Friday, November 11, 2016

Gilmore Girls Planner!!

With the Gilmore Girls Revival just a few weeks away, I thought I would completely neglect my children, my husband and basically the whole world around me and make a fantastic coffee/Gilmore Girls centered planner pack! Well, it's fantabulous! I love it! Check it out!

I have just released it to Etsy as a digital download. Sadly, I am still unable to print these stickers myself as my printer absolutely hates me. I finally bought ink and sticker paper, but the paper just feeds in the top and shoots back out the bottom. Yes, Murphy's Law is truly biting me in the ass this week.

Anyway, hop over and check it out! don't forget to use the blogger coupon code for 25% off!


Monday, November 7, 2016

Muggle Force Coupon!

As is typical in the life of Tori, I have found a new distraction in what I am loosely terming graphic design. Yes, I am creating designs on my computer but I feel that I am shaming the world of true designers by labeling myself as one.

Makenzie says OH YEAH. mean kid!

I know. I know. Point please? So with this new Etsy store and my obsession, I have been tied to my computer in a way that makes readers sad. To make it up to you, I'd like to offer a coupon! 

No catch, I just want you to love my designs as much as I've loved making them! Though I would not be upset if you shared your use of them with me on Instagram!!!

Coupon Code!!



I have set the code to expire next Monday night! Head over and see what's what or wait a few days for new things to appear! Happy Shopping Nerds!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Muggle Force

The last time we lived in Pennsylvania, I tried my hand at an Etsy shop. It wasn't such a bad deal. I sat at my sewing machine for a few hours a day sewing dresses and sold them online. I was even able to make a few dollars at it.Then my three children and I moved back to Texas leaving the husband behind. With everything I had going on, it was just too hard to keep up the shop and within a few weeks, I disbanded it.

Now, I'm back in Pennsylvania and (not so patiently) awaiting transcripts that will allow me to get back to work. With three kids in school, I thought I should open a new shop and add some of the prints I have floating around my computer to it. We will see how it goes, right?

Muggle Force on Etsy

 What do you think of the name? It's a play on two of the biggest Fandoms that exist in my home. That being said, the first item posted is Dr. Who related! Please, check it out and tell me what you think. I promise, there will be plenty to come!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Welcome to Northeastern Pennsylvania!

My family has moved back to Pennsylvania! I'm so excited that I don't even know where to begin.

It's been a rough month, I can tell you that. After weeks of readying a house for sale, we packed up our daily essentials into the camper and made our way from Kansas to Clarks Summit, PA. We did stay at Lackawanna State Park for a few nights as we re-acclimated to the area before moving the camper to a trailer park a couple miles away. Can I just say, living in 360 square feet with four other people and a cat has made me drastically reconsider the size of my next house! After five weeks living in extremely close quarters, we made the decision to move into an apartment. Not because we wanted to give up the dream of living in a house but because my children were going to kill each other if we didn't do something soon!

It is my greatest hope that being here will mean the end of restructuring Taken -because we all know that has been a ridiculously long task- and the beginning of book two! I will be able to visit Bannerman's Castle in the Hudson. I can hop in my car and drive the two and a half hours to
Woodbury, CT and visit where the Cole Hunters have made their home. I would even like to walk to the streets of New York City to see how Francesca would have spent her days! The opportunities are endless! 

Keep an eye here to see my many adventures as I continue to build a world around Landon and Katrina! For quick snippets, find me on Instagram!

If you don't mind, I have work to do!

Happy Reading!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Fahrenheit 451

***This post contains spoilers for Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. ****

My family is readying for a HUGE move. The last month has been a roller coaster of finishing projects, appraisers, realtors and inspectors. To make things better, we are moving back to the Clarks Summit area of Pennsylvania. I am giddy to be moving out of this god awful sea of wheat and returning to the east coast! Green mountains, lakes, trees... You get the point. If you have read even a day of Taken, you know that Northeaster Pennsylvania is the setting. That means, I should be able to write book 2! 

Ok, to the point. 

Because of this move, Makenzie now how a summer reading assignment as she prepares for Freshmen Honors English. The reading list is quite heavy for the few short weeks before we move, but the nerdy kid can do it despite the fact that she is not a fan of the particular books she will be reading. I will give her kudos for managing to squirm her way out of reading Jane Eyre. Mark my words kid, you will read it someday!

