the sunshine blogger award (again?)

Emily, of Altogether Unexpected, awarded me the Sunshine Blogger Award.  I believe I may have been given this award before but I’m not sure and her questions are fun, so we’re going with it.  The rules are: display the graphic, thank the person you gave you the award (thanks, Emily!), answer the nominator’s eleven questions, ask eleven of your own, and nominate eleven other bloggers.

I’m adhering to all of those rules except the last one because I’ll be on vacation when you read this and I won’t be able to tell people that they’ve been nominated. 🙂

Emily’s Questions

In what city were you born?

Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  I’ve never actually lived there – I was just born there. (Much of my life was spent three or fewer hours away from Toronto though.  Until my family moved to Edmonton.)

Which book made you a bibliophile?

Um…I can’t remember that far back.  According to the internet, a bibliophile is someone who collects and loves books and I’ve been obsessed with reading/owning allll the pretty books for longer than I can remember.  I do think that Northanger Abbey was my introduction to the bookish fangirl life, so there’s that.

What is your favorite film?

Right now?  ‘A Quiet Place’.  Just watched it again last night and I maintain that it’s one of the very few absolutely perfect movies out there.  I cannot get over the soundtrack, Emily Blunt’s performance, or John Krasinski’s AMAZING directing skills.  They’d better not mess up the sequel. (I’M BEGGING IT TO BE GOOD.)

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What is your favorite Bible verse?

I’ve always found John 21:25 to be extremely awesome.

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

Like?  It’s just amazing.  Thinking of all those other things that Jesus did (and does and will do) and how John is so matter of fact that all the books in the world can’t contain this Person.

Favorite episode of Sherlock?

ACK.  How?  Can I choose?  There are things that I love about each one.  So many things.  I’m probably going to go with ‘The Riechenbach Fall’ though because there’s sooooo much going on and I love how loyal John is and all the Moriarty and Sherlock is BRILLIANT (as usual).  It’s a very deep, cool episode and it makes me emotional which I like because I’m That Sort Of Person.

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Though I also adore ‘The Final Problem’.  I know a lot of the fans dislike it because it veers away from the show’s tone and mood and all that but I love the creepiness and desperation and familial connections. ❤ (And you-know-who’s Not Return.)

First foreign country?

Venezuela.  My mom was pregnant with me when she went there on a missions trip. (But other than that, I’ve only been to the States.  Boring, right?)

Favorite food?

Pizza.  And poutine.  And Chinese cuisine.  EAT ALL THE FOODS.

British accents or Scottish accents?

Irish, thank you very much. 😉

First Marvel film?

‘Captain America: The First Avenger’.  Fell in love with Cap, Marvel, and superheroes in general because of that movie.  It’s almost a betrayal to say that I’m more of a DC fan now. *cringes*

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Who is your favorite British actor/actress?

My favorite British actor is Tom Felton and my favorite British actress is Emily Blunt.

When did you start blogging, and why?

Okay, so the earliest blog of mine that’s still knocking around is TotallyHorseCrazyAndHorseStories (what a mouthful!) which was started in February 2011.  But I think I had a card-making how-to blog before that.  I was sooooo cringy.  Someday I’m going to revisit old posts from previous blogs and laugh at them on this blog, lol.  I started blogging because it was what everyone else was doing and I wanted to share my love for cards, horses, books, Jane Austen…and eventually everything.  Blogging has been a part of my life for over eight years and I doubt I’ll stop anytime soon.

My Questions

  1. Least favorite animal?
  2. Are you afraid of spiders?
  3. Have you ever watched a movie that scared you?
  4. What color is your phone case?
  5. Do you collect anything?
  6. What is your favorite time of day?
  7. Old Testament or New Testament?
  8. What’s your preferred writing implement? (Pen, pencil, etc…)
  9. Have you ever read a comic book?
  10. Hamilton or Dear Evan Hansen?
  11. What do you think of Disney’s live action remakes?

Let me know your answers in the comments or on your blog! (If you want to participate.)



signs you’re in a reading slump (and how to fix it) + hiatus

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So, confession: I’m currently in a reading slump.  I have a new content creation job, which is great (pay is better and I have more work in general) but it’s also left me mentally worn out and unable to focus on most books.  It’s also why I haven’t been a very active blogger.  I know that most of us readers go through reading slumps from time to time so I’m here to diagnose the problem + give you some tips on how to fix it.

