Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Trixi

Not a creature was stirring...
Trixi-Belle
Happy Christmas to all and to all a good-night!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Trixi Thursday

Vintage Holiday Trixi 2004
Holiday Trixi 2004

Vintage Holiday Trixi 2006
Holiday Trixi 2006

Holiday Trixi 2008
Holiday Trixi 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Books Are Great Gifts

I stumbled upon BooksAreGreatGifts.com yesterday and this video below. The video, produced by Random House, Inc., has authors and celebrities sharing why they feel books make great gifts.



From what I have seen, I think you still have a few days to order books online taking advantage of free shipping and/or other discount offerings and get them by Christmas.

If you need some ideas for great books, check out the Red River Writers' Christmas Event (RRW Christmas Exchange) on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=32917461597.

Character from Willow May

Holiday Specials on Totes, Journals and Printable Gift Tags

If still needing to do some holiday shopping check out the All Us All the Time Blog. They were running a 12 Day of Christmas Special and Day 12 is where you can take advantage of any of the previous 11 day specials which include free totes, journals, and magnets with purchase. Also they are giving away free printable gift tags that are adorable. The offer is good through 12/16.

If you are looking for some cute stocking stuffer, unique gifts, reusable gift bags, or package bling, check them out but you will need to get the promo codes from their blog.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Day 8 of Holiday Specials

RingmasterI particularly love today's special for the 12 Blog Postings of Christmas on the All Us All the Time blog. Purchase the Willow May Goes to the Midnight Carnival book from their site (it is even on sale!) and besides getting the free bookmark, button, book plate and character trading cards, if you order today, they will throw in a free Willow May tote. The great thing about the tote is no wrapping needed, you can just present the gift in the reusable adorable canvas tote. Hop on over to my site and print out some of the free coloring sheets to add in, throw in some crayons or markers and you are set with one neat gift. If to a child (because this book also makes a cool gift for adults who are fans of features like Nightmare Before Christmas and the Addams Family as well as enjoying to color, you know who they are), you could also include a coupon for a free reading, I suppose you could even include that if giving to an adult, it would depend on the recipient whether that would be awkward or not. You can visit the All Us All the Time Blog for the details and promotional code.

Also for more great book ideas check out the Red River Writers' Christmas Event (RRW Christmas Exchange) on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=32917461597.

Okay, I will stop with my special promotional announcement and let you get back to your normal Monday programming.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way

The Umbrella AcademyI know a graphic novel is good when I scratch my head on how to try to describe it. That is definitely the case with The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way (of My Chemical Romance) and illustrated by Gabriel Ba. I quite enjoyed it but not sure how to explain it, but I will give it a shot.

It starts with an atomic flying elbow and ends with making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You can already tell it is going to be good, right? Forty-three extraordinary children were simultaneously born to women who had no signs of pregnancy. Most of the children were either abandoned or adopted. Reginald Hargreeves, an eccentric rich inventory, took in seven of the children. When asked why, he only replied, “To save the world.”

The seven children were known as the Umbrella Academy, a dysfunctional family of superheroes with unusual powers. But when the team gets older they disband and go their separate ways. Then one day they get a call from Pogo (a chimpanzee) that Hargreeves has died. When they reunite for the funeral a chain of events including flying Dalek like aliens and a mad Maestro signal the end of the world. The siblings once again need to band together not only to save the world but also rescue one of their own.

Deadly Eiffel Towers, zombie robots, mannequin mothers, and exploding carnivals...good stuff.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Free Holiday Gift Tags

The All Us All the Time's Day 5 of their 12 Blog Postings of Christmas is free gift tags...and they are pretty cool.

Hop on over to their blog if you would like to check them out.

The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle by Jim Butcher

Dresden FilesI just recently started reading the Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher and was a fan of the short-lived Sci-Fi show. Thus, how could I resist the first graphic novel of the series, Welcome to the Jungle? I could not.

