I discuss with many on social media the reasons we love books. Even though the list varies, the main thing we mostly agree on is that books are escape from the world, our lives, or whatever we need escape from. We can be whatever and whomever we want to be inside a book. A few minutes ago I answered a question posted by an Instagrammer who asked whether we would want a mermaid tail in the water, wings in the air, or roots to stay planted in the earth. My reply was detailed, but in the end, I'm an author so I get to manipulate any scenario to fit my every desire - what power! The fun thing is readers can join me and get the same experience with my books!
I took a chance writing The Web of Loki, because instead of putting in all my wonderful fantasies like I did in The Magical Things Collection or The Travelers Duology, I put in my childhood and teenage nightmares. My fascination with Vikings and their myths was the only "fun" stuff I added to cater to my author whims. The thing is, NO ONE is perfect, and I'm the most gloriously flawed one of them all. This world with its social media posts and movie star glamour, tries to make being perfect seem to be the norm. Those who appear without blemish have brushed over photos and hidden demons they don't let the world see. Even when we get a glimpse of their misery, the magazines glamorize it to be something they have to live with as a price for being perfect. Immediately, the poor perfect people on movies and television are getting even more popular for their secret shames and ability to show us their less pleasant sides. We latch onto the stories looking to find some acceptance that our own flaws aren't that much different than that gorgeous actor, but somehow instead, we feel less valuable because we can't even add up to their secret shames that go viral on Twitter or Instagram.
I'm here to tell you we're all flawed and sometimes I can own this with my head held high, but sometimes I want to hide under a rock and ignore all the pep talks I gave myself earlier. The Web of Loki is my constant reminder to keep my head up no matter what. Books can help us escape, but they can also change our perspectives. Let me know why you love books in the comments. I love to talk books with anyone willing to give me the time, and I hope you take a chance on The Web of Loki and read it.
I will never be finished as long as my mind keeps coming up with new ideas for stories. I think Walt Disney said it best,
"Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world."
"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
Elle's Magical Shoes is a perfect example of how I'm not finished creating, improving, or growing. The "project" began as a gift for my niece's birthday. I took my PDF file to Office Depot and got it printed into a book. Since it cost way too much for one book, I ordered it in bulk to lower the cost per item. My friend convinced me to sell the extra books, which I did for the printing costs and no profit, but UGH now that I look back on that version of my story, I'm embarrassed so many people have a copy. The book needed a real editor (not just me) and look at my first cover - it was clip art and photos I put together myself without a Photoshop program! I wasn't planning on it being seen by anyone but family - it was a private birthday present. Sometimes I shouldn't listen to friends.
Once I actually made one of my stories into a book, that got all the wheels and cogs into motion to publish it - okay, so maybe my friend's pushing me had something to do with it too. Lots of research went into figuring out how to get a published. My college education prepared me to teach, not write a book. LinkedIn author groups became a great resource for questions and answers. That's where I found my first editor, Heather Reilly, who also designed the second cover. She was a tremendous help in my progress. She made my dreams of being published come true after I had given up trying to go the traditional way.
I made a handful of meager attempts at getting an agent to publish my book the traditional way, but I was so inexperienced and already way past my "youth". By then I had started writing Travelers and attempted soliciting an agent for EMS and Travelers. I wrote query letters for agents and tried to follow the submission guidelines they each had, but I still did it incorrectly. It is hard to get their attention even if you know the exact science on how to do it - by the way, that's more work than writing the book. After several rejections and reading comments from other authors who had done both self-publishing and traditional, I decided to pursue the independent route. I didn't want to wait to see my books published when I was 80-years-old. I know it can take people several years to get noticed by an agent and a big house publisher. The success of J.K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, didn't happen overnight and it isn't a typical outcome for most authors - just like winning the lottery isn't usual for most people who buy lotto tickets.
Since that first book over four years ago, I wrote more stories and learned more about publishing, editing, and how to reach readers. In my attempt to get readers for my books on social media, I met an author, D.B. Green, on Instagram. He led me down a new path as he started his own independent publishing house - Orlando House Publishing
He not only designed my newest book covers, but he gives me help with a lot of the areas indie authors have to navigate. He has been such a tremendous resource and encouragement that I don't think I could ever repay him for his kindness or the knowledge and skills he has made accessible to me.
I also got introduced to a new editor, A.K. Stein, who co-writes with D.B. Green on some of the books offered at Orlando House Publishing. She has helped me edit Elle's Magical Books and my book coming out in October, The Web of Loki, which is a change from my usual stories. I'm super excited to share it with the world. My editor said, "This story is going to mean so much to so many people." If only I could get a bunch of people just like her to read my books.
