Sunday, December 29, 2013

Review: Batman: Arkham Origins

The Batman: Arkham series has received praise of the highest order for it's portrayal of the dark knight and the enemies and plots he has to deal with. Currently, the line-up includes Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, and the recently released Arkham Origins.

The interesting thing to note is that while the first two games are fairly linear, with City following not long after Asylum, Origins is a prequel. Set two years after Bruce Wayne first takes up the mantle of the bat. (I doubt it, but if the fact that Bruce Wayne is Batman is a spoiler for you, you may want to go ahead and close the window now.) Origins details Batman's first encounters with such enemies as The Joker, Killer Croc, and the Mad Hatter.

The story is fairly straight-forward to start with. The mob boss Black Mask has hired eight of the top assassins in the world to come to Gotham City and whoever kills the Batman wins 50 million dollars. Not only is this the perfect introduction to the characters of Killer Croc, and Bane, staples of the Batman universe, but it also introduces several other DC villians, including Copperhead, Shiva, and the popular Deathstroke. 

The story is original, and fairly impressive in its scope, spanning a much larger area than either of the two games before it. As you explore the city to follow the storyline, there are also several side quests which you can pursue, from stopping common muggings and solving random crimes, to tracking down the ever elusive Riddler. 

The Good

Throughout the whole series, you ARE Batman, and Origins is no exception. From the gadgets to the detective work, puzzle-solving, to combat, everything feels just right. Given that this is a prequel, and it's set early in Batman's career, the character himself is a little rough around the edges to start, but you get to see him grow throughout the story. Applaud to that, as properly showing growth in such an iconic character is very hard to do properly and very easy to screw up. 

The setting is beautiful. A large section of Gotham city on Christmas Eve, covered in snow. A big winter storm is expected to hit, which, as far as reasoning go, is a very good one for keeping civilians off the street. You have buildings, sewers, streets, and rooftops to run around and explore, providing plenty of opportunities to play the predator of evil, or just run up and beat the crap out of thugs. You even have the real batcave to go play around in, if you choose. 

This is without a doubt, a perfect prequel to the other two games.

The Bad

At some point, the game was taken from Rocksteady, the company which made Asylum and City and handed over to WB Montreal. That caused a few concerns when the information first came out, and it seems to have been for good reason. 

My biggest issue with Arkham Origins are the controls. They are mostly lifted from the previous games. I say mostly because it's nowhere near the same quality. Hit detection isn't as precise and moves are executed slower, creating more openings for your enemies in combat. In a game where combat is based on chaining beatdowns without getting hit yourself, that creates a very real problem, and one which was not present in the first two games to anywhere near this degree. As well, it would seem the previous games had some version of auto-targeting which the developers of Origins decided to leave out. In combat, you have the ability to use your gadgets and a fair bit of the time, they work alright. If your camera happens to be just a little at an angle though, you can easily find yourself hurling batarangs into the wall instead of into the thug who is currently unloading his clip into you.

The only other thing that bothers me, is that there's no mention of other characters or villains that I can find. The previous games had different things you could scan around the environment to create a more or less full list of Batman's rogues gallery. Outside of the characters you meet through the course of the game, there doesn't seem to be any such easter eggs in Origins. 

Those are fairly minor issues though, all things considered. They don't really impede enjoyment of the game, even if the controls do make things a bit more difficult than intended. If you enjoyed Asylum and City, or if you're any kind of Batman fan at all, you'll enjoy Origins, if nothing else, for the chance to see some of your favorite characters again.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Have a blog? Sure, why not?

As this post goes up, it is literally a week before Christmas. And, since Christmas and New Year's Eve both fall on a Tuesday, this year, I figured I'd give myself a little bonus and take the rest of the year off from the blog posts. Also, with it being the end of the year, I figured it was a good time to go over my blog and how it's worked out for me since I started it.

So, I figured the best place to start, is by the numbers, which (and I have nothing to compare these to, so bear with me. :-P ), I think aren't too bad, all things considered.

To start with, this post here marks my 80th post. I think that in itself bodes well considering I've already seen other people start blogs only to have them die months later. As I write this, of those 80 posts, I have a total of 8,028 views. That's over 100 views per post if I spread them out evenly. 

