Book Review: Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Read this book today... seriously go to Amazon and buy it.
Read this book today… seriously go to Amazon and buy it.

Several months ago, I brought Enchanted by Alethea Kontis in anticipation of reading shortly after I had the pleasure of meeting her at a Barnes N’ Noble event in Orlando, Florida.  Needless to say that life intervened and I didn’t crack open the book until this past week.

I wish I hadn’t waited so long. I have been waiting for a book like this. A book to spark the imagination of both myself and my students. I told them about the book shortly after I started reading it and now they are eager to read it.

So let’s get to the good stuff.

Enchanted is the tale of Sunday Woodcutter who lives in the magical kingdom of Arilland where fairies and fairy tales are woven into everyone’s lives.  Sunday is the seventh daughter of the seventh daughter and being the youngest of the youngest has left her feeling like she is the leftover child in the family.  She and her other sister are each named for a day of the week by their mother, Seven Woodcutter.

Each sister takes on the attributes of the day on which she was born.  Kontis weaves the stories of the Woodcutter family together seamlessly hinting at the mysteries and secrets that all families have.  They may live in a magical land where talking animals are common place, but they have real problems and concerns.

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace;
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go;
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for its living;
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

From the beginning of this enchanting tale (punt intended) to the last line, you are taken on a journey through everything you think you know about classic fairy tales isn’t just turned on its head, but pulled into reality.  And it all begins with a lonely girl named Sunday sitting by a well and reading her journal to a frog named Grumble who will become her friend.  But what happens when that friendship turns into love?

The blending of classic Fairy Tales and modern humor carries the reader to a new realm where the Princess and the Pea meets Cinderella, the Frog Prince and reality head on for the win.

Visit her website and you can find out more about her and her books.I promise you that you won’t regret it.  You can also purchase the books from Amazon or Barnes  and Noble 

 

Advertisements

Why Support Patreon?

Last month my royalties for my book, Blood Child, were less than $5.00.  That’s right. I made less than a fiver for a book that took me nearly two years to produce, not including the time it took to write. And you know what I am overjoyed… seriously. I am happy about it. My writing is bringing in money.Is it the amount that I need to quit my day job or even one of my second jobs? No, but it means that people are buying my work which makes me smile. It takes a long time to build an audience/fan base.

So why do I support Patreon? Why I am writing this to convince you to support it? It is simple. It takes time to produce art whether it is music, books or a mural. It takes time to perfect the skills that make that art something of beauty and value. There is value in an artist’s ability to create. Patreon  is a crowd funding platform that allows artists and patrons to interact and engage.  Like in days of old, Patrons are treated to exclusive content from the artists as well as sneak peeks on new projects. Patreon says that it is empowering a new generation content creators.

Amanda Palmer 's photo from her famous Kickstarter campaign -
Amanda Palmer ‘s photo from her famous Kickstarter campaign -Now, Palmer is on Patreon.

That’s the key phrase, content creators, artists of all types create content that we enjoy. We, the patrons, pay them for that content. Just like we buy songs on i-Tunes or books on Amazon, we can buy content from our favorite artists. The difference is that you are contributing to that content being created. You are helping your favorite artist have the time to create their content. You are contributing to the art you love. You are giving them the breathing room that they need to create.And all the while you are communicating with them and creating a community.

Stant Litore
Stant Litore- Master Storyteller

Stant Litore was the first person that I have supported on Patreon.  His goals were small and have grown with the support of the community he has help to build. He gives inside looks into his writing process, the ups and downs of the writing life as well as what they funds have helped do for him and his family.

In his words, “it puts the community back in storytelling. Patreon is perfect for those writers and readers who are very social. It lets readers get involved in the process and lets writers share more of the process with readers. It takes us back to when telling stories was something that happened around a community fire, rather than in an isolated study. It also represents an opportunity for readers to fund more of the work they like most and for writers to make a more sustainable income.”

