hello  |  bookmarks  |  design request  |  april gale  |  home

November 29, 2019

December Holiday Books Giveaway

December Holiday Books Giveaway
Update: Giveaway is closed.

It's the holidays so I like to give something to my readers. So here's a giveaway.

Here's some rules for the December Holiday Books Giveaway:
1. To enter, just leave a comment and make sure there is a way to be contacted, ie, email.
2. There will be 4 winners. They each will pick 1 to 10 books from the list below. Whomever is first to respond to my email will get their choice of books, so the second person will get to choose from what's left and so on.
3. This is for U.S. only.
4. All books are paperbacks unless otherwise indicated.
5. All books are used and in great condition unless otherwise indicated.
6. Book series cannot be separated but will count as separate books so if you pick a series like 'The Children of Crow Cove', that will count as 4 books.
7. If you don't want to enter the giveaway but is willing to pay for shipping, then email me below.
9. Last day to enter/leave a comment is December 31, 2019.

Questions, requests, suggestions, hellos, email me at: lissawrites(at)g(mail)dot(com). Enjoy reading and happy holidays!

~ Fiction ~
(1) The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
(1) The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
(2) Persuasion by Jane Austen
(3) Daddy-Long-Legs and Dear Enemy by Jean Webster
(4) Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
(5) The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
(6) The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
(7) Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
(8) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
(9)  Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend (Hardcover)
(10) The fault in our stars by John Green
(11) The Gate of Sorrows by Miyuki Miyable, translated by Jim Hubbert (Hardcover)
(12) Middlemarch by George Eliot
(13) All systems red - the murderbot diaries by Martha Wells
(14) Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
(15) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
(16) Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley (Hardcover)
(17) Little Witch by Anna Elizabeth Bennett
(18) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
(19) Great Expectation by Charles Dickens
(20) Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, Anthea Bell
(21) The hero and the crown by Robin McKinley
(22) The blue sword by Robin McKinley
(23) The book thief by Markus Zusak
(24) A curse so dark and lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
(25) Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
(26) The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - 25th Anniversary edition
(27) The Beast of Ten by Beth Brower
(28) A Wrinkle in Time Trilogy by Madeleine L'Engle

~ Series, Comics, Nonfiction ~
The Children of Crow Cove series by Bodil Bredsdorff
(20) The Crow-Girl translated from the Danish by Faith Ingwersen (Hardcover)
(30) Eidi translated from the Danish by Kathryn Mahaffy (Hardcover)
(31) Tink translated from the Danish by Elisabeth Kallick Dyssegaard (Hardcover)
(32) Alek translated from the Danish by Elisabeth Kallick Dyssegaard (Hardcover)

Cogheart series by Peter Bunzl
(33) Cogheart (UK edition)
(34) Skycircus (UK edition)
(35) Moonlocket (US edition - larger than the UK editions)

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
(36) The bad beginning or, Orphans!
(37) The reptile room or, Murder!
(38) The wide window or, Disappearance!

Oddly Normal comics by Otis Frampton
(39) Oddly Normal books #1
(40) Oddly Normal books #2 (Signed by the author)
(41) Oddly Normal books #3

Discworld series by Terry Pratchett
(42) Maskerade (Mass Market Paperback)
(43) Equal Rites (Mass Market Paperback)
(44) Wyrd Sisters (Mass Market Paperback)

Shadow Weaver series by MarcyKate Connolly
(45) Shadow Weaver (Hardcover)
(46) Comet Rising (Hardcover)

(47) Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen
(48) Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen

(49) Handling the Truth: On the writing of memoir by Beth Kephart
(50) The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
(51) The Faith of a Writer by Joyce Carol Oates

~ Additions ~
(52) Silver woven in my hair by Shirley Rousseau Murphy, illustrated by Alan Tiegreen
(53) The polar bear explorers' club by Alex Bell
(54) James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake (hardcover)
(55) Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell (hardcover)
(56) Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte (paperback is a bit worn around the edges)
(57) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
(58) North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
(59) Don't Stop Bewitching (Bewitching Ever After) & Everlasting Christmas (Happily Everlasting Series) by Mandy M. Roth
(60) Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
(61) The Power of Poppy Pendle/The Courage of Cat Campbell/The Marvelous Magic of Miss Mabel by Natasha Lowe (Hardcovers)
(62) Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (the cover is a bit worn with creases)
(63) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory & Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl (Hardcovers)
(64) The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
(65) Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay (Hardcover)
(66) Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi (Hardcover)
(67) Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi (Hardcover)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I'm joining up with the December of Books Giveaway Hop hosted by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight and Lonna @ FLYLÄ“F. Check out other giveaways below.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

November 22, 2019

Fiction: The woman in the sun

This week's Words for Wednesday prompts are two photographs taken by Bill Dodds. For more Words for Wednesday, visit Elephant's Child's blog here.