Of course though, the views don't go evenly, which is why I've sorted through my posts and made a label, which you can click on the right side of my page, called Top Posts. Everything under that label has picked up at least 100 views. But the grand prize winner of this past year is my post on Two-sentence Horror Stories, which is currently just shy of 300 views and is a prime example of hitting the right note at the right moment, as it was posted during the Halloween season.

Other labels you'll see are Cryptids, where I tried to do a post a day for an entire month and fell a bit short, Rants, Writings, and Reviews. Surprisingly, a lot of my Cryptid posts, are also around the 100 view mark, but I figured that, for now, I would limit myself to one label per post. I mean, it's not like they're hard to find. 

Ah, the majestic winged Jackalope. One of the cryptids I didn't go over.

Now, all that is well and good, and to go from 0 to over 8000 views in a year is nothing to sneeze at as far as I know, but what does this all mean? Honestly, I don't have any numbers or anecdotes that show that my blog has led to book sales or anything of the like. Really though, I'm not all that concerned about it either. What I can tell you is that my blog is helping to get my name out there. I know that much because when I check the stats on my page here, I can see that people are coming to my blog by searching for or typing in the address specifically, and that is a very good feeling. 

So, I suppose the most pressing question is "What's next?". Well, more of the same is the obvious answer, but there is a lot more than that to try out as well. 

As late as it is, I'm still trying to power through the work I started for NaNoWriMo, and as I finish the first draft and go through the process of editing and everything, I'm going to continue my Building a Book series, up until the work is either self-published or accepted by a press. 

I plan on continuing to keep my blog readers up to date on my latest works, as well as occasionally putting up roughs as samples.

I plan on continuing discussing the writing process, hitting on topics like Writer's Block, and Twisted Scenes.

More reviews of horror/sci-fi books and movies will be in the future. I may even start accepting review requests at some point. (AT SOME POINT! Don't start rushing to make inquiries or anything, lol. I'll put it in a post and make some noise for it when I'm ready.) 

I may even fill out the Cryptids section or attempt some other silly blog challenge. It's really hard to say exactly what the future holds. 

One thing I do know the future holds, is a sale on my book Class 5. I'll be trying out Kindle's new countdown deal after Christmas. What the countdown deal is, is when you start with a discount, and instead of the sale just ending, the discount steps back up to the original price a little at a time. I'll explain how this is going to work with my book. 

At 8:00 AM on December 25th, the price of Class 5 will drop down to $0.99 and will remain at that price for 48 hours. At 8:00 AM on December 27th, the price will rise to $1.99 for 48 hours. On December 29th it will go up to $2.99 and at the end of the last 48 hour period, at 8:00 AM on December 31st, the price will return to its starting $3.99. Now, remember, this is only for Kindle, as that is the only place the ebook version is currently available. So if you get a kindle for Christmas, or know someone who is getting one, remember my book will be on sale. 

I may still work another blog post in before the end of the year if the mood really strikes me, but I'm not planning on it, so with that, I will wish you all a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday season and a Happy New Year! Check back with me on the 7th for a guaranteed new post. :-) 

~ Shaun

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Personal Rant #4: Like for a Like.

Ugh. Some people.

So. Today, I got this message on my Facebook page. (Names are omitted).
Hi! I saw you on Goodreads and liked your page. Here's a link to my page:
The only other thing in the message was a link to her own page. I checked out her page, and her website. A new writer, who JUST started their page and already has 400 "Likes" even though she has yet to publish a single work. That, combined with the mention of Goodreads, made it clear to me that she was farming in a "Like for a Like" manner. I replied thusly.
  Thank you for your interest, but for the sake of fairness, I believe I should inform you I do not believe in the system of generic "like for a like" as promoted on some websites. I have looked at your page and your website, and I don't believe your interests and posts would align well with what I provide the people who visit my page (my focus being horror and sci-fi currently). Therefore, giving you a "Like" would be nothing more than a meaningless +1 as I doubt your posts would be things I would be likely to share on my page. Once again, I thank you for your interest, and I understand if you would like to withdraw your "like" of my page. Good luck.
I personally do not go for the whole "Like for a Like" trade-off. I will like people's pages because I enjoy what they post, support them, or support their works. Apparently, I am in the minority, because there a threads on Goodreads whose whole point is people listing their Facebook pages begging for "Likes". I would much rather prefer people to like my page because they like my work, like me, and/or they enjoy what I post. People who "Like" your page for those reasons are more likely to comment on and/or share your posts. People who "Like" your page simply because you "Liked" theirs are generally much less inclined to do so. About four months after I started my page, I was involved in a discussion on Goodreads which included one author asking how to get more interactivity on their page. He had around 200 "Likes" and said he was only getting between twenty to thirty people seeing his posts. At the time, I had around 45 "Likes", and I was commonly getting that much attention or more.

