Tuesday, June 30, 2015

London is Awesome!

Trafalgar Tour Day 8 (last day)


This old city still has its original Roman Baths. It was awesome going through the old part of this city and seeing how the Romans used the baths, and how the city was laid out. This is another place I would love to come back to and enjoy the view.


We had seen this castle before the Trafalgar tour started, so I ended up exploring the local farmers market. Also, since horse races were happening, the Queen was in residence!


I love London! It is super hectic, especially when you are trying to learn the tubes. My gosh! So many bodies, and very little ventilation. Defiantly suggest you give yourself 30 to 45 minutes more time to get somewhere if you’ve never used the tubes before. Especially when the close tubes for maintenance. Also recommend getting an Oyster card for public transportation, it’s so much cheaper and you can get your unused money back (score!).

I also went on a separate Jack the Ripper Tour. The tour guide from London Walks was amazing! I will say that in total I counted 11 other Jack the Ripper Tours going on at the same time, and only one other was associated with London Walks. This was also only one of the meeting times, there was at least 2 other times during the day that this walk was happening. That is a lot of tours! So sad I couldn’t do a Sherlock Homes Tour. Next time!

Monday, June 29, 2015

I love Wales!

Trafalgar Tour Day 7

A four our ferry ride from the Republic of Ireland to Wales. I personally enjoyed the ferry from Scotland to Ireland better. I don't know if they were different companies, or perhaps it was an older ferry this time, but it wasn't as nice of a vehicle as the one that brought the tour to Northern Ireland.

There was also quite a bit of driving on this day. SO much!


This city was amazing! I would love to go back and just have time to explore Cardiff. We really didn't have much time to explore the city, but what I was able to visit was wonderful. We sadly also just missed what looked like an awesome Renaissance festival. But, there is always next time!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Awesome Republic of Ireland!

Trafalgar tour Day 6 (Republic of Ireland)


This was an awesome area if you were looking for a quiet, secluded part of Ireland. It was very quite and I would have loved to have stayed in this area for one more day. They had a wonderful farmers market, and a beautiful town.


I loved Waterford. We had a local tour guide walking us around the area showing us the different parts of the old town and the awesome historical information we would have missed on our own. Interesting fact, it's home of one of the only architects that designed several different religious churches, and whose wife also had 22 kids! So many!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Ireland! (both the Northern side and the Republic)

Trafalgar Tours Day 4 and 5

We took a 3 ½ hour ride on the ferry from Scotland to Ireland. The ferry was awesome, the food was better than the fast food you would get on the farriers in Washington.  I will not lie, there was a lot of driving this day


Another working city, we briefly stopped here before moving on to the Republic of Ireland. I will say, it had a very interesting memorial to President Bill Clinton.


I personally did not enjoy my time in this city. It could have been my lack of sleep from the night before, it could also have been with my issues/problems I had with reading the map of the city. No matter how many times I orientated myself on the map, I got lost every time. It was so frustrating and overrode my ability to enjoy the town. It was a bit like Seattle hopped up on steroids. We used their tram to get back to the city, and it only took cash (euros) and we only had pounds. It also wouldn’t take our cards, which wasn’t fun. I do know that most of the rest of the group had fun while in town shopping, so perhaps it was just me.

Friday, June 26, 2015

I Love Scotland!

Trafalgar Tour days 2 and 3
Grasmere (England)

We took a wonderful ferry ride in the Lake District. Windermere lake was beautiful and it was a relatively clear day. We saw old homes, caught a swimming race, and in some ways the view was very similar to Washington states ferry rides.

Glasgow (Scotland)

This city is a very working city. It is in some ways like Seattle, in that you have the local population working their every day jobs while tourists run around the city. It was definitely not like Seattle, in that many of the old buildings were centuries old. They were wonderful buildings, filled with many different themes. We ate dinner at Thai-lishises. It was an amazing meal.

Edinburgh (Scotland)
I love this city! I could not gush enough about this place. In some ways it is the old city that everyone wants to visit. We had a local tour guide showing us around. I learned so much about half hung Mary and other local old issues, like taxing people when they entered and when they left, which caused some people who were born there, to die there (in the old days). We visited a castle, ate haggis, bangers and mash, and just missed out on doing an underground city tour.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Trafalgar Trip Here I Come!

UK Day 2

Trafalgar Tour, Day 1

Going on day 2 of our UK trip and I have to say that I am getting tired of this weird nasal drip I acquired on the airplane ride over. Losing my voice and constant snot in my stomach is not fun.
This is the first group tour trip I’ve gone on, and I think that it is a good way to get your world travel started in a safe environment. It’s kind of like a cruise, but way more land, and less food included.