Photographs by Bill Dodds
Fiction: The woman in the sun

He found her again among the overgrown dried whitegrass. She stood with her back toward him. A light wind was rearranging her long black hair. Her red gown was a faded hue under the bright summer sun. She turned around and her beauty astonished him again. Her pale face was almost translucent.

He rushed forward uncertain of what he wanted to do only that he needed to be near her. But she faded away. He turned about looking and looking but she was gone.

Whether she was real or not, he was not certain. But she looked exactly the same as in his grandfather Edward's paintings. The woman in the sun - she was called. Edward had said she only appeared on sunny days. And here she was and here she left.

But as he turned back to return to his cabin, she appeared again about three meters from him. He thought he saw a smile though it quickly left her face.

She pointed toward to her left at a tree that faded upward into the clouds. He ran toward her without thinking. But she was gone before he reached her.

The tree was a giant. He was not certain it had an end. The tree trunk was rough to the touch. Its long white bark was peeling and revealing dark spots. Beneath the tree, there was a pile of white rocks. He bended down. Was something buried here? Beside the rocks was a piece of long, rectangle wood stuck to the ground. Most of the letters had been rubbed off. What were left were: DOTUY.

He lifted the rocks and put them aside. The area around it was all dried but the dirt where the rocks had been, appeared fresh. He pulled out his small knife and begun to dig.

Sweat dripped down his face. He wiped at his forehead with his shirt sleeve. The sun was high above beaming down directly where he stood. As the time whiled away, a strange urgency kept him digging. He was certain there was something buried here.

He heard thunder and wondered if it would rain. He lifted his face toward the sky. It was getting dark. Sunlight that fell on him was dimmed. He shivered in his long-sleeve shirt and jeans. But he kept digging. There must be something here.

The sky grew dark and the sun disappeared. He sat down on the ground. He was exhausted. Bits of moonlight fell on the dirt at his feet. He looked up at the tree. It faded into the darkness. Why did the woman led him here? He should not have followed her just because he was curious. And because she was a beautiful woman.

November 19, 2019

Seven Things


01 | I have deleted my Instagram account and it was not easy. I had searched how to delete Instagram and it keeps saying go to the 'delete your account' page, like that's so apparent. Well, it's not. That little link is under the support page which you had to go through a few steps. They obviously do not want you to delete your account but honestly, is it really so hard to have a delete option? I mean, some of us changes our minds a lot and needs this option because we don't want have thousands of unused accounts. Why is deleting your Instagram is so hard? Why? Because they really, really want to frustrate you enough to not delete your account which has an opposite effect on me because it made me not want to use their service.

Now if you really want to delete your Instagram, go to the 'support' page (at the bottom or wherever they put them) and then to 'managing your account', then to 'delete your account' and then to 'how do I delete my account' and then click on 'the delete your account page.' I did this on my desktop so it might be easier on your phone but it's freaking stupid the way you had to keep clicking and clicking...

02 | I keep trying to back up my computer onto my external drives but I keep forgetting because I'm not on a schedule. I really hate schedules so I don't have one for backing up files but now I'm thinking, maybe I should make one up. I have two small drives that I used as backups and I use Time Machine that came with the Mac system to do this. It works well when I remember to back up. But of course, there is so such thing as certainty when it comes to computers. My computer and my external drives may fail at any time because machines doesn't last forever just like everything else. I probably need to get backups for my backups.

03 | The few writing contests that I was involved in all had the one thing in common — all the winning stories are boring. I am not saying they shouldn't win, I'm saying why does the most boring story wins? Maybe these stories aren't boring, maybe they are for a more sophisticated audience so I can't understand them and that's why I think they are boring. They just seems to lack something exciting or meaningful to me. I don't know. I just don't understand it.