That sustainable income allows patrons to get more of the content that they want. It is a win-win for artists and other content creators. I support Patreon not as a writer, but a reader and lover of music and games. I support it because it inspires me to continue creating. Inspiring me to keep working through the all obstacles in front of me.

These are the people that are currently inspiring me – Amanda Palmer, Stant Litore and The Galaxy Next Door . Check it out…

*A special thank to Stant Litore for taking the time out of his schedule to talk to me. Check out his books on Amazon.

April Page 3

So what is happening in April with all these pages? Everyday in April, I am writing a page a day. No excuses and no delaying or trying to make up pages after the fact. A page a day.

Simple right? If it were that simple then my next book would be out by the end of this year. Lots of things get in the way of a regular writing schedule especially when you work more than one job or have a family or that little thing called life.

Life throws all sorts of things at you. It has a list of needs like sleep and the desire for substance.  There is love and heartbreak both of which can throw you off of a writing schedule. Although, I have found heartbreak to be quite energizing when it comes to writing and not just for sappy love poems or teen angst.

Life throws colds and cancer at us. And we have no choice but to keep going.

Last night, I had the beautiful opportunity to attend the launch of Oye What I’m Gonna Tell You – a collection of short stories by Cecilia Rodríguez Milanés.  The book is incredible as is the woman who wrote it. She has been called a “spellbinding storyteller” and her book is recommended as one of the top ten reads on Cuba.

The launch was in a cozy bookstore, Writer’s Block Bookstore, in Winter Park. When I arrived, she was engaged in a conversation with readers. The biggest thing that I took away from conversation at the launch was that you need to write those things that you are afraid to write about.  When you get nervous that is the time to push further and go off the cliff.

Most of my life, I have drifted towards fiction because I have been afraid to tell some stories. Afraid to expose myself to the world. There is a comfort in being a storyteller.  Truth can be weaved into entertainment and there is a deep value in giving people an escape into fantasy worlds.  I have learned so much from fictional characters and through the writing process. But to grow as a writer, you have to push your boundaries.

The other big thing was be yourself.  Be genuine and be nice. I have know  Milanés for a while through mutual friends. She was completely herself yesterday. A beautiful and fierce Latina that has so much to teach and share with the world.  She talked about her daughter and how proud she was of her being the first s.  She talked about her Cuban heritage and what it means to be the “good girl”.

Growing up, I always tried to be the good girl. The responsible one. The good student. The respectful daughter. Always doing what I was suppose to do and never actually understanding what that was. Missteps were bound to happen and I ended up feeling like a failure. Never good enough… unworthy of love.

Good girls do grow up and find the fierceness of their mothers and grandmother.

Then they become women who write.

Book Review: The Eterna Files

Misc 081Book Review: The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber.

Available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon and other retailers.

Addicted. I am officially addicted to Leanna Renne Hieber’s writing.   I have no problem with this addiction and intend to do nothing but feed it over the coming months.

If you love reading, I would suggest that you also develop this particular addiction. She has seventeen titles available on Amazon.  Seventeen delightful things… a few that are out of print as a result of the publisher going out of business.  The good news is that her new publisher, Tor, is releasing her lost titles soon.  I can’t wait.

I felt in love with her book, The Eterna Files, from the very first page.  I wanted to know immediately how Clara Templeton was going to fair in her quest for immortality, not for herself, but for the leader of our beloved nation. Clara’s quest begins in the wake of the Civil War and the assassination of President Lincoln and continues to England’s Victorian Age and an assignment from the Queen Mum herself. Clara’s counter part Harold Spire has been appointed by her majesty’s command to purse the Eterna project. Both are bound by their honor to do what they think is right.

Hieber has a wonderful way of creating rich historical worlds that draw you in and keep you enthralled.  You want to know what is happening with both teams as they search for the answers to death.  Tragedy has stuck both teams and each believes the others to blame. It is difficult to image the days when America and Great Britain were enemies, but it is barely a hundred years after the revolution and both countries are hunting the same prize. It is easy to see how both would see each other as the enemy and not the ally that they are today.