I have a head full of story ideas, which is why my mind won't let me stop this journey that seems to never be finished. Sometimes I get discouraged that I haven't been able to reach more to share my books with, but I can't stop trying as my head explodes with a plethora of plots and adventures just fighting to get out onto paper.
I'm currently working on a series of fairy tale retellings which will be told through the perspective of characters who don't normally have their own story. I'm having fun thinking about how each story will go and who will be the main protagonist in each tale.
I may be 80-years-old before I run out of ideas, but I won't be satisfied until that happens. I am pleased that my imaginings are out there for the world to read. I continue to hope that I reach a million book enthusiasts and that I can give them a little joy plus help through difficulties as they read my creations. I will probably never be finished in this journey and that's okay, because I'm having a blast doing it.
The Magical Things Collection will go on sale July 26, 2019!
It was four years ago (July 3, 2015) when Elle's Magical Shoes first got released into the world. At the time I didn't know it would become a part of The Magical Things Collection. I had plenty of sequel ideas, but I wanted to get my time traveling mermaid books ready for the public. With changing covers and adding a prequel to The Travelers Duology, I didn't have time to think about my world of fairies.
After completing Elle's Magical Books and getting it edited, I realized how much fun it was to write. It was less work than pleasure as I delved into a world of whimsy and imagination. Sometimes I forget how much I like creating stories - I don't think that it really could ever be called a job if I did it full time. It's when I get caught up in the marketing or promoting my books - when I'm trying to get people to read my books and know they exist, that I forget the pure rapture of inventing another world and characters.
Now that the book is finally finished, relief and joy fill me up along with plotting how to get my books noticed and a plethora of other thoughts. My mind never stops thinking of the next idea for the sequel or my current work in progress. The icing on the cake of all my striving will be in the form of book purchases and reviews. This is the ultimate way I know the world is reading and enjoying my books.
My editor was of course the first to read Elle's Magical Books and her comments will always be my favorite, because they were the first and they were given on an unedited manuscript:
"I LOVE this story! It's enchanting and beautiful and unique and inspiring. The characters are rich and wonderful, and I can imagine children losing themselves in it - in the best way! I also CANNOT stop seeing this as a film or TV series - you write so cinematically!!! I ADORE IT!"
It is still spring despite the weather not being able to make up its mind in Colorado. We've reached summer temperatures in May only to get snow the following week. For those who love the summer months, I'm getting ready for two promotions to make your summer even better!
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I tell my blog readers a lot about myself, but Author, Byrd Nash, offered to interview me for her own website. She asked me some great questions such as why a Colorado girl would be interested in writing about mermaids and the ocean?
Here's the interview and thanks for following me on this incredible journey.
What would you do if a fairy came to your bedroom window in the middle of the night and told you that you would be receiving a box of magical shoes? Okay, you may say, “I’m an adult and I don’t believe in fairies or magic”, but jump out of your practical grownup self and try to imagine this scenario.
The thing I love about books is whether I’m reading or writing them, I can stay young within the pages through my imagination. Growing older doesn’t mean growing up and the less serious you take yourself, the more you can deal with the obstacles life throws your way. Not every aspect of life is a happy day at Disneyland, but one thing I’ve learned from my own experiences is that things aren’t always as bad as they seem and perspective can make or break you in the middle of the storm.
We tend to let life and all its adult problems weigh us down, but if we allow ourselves the opportunity to not always be mature – we may be able to deal with stress. I’m not a doctor, but the last article I read on stress basically said it can give you all kinds of illnesses. So take the genius advice of Einstein and Disney – grab a fanciful story that causes you to believe in magic and escape with your imagination.
Since books can give us an escape from life, let’s talk about a story that is near and dear to my heart – Elle’s Magical Shoes. It turns four in July and will be getting a new cover! My newsletter recipients will get a look at the cover first. They also will be seeing the cover for the sequel, Elle’s Magical Books. Now don't you wish you were a newsletter subscriber? You can be - just click the link and sign up: mailchi.mp/ddd7b1be570c/carlasbookcationsignup
Happy May the 4th Be with You Day! I wore a Star Wars shirt yesterday and was called a nerd. He’s a friend so I didn’t mind him sharing an unsolicited opinion, but I corrected him and said, “That’s book nerd to you, and I prefer to be called a book warrior”. Today Star Wars fans love to use the play on words with the date, and if I have to explain that ‘May the Fourth’ sounds like ‘May the Force’, then you won’t get any of my Star Wars references.
