hello    bookmarks    design request    april gale    free stuff    home

January 28, 2020

Favorite book covers of ten of my favorite books

This week's Top Ten Tuesday's prompt is 'Book Cover Freebie.' I decided to list 'my favorite book covers of ten of my favorite books'. It's very rare that I would like the book and the cover at the same time. These are in no particular order.

01 | Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte > link
The illustration by Júlia Sardá is just perfect and it captured a scene in the book. This one has the red spine which I love. You can check out Sardá's website here.

02 | Snow Hunters by Paul Yoon > link
I love the colors and it's quite a simple design which fits the book well.

03 | Gathering the Water by Robert Edric > link
I just like how the illustration is drawn. I think this is a type of wood engraving but I'm not sure. The image is makeup of lines. The blue is actually darker than it is shown here and there are silver borders around the image and around the book which you can see only as a light shade of blue here. Cover illustration is by Christopher Wormell and you can check out his website here.

04 | Matilda by Roald Dahl, Illustrated by Quentin Blake > link
I love this simple version. Strangely, I didn't quite like the green at first but now I think it suits the illustration just perfectly and the inside text is in a dark blue. This cover art is by Quentin Blake and you can visit his website here.

05 | Of Things Gone Astray by Janina Matthewson > link
I wouldn't call this a novel, this is more like stories with a similar theme of people missing something such as a front door, their sense of direction, etc. There is also a woman turning into a tree which I think the cover depicts. The cover illustration is by Tegan Moss.

06 | Dealing With Dragons - Book 1 - The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede > link
The four book series have really wonderful cover illustrations but my favorite is Dealing with Dragons which features the main character Princess Cimorene and the dragon Kazul. Cover illustration is by Trina Schart Hyman. Wrap around image is from here and there's a really good article to read, 'How to be Awesome Like Cimorene.'

07 | The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery > link
I like the simple scene here. The cover art is by Elly MacKay who does these wonderful paper & ink illustrations and this cover is one of them. Visit MacKay's website here.

08 |  The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro > link
This cover reminds me of those old classic books. I guess it's the image itself that invokes this feeling and I think it suits the book very well. Cover photo is by Michael Trevillion.

09 | East / West by Edith Pattou > link 1, link 2
These are so wonderful. Cover illustrations are by Charlie Bowater and you can visit her website here.

10 |  Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly > link
I totally love how the main character Kymera is depicted here. I think it was the cover that got me to read this book. Cover illustration is by Skottie Young and you can visit his website here.

Do you have a favorite book with a cover you also love?

For more Top Ten Tuesdays, visit That Artsy Reader Girl here.

January 27, 2020

Seven Things: Books, Bridges & Dumb Fears

'rose dream no. 2'

The above art is done back in 2016. I really love this piece. Something about this is peaceful to me. There is a 'rose dream no. 1' but I don't remember what it looks like but I'm sure it's something similar. I always seems to create similar pieces. But on with my rants:

01 | So I brought a lot of paper books for my birthday even though I have decided to cut down on buying them but...it happened and I'm not sorry about it. These days, I don't buy a lot of clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories, bags or expensive things although I really would like to purchase a small house someday. I only really like spending money on books. Is that a bad thing? No. Maybe. Probably not.

02 | I would like to have my own home library one day. I doubt I would have one until I own my own home but it's nice to think about. It's probably why I like the idea of owning a book store because basically owning a book store is an excuse to have a lot of books — not that I need an excuse to have a lot of books but it certainly justifies having multiple copies of books.

I saw a video on youtube about a guy who collects a certain book series in all the various languages and he seems to have over 1,000 of these books and I thought perhaps he should open up a multi-language book store because I see no reason whatsoever to have a dozen copies of the same books even if they are in different languages and it's not like he can read them but I'm not a collector so I guess I'll never understand it. Plus he has these unopened box sets. My home library would definitely not have unopened books because I believe books are meant to be read and not to sit and collect dusts.

