Tag Archives: twilight

Caught in the Smex Beam

I think it is fair to say that in PNR/UF novels, there are a few things that are expected and accepted:

  1. The hero will be gorgeous and well hung.
  2. The heroine will be attractive, smart, perhaps funny, but most of all likeable and relatable to the reader.
  3. The story will have elements that drag us in, besides the two pretty people it centers on, and transport us to another reality.
  4. The hero and heroine will be irrevocably caught in the Smex Beam.

“What exactly is a Smex Beam, Captain?” you ask.  Ha ha, fear not reader.  Your Captain is here to offer guidance and instruction.

The Smex Beam is the magic that exists the first time our fated lovers meet and never lets go.  They may be engaged in a fight to the death (perhaps with each other), they may be walking down the street contemplating quantum physics, they could even be falling out of a dressing room while trying on too tight jeans.  The point, young paduan, is that when it hits, the Smex Beam obliterates everything else.

Suddenly, there is no one else on the planet that holds any interest for our couple. No matter how much they may fight it, no matter the obstacles, which can include and are not limited to: zombies, vampires, werewolves, assorted fey creatures, car accidents, gun battles, psychic attack, old lovers, fear of commitment, fear of her mother, fear of his mother, paralysis, demons, magic spells gone wrong, angry gods/goddesses, being sucked into another dimension, differences in species, ancient prophecies…….

It. just.doesn’t. matter.  The Smex Beam conquers all.

When you are in its sights, there is no escape. Cupid wishes his arrows worked this well.   Star Trek’s tractor beam? Heh! Old news, old tech.  Captain Kirk wishes he could have had this on the Enterprise. (As if the guy wasn’t already busy enough with all those hot alien chicks.  Just sayin’.)

We readers love it. Every tension-filled scintillating moment, every hungry look and heat-filled glance at our hero’s amazing pack – ahem- pecs,  every time one or the other tries to escape its clutches, we come screaming back for more.  It helps drive the story and plot arc, keeps us turning pages at a break neck pace, reading until our eyes burn and our chin is resting on our chests.  We have to know, will they make it out together?  Will our couple realize their amazing gift of love and unending lust as bestowed by the Smex Beam?

But of course!  This is romance, silly!  The Smex Beam doesn’t make mistakes, and while occasionally we may think someone has managed to slip its sticky tentacles and go running down the side of a ravine, they are always dragged back, lamenting their own stupidity.

What, you want evidence?  Examples, you say, of these lusty lovers caught in the inescapable clutches of true love and exceedingly good sex?  No problem, here’s a little list of my favorites:

1) Edward and Bella, the Twilight Saga.   Sure, he’s a hundred something year old vampire who reads minds, eats mountain lions, and is condemned to high school hell for eternity.  She’s the clumsy, too perfect daughter of the town sheriff with blood that smells so delectable Edward can’t stop obsessing over how he’s NOT going to eat her.  He runs off to Italy to try to save her soul, she jumps off a cliff and hangs with his sworn enemies, a bunch of stinky dog smelling  shape shifters.  His skin may be freezing cold, but that doesn’t stop them from gettin’ down and dirty in the ocean off a little island named after Edward’s pseudo-mom.  With marriage comes a baby who doesn’t need a carriage but an iron crib and a newly transformed wife who won’t ever die and doesn’t need sleep.  What do they do with all that free time at night?  Hmm, let me think…..

2) Cat and Bones, the Night Huntress Series.  Cat’s an uber hot red head born to a mom convinced her half breed daughter is mostly evil.  Bones is a two hundred plus year old vamp that spent his human years earning his keep on top of, under, next to, well, just inside a bunch of aristocratic British bitches before he got shipped to a penal colony for putting his hands where they didn’t belong.  Add some silver knives, sexual tension you can’t cut with a Sawz-All, a smokin’ hot hero who is incredibly open with his feelings, a sexually repressed heroine you just love to root for, witty banter and action sequences so slick and tight your heart beats almost as hard as during the sex scenes, and it just can’t be denied that these two are definitely in the direct path of the S.B.

3) Clay and Elena, Women of the Otherworld.  Clay is the Enforcer of the North American Pack, Elena is his lady love, mate and wife.  These two had such a strange and rocky start to their story with Elena taking off and Clayton quietly stalking her from afar (the issues are heavy and myriad, both had difficult childhoods – actually that may underplay it, but you’ll have to read the books if you want to know) that the angst was almost unbearable.  Clay is no angel, and a reader can’t help but understand his lady love’s anger and bad attitude, but his single minded determination and focus are in the end some of his best qualities. Well, that and his unswerving devotion to tough as nails Elena.  Clay is so physically attractive as to be almost unbelievable, but he has eyes only for Elena, no slouch in the looks department herself.  Last I checked in with these two, they were living the PNR/UF dream with minimal death threats, a healthy pack and great sex life.

