great show, of course, and it was doubly wonderful because Steve and I were able to catch up with some old friends before the concert, too! Later in the month we saw The Descendents, one of Steve’s favorite bands, which was also a lot of fun.

In August, we continued with our 6pack 5K Beer Challenge and completed the course at the Southern Star Brewing Company in Conroe. This race benefited Toys for Tots. It was super fun, as all of these races have been. The breakfast tacos afterward were dee-licious, too!

Toward the end of August, Hurricane Harvey hit and everything went haywire. Or at least, that is what it sort of felt like down here in Houston! I’m thankful (very, very thankful) our home did not flood. We were without power for a couple of days, but that was it.

scrabble board

We played Scrabble by candlelight :).

It was heartbreaking to see so much damage all around us, though.

We have made some donations to relief charities and Steve and I will be raising money for the Houston Food Bank when we run the Aramco Houston Half Marathon for the tenth time this year. This is an organization that we have donated to and volunteered with many times in the past, and I think they are great. Here are some stats about their recovery efforts, from an email they sent me. (And if you’d like to read more about them and their ongoing work, please click here to go to their website!)

Houston is my home, it has a big piece of my heart, and I hope we can do at least a little something to help out around here.

karbach happy hour for hunger

A Rodeo Clown IPA from Karbach Brewing Co.’s “Happy Hour for Hunger” back in September — another fun event, and for a good cause!

At the same time, I know we are far from the only area to be devastated in one way or another, lately :(. There have been hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and that terrible shooting in Las Vegas, just to name a few.

I know bad things happen all the time but it really feels as though 2017 has been an especially tough year for a lot of people.

I’m not one to blog very much, either here or on social media, in general and honestly, lately it has been even harder for me to get motivated to do so. In the face of so much tragedy, what do you even say? Particularly when you are someone who spends a lot of her time writing (ostensibly) funny stuff. You can begin to question what you do, whether it is important at all, or a worthwhile contribution to the world. I think about this a lot anyway, but lately it has really been on my mind.

BUT…a couple weeks ago, Steve and I saw horror-comedy director Adam Green speak before a screening of Victor Crowley and he talked about this very topic. He said (and I’m totally paraphrasing here) that, in a way, it’s more important than ever to share a laugh together after something bad happens, because it reminds us that life isn’t all one thing.

There’s good and there’s bad, and getting our minds off the bad, even if it’s only for a short while, can be really helpful sometimes.

I think that makes sense. I know it’s true for me. A few years ago I had some health problems and was having to go to the doctor a lot, while they tried to determine what was wrong with me (it ended up being nothing too bad, thankfully). I was reading Meg Cabot’s Abandon series at the time and I remember being so grateful for the distraction. Her funny, happy books almost always put me in a good mood! I would love it if anything I wrote or did was ever able to lift someone’s spirits in a similar manner, even temporarily. That’s part of why I do what I do, to entertain and encourage, and it’s extremely humbling and fulfilling for me when someone does seem to get something worthwhile out of my work :).

So, um, I guess I’ll keep doing it. Particularly since I can’t seem to stop, anyway.

All of which leads me to…book news!

The Goodreads giveaway for The Real You ended on September 10th. There were almost 1500 entries all told, which is awesome! All of the books have long been packaged up and sent out, I just hadn’t gotten around to writing about it yet (big surprise). Thanks to everyone who entered! I had such a blast with this, I may just have to do another one again sometime soon ;).

And last but not least…I’ve written another thing.

a_very_merry_carreen_halloween_cover_v3

Adorable cover by Steve, once again :).

This is a short novella, about 33,000 words (130 pages) in length, and I hope to have it out soon. Very soon.

As in very, very soon.

You know, seeing as how it is set at Halloween and all..! 🙂

This story (which I’m so far referring to as a “Bonus Holiday Special”) takes place about 2+ years after the end of The Real You. It features Rourke, Dallas, and a bunch of other characters from The Real You, as well as Fear and Laundry and Fear and Laundry 2. I have no idea if anyone will be interested in reading this (and, really, that is true of everything I’ve ever written in my life), but I wrote it anyway because:

  • A) I like Rourke and Dallas, they wouldn’t leave my mind, and I wanted to write a little more about them.
  • B) I enjoy writing about holidays, and since Halloween is my favorite, I wanted to write a story set then.
  • C) And yeah, I wanted to put the characters in funny costumes and send them off to a haunted house :D. Why not, I ask you?

