Exciting Life Changes plus I’m Injured Yet AGAIN

FBC business card

As of Monday I was officially announced as the newest Fanboy Comics staff member. I’ve been a fan for several years and began reviewing for the site in August 2014 thanks to reviews I posted on this little blog. I know I cut off the FBC logo on my business card shot above, but I wanted to make sure the full title was legible! We’ve been working toward my becoming a staff member since May/June, but life, tons of conventions and other events, and issues with getting my business cards printed delayed the process. My duties are primarily promoting the Twitter account and Facebook pages, and I post a question Monday through Friday to encourage fans to interact with us. Honestly, it’s just moving my comments from the primary FBC page to Twitter and Facebook, and I like talking with other people about their opinions. Hopefully, I can help FBC continue to grow with my chattiness.

On a less positive note my chronic shoulder/neck issues flared up again to such a degree that I went back to the chiropractor yesterday. Sure enough my neck was back to being tight as metal cable, and my back was a little jacked up, too. Unfortunately, I’m still in pain today, and Advil is only taking the edge off. Body, just get me through Gabe’s annual exam this afternoon, and we’re good!

Unfortunately, this latest injury makes yoga a non-starter this week, which is the second time this month. Argh, I particularly need some nice stretching stuff this time of year, and I needed to doublecheck the holiday schedule since I don’t want to drive across town if class is cancelled. I suppose I’ll just have to get over my phone issues and call.

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If You’ve Been Waiting to Pull the Trigger on a MeiLin Miranda Work Now Is The Time!

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Author and friend MeiLin Miranda suffered a house fire last night, and while the family and pets escaped unscathed a good portion of their belongings are too smoke damaged, etc, to be salvaged.  Yes, they have insurance, but processing takes time.  Yes, they do have some items, but any extra monetary help would be welcome.

I have no idea if the family is open to straight donations, so I want to encourage people to buy one of MeiLin’s works today and in the coming weeks to help the family.  Every purchase helps!

For a full list of MeiLin’s works check out her website, .

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No Real Post This Week

As has become the norm lately I’m too mentally and emotionally exhausted to produce a decent blog post.

The culprit this time around is primarily:

 

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my youngest dog, Patience, who has been battling chronic ear gunk since last February.  After having a 12mm ear wax formation removed from her left ear canal in August during a routine dental, my vet and I hoped that Patience’s ears would self regulate after having been thoroughly cleared out.  Unfortunately, that has not been the case.  Her ears were nasty again on the two month recheck, and then this past Tuesday Patience apparently had an allergic reaction to the topical steroid drops we tried to bring down the slight swelling in her ear canals (now we’re on Easotic and Prednisone).  We also started an elimination diet food trial on October 27, which is an absolute terror with four other dogs and three cats in the household.  I’m sure there’s non-allergen free food debris to be hoovered throughout the house.  If the allergen diet doesn’t help the next step is a CT scan to make sure there’s nothing wrong in Patience’s inner ear.  Since the cost of a CT scan is way more than I can come up with easily I’m trying to mentally will Patience into having the food trial work (yeah, I’m sure that’ll be perfect). On the plus side the Proheart injection was cheaper than I anticipated, and there is a prescription formula treat available.  Hopefully, the vet gets them soon.

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Akane is still trucking, but her back legs are getting weaker and weaker.  I’m having to carry her part of the way on some walks now although she’ll start struggling when she’s ready to get down.  She seems infinitesimally more fragile than she did in August, too, so I increased her food portions.  Aka’s not complaining about more crunchings and munchings, so I think she’ll probably keep going for a bit longer.  I just spend a lot of time trying to mentally prepare myself.

Perdy

Perdy seems to have felt left out of all the sick dog loving, and she came up limping badly on her front left leg/paw last night.  Given Patience’s health concerns plus Gabe needing his annual physical this month (actually, both Gabe and Rhys need annuals, but I’m waiting to see how much more I have to spend on Patience before committing to Rhys’ check up this month) rushing the vet was not in the cards (and I’m not that type of dog mom anyway), so I gave her an aspirin and just made her rest overnight.  Fortunately, Perdy was walking normally this morning, so I guess she just wrenched something a little while wrestling/playing with Patience last night.  It does mean I need to keep an eye on her more than I have been though.

Suzu and Miki are the only dogs with normal health right now, and while at least one of the cats likes to have hairballs regularly they seem to be pretty peppy.  I think rather than using spoons to describe physical well-being related to chronic health issues I’m struggling to having enough emotional spoons these days.   Things are complicated by lack of communication from people in charge of a volunteer opportunity I’d like to participate in, financial complications, and worry about the holidays.  Everything will somehow work out, but it’s tiring while things are getting into place.