I then received this reply to my response.
 Thank you for the message. I looked at your page and read some of your blog. I loved the picture of Voldemort and Harry Potter from one of your November blog posts. Even though I wrote a memoir, and am writing in the genera of mystery/suspense doesn't mean I don't like other genres. I read every genre - yes EVERY genre. Steven King's "IT" is one of my favorite books of all time. Since I joined linkedin and Good Reads, I have ordered 23 books from authors I have never heard of and recommended them to my friends on FB and followers on Twitter. I believe in supporting other authors and the power to network. Maybe next time, you should remember the old adage, "Never judge a book by its cover" because you certainly were wrong when you judged me and now you have lost a customer and a recommendation.
 Ugh. Just...ugh. She did however take me up on the suggest that she un-like my page. Someone look at my above post again and point out where I was judging her? After all, nothing on her Facebook page or website indicated any interest in Horror or anything else and the best she could comment about my blog was that "I liked that one picture."

Ugh. Look. If you want to support other authors. Do it. Don't attach riders to it such as "Like for a Like". That's not supporting people. That is merely a high-school attitude where the number of friends you have is all that matters and not whether most of those friends honestly give a shit about you. To be perfectly honest, I couldn't care less if I never get more than 100 Likes on Facebook as long as those people who have Liked me actually enjoy my work, enjoy my posts, and support me. I don't want 1000 Likes of people who are just going to hide my posts and are only going to adhere to that as long as I also returned the favor and boosted their little people count by one.

Anyway, whether or not she saw it, I followed up her reply.
If I may make a suggestion. You may wish to learn to separate yourself from your author persona. My decision was based on posts on your page and your website and had nothing to do with you personally or your interests. It would be my advice that you not take such things so personally. It is simply a personal policy that I don't "Like" other pages just because they "Liked" mine, nor do I expect it of any page I choose to "Like". I personally feel that attaching such a rider to any show of support cheapens that support, however I am aware that many do not share that opinion. You may find this post helpful in your search though.

Good luck in your future endeavors.
Of course, she took to her page to copy/paste my initial reply to her page, sparking the expected rage and cries of "What an idiot! They need to stfu!"

* Rant begins now * 

Excuse me?! You came onto MY page and made a show of Liking it, then bitched about being judged when I replied that I would not be returning the favor? Not even in a private message but ON. MY. PAGE! In no way have I ever, at ANY point, invited people to come like my page for any reason beyond liking what I post. I'm sorry, I believe in actually earning my fans instead of splitting likes with a bunch of other random people who probably won't give a shit what I post, if they even look at any of it. 

Likes on Facebook aren't a contest. There are no prizes for reaching 100, 500, 1000 Likes. If you feel so insecure that you need some huge number to be proud of, fine. More power to you. I suppose it's healthier than stress eating. I don't need a huge number of fans to take pride in what I've done, and if I manage to build up a fan base into the hundreds or even higher, I'll take pride in THAT because I will have EARNED each one of those Likes, as opposed to simply going around begging and trading for them. 

She came unbidden and posted on MY page. She made a show out of Liking my page. Then, when I didn't return the favor and tried to politely explain my stance on the subject, she ran back to her page and had to immediately post about it. I'm sorry, how fucking immature are you? You want to be an author, grow the fuck up. If this is how she acts when someone denies to accept her "Like for a Like" attempt, I fear for the day she gets her first bad review. 

Now, let's be honest, I could have accepted the Like, said nothing, and just not Liked her back. I chose instead to respond to what was obviously her game in the interests of being honest and straight-forward. The fact that she promptly un-liked my page only further proves what the aim was. She is the one who viewed that as some kind of attack and personal judgement. If anyone wants to point out how any sane person could view my initial reply as a personal attack, feel free.

Seriously, some people...

