Wednesday, February 24, 2016

GIVEAWAY: The Bathory Curse and 10 dollar Amazon Gift Card

It is said that Vlad the Impaler's first wife jumped to her death rather than be with such a monster, however…

Princess Cneajna of Transylvania didn’t expect to be brought back from death’s door by an ancient Pagan Goddess. She certainly never asked to be made into an immortal witch. All she wanted was to live out her life the wife of Vlad the Impaler and mother of his two sons. However, now she has a new life, and with it comes the impossible task of breaking a centuries old curse placed on the women of her family. A curse that drives each one insane. To make matters even more complicated this is a family she didn’t even know she was related to: The Bathory’s.

Links to Purchase:



Barnes n Noble

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

PromPosals- Yay or Nay?

Growing up in Northern California the Prom was a big deal, the right guy (or group of friends) the perfect dress, a theme not too corny and good shoes that look awesome and are either a) easy to kick off or b) don't kill your feet when you dance in them.

I went to the prom twice, the first time the guy who asked I had only known a few weeks and we weren't dating. He came up to me, and said, "Renee...uuuh.....can I talk to you?" I of course said yes as his friends had given me the heads up. The following is the basic conversation.

"I was wondering if you'd go to the prom with me."

"Sure." (BIG GRIN)

"Ok so.... I'll pick you up before and then afterwards there's this party at (insert friend name)."

"I'll check with my mom, but I'm pretty sure it's cool." (I was SO non nonchalant.)

End scene.

We went, we danced, we had our picture taken and the party was pretty fun. It was the perfect night.

The second time I went on what was basically a triple date, my best guy friend took me and his two best friends were currently dating my two best female friends so we all went together. It was exciting, especially since I was a senior  and riding the "Pink Lady" vibe.

Well then I moved to Utah and discovered teens here ( and apparently elsewhere...) do this ridiculous thing called  a Promposal where the guy (or girl, though here in Utah it's usually the traditional male asking female bit) asks the girl to prom in some grand gesture. Then the girl is supposed to give her response in another creative over the top way.

Not sure what the hell a Promposal is?

My husband told me all about how when he did it there was so much planning involved and it's this GIANT DEAL. Over the past 11 years I have seen red solo cups spelled out over free way pedestrian bridges, giant poster boards made, youtube videos created and many more public displays of prom-ffection So much time and effort go into this, and maybe it's just me, but I think it is one of the stupidest things ever.

First off: What happens if they say no? You make this very elaborate attempt to get a date and they are just not that into you? This is especially bad if you do the asking in public. Just like a marriage proposal the only way this scenario works is if you and your date have already discussed it and you know for CERTAIN the object of your affection will say yes.

Scary Article to prove my point:

Second: What if you're not very creative, or you're poor? So some girl/guy is expecting this awesome Promposal  (or response) and all their friends get asked in way romantic gesture or get a brilliant answer and  you can only think of making a fb meme and posting it to their wall or can't afford to do anything. Or what if they ask you in some mag fab way and you can't think of how to reciprocate so you simply say: yes.   I mean what if some girl doesn't think the boy who asked her did it "creatively" enough...will she say no? What if the person you ask doesn't say yes in a equally public display of affection, will then the asker take back the prom request? Seems like a recipe for disappointment and possible hurt feelings.

Interesting article from Huff Post about how much kids (read mom and dad) are paying on this trend,

Third: Doesn't this set people up later in life? You get this great promposal so now expectations for the real thing are sky high? I got a good marriage proposal, but had my high school boyfriend asked me to prom in sky writing, would what I thought of as the perfect marriage proposal fall a little...short?

Fourth: Isn't this just another way to make other people feel bad? It's already awful to not get invited to the prom. If you are surrounded by other teens that are being asked in extremely wonderful and imaginative ways and no one asks you...Isn't teen depression and suicide on the rise enough without a metaphoric billboard that makes them feel like a loser because "no one liked me enough to take me prom and make a HUGE deal out of it?" Not to mention snobby teen assholes who would like nothing better than to rub their promposal in the faces of kids they deem "unpopular."