4) Mercy Thompson and Adam Hauptman, Mercy Thompson Series.  This series is more urban fantasy that paranormal romance, but I beg you to give it a look-see.  There is sex, yes, but it is not graphic and the romance is not the main arc of the plot, but it is so well written and paced that you’re rooting for these two from book one.  Mercy is a shape shifting coyote, Adam is the super powerful and incredibly sexy alpha of the Columbia Basin Pack.  These two engage is some really funny contests of wills that involve, among other things, a cat named Medea, a broken down Volkswagen Rabbit, and pancakes.  Mercy tries to consciously run from Adam while her subconscious is just pulling her in closer all the time courtesy of the Smex Beam.  She may be dodging rogue spells cast by angry Fey, trying not be a vampire snack and confused (at first) by her feelings for her first love Sam, but she is inevitably and quite happily conquered by the unstoppable force of the Beam and the drowning chocolate brown of a certain alpha werewolf’s eyes. (The bod attached to those eyes is certainly a bonus….)

5) The hellren and shellans of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.  A series that is running strong nine (or is it ten?) books in, a girl can’t stop rooting for these couples.  The danger, the sex, the passion of a mated male, the sex, the unswerving devotion in the face of danger, the sex, the shit kicker boots and leather, the sex……

These guys and gals overcome bodily injury and constant peril to be together.  They battle their sworn enemies the lessers, train endlessly, fight personal demons, and fight obstacles that seem insurmountable to be together.  What other explanation could there be than the Smex Beam?  Who would go through the nonsense that the universe throws at these people for nothing but a good lay?  No, there is more at work here to cause the levels of love, devotion, respect, and downright horniness these people feel for each other.

“But Captain”, you ask, “just where did the Smex Beam come from? Who, in all their infinite wisdom and intelligence invented the Smex Beam?”

That, dear reader is a topic for another post.  I will however, give you her initials.

G.O.E.

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Fangtastic Friday: Twilight-inspired artwork & comic by Mangled Stare

This month, Austin comic artist Will Rodriguez celebrates the 10-year anniversary of his quirky web comic Mangled Stare, a dedicated accomplishment in today’s fickle entertainment market.  The Mighty Mangler may be the brain and brush behind MS, but he’s quick to give credit to his family for the handy supply of situational humor and for the occasional coloring assistance of his junior-graphic-artists-in-training.  When asked about awards and honors earned by Mangled Stare, Will said…

Aside from the praise and admiration of my family, no other awards really carry the same priority or worth. ^_^ (Though, I don’t mind mentioning that I have held the Chipotle Chowdown Champion title at each convention I’ve attended in the last 6 years.)

Aww.  And, congratulations… I think?  *wink*  Earlier this month, MS published a comic that Twilight fans everywhere, especially the significant others of TwiFans, will appreciate…

Psst – click to make it bigger and open in a new window!

Q&A with the Mighty Mangler!

From the comic, it’s clear that your honey is staunchly Team Jacob.  How do you feel about all the Twilight hype?

You’d never know if not for  her “Team Jacob” tshirt, keychain, posters, or bumper stickers, huh? Yes, my wife is extremely Team Jacob. I think Stephanie Meyers took a genre and turned it on its ear. She spun a story that built a very strong and dedicated fan-base and I applaud her for that.

So you visited Forks on your Spring Break… how exactly did she talk you into that? (hopeful TwiFans everywhere are holding their breath…)

She smiled and asked me in her sweetest girlie voice. >_< We were planning a road-trip and since I’d never seen the Pacific Ocean, I agreed that a drive to the west coast would be fun for the whole family. Besides, my wife supports my artistic endeavors and other geeky obsessions so it’s only fair that I support hers.

Did you enjoy the trip?  What did you like best about it?

Well, we all had a fantastic time. The drive from Texas to Washington is a beautiful one. Utah was just breath-taking and the Quileute Reservation was humbling to visit. The best part of the trip, though, was when we surprised my wife by telling her that we were staying in the “Jacob Cabin” right on the treaty line, from the books. The entire cabin was Twilight-themed and each of the rooms was named after a member of the Black clan. We had the entire cabin to ourselves and made use of that fact with all of our children.

Do you have any advice for fellow TwiFan significant others?

