From the Torment of Dreams

From the Torment of Dreams by Iain McKinnon
From the Torment of Dreams by Iain McKinnon

I began hearing things about this book long ago.  Immediately, I thought now THAT’S a story I wanna read!  Why, you ask?  Oh, because it’s about a guy dreaming about a lost love.

Sort of. There’s a little bit more to it than that.  Lan, the main character, joins an army just to get away from memories of a girl.  Seriously.  Sound familiar?  Men (and women) do this kind of thing all the time.  It’s a very human reaction to a separation, either by your own doing or by fate.  I like to call it cutting off your nose to spite your face, but I guess you could also call it escaping, if you are so inclined. Just so you can escape (see what I did there?) my prattle, I’ll give you the description of the story from Smashwords:

Lan Agstaff joins the Terran Army to escape the memories of his ex-lover, but en route to his posting on the planet of Neotra his suspended animation chamber malfunctions leaving him to dream without end. Revived in the midst of a war of secession Lan has to fight for his life all the while tormented by dreams of his lost love. 

Also, there’s this…

Adult-content rating: This book contains content considered unsuitable for young readers 17 and under, and which may be offensive to some readers of all ages.

And, yes, the content rating is probably needed.

Iain McKinnon’s writing style is one I can easily follow while reading.  I like that when I’m reading one of his books, I can easily see the picture he’s painting for the readers without a struggle.  The action involved in the story is wonderfully played out and the characters are very human, very likable, very believable.  Lan, our runs-away-from-women main character, gives us all a look into the human mind.  His character, while dreaming of his lost love, made me want to smack him and hug him in an oh you poor little thing! sort of way all at the same time.

The Terran army in and of itself is an element of the story I thoroughly enjoyed, also.  After all, as far as I know, this army doesn’t exist.  It came straight from the author’s imagination.  The war and the background for the story are very well thought out.  It’s fun to get lost in a book, isn’t it?  I love when an author (in this case, Iain McKinnon) creates a totally different world for the readers to lose themselves in.

In a nutshell, I’d say this book has my seal of approval for a wonderful read.  It tugged at my heartstrings, made me crazy with emotions, and made me want to scream at Lan at times–all signs of a great story.

From the Torment of Dreams, trailer.

Buy this book from Smashwords. 

Iain McKinnon’s author profile on

My new adventure in gardening and how it’s helping me write (yes, write!)

I’ve always been able to grow things with no problems.  I inherited a green thumb–one I never really wanted and hardly ever used.  When I was a kid, my grandma and grandpa had a garden that stretched (literally) as far as the eye could see along their property.  It started at the back of the house and kept going into the horizon.  They grew every kind of vegetable imaginable and my grandma spent countless hours canning every single year so she could enjoy the fruits of her labor well into the years to come.

My Sim...gardening :D
My Sim…gardening 😀

A few months ago, my oldest son came to me and said he wanted a garden.  This brought a real smile to my face because 1) It came right out of left field, 2) His interests only include video games and dinosaurs, 3) He always gets more bored in the summer than the other kids, and 4) I saw it as an opportunity to spend time with my kid.

So, being the cool mom that I am, I sat down with oldest son and we made a written plan for the things we wanted to grow.  We decided that he is responsible for half the watering and weeding and I’ll do the other half.  We now have five tomatoes, one cucumber plant, and two beans, along with several flowers.

The beans were not planned.  It seems that when I put my petunias into the pot, my daughter sneaked some beans into the pot with the flowers.  When I began digging the flowers out to put them in the ground, I found two really nice, four or five inch tall bean plants growing in the side of the pot! I never even knew a plant would grow that way, but they did.

The beans are doing quite well, though.  We planted them in the ground with the rest of our veggies and I’m curious to see how they turn out after being planted originally with petunias.


Gardening is a new adventure for me.  My son is reluctant to help (even though he’s the one who wanted the garden) unless there is digging involved.  For me, though, I’ve found a new sense of peace when I’m out there.  My garden is small, nearly microscopic compared to the garden my grandma used to raise, but I’m pleased as punch with it.  When I’m weeding or digging around in the earth, I feel completely at ease, like there isn’t a single care in the world. I like that I can go out there and, since my kids are allergic to work sometimes, I’m alone for a few minutes.

