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

“One Starry Knight” Grand Release!!

one_starry_knight_notext8_frontThis morning at midnight (Dec 30, 2015) marked the grand release of One Starry Knight! The book will be available in paperback at online stores like Amazon and Barnes and Noble, though of course, I will eventually release an ebook version as well.

I want to take a moment to share with you why this book is so important to me. I haven’t started let alone completed a project quite like this in some time, and it is special to me for a number of reasons:

1. It’s the first romance inspired by someone in my personal life that I have completed since high school. I have started many since then, but finished none. But I completed a first draft of this one in about a span of only two weeks. The majority of it rushed to me in one fell swoop. When God inspires, God inspires. This also serves as a compliment to the person who inspired the book, for what an impact they made in my life in such a short time to allow me to craft such a book as this so quickly yet completely.
2. It’s a great fantasy romance, yes. But early on, I knew I wanted it to be more than that. Because the person who inspired it has such a depth to them that I thought it was only fitting this story did as well. Hence, more than simply being a fantasy romance with splashes of adventure and mystery, it is also a story of forgiveness, friendship, the close bond between brothers, and spiritual rebirth.
3. It’s a story which features an interracial couple. Those who know me well enough know by now that one of my big focuses in my books, whether for lil kids or young adults, is diversity, from racial diversity to including folks with disabilities.
4. This is possibly the greatest work I have written to date, and no, I don’t say that out of vanity. As mentioned before, the story seemed to come to me in a single breath, but the short span in which it was written in no way diminishes its quality. I have learned much with my editor, Kira Lerner, over the years, and while I did not use her for this project, I did implement much I have learned from her in its creation. The writing is some of my best; it’s one of those books I read as if standing outside myself and think, “Hmm, I really wrote this?” But like I said, when God inspires, He inspires. Sometimes there’s no further explanation than that.

I suppose that about sums it up. I could go on and on about this book for hours, but that would involve boring y’all to death and probably giving away every last spoiler. I recommend you just read it for yourself. Go pick up a copy on one of the websites I mentioned. Or, starting on January 2, try your luck at winning one of the twenty-four copies I have available in my give-away at Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/168182-one-starry-knight

Thanks so much for your support, and God bless you all, dear readers, with a happy and healthy New Year!!

~ Christine E. Schulze

My Future Dream Cast

I am so totally supposed to be doing edits for one of my books right now. I so totally don’t feel like it and am gonna so totally keep stalling by trolling Facebook and posting this lovely blog post for y’all.

I am sure many of you are aware of the recent hype that there is gonna be a live action version of “Beauty and the Beast” starring Emma Watson as well as a live action version of “The Little Mermaid” starring Chloe Moretz. Both these girls are favorite actresses of mine and secret (well, not after I publish this) girl crushes. I absolutely adore them.

So I decided I was inspired to whip up a quick post honoring all of my favorite actors and actresses that I would love to see star in a film made after one of my books, if such a film was ever made. I think meeting and/or working with any of these lovely, talented folks would be a real treat.

Here they are:

  1. blog12Elijah Wood. I fell in love with his adorable rosy face from the moment he was Frodo. Of course, I was already in love with Frodo from story-travelling into the Lord of the Rings books (I had quite the imaginative, adventurous childhood). Frodo was my first husband that really mattered, after Darkwing Duck. He is still my favorite and probably always will be (shh…don’t tell Draco or James from Pokemon or any of the others). Striking eyes + eternal boyish innocence = eternal heartthrob.
  2. blog11Emma Watson. I mean, do I need to say more? She is Emma Watson. Smart, talented, pretty and cute, and with eyes that could kill–in a mischievously seductive good way.
  3. blog2Chloe Moretz. From Carrie to Let Me In to every creepy or non-creepy thing in between, she is a kick-ass actress and absolutely gorgeous besides. Those lips. Ugh.
  4. blog3Saoirse Ronan. Everything I have ever seen her in are amongst my favorite films. Always with fantastical elements and a deep message at their core. I love the innocence and realness she brings to her characters. If you haven’t, you should definitely check out the following coming-of-age fantasy/dystopian films starring this talented lady: Byzantium, How I Live Now (warning: YOU WILL CRY SO MUCH), and The Host. Like Emma, her gaze is striking, but in a pure, sees-down-to-your-soul type of way.
  5. blog10Tom Felton. Because Draco Malfoy. That’s pretty much all I need to say.
  6. blog9Alan Rickman because he is some kind of magical acting genius.
  7. blog8Elle Fanning. Look at her. Just LOOK. AT. HER. Too damn adorable. You just feel this insatiable need to cuddle her to death.
  8. blog7Like, the entire cast of Game of Thrones.
  9. blog6blogBut since #8 is probably an unrealistic expectation, at least Emilia Clarke, Kit Harrington, Peter Dinklage, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Jacob Anderson. If I need to tell you why, you have lived under a box the past few years. A sad, moldy, dilapidated box. These people are all beautiful, I would date each and every one, and their characters and how they portray them are amazing.
  10. blog5Gerard Butler. Because The Phantom of the Opera was the first movie in which I literally had a breakdown and sobbed so hard my mom thought I might need to be taken to the hospital. Well done, Mr. Butler. Well done, indeed (he was also one of my husbands, after the late Mr. Frodo).
  11. blog4Liv Tyler. Because everything that is Arwen.

 

There may indeed be others, but these are the favorites that come immediately to mind.

What are your own favorite actors and actresses? Who would you love to work with, if you could? Feel free to comment in the comments.

