Fellow WordPresser Megan is not only a blogging star over at A Geeky Gal. She’s also launched a wonderful YouTube channel by the same name. There are only a few videos at the moment, but she has many more to come. Please head over and check her out. She talks about all the things, especially geeky topics.
These guys are my favourite podcast, but back in the day, they used to do these amazing SCP reads. If you love the SCP website like I do head over and give them a listen. If we spam them enough maybe we’ll get some new ones!
My lovely sister-in-law Nicole runs an amazing blog called Mullen Crafts. However, she has finally joined the YouTube community and plans on uploading amazing videos surrounding her crafting exploits. Her crafts span from beautiful greeting cards, to reclaimed wood, to leather working.
We follow each other on Instagram, and I only just realised the other day that he has a YouTube channel. Guys. Ye boi is hilarious!!! Please go watch this. It made me chuckle so hard.
Finally my pal Dalen. He has a blog here at Dalen Flynn. However, he had a rather prolific YouTube career back in the day. I’m thinking if we head over and spam his channel he might feel like reviving it.
Until then, enjoy this tutorial on “How To Be Random.”
Good morning my Moonlings, how are you on this fine Wednesday? I am feeling very creative today, and although I am still a small creator over on TouTube I’m optimistic. I feel as though the internet rewards both consistency and growth. For me, this is my general learning curve anyway, but for those of you who are used to immediate results, you must have patience.
Also in case you didn’t know I have a YouTube channel, and I post there about twice a month. You need to bear with me I only have time for that, as a PhD student whose side hustles, have side hustles.
It felt like I needed to update you on what is coming for the channel in April, and in general for the channel. I’ve also got some featured friends so please check them out and subscribe if you are interested.
Also, do you remember Marie Keane? I interviewed her here, and her album came out in January. Well, it’s finally on Spotify, so there is no excuse not to listen now my friends!!! Here is a review of the album if you’re curious, honestly it’s so beautiful.
Let us begin first of all with the important news that “Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties,” is out tomorrow! Go follow Kellie on Twitter so that you don’t miss it. If you can’t wait, there is a sneak peek available here.
I had the absolute pleasure of reading the book in advance of its release. Although I have a reviewer copy, all the opinions below are mine. They are in no way influenced by the author. This is the chance they take when they ask someone to review.
That being said we can begin without the worry of bias.
This review will be spoiler free, however, there will be some pieces of information trickled through where I think an explanation is required.
Sometimes the eyes we get to see through, aren’t the one we might have picked. The character Dylori is wonderfully interesting. Beautiful, strong, independent, yet kind and fair. She is a natural leader and her abilities as a Moon Knight have propelled her through the ranks. We cannot help but love her as soon as we meet her.
Yet Misti is our protagonist and from the outset, we can see she is quite flawed. It is in her flaws, however, that makes her accessible to us. She is nuanced, messy, and struggling with her role as a Moon Knight. In the first few pages alone she lets herself down more than once. She also implies she abandoned her younger siblings. She could no longer live with her parents and leaves on her 18th year to join the Moon Knights.
Misti, our delicate yet resilient champion, struggles throughout with inner turmoil. Her feelings for her friend and superior Dylori often get in the way. Making her decisions and judgement muddled. Misti is afraid of both ruining the friendship they’ve built, while also appearing weak.
In the opening chapter, Misti is affixed with a pendant by the adversaries of the book. This orb sucks the life out of all night creatures that venture near her, and she blames herself. She also possesses magic. The Vagari, of which she is a member, have orange crafting magic and a connection with animals.
The story has undercurrents of animal rights, and vegetarianism is dealt with in a gentle way. Animals are treated with the highest respect in the Vagarian culture. Aluriahian law (the law of the land) prohibits cruelty. Throughout the book, we are treated to different kinds of creatures with fierce loyalty and sentient intelligence. We see each Vagari is paired to an animal companion, and Misti is no different. Her companion Zora (pictured above), fights alongside her. Zora is missing when we meet our hero first, and she Misti carries around an orange feather of hers for comfort.