Ann Hathaway- Shakespeare’s Wife House and Shakespeare's town

Didn’t actually go in, but did look around the outside. Not a bad looking place. Restored to look era appropriate, not the actual house since that place was apparently derelict, and possibly burned down. They did do a group photo here that I thought was a little weird since our group didn't actual go into the house, but I opted out of this anyway.

 This part of UK had several options in relation to Shakespeare. You could by admission to see his birthplace, which also included Hall's house (his daughter's house) and Harvard house (the home of one of the original founders of Harvard University in the US), or you could buy the 5 house pass. We bought the first one, only looked at Shakespeare's birthplace, than huffed it down to wear he was buried. This place is operated by the local church and cost 2 pounds for admission.


I love York! I want to go back soooo bad.  Defiantly a fun place to spend time, but probably need at least 3 days to do so. Fun fact, all the butchers used to have businesses all in the same place, which caused a horrible street display of gross disgusting guts when the hocked the unusable parts into the streets, this street name was shambles. So, when someone says a place is in shambles, you now know where the meaning comes from!


Didn’t really spend too much time out and about in Leeds, it was more of a stopping point of the night. The hotel did have sample soap, conditioner, and hand soup. It also had heated towel racks, and a 2 faucet sink, one for hot and one for cold. The food they served for dinner was amazing, and the view was wonderful.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

I Have Arrived (in London!)

Let me just start out by saying that a 24 hour day is not something that you should look forward too! Especially if most of that day is flying.

I flew out to Iceland on Iceland Air, and let me just say that I really enjoyed this airline, even if my in flight entertainment didn’t work. They were waiting at the door with a bottle of water, and each seat had a pillow and a blanket. The only complaint I have is that they kept saying that two trolleys would be coming by, one with paid items and one with complementary items. Both times and on both flights, only one came by, which was very confusing.

After arriving in Iceland, I had about an hour to entertain myself. And let me just day, the airport portion that I occupied made me feel like I was in a very expensive Ikea. Nice quality items, with clean uncomplicated lines. It will be interesting to see how I feel  about this airport after spending 9 weeks in Amsterdam. After a three hour flight to London, I finally made it to my hotel, yeay!

One thing to note, at least about the hotel I stayed in (IBIS), is that you don’t get complementary shampoo, conditioner, and lotion bottles. Instead you get two auto dispensers. One is hand soap next to sink, and the other is soap in the shower. There are no wash clothes provided, so you’ll either use your hands or bring a washcloth, shower scrubber, etc...

After sleeping 12 hours, dad and I did a Stonehenge tour. We hit Winchester Castle, Oxford, and finally Stonehenge at sunset. This was scheduled with Evans Evans Tours (which was an amazing tour company).

Windsor Castle

Was a lovely place, sadly we were unable to see the church, and weren’t allowed to take pictures in the state rooms, but it was filled with large paintings of past important people, and loads of swords, guns, and armor.


This was a really interesting old timey town/school.

Notice anything Hogwarty about this?

Sun dial that is apparently close to useless the majority of the time, but still lovely

One of the libraries


This was amazing to see. We were able to get photos of this location without any persons in the scene. The stones are huge, monolithic, and amazing to try and figure out how they were moved and stacked.

Overall a good way to end the first full day in England :)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Procrastination, Your Name is My Game!

Oh let me count the ways in which I am procrastinating studying for my final I need to take in T-minus 4 hours.

First, you'd think it wast procrastination, but I managed to get very little studying done over the weekend since we (my family and I, but mostly me) are packing up the house we've lived in for 8+ years, and are moving into the very first home my father has ever owned.

Normally this wouldn't be too big of a deal, but over the years, and several combined families living in the home, we've amassed a large amount of junk that I have been mostly able to go through and get ride of. I know most people sort the wants and the gotta goes from their stuff when the move, but our house went from family of 5, to family of 8, down to 3, then add in a 6 month help out with a friend that turned into 3 years (plus them leaving most their items with us at the house when they finally left), and down to 2, dad and I. There is a bunch of things to go through!

Over the last week or so, we've gotten about 1/2 of the stuff out of the house on our own. Then last weekend we rented a truck (by the way, a 10' UHaul truck does not have a ramp!), and made donation runs, dump runs (1/2 tons worth!), and finally a storage run. Now, all that is left at the house is easy to pack up and store until dad comes back from our trip.