Purposing the Plot: More Than Just a Love Story

kaos1I am finding that a lot of folks are amazed at the amount of books I produce, and at such a quick rate. People act like I’m a bit of an anomaly, and maybe I am. Or maybe I am just really good at planning. Or just anti-social enough to have nothing better to do than write and finish books in my free time. Or maybe it’s just the way God made me.

I have always believed that God has a purpose for my writing. He gave me the talent of not only writing, but of finishing tons of projects in a much shorter time-frame than most. In return, I feel I should make certain that any project I seriously take on has some important spiritual message woven inside, whether it’s a message of friendship, love, forgiveness, acceptance, whatever the case may be.

Because of this reasoning, I am very selective in what projects I actually choose to pursue. I might get a lot of ideas for stories, but I don’t choose to follow through on all of them. With each new story idea, I have to ask myself questions like: Why? What is the purpose of this story? Have I done something similar before? What can readers learn from this? To be breathed into life, the story must be worthy of being not just created, but shared with the world. Allow me to use my latest work as an example.

Last night, I received what should be the FINAL version of my newest fantasy romance, One Starry Knight. I say “should” be because I still have this internal debate going on as to whether one of the characters should end up in a red or blue tunic. May not sound like a complicated decision, but trust me, it really is. From the symbolism of blue vs. red to the question of which color the character looks the most handsome in, it’s a serious, serious matter to decide.

But I digress. The creation of One Starry Knight has been a very special, personal journey for me. The romance aspect of it was inspired by real incidents and people in my life, especially the emotional journey that Evren, the main character, goes on as she falls in love with Kaos and as she grows as a person, learning much not just about him, but about herself. I wrote the entire story in only about a month or two–not counting the many read-throughs for spelling, grammar, tweaks, and fixes–but that in no means decreases the power of the writing. I consider it to be a strong piece and possibly the most beautiful thing I have ever written, next to my children’s book, In the Land of Giants, which has it’s own message to share.

Yes, the message: that’s what this post is about. The message or purpose behind the stories I create. That, perhaps more than anything, fuels me to create a story and see it to completion. As in the case of One Starry Knight, beautiful as Evren’s and Kaos’ story is, at some point I realized that I wanted it to be more than a just love story. Oh, true, the love story itself had many things to teach readers about the selflessness and sacrifices and heartaches of love. But that wasn’t quite enough for me.

With the help of ideas from a friend, I was able to take the story beyond a beautiful romance. It has since blossomed into a tale of forgiveness, redemption, and spiritual rebirth. It’s a story for the ages and one that I hope the masses can take to heart and be truly encouraged by.

Because that’s what it’s really all about for me. Being a Christian and an author, I can’t help but know God would have me combine these two greatest aspects of myself and use them to inspire, uplift, and encourage others. If a book isn’t doing that, even in the subtlest way, it’s probably not worth my time to write, nor yours to read.

As for One Starry Knight, I hope it will be well worth the read, as I believe it to be. Keep a look-out for the print release on December 30 on websites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I will also be hosting a massive give-away of the book on Goodreads.

That’s all I have to reflect on for now. As ever, God bless, happy reading, and may you be inspired!!

~ Christine E. Schulze

Not Like the Movies…and Maybe That’s Exactly How It Should Be

katy2No, Katy Perry, it’s never like the movies.

The movies are filled with drama and angst. The movies make you believe that drama and passion are the same thing. The movies also don’t show all the normal, everyday life moments in between the passion. And if they did, they would make us believe, falsely so, that those normal moments are mundane and boring, when in truth they make up the majority of what true love is…

Because eventually, you reach a point in life where you realize it’s okay that it’s not like the movies. You learn that’s not what you really need or even want. You meet someone whose mere presence and company brings you happiness. You don’t have to be doing anything with that person. You don’t need them to romance you with dramatic gestures and gifts and fancy dates. You could simply be lying next to them, or taking a walk with them, or holding their hand while looking at the stars, and be quite content. And you realize THAT is what it’s all about. THAT is what you are looking for. Maybe you will be so blessed as to get to share it with the person who opened your eyes to it. Or maybe you won’t.  But you know that you will either find it, or simply choose to be alone. Because your eyes have been opened in such a way that anything less would be settling, and settling is utterly unacceptable because you have caught a glimpse of what could be and know that so much more could exist.

 

Book-signings, Artwork, and Berries–Oh my!!

20150530_102903Wow. So a few hours ago, I finished participating in a book-signing associated with Trinity Service’s Strawberry Festival. I have been posting about this event for some time, but at last, the big day arrived, and let me just say what a fun and awesome experience!! I met some great people, sold and signed more books than I ever would have imagined. It was truly a fun, exhilarating, but also humbling experience.

20150530_103302And you know what I learned from it? That this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Inspire and help people through my creativity. All my life, I have known this is both what I want to do and what I am meant to do, the path God has for me. Today it all paid off. Today was the the beginning of a beautiful new chapter in my life. A chapter I will continue to write as I inspire as many people as I can with my stories.

My Children's Lit teachers from college--still reading my stuff!! My, but my writing has come such a long way since then.

My Children’s Lit teachers from college–still reading my stuff!! My, but my writing has come such a long way since then.

But the Strawberry Festival wasn’t all about me. The signing was a great personal triumph but was only a small part of went on today!! Today was all about raising awareness for the awesome work we do at Trinity Services to help adults with disabilities live full and abundant lives. We featured much of their artwork for sale, including original paintings and barn quilts. We had food, fresh-picked strawberries, and a band came to play blue grass music. Clients, staff, and locals joined together for a grand time of fun and fellowship. It was a simple but beautiful thing.

Please enjoy these pictures as a sample of this wonderful experience. I hope everyone who got a book today is blessed and truly inspired!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.