Unless you have a significant other who enjoys a battle, fake it! Even if you think vampires should be fanged, stone-cold murderers, pretend to like it or, if nothing else, don’t bad-mouth a Twihard or their stories. Play your cards right and you’ll reap all the benefits of his or her Twilight addiction. ^_-

Can we look forward to any other Twilight-inspired comics in the near future?  (Breaking Dawn is coming!  *nudge nudge*)

My wife is counting down the minutes until the first part of Breaking Dawn releases! If she has any say in the matter (and she nearly always does), I can guarantee plenty more Twilight humor from Mangled Stare.

How did you get started in comics and what have you done to keep yourself motivated all these years?

When my wife told me she was pregnant with our first child, I knew that my childhood dream of becoming a cartoonist had no better springboard than the milestone of parenthood. I wanted to be able to leave a legacy for my children and show them that any of their dreams were achievable. Their praise and the continued support of my wife and readers, in addition to my love of cartooning and making folks laugh, make motivation easy. Ten years-easy, as a matter of fact!

Do you have any goals or plans (besides world domination, of course) for Mangled Stare that you’re excited about?

World domination comes with WAY too much responsibility! Keeping my three kiddos in line is enough for me, thanks. I am working on a graphic novel with a great friend of mine which will serve as a sort of precursor to Mangled Stare. I’m also working on some other stories I’ve been dying to tell since high school through animated cartoons as well as future graphic novels.

What advice would you give to young artists just starting out in the industry?

Be true to your craft. Never “settle” or compromise your passions for creativity in the attempt to “succeed.” Hone your craft and never stop learning. Art is organic and dynamic, so you should never stagnate your style. Draw something every day; anything! Just keep drawing. Accept constructive critisism and avoid being defensive; art is subjective.

And finally (no, you can’t skip this one!), declare your Twilight “Team”!

Well, if I have to choose, I guess I’m team Alice, though I’ve always had an affinity for werewolves over vampires, just because shapeshifting is cooler than drinking blood…

Pfft, blasphemy (from the GT Team Edward corner)!  Thanks to Will Rodriguez from Mangled Stare for allowing GT to pepper him with Twilight fangirl-type questions and feature his work.  =)  Best of luck and we hope to see many future Twilight-inspired MS comic strips!

Related links:

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QwoW, August 2011: “How are you today?”

This month’s Quileute Word of the Month on Wednesday is…

Quileute Word of the Month on Wednesdays

To get the Quileute Word on Wednesdays mailed directly to your inbox, subscribe here.  For more information on the Twilight Tours in Forks tour company, check out their website.  To see my GraveTells writeup about my Twilight Tours experience, go here!

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QwoW: Quileute Word of the Month on Wednesdays starts next week!

Twilight fans everywhere should recognize this documentary-friendly tour company logo from a little town called Forks.  One of my favorite parts of the Twilight in Forks tour was the Quileute language lessons, led by Travis while the bus travelled around La Push.  Travis is making an effort to learn the Quileute language and customs, and publishes one Quileute word each Wednesday through the Twilight Tours in Forks newsletter.  There are multiple types of subscriptions you can choose from (Quileute Words only, Newsletter only, Words + Newsletter, etc), and Twilight Tours donates 1/4 of their profits from each subscription to the Quileute Nation.

During my tour, I asked Travis if he minded if I shared one of the Words each month with my blog readers, and he replied that the purpose of the Words publication was to spread knowledge and understanding of the Quileute Nation and language, so it would be selfish not to take the chance to help spread the word (literally).  So as not to take advantage of Travis and Twilight Tours’ generosity, I’m only publishing one Word each month, on the first Wednesday.  If you want to get a weekly Word, subscribe here directly with Twilight Tours in Forks!  The first GraveTells Quileute Word of the Month on Wednesdays starts next week, so look for it in your reader!

For more information on the Twilight Tours in Forks tour company, check out their website.  To see my GraveTells writeup about my Twilight Tours experience, go here!

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Forks Week: Feed your soul at the Misty Valley Inn Bed & Breakfast

As The Twilight Saga: Eclipse dominated the MTV Movie Awards, demolishing competitors with its mega-fan power, I was relaxing at my local Forks, WA B&B, recovering from a two week vacation binge that culminated in the sleepy little town where it all started.  Relaxing in the quaint and homey Misty Valley Inn’s media room, I felt fortunate to be able to watch Eclipse win the award for Best Movie and to see the world premiere of the new Breaking Dawn trailer while actually in Forks.  As you can imagine, that was a pretty surreal experience.  By now, the MTV Movie Awards are old news, but I will always treasure the time I spent at the Misty Valley Inn Bed & Breakfast.

   

The Rooms

The Misty Valley Inn offers a selection of 4 rooms, each with its own private bath and at least a queen-sized bed: The Dutch Room, The Irish Room, The French Room, and the English Room.  All of the rooms are immaculately kept and are beautifully decorated for your arrival, including an elegant spread of faux rose petals and glass rocks on the bed, and a covered presentation dish offering 2 petite bon bons to snack on.
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We stayed in the Dutch Room, the only one that offers a rear-view of the yard (wiith a semi-private porch, allowing direct access to the outdoor breakfast area) and a king-sized bed.  This room will cost you a little extra, but it is well worth it!

