Banished Weekend Sale

BanishedKindleCover

Looking for a Christmas gift for others, or yourself? My book is on sale.

We are removing my book from Amazon’s Kindle Select program next week, so that we can offer it to other ebook retailers around the world, and we thought it fitting to go out with a bang.

As such, the Kindle version of my fantasy adventure Banished will be FREE on Amazon.com this weekend only, December 11-15. I don’t know whether the other Amazons (UK, CA, AU, IN, etc.) will also run the sale, but I hope so.

And the paperback edition is also on sale at a 10% discount, but you’d better hurry since how long that sale lasts is in Amazon’s hands. And remember, if you buy the paperback at any time, you get the ebook for free, since Banished will stay in the Kindle Matchbook program (gift for another person AND for yourself?).

Need more incentive? The book’s been updated with a shiny new cover and a preview of the second book in The Riddled Stone series. Book Two is coming Spring 2015, and if you want a head’s-up when that arrives, join our updates email list.

Why To Homeschool

So, if you remember my 2013 post I mentioned one of the things I was planning on posting about was *dun dun dun* SCHOOL-STUFF!

So, I decided to start out with… WHY home school? There are reasons to and not to home school. I personally love home-edjumication, and it works great for our family (and there are so many fun ways to say it!), but I have known one person who wished she wasn’t homeschooled. And I’ll get to that later. First…

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Monday Fun

Spring! Glorious spring. It’s been spring since last Wednesday, and if you’re like me, you’re having a snow day. Actually, no: if you’re like me, you’re home schooled, and snow days don’t exactly apply *sigh*.

Anyway, it’s Monday now, and I was like, “Hey, it’s Monday. School… fun… yay…. I’m going back to bed.” But instead, I dragged myself downstairs and did math… with decimals… I don’t like decimals. At all.

But I do like snow! And fractals, and pictures, and algebra (I was working in pre-algebra, and I’m all like: Yay! and then it was like: Hey, do some decimals, and now I’m all like: :( ). And stuff. You have no idea how long I spent trying to make that sad face a crying face… But alas, earwax… Er, failure. (If you get that reference, ten points to your house!)

Anyway, what I’m about to talk about has nothing to do with fractals or earwax, and only half to do with algebra, depending on how you define algebra. And snow, part of it has to do with snow.  It does have pictures, though! I like pictures.

Anyway it’s Monday, and the fact you are reading this may hint at how bored you are. But I decided, “Hey, what could make today’s math more fun…”

And the best part, let me tell you: it has nothing to do with decimals. Or numbers, for that matter. First: snow! We all love snow, right? Or at least snowflakes. So today, regardless of whether you have any snow outside or not, you can have fun going back to that holiday craft of paper snowflakes.

Or, if you have a lot of blow-up beach ball balloons and such (Which I don’t… ah well), you can do plastic sphereflakes.

Well, while that’s fun, there’s still math to be done. And that’s where sort-of-algebra and pictures comes in: How ’bout working on some Imbalance Problems. They’re challenging and have nothing to do with numbers. Or (more importantly, says I) decimals. I don’t know if I’ll be making any, but solving them is fun. And once you’re done with those three, here are twelve more! These are fun because they’re logic. And I think almost everyone enjoys logic a bit. In my opinion it’s the best type of math, because it doesn’t feel like math.

Anyway, I need to finish up the imbalance problems, and then decorate my computer with some snowflakes (which may be tricky, since most of it is white…).

But of course, besides those two things, I want to go play in the snow! (This is the first snow we’ve gotten in a few years that is actually both the right consistency and there’s enough of it to do stuff with.)

Windows 8: Better or Worse?

So I semi-recently (as in a few weeks ago) bought myself a big, fancy, Windows 8 computer. And I was thinking: “Hey, why not talk about Windows 8 and my thoughts on it for a desktop?”

So this is my semi-review, semi-tutorial (basically, some brief instructions on the things I had the hardest time figuring out).

Why Not Buy It?

Let’s start by covering the cons of a Windows 8. Firstly (and mainly) Windows 8 would not be nearly as fun without touch, and there aren’t that many good touch screens for it yet. When I was shopping, the two monitors I ended up coming down to were an Acer and a Dell.