Doherty’s writing style dangles just enough world information dotted throughout conversations, to intrigue the reader without burdening you with the details. The campaign we follow grips us, holding us hostage to the end. The world assembled is one of literal night and day. Where the creatures and people of the night are harmonious. While the day is filled with despicable banished souls and vicious versions of otherwise tame animals.
Misti is the underdog. In relation to all the bloodlines within the Vagari race, hers does not have the brute strength of the others. Yet she has endurance and stamina. These qualities make her engaging and we long for her to redeem herself. The hero’s journey, of finding what she needs to survive, inside herself.
You will love this story, so don’t forget to get your own copy when it’s available tomorrow!
Yes, it’s wonderful news actually. Kellie Doherty has written 2 other books, she is the author of the ‘Cicatrix Duology.‘ I have linked this down below so you can easily grab yourself a copy. You can also follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. You know, the usual places.
A big thank you to Kellie for letting me use her images and for giving me a chance to review this book. What a ride it was.
Q1. I see you are a fellow Ravenclaw. Did books like the Harry Potter series help shape you as an author and your book “Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties?”
Ravenclaw for life! Yes, the Harry Potter series was the first spark of inspiration to move from the fanfiction I had originally been writing into original fiction. After reading the first couple of Harry Potter books, I realized I wanted to create my own worlds and characters and stories. It gave me the push I needed. I was especially hooked on magic and really wanted to craft my own set of magical rules and abilities. One of my first original fiction short stories had teenagers transforming into dragons! Looking back the story was…bad (ha!), but it fueled my creative fire and eventually led me to writing Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties! Books were, and still are, the greatest sources of inspiration for me as an author, seeing how other authors introduced their characters and deepened them, how they spun their tales and twisted plots, how they used setting to portray the characters in certain lights. It’s amazing what writers can achieve, and I hope to be an inspiration to someone else someday.
Q2. Many writers have been creating forever. What is your first memory of spinning a yarn?
My first memory of writing is being in Florida on vacation back in 2001 and scribbling ideas in a notebook while watching the latest episode of Digimon Tamers. I really loved Renamon, the fox Digimon, and wanted to create a story in which my character was her tamer. I wrote the first chapter while on vacation and finished the story when I got home. I don’t remember much of the plotline or even the character I created, but I do remember how I wanted to separate my Renamon from the Digimon Tamer’s original Digimon, so my Renamon was bright blue instead of the usual yellow. I distinctly remember being super proud of myself for coming up with a color distinction like that. (Way to go, twelve-year-old me!)
Q3. “Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties,” will be your third novel. You also have a productive career as a poet and flash fiction author. What are your overall goals for writing?
Wow, good question! My goal as a writer has always been to get my stories out there in the world and hopefully be an inspiration for new writers, like how I was inspired by others. I also hope to bring more positive representation for female main characters and for queer characters, since there hasn’t been much of it. (Though it is getting better.) And one of my current goals for writing is to finish my five-book fantasy series—book one Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties comes out on March 27, 2019 from Desert Palm Press and I’m currently working on book two!
Q4. Your work has been included in some queer compilations. Do you feel the representation of the LQBTQ+ community within the medium of books is becoming more inclusive?
Yes, I do feel like the publishing perspective of the overall LGBTQ+ representation is trying to be better and more positive, but I also feel like we have a long way to go. #WeNeedDiverseBooks is a great organization striving to get more diversity in children’s books, and not just queer folk but people of color and varying disabilities as well. We need more diversity in adult books, too! There’s more conversation around #ownvoices, and adequately and respectfully representing diversity, but there is still a massive lack in publishing professionals and authors. Just like we need more POC and disabled folk in publishing, we need also more queer authors and publishing professionals to share their stories! So yes, I am happy with the push for diverse voices in the current publishing landscape, but we have a long way to go for equality.
Q5. Who are your favourite authors to read, and do you have a favourite book?
There are too many books and authors to chose from! I have a lot of favorite authors—V.E. Schwab, Becky Chambers, Tomi Adeyemi, Patrick Ruthfoss, John Green—and I’ll pretty much pick up every story they write, but my current favorite has to land squarely on Hank Green’s new YA book An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. It’s his debut science fiction novel, and it’s quite intriguing. I love how conversational and snarky his protagonist, April May, is!