Welcome to the Jungle takes place before his first book, Storm Front. Here our favorite paranormal detective and wizard, Harry Dresden, is called upon by the Chicago police to help investigate a brutal animal attack at the zoo that has left a security guard dead. But as you can probably guess, there appears to be something more of a supernatural nature behind this mauling. Once again, Harry finds himself the target of some pretty wicked dark forces as he tries to figure out who or what is behind this crime.

Welcome to the Jungle is an action-packed fun read. It took me 2 nights but most can probably read it in one sitting. The graphic novel has bold illustrations that nicely compliment the story and in the back of the book there is bonus material including a cover gallery and concept artwork that I found fascinating. Even though not necessary, if you have not read any of the Dresden Files books or watched the series on Sci-Fi, I would recommend reading Storm Front before reading the Welcome to the Jungle to get more of the background story on Harry Dresden and his wizardry.

I hope the second Dresden Files graphic novel is not far behind.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Just a Friendly Reminder

Just a friendly reminder about two events that are currently taking place online.

The first is the Red River Writers' Christmas Event (RRW Christmas Exchange) on Facebook featuring great books of all varieties. There are over 400 entries to date with 16 participating groups. Grab a hot beverage or for those in warmer climates a cool one and do some fun perusing at this online event. I am new with Facebook, but I think this link should get you there. You may have to create an account, but that is rather simple, and I promise, we will befriend you.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=32917461597

The second is the 12 Blog Postings of Christmas happening online over at the All Us All the Time Blog. Each day between now and 12/12, they are have a one day only promotion for their site that is filled with creative goodies.

The Sandman Volume 9: The Kindly Ones by Neil Gaiman

The Sandman The Kindly OnesI got The Sandman Volume 9: The Kindly Ones by Neil Gaiman the weekend before Thanksgiving thinking I could nurse it through the long holiday weekend. My mistake was I cracked it open that Monday and had it done by Tuesday. Needless to say I loved it.

When Lyta Hall’s child is taken from her she turns to The Kindly Ones or The Furies to take revenge on whom she thinks is responsible, Morpheus, The Lord of Dream. The Furies do not rest until their vengeance is satisfied and the world of Dream is in peril. But who is really behind the disappearance of Lyta’s little boy, and what sacrifices will have to be made in order to save the Kingdom of Dreaming?

Unlike some of the other Sandman Volumes, like Dream Country, Fables & Reflections, and the Worlds' End, this is not one you should probably pick up without reading the prior volumes. Mr. Gaiman does an excellent job weaving in the storylines and characters from his earlier tales in to this one epic journey. You follow each of their separate stories knowing that somehow they are intertwined but wondering how the dots will be connected, or will they? Like the story, the illustrations are just as dark and dramatic.

Need the weather to clear up so I can run out and get the next volume.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

All Us All the Time Blog

The All Us All the Time blog is doing "The 12 Blog Postings of Christmas" where each day they have a new special for their site. If you would like to check it out, go visit the All Us All the Time Blog.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving

TurkeyWe celebrate our Turkey Day on Saturday because my husband, an executive chef, works on Thanksgiving. Needless to say, he does all the cooking. Now if I could just get his staff to come over and do all the cleaning :). Since we do celebrate on Saturday, it is kind of a quasi Thanksgiving/Holiday dinner. We have the traditional thanksgiving fixings served with Christmas-time d├ęcor.


Winter
It had been a beautiful November here in Colorado, lots of sunshine with temperatures in the 60's and 70's.... until this past weekend. Don't get me wrong, the winter wonderland is very picturesque, but not when you have family traveling. Friday night the weatherman said that we were just suppose to get a “skiff” of snow, which obviously means 5.7”. Funny, my sister and I thought that it would be a little less than that.


Thankfully everybody made their way over the river, through the woods and down the mountain to our house. Though it was a treacherous journey for my folks, they made it safe and sound with LaKeit and Tasha. I am sure they were helping navigate the whole way. Since my little one does not care too much for the canine species, they had to spend the day playing in our backyard.