I bought the Dell. Why? Because from what I’d read online, the Acer had a poor quality control, and if you got a bad apple, it was nigh impossible to get it replaced/fixed. The Dell was practically equal in every way: 23 inch, ten touch, etc., etc. The two main differences were: The Dell has a lower contrast ratio than the Acer, and a better tilt. The Dell screen can go from ten degrees forward to completely flat. I’m not kidding. The Acer had a better contrast, but couldn’t even get up to 90 degrees (straight up and down).

Of course, a touch screen is not absolutely required for using Windows 8 — in fact, sometimes I prefer using the mouse. But admit it: it’s really, really, really fun to swipe your finger across the screen and watch things go flying by.

The most annoying thing I’ve encountered so far is that practically all the apps my computer came with (including Skype) need a Microsoft account. It’s not so bad, but that is my biggest dislike. Though, I suppose, it’s easier than making different passwords for everything. And it probably makes more sense on a tablet. So yeah… not really a biggie.

Anyway, now I shall mention the really nice features of Windows 8, and why it is cool:

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The Pale Warrior: Chapter Seven

Continued from The Pale Warrior: Chapter Six. Or start reading at the beginning.

Tawney smelled the thick brew she was making. It was almost ready, but she felt like something was missing. She stirred, trying to decide what. Maybe a pinch more salt or maybe—

“Mother, they’re calling a meeting,” said Pierre as he entered, not even waiting for the door to swing all the way open. Tawney looked up in time to see it narrowly miss the water bucket before it slammed against the wall.

“When?” asked his mother, whose name, Tawney had learned, was Marianne.

Tawney glanced between them as she stirred the pot of medicine, leaning against her walking stick.

“Tonight.”

“No surprise. It’s probably about the villagers.  They’ll be wanting to warn anyone who doesn’t already know. It’s a bother, though. I’d hoped to stay with Jane.”

“I suppose I could go alone, Mother, or with Abby. Then you could take care of Jane.”

Tawney turned her gaze back to the pot of medicine and gave a small, “Oh!”

In her distraction, she’d stopped stirring, and the mixture had begun to boil fiercely and was threatening to overflow. Tawney dropped the spoon and grabbed the handles of the pot to pull it off the fire and set it on the floor. Her walking stick hit the floor with a loud bang. There was a short pause, and then she slapped her hands against her leggings and hissed through her teeth at the burns, bouncing her weight from foot to foot. A second later, pain shot through her twisted foot.

“Tawney, sit,” commanded Marianne. Tawney quickly obeyed, hopping on one foot backwards to the wooden bench. She lifted her smarting hands to stare at the red skin.

“Pierre, get fresh, cool water,” said Marianne, taking long strides across the room, picking up the water bucket by the door as she went. She set it in front of Tawney and said sharply, “Soak your hand.”

Tawney obeyed, dipping her hands into the water and shutting her eyes. “I’m sorry, but it was boiling. I didn’t want it that hot.” She paused and sniffed the aroma coming from the pot, adding, “It should be ready soon, I think. It just needs more salt.”

Marianne shook her head. “Don’t be sorry to me. Now, stay here and tell me how to finish it. Then when Pierre gets back, I’ll bandage your hand.”

Tawney gave a small nod, squeezing her hands into fists under the water, and then releasing them. “It should only take a pinch of salt, thoroughly stirred in. Then put a couple full scoops in a small bowl for Jane. The rest can store. I am sorry, though. I should have been paying attention.”

Marianne rolled her eyes, picked up the pot from where Tawney had left it on the floor, and proceeded to add salt. Pierre returned as she was ladling the brew into a wooden bowl. She glanced up at him and said, “Leave that water by the door and get Tawney some ointment and bandages. I’m going to take care of Jane.”

Pierre gave his mother a nod, and went to the small cabinet. He barely gave its contents a glance before grabbing a jar and a roll of white bandages. Coming over to Tawney, he said roughly, “Let me see your hands.”