Q6. Your upcoming novel, “Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties,” is of the fantasy genre, as are your previously published books. Where do you get ideas for these kinds of stories?
Actually, my previously published books—Finding Hekate and Losing Hold—have been in the science fiction realm! Like most writers, I get the ideas for my stories from a lot of different places. Sometimes the characters hit me on a random Saturday afternoon while taking a walk outside, sometimes a spark of a plot will tug on my mind while watching a show, and sometimes I’ll just ask myself “what if” and the story will unfold from there. Most of the time a story idea will hit while I’m working on my current work in progress! I can’t work on two stories at once, so while my mind is firmly set on fantasy for the time being, I have random notes for other genres and characters.
Q7. What can you tell us about “Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties,” that surprised even you?
Oo, there are a couple! Arias Silverstone, who is an Elu dabbler, was a shock to me in that she decided to go with Misti and Dylori on their quest. I had originally made her to be a one-and-done character, like a tertiary character who helped Misti along, but then I really loved their interactions and she just…decided to help. Her backstory was also a surprise, but I won’t spoil it here. Plus, there is a particular scene in the middle of the book where Misti has a romantic revelation and accompanying outburst that I didn’t plan for.
Q8. I seen on your website that your main character Misti from “Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties,” has a cute animal companion Zora. How important are animals in a story, especially stories within the fantasy genre?
In general, I think beasts are super important to help flesh out fantasy worldbuilding. Where else can you find such cool mythological creatures like dragons and basilisks, griffins and phoenixes? They’re fun to play with in a fantasy world, too, whether the beast is chasing down the hero or providing aid. In Sunkissed Feathers animals are super important, mainly because Misti is a Vagari, who’s crafting (magic) is tethered to the animals of the world. The Vagari have varying creature bloodlines, and they get their crafting abilities from that bloodline. So a dragon bloodline would be able to throw fire, a pyrewolf bloodline would extend fingers into claws, that kind of thing. Like I said, it’s fun to play with those fantastical beasts and explore how they would (or wouldn’t) interact with the magical aspects of the world.
Q9. What is the best compliment you’ve ever received from one of your readers?
Ahh, my readers are so sweet, and I love their comments! I’d have to say the best compliment I’ve gotten thus far was when a non-science fiction reader told me they loved Finding Hekate.
Q10. What, in your opinion, makes a story good, what makes it publish-worthy?
Interesting narration, compelling characters that readers can relate to and have agency in the story, three-dimensional villains with good backstories, and unique settings are all so important for creating a good story. I love it when there’s a twist in the plot that I didn’t see coming but is actually sprinkled throughout the narration and readers can catch them on a second read. Give me all the magic and dragons, tech and spaceships, queer characters and diverse stories!
Q11. What is your strangest writing quirk?
Hmm, well for Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties, I made it a habit to listen to the same Lord of the Rings soundtrack mix the entire time I wrote the novel. It’s a thirteen-minute mix so I’d listen to it on repeat to help me focus and set the mood. No matter where I wrote the story—on a plane, in a coffee shop, at home, at work—I’d listen to this one mix. Even during the editing phase! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chLZQtCold8 if you want to link it)
Q12. Finally, what would you say to any young writer starting out on their journey, who might have a fantasy story to tell like “Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties,” and who may be afraid their story will get lost?
Your story is important, so keep writing it. Don’t be afraid to take risks in the magical sense! I know fantasy worldbuilding can be overwhelming, so if you’re worried about the story getting lost under the fantasy elements, start small. Add just one magic-user to the mix and see how it feels. Incorporate some mythological beasts and see where it takes you. You can even start small in the sense of having all of your main characters in one tiny village and growing the world out from there; you don’t need to know the whole world and all the magic-related rules to start writing fantasy. If you’re worried about your novel getting lost among all the other books out there, don’t let that stop you from writing. Each story is unique in their own right and yours will be, too! So keep writing, keep creating, and the rest will fall into place. If and when your story is published you’ll find a way to get it out there in the world. And, if all else fails, add a dragon if you get stuck!