One of the things that is spectacular about Star Wars is the strong female characters and how they don’t mind doing the scary stuff to help their people. I found the picture of a Princess Leia mermaid and I decided that is a perfect way to describe my mermaid Triana in my Travelers Duology. She’s not like Princess Ariel – though I loved Disney’s Little Mermaid – she’s like Princess Leia. Ariel was motivated by love for Eric, but Leia was motivated by keeping others safe. Let’s be honest, Leia was less selfish than Ariel. My mermaid, Triana, also puts her peoples’ needs first despite her fears. She is brave and scared all at the same time. We know that Leia was also scared despite her courage - just like the other females in the Star Wars films: Rey, Padmé, Jyn, Maz, and many more.
Why Do You Like Star Wars?
Leia inspires girls and women. She and the other Star Wars women-warriors are probably the reason why females love to follow the stories. Don’t we all want to be heroes of our own stories? If you have another reason for liking the female characters in Star Wars, let me know, but I suspect the majority of you like that they can be totally female, but totally tough too.
Let’s leave the world of science-fiction and enter the one we live in on Earth. Yes, Star Wars geeks love the world built through the movies and books, but we know we could never be an actual Princess Leia or Rey in outer space. We also can’t be a Princess Triana. It’s true, I tell everyone I’m secretly a mermaid, but we all know that’s for fun – well, maybe. In the history of our world, there were women like our favorite fantasy characters, who had done brave but scary things. We don’t have to look beyond reality for examples on how to be the type of people we admire. My time traveling mermaid gets to meet a few of these women and though my books are more for entertainment, I throw in a little history to show you some great real-life women who did valuable things.
If you ever get the chance to read my books, you’ll meet historical women like Cornelia Fort, Sacagawea, Margaret Brown, and Elizabeth Burgin. If you don't know anything about these remarkable females, here are links to their real life stories and how they helped make this world a better place:
Wow two blogs in one week! If I didn't need help, I probably wouldn't be writing this. 'HELP NEEDED' is an understatement. I'm doing a rep search like many of the Etsy Shop owners do on Instagram except mine is for my books.
Elle's Magical Shoes will be re-launched with a new cover in July and Web of Tuntre will be published in October. I need to get the word out to the world before these events happen. I'm also hoping to publish Elle's Magical Books this year, but dates on that are tentative.
My newsletter subscribers will be the first to see the covers for all my new books, but if you want to get your hands on a copy of the books before anyone in the world does, read further.
Here’s what you'll receive:
If you're interested in becoming a rep, comment below and thank you!
IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE MY NEWSLETTER AND BE THE FIRST TO HEAR ABOUT MY BOOKS, HIT THE BLUE BUTTON BELOW!
On April 20, 2016 Travelers was released for the world to read. It was a happy yet tentative moment for me. As most authors will tell you, they don't expect everyone to LOVE their books, and the fact that we don't always get reviews or feedback on our work, makes us unsure of what the world thinks. Only the BIG names in writing get to hear a bunch of opinions, and sometimes even those aren't positive.
I started with a simple cover to capture the time travel essence of the book, but re-launched it last year in June with a new cover to give it some zip. I wanted people to see what the book was about at first glance and we all know many judge a book by its cover.
This wasn't my first attempt at writing about mermaids, but let's just say, my story has come a long way from the version I wrote when I was eight-years-old. The sea and the beautiful creatures of myth that live in them have always fascinated me. I wasn't ready to write a story for the world to read until I was much older, but when I figured out a way to combine a few things that interested me into a story, it had to be written. With a mixture of pop-culture, mermaids, time travel, and history, I was able to throw in all the things I really love.
My first mermaid (marid maid) book.
Do people who love to read really need to know how books benefit them? Maybe not but perhaps they need to have one more article to show their non-reading friends why books are so important. Never tell a bookworm they read too much or have too many books, and if you do, be prepared for a dirty look and possibly a long rebuttal.
I didn’t read because a teacher told me to. I loved books before I could decipher the words. I made up stories to illustrated books before I was taught all my letters. Imagination was seeping out of my pores and it needed an outlet, so yes, books were always my imagination’s receptacle.
I read and I gain more magical thoughts. I write to pour out those ideas before my brain overflows – or worse, explodes! So perhaps your non-reading acquaintances don’t have an overload of creative thinking which needs a place to vent, but I plan on pointing out a few things all people need and books definitely deliver the goods.