This adventure has another purpose, though.  Not only will there be veggies when it’s time to harvest, but sometimes a writer needs to live a little of their own life in order to write.  You have to do stuff.  You have to find a new hobby sometimes, which is what I’ve done.  In order to climb a mountain (write a book), sometimes you must first conquer the villages below (gardening, painting, or whatever new hobby you might pick up).

And if that village gives you a bountiful harvest in a few months, well, that’s just a tasty bonus.

Abercrumbie & Twitch…or something like that

Well, you’ve all read the news about Aberwhatever’s CEO’s statement, but if you haven’t, you can find a good article here about it.   You can google and find all sort of things, too, but here is the direct quote if you would rather read it here for yourself:

“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either,” he told Salon.

Now that we have that part out of the way, I’d like to express my opinion on the matter.   
This particular clothing retailer does not sell women’s clothing over a size Large.  Why?  Because they don’t want fatties wearing their clothes.  There is nothing illegal at all about this, even though they DO sell men’s clothes up to a size XXL for male athletes.

But, what about the female athletes who wear an XL?  Are female athletes not attractive and popular enough for their tastes (or their clothing)? Guess not.  And it’s sad, too, because I know a few lady athletes who are absolutely gorgeous and wear an XL or above.

Which brings me to my next thought…  To all the plus size ladies (like myself) out there– I wouldn’t be offended by the CEO’s statement at all.  Have you seen him? Ooooh, wait–we have an image!

CEO, Mike Jeffries
CEO, Mike Jeffries

He isn’t anything to be excited about, is he?  Nope.  Not one bit.  As a matter of fact, he’s quite unattractive and creepy looking.  Also, there are plenty of retailers out there who DO make clothes for the plus size women and men and also make clothes for–SHRIEKS!–normal people!!!  Ya know, average Joes who could give three shits less if their tee shirt says “A&F” or nothing at all or something completely different.  Mike Jeffries wouldn’t know what beauty really was if Tyra Banks jumped out of the bushes and smacked him in his over-stuffed lips with an entire basket of Maybelline.

For the rest of us not-so-cool kids, there are plenty of other places we can all go to spend our hard earned cash on clothes. I, as the proud fatty I am, am happy as a clam to shop at Old Navy, Torrid, Avenue, JC Penny (sometimes), and wherever–Walmart, included! After all, at the end of the day, they’re just jeans and tee shirts and dresses and sweats.  After about a year’s worth of wear, I’ll probably just accidentally splash bleach on my stuff anyway because I’m careless like that.  Also, when I go to the mall, the first thought in my head is usually to find lotion at Bath & Body Works and find out what kind of deals are going on at Hot Topic and whether or not JC Penny’s sale was really worth the almost an hour drive anyway. I never even give A&F a second glance. Must be the not-so-cool-plus size diva in me…

**Note** I’ve recently discovered that Clorox makes a splash-less bleach and have bought a bottle.  I’ll let you know if it works for me lol.**

Again, I say this idiot CEO hasn’t done anything illegal, so for those of you who are jumping on the force A&F to make larger clothes bandwagon, please stop. I doubt any of us would buy them after this anyway. Let Mike Jeffries continue along this path of delusional head-in-assness.  Take your money elsewhere to buy gifts and clothes for yourself and others.  Just because something isn’t illegal doesn’t make his statements any less idiotic, but it doesn’t mean you have to keep buying over priced ugly tee shirts and overpriced ugly shorts there.

Yes, A&F, I stalked your Facebook page.  I was not, in any way, impressed by the outfits you had put together in your ads there.  Tsk, tsk!

It's like LL Bean, only smaller and with itchier tags...
It’s like LL Bean, only smaller, uglier, and with less excitement. 

I was, however, impressed by the comments people were making there. Very, very impressed. I’m also very impressed by this video. 

Thanks to the video (link added above), I’m going through my daughter’s Abercrombie & Fitch tee shirts.  It’s time to head to Goodwill before summer anyhow.
And she looks much better in her sarcastic statement tee shirts anyway.  Also, she doesn’t like A&F anymore.  It was just a phase she went through last year lol.


