Chocolate Books Tag

Okay, you can have some chocolate, Machete Diplomacy and Apprentice, Never Master. Welcome to the Chocolate Book Tag, created by A Daydreamer’s Ramblings over on YouTube.

Animals murder. Ants ruin all.

Dark Chocolatea book that covers dark things.

Mort(e) by Robert Repino. I am not a fan of dark chocolate unless it is tempered by peanut butter or is poured on top of ice cream, which made Mort(e) difficult to get through. Mort(e) is painful. Know a difficult dark concept? It’s probably here. War, death, religion, friendship, faith, hopelessness, revenge – all explored through mutated no longer adorable animals. There is no humor despite the absurdity of the setting. Violence, death, and prejudice are everywhere. For me, there is too much bitter and not enough sweet. I am glad it is on my shelves, but this is 98% bitter cacao – be prepared.

Where the banter never stops.

White Chocolatea favorite light-hearted read.

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire. So I adore white chocolate and thus in picking a white chocolate book, decided to go as far into light-hearted as I could get. The Incryptid series is good fun. Sass, snark, ballroom dancing, and a whole host of “monsters” keep this book light hearted and fun. My favorite parts are the religious mice. “ALL HAIL THE SHOWER.” Yeah, I recommend this if you enjoy laughing. Just, read it for the Aeslin mice. Seriously.

Milk Chocolate – a book with a lot of hype right that you’re dying to read.

Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie. Not a big fan of milk chocolate. I dislike hype, and if I like something with hype, then I’ve read it already. Because patience with chocolate is not one of my virtues. However, this book is not out yet, so it is safe. I greatly enjoyed the first two books in this series and the first book won or was nominated for numerous awards. I can’t wait to see where this exploration goes. You have until October 6th to go read the first two. Or, if you have willpower – wait, then read them all at once.

 Chocolate with a Caramel Centera book that made you feel all warm and gooey on the inside.

The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson. I love everything about this book. I left this book delighted and full of love for artists everywhere. Read it. Read it read it. Highly recommended.

A Wafer-free Kit-Kata book that surprised you recently.

Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant. I rarely read horror, but after reading and enjoying Feed, I thought I would venture into more of Mira Grant’s brand of scary. I adored the first 75% of Rolling in the Deep and was properly concerned about the immanent monster attack. Then the monster showed up and I burst out laughing. For me, this was still a great read, but it stopped being a horror novel. It became… gory hilarity. I loved this book, but not for the common reasons. Much like biting into a Kit-Kat and finding salted caramel instead of wafers – an unexpected twist.

Snickersa book you’re going NUTS about currently.

One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron.

YAY! Please look into the box of chocolate for more on this delightful delicious book.

Hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows – a favorite comfort read.

In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce. I have read the Song of the Lioness quartet so many times I have worn out a copy of the series. I have travel copies, and signed copies, and copies held together with tape. Despite having the books practically memorized, I come back to them again and again because they are my safety blanket.


A box of chocolate – a series that has a bit of everything and a lot of people would really really like it.

The Heartstrikers Series by Rachel Aaron. Every person to whom I have recommended this series adored it. I love Rachel Aaron and describe her fantasy as FUN. The Heartstrikers series is urban fantasy and I was sold on the concept when I heard the inspiration: criminal family made of dragons. It delivers on the premise. Nice dragons, clever dragons, ghost cats, magicians, and spirits. Family drama, magic drama, magic swords, magic eating terrors! Everyone will find something in this box of chocolates. Nice Dragons Finish Last is out in both e-book and paper format, and the second book, One Good Dragon Deserves Another, just came out in e-book format. I devoured it in a day and was quite happy with the direction the series was heading, which promises more chocolate in the future.

Go. Go and enjoy. *throws chocolate to the crowd* You need this chaos in your life.

If anyone wants to reply, I will never say no to chocolate. 🙂



Book Blogger TMI Tag

I’m it. Time to answer questions about my reading habits. Books? I love books. Wait, this first question is not about books.