The Breakfast

Upon arrival, as soon as you’ve set your bags in your room, one of the inn’s genial hosts gives you the tour and then takes your wake-up call and breakfast orders.  The list of wake-up tray beverages is impressive, featuring a delicious raspberry hot chocolate and a vast selection of tea, and the breakfast offerings are even more enticing, including pastry delicacies such as soufflés and crepes.  Your wake-up tray is left at the door with a stout knock (alarm clocks are discouraged at this B&B), allowing you to enjoy your morning beverage of choice at your leisure.  Be sure to read your daily weather forecast, presented on handsome, handmade, scrapbook-worthy cards.

Then, once you’ve woken up and it’s time for breakfast, you head out to the dining area.  On nice days, as we were fortunate enough to enjoy during our stay, you can choose to sit outside on the deck facing the beautiful meadow out back or you can sit at the elegant table set in front of a large panoramic window showcasing the view from the dining room.  The inn offers a selection of desserts 24 hours a day, available on a side board in the dining room, but try not to get too distracted by the chocolate raspberry cake, key lime bars, and chocolate chip brownies, because the biggest, most scrumptious breakfast event of your life is about to take place!

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Breakfast starts with an appetizer (yes, seriously) of a spiced fruit and a pastry of some sort.  The first morning we had spiced peaches with cream and a scone with jam, and the second we enjoyed spiced pears and fall-apart triple-berry muffins, with your choice of juices, coffee, tea, water, or chocolate… all served on elegant china with stemware.  Again, make an effort to restrain yourself (because all of this is truly delicious) as your real meal hasn’t yet arrived!  For breakfast, here are the dishes they were offering during our stay…
  • Irish Waffles: Pecan or walnut waffles with whipped cream and hot orange syrup
  • Northwest Apple Soufflé: Shaved Granny Smith apples and whipped eggs with nutmeg, allspice, and cloves, served with spiced apple syrup
  • Old Fashioned French Toast: Dried French bread soaked in custard and baked until puffy, served with hot maple syrup
  • Logger Pancakes: Blueberry, Triple Berry, Oatmeal, Walnut, Pecan, or any combination, served with hot apple, orange, or maple syrup
  • Fresh Strawberry Crepe: Hand-sliced strawberries and whipped cream in an ultra-thin crepe
  • Moroccan Omelet: Thin sliced mushrooms sauteed with butter, onions, and 7 Arabic spices (that are “tasty, not hot”), placed on a very thin egg case with white cheddar cheese, and topped with béchamel sauce

So how did it taste?  Well, first let me say that it looked heavenly, and tasted divine!  The first morning, we selected the french toast and waffles and were both very pleased with our food.  The second morning, we chose the soufflé and crepe.  These portions are LARGE!  We could have shared a plate and still had food left over!  The presentation was wonderful, with the china and doilies and cloth napkins and traditional teapot, and the view was breath-taking.

To complete this amazing breakfast experience, the inn also fosters a menagerie of wildlife that is tame enough to come within several feet of guests.  The chipmunks squeek and feed while the hummingbirds zoom from feeder to feeder and the bluejays flit from railing to roof.  If you’re lucky, you might even see some elk in the meadow.

The Hospitality

The hospitality at the Misty Valley Inn is impeccable.  We came in very late (after midnight) and I felt terrible because I knew that even though a B&B is a business, it’s also someone’s home.  When I called ahead to check what time was too late for arrival, the owner was very friendly and encouraged me to continue with my plans and enjoy my time in the area.  She even recommended a few things we could do while we were waiting for our Bella Italia reservation slot.  When we arrived at nearly midnight, there was still one other couple expected that evening, and the man who greeted us (the other owner) was incredibly welcoming and unassuming.  They will help you with pretty much anything you need, whether it’s deciding where to eat or getting directions, or meeting a personal need such as a pitcher of water in your room at night… all you need to do is ask!

The Grounds

The Misty Valley Inn is located literally just off the  highway, about 2 miles outside of Forks.  Cozily hidden behind a small thatch of trees that shelter it from highway noise and visual pollution, the inn’s real charm is its backyard view.  We toured many places in the Pacific Northwest during our two week trip, but this location remains my absolute favorite (even over a Gold Crown resort we stayed at in Blaine!).  The house itself is two levels, with the top (and best views) being dedicated solely to the B&B and the bottom floor functioning as living quarters for the staff.  The deck runs the entire length of the back of the house and wraps around one side and across the front all the way to the double-doored entry.  If you read the description of the Cullen house on page 86 of The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide, the description narrated by Bella of the location and appearance of the Cullen House is more appropriate to the Misty Valley Inn than to the bed and breakfast that was chosen as the “official” Cullen house in Forks.