If you’ve enjoyed my blog, please like and comment and see me on the Facebook 😀   

Open letter to the Sims 4 team:

My Sim Self
My Sim Self

Typically, I do not use my blog to talk about Sims games and expansions.  I save that for other places (like the several Sims 3 fan pages on Facebook I belong to lol).  Today, however, while I was Simming my day away without a care in the world, I began to think about how Sims 4 might be different and similar to Sims 3 and Sims 2.  In my opinion, Sims 4 is probably either going to be way awesome or way horrible.  There is no grey area, there.

Let’s think about this for a moment, shall we?

When I bought Sims 3, I was skeptical because I loved Sims 2 soooooo much.  It only took me about ten minutes in game to realize that my skepticism was wasted.  Sims 3 turned out to be great! I love(d) being able to totally customize everything and I’m quite the house builder if I must say so myself.  Being able to make all of my cabinets match the curtains or the sofa match the television absolutely made my day.  And it doesn’t stop there, either.  I love being able to completely customize my sims, their clothes, and their personalities, too.

Naturally, I do have some suggestions for Sims 4.

1-  It would be absolutely GREAT to have more wardrobe choices for pregnant sims.  I know for a fact I’m not alone here.  Base game in Sims 4 needs to have better clothing choices for maternity.  A few dresses, some jeans that don’t come all the way up to your sim’s chin (that may be a slight exaggeration…), some cute maternity tops–anything!


2- Base game should include weather and aliens.  You can still make a seasons based expansion pack and include holiday stuff, holiday interactions, and all the great stuff people enjoy pertaining to seasons. If you wanted some extra brownie points with Sims fans, you could even throw in some unique storms or disasters.

3- Give us some apartment buildings without an expansion pack.  With Sims 3, Night Life was a great expansion, but most of us bought it simply for the vampires, which we got in Supernatural anyway.  It was a colossal waste of money.  Eliminate the unnecessary and just give us apartment buildings as an option for housing in base game.  Save the expansion packs for things we really need and want.  You can make a stuff pack with bars and clubs and night-lifey (I’m allowed to make up words…I’m an author lol) clothes.

The wonders of customization...
The wonders of customization…

4- If you make a pets expansion–and we all know you will–give us some bears.  Big ones.  There is no reason for this request. I just think it would be awesome for my Sim to be wandering around somewhere and have a big bear jump out and scare her to death.  Also, it would be neat to give Sims a magic carpet for absolutely no reason.


5-  Toddlers should already have play pens and walkers.  This shouldn’t be something you have to buy in the sims store.  I also think toddlers should have a few more clothing choices in base game.  Adults and teens have a lot, but toddlers only have a handful of things. Also, elders don’t have that many things, now that I think of it.

6- Please, for the love of Plumbob, do not do a Katy Perry themed stuff pack.  Do not do ANY stuff packs based on a pop star.  As much as I actually do like Katy Perry, her stuff pack was the only one I refused to buy because it’s basically useless.  It’s great to hem haw around with for about an hour, but to be honest, it’s not that useful at all.  Leave stuff packs to things people actually NEED.


On the other hand, it would be pretty neat to have a Dr. Who themed stuff pack, complete with Daleks and a Tardis. Oh, wait! I just remembered that there IS a Tardis in the Supernatural expansion, but it wasn’t called a Tardis 😀 And, thank you for that. It made my day. 

7- Give us more than one town in base game.  One of the things I loved so much about Sims 2 was the three different towns you got to start with, without having to download or buy other expansions.


8- PLEASE do not make this game so advanced that no one can run it on their computers.  I won’t be buying a new PC just to play the game because I own a Toshiba Satellite with a 17.1 inch screen and paid quite a bit for it. My husband is a lumberjack/coal truck driver and I’m a writer and, as everyone knows, writers make peanuts!  If it comes to that, I’ll just keep playing Sims 3.

One of my favorite Sims, Eddie Boomhaur.
One of my favorite Sims, Eddie Boomhaur.

9- Give us a few options for mailbox shapes.  Sims 3 gave us the option to change the look of our sims mailboxes, but it would be neat to have a mailbox shaped like a birdhouse or something.  We’ve all seen mailboxes in real life in different shapes–and some are ridiculous lol–so it would be neat to have that in the game as well.  Also, it would be kinda nice to have the option of leaving a fruitcake in the mailbox or  sweets in there to keep the mail carriers from getting mad and throwing the mail on the ground instead of putting it in the box where it goes.