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Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers Review

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When I first learned about Grave Mercy a few years back I was immediately intrigued by the concept of a convent of nun assassins, who were considered handmaidens of Death.  I tagged the book as something to pick up when I had the time, but it just never happened.  When the opportunity to review the novel came up a few weeks ago I jumped at the chance; I would finally see if the idea of deadly sisters enthralled me as much as I anticipated…

Ismae Rienne should have never been born, but when an herbal abortifacient fails to work, the young woman is born scarred.  The people of her small village consider her marked as one of Death’s daughters, and she is abused by her mother’s husband and shunned by all else.  On her wedding night Ismae’s boorish groom panics at her disfigurement, allowing followers of the old gods to spirit her away to the convent of Saint Mortain on the Ile de Sein and open her up to a world where Ismae can gain control of her own destiny.  Immune to poisons and illness and trained as a perfect weapon the young woman ends up in the court of Brittany.  Ismae’s orders are to help protect Anne, the young duchess, ascend to the throne of Brittany while dispatching any traitors in the court’s midst, but treachery and betrayals run rampant, and it’s not always easy to tell which courtier is a liar. At the same time the young assassin finds herself drawn to her protector at court, Anne’s older half-brother, Gavriel Duval, but is he as innocent as he seems, or is he also playing the game of politics?

Robin LaFevers’ universe in Grave Mercy appealed to me on a multitude of levels.  First, the historical detail provided for the time period (15th century France) reflected the research and work the author put in before crafting her story.  Despite being an alternate universe piece LaFevers took time to make the historical bits blended into her tale as accurate as possible, which I greatly appreciated.  The details helped immerse me into Ismae’s world and paint a picture in my mind.  Second, even though the setting is a time where women were treated as men’s property Ismae was given agency through her affiliation with the convent of Saint Mortain.  The story even emphasized the difference between the main character’s life in her small village and the freedom of the convent. Throughout the novel LaFevers presented women who found a way to control their own lives even if they had to manipulate their men to do so. The book never allowed the time period to justify mistreatment of women; it presented the way things were and often set the women themselves to find a way to flourish within the mores of the time. Third, what wasn’t there to love about nun assassins? Admittedly, the nuns of Saint Mortain aren’t exactly the type of sisters many of us would picture given their propensity to use seduction and womanly wiles to gain access to a target.  At the same time the adherence to old gods over new and the fragile movement toward modern Christianity rang very true to me.  The convent used the trappings of Catholicism to protect their allegiance to the old god of Death, which wouldn’t have been uncommon for the time period, while protecting discarded women and giving them freedom from men’s control, a time old tradition.  Lastly, the characters themselves made me dive into Grave Mercy every chance I got because their vibrancy and depth intrigued me.  Ismae and Duval were far from perfect, but their humanity made me root for them against the odds.  Ismae’s affection for her fellow initiates, Sybella and Annith, also charmed me, and each member of Anne’s court was presented as an individual, not just a caricature.

My only complaint with Grave Mercy is that it’s written in first person present tense, which can be a little hard to relax into.  It took me a few chapters to fully get into the story due to adjusting to the writing, but I felt rewarded when the plot finally sucked me in fully.

Overall, anyone who loves darker stories with a touch of romance and intrigue should check out Robin LaFevers’ Grave Mercy.  The history angle blended with a dynamic plot will keep you riveted to the last page.  As an added bonus the ending doesn’t try to tie everything up neatly because that just wouldn’t fit the characters; Duval’s final gesture towards Ismae shows that he has taken the time to understand her emotional needs and truly puts them above his own.

I just hope that the remaining two books in the series are just as good, and I hope to read them soon.

4.5 Uses of Arduinna’s Snare out of 5

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Must-See Indie Comics TV: Fanboy Comics and More Head to CBS This Fall

Being an indie comic creator is a tough path; getting your product created and distributed to readers requires a lot of leg work, often crowdfunding campaigns, and TONS of self-promotion. When small press can get their creations into national media it’s a gift beyond belief, which is why Fanboy Comics is so excited about their upcoming feature in some CBS shows along with other smaller creators.

FBC managing editor Barbra J. Dillon (@barbrajdillon) produced the following press release:

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LOS ANGELES, CA – October 20, 2014 – As new and returning television shows premiere their new seasons this Fall, Fanboy Comics is excited to announce that it will make its first appearance on the small screen in CBS’ The Millers and Hawaii Five-O, along with fellow indie creators The Yuan Twins (Arrested Development, Declan and Chang: Sweet F.A.) and Jared Sams (Spaceman Dead)!