If your non-reading friends still aren’t convinced how super books are for the mind and soul, then I feel sorry for them. Now it’s time to go find a magical castle where you can read every book on your to-be-read list without real time passing by. I plan on either finding one of these castles stocked with books and snacks or just writing about one someday.
You know what would be the perfect gift to give me this year; the gift of understanding without judgment. Understanding works best when it is a two-way street, but unfortunately, prejudices, insecurities, and a plethora of other reasons cause it to not always work that way. Instead of receiving the before mentioned gift, I normally get something that will collect dust on a shelf or doesn’t fit my size or style.
I’m not a Grinch; I love Christmas, but not the whole present exchange thing. As I child, I looked forward to it with fervor. I was taught how to give and there was some fun in that, but I think I was mostly caught up on the receiving part. My perspective has changed since then, but I have difficulty getting people to understand my perspective.
There are several types of givers and the type I was exposed to the most as a child shopped for presents despite the stress it created. I got to hear the complaints of , "I have no idea what to get her," or, "He never likes what I get anyway," or "We can't afford that". Maybe that is what caused me to re-evaluate the whole tradition. Do I really want to be the one who adds stress to someone mentally or financially at Christmas time? NO, of course not. Sure there are those who hunt for the perfect gift and know exactly what that is for that special someone. They probably get the purest joy out of the experience. But there are those who have no clue what to buy, but think they have to because isn't that how you show someone you love them? My answer to that is, NO!
Okay, so here's the deal. I get the sacrificial type of giving like the characters in O'Henry's story, The Gift of the Magi. They had such an overwhelming love they wanted to buy that perfect gift for each other, so they sacrificed their most prized possession to do it. The sacrifice meant more than the gift, and that was the whole point of the story. If you buy something just because it was on sale are you really understanding the point of giving gifts? Does the recipient need or want what you bought? In O'Henry's story, the gifts weren't just sacrificial, but they were perfect for the receiver.
If my loved ones happen to read this blog, I want them to realize that I don't base my love on what you buy or don't buy me. If you run into something someday that has my name written all over it and you really want to buy it for me, then it will make me smile. A gift like that is obvious that you were thinking about me outside the usual times of Christmas or my birthday and that you didn't have an obligation to buy it. It warms my heart when people I love think about me beyond the expected times society or tradition has dictated.
If you are shopping to buy because you love to shop and spend money, then think about how your gift will be received. Does the person need or want this? Will the person truly get as much enjoyment out of the gift as you do buying it? Are you expecting some kind of affirmation or returned affection because of the gift?
I get the desire to do something you enjoy. I write because I love to write. I also want to share my books with people. That being said, I don't expect people who don't like my books to read or buy them. Giving my books to family and friends who don't normally read the fantasy genre is like me receiving a gift I don't need and really don't like. I won't force my books on people, and I expect the same courtesy from the shopaholic who just has to buy to buy.
If that person who likes to shop can't resist spending money, then look for a charity to donate it to. If the purpose of your gift is to put a smile on my face, then donate in my name and tell me what you did. If you give to receive affirmation, then donate to the charity of your choice in your own name. I would much rather see a homeless animal or child have a great Christmas than receive another thing I will have to sell, donate, or throw away someday.
When all is said and done, what is the true meaning of Christmas? For some it is much more than just a time to sing carols, bake cookies, decorate, and shop. I feel its true depth when I see someone giving sacrificially or showing love to those who haven't been as fortunate as I have been. So the next time you want to buy me a gift, think about this: There is a bigger picture we should be looking at and when you're too focused on the little stuff, you miss it.
Have you taken time to breathe? Take in oxygen, relax, and try to get through your current responsibilities. When you say, “It’s that time of year again,” does it fill you with joy or dread? BREATHE. I know the traditions some of you try to follow this time of year can either be tiring or pure bliss. If you aren’t getting joy out of baking those cookies, or putting up all the outdoor lights on your house, then perhaps you need to re-evaluate the yearly holiday routine. BREATHE. I’m a firm believer in not sticking to any tradition that makes you feel resentful, grumpy, or exhausted in the end. Maybe you can do whatever it is next year or perhaps it is time for a permanent change in your yearly ritual.
It is supposed to be a happy time of year according to holiday television and songs, but that isn’t always the case. Life happens and with it comes stress, responsibilities, and pain. BREATHE. You may actually be happier not trying so hard to force everything to be perfect. BREATHE. That’s why I say again; this year may be the time to throw out your old holiday traditions and opt for some new ones.