You’re probably in a reading slump if…

…favorite books don’t hold your interest – quite the opposite actually.

…you start five different books in as many hours and give up on all of them.

…reading feels like work.

Currently, all of those apply to me. 😛  If that’s the case for you, too, I’ve got some advice to share. (I need to try these tips on myself but haven’t really started yet so ‘do as I say, not as I do’.  Or something like that.)  So if you’re like “Yeah, I’m definitely in a reading slump” my advice for you is as follows.

Don’t read – yet.

Stop trying to force it.  I, for one, feel guilty (actually guilty) if I don’t get at least a couple hours of reading in every day.  Which doesn’t always happen, because #life.  And then I get stressed so I try to cram in some reading but since my heart isn’t in it, it becomes a big mess.  So if you’re sick of reading, don’t.  Take some time, relax, and let your mind breathe.

Revisit childhood favorites.

Remember what I said about favorite books not doing anything for me? (Seriously, I’m weeping because I tried to read The Outsiders and Fawkes – both of which I dearly love – and I couldn’t.)  Well, I’ve found that if I go wayyyyy back to my childhood, I can read a zillion of those books and be hooked and in love with them.  Case in point: I briefly broke out of my reading slump a couple weeks ago when I read the entire Enola Holmes series and all the Lady Grace Mysteries in the house.  Each book is short and well-written and there’s a dash of nostalgia that’s enticing.  So, yeah, idk if this will work for you but might as well give it a try!

Take a break from your phone.

Nothing sucks away my interest in a book (or movie or TV show) more than having my phone always nearby (and me always checking it).  It’s honestly so harmful and unnecessary and keeps me from really getting into stories.

And that’s about it!  I hope these tips help you – and me – to get out of our horrid reading slumps.


So.  The hiatus.  Some of my family and I will be vacationing in the States for about three weeks (beginning on the 15th) and, while I will have my phone with me, I won’t be able to write any blog posts. (I’ll be able to message people and answer emails though.)  I do have three posts that I’m going to write + schedule before I go.  Annnnd I’m going to tell you what they are just because. 🙂

-some sort of tribute to Robin Williams on his birthday (July 21st)

-post about ‘not westerns’ for the Legends of Western Cinema blog party

-the Taylor Swift book tag

I’m pretty sure this’ll be my last post until the scheduled ones, but you never know…

Until next time! ❤


announcing the winner of the ‘Name the Cat!’ contest

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I got a ton of responses from you guys, regarding the naming of a cat in my novel, The Darkness is Past.  The book itself is nowhere near publication but I’m hoping that it’ll be in print someday. (Someday soon-ish?)  Anyway, there were a ton of great names submitted…but unfortunately, there can only be one winner.

And the name that won the contest isssss…


Submitted by ‘awesomestarreadergal’, whoever that is. 😉  If you’re her, please email me at and we can work out all the details of your Amazon gift card, mailing address for autographed copy of (future) book, etc.

Thanks so much, everyone who participated!  I hope to do another one of these contests in the future.


the seven types of Youtube comments

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They’re all annoying.

“The fifteen dislikes are from stormtroopers LOLOLOL”

This kind of comment is usually seen under movie or TV show clips.  If it’s Star Wars, people will claim all dislikes are from disgruntled stormtroopers or Darth Vader.  If it’s ‘The Lion King’, they’ll say hyenas.  Or whatever.  You get the picture.  But I like to think the dislikes are there because WE ALL HAVE DIFFERENT OPINIONS AND NOT EVERYONE LIKES THE SAME STUFF.

“Who’s here June 2019?”

Who cares?

“Oh my word, this song is amazing and it always makes me think of the time when I was in a perfect relationship with my bf, really sweet, he’d always bring me flowers and stuff and then one day I looked through his phone and found out he was CHEATING on me and then…”

Usually found under Taylor Swift songs.  Half the time, these sob stories are made up and the other half…well, I don’t even know.  I guess there could be people so desperate for attention that they’ll spill their life story in a Youtube comment.

*inappropriate joke about a completely innocuous thing seen in the video*

Are you two?


And again I say…who cares?

“Why is this in my Youtube recommendations all of a sudden??? *giggles*”

Because Youtube’s algorithm put it there.

