Narwhal Day!!

pottery3Yesterday, I had the fun honor of getting some of my ladies together for Ladies’ Night at Pottery Hollow here in Swansea, Illinois. Meaning that I finally got to do my narwhal!

Pottery Hollow is a super fun and relaxing experience, from the art creation to the laid-back atmosphere. It’s my second time going, and I’ll definitely be going back again. There are still so many fun shapes I wanna paint and take home with me! If you’re in the greater St. Louis area, I highly recommend checking them out!

While I adore my narwhal, I really did also enjoy my friends’ creations: Amy’s sunset bowl, Sarah’s super-detailed fairy (she’s a real artist and did some of my illustrations for One Starry Knight), and Bethany’s bat with the cutest lil face EVER. Can’t wait to see ’em all cooked up in about a week or so!

To the Castle!!

hever4Greetings, readers, friends, fans, and fellow adventurers!

For those who are unaware, I just returned from a two-week trip to England. It was my first trip overseas, first time in a plane, first time seeing the ocean or riding a boat or doing a lot of things! I’ll be thrilled to tell you all about fun highlights like punting, my layover at the Iceland airport, London’s awesome zoo with its close-up animal encounters…but for today, I’d like to start with my favorite: the Hever Castle and Gardens.

One of my main goals for visiting England was that I had to see a castle. Just one castle, and I’d be satisfied. Boy, am I glad that THIS is the castle I chose. Pretty sure when y’all help me become a rich and famous author that Imma buy it and move in. I’ll be like Enya; she’s an artist who lives in a castle too.

Anyhoozles. So, I had taken myself a lot of places on the train up till then, but Hever was a new experience. I get off the train, and there are literally no humans. At first, I’m thinking, “Well, this is sketch lol.” But I quickly realize it’s not sketch at all; it’s so quiet because I’ve stepped into my first experience of English countryside. Soon as I realize this, I’m STOKED. This is about to be a true adventure.

One great thing about England is there are signs everywhere, so getting lost isn’t a super easy option. I followed the little signs for Hever Castle, and they soon lead me to this lovely footpath through the countryside. It was like playing Zelda, my favorite video game; I had to follow the signs and find the next kissing gate to progress.hever3

My favorite part about this footpath? SHEEP! I’d been wanting to see the black-faced sheep for DAYS. They’re so adorable. They led my way to the castle, and they were still there to lead my way back to the train at the end of the day.

hever5The castle and garden themselves? Phenomenally beautiful, magical, and whimsical. I chose the castle itself because I wanted to see an older castle; it’s also one of the places Anne Boelyn grew up, and I’ve always been interested in that period of history, particularly as it relates to Henry VIII.

hever14One thing I’ll say is that the English definitely know how to garden! I could just live in this garden, never mind the castle, with its sprawling rose garden (roses are my fave, besides lilies), relaxing willows by the lake, and massive, massive trees! I met so many lovely trees in England. They really appreciate nature and are much more environmentally conscious and friendly than we are in the States.

Well, that concludes this chapter of my England adventures. I’ll be posting more, so stay tuned for the next chapter!!

One Starry Knight: A Book of Healing

Front (2)Originally, I was going to publish One Starry Knight: Special Illustrated Edition on December 30, same as the original; I’d chosen that date because it’s the birthday of my friend who inspired Kaos. But instead, I ended up publishing the book far before that, on April 20, my birthday, instead. It all came together so flawlessly, which is saying a lot, considering I included artwork from thirteen brilliant and diverse artists. They were all perfectly on time, and I was able to publish the book without a hitch. God definitely had His hand in guiding that one.

book16So why the switch to publish so much sooner? Well, something inside me had told me to finish the book before December. It was like God whispered to me, “That will be far too late; you’ll need it before then.” And as usual, God’s leading, combined with the uncanny intuition He’s blessed me, with proved correct. I decided to publish the book on my birthday, instead of the birthday of the man and dear friend who is my real-life Kaos. Only a couple weeks after I showed the book off at a book-signing for the first time, my heart was torn by some news that is still too deep and private for me to talk about. Long story short, we won’t be pursuing any kind of relationship beyond friendship, though I still consider him a dear friend and a good-hearted man; the man who tries to next win my heart will have huge shoes to fill, which isn’t really such a bad thing. Kaos helped raise the bar and helped me define exactly what I want in a life partner.

book17Am I upset that I finished the book and poured so much money, heart, and soul into hiring artists to complete it by my early publication date? No, not at all. As with the real Kaos, I have no regrets. I knew that however things turned out, the book would at least be necessary for my healing. Its completion would allow me to move forward.