A colorful and well-kept garden decorates the center of the back lawn and a tranquility water garden adorns the area just below the Dutch Room’s private deck, allowing visitors in that corner of the house to enjoy the peaceful sound of running water all night long.  The lawn itself spills into the adjacent meadow, which resembles a lush, mature Christmas tree farm.  I hear there are elk that play and graze in the meadow, but we never had the chance to see them.  One of my favorite features is the hot tub, located under the back deck, that looks out over the meadow.  With such long summer days, I was able to relax in the steaming water until nearly 10pm before retiring for the evening.  My sweetie was craving some puppy-love after 2 weeks away from his little guys, so he enjoyed playing with the inn’s 2 dogs, Mya and Mo.

The Bottom Line

The cost of the stay at the Misty Valley Inn may be restrictive for some travellers, but it is not overly expensive considering all the amenities and courtesies it offers.  In fact, many of the standard motels inside Forks charge nearly as much and offer much much less in return.  If I ever return to the Forks area, this is where I will stay, bar none.  Even if I stay for a week!  I honestly did not want to leave, and trust me when I say that Forks itself is not entertaining enough for me to normally consider spending a week in.  *wink*

Misty Valley Inn: (877) 374-9389

If you are planning a trip to Forks or are just looking for a relaxing, scenic getaway, GO NOW and book your room at the Misty Valley Inn Bed & Breakfast!  Having won numerous awards from BedandBreakfast.com and  ranked #1 in Forks on TripAdvisor, you can’t go wrong with a stay at this charming little home-away-from-home.  Check out their website below the awards photo above.  You can check availability and make reservations online or via phone.

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Forks Week: A Tour of Forks with Twilight Tours

When you think of Forks, WA, assuming you know what a very small and relatively uneventful town it is, the first activity that comes to mind is probably not a paid tour.  What can there possibly be to tour? you might ask.  I decided to give it a go and see what all the fuss was about.  Having seen the Twilight Tours In Forks company on the Twilight In Forks documentary, and after hearing first-hand from some friends what a great experience it was, I signed up my sweetie and me for an afternoon tour and dragged him reluctantly along (with him emphatically announcing to everyone we passed that he was “Team Switzerland”).  Surprisingly, Twilight Tours (originally owned by the Dazzled By Twilight store), is not the only tour company in the tiny town, although it is the original.  Team Forks, affiliated with Lapelles Flowers & Gifts, runs a very similar tour, with a slightly higher admission fee.  You can browse online for other opinions on the two companies, but since I didn’t take the Team Forks tour, I can only tell you about Twilight Tours, so read on to hear about my adventure in Forks and La Push!

***** Note: This post is not an advertisement for Twilight Tours, Team Forks, Dazzled By Twilight, Lapelles, or the Quilute Nation, and reflects only the personal views and opinions of the reviewer.  No monetary gain is made (nor intended to be made) from this posting. ***** 

An introduction worthy of fanfare!

A little backstory (get comfy, this is going to be a long post!)…
My friends Monique and Lexi took a trip to Forks in early May and signed up for the “Breaking Dawn” tour.  Don’t be confused by the different tour names – they all see the same thing, just at different times of the day.  Being from Texas, it was (supposedly) no big deal for Monique and Lexi to be up so early (mmhmm), but it turns out they were the only ones crazy enough to book the tour for the 8am time slot.  When Twilight Tours contacted them to see if they’d like to reschedule to a more populated tour time, explaining that more participants usually makes for a more lively experience, they decided to stick with their ridiculously early break of dawn (har har) departure time.  They wanted to do a little something special for their tour guide, knowing he was probably not too jazzed about doing a 2 person 8am tour, so they found out his name and made “Team Travis” shirts the night before.  If you’ve seen the Twilight in Forks documentary, Travis is the guide featured in all the tour segments, and he’s impressively good-natured and witty for a guy who drives the exact same route 20 times a week.  Apparently they all had a blast on their “VIP” tour, so when I found out that my husband and I were also the only two people scheduled on Travis’s tour that day, I thought it’d be fun to keep the tradition going.  Instead of shirts, we made “Team Travis” buttons, and presented him with a “Team Austin Twilighters” hat (our meetup group in Austin, TX), which he proudly wore the entire tour…
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*Queue energizing fanfare music here*
The tour starts out with a drive around the tiny metropolis of Forks, stopping at notable spots in the town itself, focusing on movie-related locations such as Forks High School, the hospital, and the police station, followed by a visit to the Chamber of Commerce, where tourists can sign the guest book, push their location pin into one of the maps adorning the twilight-themed walls, or pose with one of Bella’s trucks or cutouts of your favorite characters (including Alice!).  The bus then ventures out into the residential areas of town to pause for pictures with the various houses that have been designated as official.  Before you get too excited about visiting actual filming locations, I’m told that not a single frame of the movies was shot in Forks, and the houses were chosen based on their similarity to descriptions written by Stephanie Meyer in the books.  If you are a movie fan, very little of this tour is going to feel familiar to you.  Go ahead and feel a little disappointed, then shake it off and let yourself experience something new!  Here are a few of the Forks sites you’ll get to visit…