*inserts complete lyrics to song*

Okay, this is actually helpful if I’m doing karaoke and there aren’t any lyrics on screen.  So, yeah, thank you, People Who Do This.  You’re actually pretty cool.

And there you have it!  The seven types of Youtube comments.  If you think of any others, let me know! (I feel like I’m forgetting a couple, but these are the basics.)  And I challenge you to go check out any popular Youtube video – whether a movie clip, a Piano Guys song, or whatever’s trending and see if you can spot these comments.  I guarantee you’ll find at least one.


time for (another) rant

Last year, I posted this big rant about one of my indie book reviews being [kind of] censored.  I’m not going to link to it because it turned into a mess, but I’m here today with another rant centered around an indie author. (Not naming her, fyi.)

And it’s worse?

Earlier this year I had the privilege of beta-reading a dystopian trilogy for an indie author whose books I enjoy.  She’s not my favorite indie author, but she’s written some good stuff and created at least one character I really like so I jumped at the chance to help her out in the beta-ing department.  I read all three books, gave her my comments, and that was that.

Until yesterday, when I saw that she’d posted the final book to Goodreads (so it was now available for rating/reviewing).  I added it to my shelves and rated it two stars. 

EXPLANATION: I was stressed yesterday about completely unrelated things.  I was in a hurry to get the book on my shelves, wasn’t really thinking, and since the book left almost no impression on me…I rated it two stars.  I admit that I should have taken more time to think about my rating and maybe leave a short review, but I didn’t. (And, I mean, it’s not like I’m required to by law.)

Later that night, I opened up Facebook Messenger to find a super long message from the author in question.  Why, she asked, did I dare to rate her book only two stars?  If I had issues with it, why didn’t I bring them up when I beta read? (To be completely open with y’all, I pointed out any typos I found when I first read the book and honestly answered all the questions she had for the beta readers.  It’s just that the story/characters didn’t connect with me and I definitely didn’t like it as much as some of her other books.)

“I was planning on offering my beta readers paperback copies in reward for their assistance during the process.  Sorely disappointed I can’t do that for everyone involved now,” she said, passive-aggressively. (Spoiler alert: I’m grateful for the gesture but I have limited shelf space and that offer doesn’t tempt me to raise my rating.)

Still, none of the above would have been enough to prompt this blog post.  Yeah, I’ve bought all of her books and reviewed some and helped her in any way I could and micro-managing reviews and ratings is Bad Form, but…I would have let it go.

Except that she blocked me on Messenger directly after sending the message.

I had a thoughtful response planned out, explaining that I’d not really been thinking and that maybe I could see my way to bumping my rating up to three stars.  But then I tried to send that message and, yeah, it didn’t go through.  I was ‘no longer able to reply to this conversation’.  In one of the most juvenile moves imaginable, she blocked me from her author page’s messaging system so I couldn’t defend myself.

So, yeah.  I’m kind of mad about that.

I’d been reading a different book by the same author and was really enjoying it until all of this happen.  I’ll still finish it, but the whole thing has gone sour for me.  Indie authors, please don’t try to keep your rankings high by following up with every single reader and asking them why they didn’t rate your book higher.  As a reader, I’m not required to post a positive review – or any review.  I’m sure that when I become a published author, I’ll get reviews that will make me shake my head.  But I’m not going to engage.

I’m not quite sure what the point of all this was, except to get my response out there since I couldn’t do it in private.  I’ll probably look back on this post in a couple weeks and roll my eyes because I thought this was such a big deal, but I’m honestly angry right now.


Have you ever had a similar experience with an author (indie or otherwise)?  Or do you have a happy author interaction story to share?  Let me know in the comments!


seeing ‘Newsies’ live…twice!


I’m still glowing from the experience. ❤

A friend from church was recently in a student production of ‘Newsies’ and she invited my family and me to come watch.  We went on a Thursday evening and I enjoyed it so much that I went by myself on Friday (the last performance).  The whole thing made me want to give a Katherine Plumber-esque squeal.  I mean, it was student production quality, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good!

Actually, it was all kinda magical.