03 | I still didn't renew my library card which just proves how immature I am. I really don't like to face people when I need something from them even though it's their job. I'm not saying all librarians are patronizing but I have never met one that wasn't. I don't really miss going to the library. It's probably because I visit book stores a lot.

04 | So far, I am liking my Kindle reader but I seem to keep skipping around books and not really finishing reading any one book unless it's really short. I seems to be reading a lot of novellas. I guess because they are pretty short and pretty cheap and sometimes free, that I automatically thought why not try them? But sadly, I haven't read that many good novellas even when all the reviews seems to be saying how good it is. And they have novellas that are series which baffles me because if you put these novellas together, it's a novel – is anyone annoyed by this? They sometimes bunch these novellas into a single volume (I don't know what to call them) and priced a lot cheaper than when purchased separately which is a bit stupid. I don't hate novellas but if this trend of novella series continues, I might just stop reading them.

And then there is ebook pricing that fluctuates like crazy. There was a book I wanted to read but the price was too high, then it went on sale but before I got to buy it, it returned to the original price and then it went on sale again. It's like there's no structure for these pricing. There is a couple of books on amazon that has been on sale for a couple of months which is weird because why are these books on sale for so long when others keeps changing their prices? So I'm guessing pricing is just as nuts for ebooks as it is for paper books but it sure seems like the pricing fluctuate far quicker for ebooks.

05 | Work is stressful. I had written a long rant on this but it gives me a headache to even talk about work that if I have to read about it, it would be even more stressful (I do a lot re-reading when I write/edit posts). I blame the appearance of white hair on work. I just hope the stress would not make me wake up one day with a full head of white hair. This is why I read a lot because without books, I would be so stressed out that I wouldn't even know what to do.

06 | I really should stop opening up new accounts online because I have over a dozen user accounts and I don't even remember some of the passwords which tells me how rare I used those accounts. But as you have to sign up for an account for every damm site, I really have no choice sometimes. And it's a bit of a hassle to delete/cancel/remove them because most website have no such option unless you contact them, like, it's so hard to have a delete option. There was once a time I tried to delete an account which I think I had to contact them and someone responded that it would ruin their system if they are to delete my account - what? It's all computers and servers, you can delete a user's info, it's not brain surgery but maybe it is. Does deleting information from computers causes the computers to go crazy? If that is true, then we are all screwed because almost everything we do uses computers. I'm pretty sure there is someone out there right now trying to delete one of their accounts so does this mean some company just have their comptures fried?

07 |  I walked the Brooklyn Bridge again just last week on my birthday but I don't think I'll do it again. When I first started walking the Brooklyn Bridge, it was exciting and I had a great time taking photos (I don't take photos anymore so no photos to show you) so I made it a yearly thing that I do to celebrate my birthday because I seemed to walk the Bridge usually in January.

Whenever I walk the bridge, there is always a faint fear because the bridge floor is cement in the start and the end but in the middle, the floor are wooden panels. It wouldn't be so bad if there are no gaps between them but there are. Each time I walk it, I have a fear of falling through these wooden panels. The bridge walkway is divided in two - one side is for cyclists and the other is for pedestrians. Whenever one of these cyclist passes by, the floor would shake and I must admit, it worries me a lot when that happens. I guess this is what you would call dumb fear because there are no reports of anyone falling through those wooden panels and everyone around me seems quite oblivious to them. But even if I do fall through, which is highly unlikely, I would fall between traffic as some parts of the bridge has a section below the walkway where cars zoom back and forth and there's some part where you can see directly below the waters between the gaps of the wooden panels. It really does not help that some of the panels are slightly splintered and they had just renovated the bridge a year ago or something. But I usually try and not to think about what's beneath my feet when I walk. But I mostly have a nervous feeling when walking the bridge anyway even without these wooden walkway because I have a slight fear of height. Just another reason not walk the bridge anymore.