If you love a mystery, Gothic fiction and an all around good story, you need to read this book. And everything else by this writer, Leanna Renee Hieber.

If you’d like more information on Lucinda’s work subscribe to this blog, follow her on Twitter or like her page on Facebook.  Her new novella, Blood Child is available on Amazon.

 

 

Moving Manic Mondays

My whole house seems so much brighter than it did a couple of hours ago.  This week my normal manic Monday has been replaced by a gentle and well deserved break. I woke up with a book besides me and went out onto the porch to read and drink my morning tea. It was the perfect dreary day.

11051906_663114840460500_2886341314953390785_nThen a story idea stuck and I let it take me on a three hour journey.

Now my house is a bit cleaner and I am contemplating a nap.  Life has been really hectic this year and there are some big changes coming in my life. Changes I am making willing and some unwilling.  I have come to the conclusion that I need more days like this where I am free to write and not being pulled in three or four different directions.   I am still working three jobs and writing whenever where ever I can.  Blood Child is still selling and reviews are slowly but surely coming in.  (If you have had a chance to read it then please consider leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads.  Every review is helpful. )

The thing that I can do to help myself the most is not working until my brain is numb.  This past week I worked seven days in a row and barely had the brain power to string together a complete sentence let a lone a paragraph.  I can’t continue this pace.  It simply isn’t health. My mind and body know it.

I have also come to the conclusion that all this work really hasn’t done me any good. I am only marginally better off than I was a year ago. Financial things are a little better and for that I am grateful. It is time though to think about what I really want. Eight years ago, I thought that I wanted to be a teacher for the rest of my life. I was excited about all the opportunities in front of me.  That dreams was one that sustained me for so many years of self-imposed stupidity. I was going to do something with my life. I was going to give back and teach.

I had put an order dream aside.  A dream I thought that I was unworthy of.

Being a writer.

Now, I know that I can do it. I just have to be willing to do it. Willing to crave out more days like these for myself. 10367787_10155402717575397_8913494460226026793_nWilling to give up some income so that I can write and really work on the craft of writing.  I saw this image on Alethea Kontis’ Facebook page and realized that I have known what it takes for years, but have been afraid.  Afraid to give up what I have for what I want. I may never be a full time writer.  Still I am happiest when I am writing or teaching. It is time to do more of what I love instead of acting out of fear.

If you’d like more information on Lucinda’s work subscribe to this blog, follow her on Twitter or like her page on Facebook.  Her new novella, Blood Child is available on Amazon.

 

Shy Lu and the Book Signing

My new books.
My new books.

The hardest thing for people to believe about me is that I am actually shy. The powerful voice I use on the stage or in the classroom isn’t a constant in my life.

This evening, I had the great opportunity to listen to and meet with two fabulous ladies, Leanna Reneee Hieber and Alethea Kontis.  They were bright and answered questions from the crowd and were both incredibly personable. They took their time and talked with everyone that was there.  But that voice of mine wasn’t there.

I was just in awe of these two women who are working authors. They are in many ways living the dream that I hope one day to achieve.

Tonight they gave me hope and four more books to add to my reading list.  A writer always needs a pile of inspiration. Tonight, they also earned a loyal reader.

They also reminded me how grateful I am to have the support that I have in my life. It wasn’t always there in a tangible way.  So please believe me when I say that I am so incredibly thankful for all of your support.  It may not seem like much to like a page or write a comment, but it can mean the world to the person receiving it. It does to me. At the same time, I can’t let myself get caught up in the numbers game (counting each and every like and share).

As of today, Blood Child has sold 49 copies, which might not sound like a lot, but coming from the point where I honestly believed that I would never write  or publish a book; it is awesome.

Just like the women who I met tonight, I am going to continue being nice, working hard and getting myself out there. I will be working on the last one.