Monday, August 25, 2014

Mud Pies, Planters, and Plants, Sounds like the Weekend!

Living in the city, I have very little outdoor space. What I do have is normally used as a parking lot. I do, however, have a wide and long deck in the back and a strip of land in the front.

I've been toying with the idea of a garden for over 5 years and I'm embarrassed to say it took that long for me to finally get my hands dirty. The good news is, as soon as I started digging up the ground, the kids wanted in. They didn't want to keep digging and pulling out the rocks and weeds. They wanted to get in the dirt and start planting seeds.

So I had them wait till I was done. (It took an hour for each section of my garden.) When I was ready, they were hands out and ready to take those precious new seeds and plant them. My mind kept thinking there was a better way of doing this. For the kids and myself. There is and I ended up setting it up on the porch.

A planter, better yet, a kids planter. Granted right now, since this is me starting this endeavor, it's a group of pots and plastic boxes. I didn't want to go big just yet, but I will.

See that beauty down there? Yeah, that will be mine for next year's planting. No fuss over roots and rocks, just me, my kids and my compost giving love to the seeds that we plant there.
I earn 10% on sales from this blog from Eartheasy.com

I can imagine now:
Dumping in the compost and soil mix, spreading it out just so and then bam... moments later the kids come in and poke their little fingers into the dirt to create homes for the seeds. Cover and water. Each day they can come out and gaze on their colorful planter waiting for those little sprouts to finally lift themselves to the sky. I'm thinking vegetables, but knowing my kids I see flowers too. I guess I may have to get one for me and one for each of them. I'll have to save up a bit but it's going to be worth it.

What about you? What do you have to plant in. Do you have a yard with a garden? Or did you set up planters like me?

I found this picture and some great advice at Eartheasy.com. Here's the best part, this baby and plenty more sustainable living products are on sale right now. The whole back to school thing has more advantages than I thought. 

Something cool that I just learned about this company, they plant a tree for every order they get. So even when I get this and several other things, I'll be indirectly planting trees. I call that a win-win.

Okay to sum it up. Planting is going to be made so much easier with this guy, it is rust resistant, has a drain plug to make sure the plants are not over watered, the right height for my kids and I'll be planting a tree somewhere along with planting my veggies and flowers. See why I'm a bit excited. I'll post pics when this guy is ready to grow next year. If I plan this right, I may even be able to pick one up before the sale ends.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cover Reveal: Under the Trees by Ashley Maker

Under the Trees 
**Cover Reveal**
Author- Ashley Maker
Genre- YA Historical Romance 


-Synopsis-

Desperate to prevent an abusive arranged marriage, Princess Araya flees to a neighboring kingdom, only to land at the mercy of the impulsive Crown Prince Thoredmund, who provides refuge in a secluded forest and teaches her survival skills. Her surprise at the unexpected hold the price has on her heart mirrors his shock at falling for the one girl he can’t have. 

As the young couple’s feelings for each other grow, the fragile alliance between the two kingdoms threatens to break apart. With a vengeful duke and an enraged king fast on their trail, Thor and Araya must decide how much they’re willing to risk for love. 

Even if staying together means starting a war. 




Excerpts:


THOR quote:
The dark horse tore through the underbrush, bringing her close enough I could make out a pale face and a tangle of long hair. A black cloak billowed behind her. Men on horseback gave chase, darting through the trees, clearly in pursuit. All those men after one girl? Who could she be? My instincts screamed against them catching her. She could be a decoy, and they could all be spies—but what if she was in real danger?
It wouldn't be so difficult to apprehend her, only one rider, later …
“Let her pass,” I ordered, staring my men down until they stepped aside.
The girl raced past, glancing over her shoulder for a brief moment—her eyes flashing emerald in the light of the fire—before looking ahead and leaning low on her horse’s neck.
My men gaped at me, gripping weapons with white-knuckled hands. With a jerk of my head in the direction of the riders almost upon us, I raised the bow and nocked an arrow.
“Hold the line,” I commanded. “These men stop here.”


ARAYA sword:
Something inside me snapped—boiled over—at the mocking words and spiteful tone. The seething feeling surged upward, clouding my vision. I charged with an infuriated shriek, all movement, shifting and striking, not retreating. He easily deflected the first blow, but the second made him stagger. He faltered back a step, and I lunged with a strength that did not feel like my own.
Resistance met my blade, but it was of a soft nature that gave way. A thin ribbon of blood blossomed through the sleeve on Wendel’s right arm. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the sight, grim satisfaction twisting like a living thing inside of me.
But I shouldn’t have looked. I shouldn’t have stopped.