And we have arrived to Fahrenheit 451, a book she despises and I absolutely love.

It was suggested I read it a few years ago after on conversation about censorship and where our children are going to end up if we continue to omit books such as To Kill a Mockingbird from the educational canon. I won't climb that particular soap box today! I haven't quite finished my reread, however, there is a line that caused me to put my book down and come see your beautiful face!

"' I hate a Roman named Status Quo!' he said to me. 'Stuff your eyes with wonder,' he said, 'live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic that any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no quarantines, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping it's life away. To hell with that,' he said, 'shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.'"

Here, I raise a question. What is Ray Bradbury trying to say? Society needs to read? Or, as a society, have we put knowledge to the torch? Or is it as Sparky Sweets said, is technology putting more of a gap between individuals? It is even possible to suggest that Beatty was a true representation of a man with too much knowledge. As a character who burns books for a living, I am always surprised to hear how well read he is, though it was his cause of death. He goaded Montag into killing him, did he not?

The quote above can be used to support any of these theories. Of course, society needs to put down the remote and pick up a book. Each show that comes out is a bigger insult on our intelligence, but that's just the opinion of a woman who watches very little television. As our TV grows in size and the shows decrease in tact, each individual becomes more and more like Millie, the outside world flushes away and the people on the screen become our family. 

Bradbury may not have been commenting about books directly. The book itself, in my opinion, was just a vehicle for a deeper understanding of where society will end up without the individual ability to think and decide for oneself. Imagine how grotesque Fahrenheit 451 would be if the Firemen were burning brains instead of books. What an image! 

My youngest daughter came home from a smoothie date with her friends yesterday and says, "You know how bad it is to be sitting at a table with people who are all on their phones?" That's were our society has gone! You don't take a trip to Niagara Falls to see a waterfall. You take a trip to Niagara Falls to show the world what you saw there. Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Musically, Google Plus... We are looking at the world through a lens!

I will admit, I'm just as bad as the rest of the world. As I sit here typing this post, the electricity around me is flashing on and off. I have even succumbed to connecting the internet here to the hotspot on my phone. I can tell you what the top photo is on my Instagram feed and I have already posted at least twice on Facebook. Hell, I let my husband buy a camper just so we could go away for the weekends and I could hide everyone's electronics including my own. Forced interaction with the world!

Let me ask you. When you are no longer a daily facet in this world, what will you have left behind? Are you just the guy who mows the lawn or the person who the gardener who created something to beheld? Put down your electronics. Speak to  the person beside you. Make a name for yourself!  


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Finished... Well, almost.

Six years. Apparently, that is the time it takes for a person such as myself to finish a book. It started with a little idiom: curiosity killed the cat. What if the cat were a mortal sixteen year old girl, Katrina, who got mixed up with the wrong crowd of vampires and was turned into one? From that idea, Katrina transformed into a vampire hunter with a rocky past and Lady Eleanor was born.

I know what your thinking. What makes this story so much different from the thousands of female prophecy stories. I most definitely did not rip off Buffy! The difference is the vampire involvement and the mythology behind it all.

Ahhh, did the mythology pique your interest? We do live in a literary period developed by Stan Lee. Here is the disclaimer on the mythology. It does not open with a glimpse of Odin or Thor, but the mythology is there. There are subtle references and underlying hints throughout though it builds throughout the next two books in the Lost and Found Series. I have spend many of the last six years studying the Poetic Edda. I have read the Prose Edda and the Saga of the Volsungs multiple times. I have downloaded different translations and even worked to translate a few lines myself. All of this in an effort to stay as true to the original meanings as possible with the help of Maria Kvilhaug, better known as The Lady of the Labrynth. No where in my story lines will you find Freya refereed to as the goddess of love because that is a modern notion!

As my curiosity about the mythology grew, so did my hunt for true historical events and people to take on the major roles of the upcoming wars. You will find that Felipe Castillo came from a true battle on the Iberian Penninsula. Francesca is the fictional daughter of a true king. John Cole Knight of Agincourt truly existed as well. And Joseph's wife- Well, you'll have to read to find out!