How old are you?
I am old enough to purchase bladed weapons. This is all that truly matters. Excuse me while I go polish my rapier.

What book are you reading?
You meant books, right? The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles de Lint and illustrated by Charles Vess, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, Bloody Fabulous an anthology edited by Ekaterina Sedia, and Hauntings an anthology edited by Ellen Datlow. Books, you can’t try just one.

What are you wearing?
A highwayman’s dark coat, boots, and breeches. A cream-colored shirt with lace at the cuff and collar. Top that off with a cavalier’s hat with obnoxiously long feather. We ride at dawn.

Alanna and George from Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness Quartet. They were my first OTP and the one I am the most sentimental about.

Blogger or WordPress?
Is this a trick question?

Going outside being active or staying in and reading a book?
If I am by myself, I stay inside and read or go outside and read. If I have a friend with me, I go outside and walk, hike, run, play, dance, or frolic. I enjoy going outside and being active, just not alone.

What is the last book you read?
Of the current books I’m perusing, the last one I’ve read is Bloody Fabulous. The anthology is a collection of fashion based fiction with supernatural elements. I now want a faery handbag.

What is the book you’re going to read next?
I am probably going to finish Bloody Fabulous then read more of The Cats of Tanglewood Forest because cats. Then start something new, then read more of an anthology, then go back to Ocean

Ebooks – yes or no?
Yes, in the case of books that I cannot find anywhere else. I have quite the collection of out of print gaming books on my computer. Otherwise no. I am quite attached to my printed words. They make great bludgeoning weapons and I do not have to fear damaging tech. Plus, books never need to charge.

Where do you prefer to read?
I prefer to read in a room with other people who are also reading and will not mind when I interrupt their concentration to read them that hilarious/crazy/emotional/inspiring line that is so amazing I must read it to them immediately.

Who is the last person you tweeted?
I attempted to hold a conversation with the sparrows outside my kitchen window, but my avian language skills are rusty.

Whose blog did you look at last?
I have three open at the moment. My own, Machete Diplomacy, and Apprentice, Never Master.

Who is your favorite blogger?
Matt the Werewolf is my favorite blogger. At the moment he only lives in a rough draft on a friend’s computer, but he and his family never fail to make me smile.

Who is your favorite book-tuber?
My favorite sentient underground plant based book is Jemima Elise Angelica Otatop. She is a wonderful sweet potato book-tuber whose orange pages continually fill with quotations from classical literature. Clearly I understood this question.

What do you do when someone tells you reading is boring?
I turn on this song and dance to it. Then I go back to reading.

Who is the last author you spoke to?
Patrick Rothfuss. I made a fool of myself. It was awesome.

Who is the last person you texted?
My mother. It said, “No lasagna.”

Who is your all-time favorite book character?
Ninety percent of the time if I do not love a character in it, I do not love the book. Trying to choose among characters for the title of all time champion is impossible. However, I can host a yearly tournament and the current champions are Alanna the Lioness and Lord Miles Vorkosigan of Barrayar.

Alanna is exactly who I wanted to be when I was ten or so and desperately wanted to be a knight and have adventures and magic and a talking cat. She does not let others define her and I adore her for it.

Miles is a brilliant hyperactive force of chaos. He is the main character in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga and I love him for his manic mind, his overdramatic mein, his doubt, and his drive to prove himself. I best love Miles in the book Memory which has the description “Miles hits thirty. Thirty hits back.”

Previous holders of the title include Aragorn son of Arathorn, Drizzt Do’Urden, Sulien ap Gwien, and Honor Harrington.

United Kingdom YA or United States YA?
I have no clue what the cultural identity of my young adult fiction is. I’ll have to ask it, but I don’t judge. If it is well written, I don’t care which slang they use.

What is your preferred drink whilst reading?
Water because I’m not missing out on flavor. I get lost in books and thus would not appreciate a delicious beverage while reading. Also, if I stay hydrated I can read longer.