10-  Please don’t mess with the grim reaper.  He’s been pretty much the same in all of the games and I’d really like to see him stay that way.


11- Give us the option to change the color of bath water.  I want to make an Elizabeth Bathory video one day and the water needs to be red for this.  I’m probably the only person who would enjoy this option, but it’s worth a shot lol.


Also, if you could find it in your hearts to make werewolf transformations to look more like THIS guy (below), I’d absolutely adore you to the moon and back.

Hemlock 6

I think Sims 3 is pretty well perfect as is, so I can’t think of anything else to improve the game, but if any other Simmers have anything to add (and I know many of them probably do), please add your suggestions–or anything else–in the comments below 😀  To everyone, Happy Simming!


Working hard or hardly working? I can't decide, either...
Working hard or hardly working? I can’t decide, either…


Dark Wolf Rising by Rhiannon Byrd–Review

I’ll start by saying I’ve never read any of Rhyannon Byrd’s books until now.  I found Dark Wolf Rising (Harlequin Nocturne) for FREE and thought I’d better snag it up because I just happen to love paranormal romances, but only if the element of darkness–be it vampires, werewolves, demons, or something else–is dark enough.

This story follows a 26 year old woman named Chelsea Smart as she searches for her missing, flighty, younger sister, Perry Smart.  Her search takes her straight into a world she could have never imagined in her wildest dreams…a town full of werewolves.  Here is the description Amazon gives:

FREE Kindle download right now! GO get some!
FREE Kindle download right now! GO get some!

Eric Drake, a powerful Dark Wolf, has never trusted himself around human females—preferring to mate only within his pack. That is, until he encounters Chelsea Smart snooping around Silvercrest pack land in search of her missing sister.

Secretly, Chelsea thinks Eric is the sexiest man she’s ever seen, though she is wary of his potent Alpha energy. Then it’s discovered that Chelsea’s sister is being held by a pack of vicious Lycans, and Eric heroically leaps into action. Now, Chelsea will risk everything—her body and soul—to surrender to the passion that will mark her as Eric’s woman for all eternity…if they survive.

The plot is great.  The characters are somewhat different, also, which I see as a good thing.  Eric may be an alpha male, but he’s also tender.  Chelsea is a woman with real gall and I like that.  The story met a satisfying end, too.

There are a few gripes I have, though.

Grip 1-  Every single time things begin to heat up between the Eric and Chelsea, there is a knock at the door, a phone call, or somebody just magically shows up to disturb them and then they don’t get to have their big love scene.  Until, of course, they do have their love scene, though I half expected the roof to cave in on them or something disastrous to happen before she could even undo her jeans.  THREE times, there were disturbances.  To be honest, after I read the third disturbed would-be love scene, I nearly stopped reading.  I’m glad that I didn’t, though 😀

Gripe 2- I finished the book a few days ago, but there is a scene that sticks out.  Eric swoops her into his arms, seemingly out of nowhere, in a tender scene between the two, but the way it was written, I half expected Fabio to pop out of the fridge and shout, “I can’t believe it’s not butter!”  STILL not enough to make me stop reading, though, but I did get a good laugh from it.

Gripe 3- This book just wasn’t dark enough for me.  Maybe I’ve been reading romance novels too long and need to switch to horror for a while.  Maybe not. I can’t pinpoint any certain thing that makes the book too light for me, but even though there were strippers and sex trafficking, it still wasn’t as dark as I would have liked.  I wanted more danger between Eric’s inner wolf and Chelsea.  There wasn’t one little bit of me that thought he might just kill her if pushed too far and I really wanted to feel that way.

All together, this is a great read!  I love Harlequin Nocturne books and will continue to read Rhyannon Byrd’s books as well. As a matter of fact, I’m sooper sekritly stalking her Amazon Author Profile as we speak.

Dark Wolf Rising is available for Kindle and also paperback.

I’ll give this book 3 stars.  I really did like it, but it wasn’t a book I LOOOOOVED.  Although, I do like the author and am looking for other titles by her to snag tonight.  Also, remember that just because I didn’t fall madly in love with the book doesn’t mean you won’t and it doesn’t mean I would stop reading books by this author. I just told you–I’m sooper sekritly stalking her Amazon profile to find more books lol.

