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So, it’s been over 2 years since I posted to my blog, but it’s been even longer since we recorded any new music. Just in case anybody still checks or stumbles upon my blog, I thought I’d share our 2 new songs. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll start blogging again, occasionally.

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A few weeks ago, I read the finale of one of the best fantasy series I have read. I have been a devoted reader of The Auralia Thread since I read the first book, Auralia’s Colors, almost four years ago. The fourth and final book, The Ale Boy’s Feast, did not disappoint me. My strong attachment to the books has made approaching this review a bit overwhelming. I just don’t think I can do justice to the beauty and complexity of the story, the characters, and the fictional world of the Expanse that emerged so eloquently from Jeffrey Overstreet’s imagination. His writing inspires me. In fact, reading Auralia’s Colors partly deserves the credit for rekindling my lifelong desire to write.

I cannot write about The Ale Boy’s Feast without writing about my impressions of the series as a whole. The books are inseparable. They must be read in order. I would recommend The Auralia Thread to anybody who appreciates beautiful, almost poetic prose, and complex fantasy. There are a lot of characters, and most of them are intricately developed, complete with flaws, far from squeaky clean. It is admittedly not for everyone, however. If you don’t have the patience to start from the beginning and truly immerse yourself in the Expanse and invest yourself in the lives of the characters, then don’t bother. It is not an easy read. There are complex themes intwined in the story, challenging the reader to deeply consider such things as art, beauty, God, the Truth, and more. If you expect a cut and dry message or lesson from The Auralia Thread, you will be disappointed, because it is so much more than that.

The world of the Expanse is made up of four kingdoms or houses, each very different and none of them truly friendly with the others. The people of one house have succumbed to a horrible curse that has turned them into savage beastmen who are feared and despised by all. The series is primarily about House Abascar, where, in the beginning of the series, colors are illegal and imagination and exploration are suppressed. Enter Auralia, an orphan girl of unknown origin, who tries to wake up Abascar to the beauty around them and to the unknown. The series follows the people most affected by Auralia and her revolutionary view of the world. They fight against and flee a growing evil even worse than the house of the beastmen, an evil that is literally taking over the Expanse. That’s the series in a very small & insufficient nutshell. I really can’t say much more without going on and on and probably giving away some important details that are best discovered in the reading of the story. You really just have to read it.

The Ale Boy’s Feast is the conclusion of the story and does a very good job of wrapping it all up. Most of the loose ends are tied up, but not always in the ways you would expect. Where would be the fun in that anyway? There are some questions that Overstreet intentionally left unanswered, and that’s okay. A little bit of mystery is good. I don’t want everything handed to me on a silver platter. The right kind of questions, even left unanswered, can lead us to the greatest and most beautiful Mystery of all.

I would like to thank the author, Jeffrey Overstreet, for sharing his inspiration, his heart, his vision with the world. Thank you for The Auralia Thread. I love it, and I hope many others will come to love it, too. It’s just too good to be kept a secret.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I did, however, buy the first three books on my own.

Please Rate My Review on Blogging For Books

You can buy The Ale Boy’s Feast by Jeffrey Overstreet here.

But first check out the first three books in the series. Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, and Raven’s Ladder.

Here is the first chapter of the first book, Auralia’s Colors, to get you hooked.

And if you’ve already read the rest of the series, then feel free to read this first chapter of The Ale Boy’s Feast.

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I’m Back

Okay, it’s been a long, long, long time. Lots has happened. We added a couple of new rooms onto our house, and I’m teaching my son preschool at home. So I’ve been pretty busy. My little man can read now!!! Just short simple words for now, but it’s the beginning of a great adventure. I’ve also been working, off and on, on writing my novel.

I’m reviving my blog now because I found out about a program called Blogging for Books from Waterbrook/Multnomah. So I’m going to start posting book reviews on here, and perhaps other stuff too, if I get into the habit. I hope people will read them. Stay tuned. I know you will be waiting on the edge of your seat. I promise not to leave you hanging too long.

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Let’s rewind to mid-November. I was actively working on my novel every day. I was optimistically hoping I could keep up the pace and finish by the end of the year.