I usually try not to walk too fast but you really cannot do that anyway because the bridge is not as wide as you think. Beside people and cyclist, there also small police cars here and there though small as they are, they took up almost half of the pedestrian side. And there then there are benches here and there which doesn't take up much space and definitely good to have them in case you need a break from walking because you certainly cannot go back without doing more walking. There's also the occasional vendors who stayed mostly at the beginning and end of the bridge. Even at 10 am, there's a crowd and people keeps taking photos blocking here and there. And it's not exactly quiet either with the bells ringing from cyclist, people talking, occasionally loud music and the traffic noise below.

I usually start at the City Hall side and just walk through until I decide to stop and turn back. It might take me an hour or two walking through once and back again depending on how fast I walk or if I stop to look at the scenery (although I don't do that these days unless it's a cloudy day where I can look at the cloud shapes) or whether I walk to the very end or not. I have walked all the way through a few times but there's nothing exciting at the end unless you think people and buildings as something exciting. Walking the bridge is becoming less and less thrilling to me each year. So I'll probably not walk it again. This is not a fixed tradition if you can call walking a bridge a tradition. I can do it or not. So probably not. But if you do get a chance to walk the Brooklyn Bridge, I encourage you to do it because there really is something about walking it that makes one feel alive and happy.

What have you been doing with your January?

January 23, 2020

Fiction: Koozie & Deviled Demons

This month's Words for Wednesday prompts are provided by Mark Koopmans and are posted at Elephant's Child's blog here. This week's prompts are  Deviled/devilled, Interdependence, Watery, Figs, Zoom, Headphones, Gargled, Presence, Yelling, Andalusia, Snowdrifts, Exfoliate. I have used a few of these words and also some from last week.

First part of Koozie's story is here if you care to read it.

Koozie & The Deviled Demon - Part 2

Koozie looks down at George. The boy has been silent all this time. Is he three or four years old? She could not tell. George peers up at her with his long, pale lashes, flickering. Koozie pulls a white handkerchief from her dress pocket and wipes his nose and puts it back in her pocket. His drool is all over her collarbone and he has snot. Why is she not at all aghast by all this?

All the servants are gone from the kitchen. Food and drinks scattered on the counters and on the black and white tiled floor. The receiver of the phone on the wall hangs down. Maybe Koozie should call the police. This is, after all, an emergency. But what can they do when it comes to demons? Koozie shakes her head. She has no time for wishy-washy thinking. She must take George away from here. She has no idea why but she wants to protect the boy.

The muffled shrieks and noises behind her makes her head ache. Koozie rushes through the back door and out into the cold night air. It has been sunny when she came but now looking up at the dark sky, she wonders where the sun went. The yard is lit by rows of bright lights hanging from tree to tree.

She lifts George higher above her hips. Koozie can easily carry him with one hand if she desires. For reasons she does not know, she have always had great strength. But what good is great strength when she have no idea what she is doing?

"Miss Woozie, wait!"

Koozie pauses and turns around. "Dan!" Koozie is relief that it isn't a demon. She doesn't know how but she knows Dan is not a demon and that she can trust him.

"You've called me Dan!" Dan chuckles and all his wrinkles appear and remove that plastic look he have always wore. "Miss Woozie, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to gush." He offers a small smile. "We have no time. I'll get to the point." Dan steps toward them. He pats the boy's blond hair. George turns his head to look up at Dan. "Miss Woozie, you must protect George at all cost. I know you are not obligated but I entreat you to do so. The fate of the world depends on his safety and yours."

"I— What is this about, Dan? What is going on?"

"There is no time to explain, Miss Woozie. You must not go back home. They will be waiting for you and George. Go to one of your vacation homes - one that no one knows but you."


January 18, 2020

Seven Things : Books, birthdays and other silly things

Some long rants about books, birthdays, preaching, shopping and you know... things.

01 | These days, as I am only buying paper books that I either already read and loved or know that I will love which means, I won't be buying paper books much. I now go to book stores to look at all the books I'm not going to buy. But maybe I need to stop going to book stores because I feel bad about browsing and ogling and not buying books but not really.