04 | Does anyone like unisex bathroom? Just recently, I've been in one in a book store and I must admit it's a bit weird to see a guy coming out of a stall. I really do not want to be fixing my hair next to a guy. And also, this is just an excuse for perverts to spy on women. This was a temporary situation as the men's room was broken or something. I do hope this is not a permanent thing. I definitely hate the idea of unisex bathroom.

A while back, I saw a clothing store that sells unisex clothes. I didn't go inside but from the window displays, the clothes looks a bit strange and kind like they are made for shapeless people or aliens. I'm not against guys wearing dresses but it would take some getting use to plus wouldn't it be weird to see a guy wearing the same dress as you and he looks better in it than you?

05 | Don't use the search term 'down with love' at amazon because you'll see porn images or porn dvd covers. I've never encountered this before which troubles me a bit. Seriously, they really need to have people check third-party sellers because sellers usually provides the product images. This looks to me like they have poor quality control or does amazon sells porn? I just like to shop without seeing porn - is that too much to ask?

Also Society6 do allow mature artworks so I did see a few of these mature artworks when I searched for something as innocent as 'reading.' So I am now forced to really make very specific search terms but sadly even that is not always safe since the seller is the one that gets to use whatever search terms they want. I guess one would ask what constitutes porn and what constitutes mature artwork? Definitely if it shows body parts together, that's porn, right? Seriously, what kind of people likes to hang such artworks in their homes anyway?

06 | Books read in September & October

The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen
The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen > link
It's an enjoyable read though it lacked humor, well, more humor, or maybe more of Eugene who is an automatron, I really like this character. I do like Hazel and Sam a lot but I find the ending to be too expected, that is, I actually predicted what would happened and if you know the tale of Rapunzel or even the Disney movie, then you could already predict the ending somewhat.

We get glimpses of the 'Lady in the Coppergate Tower' who is Hazel's sister named Marit but mostly Hazel is the central character and she also pretty much saved herself which I don't think it's a spoiler because the whole series all have strong female characters that essentially saved themselves so no surprises there. I guess it would have been nice to know more of Marit, or that she did more than just show up now and then in Hazel's dream or head, after all, she is the lady in the title of the book.

< SPOILER > What happened to the maid is unfortunate and yet, it seems her exit is a bit unnecessary and Hazel and the Sam did care about her but it seemed her presence didn't do much but sort of give reason to move the story along. Still, I really kind of hope she had survived. It just seems a bit cruel even for a character we do not know well of. < END SPOILER >

The various shoulder lift which is probably suppose to be a shrug done by almost all the characters is kind of strange and I suppose you can make a game of it. I do find the romance a bit weak. I mean, these two knew each other longer than a year and they danced around each other each thinking the other does not feel the same and yada, yada, it just seems they should just become a couple from the start but the point of the book is their budding romance so I suppose that wouldn't do. As I said, this is an enjoyable read plus if you have read the other two books in this series (they are all kind of stand-alone), you will enjoy the mention of characters from those books. Also, I must admit that these books does have Disney movie elements like similar storylines, that sort of thing but I didn't mind it.

A Wrinkle in Time trilogy by Madeleine L'Engle
A Wrinkle in Time trilogy by Madeleine L'Engle > link
So I didn't quite finished this. I read Book 1- 'A Wrinkle in Time' and then started on Book 2 and then I just gave up. I kept reading, stopping, reading, stopping, it was just so boring. I should love this series because it's the kind of books I do like reading but I can't seem to get into them. Perhaps if I had read this years ago, I might have loved it but now, it seems extremely boring to me. I really do like the various book titles like 'A wind in the door', 'A swiftly tilting planet' so maybe I'll try reading this again in a few years.

The Cranford Chronicles by Elizabeth Gaskell
The Cranford Chronicles by Elizabeth Gaskell > link
I read 'My Lady Ludlow' and then I just decided I didn't care to read the other two stories. It seems rather boring to me. I'm thinking I'll read the other two stories later but they might be boring too but that's that.

07| Movies watched in October/November

Kong: Skull Island > link
I don't know what I was expecting because I occasionally like watching monster movies like these but this was just a violent ride through a jungle-like world back up with a 70's soundtrack. The actors are barely there since Kong is the central focus and if they change the actors, it really makes no difference. It was okay for a weekend movie but it wasn't that enjoyable.

