February’s Tangled Web

As I mentioned in the last post of Turn the Page, reading really hit a lull for a few weeks.

I am a true believer in everything that happens is trying to teach me something. February not only came/went too quickly, it had more than it’s fair share of challenges (lessons).

My take away was (as obvious as this may be to most) that no matter how enthusiastic the goal, I have to WANT to read what I am attempting to read.

Choosing an Austen after a memoir probably wasn’t the best choice. Don’t get me wrong, I adore her, but let’s face it, my head & heart have to be in the same place to fully enjoy it.

So, instead of throwing in the towel, I spent two weeks trying to get myself into it…

…it turned out like the photo below…less than stellar…

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Needing to save February from a big old goose egg, I turned to one author I knew would get me back in the swing of things…Gail Z. Martin

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Gail is one of my favorite authors and with countless (ok, I could count if I wanted to but I don’t 😉 ) books in a half dozen worlds, there is always something from her I can add to my TBR pile!

To save my February reads, I chose…

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Cassidy Kincaide runs Trifles & Folly in modern-day Charleston, an antiques and curios shop with a dangerous secret. Cassidy can read the history of objects by touching them and along with her business partners Teag, who has Weaver magic and Sorren, a 600-year-old vampire, they get rid of cursed objects and keep Charleston and the world safe from supernatural threats.

When zombies rise in Charleston cemeteries, dead men fall from the sky, and the whole city succumbs to the “grouch flu,” Cassidy, Teag, and Sorren suspect a vengeful dark witch who is gunning for Teag and planning to unleash an ancient horror. Cassidy, Teag, and Sorren—and all their supernatural allies—will need magic, cunning, and the help of a Viking demi-goddess to survive the battle with a malicious Weaver-witch and an ancient Norse warlock to keep Charleston—and the whole East Coast—from becoming the prey of the Master of the Hunt.

Tangled Web is the third book in the Deadly Curiosities series and though I can’t pick a favorite just yet, this one is very close to the top. Teag is a character I have grown very fond of. The idea of weaver magic intrigues me and I have been anxious for more of it in a story…Boy did I get it.

The familiarity of setting with this series helps me to really immerse myself in the story and Tangled Web is no different. As the cover suggests, the team has to deal with horses, both living and undead, and the case briefly takes them to Aiken, SC. This was a welcome and pleasant surprise as I have a cousin that lives in Aiken and I have seen how big the area is on all things horses!

One of the things I appreciate most about Gail is her attention to detail when it comes to coming up with both friend and foe in this series. It would take me a while to name every ally/villain but suffice it to say that I have wanted to learn more about the ‘old ways’ of multiple people groups because of her work in Deadly Curiosities. 

Tangled Web was indeed the perfect choice to spur me into my March reads and I am so happy I chose it!

 

About the Author

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Gail Z. Martin is the author of Scourge: A Darkhurst Novel, from Solaris Books. Gail is also the author of Vendetta: A Deadly Curiosities Novel and Trifles and Folly 1: A Deadly Curiosities Collection, the latest in her urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC; Shadow and Flame is the fourth book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga; The Shadowed Path (The first Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures collection), as well as Iron and Blood a Steampunk series, and Spells, Salt, & Steel, both co-authored with Larry N. Martin.

She is also author of Ice Forged, Reign of Ash, and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen); The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) and the urban fantasy novel Deadly Curiosities and Tangled Web. Gail writes three ebook series: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures and The Blaine McFadden Adventures. The Storm and Fury Adventures, steampunk stories set in the Iron & Blood world, are co-authored with Larry N. Martin.

Gail’s work has appeared in over 35 US/UK anthologies. Newest anthologies include: The Big Bad 2, Athena’s Daughters, Heroes, Space, Contact Light, With Great Power, The Weird Wild West, The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, Alien Artifacts, Cinched: Imagination Unbound, Realms of Imagination, Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens, Gaslight and Grimm, Baker Street Irregulars, Journeys, Hath no Fury and A Haven Harbor Halloween.

You can also find Gail on: Twitter @GailZMartin, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin

January Friends

Yes, January was two months ago, I know, but I have to complete postings…even if they are past due 😉

When I started the month I was SO excited to meet my reading goal. If you will remember I set myself up for 4 reads…

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After The Time of My Life I decided to go with the classic Sense and Sensibility because I thought I would make short work of the two short books while I was in Orlando for Heart Camp, come back, and round out the month with the last one…WRONG

The first few pages were a breeze and I enjoyed the banter between the characters but then I began to lose steam. I could blame it on always reading from my bed and getting sleepy but the truth is I was use to the story and at that moment in time, I took for granted knowing it and hit a snail’s pace making my way through it.

I didn’t read at all in Orlando as it turns out…BUT, I did listen to an audiobook that saved me from only completing one book in January.