~ Shaun 

Addendum #1: If you want to talk about networking, ok. If you go carpet-bombing, you might get lucky and hit a few targets, but with today's technology and search engines, it's not that hard to find like-minded people, blogs and websites. Who knows, even if it's a little extra work, it might even be a better use of your time. So shit like this doesn't happen. After all, there's a very good reason a rocket scientist doesn't go to a Peanut convention to network.

Addendum #2: Yes. Going off like this doesn't exactly paint me in a much better light than it does her. But after all this BS today, I just wanted to get it off my chest and it gave me the opportunity to publicly state my opinion on Like for a Like. Which is, I won't do it. Not here, not on Facebook, and not on Twitter.

Addendum #3: People want to talk about giving away "Likes" like it's the only way to show support. I'm sorry, I didn't know your giving away "Likes" to people ranks right up there with giving tips on how to format for Kindle, explanations on the importance of editing, and how you shouldn't let worries about originality get you down, with regards to how much you support your fellow authors.

So bite me.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rewards and News.

Hi everyone. So, today, rather than going into a long and boring tirade about any one subject in specific, I have several things I want to share with you all. And yes, all of them will probably have links to check out when you're done here. Or maybe before you go through everything here.

There should be none of these.

It was a good weekend for my book Class 5. I offered it up for reviews to a handful of websites and bloggers over the past month and this weekend I got two rewards for my efforts. First, on Saturday, was this recommendation for my book and me from
"Scary creatures going bump in the night...yes please! Class 5 brings fright to a quiet desert town and to all of its readers. While Shaun Horton isn't on the map of well known authors of the horror genre yet, we have a feeling he will be one day!"-Surprise-a-book Club Critics
Then on Sunday a review went up on the Ravenous Reads website, which you can read here.  In addition, it went on the to-read list of another review blog, The Bookie-Monster. If any of you, my visitors, are interested, Bookie-Monster is currently looking for people to help with reviewing so check out the website and apply if you are so inclined.

So now that I've posted a few things for readers, how about a few things for writers? I've found an anthology and a contest which are both open for submissions at the moment. I plan on working out a few pieces for each of these, so feel free to join in the fun.

The Anthology is being put out by Great Old Ones Publishing, who earlier this year released a collection titled Canopic Jars: Tales of Mummies and Mummification. The new book is tentatively called Bugs and Creepy-Crawlies, and is looking for works between 3 - 6,000 words featuring just about any kind of bugs you can think of. Though i don't think they're going to take anything about your annoying little brother. Check Here for more information on this opportunity. Better get cracking though, submissions close January 31st.

The other opportunity, if you live in the Seattle area, is that the writing contest for Crypticon Seattle 2014 is now open. They are taking anything between 500 - 10,000 words and are even accepting graphic novel submissions this year. They encourage writers of any skill level to submit and you can find more information here. My own short story "On Tonight's Edition" was an honorable mention last year and should be part of another short story collection of my own by the end of 2014 (since it's a little late to do by the end of 2013).

Last but definitely not least, I leave you with this. Brand new as of this morning.

Just don't offer him tuna.

~ Shaun

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Reading list: 2013

As I've mentioned previous, reading is something I slacked off on a lot in the years prior to this one. It's not that I don't like to read or anything like that, I just found I didn't really want to make time for it, preferring video games and the internet over such pursuits.

This past year though, I've started to make up for it. Reading more books in 10 months than I did the entire 10 years previously. I've already talked about some of the best of them. With the end of the year creeping up, though, and people starting to do their "best of 2013" lists, I thought I would go ahead and share the full list, along with which ones I recommend, and which ones I don't.

Now, before I start, there are two books which I will admit that I started, but never finished. Pines by Blake Crouch, and Crogian by John Leahy. Personally speaking, I would not recommend either one, but my main issues with these books are the story-lines and the way they are presented. People that can look beyond such concerns may enjoy these. Still, I suggest paying for either one at your own risk.

  • I started the year with Afraid by Jack Kilborn, AKA J.A. Konrath. Now, I will never stop singing the praises of Mr. Konrath and the advice and information he puts up on his blog. I don't think this was really one of his strongest works though. It is good, no doubt, but in the realm of horror, it falls more on the side of the gore and slasher sub-genre than being truly suspenseful. It also lost a point from me for disbelief at one event. If gore, human-on-human violence and torture-porn is your thing, you'll probably love this. Three stars. 

