$0.99 ACROSS THE BOARD eBOOK SALE + GIVEAWAY! September 19th thru 21st

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Award-winning author Katie Jennings is running a sale on all of her eBooks from September 19th thru September 21st! Check out what’s for sale below:

The Dryad Quartet:
FREE! Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00034] A Life Earthbound Of Water and Madness

The Vasser Legacy:
NEWwefcover2014 small Rise of the Notorious Rulers of Deception

So Fell The Sparrow:
So Fell the Sparrow

Also, in addition to the collection of eBooks being on sale, she’s running a birthday raffle for a signed print copy of her ghostly romance, So Fell The Sparrow! Sparrow won an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards, and is a #1 bestseller in Ghost Suspense on Amazon.

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Please help spread the word and share this post! :)

Give me your theories: the people in our dreams, who are they, what are they?

Inception

 

I’ve long been fascinated, and declare I will always be fascinated, by dreams.

Everyone dreams.

Those who claim to never dream, or never remember them, are either avoiding their dreams or not paying mind to them. But I bet if they did start to pay mind to them, they would begin to remember.

And whenever someone who finds out I’m an author, says I could never be an author, I say yes you can. Start by writing down your dreams. For dreams are just stories, stories in our sleep.

That said, are they just stories? I know there are whole fields of study to the meaning behind dreams, and that’s not what I’m asking.

What I’m asking is the people in your dreams. The people you never met. Those are what kind of freak me out sometimes. How real they always seem, at least, in my dreams.

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Last night for example. I was having a lovely dream I was on a long flight to Paris. Why Paris, I haven’t the slightest idea. But I had in my hand a McDonald’s bag, about to enjoy a Big Mac. I was sitting behind two lovely people. A brother and a sister. I was just telling them how I gave up chips, cookies and fast food. They look at me confused when I said fast food, as I had a McDonalds bag in hand. I freak out, wondering why I would break my year of fast food with McDonalds, which would so not be worth it, and offered them my meal instead. The brother took it delightfully, and so, I made new friends.

But just how real they were, made me wonder when I woke up, why do we dream of people we don’t know? People we have never seen on the streets? Why do we dream of strangers? And why do they seem so real? Are they future characters, waiting to be told? Or is the brain just so vivid and wonderfully complicated? I quite like the mystery behind it, and it marvels me every time just how wonderful the human brain really could be.

And now that I’ve rambled, I desperately need some coffee, and shake off this feeling that I’ve missed my flight.

But I would love to hear either your strange dreams or dream theories in the comments!

Laniakea: Will our map of the Universe ever be complete? #mondayblogs #nasa #scifi

Nasa posted a cool article about this week about Laniakea, our home Supercluster. And included in the article provided in this here brief video, take a watch, it truly is fascinating:

Here is one science-fiction author’s first reaction to Laniakea: the “web” of galaxy clusters resemble to me the brain’s neuron’s. What if the entire Universe is just a brain of another creature? :)

Realistically speaking, it is probably not a giant brain of some cosmic creature. Although it’d be fun if planets and stars are building blocks of another life force. But if Laniakea proves anything, it’s that we don’t know much about the Universe – and perhaps, just perhaps, anything can be possible. Which is good news for sci-fi fans.It’s good that our grasp of anything being possible is so tangible, because it leaves room for greater and more spectacular stories just waiting to be told.

So what do you think, can us humans ever really get a complete picture of the entire Universe? Or is it better that some things are left unsolved?

 

 

#thesims4 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: my first impressions. #eagames

My novel characters, Bas and Mimi, having a cuppa coffee over an engaging conversation.

My novel characters, Bas and Mimi, having a cuppa coffee over an engaging conversation.

So Sims 4 came out this week, hurrah! But there hasn’t been a lot of praise online. And understandably so.