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Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy was a delightful listen that kept me great company on my 16hr (round trip) drive to Orlando.

Tourists enter the hilltop tavern, alone and in pairs, for a casual lunch. But a sudden tragedy in the harbor below causes these perfect strangers to become unlikely friends as their lives begin to entwine…

Fiona left her nursing career in Ireland to be with the man everyone thinks is wrong for her. Elsa fled Germany and her high-powered television job once she learned what the man she loved was hiding from her. Thomas mourns his failed marriage and misses his young son in California, while David yearns to reconcile with his family in England without having to go into the family business. Chance has brought them together, and together they will find new ways of looking at the lives they left behind.

The narration of this story was brilliant. I don’t think I have every wanted to go to Greece, England, Ireland and Germany simultaneously before..but I do now!

I haven’t had the courage to travel solo yet but stories like this, fiction though it may be, give me hope that I will someday and that hopefully I will find good people, like the ones in this story, from all over the world, and become friends with them.

Nights of Rain and Stars is filled with charm, wit, great imagery, emotion and a little intrigue. It was a good introduction to MB and a good choice for a solo road trip.

Though possibly not and audiobook, I will be reading more from Binchy in the future!

 

Now, on to February! Happy page turning!

The first 4 miles of 2019

Whew,

I don’t know about you but January and February have really gotten away from me.

When I did the math a few months ago, I realized that 8(ish) miles per month would help me reach the #nc100mileschallenge goal with, almost, no issues.

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Well, here I am, a few days away from March…looking at only one trail so far…

BUT…

I am still hopeful I’ll meet the goal and so I want you to see where I started this year.

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Lake Norman State Park found me a couple of years ago, when I was first introduced to the challenge and at only about 45min away, it’s quickly become my go to for a morning outdoors.

The Lake Shore Trail provides several miles of hilly terrain, great for a cardio boosts and a multiple views of Lake Norman itself. If you catch it early enough, it’s nice and quiet out there.

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I have been blessed to have my Dad along with me for the past three times I’ve come here. We usually start early, with a big breakfast and hope to complete at least half the trail within an hour and some change.

Hiking with my Dad is great because he helps me hike at a good pace which helps me with conditioning for more intense hikes in the future.

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I’ve done the entire (almost 7 miles) of Lake Shore in the beginning of June the first time I’d set foot on the trail and totally exhausted myself (I mean calling on angels exhausted) so I am a little scared to go for it all BUT I am working toward it.

 

Mornings are my favorite time to hike this trail because I can catch it before it gets too warm AND there are these amazing spots where the trail goes, almost, right to the water.

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This creates the perfect spot to catch your breath and/or a selfie 😉

 

Lake Norman State Park is where I decided I’d start adding park pins to my collection and so it holds a near and dear place in my heart and on my trail hat (courtesy of The Trek).

 

Until the next mileage update, Happy Trails!

 

What is Done in Love is Done Well

By the title of this post you might think I am about to talk about a recent trip to my local Hallmark store.

While I don’t have a moving greeting card purchase to share, I have found a place with just as much warmth, heart, dedication and genuine care at

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Percent Tap House is brand new to the neighborhood of Harrisburg, NC and the first of it’s kind in that area (which happens to be close enough to me to make it local 😉 )

I was introduced to PTH via my brother and sister-in-law (regulars since day 1) about 6 weeks ago and the first thing to hit me, after the amazing decor, was the phrase on the back of staff’s shirts (What is done in love, is done well). I hadn’t even tasted a beer yet but I had a good feeling about the place.

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My sister-in-law and I representing Percent

I was fortunate to meet the place at a slow moment and 3 out of the 4 owners were there and ready to share the vision with me. By the time I left on my day 1, I knew that this space was going to be more than just a place to grab a tasty beer…it was going to support and grow a community.

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The message is a really easy one to get behind. When you love and care about what you do, it shows. These guys were/are looking for a way to support a growing community with a quality product and a business that can serve the area for years to come.

They want to create space where people can gather small and large to discuss everything from the current day to the next phase of life. The only screens are the ones that tell you what is on tap and that is to encourage engagement with the people around you. It’s a fantastic concept that I can appreciate.

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On more than one occasion, I have ventured there solo, just to see how one might fair in a setting like the one Percent creates.

From the moment I walk in, I am seen and greeted. Most of the time it’s by Carl, Zach or Neil (though I have met Alec a time or two) and they are ready to share their favorite brews of the week and if not super busy, a conversation or two about life.

Now, I’ve been on slow nights (which are already rare) and busy nights alike and while no two visits are the same, I can tell you that what the motto the company puts on the merchandise is in the air.

Most of my solo visits find me at the bar. I figure that I can at the very least chat with one of the guys while I have a drink.