From there, it’s on to La Push!  As you’re zipping around in the tour bus, Travis fills the time by quizzing fans with some surprisingly tough Twilight trivia (beef up on The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide before you go!) and playing movie-appropriate theme music as you approach the various locations.  He’s also a student of the Quiluite language and traditions, and teaches you various words and phrases in the native language (pay particular attention to the word for “chipmunk”).  As you enter Quilute territory, of course the first stop is at the Treaty Line, complete with a “Vampire Threat” meter.  The tour then continues on toward the Black house before stopping at one of the breath-taking rugged beaches.

Arnold, our driver for the outing, is a member of the Quilute tribe.  He good-naturedly corrected Travis’s pronunciations (few and far between as those mistakes were), and shared his own insight into the Quilute customs and way of life.  The Quilutes are a private people, so Arnold was careful not to over-share, but his family anecdotes and tidbits of information about various La Push landmarks and activities were insightful and enjoyable, and really added an extra dimension to the experience.  One of the things passed on by Arnold during our tour that interested me the most is that the Quilutes open up some of their traditional activities up to travellers.  On Wednesdays at around 5:30, the Community Center in La Push opens for a comminity-wide pot luck meal, followed by drum circle (complete with tales!) and dancing.  Drum circle starts between 6:00 and 7:00 and there’s no fee to eat or dance, but it would be good form to bring your own dish to contribute to the pot luck if you intend to partake of the food.  There are additional activities you may be able to attend during other parts of the year, so ask your tour guide and driver for the most up-to-date info!

The tour typically lasts between 2.5 and 3 hours, arriving back at the Twilight Tours store for a final shopping stop.  Inside the tour depot, you can find a decent selection of shirts, hats, pins, magnets, stickers, and other collectible souvenirs.  I recommend taking the tour as early as possible in the day, then spending the afternoon strolling the streets of Forks and doing some serious souvenir-ing… but hey, I’m a shopper and I love acquiring new shineys! .

Twilight Tours gives back

This summer, Twilight Tours In Forks will be doing four separate surprise donation tours.  This won’t impact tour attendees, and you probably won’t see much of a change in the program aside from an announcement that you are on one of these special tours, but the benefit to the town will be notable.  Travis says all the proceeds from these tours, including admission fees, will go toward previously selected charities or causes around the Forks and La Push areas.  Those local businesses and groups wishing to be considered as recipients for the donation tours will submit their entries to Twilight Tours, then a name will be drawn randomly.  Twilight Tours will spontaneously choose the highest-attendance tours in order to raise as much money as possible.  Imagine stepping on the bus for your fangirl time, only to learn you’re secretly funding a local charity!  Very exciting, and an admirable gesture by Twilight Tours.

Twilight Tours In Forks circulates a monthly newsletter called “What Happens in Forks…”, giving readers insight into current happenings in and around town, as well as special coverage of Stephanie Meyer day.  They also distribute Quilute Word on Wednesdays (QWoW), a weekly email containing a single English word followed by its closest Quilute translation.  25% of all subscription fees collected from the newsletter and QWoW will be donated to the Quilute Nation in an effort to help them retain their traditions and heritage.  I’ve been subscribed to QWoW since I discovered it, inspired by the beautiful words Jacob spoke to Bella at the end of the movie New Moon, and Twilight Tours has graciously agreed to allow me to publish one of their words each month for free.  Keep an eye out for the first one, scheduled tentatively for next week!  Don’t wait for me though – head over to the Twilight Tours website and sign yourself up for the newsletter, QWoW, or a combination of the two, and get your own slice of Forks delivered directly to your inbox!

For my guide on where to eat, shop, and explore in Forks (as well as pick up some awesome souvenirs!), check out yesterday’s post!

© All photos displayed in this post are property of DavinciKittie.  Copies of these photos may be used for personal purposes without permission, but not on any monetized website/blog  or in any media outlets intended for profit.  Persons and businesses may use these photos in a non-profit manner ONLY as long as a link back to this site is provided in a reasonably visible location and (for businesses only) permission from DavinciKittie is obtained in advance.

