Still getting up early…

So, two months in and my method for getting out of bed is still working.  A brief explanation – I set my first alarm to the radio at 6:05, and my second alarm at 6:15.  I have to get up to give the cat medicine, otherwise I’m not sure this would work so well for me.

I’ve also instituted a Gold Star rating.  On my Google Calendar I have an event set up and made the color gold.  I just add a day to it every time I manage to get up like I want to.  On days where I might falter a little, I get a Silver Star and change the color.  And there are now two days where I didn’t give myself a star at all.  So here’s my rundown:

59 Gold Stars
2 Silver Stars
2 Zero Stars

That first day with no stars was a holiday and I was off work, so it was outside of my normal schedule.  I gave Reki her medicine and then I crawled right back in bed and fell asleep.  Woke up around 8 without any kind of alarm clock going off and it was glorious!  And yes, that is actually the word I thought when I woke up.  The second day was this morning.  I had been at a convention all weekend, and had a really crappy Saturday night/Sunday morning, so this morning the snooze button became my best friend.

Now that I have this one thing going well I’m starting to think about what I should tackle next.  I’ve read on other blogs where people do a reboot and tackle four or five things they want to improve, but I’m not sure doing so much at once will work for me.  I think I’ll pick one thing, and get that going in addition to the getting up early.  And keep building from there.

Although I guess technically I’ve tackled two things already.  As a bonus to my getting up early I decided to tack on doing French on Duolingo.  I don’t feel that much more fluent in French yet, but it’s fun and I still enjoy the language.

The Emperor’s Edge series

Imperial law enforcer Amaranthe Lokdon is good at her job: she can deter thieves and pacify thugs, if not with a blade, then by toppling an eight-foot pile of coffee canisters onto their heads. But when ravaged bodies show up on the waterfront, an arson covers up human sacrifices, and a powerful business coalition plots to kill the emperor, she feels a tad overwhelmed.
Worse, Sicarius, the empire’s most notorious assassin is in town. He’s tied in with the chaos somehow, but Amaranthe would be a fool to cross his path. Unfortunately, her superiors order her to hunt him down. Either they have an unprecedented belief in her skills… or someone wants her dead.


The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker
The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker

“A thrilling fantasy adventure!”  – Me

If I had to sum up the Emperor’s Edge books, that would do it.  I will admit I wasn’t sucked in on the very first page, but a few pages past that I was hooked.  A friend of mine recommended The Emperor’s Edge (probably years ago) and I just hadn’t picked it up yet.  Not too long ago I saw the first three books in an omnibus for 99 cents and decided to get it.  I mean, for that price I wasn’t even worried if I ended up not liking it.  Turns out I love it!  I read the first three in less than a week.  The third one (Deadly Games) I even stayed up late to finish although work would be waiting the next morning.  I was so hyped up, strictly from the story, that I could not sleep until I finished it.  I had to know what happened.

Buroker has a gift for witty dialogue, often making me laugh out loud.  The team she has put together in her novels works well, and allows each character to shine.  Everyone has a distinct personality and gets fair page time.  She doesn’t linger too long on one set of characters before checking in with the others, and the team is never split up longer than they need to be.  

These stories have stayed with me as well.  I’m a pretty avid reader, and honestly I don’t remember all of the books I’ve read.  With these books and characters, I want to visit again.  I’ve even dreamed about them!  

And now that I’ve finished all the books and short stories in the Emperor’s Edge series, I’m going to read her box set called The Forgotten Ages, which takes place about 20 years earlier and explores a couple of characters we meet later in the Emperor’s Edge series.  Plus a young assassin apparently makes an appearance.

If you like fantasy and adventure, go for it!  Highly recommended!



Cloud Nine (#12)

I’ve switched Cloud Nine to be a monthly feature, rather than every other week.  So here are things I liked from the past month!

  • Rurouni Kenshin – Part 1 – The movie was a lot of fun.  Can’t wait for parts 2 and 3.
  • Cute little pressie from Meiran – A team Mystic keychain!  We’re rivals, since she’s team Valor, and yet she still buys me cute things.  ; )
  • Kurios by Cirque du Soleil – This was such a good show.  It felt like a mix of steampunk and jazz, with awesome props, costumes, and performers.  Probably my favorite Cirque show yet (I’ve seen four of them now).
  • BWR16!  That’s my shorthand for the family reunion.  Got to see family, play with my great niece (we quickly became buddies again), and eat lots of yummy food.  
  • Novel planning session – Since my cousin was in town for the reunion, we hashed out some more stuff on our joint writing venture.  Woohoo!