02 | I often thought about opening up a used book store but I haven't the guts to do so. If someone comes up to me and ask me to partner with them in opening a book store, I might say yes because doing it myself is not something I can muster. I'm not a people person and I have a hard time talking to people about business and also, because I know zip about keeping up a book store and I have zero experience in dealing with customers. Plus it's costly to run a book store what's with rent and utility bills and it's hard to get people to buy books when they can simply read them and then leave the store. But it's just a thought but it's a nice thought to think about now and then and even dream about it. I mean, what book lover wouldn't want to open a book store?

03 | The other day there were these two ladies came to preach about something which I half listened because I didn't want to be rude but at the same time, I really don't care about their preaching. But I just let them rattled on (one lady speaks, while the other stands looking) until there was a break and then bye bye. But really, how do you get rid of people like that and still be polite about it?

I remember there was another time before this where another two ladies came to the front door preaching about something while wild wind blew trash cans behind them because a storm was coming and I suppose they want to preach about the end and what I should do to save my soul but I just didn't care. I barely listened and then bye bye!

Now I think the next time anyone comes preaching, I'll just shut the door on them because I really think preaching should take place in a church where people want to listen. I don't want to be rude but can't these people just leave a pamphlet and let people get on with their lives? You know, stuff the pamphlets into the mailboxes and if we are interested, we can read them at our leisure or throw them away with the rest of the trash but we can't do that these day because we have to recycle paper. Ha.

04 | Books I read in December 2019:

West by Edith Pattou > link
West is a sequel to East (aka North Child) which I have never thought it needed a sequel and if a sequel is to be written, it should have been the white bear's story or that he should be the main perspective but again, it's more of Rose's story. The very gruesome thing Rose did near the end to get to her son is pretty damm hard to read but I think anyone can understand it but still, it's not something anyone can easily decides to do - you have to be really desperate or really really love that child of yours. But at least, there was no magical fix on it because her sacrifice would have been meaningless if there was a magical fix. Though this doesn't seem like a sequel until they remind the reader that Rose had done this and that. Overall, this is a really a good sequel as sequels go.

Hunting of the Last Dragon by Sherryl Jordan > link
This was a short but enjoyable read. This is told by Jude telling his story to a monk and the monk is writing it down but the monk does not speak. There are some interruptions which is a bit annoying because it stops the story but then I realized it tells another story of what is happening in the present day. I went into this book without reading too much about it so I was pleasantly surprised. Jing-wei and Jude are characters that grows, well, mostly Jude is the one that grows as Jing-wei is a fully realized heroine so I sort of think Jude is a bit dumb sometimes but he learns so that's the important thing. Overall, a great read.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer > link
So I didn't actually finished reading this book because I was bored and it keep detouring to other boring storylines instead of going to the center of what the story is suppose to be about which is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. But I think what this book is really about is a woman who is also an enchantress, got dumped by her lover who happened to be a prince, so she took revenge on him by cursing him to be a monster (probably once or twice a year, I don't know since they took so long to even reveal the monster and I never got that far) and in order to stop the curse, he have to find true love. So I'm assuming the prince is a jerk at breakups or else this woman would not have sought revenge. But I do question her mental stability because she basically tortures the prince so that he dies but he's alive later so it's quite a meaningless meander on her part because what villain thought spending a hundred years torturing someone with basically no consequences? I'm sure there is some end that she means to reach with the curse but after 200 pages with everyone meandering, I just didn't care. And I also question the mental stability of the prince and the bodyguard because all they do is choose beautiful women - a hundred years and they've not thought to choose plain women. I just didn't care enough for the prince, nor the girl with the cerebral palsy (which I think it's a ploy because in all the reviews I read, this is basically the only reason people want to read this), nor the bodyguard. Well, I kind of like the bodyguard. I remember his name is Grey and he is the only one without any kind of agenda expect to protect a prince that really didn't need protecting except from the enchantress which he could do nothing about anyway. Also, the stupid-almost-love-triangle with the prince, the girl and Grey makes me cringe. Seriously, even if I knew that would not happen, the idea is placed so that it might happen which is kind of crazy because the men are basically adults and the girl is a teenager so for two men to fall for a teenager is just crazy but probably not in a YA book so... The only reason I didn't finish this is because I was bored and I just couldn't care what happens to these people. I know it will worked out, well, I read the ending so I know, but it's still a rather prolonged story, but if you have the patience, I suppose you'll enjoy it more than me.