I hope at least some of y’all will check it out and get a kick out of it. I’ll post the release date as soon as I know what it is. (Edit: As of October 28th, 2017, A Very Merry Carreen Halloween is now available in the Amazon Kindle store :)).

‘Til then…thank you for reading this and take care, y’all!

With love and gratitude,

XOXO,

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Books #16 – 21

This post is part of my ongoing battle project to tame my TBR pile. As usual, all descriptions are from Amazon.

I’m way behind on making these updates, so although I have actually read about 55 books so far this year, this list only goes through #21 :(. Maybe someday I will catch up. Maybe.

For the record, July was not a very good month for me in terms of keeping my numbers under control. I bought seven new books and only read two old ones. Also, in June I used Overdrive for the first time and while I think this is an awesome service…well, let’s just say I can see how it is likely to throw a wrench into my plans to read my own books! Unless I can stay away from it for a while. To that end, I’ve vowed to only read books from my own collection throughout the month of August. Preferably stuff I’ve had since before the beginning of the year. That should help make up for July. Sort of. Wish me luck :)!

Now, on with the updates…

#16: Sweet Valley High #18: Head Over Heels, by Kate William

Bruce Patman and Regina Morrow in love? No one at Sweet Valley High can believe it. Regina is beautiful and shy, one of the nicest girls at school. Bruce is a real snob, and the only person he’s ever cared about is himself.

Jessica Wakefield figures the romance can’t last. She knows Bruce too well. She’s even willing to bet Lila Fowler that Bruce and Regina break up within two weeks. The stakes are high, and Jessica can’t afford to lose. If she has her way, Regina and Bruce won’t be happy for long.


This one was pretty cute. I really like Bruce with Regina. There’s just something about a hardened guy softening for a sweet girl :). Jessica tries to cause trouble, as usual, and Elizabeth tries to help everyone out. There were some really sweet moments between Elizabeth and Bruce in this, actually, including one where Elizabeth is so impressed by the changes in his behavior and attitude that she impulsively gives him a kiss on the cheek. It was really cute!

#17: Dancing Through Life: Steps of Courage and Conviction, by Candace Cameron

Candace Cameron Bure has grown up before our eyes and we’ve watched as she’s balanced life in Hollywood with her faith for many years. But that all reached new heights when she was given the opportunity to join the cast of Dancing With the Stars. Being on the show was one of her dreams come true; and with that dream came the opportunity to display her Christian faith in front of millions of people, through an intense season of stretching beyond her limits, and to run the race God gave her with joy and perseverance.

Join Candace as she reflects on the self-discovery that came through leaping out of her comfort zone. Go behind the scenes and experience the highs and lows, the roadblocks, and the personal victories. Hear straight from her heart on tough lessons learned about grace, rejection, perfectionism, disappointment, accountability, dealing with criticism, and more. Through God’s strength, and with the help of endless support from her family and friends, see how Candace stayed true to herself and publicly lived out her faith in Christ all the way to the finale.

How do you stand with conviction in your world? Where does your courage come from when faced with challenges? How do you live out your faith on a daily basis despite opposition? Your stage probably isn’t in Hollywood and the challenges you are facing may not be on live television, but they are no less real. Come along with Candace as she shares how she found the courage to stand with conviction on one of the largest platforms of her life.


I downloaded this for 99 cents back in 2015. Actually, I’ve gotten all three of Candace Cameron Bure’s books for 99 cents each, at some time or another. Not a bad deal! I’d only read one other one before this: Balancing It All. I liked that one because it was more autobiographical, describing her experience growing up as a child actress. This one was good, too, but it is about Dancing with the Stars and I don’t watch that show, nor have I ever even seen an episode of it! I think if you’re a big fan of DWTS (and don’t mind reading a lot about God) you’d probably enjoy the book a lot, as she really gives a detailed look from behind the scenes at how the show is run. Sounds pretty brutal!

