Summer News

A few things of note during the summer heat.

First, the digital edition of Hometown Heroes: A Christmas Anthology by Bienvenue Press, is currently on sale for only $0.99. It’s a collection of five sweet holiday romances featuring local heroes in all walks of life–both contemporary and historical. My offering in the collection is “Courtship and Courage: A Fortitude Short Story.” It released last December and proceed benefits Cajun Navy Relief.
Bienvenue Press is doing another charity Christmas anthology this December. The 2019 release will benefit animal rescue. My new story, “Grace Shadowed” (a Possession Chronicles short), will be included. More information in the months ahead.

In other news, POSSESSED: Timeless Gothic Reads is hosting our summer read discussion August 4-10 on a special event page associated with our Facebook group. Our seasonal book–chosen by voting–is from the Gothic family saga genre and is Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews. For the autumn read, we’ll be dipping into the classic American Gothic genre. Voting on the title to read will happen next week. Now is good time to join if you’d like to participate. The seasonal reads are optional for members. We do discuss, share, and recommend Gothic literature from all sub-genres (classic, horror, Southern, family saga, romance, etc.) at any time and Gothic authors are allowed to post promotional items on Fridays. Check it out–it’s not as scary as you think.

The second book in The Possession Chronicles released last month. Now’s a great time to read Murmurs of Evil as book three releases in November. I’ve heard from several readers that they enjoyed it even more than the first book, Perilous Confessions, and it’s the only book in the series that you can reasonably read without having read the book(s) before it. Check out the “Look Inside” option to try out the first five chapters or read for free on Kindle Unlimited.

Questions, comments, and reviews are always welcomed. Happy reading!

 

FORTITUDE Sale

I hope everyone’s summer is going well. There’s been a few shakeups and adventures in my end of the world, but I’m doing good.

Today is a quick post to let you know the Kindle edition of Fortitude is on sale through the weekend for $0.99.

In the vein of Southern Gothic coming-of-age novels like To Kill a Mockingbird and The Secret Life of Bees, Fortitude gives the reader an experience rich in the climate and culture of 1898 Alabama and the Spanish-American War camps in Florida. It’s a great summer read for ages twelve through adults, so tell a friend.

What’s on your summer reading list?

Won Over

Last night I went to a concert for a band I thought of as decent and liked a few songs by them (including one that’s on a soundtrack for a book in The Possession Chronicles.) Usually I don’t attend a concert unless it’s by a favorite because of two things: time and money. But this instance was for a good cause—an early birthday present for my middle child. We journeyed to Orange Beach, Alabama, to The Wharf in the stifling August heat to see Imagine Dragons at the amphitheater.

I was impressed by the fourteen-year-old opener, Grace VanderWaal. Mature voice, peppy songs, and adorable when she ran from a dragonfly and messed up the words. I’d never heard of her before and forgot to look her up before the concert, but it was a good set.

A half hour later, Imagine Dragons took the stage in an epic opening with “Radioactive.” First point: several songs in and I appreciated their talent completely. The sound was tight, energy good.  (I love hearing bands live and often prefer live versions to album versions of songs by my favorite bands.) And I’ve never seen so many confetti cannons before! They didn’t wait for a finale—they were going off throughout. Only the giant balloons were saved toward the end.

Second point: about two thirds of the way through the concert, the members came around to a small stage in the middle of the venue, halfway up the seating area and did three songs in an acoustic set. The only thing better than live versions are live acoustic versions. (Another point.) Most of the members played several instruments (bonus points) and they showed appreciation for the people in the back (like us.)

Even more point (are we still keeping score?): during “Demons” (one of my Possession Chronicles songs—lots of inner demons and otherwise in the series) Dan Reynolds did a shout out to youth suffering with depression and anxiety, urging them to seek therapy and find empowerment there like he did, and not take their lives because they are loved and needed. The whole show was like a party, positive vibes and sing-along fun until they ended with “Believer.” Much respect for Imagine Dragons!

Is there a band that won you over when you saw them live?