  • After being a little disappointed by Afraid, I still wasn't ready to give up on Konrath so I picked up his book Origin. This was a much stronger work. More along the lines of suspense, while still giving you a healthy dose of gore. It's sci-fi/horror, but easily one of the most original stories I've seen in a long time. A few parts felt like filler, but they didn't detract from the main story and the twists and turns keep coming right up to an ending which begs for more. Four stars out of five.

  • Next was The Jigsaw Man by Gord Rollo. This is a modern take the the tale of Frankenstein and is a medical suspense horror. This was a hard book for me to get through. Medical issues aren't really interesting to me in just words. I also felt like far too much time was spent trying to build up and explain what was going on, leading to a surprisingly short action sequence and a final ending which was less than satisfying. If you like medical-intensive stories though, you'll probably enjoy this more than I did. Two stars. 

  • Taking a little break from fiction, I picked up a book I'd eyed before. Wisdom from the Batcave by Cary Friedman. This is basically Chicken Soup for the Soul, but every story is lifted from the fictional life of Bruce Wayne/Batman, with explanations of how we can take lessons from such events and apply them to our real lives. As a huge fan of Batman and having enjoyed some of the Chicken Soup books in the past, I probably enjoyed this a bit more than I should have, still, I would definitely recommend it for those curious. Five stars.

  • Turner by Karl Drinkwater. This book currently has 4.16 stars out of 5 on Goodreads with 37 ratings, and it absolutely deserves it. This has a bit of everything, from suspense, to gore, to medical, supernatural, and psychological horrors. Many parts of the book will make you think of such greats as Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and even Poe. It pays homage to the many horror stories which have come before it, while presenting itself as an original work, expertly told. Another book I would highly recommend to anyone with an interest in horror. Five stars. 

  • The Haunted Halls: Volume One by Glenn Rolfe. I must admit I've only read volume one and we're currently up to four. Volume one is a very good start, though, reminiscent of James Herbert's The Fog and a slight reminder of Stephen King's The Shining. If I kept up on the volumes, I would probably rate this higher, but as a stand-alone work, this is merely setting the scene for what is to come later and while it stands alright on its own, you do have to wonder why the author is taking the serial route with this work. Three stars.

  • A Plague of Dreams by John Gregory Hancock. The main problem with short story collections is that, by their nature, you'll get some hits and some misses. This is no exception, with some stories that I loved, some I didn't care for, and the majority that I liked, but I didn't think were anything special. Still, as far as collections go, this is a good one, most stories are just right for the ride along to work or while you're waiting in line somewhere. You could certainly do worse than this, that's for sure. Three stars. 

  • The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. There's a reason this book has stood the test of time. It is legitimately one of the best horror books ever written. That being said, I had a few issues with it. You can tell it was written in a different time, as the pace is much slower than most books you'll find these days. In addition, a lot of the scenes, while they remain unnerving and frightening, are almost tame by today's standards. The Exorcist will always remain a classic, joining the ranks of Frankenstein and Dracula as THE book of demonic possession. Three stars.

  • Storm Front by Jim Butcher. The first book in the Dresden Files series is just about everything you would want the first book in a series to be. It establishes the characters, the setting, and the rules they live by. That being said, there is nothing really remarkable here. While I think Butcher can claim to be at the forefront of the modern fantasy movement with this series, I've never been particularly drawn in by the sub-genre. This was an entertaining read, but not much else. Three stars.

  • The Fog by James Herbert. James Herbert passed away earlier this year and a group I joined chose this book to read in honor of him. The Fog is supposed to be one of his best works, and it is a good horror novel. My only issue with the novel is that the main story itself is only between 50-60% of the book. The rest is visceral action scenes of violence, blood, and gore as its namesake travels the countryside. There are several truly disturbing episodes in it that would probably make less squeamish people close the book and walk away, but this is a good read nonetheless. Three stars.

  • The Wildman by Rick Hautala. This book was not what I expected. Another book chosen to honor an author who recently passed, it was picked in a group focused on horror and this novel is an action/mystery/thriller. Even with that in mind, it is poorly written and very loosely plotted. Several questions, including the one that you start the story with are never answered at all, and a lot of the book is overly-detailed and redundant. You feel like one of the group, a bunch of people just trying to reconnect after years of silence, occasionally bringing people up to date on your life, and occasionally reminiscing over the past in an almost random pattern. The rest of the time, it's just awkward. One star.