G’night, ya’ll!

A chat with Eric S. Brown

Eric S. Brown, author.
Eric S. Brown, author.

Eric S. Brown is one of the busiest authors I’ve had the pleasure of conversing with.  This guy is always, always, always working on something.  From Bigfoot to comics, he’s got his hands in more than one cookie jar.  I’ve read Eric’s work and I can honestly say I’m always entertained. I was lucky enough to snatch a few precious moments of this guy’s time and I asked him some questions.

Me:  What are you working on at present?

ESB:  I am working on the script for the fourth issue of Unstoppable Origins.  It’s one of two comic books I am now the writer on.

Me:  A lot of writers have to have things arranged a certain way before they can write.  For example: I know a certain writer who can’t write a single sentence without her Joe Camel beer huggy (not to name any names, here).  Are there any little quirks in your writing process?

ESB:  If I am writing something strange like Jack Bunny Bam Bam and the Weeper Apocalypse, I really like to listen to Weird Al.  Al’s music is amazing, fun, and very inspirational.

My personal favorite Eric S. Brown character. . .
My personal favorite Eric S. Brown character. . .

Me:  What was the most memorable moment you have ever had through your writing career?

ESB:  I will never forget the day I got my first two acceptance letters.  They both came in the mail on the same day and I was calling all my family and friends to say that not one but two magazines like my first short story enough to publish it.  But also when David Drake blurbed my new Military SF book co-authored by Tony Faville was a huge one too.  I grew up reading Drake and learned to write from studying his style.  I had corresponded with Mr. Drake for sometime but when he agreed to read Homeworld I was walking around on eggshells for a while.  I mean the KING of Military SF was reading my first effort in that genre.  When he wrote back and said he enjoyed it and gave me a cover blurb, well, I think I am still grinning from that.   You know you’ve made to a degree when your childhood hero blurbs your book.

Me:  Are you a plotter or a pantser? (**For definitions of these strange writer terms, see the bottom of this post**)

ESB:  I am so a pantser.  I seem to have a never ending stream of writing projects that come at plus I am a Mr. Mom with two kids.  I tend to do everything on the fly.  I also believe in letting my characters write the story as it goes rather than mapping everything out in advance.

Me:  For readers who have never read your work, which book or piece would you recommend reading first?

For those who didn't know, Bigfoot War is a series! And how 'bout those covers, eh? Nice!
For those who didn’t know, Bigfoot War is a series! And how ’bout those covers, eh? Nice!

ESB:  Depends on what you enjoy.  If you like horror, I would say Bigfoot War.  It was the original Sasquatch apocalypse book out there.  It’s intense survival horror and has over 100 five star reviews on Amazon.  If you enjoy Military SF like I do and love books like the Hammer’s Slammers series or the Honor Harrington series or even just war stuff in general, I would say Homeworld.  Both are available on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback formats.  And lastly, if you’re just looking to see me at my best as a writer, I would try Jack Bunny Bam Bam and the Weeper Apocalypse.  That book is so crazy there are no words.

Thank you, Eric, for dropping by!  If any of you are interested in his work, I’ll go ahead and throw out Eric’s Amazon Author profile link (below) and also give my two cents.  If I were you, I’d go ahead and buy Jack Bunny Bam Bam and the Weeper Apocalypse.  It’s a great story, but also very nuts. NUTS, I tell ya! Entertainment, definitely.  

Also, don’t forget to give him a good, honest review if you do decide to check him out–which, you totally should–and share the links on Facebook, Google +, Twitter, and any other sites you frequent.  Remember, an author cannot continue to bring you awesome books if we don’t show them a little bit of support! 

Eric S. Brown’s Amazon Author Page

eric s. brown 2



**Definitions for non-writers who probably had no clue what a pantser or a plotter were–

Pantser- A person who flies by the seat of their pants. These writers just sit down and start writing with very little clue as to where their story is going, but for them, it works. 

Plotter- A plotter thinks everything out first.  They plot out every little detail from start to finish with sometimes very detailed notes and outlines.  

If ya ask me, pantsing is a lot more fun, but hey–whatever works for you!  Also, here is a neat blog post about the subject of pantsing vs. plotting. **