05 | Being short sucks. Or rather being short ruins my attempt at shopping like a normal person. The other day, I reached a high shelf to take out some shirts from the top shelf in a clothing store. (Normally, I would ask for help but I guess I wasn't in the mood to do that.) I took out the only one there in that size and put it on the rack behind me and then I returned the others back onto the shelf but when I turned around, a store employee had taken the one shirt I wanted and walked off. I called out but she didn't hear me. I was in a bad mood so I didn't have the heart to chase her down and there was no more shirts with the size I wanted so I left the store a little bit pissed off.

Apparently, my infuriating invisibility power may have struck again so maybe this lady did not see me. Or maybe she was just doing her job but it's rather strange to me that she would take that moment to take the one shirt I had a hard time getting off the shelf and walked off instead of putting the shirt back onto the shelf. Or maybe it's the store's fault for having high shelf that forces me to work out getting a shirt off a shelf and putting back the unwanted ones (why I even bother to put the shirts back onto the shelf, it's probably my stupid polite self's doing). I had only turned around a few seconds, just a few seconds and this employee thought to take the shirt away, why, why? And yes, she is an employee because she wears the store tag around her neck.

And it was the second time I visit the same shop but different location because I thought they would have that particular shirt in my size but victory wasn't mine. I'm still miff about it because I was having a horrible day and retail therapy helps me cope but the day ended in this stupid way and I might have brought a lot of chocolate to soothe my angry self.

06 | I don't like the idea of getting a year older so soon in the start of the year but as I was born in January, I have no choice in that. I have, mostly, accepted this fact. I heard some people celebrate their birthday for a whole month and I thought I do the same thing but I'm not going to buy myself 31 gifts because that's just too much and a bit too selfish. Plus I was raised to be very economical and never waste a single penny on unnecessary things or pay too much for things, that I just automatically find it a bit hard to spend money on frivolous things but I will sort of do that, at least during this month. With some restrictions, that is.

I did have this thought of setting up a sort of not giveaway but the opposite, takeaway maybe, and ask people to send me 31 things for 31 days that was my birthday month and see exactly what type of respond I would get. Would people send me things just because I ask for them? It really makes me wonder how generous people can get. Perhaps someone would have a sudden lightening thought that strike their fancy to do something they would not typically do and send a stranger a birthday gift. But I'm not going to do the takeaway because it's weird and I don't know if I want to get presents from strangers and also, I would have to send out thank you notes (my very polite self would make me do it even if I don't want to) and that would take a month to do because I'm lazy and because I really think it should not be work to celebrate one's birthday. I was also going to leave a link to my amazon wish list but then decided it was a bad idea and there aren't that many items there anyway.

I'm afraid I'm one of those people who just don't like telling others my age. Even when I was younger, I feel uncomfortable telling people my age because I look younger than my actual age and most people either don't believe me or are terribly shocked by whatever number I give them. But since I have stopped counting, I'm not even sure what is the accurate number now. And also I suck at math. So don't ask me how old I am but just know I will turn 27 again this year on the 24th and that have been my age for a long while now but who's counting? Not me.

07 | I want to end this post with on a good note so here's a giveaway: If your birthday is in January, I wish you a lovely birthday day and if you leave a comment with the day of your birthday, I'll enter you twice in a giveaway for a book or a gift (under 30 U.S. dollars) from amazon or a book from the Book Depository if you're international. For those not born in January, you can also leave a comment to enter for the giveaway but your chance is once. Of course, it's a bit bias and probably those born in January will probably have the same chances of winning as those who are not but it all depends on fate or the random picking process I will use or it could be fate or the devil, who knows. Leave a comment and see.

What's on your mind these days?