Shazam! > link
I enjoyed watching this superhero mashup but perhaps it's a bit predictable. They could have added some surprising elements but they didn't. I have to say if Zachary Levi wasn't in the movie, I wouldn't even bother watching it. There's certainly a family theme here but I didn't mind that. I actually like how it ended though I still wonder why superheroes aren't fat. (I don't think this is a spoiler since it's in the trailer). I mean, one of the guys is fat but his superhero version is not fat so what does that mean? That your highest potential, a bit of it that is, is not to be fat? Anyway, this was a fun watch.

What have you been up to lately?

November 13, 2019

The art of Heikala

I first saw Heikala's artwork while searching for image references, probably a few months ago.  I like her style and her imaginary. There's something magical and unique about her art.

Recently, I just finished reading The art of Heikala - works and thoughts. The book is full of little ideas, tips and some aspect and process of creating art and of course, Heikala's art. I brought it for the art otherwise this would be a very large paperweight.

"I try to keep a habit of sketching every day as I believe your imagination is like a muscle that you need to exercise frequently." — Heikala

I do have two things in common with Heikala: (1) we both went to art school and (2) we both studied graphic design. And a third of sorts as we both like to draw mostly female characters but I don't like to include cats as much as she does. Even the logo of her name on the cover as a cat shape above the letter i.

Here are some pages from The art of Heikala:

November 9, 2019

April Gale 23

~ ~  Read previous April Gale here ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

April Gale 23

Harry Tyler now thinks his plan is all wrong. "Throw her to the wolves and see what happens" is not a plan but then that is what his father did to him for his nineteenth birthday. He did not have to face a wolf but a powerful ghost. He would have ran away if not for the fact that the ghost was one of his childhood friends. He looks back on it now and is still amazed he got out alive. He should have studied more. He should have practiced his spells more. He should have done more but all that preparation would not have helped him.

He sighs. But he must not interfere. Even now that April has mastered some of her fears and has gained her healing power. If she gets Winifred back to her body and also helps Vincent, then at last, Harry can stop worrying about his granddaughter.

But this keeping at bay is not going to keep. He cannot let April just wander into every situation without some guidance. If Josey is here, she can do that, not him. He should not have let Josey stay away from Windy Shadows this long. He will have to have a long talk with her about April. And Vincent. He must not forget Vincent.

He gets up off the floor. He has not disturbed the bed near him. His back acts up too often for him to enjoy a soft bed. The floor is far more comfortable for him. But then, it does not matter as he soon will not need the floor nor a bed as he will soon cease to need to sleep.

Mrs. Summers is coming. Harry can always hear her boots tapping the carpets. There is a soft knock. Harry calls "Enter." Mrs. Summers stands near the door appearing a bit agitated. "Master, I have followed Mistress' instructions of keeping Miss April in bed and she has been recovering very nicely."

"Good." Harry turns toward the windows. The sky is as blue as ever.

"How is Mr. Vincent?"

November 7, 2019

Fiction: The Pawnbroker's Luck

This week's Words for Wednesday is provided by Margaret Adamson, and her friend Sue Fulcher. This week's prompts are: Choleric, Investment, Curlers, Agenda, Lolloping, Anosmia And/or Pawnbrokers, Ackee, Hen, Articulate, Speeding, Ruler.

For more Words for Wednesday, visit Elephant's Child's blog here.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Fiction: The Pawnbroker's Luck

The Curlers have always owned the pawn shop on the corner of Spirit Street. The brothers Huey, Duey and Luey were trained to be pawnbrokers from a young age. Their father, Suey, was a pawnbroker until he ate an ackee and dropped dead. Their mother, Cary, was choleric when she did not get her ways. When Suey died, Cary got her way and joined her husband though she had always complained he was the cheapest man on earth.

The three Curlers had a schedule that they stuck to rigorously. The mornings belong to Luey, the youngest, the afternoons are for Duey, the second-born and the nights are for Huey, the oldest.

One late night a lady in a long black trench coat came to the shop. Huey, though he was tall and muscular, was also the most gentle-hearted of the three. He gave the lady a quote of one hundred and sixty dollars for her one necklace, three rings and two bracelets. Her green eyes widened at the amount. She said she would think about it and went away.

The next morning, the same lady in black returned to pawn the same jewelry. Luey was the youngest and also the most easily fooled. He gave her one hundred and forty dollars. The lady smiled and asked if she could get more. He quoted one hundred and fifty and insisted he could not go farther knowing his brother Duey would scold him if he did. She told him she need to think about it and went away.