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Forks Week: What to see, where to shop & eat!

Ok, let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute.  If you’re a Twilight fan, even if you don’t consider yourself a “Twihard”, you’ve probably considered visiting the tiny town of Forks, WA.  Maybe it was a wistful “Oh, what a lovely area. I’d like to see those beaches!” or maybe it was more “OMG I MUST go see where Bella and Jacob and the Cullens live, THEN I want to buy tons of awesome fangirl stuff!”  Somewhere in between?  *wink*  Well, this IS Forks week, and I just got back from a two week Pacific Northwest vacation, so of course I took a few days to visit the famed town!  If you missed Pocket Edward’s photo-journal, look at yesterday’s post and check out his awesome trip photos!  The rest of the week will also be lots of fun, with a look inside Twilight Tours, a review of the Misty Valley Inn Bed and Breakfast, and Edward’s own take on Port Angeles’ Bella Italia restaurant.  Today is all about the money!  Where can I spend it on attractions, souvenirs, and food?!

***** Note: For you non-Twilight fan readers out there, my normal blog activities (book reviews and news) will resume next week! ***** 
   

What to see!

Every Twilight fan on a pilgrimage to Forks, should visit the Chamber of Commerce.  Not only can you see (and take pictures with!) Bella’s trucks (the model from the books and the model from the movies), you can also pose with life-size cardboard cutouts of our favorite characters and see for yourself and just how much rain Forks actually gets each year via the outdoor rain gauge.  Don’t forget to put a pin in the map representing your home city, then marvel and just how much tourism Twilight has brought to Forks in the last few years.
(Click on any picture to open it full-size in a new window)
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Also not to miss, however anticlimactic it may turn out to be, is the Forks “Home of the Spartans” high school sign.  I’m told that not a single frame of the movies has been filmed in Forks, so don’t be surprised when you look at the high school and don’t recognize it at all.  In fact, they’re in the process of rebuilding the old high school and only re-displayed the original sign after legions of angry Twilight fans complained about its absence during their visits.  Thanks to our fellow sisters-in-arms (erm, sisters-in-sparkle?), you can now view the original Forks High School sign in all its wooden glory.  Beware jaded glances from actual high school students if you are brave enough to try taking a photo with it.  *grin*

Of course, any Twilight fan worth their glitter wouldn’t miss seeing all the famous houses!  You can see them on your own (Lapelles Florist will give you a free handy map with everything nicely drawn out and easy to find) or you can take one of the Twilight tours.  More info on the tours tomorrow!  Check out a quick sneak peek at the houses the townspeople felt best fit Stephanie Meyer’s book descriptions…

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Where to shop!

Shopping in Forks really is a must.  Nearly all the stores in town carry some sort of Twilight paraphernalia, and some of them offer one-of-a-kind handmade items (by locals) and unique commercial merchandise.

Tops on my list for commercial items is Dazzled By Twilight.  This is the mega-store for all things vampire and paranormal (including True Blood & The Vampire Diaries), and it even includes an “adult” section in a secluded black lit room.  The decor is unsurpassed, better than some of the popular trendy shops I’ve seen in larger cities with its “grass” turf floor, tree and foliage decor, and the Twilight flavor just shimmering off its shelves.  From “Bite me!” boy briefs to Cullen baseball jerseys, Dazzled has a selection large enough to satisfy even the most demanding of fans.

For personalized souvinirs and scrapbooking gems, you can’t beat Lapelles Flowers and Gifts.  This unassuming little flower shop will surprise you with its large selection of vampire-inspired (and Twilight-specific) papers, stickers, and kits (all of which takes up roughly half the merchandise space!), and it still has a great selection of charming gifts, including a few items that can be personalized while you wait.  Don’t forget t-shirts and caps!  Lapelles has those too, as well as some super-cute knit “Cullen” beanies and, my personal favorite souvinir from the entire trip, a personalized glittery apple.

If you’re more interested in the native culture in Forks and the Twilight Saga, definitely visit Native To Twilight.  Offering a wide selection of Quilluite-inspired home decorations such as carvings, jewelry, and wall & window hangings, Native To Twilight also carries handmade cards made by local artists.  Get yourself one of these, then take it to the Post Office and ask for a “cancel stamp” (it’s free – you don’t have to actually mail it, just ask to have your item stamped).  Voila, your very own one-of-a-kind keepsake with indisputable Forks provenance!

Where to eat!