My sister came down on Thursday so we could take in the after Thanksgiving Day bargains (unfortunately we could not find them). I preoccupied her Saturday morning with helping me make cornucopia place settings out of waffle cones. I got the idea from a Martha Stewart magazine I borrowed from my Mom. Now I am sure Martha would be appalled at our interpretation of them, but I thought they turned out great.

What you do is steam the tip of the waffle cone and curve it upwards and then steam the opening to push flat so it won’t roll. My sister came up with a clever way of cracking the lid to our pot of boiling water and laying the cone on top of this crack. This steamed the whole cone allowing us to do both ends at the same time.

At this point, Martha dipped the open end in white chocolate and rolled it in chopped nuts and filled it with jellybeans. However, I was thinking folks would not want to be snacking on something that sweet before the meal, so we rolled ours in red and green color sugar and then filled them up with mixed nuts and dried fruit. I bet if you wanted to do them for a holiday party, you could add something to the tip like a white marshmallow and turn it into a Santa or Elf hat.

Any way, here are a few photos of our masterpieces:

Green One
Green Cone
Red One
Red Cone
Of course, my sister’s had to be purple:
Purple Cone

Then we had a great meal:


Cheese PlatterCheese Platter


Relish Platter


Spicy Sweet PotatoesSweet Potatoes with paprika, cayenne and white pepper, ginger, salt and lime squeezed over the top


Fennel MushroomsMushrooms sauteed with garlic, Worcestershire sauce, red wine and crushed fennel seed


Brussel SproutsBrussels Sprouts with lemon juice, lemon pepper and butter


Dauphinoise PotatoesDauphinoise Potatoes


Pumpkin Pieand of course Pumpkin Pie

Sunday, November 30, 2008

RRW Christmas Exchange on Facebook

For all you book lovers out there, you are invited to visit the Red River Writers Christmas Exchange on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=32917461597. There are over 200 books listed along with videos and other postings. Always fun to browse unique indie titles especially for the holidays (warning: also very addictive). In fact if you aren't doing anything this cyber Monday, come take a gander. If you are busy, the event runs through 12/21, so stop by later.

I will admit I am new to Facebook and still bumbling my way around, but it is the RRW Writers Christmas Exchange. If you aren't part of the Facebook community, come join and be friend us.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Free Kibble

I received an email today from Free Kibble that their site has generated enough kibble to feed over 500,000 nutritious meals to homeless dogs and cats across the country. If you are not familiar with this site, freekibble.com, was created by Mimi Ausland, an Oregon 12-year old, who wanted to help feed hungry animals. Every day you can go to freekibble.com and answer a trivia question (Bow Wow Trivia) and they will donate 10 pieces of kibble to animal shelters to feed hungry dogs. Then you can go to freekibblekat.com and play Meow Trivia to help shelters feed hungry cats.

FreeKibbleKat.com

If you haven't been to this site, check it out. It is a fun and wonderful way to support our loving fine furry friends.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Charles Schulz Birthday

A little trivia here. Today would have been Charles Schulz 86 birthday. The creator of Peanuts was born November 26, 1922 and past away from colon cancer February 12, 2000. Peanuts made its first appearance on October 2, 1950 and ran for nearly 50 years without interruption and appeared in more than 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries.

To get your daily dose of Snoopy, you can visit Peanuts free online library at comics.com and coming soon, a brand new snoopy.com.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Sandman World’s End Volume 8 by Neil Gaiman

Two co-workers are driving back to Chicago late one night when it starts to snow. Despite the fact it was June, Brant did not think this odd, just slowed down from eighty to sixty. He thought about waking Charlene but she was sleeping so soundly. That is when something huge and strange ran out on to the road causing Brant to lose control of the vehicle through a fence, down an embankment before crashing into a tree. After pulling Charlene out of the wreckage the two made their way through the storm to an Inn, The World’s End.

At the Inn, they encountered individuals and creatures from different realms and times than their own. As the visitors waited out the storm they gathered and shared their stories. From the politics of Faire to an air burial in Necropolis Litharge, each of tales takes you on an imaginative and sometimes mystical journey. But what drew all these strangers to the World’s End? What is behind this epic storm? And will Brant and Charlene be able to make their way back home?