EA promised us the moon, only really talked about how there weren’t going to be swimming pools and toddlers…and they were very wise to only mention TWO of what was going to be omitted in this version. Because right away, when you load the game and enter Create A Sim (CAS) you’ll notice one huge thing missing. And at first you’ll probably be disappointed if you’re like me and been playing since the Sims 2 (or even the original Sims).

The first biggest change you’ll notice is the animation style of the actual Sims. There’s been a lot of grumble lately that it has been TOO cartoon-y and not the “more lifelike Sims EA promised”.  At first I had the same thought. But then I realized it was similar animation style to the Disney and Pixar type animation with the computer generated – and that made it kind of fun to pretend to be inside a Disney movie. But yeah, they could have been less Cartoon like. They even have sound effects that resemble cartoons whenever you use the sledgehammer tool and the wall placement. The ground shakes and dust unsettles every time you place a wall in Building mode. I can’t decide if that’s good or bad yet. But it helps me understand why people think it is more cartoon like than realistic.

So let’s get down to the Good, the Bad (things that are annoying aren’t included but can live without) and the Bad (the stuff you wonder what the heck EA was thinking and why they would go backwards).

1. The Good

There are obviously some major improvements that all Sims fans have probably seen from the promo’s. EA was smart to hype up the good, and put on the DL what they took out. The Good is pretty sweet, especially in building, but I can understand all the grumble too. But here is what you can look forward to:

  • “Easier” CAS – simply grab and drag the body part of the Sim you wish to change. Curves are nice because you can make your Sim have big hips but a small butt if you wanted to. So the control option is nice, but I’ve had some trouble with it – especially in the face region. Positioning the cheeks haven’t been an easy thing to get exactly where you want. But overall, it’s pretty neat. I still miss the old CAS, and I’ll explain why in the Ugly.
  • Building mode: over all, except for one major setback, building is so much easier. It is smoother, faster process. You can pick up entire rooms and rotate them – or complexly move them around your house. And not just rooms, hallways and great rooms too!
  • Smoother game-play experience – my game doesn’t crash as much and I even have up to six Sims in my house now. Very fluid movements from each Sim.
  • Better moodlets – Moods have more of a variety. For instance your Sim can go from Confident to Very Confident to help him complete tasks without fear, they have bad days at work or school which they can vent to other Sims and other Sims can help calm them down, and if they are in a bad mood they will probably get in more fights with Sims if not careful.
  • Showers – showers in Sims 4 do more than clean, they can change the Sims mood. Brisk showers can do a burst of energy, perfect for working out. While thoughtful showers can make a Sim either inspired or focused – great for going to school or finishing a novel.
  • They Kept Cell Phones – which was a fun feature that was added to Sims 3 Universities, but it is not exactly a Smartphone (will cover in the Bad).
  • Cute rugs and clothing – I HATED most of the rugs in Sims 3, so it was nice to have such a variety of rugs. They also have nice paintings and cute clothes to choose from.
  • Multi-tasking – The Sims now can hold two drinks in one hand, work out while chatting with other Sims and other multi-tasking capabilities. How’s that for life like?
  • No toddlers – people complained right away when EA announced there’ll be no toddlers. But to me this is GREAT, I don’t have to put on fastest speed for three days while I wait for my toddlers to age up.
  • Decay Needs in cheats mode – this lets you disable the Sims from having to pee, getting hungry, and other needs. Great for gaining skills faster without interruptions. Who needs sleep anyway?
  • Better interaction with online store / community – download lots and Sims directly from the game.
Novel characters Bas, Mimi and Captain James Donnan plus Donnan's lady friend Dina are having a great group conversation over drinks.

Novel characters Bas, Mimi and Captain James Donnan plus Donnan’s lady friend Dina are having a great group conversation over drinks.

2. The Bad 

This list is little annoyances I wish wasn’t there, but can live without.