With all this exploring, you’re going to need some serious fuel.  Here are a few of my favorites…

No Twilight trip would be complete without a trip to Bella Italia in Port Angeles!  Obviously, this restaurant is not IN Forks, but it is well worth the 45 minute or so drive to nearby Port A.  You’ll probably notice that this too is not the same as the movie location for Bella Italia.  Go ahead and feel a little down about it, but then shake it off and sit down to one of the best meals of your life… bar none.  I’ve eaten all over the world, had some of the finest cuisine in some of the fanciest restaurants, and the food at Bella Italia ranks up there with all but the most elite.  Of course, I’m partial to Italian food, but one thing I am NOT usually a fan of is mushrooms.  Unfortunately, Stephanie Meyer wrote in Mushroom Ravioli as Bella’s food the night of her and Edward’s first date.  This means (you guessed it) either my husband or I had to order this dish to try it.  Much to my surprise and overwhelming relief, it was divine!  I won’t go into any more detail because Edward will be covering the food reviews on Friday here on Gravetells, but suffice it to say this:

Save up some money ($14-$20 per plate ish), make your reservation (they fill up fast, so don’t wait til the day of!), make the drive, and sit down to one of the best restaurant Italian meals you’ll find outside of Italy itself!

For fast food with quality ingredients and a clean atmosphere, visit Pacific Pizza! I’m what I like to call a “pizza connoisseur”.  That’s fancy-schmancy for “I eat a lot of pizza and can’t seem to get enough”.  I’ve tasted a lot of bad pizza and I’m a little ashamed to admit that I expected Pacific Pizza to be disappointing.  Well, I certainly don’t mind being wrong about a fabulous new pizza place!  This joint was, to borrow from Rachel Ray, YUM-O!  The menu is surprisingly sophisticated, with a selection of sandwiches and paninis in addition to their standard and gourmet pizzas, and the dining area was quaintly decorated and cleanly kept.  The service was also warm and friendly, which sadly was not the overwhelmingly typical experience for me in Forks.  Minimally friendly, yes.  Southern-hospitality-style welcoming, no.

For yummy, fresh sandwiches and sweet coffee confections, head over to Forks Outfitters! Yep, I said Forks Outfitters.  Outwardly, this building looks like a Safeway meets Academy meets Home Depo, with a coffee shop attached.  Honestly speaking, it’s not really a welcoming facade, and I probably wouldn’t have stopped in here to check for food if I hadn’t been a) really hungry and b) jonzing for a London Fog.  *grin*  Luckily for me (and now all of you!), we took a chance and had the deli make us fresh sandwiches.  As simple as that sounds (“fresh” sandwiches), I should point out that the deli has a decent selection of pre-made sammies and other cooked foods such as pasta, eggrolls, and meats.  When we asked for a freshly made sandwich, we were repeatedly pointed toward the pre-mades and warned about the size limitation (they apparently won’ t make a half-sized-sandwich fresh, only whole ones) and the extra cost of additional meats and cheeses ($1 each).  After about a 5 minute discussion and explanation, we finally had our sandwiches started.  It took a while to make them (I’m thinking most people probably just cave and buy the pre-made ones, which probably taste great too!), but when we finally got them back to the B&B, the wait was COMPLETELY worth it!

Long story short?  Go to Forks Outfitters and insist on a freshly made deli sandwich, then hit up the cute little coffee shop and get yourself a London Fog or a Mocha.  Best sandwich and coffee I had all trip!

Finally, if you’re willing to spend a little extra and want the best breakfast in town, book a night at Misty Valley Inn bed & breakfast.  The Misty Valley Inn is a wonderfully charming bed & breakfast just a couple miles outside the town center of Forks.  By that, I mean it’ll take you a whole 5 minutes to drive from the B&B to downtown.  😉  The owners are lovely people and have a serious flair for extravagant breakfasts.  You’ll get your morning tray of tea/coffee/chocolate, which is heavenly on its own, and then you’ll be treated to a literally gourmet breakfast overlooking one of the most scenic views in the entire area.  More about the Misty Valley Inn B&B on Thursday, but for now let me just share a few images of their mouthwatering breakfast selections and view…

Contact info for featured businesses

If you live too far away to visit Forks but still want to order some merchandise, or if you’re planning a trip and want to start making your reservations, check out the links below.  Hope you enjoyed the info!  I’d be glad to answer any questions in the comments section below.  Also look for my reviews (as davincikittie) on TripAdvisor.com

© All photos displayed in this post are property of DavinciKittie.  Copies of these photos may be used for personal purposes without permission, but not on any monetized website/blog  or in any media outlets intended for profit.  Persons and businesses may use these photos in a non-profit manner ONLY as long as a link back to this site is provided in a reasonably visible location and (for businesses only) permission from DavinciKittie is obtained in advance.

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