January 17, 2020

April Gale 30

~ ~  Read previous April Gale here ~ ~

Summary (lots of spoiler if you have not read the earlier parts): April Gale comes to Windy Shadows with her Aunt, Josephine 'Josey' Tyler after April's father dies leaving her an orphan of sorts. There, April met her grandfather Harrison 'Harry' Tyler, a few ghosts, a few odd servants, got dropped onto the roof by a dragon named Tim, got healed by Grandfather and recovered. Next came new visitors to Windy Shadows - Winifred, a distance cousin to April, and Vincent, a friend of Winifred. Then April discovered a wolf in the garden who turned out to be Vincent. Then there was another incident with the wolf and Winifred became a spirit while her body is in a coma. Now Aunt Josephine has returned to Windy Shadows.

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

April Gale 30

April sits up and yawns and stretches her arms. The piglet at the foot of the bed stirs slightly. The brightness of the light in the room makes April wonder. She pulls the cover down and slowly gets out of bed as not to wake the piglet.

She pulls the curtains open. The East Garden is covered with snow and the white flakes are still falling. Oh no! Has April done this? She has been wishing for a snowy birthday but how could she have done it? She has never changed the weather. Or did she? What will the neighbors think? What will Aunt Josephine think?

A thud makes her turn around. A box wrapped in pink with pink ribbons is on the floor near the desk. Then again box wrapped in white with blue ribbons appears out of the air and falls beside the other box. Then another and another until boxes fill the empty spaces of her room. Some of them are round and oddly shaped. One is particularly small - an oval box that landed on her writing desk. She picks up the oval box. The little tag attached to the ribbon has her name on it: April Lougenia Gale. Who sent them? Who knows her middle name that she never uses? It was her father's mother's name but she have never liked it. Who would know and send these? Aunt Josephine? Grandfather Tyler? Mrs. Summers? Toby? Vincent? Winifred! No! She wouldn't. How short the list of people April knows. When she thinks about it, she has not seen anyone new and it has been months.

The piglet, probably waken by all the noise, jumps down from the bed.

There is knock on her door. "Come in." April lifts the piglet up before it can run into the piles of boxes. It barely weights much but its skin is quite soft.

Mrs. Summers enters with a tray with a plate of eggs and bacon and a glass of orange juice along with a piece of toast. She sets the tray down on the side table. "I have brought you your breakfast, Miss April."

"Thank you, Mrs. Summers." April strolls over toward her.

Mrs. Summers' eyes widens at the piglet but she remains calm even as her eyes land on the piles of boxes. "I see Master has been busy."

January 14, 2020

Favorite Booktubers

This week's Top Ten Tuesday Prompt is 'Bookish Discoveries I Made In 2019.' I've been browsing youtube a lot lately and I found some great booktubers. These book enthusiasts makes me laugh so that's why they are on the list. For each one, I list one of my favorite videos from them. These are in no particular order.

01 | Gabby Reads > link

02 | Caleb Joseph > link

03 | Books with Emily Fox > link

 04 | Ellias > link

05 | Hardback Hoarder > link

06 | The Naughty Librarian > link

07 | Bookish Princess > link

08 | Jesse the Reader > link

09 | Read with Cindy > link

10 | Holly Hearts Books > link

If you have any favorite booktuber or any youtuber, list them in the comments.

January 13, 2020

Some sites for free or low price ebooks

I thought I share my very short list of sites where you can find free or low price ebooks. But don't forget, there is always the library.

For Kindles, you will want to get the mobi version to read on your Kindle. In order to get books that you've downloaded onto your Kindle, you will either connect your Kindle to your computer and copy the downloaded file onto your Kindle or you can email the file to your kindle. More info are over here and here.

01 | Girlebooks > link
You'll find mostly American and British literature aka classic books by female writers. They also have ebooks for sell in their Ebook Store.

02 | Amazon Classics > link
As the title suggest, these are classics that are under 3 or more dollars and there are a lot of familiar titles.

03 | Amazon Best Sellers in Kindle Store Top 100 Free > link
These are mostly romances which I really don't care to read but maybe you'll find something you might like.