  • In cheat mode, you can’t individually alter the Sims Needs. In the Sims 3 we were able to individually alter the needs. For instance, you can make their bladder fine and still have them tired if you want them to get a good night rest. But not in the Sims 4, all you can do is “make happy” which is annoying that it changes all the needs to positive. I’d like to be able to alter each need as needed.
  • No Swimming Pools. I didn’t think I’d miss this one when it was first announced, but when designing the house, I’d leave room for a pool in the back yard – only to remember there ISN’T any pool. I think for me the biggest problem is we CAN’T have it. It’d be nice to have a choice. I am hoping they will have a dedicated swimming pool expansion stuff pack which would be awesome, but I’m not holding my breath!
  • Can’t mute the volume of the TV – in Sims 3 I liked having their TV on in the background but have the volume on mute. Can’t do that in Sims 4.
  • No cars, trucks or any transportation –  what I missed most about this was the garage, houses seem incomplete without one.
  • No public wohooing – so no fun Stride of Pride mood the Sims had. On this note, the only place you can Wohoo is the bed. Boring.
  • Can’t get in trouble for teen Sims past curfew.
  • Can’t view Sims place of work or school – sad and boring.

3. The Ugly

These features that are excluded I couldn’t understand why EA did without them and I want them back. Like, right now!

  • Oh my god they took away Create a Style! This means in clothes, objects, and building mode you CAN’T MODIFY specific design. All you can choose from is three to five different colors. You can’t even change the shade of the colors. This was one of the biggest selling points of the Sims 3, I truly do not understand why they removed it.
  • No camera tilt – in both live mode and building mode, I can’t tell you how annoying it is to only have the top view mode in Sims 4. NOT the same as the camera tilt. And I keep looking for it but it’s just not there. Sigh. In the video preview below, you can see how awkward game-play is trying to get the right angle/zoom without the familiar camera tilt we got used to in Sims 3.
  • The town SUCKS – I don’t use this word too often in the blog-o-sphere but really what were they thinking with the neighborhoods? They look cheap and retro and a major step back.
  • LOADING SCREENS ARE BACK – I miss being able to walk to the store. Seriously EA, what happened?
  • Bring back the ghosts! I am hoping they will have them in a Supernatural expansion pack.
  • If you use the cheat to add a Sim to the family, you can’t change their name.
  • If you use the cheat to edit the Sim in Create a Sim, you can’t alter their body.
  • Not so smart smartphones – the phones have gone back to basics, the smart features we got used to in the University expansion pack has been removed. Including social groups.

Video:

My Sims got married! In the kitchen! Congrats, Bas!

 

Now on first glance it looks like the Good out-weighs the Bad and the Ugly. But trust me, the Ugly is so Ugly it makes you want to scream while playing it. At least during the set up and building process. Once you play, it’s actually a really fun game.

I think Sims fans would appreciate Sims 4 as it’s own separate thing rather than an “improvement” because to me it’s so different than Sims 3 the less time you’ll be happier while playing. First time Simmers would be very happy as it is a really cool game. But if you’re coming in from Sims 3, you’ll be shocked – and not always in a good way.

But there is an important fact to keep in mind and give Sims fans hope: this is just the first release. They’ll be updates, stuff packs, and expansions to help keep the game constantly improving. I hope they release an update to fix some of the Bad stuff and hopefully they’ll listen to their fans. EA is usually pretty good on that. So let’s make enough noise so they listen!

So have you brought the Sims 4 yet? What are your first impressions?

Leave a comment, would love to hear if other people are slightly disappointing as well!

Have a great day,

Claire

Has #fashion been a bore lately? #mondayblogs

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So yesterday I hit the mall for some new threads and the search for the perfect skirt took about two hours. Well, I had to get makeup and other things too, but still. Two hours!! I was beyond frustrated.

It was always the same problem. Either the material was too cheap or the skirt was too short (I’m a fan of midi’s).

But there was also a serious problem: lace and flowers, flowers and lace!

Seriously, can we do something different? I get that it is the end of the summer and beginning of the fall, but they need an in-between season for fashion. Maybe like a “pre-fall season” for fashion design. Because I get sick of seeing the same things in stores for a quarter of the year. All I have seen is lace, flowers, stripes, and dots. You know fashion designers, there ARE other shapes in this massively complex universe of ours.