Get Possessed

As discussed earlier this month, I have two reader groups on Facebook–one for middle grade through young adult books and another for Gothic literature. Have you joined either?

POSSESSED: Timeless Gothic Reads is growing and the membership has decided to do seasonal group reads, which are not mandatory to participate in, but an extra layer of fun. Our summer book is The Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt, one of the iconic names in Gothic Romance from the past fifty years. The week of August 19 we will dedicate discussions to this title, but as always, all conversations about Gothic literature are welcome at any time. Be sure to join us if you can.

What have you been reading this summer?

Summer Whimsy

It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned Fernando, so here’s a mini health check:

My wild fern is doing well. Continued growth–both on the trunk and on the ground. There are hot, rain-free days ahead, so I’ll need to keep a close eye on Fernando, to make sure it stays hydrated.

Fernando

Fernando


As you can see from the photo, my daughter is adding a fairy garden to the area. I think Fernando approves.

How is your creative inspiration holding up in the summer heat?

Midyear Reality Check

As noted in a previous post, my life fell apart sometime late spring. True, it was nothing disastrous—more like a mini-emotional breakdown—but it was a call to action.

My reading slowed.

My writing was non-existent.

My health and sanity = Scary Carrie.

I’m happy to report the past six weeks have proven productive, as well as enjoyable. I started charting monthly goals, and while June’s targets were a call to action, I’m pleased to share that I met half of them (plus made progress in the other categories.) I’m in a much better place than I was just over a month ago.

And it feels great!
100_5883
Even though the elements maybe stacked against us—see, even Fernando is battling wilt—fortitude works. Whether it’s through service to others, improving your own health, or embracing faith, life is about making this day better than the one before. Goals help me focus and stay accountable, how about you?

Surreal Reading Moment

My autistic teen goes to bed when the younger kids do, but he has permission to read a pre-determined number of chapters before turning his clip-on light out. Since chapter length varies by book, he’s learned the art of bartering. If I say “Two chapters” he’ll tell me, “Chapters too little. Five chapters.” I’m likely to say three, and he’ll say “five, five, five!” To which I’ll respond, with an offer of three or possibly accepted his request. It all depends on the time the bedtime routine is finished.

Last week he borrowed my library book—before I got a chance to read it. The Game of My Life: A True Story of Challenge, Triumph, and Growing Up Autistic by Jason (J-Mac) McElwain with Daniel Paisner is something I wanted to read, but I did hope he’d show an interest, too. (Yes, the J-Mac of the high school basketball video that went viral a few years ago—and still makes the rounds. He also finished the Boston Marathon this year.)
J-Mac

When my son’s done with his chapters, he comes in to tell me (proud that he read so much) and I try to ask about what’s happened in the book, or who it’s about. Usually, I’ve read the book but he’s branching out more—he read a Captain Underpants book the week before which isn’t a series I’ve tried out for myself. I asked him what happened in the J-Mac book and he got all excited and said “Big Bird! Sesame Street!” and repeated that a few times. Since he spent way too many years obsessed with the show, I thought he might have been flashing back to scripting or something, but I asked, “Does J-Mac like Sesame Street?” (I’ve heard it referenced in at least one other autobiography of a young adult on the spectrum.) My son said “yes” and smiled really big.

Did we just have a conversation?

Yes, this seemingly small exchange does count, especially when it takes years to get that far, but I wasn’t completely convinced because of his Sesame Street response.

Well, this weekend I got my chance with the book. Sure enough, J-Mac’s first words were “Big Bird”, said while he was watching the show with his brother.

Note to self: Don’t underestimate the power of books when it comes to opening communication with my child.

Has a book helped with discussions between you and someone you love?

P.S. Here’s the Fernando update:

Fernando of the Water Oak, 23 June, 2014

Fernando of the Water Oak, 23 June, 2014

He’s taking to the summer well, as long as water is provided on the non-thunderstorm days.
And is it just me, or does the moss/fungus on the right look a little corroded?