The battle scenes. I will admit, they are my weakness. The action and the bloodlust dances around in my brain. When it comes time to pull those scenes from my head and draw them in yours, it all runs flat. There is no glory or gore for that matter. I rewrote the ending of Taken a dozen times at least! I resorted to googling the best battle scenes in literature and was surprised by the results. In the end, I just read a lot of George RR Martin's battle scenes and drew diagrams and made charts. Honestly, I resorted to methods I would have used while working on my English degree. The end result was well worth the trouble! Enough to get the point across yet not enough to turn readers away!

Updated ebook versions have been synced to Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble. A permafree version is available through MineEye as well. I encourage anyone who has downloaded a copy from Amazon over the last five years to stop into MineEye for the new edition as Amazon will not allow you to repurchase. For that, I am truly sorry and I am working on a way around the system!

If you are interested in a physical copy, I am still working on that. Once the proof arrives and is approved, it will be available through CreateSpace or Amazon. I will also order and offer signed copies for $20, though they will be minimal.

Happy Reading!!! I am off to work on the sequel. Hopefully, it's not six years in the making!

Friday, January 1, 2016

An old book for a new year

Today is the day the world is rejoicing a new year. I've seen many pictures such as this one here all over social media. The truth is, I'm stuck in the past. I'm writing a book that seems to never want to be complete.  I know I am a bit of an overachiever and perfectionist, but this book is sucking the life right out of me!

Alright, so here is my struggle. I've been working on the same damn book since Fall Semester of 2010. Yes, that's right. I have long surpassed the six year mark on ONE BOOK! It's ridiculous! At one point, I thought it was "good enough" to be published. I had many people warn me not to, but I did it anyway and this review is what caused me to really take another deep look at it. Since then, I have pulled it back and revamped it multiple times, still not truly happy with the results. This last time, I have taken a few of that horrid reviewers comments to heart and looked even deeper.

Now, lets discuss some of the bashings, shall we?

  • It loses 3 stars for poor grammar and multiple spelling mistakes. Not much to say there. Spell check? DUH! He says something about repeatedly repeating the same words repeatedly. I found 617 time I used the word just. Excessive much?
  • Humans can't become vampires until they are 18. Oh here is a grave of one who is 8. Well, it really wasn't that hard to clean up the writing so that the fuzzy points made more sense. The vampire itself was taken as an adult and the grave it was burying in was 8 years old. Just needed to reread and clarify... A LOT!
  • Vampires can only be killed by one of six daggers and no one will reveal their locations. I can't comment much here because it is a major plot point. Simply know, it is not a storyline to quickly graze over. Every point matters. Some points are even tied directly to literature of ages passed. It's called allusion.
A [16 yr old] girl meets a boy and marries him after knowing him for 2 weeks, thereby making them both immortal. Here is the one point of that review that I am having a big problem with. Truth be told, this is where I am in this current edit. It is a key part to the entire series (yes there will be more) and it can not be removed. 

I will not lie to you, it does bother me that they must be married. It seems some how archaic and wrong, so let's take it out of the modern day societal influence and put it back into a much earlier time. A time when life spans were shorter and people were often married with a slew of children around them in their late teens. This is the time and place our story begins. Lady Eleanor was born in Scandanavia around the year 0. Her family worries about her when she doesn't have a husband at the age 20 and begins making plans to rectify the situation. Lucky for her, it never comes to this.

Let's bring to light the story of Francesca. She ran off with her love to become a vampire in an effort to escape betrothal and marriage to a French prince at the age of fifteen. That doesn't seem to bother readers because it is true to the time period.

It will all work itself out in the end, I promise, and readers will see that it wasn't as simple as a dewy eyed school girl crush gone wrong. However, I can totally understand how unrealistic it may seem to readers... Children being raised by vampires and old ladies mixing effluvium and elixirs in a cauldron in the middle of New York isn't realistic either. It's fantasy. Seemingly realistic people living lives that couldn't ever happen. Fantasy. 

This is where I would go on a rampage about how wizards could never live alongside us muggles and therefore the whole premise of Harry Potter needs to be rethought, but I will spare you the nerdist rampage. 

First sentence of the review: It gets 5 stars for having an interesting story idea.
Last sentence of the review: Not sure what book the other reviewers were reading, but it either wasn't this one or we have drastically different expectations for our reading material.  

My goal for January is to finish a book that will make this review obsolete. Touch back with me February first and I shall be working my tail to complete the ebook!