04 |  ManyBooks > link
I didn't try this site since you have to sign up to get the books but they seem to have a wide selection if you care to spend time browsing.

05 | BookBub > link
Basically they list books that might be free or on sale for a limited time and you go to the links to get the books so it's listings rather actual books. I just go here to browse what's on sale.

06 | Smashwords > link
They have a wide selection of indie ebooks which can mean authors you have never heard of but it's worth it to browse if you are interested in finding new authors.

07 | Project Gutenberg > link
So many books, so many ways to browse but hey, it's free so you should do the work if you really want to read.  They have a lot of classic titles. Browse the Top 100 list (link here) if you don't know where to start.

If you have a place where you go for free or low price ebooks, do share the link in the comments.

January 12, 2020

April Gale 29

~ ~  Read previous April Gale here ~ ~

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

April Gale 29

The morning rain lingers even as Josephine Tyler steps off the train. The sudden downpour just after the sun rise has surprised her. Mrs. Hillofbeans seems to have returned to her grumpy mood.

Josephine catches sight of Albert a few feet away. He stood with a woman, not young but her beauty cannot be mistaken. Albert and she are talking vivaciously to each other. Then the woman walks away. Albert touches the tip of his hat and grins at Josephine.

"Must you stare so? We need to get out of the rain." Mrs. Hillofbeans walks quickly into the train station and sits down on a bench. Josephine follows her. They wait for their luggage.

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

The carriage stops at the fence surrounding the rickety old house. Josephine has often wondered why her father charmed Windy Shadows' front to look like this. If she have not grown up in Windy Shadows, she would have dismissed this house if she saw it. They hardly have any normal visitors so not one of their neighbors knows what the inside of their house looks like.

Mrs. Hillofbeans is led out of the carriage first and then Josephine. The early morning drizzle lingers. She lets out a breath.

The footman brings down their luggages and drops them in front of the fence. He raises an gray eyebrow but says nothing. Josephine supposes he thinks they are mad to stop at this run-down house. But the footman gets back onto the carriage and it drives off.

January 6, 2020

Some things to do in 2020, maybe

'sleep until next year'
These are not exactly resolutions but mostly, a list of things I'm going to do or not do. I was not exactly clear headed when I made these today because of a head cold. Perhaps having a cold is not the ideal time to make life changing goals (perhaps not goals, maybe tasks would be a more suited term) but I wrote them so I'm going to share them and I'll probably not do most of them.

01 | Try not to ruminate on the things I haven't finished. Even though I do have a ton of writings and art pieces to finish, I just don't do them. Every now and then, I'll try to finish a piece or two but I can't seem to finish. There's always some other things I rather be doing. I don't want to make a schedule to finish. I don't want to commit to doing them in any way because why make any kind of schedule or commitment when I know I won't follow them? So I won't think about them much. I'm just going to let them be and if any need to work on them, then I will, if not, then I won't.

02 | Create new art. I was really lazy last year and hardly created any new art or writings or did much of anything. And that's probably not going to change much. I suppose I'll end up creating some new stuff before the year ends but I'm not going to force myself to do what I can't or won't do. I think this is almost the same thought as #1. But art has been part of my life for a long while so not creating new pieces is kind of sad in a way. It's hard to find motivation when you really just want to give up and be lazy.

03 | I'm definitely going to read more books. I seem to have more time now that I have stopped watching tv shows. (Occasionally I watch movies but I don't watch a lot). I think now I actually prefer to read a book over watching a show or a movie. I'm pretty sure I was more of a reader when I was younger and then I somehow started watching a lot of television and reading less books but now it's the reverse and I hope it stays the same.

04 | I'm sticking with buying less paper books and I especially will try not to buy them from amazon because they always comes to me in bad shapes or damaged or something and definitely does not qualify as new. But now I seem to be spending too much money on ebooks. I don't know if that is better or worse. There is already a bunch of ebooks I haven't been reading. But it is better to have unread books than none.