I really enjoy this preamble portion I’ve added to my posts. I’m drunk on power, I could say whatever I wanted… Peanuts!
Sorry to those of you with allergies that was probably very rude. Forgiveness, please!
Annnnyyyywaaaaay, when I say Moon’s history, I don’t mean the great celestial body in the sky, I actually am referring to myself, in the third person… You might think this is weird, but Le’Boo will tell you, I’ve been weirder.
Basically, I’m a trained anthropologist, working in a business management school, with a background in development. I interned with an NGO called Trócaire for 6 months in 2015. Myself and three other interns, who were also students from my Master’s programme, teamed up to write a project for Trócaire.
The theme? Climate Justice awareness on the Maynooth Campus. This was where Trócaire had its headquarters. The results? Stunning. (Is this considered clickbait if you’re already reading?) Also here I am in 2015 nervously competing in a colloquium with PhD students when I was but a wee Masters student.
Climate justice has been in the news lately connected with the 16-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg. Now what is climate justice, you ask, or maybe you’re nodding along because you already know, and that’s cool. Thanks for reading anyway. For me, climate justice is an amalgamation of the two most important issues facing humankind at the moment. The problems caused by climate change, and human rights.
They may seem like two diverse and unrelated topics but the truth is they are more connected than you can ever realise. Today I will tell you two interlocking stories from the perspective of food anthropology (it’s all I know people).
Let me tell you a story about a cattle rancher in the United States of America. They’ve raised cattle all their lives, and so has their family before them. For generations in fact and they are a staple of not only state beef consumption, but other parts of the country as well.
The rancher’s cattle have won awards and they make a conscious effort to feed them as close to a wild diet as possible, which adds to the flavour of the meat. They are also considered to be more ethically driven than other ranchers as they don’t corral their cattle into tight spaces, and they slaughter them as humanely as possible.
Yet when it comes down to it, there are still people just outside their property accusing the ranchers of being animals. They are murderers because eating meat is murder. The ranchers are both disheartened and angry because they are doing the best they can with what is their livelihood.
Now let me tell you a story of a small family in Africa, (bear with me it will all come back around I promise). Their family have lived in the area for thousands of years, and they cultivated grains for the most part. Their other subsistence was hunting and gathering up until more contemporary history. Now while some hunting and gathering still goes on they are expected to buy their supplementary fibre.
Their forefathers grew food and ate most of it themselves. Occasionally either
trading the excess with neighbours or sharing when there was a feast or a famine. Although food was never bountiful, they rarely went hungry. Now they are expected to sell some of their hard grown food in exchange for money, to buy their remaining food needs.
Yet in the last 10 to 20 years, the farmers have been noticing a shift in the climate. Nothing too drastic at first, but year after year it builds. The summers are longer, and the wet season is shorter. Water is harder to come by, so their crops aren’t as plentiful as they once were. The farmers are falling on hard times, and not only do they have less crops to eat, but they have less to sell in exchange for other foods.
Where they may have sent all their children to school with the excess money, now they only send the eldest or perhaps only the male children. Female children are less likely to receive an education and are stuck in a poverty loop which is exacerbated by the tough climate.
Back in the United States, pressure is put on ranchers for producing beef. “People should eat less beef.” Cry the animal activists. “Beef is one of the worst contributors to Co2 emissions.” Cry the climate activists, and neither are wrong. Beef isn’t the healthiest of protein available, and cattle rearing produces dangerous amounts of carbon emissions.
Yet what of the rancher? They are just doing their job. If they change to farming something else, it will be very costly and may end up costing them their very livelihood. Plus there is a serious market for beef in the United States, and giving up that to grow something else could be a bad move business wise. Besides the climate isn’t affected that badly in America.
Most of the population that suffers from climate change, live in the poorest areas of the world. Our excessive need to have beef in our diet, and available in every fast food outlet, produces the market for beef. Yet the change in the climate caused by western agriculture and industry affects the already water-starved areas of the world.
Climate change is not proportional, and this is why justice must be served. Although many of us living in the western world cannot see the damage wrought by climate change, it is happening none-the-less, causing devastation to those already struggling to survive in the lower socio-economic bands of society.