Book worms, or I prefer to be called a book warrior, place great pressure on themselves to finish a certain amount of books before the end of the year. I set my GoodReads reading challenge for 2018 at 100 books, and guess what? I’m not going to reach it. I’m probably going to read 78. I didn’t set it high to make myself feel horrible on December 31, or to stress myself out to hurry and read all those books. I did it because I had no clue what I could do when I actually kept track. Maybe 2019 I’ll set a lower goal.
Writers do the same thing as readers do. We set lofty goals for our writing and of course we need goals, but again, BREATHE. Sometimes we don't reach all our goals. I finished writing several books this year, but they all need editing. Even though the books won’t be ready to publish until next year, I tell myself that’s okay because some years I only finish writing one book. Life happens, so while we're waiting to move past the rocky parts, just BREATHE.
This blog was in my drafts from last year. In December of 2017, I did a series of blogs about my ornaments and books related to the place where the ornaments came from. I forgot to send this one out.
Paris, France and Sarah's Keys by Tatiana de Rosnay
I bought the ornament in the Eiffel Tower. Paris is too amazing. It is full of buildings older than the United States and architecture I know nothing about but admire. When you watch a movie that idealizes Paris, it really isn’t exaggerating the beauty of the city. Watch the opening scenes to the movie Midnight in Paris on a big screen TV, and you’ll get a taste of this amazing city.
Sarah’s Key is a heart wrenching book. Though it is fiction, it’s based on a sad time in history when the Jews in Paris were rounded up by Nazis and French police under the German’s control. The book was written well, but hard to read because of the topic. I believe it is important to remember history both good and bad. We don’t want to repeat the atrocities made in the past.
I wrote another blog about Paris: https://carlasbooks.weebly.com/carlas-candor/the-lesson-paris-taught-travel-blog-6
Hawaii is one of the places I can't get enough of though I've been there several times. I want to travel to so many places, but I know I can't see them all in one life time. Yet, Hawaii keeps calling me back to its relaxed beautiful vibe. Words don't seem to adequately describe the feeling that place gives me. The reason I put my main character in Hawaii twice while she time traveled was because I wanted to revisit it in my imagination.
There are two awesome adventures I will probably never experience if I go back to Hawaii - becoming a mermaid and surfing. You may have heard about the awesome surfing on the North Shore of Oahu, but did you know there's a place where you can become a mermaid?
Become a Mermaid
I'm not getting paid to endorse any company, but in case you didn't know it, mermaids are kinda my thing. Hawaii Mermaid Adventures gives people a chance to become mermaids or mermen! They wear tails, teach them to swim in the ocean, and how to become mythical creatures. People of all ages get to experience this grand adventure. How awesome is that! Check out their website - hawaiimermaidadventures.com/
I follow them on social media and they post some great pictures of mermaids living out their dreams. It's just another reason to visit Hawaii.
Surfing is another one of those things I mention in my book, but secretly wished I knew how to do. It can be dangerous, but I imagine the rush of riding a wave and it excites me.
Fun facts about surfing:
Check it out here: www.factretriever.com/surfing-facts
These books with their beautiful new covers will be available to buy this summer!
I'm giving away signed copies, along with a mermaid themed goodie box, to one of my newsletter subscribers. Three other subscribers will receive advanced digital copies.
If you want to be a part of this drawing, sign up for my newsletter before it is too late!
Click on link below.
I mostly write about places I’ve visited, but Greece is still on my TO VISIT list. My books were inspired by my girlhood fascination of mermaids, but my plot was set in motion when I read an article about Ikaria, Greece in a travel magazine. Of course it became the hub for my merpeople to live when they weren’t swimming around in the ocean. It’s the perfect place to cover their slow aging so they can remain inconspicuous, and the location helps set up other details in my book.
Here’s what I learned about Ikaria:
Ikaria has been labeled the island where people forget to die or the island of long life. There are good reasons for these descriptions of Ikaria. The people there live on average 10 years longer than those in the rest of Europe and America – around one in three Ikarians live into their 90s.
There are very few Ikarians with dementia, cancer, heart disease or suffer from depression. The people live simply with low stress, hard work, and they put family first. They have a combination of healthy diets, clean air, and optimism that also helps with their longevity. Despite their history of starvation due to invasions of enemies and war, they managed to come out stronger.