Araya’s
fear:
Stone. I became cold, hard stone. My thoughts froze and buzzed at the same time, fingers clamping against Thor’s as if somehow he could save me.
“I came as soon as I could. They were watching. It was difficult to get away—”
“They?” I lost control on the word. My voice wavered and broke with my gaze as I searched the darkness of the tree line, eyes darting from one spot to the next. Thor squeezed my hand, a steady pressure, but he did not understand.
The frantic search only ended when I looked up at Thor, heart lodged in my throat. I didn’t want to ask, or face the answer, but I needed to know. “They?”
Thor squeezed my hand again and ran a thumb over mine. “Yes, your father, brother, their guards, and—”
“He’s here, too, isn’t he?” He didn’t have to say it. I knew. I could feel it.


Thor’s inner conflict:
I thought I would be angry with Araya when I returned to camp. A part of me blamed her, even though it wasn’t her fault. Perhaps she should get out of the kingdom and take her trail of problems with her so I didn’t have to cover them up any longer. That was what she wanted anyway, wasn’t it—to go to the
districts and leave me?
Then I saw her again.
My throat constricted almost painfully and my chest ached at the sight of her standing on the other side of the clearing. She was humming softly to Major while pulling burrs out of his forelock. The gelding was already saddled and bridled, as if she had just gotten back from a ride or was about to go on one. Major turned his head in our direction and pulled at the reins in her hand, letting out a welcoming whinny to Tosque.
Araya glanced up. She smiled, and I knew. That’s when I was absolutely sure I would continue to help and protect her, no matter what happened, even if it meant risking everything.





-About the Author-

Armed with a keyboard, microphone, and an energetic imagination, Ashley Maker is a combination author/songwriter from Oklahoma with a passion for all things creative. UNDER THE TREES, a Young Adult blended historical romance, is her debut novel, releasing from Cliffhanger Press, LLC in the fall of 2014. Songs inspired by the book can be heard from Seeking Never, the recording band she sings in with her guitar-playing husband Corey. A newbie vlogger and former editor, Ashley spends much of her time writing, procrastinating on social media, and waging a revision war against pronouns. The rest of her time is spent doting on her daughter and cuddling with myriad family pets, most notably Johnny Cash, cat writing buddy extraordinaire.





-Social Media links-








Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Cover Reveal of Trefury: Mendi's Curse, by Joyce Alton

Joyce Alton, the group leader for AQC's Speculative Fiction forum, has her first book coming out in September. Trefury is the first of a trilogy.  Check it out. 





An ancient legend is remade.

Meet the oddest, most-likely-to-fail partnership the planet Niyhel has ever known. He's cunning, intelligent, and dangerous. She's slow to trust, reckless, and loyal. And both of them have their own ideas about how to do things.

Thssk, a six-thousand-year old norhendra, has unwittingly caused the near extinction of his kind. Then he abandoned his handler, momentarily forgetting that she was an astral. She curses him as he flees the battlefield: the next handler he chooses will avenge her. Hunted by his past, it takes a divine summons and a volcanic eruption to rekindle Thssk's competitive spirit after a long hibernation. Racing against his enemies to rescue a boy from another planet?—he's the only one capable of pulling it off. But there's a catch, he has to select a new human partner to work with.

Tech savvy Cortnee Feyandihar is tracking down the people responsible for her mom's death while trying to gain a footing on a career path in the fields of music and dance. But when she goes too far with a corruption exposé, a last-ditch effort to salvage her future sticks her in the middle of an inter-world showdown and right into Thssk's coils.

On a world where starships are born, homes grow, and flowers can flatten entire cities, the fates of two lands hangs in the balance, as do the lives of millions of people. Yet it all pales in comparison to Thssk confronting the repercussions of discarding his previous partners as he struggles with his unpredictable new one. Everything Cortnee thought she understood has turned inside out and she must utilize every skill in her arsenal to get a grip on her new reality. If they can't learn to communicate and work together, he won't achieve the great future he was promised, but if they do, Cortnee could fall like her predecessors—into madness.

Author bio:
Joyce Alton writes fantasy, science-fantasy, and historical fantasy. She is an avid reader, having a soft spot for classic literature, a good MG or YA adventure, anything that will make her laugh out loud, or which is beautifully written. She loves rainy days, helping other people, and spending time with her family. She is married to a wonderfully supportive husband and has three children. She currently lives in Idaho.

Links to connect with Joyce Alton:
Follow her on Twitter
Like her page on Facebook
Follow her blogYesternight's Voyage