This is a new series on my blog, one that was ignited back in 2013 when I was still a young idealistic fool. Now I am an older fool, but one who is idealistic still none-the-less. I am not willing to give up on climate justice, and neither should you.
That is why I have individual sustainability goals. That’s why I don’t eat beef, and only eat meat 3 days out of the week. It’s why I gave up fast fashion, and use a deodorant that is all natural. You can learn more about me in the sustainability section of my blog than anywhere else so you will be getting more of it in the coming months.
I hope you stay with me, and even if you don’t agree, you listen.
Welcome to Thinking Moon’s new category, Indie Sundays. I have pledged to read more indie books this year. I would like to discover and promote indie creators. They who are the next big thing, waiting in the wings of art to be propelled into the spotlight, and who am I to deny them their break? So please enjoy this new, albeit sporadic category. Filled with authors, movie-makers, poets, artists, and just the general misc of cool people the world would be grey without.
Speaking of grey without, our inaugural Indie Sunday extraordinary brings such colour to my life. N. F Mirza is the blogger Stoner On A Rollercoaster, and I have been following her for around two years now. They blog about their journey through depression and anxiety which I sadly empathise with. They create beautiful works of art, and I have been a fan of their aptly touching prose and gentle craft since I discovered them. When I heard that they had a book of poetry in the pipeline I immediately pre-ordered it.
Today I will be reviewing their debut poetry collection “Swinging Sanity,” which I devoured this weekend, over cups of coffee. Here is that review in all its finery, and can I say, dear Mirza, it gave me life.
Swinging Sanity – Review
As far as debuts go, this is up there with the greats for me. I am a poetry fanatic, and very sensitive about its conjuncture. This wonderfully cathartic, yet tragic piece of work filled the gaps of my broken heart, as she waxed about pain, love, life, and the pursuit of elusive joy.
The work is divided into five parts, each a protective canopy over its subject matter. Beginning with “Screaming Numbness” we are treated to exquisitely painful lyrics about suffering and mental illness.
“I am numb, I miss pain, Oh Pain!” – Just Like A Drop Of Water
“Then I hold the little spear, like a plume in the hands of a poet.” – Celebrating The Curse
“That horrid vortex finally spat me out I am stunned to be alive.” – Anything But Sane
We press on into the pages of “Love & Loss” as she tells her tales from the world of love. As humans, we are never free from pain. We are allowed moments of beauty as a reprieve between the senseless chaos of the universe.
“My ebony hair free from confines, as you like it, now don’t rush, watch how the end unfolds.” – A Poem I Can’t Name
“I saw a glimpse of excruciating agony.” – “A Dying Heart
“And I saw your last breath, Ascend to the sky, flying away, with a piece of me.” – When You Slept
“Where Earth would cradle my soul, to the rhythm of screaming water.” – This Is How I Want To Sleep
When the flushes of pain and joy are over we are treated to poems about the “Day and Night“. Her suffering mind remembers these times so vividly, and her fascination of the night sky appeals to fellow insomniac in me.
“The sun tirelessly shone all day, Still failed, To Ease this murky dark abyss, That’s made my mind it’s home.” – A Long Wordless Day
“I Remember those tiny fireflies, chasing each other into the darkness.” “When time wouldn’t fly, and the clocks were noiseless.” – Those Enchanting Nights
“Squalling for mercy.” – Nightmare Again.
Life is a dazzling series of confusion and clarity. Mirza’s section, “C’est La Vie” has some hard truths about the world we try to live in. When I read these lines they ignite in me my own fears, wonders, and imagination.
“My smouldering blistering tears…were ignored and denied, now sear my skin, in the dead dark cave of my anonymity.” – Cave Of My Anonymity
“They didn’t tell me, This demonic ritual, will slowly morph me, Into another fierce royal blue dragon.” – Fierce Royal Blue Dragon
“My nails look dirty too, Like I dug my way, Out of a grave.” “But I look great, prettier, happier than I ever looked, just like the rest of the crowd.” – Carnival
The final section “Random Thoughts,” is just that, and we see the author grappling with the suffering of now, hopefully, one day leading to the freedom of tomorrow. Out of struggle, so will the time of quiet victory, and self-assurance be born. Where those of us with kindness, walk alongside those of difficult persuasions. She closes the collection strong leaving us both elated with hope, and sturdy with solidarity. Please buy this poetry collection, it is too exquisite to remain unread.