So for me...I find the concept kind of cute but really just a stupid that borderlines on a we-wanna-be-famous trend that has nothing to do with whether or not kids even like the person they've asked...They like the attention.

If some boy goes to great lengths to ask one of my daughters out I don't want them to feel pressured to give their response in a creative manner. Girls (or anyone) should feel comfortable simply saying, "Okay."  And my son should in no way think that the only way the girl he likes will go to prom with him is if he writes a 1000 word essay about why she is funny or some other nonsense.

Is my age just showing or is this really what the world is turning into?

When did simply being asked to prom become.....not good enough?

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Continuing Adventures of Princess Fire Cracker and her Companion Sir Hye Oye

For My daughter who is about to turn 12 
Love Mama

* No part of this may be reproduced or copied without written consent of the author: Renee Lake
Copy Right 2016 Renee Lake

The Continuing Adventures of Princess Fire Cracker and her Companion Sir Hye Oye

Volume 1

Princess Fire Cracker, or Ficra to her friends, woke up one morning to find herself alone in the castle she shared with her parents, two siblings and a jumble of servants not to mention…..Well let’s just say there were usually a ton of people in her home.

Though alone was…not quite accurate. She did have her trusty companion, a giant orange tabby cat, who talked and liked to wear a blue shirt with a knight and dragon on it. He had been a present from her Fairy God Mother when she was 2. You might confuse him with a tiger, but his smooshed kitty cat face gave him away, size wise he was almost as big as the lions she saw in the zoo.

“Where have they all gone?” Ficra asked as she got dressed in a sensible grey sweater and black leggings.

“No idea.” Sir Hye Oye said as he began to the task of cleaning himself.

“But they can’t have just left. Mother would have told me.” Ficra stood up, gazed around her pink walled bedroom until she found a long purple robe, it had magical sleeves of holding. She could put anything she wanted in them without worrying about weight or spoilage….well anything within reason.

“You are about to turn 12.” Hye Oye blinked at her with large tawny eyes.

“Oh! Goodness! This must be a test!” Ficra exclaimed, shrugging into the robe.

“Thought you’d never get there.” Hye Oye muttered under his breath. Ficra glared at him and then began to gather things from her room.

“Mother did tell me last week I would need to prove I was ready to take on royal duties on my 12th birthday.” She grabbed a flash light, blanket, several gold and silver coins, extra underwear, a second sweater and a hat.

“What do you think they want you to do?” Hye Oye asked.

“Well, knowing mother she would want me to find my way across the Kingdom to Grand’Mere and Papa’s.” Ficra left her bedroom and wandered down the hall towards the bathroom she shared with her sister. Hye Oye followed, his paws making no noise.

“That’s a long way, do you really think they went there?” Hye Oye asked.

“Well, I’ll look around. Mother probably left a note.” Ficra brushed her brown fluffy hair, putting it into a bun and then brushed her teeth. She placed the hairbrush and tooth brush into her sleeves. She shook her arms, they still felt light, but she knew the spell on the robe wouldn’t allow her to carry much more.

“It’s at least a couple of days away. We’ve never been alone that long.” Hye Oye whined.

Ficra gave him her most haughty princess look, “we can do this! We are brilliant and brave.” With those words she stormed out of the bathroom and down the stone steps making her way towards the kitchen. It was weird being in her home when it was so quiet. She didn’t like it.

In the kitchen she acquired several water bottles, made herself three peanut butter sandwiches (one of which she ate on the spot) and found a few apples, all went into her sleeves.

“What will I eat?” Hye Oye nudged her leg.

“Well, eat up now and I’m sure you can use your hunting skills on the trip.” Ficra quickly fed him some tuna which he immediately began to lap up.

“Hunting skills?” He asked through bites, “Please, I have never hunted a day in my life.” His last words were muffled by the food in his mouth.

“I can’t think, what else will I need?” Ficra asked the empty room, she wasn’t used to talking to herself either. She sighted a box of dried kitty treats and put them in her sleeves. Hye Oye may be right, he might not know how to hunt.

Hye Oye finished his food, “How bout a carriage and your mother?”

“Not helpful.”