Two weeks ago, I went in with much the same mindset. I was a few sips into a Brown Ale when I picked up on the conversation going on beside me. The Gilbert’s were tabbing out but I happened to catch that they were going to be hiking for Make-A-Wish over the summer so I decided to find out more of the story. They shared it with me and I found a new Facebook friend.

As they left, I turned back to my seat to find several other customers had come to sit at the bar also and were ready to chat. I began to ping pong, delightfully, between multiple conversations as customers ordered a beverage, chatted for a min and returned to their company. There were many couples sharing a beverage before dinner, many having a beverage after a long shift and others just connecting with friends…just connecting…

Powerful!

One of my favorite connections of the night was with my new pals Stefan and Andy. They moved to the bar beside me well into the night and didn’t hesitate to engage in conversation. I’ll not share their stories (I gotta keep some secrets) BUT I will say that Stefan has one of the coolest tattoo sleeves I have ever seen and my gushing about it led to talking about Ireland, so that was EPIC!!

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Stefan and Andy who were really nice to listen to me talk about my blog

That night was SO much fun and pretty much the embodiment of what I think the owners are trying to cultivate within Percent Tap House. Community exists where people feel welcome, are encouraged to communicate and feel cared about…a tasty brew (or several) is just a great accompaniment.

 

What is done in love, IS done well and it is done 7 days a week at Percent.

 

Go by and check it out if you get the chance and tell them Candice sent you (at least I think I’ve earned regular status by now 😉 )

 

Cheers!

This Winter Hurts

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The above photo was taken almost a week ago. It was the end of a great work day, a rare day when I got to mix my day job world with my geek girl world. I was tired but blissed out. The state of my face is the result of trying to mimic the “I don’t know” emoji and respond to the question “It’s Saturday, what are you getting into?”

I didn’t know it at the time but that blissed out state would begin to go down in flames starting the next morning.

Sunday greeted me with what I thought was over tired, over clenching related jaw pain that escalated in intensity until it ended with my dentist numbing my mouth while saying “that tooth is toast”. I’ve never known such pain and though I’m no stranger to emotion, I’ve never ran the entire gamut in the span of an evening.

BUT it taught me a lot, as discomfort often does…and that is what I want to share.

 

Stubborn~ dogged determination not to change one’s attitude or position on something

 

On a trip over the summer, one of my oldest friends called me stubborn. It bothered me, a lot, because it made me think of the other people in my life that I had heard associated with that word and I knew I wasn’t acting the way that they did when labeled in the same way. This was about my unwillingness to let anyone help me with my bags…how could not wanting my things to burden someone else be a bad thing.

I was reminded of this moment when my jaw pain was at it’s worst and I saw very clearly the picture of me being a dozen feet behind the rest of the traveling party hustling to make a train, dropping my bag almost every other step…STUBBORN!

I shed a lot of tears in a very short amount of time as I realized all the ways my stubbornness was showing up in my life…the constant dirty state of my car, the pile of clean clothes on my bed that never makes it to the closet, the pile of books in the floor instead of the shelf and the searing pain shooting through my jaw.

What normally plays out like the shoulder shrug pictured above started to annoy me and I wanted to tidy up everything…my car, my room, my books…my LIFE!!!

It couldn’t be fixed that night but I knew I could start the next morning. So, I got what sleep I could and called my dentist.

There was a treatment plan in place for my dental care and I had an appointment for a repair two weeks later but my tooth had other ideas and abscessed. OUCH!!!!

I could blame the tooth all day long but it’s really all on me…my stubbornness had to take physical form for me to notice it. I wanted to keep the tooth so I wouldn’t be down a tooth not for the sake of my health and wellness. So, for the sake of my health and wellness it had to be removed.

It’s been a hell of a few days but if you think I can’t look at it all and still be grateful, you’d be wrong.

 

The pain broke me…I was scared, lonely and pissed…at myself. I couldn’t rest so I took a metaphorical light saber and began to hack away at my life….

 

If you don’t want this pain ~ make a phone call and deal with it

Tired of looking at clothes you’ll never wear ~ donate them and be done with it

Embarrassed for anyone to ride in your car ~ clean it!!

Miss someone ~ reach out!

Tired of watching Netflix on your iPad when you have a perfectly good TV ~ order what you need fix the problem

Tired? ~ Get some sleep

If you want to be debt free ~ pay attention to what you spend you $$ on

Want to be the author answering questions about your book instead of the one asking an author questions? ~ FINISH YOUR BOOK

 

Countless other thoughts and actions met the chopping block. I’m more guilty than I can convey of falling prey to the bright and shiny, the new, the old, the anything other than what I am doing right now and before I know it, I am doing a WHOLE LOT OF NOTHING…

STUBBORN!!!

So, as the pain from the past few days eases (or is at least hiding behind ibuprofen) I have begun trying to erase stubbornness from my life. It’s a slow start, as I am still healing from the procedure but I am working toward letting go, creating space and executing a plan.