If you hated reading, what would you be doing instead?
I would be a cat and I would lay on all materials attempting to be read by others.

How many bookshelves / bookcases do you have?
Well, I have six cases in various sizes that are specifically designed for holding books. I love them dearly and they make me happy in my heart place, but I think this question is a little misleading. My floor has been an excellent place to store books. As has every other flat surface that has ever been in my presence.Bookshelves Bookshmelves

If you had the choice to meet all of your favorite book bloggers or all of your favorite authors, which would you pick? You can only pick one.
Bloggers. Quite a few of my favorite book bloggers are also authors whose work I enjoy so only picking one is no problem at all.

Insta-love: yes or no?
Totally. I mean, adding water and then BOOM instant potatoes. What’s not to love? Oh wait, did you mean people? Like… believe in people having instant love? No. I believe in crazy meters. You may have a sense that your crazy is compatible with their crazy, but it always takes time to figure out if it is a kind of crazy that will last through years of shenanigans.

Favorite author?
Did we learn nothing back at the favorite character question? The current champions in this tourney are Rachel Aaron and Patrick Rothfuss. I adore Rachel Aaron because she lured me into a realm of happy fun fantasy and then walloped me over the head with epicness. I have reviewed them, here, here, here, and here.

Patrick Rothfuss has a control of language that I envy and adore. His prose is as close to music as you can get before crossing into poetry. His sheer mastery of language is reason enough for him to hold the title of champion, but then there is the plum bob scene in The Wise Man’s Fear. I fell out of my chair laughing. My friends seemed concerned by this behavior, so I read the scene to them in explanation. They understood.

What is the number-one book on your wishlist?
Honor’s Knight by Rachel Bach which is being released on February 25th. It is the sequel to Fortune’s Pawn and as that book ended with a cliff-hanger I want the next one soonest. There is a small crew of interesting people on a spaceship having adventures involving aliens, secrets, romance, and much fighting in space armor. More please.
Fun fact, Rachel Aaron and Rachel Bach are the same person.

Do you prefer books with female or male protagonists?
I like stories about people who follow their own code, face overwhelming opposition, and win through the day with a smile and a witty one liner. I like people who try to help, mess that up, try to fix it, mess that up, and go on to be better people for it. I like people who make me care, who make me cry, who make me laugh, and who make me hope they get a happy ending. I could care less about their plumbing.

Which is your favourite book-to-film adaption?
Disney’s 1993 adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’s The Three Musketeers. They are not similar, but both of them make me so very happy. The book has four men having a picnic in a war zone and convincing the opposing army that they are a full contingent of soldiers. The movie has a number of one-liners that I quote often and Tim Curry as Cardinal Richelieu.

What is the last song you listened to?

Which do you enjoy reading more – negative reviews or positive reviews?
Humorous reviews. I don’t often read reviews of other people’s work. For my own work I prefer critical critiques with encouragement to improve and the occasional smiley face.

Who are you going to tag?
You! Tag. You’re it. No tag backs.


The center is a gold table with chairs. Any other way I drew chairs made it look like a sun.

The center is a gold table with chairs. Any other way I drew chairs made it look like a sun.

I must thank “Prompts for the Promptless” for teaching me the word “Gezelligheid”. Now when people ask me what my plans are I have a one word answer. When the hapless questioner tilts their head and asks me “What is that?”, “Is that a company?”, “Bless you?” I shall simply smile and change the conversation. If they persist I shall direct them here.

Gezelligheid is a Dutch noun meaning the comfort and coziness of being at home, with friends, with loved ones or general togetherness.

In 90% of cases, for me, this involves a table. My parent’s kitchen table. Crossbow’s game room table. A round table in a cafeteria that can fit n+1 chairs. A battered $10 extendable table that graced an apartment I shared with a dear friend. So many things happen around tables that are not exciting. They don’t make for any sensible kind of story. But the experiences and the feeling mean more to me than that one ring meant to that flaming floating eyeball. Group efforts at solving crosswords. Pictionary, Pinochle, or Pandemic. Putting up the “Mitchell screen” and swinging imaginary swords at mythical monsters. Cat nukes. Building a fort under the table so to banish work stress and ignore rain. Lingering in a cafeteria until the staff turn out the lights on the group of you singing Disney songs, and talking about anything, everything, and nonsense, because Gezelligheid is so thick in the air that it is simply unbearable to consider leaving to go do homework.

