Sunday, July 15, 2012

Wine and The Woods

Wine and The Woods
By Leslie D. Soule

  These two things seem incongruous at first - a glass of wine, and a forest setting. Yet these images are often invoked side-by-side. Pinot Noir has a flavor that is supposed to be reminiscent of the forest, for example. Well, yesterday while shopping at Big Lots (my new favorite store since I acquired my house) I looked through the wine aisle. I'd perused a Wine for Dummies book a while back and remembered what it had to say about choosing wine - that price has very little to do with quality, and to choose simply by taste.

  Since my Fallenwood books take place in a forest setting much of the time, when I saw the bottle of Forestville 2011 Malbec for only four dollars, I knew I had to have it.

  Peter Mayle wrote an excellent book titled A Good Year, which was then made into a movie starring Russell Crowe and which is, to date, my favorite chick flick. Well in the book, a wine class takes place, and the students compare the wine to "...everything, in essence, except grapes." So I shall try this exercise, and say that the wine has a bold, fruit flavor with notes of cinnamon and tastes like it would pair well with brie. It also tastes like something I'd be pleased to drink as I sit around a campfire, telling stories to a band of elves.

(Here we see Elrond, Lord of Rivendell, about to get his drink on...)

  Make of that what you will. This wine gets my stamp of approval. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I am the Unicorn. Death to the Crown!

I originally wrote this article for an Empire that rejected it when they saw what it was and that it didn't contain cold vagueries. Enjoy! Rally with your heart and keep the Empire away from the treasure you hold within.

Travel Affordably - Stay in a Hostel!

By Leslie D. Soule

   Did you know that Sacramento has a hostel? Run by Hostelling International, a non-profit organization, the Sacramento hostel is located on H and 10th streets, downtown. It's a huge Victorian mansion. So what is a hostel? Even though they are commonly referred to as "youth hostels", people of various agre groups stay in them. For around $30 a night, you can get a bunk in a shared dorm room. Hostels have common kitchen/eating areas and lounges as well, so if you're in a particularly social mood, they are a good place to socialize with fellow travelers. In the hostels, men and women have separate dorms, with locked doors that you need a combination in order to get into. Some of them have places to store valuables, but I usually keep mine on my bunk when I visit a hostel. My first stay was at the Point Montara Lighthouse hostel. I was wary of staying in hostels at first, due to the bad publicity they've gotten from Hollywood in recent years. However, my sister showed me photos of the lighthouse hostel and I was instantly smitten with its charm, promising myself that I'd go if I felt like I needed to get away somewhere and relax for a while.

  At the Point Montara Lighthouse hostel, I met a young German woman who was backpacking through California, much the way Americans backpack through Europe. She needed a ride to Sacramento, and asked if I could drop her off at the hostel downtown. That's when I got a glimpse of our Victorian mansion hostel.
  However, there was a second hostel that I visited before I checked out the one here in Sacramento. I'd been wanting to go to Portland. When I got to Portland, the hostel itself wasn't anything spectacular, but the street it was on was perfect for exploring - Hawthorne street, full of interesting little shops and restaurants. I went to the hostel's Game Night, at a pizza place called Vincente's, not knowing whether anyone else would be there or not. When I got there, I met a whole group of Canadians and ended up playing Apples to Apples and learning about Canada. This was definitely a fun experience that I wouldn't have gotten by staying in a hotel.

  Well, the rules of travel state that you're not supposed to stay in the hostel located in your home city. However, I was again stressed out when I was in the process of buying a home. I couldn't leave Sacramento, in case something came up, but I desperately wanted to get away - or at least feel like I was getting away for a while. So I talked the people working at the Sacramento Hostel into letting me stay for a week, even though I live here. During my stay, I talked to one of the workers, who told me that the Sacramento hostel was his favorite one. I asked him, "They're not paying you to say that, are they?" He said no.

  At the Sacramento hostel, I awoke and helped myself to a free breakfast of an apple and an English muffin with cream cheese, and tea. I finished reading a book I'd been reading as I lounged in a Victorian living room, imagining what it would be like to own such a lavish house, back in Victorian days.

  In closing, hostels aren't nearly as scary as movies make them out to be, and they offer unique travel experiences for those traveling on a budget. So if you visit one, you just might enjoy the experience.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tip of the Day - How To Overcome Writer's Block

So I found myself at an impasse while writing a scene. I wanted to write, but my brain didn't. I had the writer's curse - Writer's Block.

A strange and yet effective remedy I found was just to write out whatever crazyness came to my head and get it out of my system. It worked. Everything I wrote after the crazy paragraph was just fine and completely in keeping with the storyline. But it was just like my brain needed to mess around a bit.

Anyway, for your enjoyment, here's the sillyness that I ended up free-writing to get the juices flowing again:

Note: This will NOT appear in Fallenwood II.

     Ash was already beginning to form a plot for how she'd kill Malegaunt and his goons. She'd kill all the crystal dragons too, in a bloodbath of epic proportions in her own quest for more power. Step one involved breeding a super stealthy kind of wyvern that shoots lasers from its eyeballs and spits poison like a spitting cobra. Who needed a black unicorn? Not Ash. She'd have an army of spitting wyverns who only ate bananas and cried blood for the fallen. They ate their own kind. They ate things foreign and domestic. They ate things that could talk, as well as things that could not talk. Hell, they ate everything.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Flash Fiction Entry for this year's SN&R Contest

So the Sacramento News & Review runs its Flash Fiction contest every year. The idea is to write a story in 150 words or less, and include all the things a story has to have - characters, action, etc.

My entry for this year is called The Pursuit of Happiness. It is below:

The Pursuit of Happiness
By Leslie Soule
The wax dummy fooled everyone, and Elvis read his own obituary in the newspaper. He’d decided to leave fame – that cruel, false friend, and it required cunning, but he had a plan – to hide in plain sight, impersonating himself for the rest of his days. Fame had taken him to Heartbreak Hotel, and to combat the pain, he’d give a new life a try and help people get married. He put on his sunglasses to hide his eyes from the glare of lights all around him – no longer stage lights, but the neon that surrounded him in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Fallenwood Blog Tour!

The Fallenwood blog tour kicks off on January 16th!

Please drop in if you have a moment. Commenting could win you a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!