  • Worm by Tim Curran. This book is just fun. Not an intricate plot to follow. No worries about explaining where things come from or why. Just a nice little action/horror story with several vignettes showing how some people eat it. Or get eaten. Both, actually. Don't come here looking for something deep, suspenseful or that's going to keep you awake. This is just good entertainment. Three stars. 

  • Hell House by Richard Matheson. As The Exorcist is to possession stories, Hell House is for haunted houses. One of the oldest books on the subject, it brings you right in with the characters as they figure out, explain, and experience what the house has been used for. You can't help be feel the trepidation as they enter it and explore. This is another classic, which I should feel ashamed for not having read sooner. If you have a house older than twenty years, this book will probably reach in and keep you up at night. Four stars.

  • That Which Should Not Be by Brett Talley. This is his first novel, and it's already been offered up for a Bram Stoker Award. It is very well deserved. As a fan of H.P. Lovecraft, it is very difficult to find people who can properly continue the Lovecraft mythos with the proper ability and respect. Mr. Talley does it all in a way that I think even Lovecraft himself would have appreciated. This is one of the books that reiterates and gets stuck in your head the idea that there are more things in Heaven and on Earth than are dreamt of in philosophy. If you're not already a fan, this may not be as good for you, but if you're a fan of Cthulhu, you'll love this. Five stars.

  • A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson. Most people will know this based on the movie starring Kevin Bacon. Honestly, I haven't seen it. For most of the book, I really didn't know what was going to happen. It was slow and boring until the last 30% or so, when an actually story-line appears. To a degree, this book is similar to Carrie, in that it looks more at living with psychic powers than following a set plot and the horror only occurs when other people make problems of themselves. Two stars. 

  • Below by Ryan Lockwood. I guessed what this book was about just by the cover, and that may be why it didn't have much of an effect on me. A lot of what this book explains were things I'm already aware of and taking the predator's point of view when they're really just animals doesn't add a lot to the story. As a book that was touted as the next Jaws, it falls woefully short to me. I would say it's closer to Sharknado than Jaws. Two stars.

  • Fool Moon by Jim Butcher. Book two of the Dresden Files. The further adventures builds on what was laid down in the first book. This book is a good example of a writer that knows how to do research, how to use that research, and how to impart that information to the reader without a boring information dump. Again, though, there is nothing really here to elevate this into anything more than an entertaining read. Three stars.

  • Pavlov's Dogs by D.L. Snell and Thom Brannan. Werewolves vs. Zombies. A great idea, but I felt it was rather sub-par execution. I was confused for a fair bit of the book about who exactly was supposed to be the main characters. I also found the writing fairly simple and a few spots in the book occur without any real explanation as to why. The grand finale also included a sudden twist of character which seemed completely out of place given what we had previously been told. It still manages to be entertaining, but given the premise, I was hoping for better. Two stars. 

  • The Descent by Jeff Long. I've heard this touted as one of the best "hollow Earth" stories ever written. I may avoid similar works in the future if this is true. To be fair, it is a good book, which keeps you interested through most of the work. My only real complaint is that the book takes place over a year, and at times it really feels like it. I found myself not being very willing to pick it back up close to the end, despite being interested in the story. Three stars. 

  • The Shining by Stephen King . Yeah, I know, how dare I call myself a horror fan and author without having this read by the time I was ten. This is THE haunted house book. A haunted hotel, a man's decent into madness and possession until he finally turns on those closest to him, and a young boy with a special gift all combine to make this a book which will keep you up at night and leave images in your mind for months and even years afterward. If you're a horror fan, you read this book eventually. Period. Five stars. 

There you have it. 20 books over the course of the year. I could probably have managed more, but the last few months it's been hard to find anymore interest in reading among the other draws on my time. Are there any books I rated that you disagree with? Or agree with? Or maybe you just want to throw a shoe at me. Do so in the comments. 

Also, if you've enjoyed my posts over the year, hit the top right corner and leave your email. I promise, it's easier to get an email when I do a new post than to search my blog up every week. 

Thanks for stopping by and keeping up over the year. Happy Holidays! 

~ Shaun