Head Full of Characters Part III

In direct response to Into the Character Lounge Part III. Probably best to read them side by side. With a special guest visiting from another author’s head…


Scotty: [grabbing a tankard and hoisting it into the air] All together now!

{to the tune of Ten Thousand Miles Away}

Sing ho for a fast and a fearless lass

Who sailed just as she pleased

She’s five foot two, can out drink you,

And terrorized the seas

She terrorized the seas, me lads

From Rampton to Khallais

Only one other ship could make that trip

And make Sevael pay



She burned the gallows down, she burned the gallows down,

They couldn’t bring Sevael round, she burned the gallows down,

They put the noose around her neck and it all went up in flame

The Scorpion was dangerous

The Scorpion skipped free

But the privateers caught up to her out on the open sea

Out on the open sea, me lads

And though she fired away

The privateers fought cannily and brought Sevael to bay


Oh it was a winter’s morning

When they brought Sevael to hang

She’d a glint in er eye, let the curses fly

Though it all seemed in vain

Aye, it all seemed in vain, me lads

But Sevael they could not tame

They put that noose around her neck and all went up in flame


Well no one knows what happened

In Port Khallais that day

All we know for sure is that

Sevael got away

Yes, she got away, me lads

And back to the rolling seas

She’ll find her prey among the ocean spray

And that’s the last I’ll say


Tybalt: I sincerely hope the other authoress is okay. I mean, that just does not sound like a pleasant realm of the internet.

Scotty: [takes a break during the chorus] Considering I wrote the dang thing, I know for certain it has never appeared on the internet before.

Tybalt: And if I ever get proof you had something to do with this, I will… it will be terrible.

Scotty: [grins]


All: [look at each other in shocked silence and mostly decide that maybe their authoress is not that bad]

Kypri: [slowly] It’s kinda hard to trick death if you’re already dead. So, don’t give up on running. I mean, at least if you’re having some fun along the way.


Jess: Never let the boyfriends in the same room!

Me: I do not want to even contemplate the number of different boyfriends you’ve had in your existence. Let alone what they would do if locked in the same room.

Jess: Thankfully most of them don’t live here.

Me: True. That is someone else’s headache. [considers Tybalt and Tyrell]

Tybalt: He’d be nothing without me.

Tyrell: You’re an elf with super powers, a pansy, and a fop. I am quite happy to have ditched the first two epithets, and am working on the third.

Tybalt: Our love of clothing endures.

Tyrell: You are the immature actor brother I have never had.

Tybalt: [swirls his cape]


All: [turn to Jess. The number of raised eyebrow is truly staggering]

Edan*: [looks at Terius’ retreating back and Jess’ face before quickly stepping between the two of them] My Lord Terius, I hope that title isn’t insulting, but we know so little of your waters and lands. Your crew and friends are still somewhat interested in interacting with we crazed land born sailors at least if Zain blaring music is anything to go by. Jess, hold your tongue for two more minutes, please. I purpose a fight where the two of you can beat each other bloody with blunt weapons. The rest of us can have fun with the bets and then separate you for the rest of the party. If we’re lucky you might be friends by the end of it, especially if we can get the two of you drinking. [Edan smiles and hopes the two iron headed Captains don’t turn on him instead]

Tyrell: [aside to Jess while Edan talks] You are never allowed in my board room.

Jess: [muttered] So I wasn’t the most diplomatic…

Tybalt: Jess, Edan just jumped in from another author’s head to salvage this. What do you think of his idea?