We were on a bit of a timeline to get out of the current place we are living, mostly we were trying to move before our UK trip, and he would move into the new place when he comes back in 2 weeks. But with school, finals, studying, and me doing the majority of the packing, this was looking more and more like it wasn't going to happen. Fortunately, the owner of the home we currently live in let us rent until the end of the month, instead of the 10th, so all we need to do is having everything packed up, and when dad comes back he came move the rest of the stuff from the old house and unit into the new house. Yeay, so much stress is gone now!

Now, back to procrastination, after the arduous days of packing and moving, trying to study at the end of each day has been a battle! Then, I finally get to school and what do I do? Study, get on Facebook, study, get on Facebook, study, write this blog entry. I am going to study some more after this, but apparently I have the attention span of a gnat right now. Not cool brain, not cool!

And now for something completely different:

Some packing tips for moving!

  1. Start early!
  2. Group like objects with like objects!
  3. Don't pack what you don't want!
  4. Donate whenever possible!
  5. Plant stores and craft stores have the best boxes, just make sure they know you aren't trying to steel anything when you go through their recycle bins
  6. After packing holiday stuff, and you find more, wait until you've gone through everything before you pack the rest of it away, you don't know what other holiday items you'll run into!
  7. Leave the important everyday stuff till last
  8. No one everyone will understand your pile/box system
  9. LABEL boxes!
  10. Garbage bags are your friend with clothes, blankets, and towels. Just don't pack them full or you'll rip the bags when you lift them. Those closet boxes are expensive! Although I do recommend at least one large one for special items like dresses or suits.
  11. Lift with your knees!
  12. Heating pads! This is for you and your precious back!
  13. Aleve is your friend!

Now, hopefully back to studying...

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Contest Entry for Emerald City's Opener!

Every year, for the last 4 or 5 years, I've entered my first 7 pages of my current work in progress into my local RWA chapter writing contest. And I have to say that every year the response back from those who judge the contest get better and better.

I'm more of a paranormal or science fiction romance writer, but a few nanowrimo's ago I finished a contemporary romance novel. I decided that I was going to submit the first 7 pages of the novel that 2 agents requested a full manuscript copy of last year at the Emerald City Writer's Conference, and the first 7 of my contemporary novel.

They limited the entries for each, and as of 7:13 pm on the last day (5/31) for entry only one category had met it's limit:

Contemporary -25 max entries -limit met
Historical -12 entries
Paranormal - 11 entries
Romantic Suspense - 21 entries

Fortunately I can submit my contemporary novel under romantic suspense, so I paid the $20 (non-RWA member fee) for each entry, and hope that I get awesome judge feedback!

If you're reading this on 5/31, you can still submit your entry! If you're not, there is always next year!

Contest entry is open from 4/1-5/31 each year. This is the first year the limited entries, so I don't know if next year will yield the same.

Keep an eye out for Conference information (this is an awesome event!) and contest information through Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America website, and subsequent links to media on through their page.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Book Review- Liberation's Kiss (Robotics Faction #1)

First let me say that I was given a free advanced copy of this book for an honest review by the author Wendy Lynn Clark.

Now that that is out of the way, let me say that I loved this novel! And I can't wait for the next in this series. I'm a big fan of science fiction romance (there is never enough of this stuff to go around), and I was glad to see a new series pop out on the market. Review after book blurb.

Liberation's Kiss (Robotics Faction #1):

The Old Empire has crumbled. Strong factions prey on the weak, and strongest of all are those who ally themselves with the mysterious Robotics Faction…

Cressida Sarit Antiata is twelve years old when her diplomat parents learn that her name has appeared on the Robotics Faction Kill List, a classified document of dangerous individuals marked for execution. Calling in all of their connections, her parents smuggle her to a small but wealthy ore-producing moon where she grows up in anonymous luxury, secure that her data is safe.

Until now.

Xan | Arch is an x-class android with one mission: execute the target n81, also known as Cressida Sarit Antiata. Although he possesses biological skin, hair, fingernails, and eyes – and extensive conditioning to pass as a sweating, swearing, rough-and-tumble everyman – beneath the surface, he is all machine.

When he arrives at the moon, something unexpected is waiting for him. Something that circumvents his execution order and forces him to protect Cressida instead. Something that gives him the free will to question his makers, control his destiny, and awaken his heart. Together, they might escape their destinies and forge an entirely new future.

If they can survive…

This book felt like a new take on the Terminator series set in the future with more romance thrown in. Xan is a machine that's been produced to blend in with the human population and get things done by using a back log of subroutines to help him get his desired responses out of the population, while Cressida is a human who is used to following orders in order to stay alive since she found herself unlucky enough to be placed on a kill list.