If you read my books, I give the merpeople credit for the Ikarians long lives. It’s a magical island with folklore surrounding it - in the Travelers duology and with the Ikarian’s legends. The island is actually named after Icarus, the young man in Greek mythology who flew too close to the sun and plunged into the sea.
No matter what you believe or imagine about the Ikaria, it sounds like a truly beautiful place to visit. Maybe someday I’ll get there, but until then I'll dream about it with the pages of my stories.
I'm enticing people to sign up for my future newsletter, Carla's Bookcation, by bribing them with a free preview of one of the books I'm currently working on.
Here are the reasons you want to receive my newsletter:
Here's your chance to sign up now!
Click on the book cover and get your free preview.
(This link will only give you a ePub doc, so if you need a different format, send me a comment below)
Of course you judge a book by its cover. Don’t we all? We get attracted to the beautiful colors, art work, and photos of something or someone too perfect to be real. I follow many book lovers on Instagram, and they obsess over book covers. Instagram is a place to share the impeccable photos of your book collection arranged with other book themed items and flourishes. There are book themed scented candles, coffee, bookmarks, mugs, socks, funko pops, and other paraphernalia that reference favorite books. The posts are so delicious, you could eat them! In fact some of them have desserts. Great for a person trying to cut back on her sugar intake. I get fat just looking at them. LOL!
I can’t keep up with the bookstagram fan photos. My posts rarely have pictures of expertly arranged books. I’m an Instagram failure with true photographers, but I do what I can. Most of my “reading” these days is audio books. I don’t have hard copies of special editions to photograph of my current or future reads. I have a small library of my favorites and that’s it. Please don’t GASP in horror bookstagrammers! I asked for a magical castle or lighthouse to transform into a library that is wall to wall books, but I guess the wish granters put that on back order.
It's okay to admire the outside of something we know nothing about, because that is our first impression. If it pleases our senses we gravitate to it, but what about the exterior that isn’t super pretty? Do all gorgeous book jackets have wonderful content? Did you ever get disappointed by a book that had an awesome outside, but the story wasn't that great? Of course you have. You also probably read a book that you heard was great, but you wouldn’t have given it a try based on its outward appearance except that someone else recommended it. You ended up loving the story, but you may not share the cover on Instagram. Am I right?
Take your experience with books and use it towards people. Everyone has a story that may not be revealed with their covers. What you see on the outside is not always as it actually is. We all have our own journey. You can walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, and still have no clue what they are going through. People deal with identical traumas and joys differently. You can’t judge what a person is going through just because it appears one way to you. It’s time to look on the inside of the “book” and not just the outside. Don’t go with your first impression to form an opinion. You might be surprised what you will find.
Norway & Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
The ornament came from the Disney Cruise that took me to Norway from Dover, England. I have already written blogs about Norway and London so I won’t do that again.
This book has a mixture of short stories from Norse mythology. I listened to it on Audible with Neil Gaiman as the narrator. Since the book I’m currently writing is set in Norway, this book was research for me. It made complicated mythologies easier to grasp than other research I have done. Some have complained it was like a children’s book, and though Mr. Gaiman made the stories sound that way, I wouldn’t want to read the mythologies to a child.
Why should you read a book from an author you have never heard of before? Isn't it safer to read a book written by the author everyone is praising on social media? Of course that famous movie star must be a great writer, because you like their acting, right? You also know your favorite author just put out a new book and you will of course love it, maybe? I used these arguments for years to justify buying books from well known authors or books that others have highly recommended, so I can identify with your choices.
I know you don't want to waste your money if the book is awful. I do a lot of Audible books and I pay a certain monthly fee to receive credits. I don't want to use my credit on a terrible book. Thankfully, Audible has a return policy, but you have to return the book in a certain amount of time. Sometimes I have a large list of books to listen to so I don't get to the newly purchased one right away. Sound familiar? If you don't do Audible, you have no chance of returning the book, and it will end up in a garage sale or given away, right? Libraries are a good solution for taking risks on new authors, but that isn't always convenient, and libraries may not carry all the books.
Here's a list of my biased opinions on why you should give a new author a chance:
Go to the menu of this website and find the tab for my books. Below each book is a link to Smashwords. That is where you can get my ebooks for 75% off!
Never mind, you can just click on these links. I'm making this easy for you so you will go buy my books (smile). THANK YOU!
Elle's Magical Shoes www.smashwords.com/books/view/556887
Rothenburg, Germany & the Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld
The fragile hand-painted glass sphere came from an idyllic town in Rothenburg, Germany. The Christmas store I got it from was like its own holiday village. I wrote a blog about this town that is found on the Romantic Road. It still is one of my favorites from my trips to Europe.