The bulk of the book is about Candace’s experiences on the program, and how she tried to reconcile her religious beliefs with being part of a mainstream show sometimes known for “sexy” dances and tiny, potentially immodest costumes. Unsurprisingly, she received a lot of flak for participating in a secular show. Some of it seemed to me as though it might be rationalization (with her telling herself certain things were okay because she really wanted to continue being part of the show) but I suppose only she knows for certain. Regardless, it was an interesting read and gave me some things to think about.

#18: No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, by Glenn Greenwald

In May 2013, Glenn Greenwald set out for Hong Kong to meet an anonymous source who claimed to have astonishing evidence of pervasive government spying and insisted on communicating only through heavily encrypted channels. That source turned out to be the 29-year-old NSA contractor and whistle-blower Edward Snowden, and his revelations about the agency’s widespread, systemic overreach proved to be some of the most explosive and consequential news in recent history, triggering a fierce debate over national security and information privacy. As the arguments rage on and the government considers various proposals for reform, it is clear that we have yet to see the full impact of Snowden’s disclosures.

Now for the first time, Greenwald fits all the pieces together, recounting his high-intensity ten-day trip to Hong Kong, examining the broader implications of the surveillance detailed in his reporting for The Guardian, and revealing fresh information on the NSA’s unprecedented abuse of power with never-before-seen documents entrusted to him by Snowden himself.

Going beyond NSA specifics, Greenwald also takes on the establishment media, excoriating their habitual avoidance of adversarial reporting on the government and their failure to serve the interests of the people. Finally, he asks what it means both for individuals and for a nation’s political health when a government pries so invasively into the private lives of its citizens—and considers what safeguards and forms of oversight are necessary to protect democracy in the digital age. Coming at a landmark moment in American history, No Place to Hide is a fearless, incisive, and essential contribution to our understanding of the U.S. surveillance state.


I really wanted to read this after watching Citizenfour and Snowden, and I was psyched when it went on sale for $2.99. Glad I got it; it was super interesting and I read it really fast. Although that may have had something to do with the fact that the day I started it, I got stuck at the dealership, having about twenty different things done to my car. I was there for hours and had plenty of time to read! Anyway, I liked it a lot. It will make you paranoid, though, if you aren’t already. Although is it really paranoia if we really are being watched-? :O 😉

#19: Amethyst, by Lauren Royal

London, 1666: Amethyst Goldsmith makes dazzling jewelry, but her future isn’t nearly as bright as the pieces she creates. Though custom dictates she wed her father’s apprentice, her heart rebels against the match. In mere days Amy will be condemned to a stifling, loveless marriage, and she sees no way out–until the devastating fire of 1666 sweeps through London, and tragedy lands her in the arms of a dashing nobleman who knows a diamond in the rough when he sees it…

Colin Chase, the Earl of Greystone, has his future all figured out. He’s restoring his crumbling castle and estate to its former glory, and the key to its completion is his rich bride-to-be. But the Great Fire lays waste to his plans, saddling him with trouble–in the form of a lowly shopkeeper’s daughter with whom he’s most inconveniently falling in love…


I’ve wanted to start this series for a while and I’m happy I finally did. This was quite cute. Felt a little too long toward the end, and the H had a strange personality quirk of liking to play odd pranks/practical jokes on people (they weren’t very funny) but aside from that I have no complaints!

Quote:

“…what he felt for her had nothing to do with wealth or position, and everything to do with the way just looking at her made the blood course through his veins. His need for her was illogical, emotional…Dangerous. It didn’t bear thinking about.”

#20: A Million Little Ways, by Emily P. Freeman

The majority of us would not necessarily define ourselves as artists. We’re parents, students, businesspeople, friends. We’re working hard, trying to make ends meet, and often longing for a little more–more time, more love, more security, more of a sense that there is more out there. The truth? We need not look around so much. God is within us and he wants to shine through us in a million little ways.

