Friday Reads: FanFiction

I can’t believe February is over! March is going to be nuts! The Most Special Chosen is out tomorrow. You can pre-order it now on Amazon. And make sure you check out my Facebook release party on Sunday, there will be a ton of giveaways and takeovers by some fabulous female authors.

This month’s Friday Reads is very different. I’m not recommending a book, I’m recommending a… let’s call it a genre.

I’m a huge fan of fanfiction. Good fanfiction that is. And yes, such a thing exists.

I pretty much only read Harry Potter fanfiction. There are just so many fun ideas within that single sub-genre, I haven’t manage to expand to much of any of the other sub-genres yet.

If you’re a Potterhead like yours truly, or even if you’re not, honestly, I suggest giving fanfiction a try for whatever fandoms you’re part of.

It will never replace books, obviously, but in those “low income” interludes between paychecks when you’re dying for something new to read, fanfiction is a godsend.

Understandably, the online thing may pose a problem, after all, neither wifi nor cell signal are available everywhere, and you don’t want to eat through your data. However, the app (Android | iOS) lets you download stories for offline reading. There’s also which downloads ePub, mobi, and txt files at the press of a button. I tend to prefer the app when I’m reading a story in progress since it will automatically download new chapters, but I like ficsave for finished stories since there’s no worry of the author deciding to remove the story from the site.

So if you have some extra time, I highly suggest you check out Some of my favorite authors include robst, chem prof, Clell65619, old-crow, and Rorschach’s Blot. Go take a look. Maybe even try dabbling in some fanfiction writing yourself. It can be fun to take a story precisely where you want it to go. Heck, I’d love to see some The Most Special Chosen fanfiction. *wink*

But be careful, fanfiction can pull you in, and before you know it, you can’t separate canon from fiction. Don’t worry, though, it’snot like I’ve doomed you to a black hole that will suck you in and consume your life or anything. Mwahahaha.

If you’re a fanfiction reader, or writer, drop your favorite author or story below. I’m always on the lookout for something new.

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Friday Reads: A Hunger Like No Other

2017 has ended, 2018 is here! Happy January, everyone! I hope you had a fabulous holiday season. Let’s hope 2018 is a great year.

It’s the first Friday of the month, and that means Friday Reads! In case you missed it, you can take a look at last month’s Friday Reads on Memnoch the Devil.

Cover of A Hunger Like No OtherA few weeks ago, I decided to re-read A Hunger Like No Other (AHLNO) by Kresley Cole. AHLNO is a very special book to me. A gift for Valentine’s Day nearly 11 years ago, it was the first “adult” book I read.

I absolutely adored, still adore, Ms. Cole’s take on the various mythologies. Valkyries, vampires, werewolves, Ms. Cole eventually includes everything that’s “mythical” in the series in one way or another.

But beyond how great the story is, AHLNO, carries a lot of meaning for me. As I re-read AHLNO, I realized just how much my writing was originally influenced by reading it. The Most Special Chosen would probably be very different if I’d never read AHLNO. There’s even a chance that I would never have finished The Most Special Chosen, much less published it. AHLNO gave me ideas, some of which were incorporated into The Most Special Chosen, some that live on in the dark recesses of my brain that house fantasies.

If you haven’t read AHLNO or any of the rest of the Immortals After Dark series, I highly suggest you do so. They’re fun, sexy, and well-written.

Have you read any of the Immortals After Dark series? Did you like them? Which one was your favorite (if you can choose)? Leave me a comment below. I love reading comments. Until next time, I hope you have a fabulous time reading.

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Friday Reads: The Other Boleyn Girl

Wow, it’s November already! Where has the year gone? You know what the first Friday of the month means: Friday Reads! If you missed it, take a look at last month’s Friday Reads on Crossroads in the Dark III: Monsters Under Your Bed.

Cover of The Other Boleyn GirlI’m going back to Tudor England this week with The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. Before I go any further, if you’ve seen either movie, store that memory away for now, this is about the book. In typical book-to-movie fashion, neither did the book justice. That said, The Other Boleyn Girl (TOBG) book has been a favorite of mine for years. When I first bought it, I had this edition, which I *THINK* is the original paperback edition.