Ficra spotted some cookies in a bag and grabbed them as well. Their kingdom wasn’t sparse, she was widely recognized as the Heir and High Princess, she could probably ask for help once she reached the first town.

Leaving the kitchen she passed large portraits of the members of her family on the way to the front hall and the large mahogany door that served as the main entrance. On the door was a huge note written in her mother’s side slanted handwriting.

Happy almost birthday my monkey girl! We are all at Grand’Mere’s house awaiting your arrival. It should only take you three days on foot, if it takes longer we shall come and find you. The entire Kingdom is aware this is your test and will help, if you act accordingly.
P.S. I will also be keeping an eye on you, do not be afraid.

“And eye on you? What does she mean…how could she watch you with no mirrors nearby?” Hye Oye put his paws on the door so he could look at the page. He tore it down with his teeth, handing it to Ficra.

“She probably means her bats.” Ficra sighed rubbing her brown eyes. She would much rather stay inside and read a book. This whole idea made her nervous, what if she had to spend the night, outside?

Her walking stick was by the door, her father had carved it with mythological animals. It was her tenth birthday present. Ficra slipped into pink hiking boots and grabbed the stick. Ficra assumed her mother placed them there on purpose. She put on the boots, grabbed the stick and opened the door.

It was early spring in their Kingdom so a little cold. Ficra was glad she had dressed warmly. Their castle sat atop a large hill, overlooking a great valley with deep green grass and tree’s with dark purple and green leaves. There were three or four big towns in their Kingdom and then a smattering of tiny villages. She could see almost the entire Kingdom of Friendship from their front step.

“It’s only a three day journey. I can do this.” She looked down at Hye Oye, “We can do this!”

“As long as we don’t get lost.” Hye Oye said, gloomily. He was looking to the east and the west. South of her home was her grandparents: The Kingdom of Generosity. But East and West lay two dismal Kingdoms, where all who lived there were unhappy and kind of mean. The Kingdom’s of Selfishness and Hopelessness.

“Don’t be like that, come on.” Ficra squared her shoulders and began walking down the path that led through a small forest before coming to the first town. Once there she planned and seeing if she could get a ride to at least the next town over. Her mother said it was three days by foot, she didn’t say anything about Ficra HAVING to go by foot.

The path through the forest wound left then swayed way to the right to avoid a bog that smelled like her father’s feet. Ficra and Hye Oye giggled over that and spent the morning, joyful, in each other’s company. As the day wore on, however, Ficra and Hye Oye began to get sweaty, tired and hungry.

“I think it’s time for lunch.” Ficra said, she plopped down on an over-sized rock and reached into her sleeve. She took out an apple and the kitty treats. She gave Hye Oye a handful and then set about munching on her own lunch. Her tummy rumbled uncomfortably. She was a little scared, but didn’t want to admit it, even to one of her best friends.

“We’ll definitely have to beg for food,” Hye Oye sighed, and in one lick ate up all his own food.

“I couldn’t fit three days of food in this robe, it would break the spell.” But she agreed, no way her sandwiches, some cookies and a few apples would last past one day, maybe two. Ficra didn’t care for the idea of going hungry.

“I could help you with that.”

Ficra and Hye Oye both looked over to see a woman standing near the tree line. She was petite and a cloud of murky purple seemed to surround her. The woman smiled and Ficra thought it was a kind smile, if not a little sad.

“Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t see you.” Ficra stood up and gave a curtsy, trying to be polite and friendly.

“If you come with me I could make sure you have more than enough food.” The woman said.

“Come where?” Ficra asked.

“Ficra...” Hye Oye warned, his voice a bit growly.

“My home is just over there.” The woman pointed.

“The edge of the Kingdom?” Ficra asked, a little nervous.

“More like just a few feet inside the Kingdom of Helplessness. Please come, it’s not as dreary as they say. I have a lovely home and I would enjoy the company.” The woman beckoned.

Ficra felt sorry for the woman. She wanted to help her so much. Maybe this woman just needed some good company and encouragement and she would be able to move from the Kingdom of Helplessness, perhaps Ficra could convince her Grandparents to find this woman a job in their Kingdom instead. She found herself taking a step forward.