Wild Irish Rebel


A loner at heart…

Morgan McKenzie has been on her own since she ran away from a nightmarish foster home at the age of sixteen. Afraid to put down roots again only to be hurt once more, Morgan prefers to be constantly on the move. Until she is inexplicably pulled to the small Irish town of Grace’s Cove. Before she knows it, Morgan is settling in and forming relationships for the first time in her life. Determined to keep her walls up to protect both her heart and the touch of magick she carries, Morgan fights against her growing attraction for the town’s golden boy, Patrick Kearney.

Patrick can’t keep his eyes off of Morgan. Since the moment he saw Morgan across the dance floor at Keelin’s wedding, Patrick has been lost. Pulled in by her beauty and vulnerability, Patrick’s frustration grows as his advances are continually rebuffed.

As Morgan rebels against her feelings for Patrick, she is swept into a battle against her own worst demons.

I was excited to pick this book up on sale, and delve back into the world that Tricia O’Malley had built with Wild Irish Heart.  I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the series, and the short story Wild Irish Roots.  Which only served to highlight my disappointment as I read Wild Irish Rebel.  

The story didn’t read as a final draft, it felt like a first draft that still needed work.  There were also formatting issues with the ebook, that I feel should have been caught before being put up for sale.  But the real issue I have with this book is centered around Patrick’s character.  

His relationship with Morgan throws up red flags all over the place, and I can’t believe that we as readers are supposed to be sympathetic to him, and root for him to get the girl.  Personally,  I think Morgan should have ran the other way.  

He has anger issues, he emotionally pushes and pulls on her, forces her into situations that she’s not ready to handle, and he gives her a promise ring so she won’t run.  And no one calls him out for any of it.   

This is not the kind of story that you want someone to use as a role model for relationships.


I’m now an early riser?

Wait, what?

It may be too soon to actually label myself as an early riser, but after struggling in vain for so long to figure out a way to get out of bed in the mornings and ignore that snooze button, I’ve hit on something that works for me.

I tried the multiple alarm approach, I tried different alarms, I tried one of the wake-up lights; none of it seemed to work.  I would roll over, hit whatever alarm it was to shut it up, and stay in bed.  No matter how much I wanted to get up, no matter how much I knew I would have a better day if I just got up when the alarm went off, it didn’t work.

Not too long ago I had to start giving my cat, Reki, medicine every twelve hours.  So I decided 6am and 6pm would be the best, timing wise.  This was going to work!  If I had to get up to give my cat medicine, which involved getting out of bed, going into the kitchen to prepare her pill and give it to her, then I could certainly stay up.  At least one would think.  

What actually happened was that I did all of the above, and then crawled right back into my bed.  I often found that when my alarm went off at 6 it would yank me out of a dream, leaving me feeling groggy and disoriented.  Those mornings were the worst and I struggled to function.  

So I decided to set an alarm with the radio to go off a few minutes after the alarm did. Maybe hearing the talking of the morning show would help me stay awake.  Only that didn’t work either.  I still crawled back in bed and then dozed or fell back to sleep anyway.

Getting fed up with being pulled out of dreams,  I looked up some info on sleep cycles. Generally they’re 90 minutes, so the recommended amount of sleep is not 8 hours.  It’s usually 7 ½ or 9.  And looking back I found that if I hit the 7 ½ naturally I usually felt much better that day (I tracked my sleep with a fitbit – not perfect, but good enough).  I tend to go to bed about the same time each night (10pm), and it was a good time for trying to get out of bed at 6am, according to the sleep cycles and all that.  However it still wasn’t working.  So I decided to change the time my alarm was set.  I bumped it up to 6:15 to see if that might be better.  The vet had told me the 12 hour difference for Reki’s meds didn’t need to be exact, so why not give it a try.

And it worked!  Except the reason that it worked was because I forgot about the alarm set for the radio to go off.  So the morning after I changed the main alarm, my radio went off at 6:05.  And the sounds of people talking mixed in with the music pulled me gently out of sleep.  The main alarm went off at 6:15 and by that time I was pretty much already awake.  So I got up, gave the cat her medicine, and then decided to play on the computer for a bit since I didn’t have to rush to get ready. I actually had extra time!

This method has worked for two weeks now, and I’m rather proud of myself.  In addition to getting up early and just feeling better throughout the day, I’ve also started back into doing my Duolingo lessons for French.  And I usually get cuddle time with Reki in the mornings too, as she will curl up in my lap while I’m sitting at the computer.  A win for me and the cat!