TOBG was one of the first “adult” books I read. It was either end of high school or early in college, when I had my own money and could buy whatever I wanted, without parental input. It sparked the realization that books could contain a lot more than what I’d been reading, and sparked an interest in several other genres and styles. TOBG was my adult “gateway book”, if you will.

TOBG was also the book that sparked my interest in Mary Boleyn. For those of you who aren’t familiar with that name, she was sister to Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, and Henry’s official mistress before he fell in love with Anne. There’s also a high likelihood that 2 of her children were his.

SIDE NOTE: This post will contain what some people would consider spoilers. I don’t, simply because TOBG is based on history, and major plot events are common knowledge.

One of the things I like most about Philippa Gregory’s early books (I don’t know if she still does this, because I’m rather behind in my reading) is that she presents “what if” scenarios. For example, in TOBG the reader is given major hints that Anne Boleyn really did sleep with her brother. This adds a different feel to the story that most books about the Boleyn sisters don’t have.

Granted, having these “what if” scenarios means that the book isn’t “real” history. So take what you read with a grain of salt. After all, it’s categorized as historical fiction for a reason. But just because you aren’t being handed a factual account of Mary Boleyn doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it.

And enjoy it, I do. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read TOBG. I read my first copy to death, literally. The pages started coming unglued and falling out of the book. So I went out and bought a second version. Then an ebook, which, thankfully, can’t ever fall apart.

Part of what led to me reading TOBG so much is the amount of compassion I felt for Mary Boleyn. She’s written as a very kind, somewhat naive character, and many times I just wanted to give her a hug and tell her things would turn out alright in the end, despite knowing they wouldn’t.

Have you read The Other Boleyn Girl? What about other historical fiction books? What’s your favorite era in history? Leave me a comment and let me know, and make sure to check back for next month’s Friday Reads. I hope you enjoy your weekend.

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The Awesomeness that is Surreal Makeup

I’ll be the first to say that I am not a “girly girl”. Makeup happens maybe once a week. I’m really happy if my nails are all the same length. When I wear dresses, it’s because it’s only one piece to pull out of my closet, rather than two. I’m not necessarily the tomboy that I was as a kid, but I’m still definitely not girly.

I tell you this to give you a bit of context for the rest of this post. So that you understand how impressive it is that I’ve bought so much from Surreal Makeup. And when I say “so much” here is my current collection, and I have four more eyeshadow colors on the way.

Current Surreal Collection


Backing up a bit, I discovered Surreal at AwesomeCon 2016. Amanda Baker, the founder, was manning a table alone when I went by. She was so bubbly and colorful that I stopped to check out her stuff. She explained how Surreal is “hypoallergenic, naturally water resistant and cruelty-free mineral” makeup, and was very quick to swatch a few colors on the back of my hand. I was stunned. Finally, I’d come across the super pigmented, vibrant eyeshadows I’d always wanted. And, in some ways even better, they clean up with basic baby wipes; you don’t need makeup remover! They certainly live up to their name. But, my funds at the time were rather limited, so I bought my favorite colors (G. I. Jane, Gorgeous, and Royal) and snagged a card so I could buy more later.

Surreal First Purchase

Let me remind you, makeup rarely happens for me. I just don’t get up early enough to do much, if anything, during the week, and on weekends, I often don’t feel like putting in the effort. But I still bought three jars on the spot. Because these eyeshadows, well, a picture’s worth a thousand words, so, look at them. Just, wow!!! Swatches on the left are on bare skin, swatches on the right are over Surreal primer.

Surreal Swatches

I’d like to point out that a full 5g jar of this stuff will last you forever. Well, ok, it depends on how often you wear makeup. But I usually just put a single color on my lids and call my look done. So for that, I generally up-end the jar and tap it 4-5 times into a palette. Not a whole lot comes out with that, but you certainly get enough to do a full look. So these will last a very long time. And being loose powder, you won’t be introducing bacteria, so no grossness!