Well, what happened? LIFE! A family emergency took my full attention for over a week. I tried to write a little in the midst of it all. I did manage to make a little more progress, but then Thanksgiving came. Suddenly I was responsible for an entire Thanksgiving meal, plus a couple of dishes to take to two more dinners.

We managed to make it through Thanksgiving. Then our car started acting funny so we had it checked out & dropped a couple hundred dollars to fix it. Immediately after that, my husband got sick & discovered that a nasty chronic infection that just wouldn’t go away was back with a vengeance. The next week the car overheated, almost stranding my husband on the way to work. He added water & barely managed to get it to the shop. We shelled out several hundred more on a new head gasket. My husband had to bum rides to & from work for a few days. We almost didn’t get the car back in time for Christmas.

The total car repairs for the month of December ended up being around $1,000! Gee, we could have gotten a new car if we knew that was going to happen, but we definitely couldn’t afford it now. We couldn’t even afford to buy presents for family. We’d already gotten stuff for our son, but we decided not to get each other anything. We consider our new computer that we had to buy to replace our lightning struck one to be a present for both of us. Sometime between car repairs, I got the idea to put my creativity to good use to make gifts for other family members & friends. I crocheted constantly, making scarves, slippers, even dolls. A few of the gifts had to wait till after Christmas since I had very little time to finish.

By the end of the year, we were ready for it all to be over, hoping that maybe, just maybe, next year would be better. The new year started okay, except that my husband still wasn’t better, despite three rounds of antibiotics. Then mid-January we all got a bad cold. Hubby got a new & different infection on top of his old stubborn one. He’s now taking the strongest antibiotic to date, but is still not better. My son somehow got strep on top of his cold, & despite the antibiotics he’s taking for that, his cough isn’t getting better. I foresee more doctor visits in our future. I’m almost all better, though, so I can’t really complain there.

I can complain, though, that our sickness just happened to coincide with the birth of my new baby niece. So far we’ve only been able to look at her through the window. I hope that, soon, I can convince my sister that I’m well enough to hold her.

Somewhere in the midst of all these happenings, I’d gotten so depressed that I didn’t want to do much of anything. Crocheting became my escape & my obsession. After all the Christmas presents, I made a cardigan & hat for my new niece & some cute Converse style baby booties for a friend by altering a pattern. Then I took on a new project to make a Yoshi plushie for my son’s birthday. I couldn’t find a free pattern, so I decided to design my own, which I’ve never done before. Then I made my husband a pair of Converse style slippers, once again my own design, because he was jealous of the baby booties I made.

So needless to say, with all this crocheting I’ve been doing, I haven’t done any more writing. I’m not sure what to make next, so maybe I’ll get back to writing. Then again, my mom gave me a sewing machine for my birthday, and I need new pillows and curtains. When will I write again? I don’t know, but I do know that I will…… soon.

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A Better Title?

A fresh look at a story can usually give you new ideas. So I decided to do that with my story, “Choices.” I had initially tried to brainstorm with my husband about what to name it. Anything I came up with was too “romance novelly” and anything he came up with just didn’t grab me. That’s how I ended up with the title “Choices.” I just settled for good enough so I could submit it and have it finished. I still didn’t like it though.

Today, I was struck with an idea. Have you ever heard of Wordle? You paste in text of your choice and it creates an artistic jumble of words based on the most used words in your text. It had been a long time since I’d played around with it. I’ve always thought of it as more of a toy than a tool, but today I realized its potential usefulness for someone like me who struggles to make random decisions.

I pasted my story into Wordle, then sat back and studied the word cloud. I considered some of the most prominent words and how I might use them in the title. One of the largest words was “never.” Nearby, in a smaller font, was “knew.” Those two obviously went together well. Way over to the side was the tiny word “word”. So I came up with “The Word I Never Knew.” I thought that fit pretty well with the last line of the story, and it would definitely be more intriguing than “Choices.” So, now the question is… Is this new title any good? I suppose it’s not that important, but I always seem to second guess myself. I may not be able to rest until I’ve had a little affirmation. 😉

If anyone does read this and cares to comment, please share with me how you decide on titles. And character names too. That’s another issue of mine. I tend to overthink little decisions, especially when I don’t get a gut feeling about something. I could use a little advice.

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Hello world!

I hope you don’t mind waiting a bit for my first real blog post.

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