Tawney pulled them out of the water and hesitantly held them out. They prickled and looked red, but nothing worse than that. Pierre opened the jar and applied a thick ointment to them, and almost as soon as it touched, a cooling sensation ran through her hands. After he had rubbed it around he started to wrap her hands in bandages.

Tawney bit her tongue anxiously. Pierre was working with a frown on his face that scared her. Though she was curious, her shyness won out and she remained silent until he finished. Then she asked, “Who’s calling a meeting?”

The boy shrugged. “The people like us, who live in the woods.”

“You mean you’re not the only ones?” said Tawney in surprise.

Pierre gave a wry smile. “Yes, because only one of us could have escaped your knowledge. Obviously, your village could not have been ignorant of an entire society of people like us, living in peace in the forest and hoping that your folk wouldn’t disturb us, and therefore being very careful to remain hidden.”

Tawney blushed. “I’m sorry, it’s just… I’m sorry.”

Pierre grunted, then stalked out of the house. Tawney slumped back against the wall.

To be continued…

Here’s to 2013

It is 2013. For some reason, people think this year is going be really good… or something (maybe it’s a post-(fail)apocalypse thing). Well, in that spirit, I’m making this post. First, let’s take a look at years past, shall we?

Review

GAHGEESHGAROO! (That should be some type of animal… *strokes imaginary beard*…) I just realized I missed my 2012 blogiversary… which mean I’ve now been blogging 5.5 years………… *turns inside out and then explodes*. FIVE AND A HALF YEARS? It feels closer to three and a half… Ah well, let’s look at what I have to show for my five and a half years.

Posts: Counting this one? 111. A cool number, granted, but…. Really? Only 111??? That’s like… 20 posts per year!

Comments: 345 goodies, (again a cool number) and 3,645 spammies.

Subscribers/Followers: 7ish. Mostly family and friends.

My biggest categories are:

  1. Stories, at 25
  2. Blogging, at 21
  3. Miscellaneous, at 20

So, yeah… That’s all I have to show for the first 5.5 years, but what comes next?

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Do Hard Things

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think teenager? Probably along the lines of video game/movie/internet obsessed, rebellious, party on the weekends, etc.

Do Hard Things was written by Alex and Brett Harris when they were teens. It’s about how teenagers have been trapped by low expectations, how they think of the teen years as a time to party. And how it’s not.

Alex and Brett challenge teenagers to do hard things. Not hard things like lift weights, or denying self pleasure, but five type of hard things that can be scary, HARD, but good.

  1. Things outside your comfort zone.
  2. Things that go beyond what’s expected/required.
  3. Things that take more than one person to accomplish.
  4. Things that don’t have an immediate payoff.
  5. Things that go against the crowd.

They tell inspiring stories and give ideas of how to get started. And though Do Hard Things is by Christian teens for Christian teens, I think that it would be a good read for anyone.

All in all I give the book 5/5 stars, and would encourage you to check it out if you haven’t — if for no other reason than that the forward was written by Chuck Norris ;).

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

So not AMAZINGLY long ago the first Hobbit movie came out in theaters. I went to see it with family, and thought I’d share some opinions. So, here goes:

Stars:

I’d give it 4/5. Not as good as the LotR (Lord of the Rings), but pretty good. A good movie even if you’ve read the book (which you should go do, if you haven’t).

Rating:

It’s rated PG-13. I’d say if you have seen the Lord of the Rings, it’ll be more than fine.

I didn’t notice much blood, (though I’ve never minded blood that much, so that could just be me) or anything. There were battle scenes, but y’know, that’s LotR for you. So I say again: If you’ve seen LotR, you’ll be fine.

Plot (may contain spoilers):

Pretty good. Mostly it followed the book, and the extras they added fit well.

Gandolf and 13 dwarves recruit a usually ‘proper’ stay-at-home-type hobbit named Bilbo Baggins to help them take back the dwarves’ mountain home from a fierce dragon, Smaug — though they believe it’s possible that Smaug is dead, since he has not been seen for a long time.

At first Bilbo is reluctant, but then he is pulled into the spirit of Adventure and rushes off to join the dwarves (unfortunately forgetting his handkerchiefs!) On this adventure he faces many dangers.