“And one day, we will wake up, From this grim nightmare…Embellished with grime…But Hearts, Clear as glass.” – One Day
“Fueling my soul, I wait for my turn, I don’t waste tears.” – Waiting For My Turn
“Or to be, Like Ocean, Deep and blue, Holding a chunk of universe, In its womb.” – Blue
“And I see you…High on ignorance.” – A Million Dead Stars
“I pull out the last scroll, And scribble few enduring syllables…” – Last Poem Of October
Recently I received the new Audible original series by Scarlet Curtis called “To The Woman,” in which women read open letters to other women. One of the letters was heartbreaking, spoken to her mother who had recently passed away. I was driving home from work at the time and I sobbed openly in traffic while people stared. I’m newly moved out of my family home to live with my partner and this letter hit me where none other could have.
So this is an open letter to the woman who raised me, the mother that everyone should have, and my humble tribute to her today, on her 55th birthday. Mama, I love you more than these words could ever convey, and it’s you that made me this way. So if you are feeling down about your age today, just know no matter where I stray, I’m your little girl from May.
Most people find their first big love when they are older, and that’s their partner. How lucky was I that from the day I was born, I already had one of my big loves. As I grew you loved me, and I loved you too. How fortunate for us to have one another. I don’t have to worry about sounding conceited because I know how much you adore me, it’s a fracture of my adoration of and for you.
Although you didn’t have it easy, money was never ample, the times were tough and the climate was tougher. In a world where being a mother and a wife was not celebrated as it is now, you were expected to bear children and be happy about it. Not only did you do this with grace and love, never for one moment making us feel like we weren’t your priority, but you instilled in me my own worth.
The women I am today is a fragment of the woman you’ve been all your life. Your resilience, beauty, and elegance astound me. Your laughter and humour have filled me up when I was emptier then wine bottles after we’ve been at them.
I’m telling you this because when I heard that woman, crying for her mummy, I cried for mine. I wanted to squeeze you and tell you how wonderful you are, how beautiful you are, and how perfect you are in all your imperfections.
Here I am Mama, begging for you to recognise your worth because in my eyes you’re everything, you’re all I’ve ever wanted to be. Fierce little woman. Forgive me for any time I’ve hurt you, you broke your body for me, and I unaware tore you asunder. You let me go my own way, but I’ll always find my way back to you.
My first big love, my Mama. Thank you, and happy birthday.
“I love you.”
“I know.”* I hear you whisper.*
*This is from The Empire Strikes Back, in case any of you troglodytes didn’t know.
If you didn’t know already, I have this messages category where I talk to you all directly and give you updates to my life. If you are behind and want to catch up on them you can check them out here.
500 Follower Special
So I am fast approaching 500 followers, and for me it’s surreal. This time last year, I had my most viewed post at the time about snow, which had 56 views! I added my Buffy the Vampire Slayer category, and my follower count was around 30.
Now as I sneak towards 500 I once again reflect on how lucky I am, and how much I want to celebrate each one of you. The first 10 people to comment below on this will be made part of my 500th follower special.
What does that mean do you ask? Well hold on, I’m getting there friend. Basically, you comment and tell me something you want me to promote for you (your book, blog, art), and I will promote it in my 500th follower special.
A very emotional blog is coming on Friday, I mean it made me cry while I wrote it. So stay tuned for that.
My book is coming along nicely, and I hope to have it published by the end of 2019 so when my first draft is finished I might post a little portion of it for you guys, would you be into that?
Finally I will be adding a new day, and it will be called… *drum roll* Indie Sundays! I’ve been reading a lot of indie books as of late, communicating with a lot of indie creators, and just all round realised how important it is for indie creators to support each other.
This will be debuting this Sunday so I hope you’ll tune in and support the creator I’ll be showcasing. Until then, stay safe my darling Moonlings.