Same with the photo shoot featured here. After the May Market Book-signing (featured in another post), my bestie Sarah Jolly and I did an impromptu Evren photo shoot. I mean, I figured we may as well, since I had the dress, the red hair (which would be washed out that night), and considering we were in Lebanon, the place where my love for Kaos was first born. We shot a couple of pictures in the “magic gazebo,” but most photos seen here are at the local park, which I call “The Park of Stars and Fireflies.”

book15The story behind the park: One night after we both got off work at midnight, real-life Kaos took me to that park for the first time. Hundreds and hundreds of fireflies sparkled in the trees like diamonds. Then, just like when Evren lays down in the boat in the book, Kaos had me lay back on the merri-go-round. He spun it round and round, and as the stars swirled above me, they felt almost close enough to touch. Twas the most magical night. I’ve returned to that park many a time to watch the stars, but it’s never felt as magical as on that first night when he was with me.

book10As you can see here, Sarah was quite inspired and took some amazing shots of me as Evren, capturing Evren’s—and my—whimsy, longing, love for simplicity and nature, hopefulness, prayerfulness, and love.

I will always love my Kaos. I have the fondest memories of him, and I learned and grew so much because of him. I continue to write about him, such as this, only because I cannot be with him. Expressing myself is necessary to continue my healing process, be that through writing, music, painting, whatever inspiration comes to me. My love for him is immortalized in One Starry Knight, but like Evren, it is time to lay that mission aside and ascend to the stars to complete my own healing. From there, I must wait to see what new adventure God has for me next.

Meanwhile, dear readers, please enjoy reading our story! It’s a young adult fantasy romance novella, but I personally like to call it “an interracial fairy tale.” I believe that suits our story, both the real one and that portrayed in the book, quite perfectly indeed. My book can be found in paperback on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. Ebook version coming soon!book12

Fantastical Hiking

Me and Brother Adam (okay he’s not REALLY my brother, but he’s like one, and also we have this running joke that him, me, and his girlfriend Loryn are this Mormon pirate threesome) went hiking at the Rim Rock Recreational Trail here in Illinois. And I gotta say: how breathtaking! We had fun climbing everything possible, exploring every nook and cranny. The place had so many different kinds of scenery, I was got hints of Lothlorien, the Mines of Moria, Pride Rock, Narnia, even the Land Before Time series. We even climbed the steps of Cirith Ungol and lived to tell the tale. Enjoy these highlights from our adventure!!

Book-signings and Nature and Gypsies–oh my!!

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Well, per the usual it’s been a couple of months since I’ve posted, but at least I can say I’ve been busy during that time!! The past couple of months have been a fun whirlwind. Every author needs a break now and then, so my writing has been on hold till I’m ready to go ahead with my lovely editor, Kira Lerner, to finish editing The Gailean Quartet. I’m hoping to release the first book sometime next year, early 2019 at the latest, but as this will be my first remastered series, I’m in no rush. I mean, I am, but I’m not. I want it out there, but only in its top form!

Screenshot_2017-10-25-18-27-36-1-1In the meantime, I’ve mostly been enjoying life. Hiking, immersing myself in nature…I was a sickly child but now that I’m older and have been able to tackle many of my allergies and other health issues, I’m determined to make up for as much of that lost time as possible and just enjoy exploring God’s nature. I also had the pleasure of attending my first Renaissance Festival in Wentzville, MO (near St. Louis) with two of my besties, Adam and Loryn (also literally the cutest couple to ever BREATHE), and as you can tell, the belly dancing gypsies were definitely our favorite.

Screenshot_2017-10-25-18-27-13-1I’ve also done a book-signing here or there and had the pleasure of meeting some brilliant fellow Indie authors, including Leigh Savage and John W. Smith, seen in the photos here.

As far as what’s in the works, as I said, I’m taking an editing break, though as cold weather moves in, I can tell I’m getting the “itch” to get started again. Meanwhile, I’ve been working overtime to finance a special project of mine, an illustrated edition of One Starry Knight. I hope eventually to do the same with Bloodmaiden, it being my first published book, as well as a readers’ fave. For the One Starry Knight book, I’ve hired various artists to read the book and depict favorite scenes. Here is shown an illustration by Karen Swartz, who also illustrated one of my kids’ books, The Puzzle of the Two-Headed Dragon.Screenshot_2017-10-25-18-27-26-1

Well, that’s my life right now. This weekend will involve hanging with some bats and lots of hiking. More updates coming soon, but in the meanwhile, feel free to keep up with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads. Just search for my name; far as I know, I’m the only “Me” in the world thus far, I’m not too hard to find. 🙂

As always, God bless, happy reading, and may you all be inspired!!