However it seems that more is going on than just the dwarves taking back their mountain. Gandolf’s problems include a dark wizard called “The Necromancer” who seems to be raising dark forces, including the Witch King. Because of him, the forest is turning dark, plants and animals dying…

And Bilbo and the dwarves? They have an angry Orc, eager for revenge.

Overall (maybe some spoilers):

The movie did have at least one line that was completely hilarious and rather out of character. For those of you who have read the book: They changed what saved them from the Trolls a bit, but what they did with it probably worked better for the movie.

I loved the brown wizard — first that the movie included him, second that just his character was fun. My memories of the book is foggy, but I don’t remember him being in it. However, I think his addition was great.

The movie did alright for the songs. Of course they had to drop the elves’ songs when the dwarves reached Rivendell. Otherwise they would have seemed far to silly to fit in with LotR.

In general, the changes worked well, the characters were portrayed well, etc., etc., and I think it was a good movie, and I’m eager for the next two. It wasn’t as good as LotR by any means, but those were very good movies and would be hard to beat.

Christmas 2012

Well, the end of a world was a big flop. No zombies, no aliens, no nothing! Not even the meteor shower that I was so looking forward to! :( This disappoints me very much.

On a brighter note, it’s Christmas! And this is a Christmas post! And sooooooooooooooooooooo:

How is/was your Christmas? Or whatever you celebrate. This year, as always, we had lots of food. Some of it we gave nick-names like “Beam-me-up-Scottie” (biscotti) and “Iced muffins”. Long story.

Here’s some of my presents:

  • A logic puzzle book thing
  • A coffee mug and yummy-looking chocolate mixes
  • Panera gift card
  • The Hunger Games (movie)
  • X-Men Destiny for the WII
  • And a couple other things

So, that’s all good and fun. And I vote that the game means I get to play on the WII today… Right?

What type of things did you get? I’m going to stuff myself with nuts, and put my things away, and then I’m going to think about writing a Christmas story. I have an IDEA… it’s just not complete yet. So I may or may not do it.

Also I have some pictures of Cimorene that I might put up sometime soon.

So, yeah, that was my Christmas, ttyl!

P.S. This might be my first ever Christmas Post that is actually posted on Christmas! Lol

“End of the World” Update

12, 12, 12

So how is everyone? End of the world and all, tons of fun, right? Yup, I have everything set up for the zombie apocalypse already.

Unfortunately, my throat is rebelling. It’s been sore most of the morning… I REFUSE TO BE SICK AT THE END OF THE WORLD!!! Honestly, who would want to be sick at the end of the world?

Also, I finished writing The Riddle Stone Book 2 yesterday. *sigh* One day short of 12, 12, 12. If only I’d realized that yesterday and stopped myself. On a brighter note, while the zombies are busy dying in my piranha trap, I can be editing! Ho, ho ho, Merry Christmas… Yeah, I really don’t look forward to editing that much, actually…

Anyway, why is 12:12:12:12:12:12 so special? I mean, besides the end of the world and all. Last year there was an 11:11:11:11:11:11. And the year before that a 10:10:10:10:10:10. You get the picture? There’s even two 12:12:etc. in a day: one AM, one PM. Of course, this will be the last megarepetitive date for a while… *pause while I calculate*… The next one will be in just over 88 years, and 88 is a repeat number, too. Lol. But it is sadly not 88.8 years — that’d be just too hilarious.

But you realize, in 88 years (roughly) there will be a set of 12 years that all have repeat digits like today. That’s actually exactly 100 years per cycle… Lol. All the interesting things we can discover and then be like “OH! That makes total sense because…”

So yeah, end of the world, big explosion, piranhas, zombies… Why is it always zombies? There are way too many games and movies and songs and books and EVERYTHING about zombies. Maybe it’s just an apocalypse thing. Maybe next year it’ll be hippogryphs. That would be cool.

By the way, while I can’t schedule this post down to the second, I can schedule it so it’ll be posted at 12:12:12:12. So that’s cool, right?

Anyway, happy 12:12:12:12:12:12, end of the world, Merry Christmas, and all that jazz!