Then in the afternoon, the same lady in black returned. Now Duey was clearheaded and the smartest of the three brothers. But he was also the most practical. He knew right away the jewelry weren't worth much. He quoted eighty dollars for all the pieces. She smiled and then left.

Night came once again and the lady in black returned. Standing behind the counter was Duey. Huey was sick with a stomach ache.

The lady wandered around the shop which was unnecessary as you can just turn a 180 and see everything. The shelves and shelves of stuff were neatly organized and tagged. Their father had always insisted on that.

Finally the lady turned toward the counter. "Is Huey here?" Duey knew full well that Huey had been more generous than he should be with his pricing. People rarely came back for their things and they often had stuff that sat on the shelves for years. But Duey was not like Huey. He had often reasoned to his brothers that they too, needed to eat.

November 4, 2019

Seven Things: Where did the time go?

'procrastinating while reading'
01 |  Whatever happened to October? It's like it never existed. I had done nothing. Okay, maybe a little art. I might have slacked off more than I wanted to and procrastinated on more things than I should. I don't know why I don't have the motivation to finish anything. My enthusiasm or perhaps my brain's motivation, only last a few moments at a time. The year is almost over and I have yet to finish any actual work that I have wanted to finish. 'There's always next year' - I keep thinking but I don't know now. I guess I'll wait and see.

02 | Almost all of my favorite bloggers are now on Instagram or Twitter or somewhere other than their blog which is kind of sad because I'm on there and yet, I don't want to go there. I've tried to follow people through one of these medias but finds it a bit hard and I guess, maybe I feel like a stranger intruding on other people's space. I suppose even if I am on Instagram and Twitter (both I've tried and failed at), I would feel disconnected more than with a blog. I still think I'm too slow for these medias. Also, I hate using phones to interact with people unless it's a phone call or a text message. I honestly do not know how to use my (second-hand) iPhone. I've to look up how to end a call - that's not a joke, I really did looked that up. I used to have a flip phone where I can just close it and it end the call. It's sad how advancement just makes things more complicated than it should be.

03 | The October Blog Header Redesign Giveaway is cancelled due to low interest but if you've commented on this post, than consider yourself chosen and send me an email if you want a header redesign. I sort of knew there wouldn't be much interest but sometimes I like to try things out and then regret them but it's all good — nobody got hurt and I have more time to be lazy.

04 | I've returned my society6 shop to 'the rain girl' which I think it's for the best as it matches the url. Honestly, I'm thinking of closing the shop (well, you can't really close it unless you delete your account or delete or unpublish all the products), but I really think it's a waste of time trying to make it work. I've only made 12 dollars in all the years I've had it. I'll think on this more but maybe it's time to let it go.

05 | Did anyone remember to set their clock an hour back? I didn't even remember to do it until I saw my computer clock did not matched my analog clock. I don't think I have ever remembered to reset my clock before. You would think I can get an hour of more sleep but you would be wrong. The time change just make me wake up an hour earlier which is the hour I usually wake up so it's not a plus for me.

06 | I have decided not to check my work email when I'm not working because I keep getting emails about a job when I'm supposed to be off. This is the problem with being digital. Anyone can you an email at 3 in the morning (not that I ever wake up at the time to check email) and you can actually do the work because it's all digital and you can send files without leaving your house. I don't know why our clients seems to wake up at the end of the week as if Monday through Thursday doesn't existed. Like on Friday afternoon, they just up and suddenly realize they have something that needs to be done as if everyone works 24-hours. But now that I've stopped checking on email on my day off, I don't worry as much (maybe I do worry a tiny bit). Before, I would check my email constantly because I fear losing my job but these days, I don't care as much. If I have to wash dishes for a living, I'm not afraid to do it, I might hate it but I can do it.

07 | I've removed the sidebar from my blog again because... Honestly, whenever I see my blog, I just get this urge to change it, give it a new cover but somehow I seem to always ended up making it look exactly like it used to be. Maybe in my head, there's a constant thought that everything can be better or can be make more perfect. I know even if I get someone else to design my blog, I would then go and alter it because I can't help myself. I think it's one of those quirks  of be a graphic designer. Either that or I have too much time on my hand.

What are you thinking about these days?