Jess: [sighs] To respond to the points in order, starting with before Edan jumped in. One, I did not mean to trivialize your troubles. I know everyone has them, I simply took issue with your tone when answering my questions. I don’t know your water, the good or the ill, and was simply trying to get my bearings.

Tybalt: And she has authority issues.

Jess: [glares at Tybalt but shrugs her confirmation]

Kypri: As to calling her weak…. that gets complicated. Jess is Jess. Other labels are kind of like trying to rename a common object. Water is water. You can add descriptors, but calling it sugar doesn’t make it taste any sweeter. Nor does calling Jess a pirate change who or what she is. [just in case he has irritated anyone, Kypri turns into an otter and looks adorable]

Jess: The fluffy thing has a point. I get the feeling that our respective culture differ too much for an accurate translation.

Anthony: Which means what, Captain?

Jess: [after a rueful glance at her first mate] It means I’m sorry for insulting you, my lord. [gives a respectful tip of her hat] I also apologize for losing my temper. I shant let it happen again. At this point clearing the air with a decent fight and a pint sounds like a good plan to me. [waits for Terius’s response]

Kypri: [turns back into a man] Okay! Party planning! Kirt, you take the bets so the serious people can have a drink and grudgingly make peace so that the rest of us can have some fun without worrying about them. Let us pelt one and all with marshmellows, peeps, and quippy one liners. [motions to Zain to follow his lead, and saunters out of Jess’s sight] I have noticed that people often carry keys, shiny stones, flint, and other useful and interesting things in their pockets…

Tyrell: [watches Kypri walk off] That cannot be a good thing.

Tybalt: Probably not, but it will sure be entertaining.

Me: [with a hand on my forehead] Are we having a mind spanning party, are we meeting in neutral ground? Does such a thing exist? When did FliptheOtter decide to let Edan come join in the party? Am I even allowed to have other characters in my post. I mean, Edan doesn’t belong to me…

Tybalt: [hands Me a large tankard filled with black cherry soda] Don’t think about it too hard.


*Edan is a character who belongs to my friend over at thegateinthewoods. He is one of the few people who can corral Jess. I have the author’s permission to post his speech here. Life gets complicated when the characters start talking…

Head Full of Characters Part II

So they kept talking. This time about Zain.


Tybalt: I want a holiday.

Jess: You have a cult of celebrity, why do you need a holiday? Plus your nation is really weird anyway.

Tybalt: [shrugs] I guess I should just throw another party.

Jess: You do that.


Me: I sound really similar to Zain.

Characters En Mass: No really?

Jess: Wasn’t running around waving your arms your exact reaction to finishing that book series? Then gushing to all your friends?

Me: I think I could be trusted with my own holiday.

Tybalt: Would you trust Kypri with his own holiday?

Me: Hmmm. No.

Jess: And do you know how to pick locks? No. You don’t. Kypri does.

Me: Zain and I are still really similar.

Tybalt: Yes. Okay, you are.


Everyone turns to look at Kypri.

Kypri: [false innocent look] What?

Jess: How’s the plan on stealing Terrin and Edan going?

Kypri: What makes you think I was stealing anyone?

Jess: [smirk] Because you also collect iron willed individuals.

Kypri: They always have the most interesting things in their pockets…


Kypri: SEE! And they always have the best reactions.

Tybalt: You mean they always get angry.

Kypri: Anger is funny.

Jess: [sigh] And this is why you are cute. Because otherwise you would be dead.


Kypri: Clearly you have not adequately realized how many spaces a small adorable mammal can go that a full sized man cannot. Also, bubbles are awesome.


Tybalt and Kypri applaud.


Kypri: Only best friends can get away with tying you up. It would mean I would have to stop moving.

Jess: I believe they also knocked him unconscious.

Kypri: See best friends. [considers] I should probably clarify that I meant dense about love. Because all the iron willed individuals I know can never admit that they actually like or deserve another person’s affection. They never act on it because they are generally the best people ever. Thus those of us who not nearly as noble and silent have to get the iron willed to go on dates. [nods]


Tybalt: Does this mean that you and Kypri are rapscallion idiots who shout a lot?