~ Christine E. Schulze

 

Let the Summer Adventures Begin!!

Heya, readers, friends, and fans! FINALLY, my first true post in a while. Been a long time coming, but I’ve been working on a lot of various projects behind-the-scenes, so to speak, keeping busy as ever! I have a slue of fun lil summer plans in between editing, publishing, doing book-signings, collabing with artist Stacey Hummel to create my graphic novel series…and boy, am I pumped for it all!!

Here’s what I’ve been up to the past month, author stuff and adventure stuff included:

Finishing Puca, my newest children’s book: Every year I determine to finish a new children’s book by the time of my workplace’s annual Strawberry Fest, where they always graciously grant me a table to sign and sell my books. This year, the children’s book I completed was Puca, which I wrote for the lovely lady on the left, a co-worker whose grandson passed away last year from brain cancer. The book is inspired by him and dedicated to his family, and was written so that other children and their families who are going through the same experience can find hope and peace.

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Book-signing at Lebanon’s May Market: For those who aren’t familiar, I sell my books at the Tiadaghton House in lovely little historical Lebanon, Illinois. The Tiadaghton House sells work from about 70 local artists. Well, this year, they invited me to participate in Lebanon’s annual May Market, and of course I was excited to snatch up a spot ASAP!

Despite roads being flooded due to recent torrents of rain, the turn-out was fair. I met some new people, made some new readers, and had a blast hanging out with Codiya, Squal, The Emma, Mumsie, and various of my other friends who stopped by and made the whole day super fun and enjoyable.

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The Lion King Live!: The day after May Market, me ‘n’ Squal had tickets to go see The Lion King live at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis with our mums. Alas, Squal’s mum took ill, but I was able to quickly find replacements for the tickets, including my dear friend Codiya here, whom Mom and I took along with us personally. It was a beautiful performance, truly worth the wait! One our favorite parts was the giraffes; kudos to whoever was up on them stilts, workin’ some skillz!

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Special Editions, Coming Right Up: Soooo, originally, I had this idea to create a graphic novel version of Bloodmaiden, but that idea eventually dissolved as I decided to write The D.N.A. Sequence as a graphic novel series. I will be focusing all my time and resources into getting that series created over the next couple of years, but in the meantime wanted to do something special with Bloodmaiden, as well as One Starry Knight. So instead, I will be creating “Special Editions” of each of these young adult fantasy novella, including illustrations and, for One Starry Knight, a photo shoot. Below are a couple of character sketches from One Starry Knight, with Kaos on the left, noble yet brooding as ever, and the chipper Jay on the right. #prayforjaysinn

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Book-signing at Trinity Strawberry Fest: As mentioned above, every May I get to do a book-signing as part of my workplace’s annual Strawberry Fest. I work at Trinity Services which provides residential and day program services for adults with disabilities in the Southern Illinois area. It’s always a blast getting to spend the day with my co-workers and clients while meeting new people!

Also, for those of you who don’t know, 25% of ALL my books sales goes to ALFA, a local charity that provides volunteers and funding to many of Trinity’s program. Please consider buying one of my books from Amazon or Barnesandnoble.com and support adults with autism and other disabilities in the process!

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Nature Geek Chic: I love nothing more than exploring nature, even if it’s just a stroll through Lebanon’s McKendree University grounds and their magic fairy fountain! Immersing oneself in God’s creation recharges the soul.

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Rubbing Zac Efron’s Abs…Uhh…I Mean, Hittin’ Craptastic Movies With Squal: This month’s films included Get Out, which was really flippin’ weird but good, and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. The only good thing about the latter movie really was rubbing a cardboard cut-out Zac Efron’s abs, and I’m not even an Efron fan. Yes–Squal and myself, aka Glaz, conclude the movie was THAT BAD. It has some nice imagery, but pretty much zero emotional connections to any of the characters, too many wtf moments to list here, and despite all the action was surprisingly boring. Ties Snow White and the Huntsman: Winter’s War in terms of awfulness…perhaps even surpasses it… *shudders*

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That’s all for now, folks. Stay tuned for further updates on my books and personal adventures. Till then, God bless, happy reading, and may you all be inspired!

~ Christine E. Schulze