While I don’t want a repeat of the pain, I am grateful for the clarity it brought to my corner of the world this week. I will not be the same from now on 🙂

 

*****

 

Dear Readers,

We deserve and owe it to ourselves to take as good care of ourselves as we can. This lesson (and others) I have had to learn the hard way and while I don’t mind sharing them with you here, I really hope we all do a little better at it so that we can keep loving, living and dreaming, in health and happiness 🙂

Take GOOD care,

~Candice

 

 

 

Your Heart Is Welcome Here

Before I say anything else, I want to say that if you don’t think there is a place in the world where the title of this post is true, please keep reading, because there is a place/space, I promise.

 

The running joke of Heart Camp is that it is this incredible thing that no one can really explain…but after my Mom asked me about it today, I didn’t find it that hard at all…and I think she understood. So, I am going to attempt to share it with you as I did her.

The following photos are from the recent Heart Camp Reunion but I will be sharing about the collective experience.

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It could be really easy to look at the words of the post title, sigh a little, and maybe even roll eyes at the concept of “your” or “any” heart being collectively and truly welcome. It seems pretty impossible to create a space where all of the uniqueness a heart can bring is greeted warmly and offered a seat at the table. Even more impossible for that space to be full of almost a dozen tables ready to be sat at.

This is Heart Camp.

Still in disbelief, you may find yourself grabbing your things and making your way to your chair only to be stopped on the way there by at least 2-3 bright, smiling faces, mindful enough of your space to greet you according to the way you prefer (be it a hug, handshake or continued smile). You are seen.

This is Heart Camp

Chair after chair begins to fill and though the social interactions very with each new face, the vibration of the room begins to change…it intensifies. You begin to feel a lot of things…the urge to cry, your skin begin to prickle, to laugh and possibly vomit BUT  something inside you tells you to hold on for the ride.

This is Heart Camp

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Jamie and The Reunion Crew~ photo by @ebrown_photo

I stepped into this Heart Camp thing a year ago (and then again a few weeks ago) and it is one of the best things I could have ever done for myself.

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That’s me and my friend Kim ❤ ~photo by @ebrown_photo

Authentic ~ genuine, real, veritable share the sense of actuality and lack of falsehood or misrepresentation

Vulnerability ~ the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally

I don’t think authenticity and vulnerability are things you can know are missing in your life until you are met with 40+ examples of it. In life, it is so easy to go through the motions and get lost in them…so easy to try and be someone/something you don’t recognize. And let’s face it, vulnerability, by it’s very definition, is scary. I believe there can be so much beauty it it though, because I found it.

Imagine sitting at a table, in a room full of no preconception, no motive…just people wanting to open themselves up to a deeper understanding of collective community and perhaps be inspired by what they find. Meeting people as they as they are, as you are is like a breath of the freshest air you can breathe.

I want people to know ME, really know me AND I want to really know myself.

 

This is Heart Camp

 

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Matt Willingham ~Photo by @ebrown_photo
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Jamie Tworkowski and Stephan Monteserin ~photo by @ebrown_photo

 

In addition to Jamie Tworkowski ~ (founder of TWLOHA and creator of Heart Camp, author, public speaker, and all together incredible human (also my hero and friend)) Heart Camp gives you access to some pretty incredible people (Sierra DeMulder, Tonya Ingram, Denny Kolsch, Matt Wertz, Matt Willingham, Stephan Monteserin to name a few,  all of them on a mission to live life, heart first.

I has been incredible to see what has happened in the lives of Heart Camp attendees this past year. This kind of connection and community can and will change the world.

It all starts and continues with the decision to attend.

Come join the framily and let’s keep lighting those beacons and making the world a little brighter.

For more information…

http://jamietworkowski.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February

Hello Readers!

It’s the 10th day of the second month of the year and all I can say is that I am grateful I was enthusiastic enough to do 11 posts last month as that will, hopefully, give me some wiggle room for my 2019 posting goal 🙂

There has been SO much going on, plenty to talk about actually, I have just not been “feeling” my writing the past few weeks. One thing I won’t let myself do is force myself into writing (the only exception should probably the book I am working on). I have sat down to write two posts and they have been sitting in the draft pile for a week. One I feel is way too wordy and one isn’t wordy enough. I am overly self critical and it’s hindered me more than a few times.

All that being said, there is SO much on the way to Wanderwood Lane…

-A BIG tea post on how David’s Tea monopolized my Dec/Jan cuppas’

-How an audiobook saved me from completing only one of Jan TBRs

-Heart Camp and it’s ever present ripple affect

-My Ireland post

-How I am doing on my #nc100mileschallenge

-Meeting another hero

-What’s going to be happening in the other tabs On Wanderwood Lane

 

AND SO MUCH MORE!!!

 

Thank you for continuing to stop by and I’ll see you again SOON!