Ninety-eight percent of the newsies were played by girls (that included my friend from church) and it weirded me out for ten minutes and then I got used to it. (Well, Jack took a little more getting used to but I was firmly behind her performance by the second evening.)  There was a bit of off-key singing, awkward scene transitions, and bad acting but overall it was AWESOME.  Completely revitalized my love for Newsies.  I’ve been a fan of the show/movie for five years, you guys (pretty much exactly five years, come to think of it) and getting to see it live was literally a dream come true. (I don’t care that it was ‘only’ a high school production.) 

bought a newsies-esque hat for Friday night’s performance. #worth

Random cool stuff about this particular production

-I actually knew someone in the cast!  My friend played Seitz and Mush and, yeah, seeing her performing on stage was awesomeness.

-I, um, preferred this Crutchie to Andrew Keenan-Bolger. *ducks flying tomatoes*  I know it’s hard to believe, and it’s only a tiny preference, but she was so, so sweet and absolutely killed ‘Letter to the Refuge’ (in a good way).  Just…SO good.

-Davey was also awesome!  Davey is my favorite character in the original movie/pro shot/this production and the girl who played him (weird to say, but okay) was a Pro™.  And she hugged me after the production which was really nice of her.

-The cast did a super cool thing during ‘Once and for All’.  You know when the beat kind of drops near the end?  Well, they all came out into the aisles and sang directly at the audience, waving The Newsies Banner in our faces.  It was Uncomfortable (slightly) but also sooooo neat.

-I didn’t have courage to do this the first night (#introvert), but my mom and Katie talked me into asking for autographs after the performance on Friday and I’m so glad I did.  I got autographs from my church friend, her friend, Crutchie, Davey, and Pulitzer.  I couldn’t stop grinning afterwards.

everyone scribbled their autograph by their character name (#helpful), except Pulitzer (#mean) (#butjk)

-Friday night was dinner theatre and the meal/desserts they served were what the newsies, Katherine, Pulitzer, etc. could have eaten back in the day.  Which was awesome.

If you haven’t figured it out by now…this was one of the highlights of my life. (No exaggeration here!)  And definitely the highlight of 2019.  I’ve only seen a few live performances of plays and musicals, but ‘Newsies’ is my favorite so far. *continues to fangirl for the rest of my life*

Have you seen any Broadway productions live? (Whether on Broadway, on tour, or at a school.)  I’d love to hear about your experiences!


life update {april 2019}

Top 22 Funny Memes about Life & Relationships

I have so many blog post ideas right now, but I’m waiting for them to become more than ideas.  Something about Robin Williams, villains, ‘Aladdin’ (oc version), why I love DC more than Marvel, at least one tag I want to steal…and maybe a blogathon of some sort.  I just finished a pretty consuming work project, so I’ll hopefully have more creative energy to devote to blog posts now.


Coffee is still one of my best friends.  Even when I have to drink it with almond milk. 😛


I got Instagram!  Haven’t posted there much because it happened so recently, but I’m pretty happy with how it’s going so far.  I mainly joined up to participate in a photo challenge for Romanov’s release (which is in ONE WEEK and HAVE YOU PRE-ORDERED YET???)  Anyway, it’s tons of fun to brainstorm props and backdrops for some of my favorite books. (Also, Stephanie Garber responded to my comment on one of her posts and it made my day.)

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Yes, that Stephanie Garber.


The Darkness is Past, third draft, is coming along slowly.  One thing I struggle with is having my characters all sound different as they speak – anyone have tips for that?


I feel like this isn’t a life update so much as internet/writing happenings. 😛  But other than that, there’s not a ton going on in my real life world right now.  My little brother, Ethan, is almost done his schoolwork for this year (I’m his teacher).  My family’s cat continues to be a weird little freak.  And I keep waking up before my alarm goes off, which is mildly annoying but I also like getting a bit of an earlier start to the day.


My favorite Youtuber posted a really cool video today about fictional characters in the public domain.  And not to be click-baity or anything, but I’m already developing a story around #9 (before I saw the video, though it’s still neat).


Currently listening to ‘Evermore’ from the Beauty and the Beast remake and I’m seriously considering doing a Guy of Gisborne fan-video set to it.  Thoughts? - actor Richard Armitage, star of BBC North and South, Robin Hood (Guy of Gisborne), Vicar of Dibley: articles, inofrmation, pictures, screencaps, video clips.


That’s about it!  So, tell me how your week/month has gone. 🙂