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What about you? What look have you loved this year – or not?

Are you ready for bold prints in the fall? Hopefully we’ll get more than flowers and lace. I hate to type those words repeatedly, I hated even more seeing them in the mall repeatedly.

And granted, I do own a bit of lace and flower skirts and tops in my closet. So I’m not hating on the style at all. I just want…something new. Something new that is well built and doesn’t make you look crazy or too slutty. Is that too much to ask? Huh? Huh? Huh? Apparently so.

On a happy note…happy Labor Day, America! Hope you enjoyed a nice BBQ and time off. I did laundry and took a nap, because my allergies were making it impossible to get out, which was a bummer but still enjoyed the down time.

6 Great Things Coming in the Fall #mondayblogs

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I feel you.

School is back in session. The sunlight isn’t lasting as long in the evening. And Labor Day is next week already! Where did summer go? 

But before we start our sad, sad goodbye to sweet Summer, let’s take a moment to reflect what we have to look forward to in the fall. Because 2014 has been a crazy year so far – in a good way – and there is lots to look forward to in the fall as well! So grab your Pumpkin Spice Latte (oh right, that’s coming too!) and let’s dive into Fall, 2014 style! 

6. Football 

Fantasy Football fans rejoice! Football is back in session. And while I’m personally not a fan of the sport, I know lots of folks who are already gearing up the grill for brats and burgers to get ready for the big games. 

5. Boots are back! 

Fall is one of my favorite styles for fashion. Cozy jumpers, fuzzy socks and leather boots return to retail. I missed the boat on grabbing cute boots last year, so am looking forward to seeing what 2014 has to offer in style. 

4. The Sims 4

Sul Sul! That’s Simlish for hello, because on September 2nd the Sims 4 is finally here! Hey, that’s pretty exciting in my opinion! 

3. Bye, bye humidity! 

The good thing about summer gone is so is the humidity – hopefully! I know my hair will rejoice in this! 

2. New Technology 

2014 is going to be huge in the tech world! With the Motorola 360 Smart Watch making a splash in early September to the new iPhone 6 – which tech are you most excited about? 

1. Fall TV is back! 

Let’s all cheer as we can find out what happens to Doctor Who, Big Bang Theory, Castle, Bones, Brooklyn 99, and countless other of TV shows to glue our eyes to and spark the imagination. 

So are you excited about fall as I am? Are you looking forward that Pumpkin Spice latte, new piece of tech or which fall TV show are you most pumped about? Tell me in the comments how you celebrate fall and if you’re ready – or still holding on to those summer rays! 

 

 

Back to School: not just for the kids! #mondayblogs

back to school

So the last few weeks have been rather exciting at Target and Staples, and other such retailers.

Why?

Three words.

Back. To. School.

Those words might make students and teachers cringe, but for the rest of us, it’s enough to cheer for…especially if you go early.

WRITERS: Stock up on notebooks, pens, cork-boards and inspiration boards. Writing YA? Get teen like patterns to get inspired. Not writing YA, no problem, stock up on those flash cards for that story board.

OFFICE FOLK: Get fashionable and functional organization items for a steal. It’s like Christmas.

FOR THE HOME: Get clutter under control by tackling your file system. Who says cleaning just has to be for the spring?

FOR THE CAR: And when inspiration hits you on the road, make sure you have a notebook or two tucked in the glove department. I always like to have a pen handy also. I don’t recommend writing while driving, but when you are driving to your destination, and inspiration hits, the moment you park – write it down!

CLOTHING: Old Navy and Target have had huge sales on basic tee shirts and such. Take advantage! Stock up! Look classy!

Have YOU taken advantage of back to school even if you don’t have kids and not a teacher? Share in the comments :) Parents: do you love or hate back to school season? Teachers: how about you? What items are a must for teachers?