World's End is one of my favorites of the Sandman Series by Neil Gaiman. Rich imaginative storytelling where you never quite know where the path is leading you, but you are loving the ride. It is really a story within a story and sometimes there is even a story within that story.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pygmy Hippo

I heard about this on the news last night, I had no idea there even were pygmy hippos, but my gosh, how CUTE!!! My sister said that her beagles would be bigger than this.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sister's Halloween Party

Still recovering from the Annual Martin Macabre All Hallows Eve Ball from this past weekend. My sister puts it on and it is always a “spooktacular” event from the intriguing invitations to the eerie edibles.

She totally out did herself on the invites, which were coffins...and not the kind out of paper. They were decorated miniature wooden coffins with the invites inside. And did I mention they glowed in the dark? Oh yes my fine fiendish friends, they so glowed in the dark.

She served spider-spun confections, phantom pizza pies, and chilling desserts. Her table decorations were simply sinister and I was quite impressed with the feature she had at the head of the table, though it was not.

Witch Hats
Pizza
Table Decor
NuggetAfter devouring our feast, we all gathered around and watched the lyrical tale of personal hygiene gone awry, Sweeney Todd.

It was a marvelously macabre evening.



Here is one of the awesome invitations she made:

Coffin
Coffin Invitation
Coffin Invite
Coffin Invite

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

The Night of All Hallows Eve
by IHN

Twas the night of All Hallow’s Eve, when all through the cemetery
All the creatures were stirring, and all quite merry.
Shrunken heads were hung on tree branches with care,
In hopes that a great demon would soon be there.

The witches were starting to rise out of their beds,
While visions of spells and magic danced in their heads.
The mummy was nestled all snug in his wrap
As he began to awake from his eternal nap.

When out by the crypt there arose such a clatter,
They all hovered over to see what was the matter.
When, what to their demonic eyes should transpire,
But a flying black hearse and a very well dressed vampire.

With a skeleton driver, so lively and quick,
They knew in a moment it must be Vampire Nick.
More rapid than vultures his bats they came,
And he moaned, and wailed, and called them by name!

“Now Dagger! Now, Slasher! Now, Lasher and Scratchen.
On, Blade! On, Spade! On, on Slicer, and Gashen.
To the top of the tombstones! To the top of the cemetery walls!
Now hunt away! Hunt away! Hunt away all!”

Then like those bats that vampire did fly
Like a soaring eagle against a moonlit sky.
So up to the crypt-top he flew
With his undead driver and his bats too.

They landed on the crypt in a furious gale
And you could hear the screeching of each little nail.
As the shrunken heads screamed and turn around
Down the crypt Vampire Nick came with a bound.

He was dressed in black from his cape to his shoes
And on his spiked collar dripped liquid red ooze.
A bundle of oddities flung on his back,
And he looked like a wolf just about to attack

He reached is long fingers into the pocket of his suit
And his hand reappeared holding fresh eye of newt.
The witches were thrilled as they grabbed their brooms.
They chanted spells as they danced on the tombs.

The zombies started to arise from their graves
And the night dwellers emerged from their caves.
A banshee played harp and began her song
As a trio of bridge trolls sang along.

Then he presented the werewolf with a giant bone
And the mummy a purple velvet lined casket of his very own.
The cemetery was filled with eerie laughter and shrills
All the creatures of the night were getting their thrills.

They shrieked and danced and partied away,
The zombies all got new limbs for the ones lost from decay.
All the undead received brand new toys
And one was given a couple of obnoxious teenage boys.

Then Vampire Nick reached into his cape and without a word
Pulled out an extraordinary beautiful raven black bird.
You could hear it call as it flew into the moonlit sky out of sight
“Happy All Hallows Eve, and to all a very frightening night!”


