Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #88 – Chaos

In Connemara, Ireland, peat is still a fairly common fuel source.  These bricks have been cut from the ground and left to dry out.  Sometimes we saw them in neat little pyramids or piles, but I rather liked the chaos of this cluster.

The ruins of Ballycarbery castle in Cahersiveen, Ireland show how nature and time can turn even neat stacks of stones in wilderness.

You can find more chaos at the original Lens-Artist challenge.

 

LENS-ARTISTS PHOTO CHALLENGE #87 – REFLECTIONS

Well, taking a cruise is not sounding so appealing right now, but it is still a great way to see a lot in a very little time.  Some cruise ship ports are very touristy, and some are rather more industrial; either way there is some great scenery.  I believe this was the port in Naples, Italy, where we disembarked to visit Pompeii.

Here is a surprising reflection in a picture I took in Gougane Barra, Ireland.  This plaque is on a cross, commemorating where St. Finbarr lived on the island.  But you can see me in the reflection!  My coat is bright blue, my phone taking the picture is bright green, and my hands and face are peachy.  It makes for a fun double image.

Thanks to Miriam for being the guest host this week! You can find more reflections at the original Lens-Artist challenge.

 

Eight Years Blogging

This month marks my eighth blogiversary!  Crazy to think I’ve been doing this so long.  Let’s take a look at my most popular posts from the past eight years.  It’s an interesting and varied list.

  1. There is no hot air balloon in Around the World in Eighty Days

  2. Famous Introvert-Extrovert Pairs

  3. We all got a chicken-duck-woman-thing waiting for us: Star Wars Bad Lip Reading

  4. Who’s that Pokémon…girl?

  5. Revisiting KOTOR II: (#2) Get me off Telos!

And here is my least popular post, with only 24 views ever; it’s a song a wrote while I was studying abroad in Spain. Give it some love, too!

Lit Mag Poetry: Mi Salamanca

Unfortunately, I find myself very busy this year and I’m probably going to be scaling back my posting here.  I hope to keep up at least one post a week, including some photos of course.  Here’s to more years of nerdy girl blogging!

Two Monarchies Sequence by W.R. Gingell

You may have noticed that I love fairy tales and fairy tale retellings.  So how about a whole series of them?!  W.R. Gingell delivers with the Two Monarchies Sequence, a lovely fantasy series with many fairy tale inspirations.  For the most part, these are not straight retellings, but rather stories that take a recognizable fairy tale concept and twist it all around.   The result is a series that feels comfortably familiar yet at the same time keeps you on your toes.

Also, if you judge books by their covers, these ones are gorgeous.

The series is set in the titular two monarchies, Civet and Glause, two countries whose history is…complicated to say the least.  There is also some time travel involved in several spots, which does not help clear things up! The series begins with Spindle, obviously inspired by Sleeping Beauty, in which Polyhymnia is awakened not by a prince, but by an absentminded-genius enchanter named Luck…and that’s just the beginning of her troubles.  Next follow Blackfoot (with some hints of Puss in Boots) and Staff and Crown, which follow unlikely hero Annabel’s path to the throne of New Civet.  

The last book, Clockwork Magician, will be released this week; it features Annabel’s friend and budding magician Peter, who is in truth a fairly annoying person, yet the author somehow manages to make him lovable.  That’s a kind of magic all on its own!

Also in the sequence is Masque, a murder mystery inspired by Beauty and the Beast; though this one is chronologically last, I actually read it first!  It’s one of my favorite BatB stories of all time. There is also a Little Red Riding Hood story, Wolfskin, in the same setting, though it does not cross over with any of the other stories.

What do all these great stories have in common?  Excellent quirky characters that will come to feel like friends, an intriguing system of magic, some mystery and thrills, and some lovely romance.  Occasionally it feels like the story or characters are moving a bit too fast to catch, but a touch of confusion is part of the charm of these books.

This series was my first introduction to Gingell’s writing, and it quickly made me a fan.  I’m sure it will do the same for my fellow fairy tale-lovers!

Fan Art Friday: Celestial Balance

Elf

Here is a fun little elf sketch from my high school sketchbook!  I drew this in conjunction with a short story I wrote around the same time, “Celestial Balance.”  The elf in the story has curly hair, but there was no way I was going to be able to draw that!

Keep reading for the story!

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