Leviathan, Behemoth, and Goliath I listened to on Audible in December. The narrator is awesome with accents, which helps me get lost in the story. It takes place in Germany and other countries around the time of World War I. Although parts of the books are historical, my imagination had to kick into high gear to picture the machines that were created from other species and metal. Whenever I imagine the metal machinery I automatically go to the walkers in Star Wars. This is my first real exposure to the steam punk genre and I really like it. I recommend these books to people who like history mixed with their fantasy, but be prepared to use your imagination.
Blog about Rothenburg: carlasbooks.weebly.com/carlas-candor/december-20th-2015
Maine & Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Came from Boothbay Harbor, Maine. I love sail boats, so it was a great ornament for me to buy. Main is gorgeous in the fall and my husband took me there for my birthday. That was the same trip he took me to New York City for the first time. In Maine I got to stay in a light saving station that was turned into a bed and breakfast inn. It was similar to an actual lighthouse, which is my dream house. I found another book on that trip that listed many lighthouses that you can stay in that have been transformed into hotels or B&Bs.
Delirium is set in Maine. I read this book a while ago so I'm a little foggy on it. I gave it four stars because I liked the genre and characters, but it didn’t leave a lasting impression. There are a lot of books with a dystopian theme. In this one you have to imagine the United States in a future where the government treats people for the disease they call love. They are not allowed to fall in love or have relationships. In most of these genres a disaster or disease of some kind kills a massive amount of people so the government takes over and uses extreme measures to “fix” the problem.
In our current world all the solutions seem to be unrealistic in these stories, but every day I see things that make me believe that some of these dystopian fantasy books could become non-fiction. After all Hunger Games was based off the Roman gladiator games. Since I read mostly for entertainment, I don’t like the depressing predictions of our future world. The books keep my attention, because I enjoy the characters and their relationships. I get caught up in how they overcome the government’s solutions. As long as the person I’m rooting for wins in the end, I can enjoy many books. Delirium is part of a series and the characters kept me wanting to read all the books.
Hawaii & The Girl From Everywhere series by Heidi Heilig
carlasbooks.weebly.com/carlas-candor/hawaii-a-place-to-chillax-travel-blog-9Each blog in this series I will share an ornament I bought as a souvenir from one of the many places I’ve been blessed to visit. I will also talk about the books where the characters were in the same setting. You may not be able to visit the wonderful places I’ve been to, but there is always a book to take you there in your mind.
The sparkly sea shell angel came from Kona, Hawaii, which is on the Big Island. It has many black volcanic hills and in some ways it’s not the stereotypical image that gets portrayed on postcards and calendars. I love the Big Island, but I’ve been able to visit Oahu and Maui too and Maui is my favorite. Each island has a peaceful calm. You can do the stereotypical tourist things or just soak up the scenery and do nothing, but you never feel like you have to hurry and cram in a full day’s worth of activities to truly enjoy the islands. I wrote a blog about this before so I won't spend too much time on it.
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Ocean, time travel, and paradise! How can you go wrong with that formula? I say you can’t. If you read The Girl From Everywhere and its sequel, The Ship Beyond Time, you’ll get to visit Hawaii and time travel. Nix, the main character gets to sail the ocean with her father while dealing with the loss of her mother. It isn’t an ordinary ship because with the correct map, they can reach a destination real or imagined in any time period.
Nix’s father is in constant pursuit of the perfect map to reach the time before her mother died and save her, but in doing that he could risk Nix’s life. There is great adventure while they look for the special map, and in the end I felt it had imagination and creativity. I listen to all my books on Audible these days and the narrator portrayed the accents or gender of each characters superbly. I gave the book four stars, because it was good, but I reserve five stars for books that stick in my heart or mind in ways I never knew a book could. This book was entertaining, but it wasn’t one of my all time favorites.
Settlers, I’m familiar with because I wrote it (hee, hee). Before I even knew The Girl From Everywhere existed, my mermaid and time traveler, Triana was being formed on paper. She had a different mission than Nix had, but she ends up in Hawaii on the day Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese on December 7, 1941 in Travelers. In Settlers, she begins in 2012 Oahu surfing. Did I mention she has to share bodies with humans in every place that she travels? That's why she ends up in a surfer girl’s body at the beginning of Settlers. I threw in historical characters and fictional characters for Triana to meet throughout her journey, but I keep you guessing until the end so you will want to continue reading.