Spiderweb

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trixi Thursday

"For a charm of powerful trouble, like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and you are in such kitty trouble!"
Trixi-BelleHAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard BookAs I posted earlier I got the pleasure of going to a Neil Gaiman reading in Boulder at the first of the month. On his book tour of The Graveyard Book, he read a chapter a stop with the exception of chapter 7, which due to its length had to be spread across two stops. Unfortunately the Boulder stop fell on part 2 of chapter 7. This was unfortunate not because of his reading, which was superb, but that the 2nd part of chapter 7 gives a way the ending. Now that in itself would not have been bad, it was just I was only on chapter 4.

However, even knowing how the book was going to end, it was still a wonderful trip. I loved the storyline of a little boy being raised by ghost in a cemetery and the story of how Mr. Gaiman came up with the idea. When his son was young, there was no place for him to ride his bike where they lived so Mr. Gaiman would take his son to a nearby cemetery to ride his bike. As he watched his son ride his tricycle around the gravestones, he thought what a wonderful place for a boy to be raised. He had enjoyed Kipling’s Jungle Books as a boy, and thus the idea for The Graveyard Book was conceived, and twenty-some years later, was finally born.

In The Graveyard Book, a boy is adopted by a graveyard after his family is killed. I know it may sound cool to be raised by ghosts and a guardian that is neither dead nor alive in an overgrown old graveyard. And of course it would be, but even growing up among the dead there are still many things a live child needs to learn such as fading and how to recognize and escape from Ghoul Gates. Each chapter is a short story about the boy’s adventures as he grows up in the graveyard. In fact, chapter 4, The Witches Headstone, can also be found in Neil Gaiman’s book of short stories, M is for Magic (highly recommended).

Once again Mr. Gaiman amazing me with his imagination and story-telling abilities. My favorite chapter was chapter 3 where we learned about Ghoul Gates. My sister and I come from a long line of cemetery walkers from my mother side and have recently taken back up the tradition. Our eyes will now be pealed wide open to spot the Ghoul Gate. According to Mr. Gaiman all cemeteries have them, and I have a feeling he is an excellent authority on the matter.

What exactly is a Ghoul Gate? I suggest you read chapter 3 in The Graveyard Book to find out ☺ .

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

National Best Books 2008 Award-Winning Finalist

National Best Book Award FinalistWillow May Goes to the Midnight Carnival has been honored again, this time as an Award-Winning Finalist in the Children’s Hardcover Fiction Picture Book category of the National Best Books 2008 Awards. The cast and crew were unable to get together in person as this is an extremely busy time of the year for them, but they are always together in spirit. We were able to catch up with a few of them to get their comments on winning another award for their performances.

The zombies, who you may have spotted a couple of weeks ago, participating in the 2008 Zombie Parade, were thrilled with the news. They spent months training with Europe’s top circus performers for their acrobatic role in Willow May Goes to the Midnight Carnival. They appreciate being recognized for their hard work and dedication.

Willow May Witch
Gabrielle, Luna, and Vivian, the dancing witches who played themselves in the book, were once again quite humbled by another award and promised to turn the odd little fellow back from a toad despite the protest from his armadillo.

Willow May WerewolfThe werewolf band along with the skeleton brothers are nearing the end of their 2008 World Wolf-Bone Tour. They said they would be giving a shout out to all those fans of Willow May Goes to the Midnight Carnival at their next full-moon performance.


Willow May Vampire
Evelynn, the vampire who played the high wire performer, is back in her native country Romania to spend the upcoming holiday with relatives, wanted to send her undying gratitude to the rest of the cast and crew and to USA Book News for this honor.

I too want to thank USA Book News for this recognition and support of small independent publishers and writers. I also want to give a special thanks to All Us All the Time Publishing, the illustrator Pamela McCarville for bring these characters alive, and the editor Valerie Mass.

As I said, the cast of Willow May Goes to the Midnight Carnival is very active this time of year, especially the last day of October, so be on the look out for them, they LOVE to give autographs.

Armadillo

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Trixi Thursday

Trixi-BelleI believe her tail must be keeping guard.