Me: Yes.

Kypri: I like him. In fact I like all these people.

Jess: I could like these people.

Tybalt: You’re just cranky because you and Terius are rather similar, except he appears to have more agency and his own island.

Jess: [grumbles] I have my own island.

Tybalt: So do I. You however have to purchase your title of nobility, unlike myself and Terius. You also have issues with anyone who has authority, especially naval authority. So basically you and Terius need to fight, respect each other grudgingly, and then eventually become friends.

Jess: I am not sobbing out a back story to explain all that.

Tybalt: Suit yourself. I’m going to go purchase victuals for the party.

Head Full of Characters Part I

My characters have been talking loudly about the Character Lounge Gwendoogles over on Apprentice Never Master. This is the result.


Tybalt: [looks at the odd letter and points at the initial italics] What’s schizophrenia?

Jess: [wryly] Some people seem to find our existence disturbing. For whatever reason when it is written down, they don’t worry as much.


Tybalt: You people need an upgrade. [looks around at the two story wood and glass hangout with multiple conversation pits] We have pillows and private hideaways.

Tyrell: Don’t forget the deck out onto the seashore.


Jess: They don’t get to go outside!!! [splutters and fumes]

Alisha: Calm down. They can sneak out. Authoresses are notoriously distractible.

Tybalt: It’s highly likely their author simply doesn’t notice.

Me: [nods in agreement] They could be ninjas. Plus, it isn’t like that here.

Tybalt: Like we’d let you.

Me: Fair point. We don’t really have doors, mainly archways.


[Tybalt and Tyrell look at each other]

Tybalt: There is a reason you do not have a ship.

Tyrell: You only need four hours of sleep. That’s cheating.


Jess: [scowls at Galen and Terius]

[Alisha goes toward Jess, and Tybalt shakes his head. Tyrell brings Jess a glass of water. Everyone backs slowly away.]

Jess: [takes a sip of water and lets out a deep breath] Let’s get some things strait. Where I’m from there is no unified group of people who lives solely from the sea and shore. The land nations around my water have what are known as navies. A navy is a group of ships run by a land country to control the nearby water and protect national merchant men.

[leans back in her chair] Pirate is the name given to any ship or group of ships that Navies don’t like. As to being romantics – you are a group of people living on the sea, apparently without a group of wealthy bigoted lubbers trying to kill you and hoarding all the best supplies. Your life IS romantic, you lucky sons of sea spray.

In your world terms, everyone in my world is a clan and ‘pirate’ is the name given to the group who doesn’t call any particular land home. Makes it hard to get supplies.


Characters in Unison: Hello Brance.


Tybalt: [laughs] That’s what I get for projecting.

Alisha: No really, Mister, blue hair, blue and green eyes, blue magic, and blue blood?

Scotty: Lightning can be blue. I think that may have been a theme.

Jess: Did Scotty just attempt to make sense?


Tyrell: [grins slowly] Brance if we spend an hour talking, you will figure out your views on right and wrong because I am an anti hero.

Jess: Which makes the rest of us want to bash him with belaying pins.

Tyrell: You have a naturally violent nature.

Jess: And you look so cute when you’re injured. [nasty grin]

Tyrell: I am so glad we are not in the same world or time period.


Tyrell: Perhaps I should have said I would like to replace Rucker, because he stepped over a line. I want to help and I may have the ability to actually influence people….

Jess: Wouldn’t that put you back in the heroic category.

Tyrell: [glares at Jess] Forget I said anything.


Me: Gwen, we may have a problem. My characters have started stocking beverages and are trying to decide whether to host this party on a private island, or just throwing open the character lounge.

Tybalt: Why don’t we just have it at my mansion?

Tyrell: Because your decorator used too much blue and we don’t need a ballroom.

Jess: We could throw a beach party.

Me: Help?

Favorite Names

A bunch of my friends put together lists of their favorite names so I jumped on the band wagon. I did not expect it to be so hard to whittle down a list of names.