05 | I like to be really organized which is a sometimes thought. I keep my things pretty neat unless I'm doing something. I don't know what it is, I hate clutter and yet, I keep making messes thinking I'll clean up later but I never do. So I'm always surrounded by stuff that needs to be clean up or organize or put away that only sometimes bothers me. So I usually do some cleaning and organizing but lately, I start to think what's the point of cleaning up when you know you'll make a mess an hour or two later? But I still try anyway because habits and also, I fear I would have a pile of mess blocking my doorway and I can't get out so some cleaning and organizing is a necessity.

06 | Become a better human or just someone who is a few degrees kinder or smarter or some active verb that means better. I hate the idea of personal growth as if we can all easily become better or nicer or prettier or something. I mean, I like to be a more mature grownup who makes good, rational judgements but I find I seem to stay the same no matter how I try to change. I used to read a lot of books that are supposed to help me grow as a person but they mostly made me feel like an inadequate human. So I won't try to do more just because I think I'll grow but I'll try to do what's needed and wanted and pretty much make things up as I go along, sort of like how I have always been doing but maybe with a slight higher degree of maturity or so I believe since I don't think I have any maturity but that's debatable.

07 | I think I will blog more, maybe. I happened to browse my archive the other day and it looks like I post about 5 posts a month which isn't bad but it seems rather a small amount. But I don't think that will change. It's easy to think up ideas but to actually write them out, work them into readable material, it's a matter that I keep procrastinating until I forget about them. So maybe I won't blog more than usual. Maybe I'll blog less.

Do you have any new goals for this year? Or do you prefer to just do whatever that comes to you?

January 5, 2020

April Gale 28

~ ~  Read previous April Gale here ~ ~

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

April Gale 28

A girl with two long black braids is molding something with pink mitten gloves. She peers up with a large grin and puffy red cheeks. Her pink cap is at an angle almost covering her left eye. A burst of shadows suddenly hides the view. Hands wipe at the shadow and then she is running away giggling. The light becomes too bright. Vincent closes his eyes and then opens them again.

It is daylight. The room is bright. But it is far brighter than any morning he had seen since he came to Windy Shadows. He went to the windows. White covers the West Gardens and the snow falls silently down. He had seen snow before at his home Silver Moon and even played in the backyard with his sister Patty. But then Patty was sent away to school and only came home twice a year and even then, she was always too busy studying to play with him. But the dream - that was not Patty. That girl has black hair and amber eyes. Patty was blond with green eyes. Who is this girl with the amber eyes?

"Vincent, you have failed again. How long must we wait until you do something right? Does your family means nothing to you? Your mother, your sister and I - are we nothing to you?" The shadow's voice has never sounded so restless before.

January 3, 2020

Fiction: Koozie & The Mocking Fate

This month's Words for Wednesday prompts are provided by Mark Koopmans and are posted at Elephant's Child's blog here. This week's prompts are: Koozie; Porche; Dinosaur; Watergate; Douglas; Soften And/or Castrated, Chateau, Lego, Router, Suncream, Freudian

Fiction: Koozie & The Mocking Fate

Koozie hates her first name which might have been fine if not for her unfortunate last name of Woozie. Having her name rhyme is at first hilarious and then it became a terrible annoyance whenever she is introduced to someone.

Koozie has learned since the age of six that her mother was on drugs at the time of Koozie's birth and that was her excuse for naming her child after a sleeve insulator. Koozie's father was not present at the time but he had no problems with the name. After all, he was named Porche. Koozie's mother had a very normal name of Elizabeth.

When Koozie was nine, her parents took her to a fortune teller. The old woman with hardly any wrinkles spoke as if she smoked five packs a day, predicted that Koozie will have a son by the age of 29 but only if she never changes her name. Koozie was young but she knew the woman was just appeasing her parents but her parents were all grins and they gave the woman two one hundred dollar bills. Since then, Koozie often wonders what would happen if she does change her name. Will her fate change or will fate mock her?

January 1, 2020

Happy New Year!

I wish you joy, love, luck and books! Happy new year!