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review 2018-05-06 15:21
Thomas and the Piglets. - HiT Entertainm... Thomas and the Piglets. - HiT Entertainment

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

A cute, simple story about sharing and gift-giving.

The story gets a little weird when Thomas delivers the presents for the piglets first, instead of the straw that the farmer actually asked for, but it all works out in the end. There's maybe a lesson in priorities or something in here, but in a book with such a short length and simple structure, it doesn't really come across. 

Overall, a good story, especially for a Step 2 book.

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text 2018-04-11 02:19
Anyone watched SIREN?


Mermaids and Sirens seem to be one of the new latest book and TV trends. I had never read any books about mermaids/sirens until I read the Daughter of the Pirate King series and I loved that series and found the sirens and Siren Queen enchanting! I hardly ever watch TV because I'm too busy reading but I wouldn't mind watching this show if it's any good.


Has anyone tuned in to this yet or do you know of any other really good books, movies or TV shows featuring mermaids/sirens? 


Picture is also linked to FREEFORM


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video 2018-01-30 12:49

Here's an interview I did for Bizzong! The Bizarre and Weird Fiction Podcast.


If you're really not a podcast person, but you are interested in hearing me do a short reading from Taboogasm, you can scrub to around 49:54 (or just click here to jump to that bit). 


If you'd prefer, you may listen to the podcast at any of the following locations:


Project Entertainment Network
Player FM
iHeart Radio


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review 2017-09-23 06:31
Halloween Bingo - Raven Free Space - Mysteries, Ghosts, Monsters
The City of Falling Angels - John Berendt



Not all mysteries involve murder.  Not all ghosts were once human.  Bewitchment can be enchanting.  And monsters lurk everywhere.


John Berendt conjures up a gallery of intriguing characters for this magical tour of Venice in the aftermath of the 1996 fire that gutted the historic La Fenice Opera House.  At the heart, of course, is the investigation into the cause of fire -- was it arson?  was it negligence?  was it just an unfortunate accident?  But how the fire touched various lives, and how those lives were part of the mystique of the city, makes for fascinating reading.


Spoiler -- The cause of the fire is determined at the end and the responsible parties are convicted.  Or are they?  In a city like Venice, it's hard to say.  Is corruption rampant?  Well, maybe yes.  That's part of its charm. 


The whole city is haunted by its own 1500-year-old past, and menaced by the monsters of time and water and pollution.  If ghosts don't actually walk the halls of the palazzos, their spirits remain unforgotten by the living. There are the rooms where Robert Browning  read his poetry . . . and where he died.  There is the house where Ezra Pound lived with his mistress of 50 years, the house almost stolen by someone perhaps eager to cash in on Pound's fame. 


Venice may own much of its current survival to American millionaires who, for whatever reasons, sought to preserve its patrician glamour, perhaps in hopes some of it would magically rub off on them. 


Halloween, or the Celtic Samhain, is a time when the veil between our physical world and the spirit world thins to permit visions and visits back and forth.  While I was reading John Berendt's fascinating descriptions of the places and people of turn-of-the-millenium Venice, I couldn't help but think of John Ruskin's monumental The Stones of Venice and the impact it had both on his and subsequent generations of both art historians and social reformers, as well as Madeleine Brent's 20th century gothic romance, Tregaron's Daughter.  The atmosphere of the gothic winds through the three works like morning fog twisting over the lagoon and drifting down the canals.


An interesting note:  Ruskin obtained his own camera in 1849 to take photos of Venice for research.  The City of Falling Angels lost half a star for not containing illustrations!  Perhaps Berendt expected his readers to sit beside their computers -- or read on them? -- and look up their own photos.


The January 1996 fire, from www.VeniceOnline.it, which has quite a gallery of photos from the fire.



And the rebuilt La Fenice -- "The Phoenix," rising again from its own ashes -- in 2004.





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text 2017-09-20 18:26
Summer's over; back to work

Even though it's 86 degrees before 10:00 a.m., temperatures are really cooling off here in central Arizona, and that means my fall and winter art show season is heating up.  With less than three weeks to my first show, it's time to get myself to work.


I have most of my Halloween Bingo books read, with just six (plus the Free Space) to go, and for the most part I've chosen longer but more likely enjoyable books to fill out the squares.  These are books that can be read at leisure, with less fear of DNFing just because I get interrupted!


So today I'm going to dedicate my efforts  toward making more stock.


As some of you know, I like to play with rocks.  Little rocks, not big ones.  Some I buy at rock and gem shows, but most I actually go out in the desert and find myself.



If you know the right places, sometimes the really neat rocks are just lying there waiting for you to pick them up!  It may look big, but that piece was only about 3 inches long.  It's pink chalcedony, a form of quartz, and actually quite common.  Though not particularly rare or valuable, it does make nice jewelry when cut and polished.  That's what I do after collecting them -- I cut them on a saw made specifically for cutting rocks, then I polish them, then I wrap them in sterling silver or gold-filled wire.



That's a piece of white chalcedony that I call Angel Feather Agate.  It has a void, or vug, in the middle that's filled with little tiny crystals.


Today I'm playing with a piece of what is probably Brazilian agate, part of an estate collection I acquired a few years ago. 




The red color is natural; the white is actually the crystal center of the agate nodule, which doesn't show up too clearly on an indoor photo.  Outside in the sunshine, it sparkles!


If I manage to collect enough discipline today, I'll finish the wire wrapping and have this piece ready for my first show on 8 October.  Guess I'd better start looking for some scattered pieces of that discipline; I'm sure I have a bunch of scraps lying around the house somewhere . . . .

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