This action packed book takes the reader on a wild ride of action, romance, and more action while this duo work together in order to try and keep Cressida alive. 

I loved the unusual set of dichotomies and themes that ran throughout the entire book that I found really interesting and defiantly lead to a rich novel (and I'll try not to give away any spoilers). 
  • While death and destruction happen throughout this entire book the population as a whole seems unaffected by it. Is that because they have a chance to be reborn, if they have the backup chips, or is it a result of population having dealt with this type of destructive action before (the overseeing powers that be are known for coming in and taking over however they deem fit)?
  • The machines that are released by said overseeing governing body are strong, smart, and highly adaptable, but the every day, I'll call them police units although more like peacekeepers, are dim witted and slow. Which only made me wonder what would really get the police units in an uproar, and if the place was more Utopian before the governing bodies that be took over?.
In the end this novel feels more like a science fiction plot with strong romance elements, but I really enjoyed the interactions between the characters, the fight scenes, the plot development, and the overall feel of the novel.

** Spoilers:
Awesome points: 
Character development was amazing. You really get a feel for all the characters in the novel. The author does a good job giving each person a separate and unique personality that really helps bring this story the richness it has.

Action scenes, after Xan rescues Cressida, the action gets better and better. Each interaction is not the same as the last, and just when I thought I had the next scene figured out, the story took a surprising and awesome turn ( I  love that I couldn't guess where the story was going, but I also didn't feel lost in what was happening)

Environments, each new environment that the author placed her characters in were unique and had it's own flavor. They were rich and populated with traits that brought the scene clearly to the forefront of my mind without being bogged down by long drawn out descriptions.

I'll lay it out there, the really frustrating scene for me was when Xan and Cressida fully come together the first time. I had my hopes up from the prior time they interacted, but I was disappointed that I was unable to connect to any of the characters in this scene, but I loved how they interacted throughout the entire book. I can't stress that enough.

We never learned why Cressida was placed on the kill list, not even a little bit of a hint to move that subplot along (since the main was is to keep her alive while she's being searched for by some crazy robots). I hope it gets moved along in the next novel.

Spoilers over **

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys science fiction with strong romance elements. You can currently preorder this novel for $0.99 before it releases July 1st, before it returns to it's original price of $4.99.

I can't wait for the second novel in this series, Liberation's Desire

My personal rating scales for this novel are:
2 out of 5 for bedroom steaminess, 4 out of 5 for storyline/romance 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cover Reveal for Awesome Author AR DeClerck

Amy-Riddle-DeClerck is an awesome writer of several genres and will soon be adding a new genre to her repertoire. She has a contemporary geek chic romance, Love in the Time of Coffee, releasing May 22nd! The wonderful cover is below followed by a book blurb, credit for the fantastic cover goes to Rachel Olson at No Sweat Graphics. Keep an eye out for this wonderful novel!

Life as a geeky math chick with little patience and time for men is never easy. When a handsome stranger spills a caramel macchiato all over her term paper Irissa Daniels thinks her luck just might be a 'changin. Mac McCleary is tough, smart and sexy and he treats Irissa like the only woman in the world. Things are going great, but life seems to get in the way. Mac's dad is sick, his business is in trouble and his only hope to keep it going is to get involved with a very shady character. Soon Irissa begins to wonder if she and Mac will make it to happily- ever-after after all. 
Love in the Time of Coffee is very complicated indeed.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Holy Crapoly!


Has it really been since 2012 that I posted a blog about anything? I guess that would be right around the time I started college again, and went full throttle with it too. Well, going on 3 1/2 years of school later, with only one summer off (with a full time job), I can say that I am half way there (please oh please let me be closer!) since I'm hoping to get into a Masters Prosthetic and Orthodics program.

A lot has happened since 2012. For one, I've read so many books that attempting to review them all would never happen. So I'll just start afresh from what I'm reading now. I am still writing, but hoping to up my actual writing and revising (dear god the amount of revising that needs to get done!), but on the plus side of things, I did have 2 agents interested in the sci fye novel I've written (yeay!), now I just need to get it ready.

Way more has obviously occurred, and will probably get into that in later on.

I've made a lot of author friends, so you'll probably see more information regarding their books on here (not a lot, only like 6 authors), just as a friendly author to author shout out.

I will be going on a 11 week trip to Europe for a study abroad course offered through my university, so it won't all be fun and games (but there will be some fun and games).

Keeping this short, but keep a look out for my blog posts (with a shout out to my 1 follower!)