Favorite Names by Letter



  • Athos, Aislynn, Alissa
  • Aramis, Alistair
  • Bree
  • Brenden, Bran
  • Cymbeline, Cameron, Cass
  • Cymbeline, Casey
  • Danae
  • Darian
  • Eleanor, Eneca
  • Elliot, Ezekiel
  • Fiona, Flynn
  • Flynn, Finnegan
  • Grace, Gwendolyn, Guenwhyvar
  • Garret, Gwain
  • Han, Honour
  • Hamish, Horace
  • Irene, Iris
  • Ian
  • Jess, Jessamyn, Jiltanith
  • James, Joss
  • Katernin, Kay, Kylie
  • Kay, Kirt, Kyprianu
  • Lark
  • Liam
  • Miranda, Mackenzie, Marian, Meredith
  • Magnus
  • Nan, Niniane
  • Nathaniel, Nimitz, Nealan
  • Odette
  • Owen, Owain
  • Paige
  • Patrick
  • Quell
  • Quinn
  • Rosalind, Roz, Ryan
  • Richard, Rafe, Robin
  • Sabine
  • Shane, Scotty, Shay
  • Tess, Tatterdemalion, Tanni
  • Ty, Tybalt
  • Uliana
  • Ulric
  • Viola
  • Val
  • West, Wren
  • West, Whedon
  • Xan
  • Xavier
  • Yseult
  • Yuri
  • Zepporah
  • Zane, Zeke


Driving Lessons

My dad took me out in our automatic smooth ride of a car to teach me to drive. Only a few lessons under my belt and terrified of losing control of a two ton pedestrian crushing missile, I positioned my hands at ten and two and started the drive around the neighborhood. One misunderstood direction at the end of lesson led to me taking a left turn at around sixty miles per hour. My dad laughed and opened his mouth to speak.

“No,” I said, not quite snapping, “Just hold on. We’re almost home.” My nerves were singing a tense chorus of “OH MY GOD’s”. We sat in silence for the two or three minutes it took to get home and safely parked. “I understand what I did wrong. I won’t do it again and I’m sorry.”

My dad smiled and decided to switch tactics. Instead of the automatic, my dad bought a rusty shell of a VW bug and took me out to a dirt lot where I felt every bump in the ground. I felt in control and fear fled from the dented bumpers. It took me two years to get my driver’s license, but I only got there thanks to the slow turns of that VW bug.

The first round of post graduation holiday chatter, “What are you going to do now?” threw me around a curve at sixty mile per hour. Sure, I had my diploma, but I didn’t know how to drive this thing? Lives are a lot more complicated than cars and if I was paralyzed after that driving lesson, then I turned to stone after all of the well meaning questions that Christmas.

So when my friend Flip got a job near Baltimore and needed a roommate, I went. It’s been six months and I am so thankful for this period of driving slowly through the streets of my own life. I’ve conquered hurdles of adulthood such as bills, rent, home cooking, and cleaning with my best friend. Now “the A word”, as a friend of mine calls Adulthood, doesn’t scare me. Challenge me, yes.

I think I’m ready to face the open road as long as I have friends and family in the passenger seats.


November II

National Novel Writing Month

I am a few thousand words behind in my quest to create something that I will get to keep on my bookshelves. Random sporadic updates have been mentioned – this shall be the only one for November as I am busy writing a book instead of recommending, discussing, and blogging about them. Now back to the drafting table!


Her service wrenched the heart. Such a proper, helpful woman, to be cruelly cast away even if just for a month. I decorated her cottage with flowers, brought her the elements of style, and ignored the tears in her eyes as she asked me why. Why was I bricking up the doors and windows?

It’s November, I replied.

I can help you get through this, she said. Have I ever let you down before?

Irish music, soft and sweet played in the background. It is not that you let me down, I told her. You are just too good at your job.

She had no answer to that, and I layered in the last line of bricks, I heard my inner editor weeping.

But this is National Novel Writing Month and there is no place for her here.