A Million Little Ways uncovers the creative, personal imprint of God on every individual. It invites the discouraged parent, the bored Christian, the exhausted executive to look at their lives differently by approaching their critics, their jobs, and the kids around their table the same way an artist approaches the canvas–with wonder, bravery, and hope. In her gentle, compelling style, Emily Freeman encourages readers to turn down the volume on their inner critic and move into the world with the courage to be who they most deeply are. She invites regular people to see the artistic potential in words, gestures, attitudes, and relationships. Readers will discover the art in a quiet word, a hot dinner, a made bed, a grace-filled glance, and a million other ways of showing God to the world through the simple human acts of listening, waiting, creating, and showing up.


Oh my gosh, this was so good! Freeman’s sort of flowery/poetic writing style took me a while to get into (and there were points where I didn’t really even know what she was saying, tbh) but overall, the message was great and I loved it.

It was hard to pick just one quote (I high-lighted SO much in this book) but here’s one:

“Instead of setting off on a journey to find your art, consider staying right where you are to uncover your art. Like the tree with roots crawling deep into the ground, God has already done the work of putting his art within you. I believe he’s asking us to do the work of uncovering what is already true and trusting him to release it for his glory and the benefit of others.”

#21: Once Upon A Bride, by various authors

Six captivating novellas from six New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors!

Fall in love with six grooms-to-be as you escape to medieval Scotland, 17th century England, 19th century America, Georgian London and the high seas. These steamy, seductive stories will warm your heart!

THE HANDFASTING by Glynnis Campbell
The Highlands, Scotland, 1199: When Sir Noel de Ware claims his betrothed—the most beautiful heiress in the Highlands—he’s sure he’s getting the best gift ever…until he discovers he’s wedded and bedded the wrong sister. Spirited Ysenda of Rivenloch never intended to be a counterfeit bride, and when she falls in love with her handsome husband, she becomes trapped in her own deception.

FOREVERMORE by Lauren Royal
England, 1667: Sensible Clarice Bradford is content in her widowhood. She has a pretty one-room cottage and a lovely little daughter, and the last thing she wants is another husband. Until one fairytale evening when she’s invited to a wedding at a castle…

FALL FROM GRACE by Jill Barnett
Scottish Highlands, 17th Century: The Clan McNish is left starving by their bitter rivals, the McNabs. Granddaughter to the chieftain, Grace McNish, decides it’s her duty to capture and ransom a vile McNab. But she and her clan of misfits capture the wrong man, Colin Campbell, Earl of Argyll and Lord of the Isles, who holds her clan’s fate in his powerful hands.

HEART OF FRAGILE STARS by Cynthia Wright
Georgian London and the High Seas: Dashing French pirate Jean-Philippe Beauvisage revels in his life of freedom…until the night at a ball in Georgian London, when a Russian beauty steals his heart. The instant attraction he feels for recently-orphaned Antonia is soul-deep, but she is bound for America with an arrogant captain.

THE FOUR-LEAF CLOVER by Cheryl Bolen
Missouri, 1870: The wealthiest man in Peace, Missouri, Norman Sterling can’t believe his good fortune when the beauty he worshiped from afar years ago moves to his town. At their Fourth of July picnic, he blurts out a proposal to Millie Gresham—and to his profound surprise, she accepts. But can she ever win his love?

A WINTER HEART by Annette Blair
Ohio, 1873: Hannah Peachy has nurtured a winter heart since she lost her family. Caleb Skylar struggles with the horror of his wife’s drowning. When Caleb aimlessly pulls up stakes and leaves his home behind, the spirit of Hannah’s earthbound twin leads him straight to Hannah. But how can two guilty souls accept love as a reward for their transgressions? A Sensual Amish Historical Romance.


This was such a great bargain at 99 cents!

I bought it because I wanted to read “Forevermore,” by Lauren Royal. That alone would have been more than worth the price, but I got 5 other stories out of it, so I’m happy. Especially since I liked all of them, and I LOVED the first story, “The Handfasting” by Glynnis Campbell. It was so cute and perfect. I looked her up and she’s got some free books available, which is nice except…it means I’ll probably end up with more books soon. Yeah, just what I need :/!

Cute quote: 

“’Ye know I’m your protector now.’ Indeed, he was surprised by just how fiercely protective he felt. “If anyone touches ye, he’ll have to answer to me.’

Her eyes went all soft and dewy when he said that. But he was serious.”

(from The Handfasting, by Glynnis Campbell)

‘Til next time, y’all!

XOXO,

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