After AwesomeCon, I only ended up ordering a couple of the sample pod packs over the course of the year. The sample pods are amazing. You get 1 gram of 5 different products. And you can choose any product they have in stock. ANY product! It’s fabulous! You can try before you commit to a whole jar. They are also REALLY good for travel. So much so that I have some sample sizes of colors I own whole jars of, just so I can travel better. I’ve also noticed that you get an extra goodie or two with the samples you order, which is how I discovered Juicy is an amazing color for work.

In January this year, as I was working on my cosplay for AwesomeCon, I dropped Surreal a line on their Facebook page asking if they’d be back again. I got a quick reply in the affirmative. Happy day! I planned to get the makeup for my cosplay at the show. I also threw away what non-Surreal eyeshadows I had (most of them were very old, as in, I couldn’t remember when I bought them) with every intention of buying Surreal equivalents at the show.

AwesomeCon 2017 rolled around and I made sure to find Surreal’s table on Friday. There were more colors, and more types of products (including black light reactive eyeshadows!!!), but Amanda was still just as lovely and bubbly and colorful.

I’m going to pause a minute to say that it occurred to me the other day that Amanda’s like Luna Lovegood all grown up. A very kind soul, and 100% herself (or at least, that’s how she presents herself to the world, and she’s never seemed anything but completely genuine). And honestly, for me, there’s no better compliment. I’m in awe of people who can be themselves completely. It’s amazing. I hope she doesn’t mind me borrowing her photo.

But back to AwesomeCon…Amanda helped me pick out the right eyeshadows for my punk Tinkerbell costume, and swatched many more colors on the back of my hands. I had to wipe both hands off! Twice! I ended up putting together a nine-shadow palette, plus getting a lip gloss (because it was just so pretty). I really only stopped with those because I was determined to stick to my Con budget. And despite asking to see/swatch a million different colors, Amanda was continuously helpful and enthusiastic, so I didn’t feel like I was being a pain. Instead, I felt like we were bonding over her fabulous products. I even made sure to bring one of my close friends to her booth the next day, because I wanted her to experience how awesome Amanda and Surreal are.

It was shortly after AwesomeCon that I started following Surreal on Instagram, and I was, and still am, amazed at how positive all of the posts are. Every photo that Surreal shares has something good in the comments. When the account shares customer photos, they always include some kind of uplifting compliment. It’s generally a “feel good” feed.

A few weeks ago, Surreal started teasing their new Dragon Scales collection, and I knew I had to have them. I drooled over their fabulous swatches and mixing videos, and even set a reminder for launch day so I couldn’t possibly forget to buy them. I was so eager, that I purchased them before the official announcement, and my post BECAME the announcement on Instagram. *grin*

As an example of how FABULOUS their customer service is, I received an email a couple nights ago from Amanda herself, apologizing that they’ve run out of Hydra Dragon because she’s been unable to return home due to the Hurricane. I’m just happy she’s safe. But I was offered a different eyeshadow in exchange, with Hydra being shipped when she gets back home in October. How totally awesome is that! We then proceeded to have a short email exchange, ending with her suggestion of Cosmic or Hypnotize in response to my question about an intense silver shadow.

Now, just so people don’t say I’m being too positive, I will admit to some difficulties with their primer, although I’m pretty certain it’s user error. It’s a gel-like primer, and I’ve yet to figure out just how much to use so that it holds the shadow without being overly greasy or creasing really bad. Maybe someday I’ll figure it out, or, if I’m smart, I’ll ask Amanda at next year’s AwesomeCon (assuming that she goes again).

Ultimately, what I’m trying to say here, is that if you love bright, highly pigmented eyeshadow, Surreal is, in my opinion, the best choice. For what you’re getting, and how long they last, they are certainly among the least expensive, and you’re buying from an AMAZING person. Just try the sample pods once they’re back in stock. You won’t regret it, really. Even Yaya Han is wearing their stuff. My entire eyeshadow collection is from Surreal, and I have no regrets. Ms. Baker, if you ever happen to read this, know that I love your cosmetics, and you have a customer for life. Keep up the amazing work, it’s very much appreciated. 🙂

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