Having first captured the attention of CBS through the epic comic book series, Penguins vs. Possums (by creative team Sebastian Kadlecik, John Bring, and Lindsay Calhoon Bring), Fanboy Comics was provided with the opportunity to highlight the series, as well as its other titles, through both The Millers and then later Hawaii Five-O. Bringing indie comic books to the mainstream, Fanboy Comics’ graphic novels, t-shirts, posters, Penguins vs. Possums figurines and prints, and more will decorate the set of The Millers: Episode 2, which will air on Monday, October 27, 2014, at 8:30 p.m./EST. In addition, comic book creators, retailers, and actors The Yuan Twins will co-star in the episode as a pair of nerdy twins attending a comic book convention. Adding more indie into the mix, the Yuans will be donning Spaceman Dead t-shirts, the comic book series created by LA-area writer/artist Jared Sams.

In addition, Fanboy Comics’ graphic novels and products will also be decorating the set for Hawaii Five-O: Episode 6, which will air on Friday, October 31, 2014, at 9 p.m./EST.

Be sure to mark your calendars, set your DVRs to record, and join us in tuning in to The Millers and Hawaii Five-O next week to see indie creators uniting on the small screen!

Fanboy Comics (FBC) is a comic book publisher and an online conglomerate of geek media, providing its readers with daily reviews, interviews, and podcasts that span the pop culture spectrum. FBC seeks to provide an outlet for up-and-coming artists and writers with a desire to create new works and media. By facilitating in-house collaborations and providing support and empowerment, FBC hopes to enable the production of professional and marketable creator-owned works. Fanboy Comics’ graphic novels, Something Animal, Identity Thief, The Arcs, and Penguins vs. Possums: Volume One, are available online at http://www.fanboycomics.net. Fanboy Comics may also be found on Facebook and Twitter (@FanboyComix).

More information on The Yuan Twins may be found by visiting their comic book shop, Cool Cats Comics and Cards, on Facebook and Twitter (@coolcatscomics),
and Jared Sam’s Spaceman Dead, as well as his other comic books, may be found at SpacemanDead.com.

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First Race in a While

I slowed down (read as completely stopped) participating in races over the summer months because my body hates the heat and humidity of Austin summers. While I run with Patience or alone between around 5:30AM and 8AM most races don’t start until 8AM, which makes my innards want to shrivel up. However, because my dad is a prostate cancer survivor he convinced me to register in the ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk this coming Saturday, October 18. Part of the deal was that he would do the one mile survivor walk, so we would be participating together. Ironically, Dad never got around to registering during the time he suggested I participate. I had to complete his registration three days ago when he couldn’t make the site work! At least Dad cared enough to ask for my help when the page wouldn’t load on his work computer…

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I’m both excited and nervous about this weekend even though I know I can complete a 5K without too many difficulties. I wasn’t doing yoga when I did the races last spring, so I didn’t have the extra work on my muscles. It’s also been several months since I did a run later in the morning (for me 9 is kind of late!). On the plus side Austin has been having cooler, dryer mornings, so even with a 9AM start time the weather should be ideal for a nice run. I also know the course since the Stars and Stripes race in May was also at Camp Mabry, so I know how I should pace (there’s a hill right in the middle that you have to run up, turn around and go back down immediately).

My only real goal for this race is to stay under 30 minutes again (if I could do it in May I should be able to do it now). I’m not a serious enough runner to be concerned about placing in the top three; I just want to try to go for a personal best. Besides I get another nifty T-shirt as part of my registration fee!

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It’s Been One of Those Weeks…

I’m just not mentally up for a funny, insightful, or meaningful post of any kind this week. My “twins”:

Suzuka

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and Miki

Miki 2014

spent the day at the vet on Monday and Tuesday for pee samples/urinalysis (everything turned out fine, so no kidney problems at this point), but I was frazzled from coordinating the extra morning/evening stops plus I had a dentist appointment on Tuesday morning while Dad scheduled a signing for real estate stuff (property my parents have been trying to sell since 2008, so it’s a big deal) at the same time.

Yesterday I got hit with a double whammy of two accidents on my route home, which doesn’t have any good alternates through downtown, so I got home late, which meant unhappy beasties and crunched schedules. At least I had an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to watch and successfully made Beth’s incredible chocolate chip pumpkin bread recipe with soy free, dairy free chocolatey chips.

Allergies are also kicking my butt, and I wish sleeping and doing nothing were an option. Unfortunately, that’s not a viable choice, so I just need to make it to the weekend even though I’ve got plenty of commitments there as well!

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