How do you handle all the negative media controversies and world events? I’ve chosen reading and writing to give me a short respite from the world’s disasters. It doesn’t mean I don’t care. I’m not apathetic, but you can discover among the pages of books like A Wrinkle in Time, Star Wars, and Harry Potter, and yes, even It by Stephen King that there are answers to coping besides just escaping into the world of imagination.
I just finished reading A Wrinkle in Time and though it was published before I was born (1962), I’ve never read it before. When I heard it was going to be made into a movie with some famous actors, I thought I should at least read the book once. I don’t know if the author, Madeleine L'Engle, was inspired by her own current events when she wrote it or if she just knew the world will always have a dark side, but it seems a foreshadowing to our current events.
The book is basically about Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, and a friend, Calvin, who go on a time traveling mission to save Meg and Charles’ dad from the Black Thing or It. The lesson learned from the whole scary adventure is that even though evil exists in the world, there is a weapon against it: love, hope, and courage can overcome darkness. This message gets repeated in other books such as Star Wars, because the Dark Side represented by Darth Vader is defeated by the courage of those not willing to give into hatred and rage, which is mainly represented by Luke Skywalker. Again it is repeated in the Harry Potter books. Voldemort is the epitome of evil, but was conquered by Harry and his friends’ courage, love, and most of all hope. My own books have this theme too. Hope is the key element, and I bet you can list many more books with the same theme.
If you read to escape, that’s great, but within the pages of each book, sometimes you gain insight on how to deal with a world gone haywire. I haven't read Stars Wars or It, but I'm sure the main conflict of evil vs. good is the same as in the movies, which I have seen. I have read all the Harry Potter books and now A Wrinkle in Time and I see elements of the same theme of fear vs. hope in them as with Star Wars and It. What do the antagonists: Black Thing, Darth Vader, Voldemort, and Pennywise have in common? Fear, hatred, and hopelessness control them. What do the protagonist: Meg Murray, Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, and William Denbrough have in common? They have hope and love to help them defeat evil. The protagonists of course all win in the end.
I'm going to assume that all people have opinions and convictions. Opinions sometimes can be swayed and are changeable. Convictions are something you may be willing to die for, and I wager to say that we have less of those than opinions. When the rubber meets the road how many of us would be willing to die for our beliefs?
You can’t miss the controversy around the National Football League (NFL) players kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner and flag ceremony unless you don’t watch the news, don’t follow social media, or live in a country where the news isn’t talking about it. Of course the media is talking about it in the United States, because they make the most money over conflict and negativity.
The problem with the whole debacle was that the football players who had decided to kneel assumed their message was going to be loud and clear. It wasn’t. In my opinion, if you have to explain your actions afterwards, something gets lost in the translation. It also creates doubt of sincerity in the first place. Instead of promoting their cause, which is still a little unclear to me, they managed to divide and anger people.
Freedom of speech is what makes people love to live in the USA, but it is also what causes huge chasms between people. Rather than accept the fact that we are all the same race, the human race, and should treat each other with that in mind, we use “freedom of speech” to hurt people. We also use the anonymity of social media to rant against those who have different viewpoints. Whether you take a knee during the national anthem or spout off diatribes over the internet, you shouldn’t shame someone into thinking exactly like you. In fact, some people become more obstinate and less willing to see a different perspective when they are being ridiculed or treated disrespectfully. Besides, do we really want a world where everyone thinks exactly the same?
I think the NFL could have used a clearer method to promote their viewpoints, such as a video during the commercial breaks. If they spoke the message they wanted to convey, there would have been less chance it would have been misinterpreted. I know they make enough money to pay for several commercial slots during the game, and if players from all races and backgrounds spoke as a united front, they could have conveyed what they obviously didn’t last Sunday.
My husband is a veteran and had risked his life to preserve what our national anthem and flag represents. Supposedly the sacrifices of our military and their families had nothing to do with what the football players were “speaking” out against. If you’re against eating meat, do you stage a protest in the produce section of a store? I know that sounds ridiculous, but that is basically what they are telling us they did. The NFL protested in the wrong place and at the wrong time.
Will my husband and I support the NFL by watching football today? Probably not, but we were told that the Denver Broncos, the team we follow, are going to “apologize” for their actions, and that they will choose a different time to protest. We may have to watch the beginning to see if they keep their word, but there are no set plans in the near future that we will be supporting the NFL.
Blogs about whatever I feel like blogging about at the time: Books, Travel, Pain, Joy, or Nonsense.