Book Review: Puzzle of the Two-Headed Dragon

dragon_frontHullo, readers!

I am happy and honored to share the latest review for one of my children’s books, The Puzzle of the Two-Headed Dragon. Below is my favorite snippet from reviewer Aimee Ann:

“The Puzzle of the Two-Headed Dragon is one of the most well-developed children’s stories I have ever come across, and so I am so happy I have discovered this book because books with such a high quality such as this one are rare to come by!”

What high and humbling praise!

Feel free to read the full review here:

https://redheadedbooklover.com/the-puzzle-of-the-two-headed-dragon-christine-e-schulze/

Thanks very much to Ms. Aimee for taking the time to read, so thoroughly enjoy, and review my work.

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

 

Doing Diversity With Respect

I’d like to take a moment to clarify that while including diversity in my books has always been important to me since I was a child, it has never been with a selfish or disrespectful intent; rather, quite the opposite. I don’t do what I do to make money or because it’s what’s “in.” My stories are all about inclusion and acceptance and equality, because I believe people from all walks of life should see themselves represented in fantasy and to go on grand adventures.

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That being said, as a white woman, I would never presume to know what it’s like to be African American, Native American, Hispanic, Asian, or any other race or ethnicity. That’s where the beauty of fantasy comes in, to help me fulfill my purpose and inspiration in a respectful manner. I can create my own fantasy races who physically represent real races and ethnicities, but since my races are fictional, I also create my own histories and cultures for them. In this way, I aim not to disrespect any real cultures or undermine the importance of African Americans writing African American protagonists or Asians writing Asian protagonists, etc. I’m still able to include diversity which is important to me on a personal and moral level. African Americans can experience characters who look like them through the Carmennans or Water-skipper Elves, two of my dark-skinned races with similar features. Hispanics can see themselves represented in the Spaniños, who likewise have Hispanic features. But since these races are of my own creation, I’m also not presuming to understand what it’s like to grow up as an African American or Hispanic or be in their shoes. I’m constantly interested in educating myself, but I acknowledge that I can still never “be” them.

This past weekend, I attended a craft fair where I had a table signing and selling my books. A lady came up to me and said, “I teach a twelve-year-old girl who doesn’t have the best self-esteem on her looks. I’d like something that helps show her how pretty she is. She’s Hispanic. Do you have anything?” I was pleased to show this lady The Crystal Rings and explain that in the first story, there is a princess who goes on an adventure, and while all of my races are made up, her race and look is inspired by Hispanics. I wouldn’t have felt comfortable directly calling my character Hispanic, because my character really isn’t Hispanic. But it felt great knowing that perhaps I had created a story and characters that could help someone see the beauty of their own ethnicity. I really hope that girl finds at least some inspiration and encouragement from reading my book.

cover3I’ve since also become more passionate about including characters who have disabilities; I’ve been inspired to do so by my day job at Trinity Services in Mascoutah, IL; there, I help folks with autism and other disabilities live more independent lives. I would never presume to understand what it’s like to be blind or deaf or autistic or in a wheelchair. But I do believe it’s important to include these characters in fantasy to show others how they are just as capable as anyone; if they can go on grand adventures, they can do anything in the real world. But I would still not seek to take away from their power; they should be empowered to do their own writing and creating and tell their own stories.

Page0I hope this helps my readers understand who I am as an author and what my purpose is: to represent people of all backgrounds and include characters that many different people can relate to, without causing any offense or disrespect. I absolutely think that other races and cultures should be the most prominent voices when writing about their own cultures and races. In the meanwhile, I can embrace and support acceptance and equality for all through the creation of my fantasy worlds.

 

 

Let the 2018 Book-signings Begin!!

Enjoy these moments from my first two book-signings of the year: Lebanon’s May Market on May 6th, and Trinity’s Strawberry Festival on May 19th! Met a lot of great new readers, saw many friends, even saw one of my old preschool students who starred in The Amazing K, and overall had a blast! Also, sales were great, meaning that I also raised over $100 for ALFA, the local charity I support that helps adults with autism and other disabilities live full and abundant lives here in Southern Illinois. Excited to see what else God has in store for this year!

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

 

Give-aways and Coupons!!

fadbooks.jpgFor those of you not familiar with my Instagram and Facebook pages, start getting familiar!! I’ve been hosting monthly give-aways for my paperbacks the past few months and am excited to continue doing so. In addition, I will soon start creating special monthly coupons for my ebooks on Smashwords. This might include coupons for discounted ebooks or even FREE ebooks, depending on the book of the month. This is a great way to sample some of my writing for cheap or even FREE, a great idea for new readers as well as being a nice deal for faithful fans. Smashwords offers ebooks in a wide variety of formats so whether you have a tablet or are reading on a dino computer like me, you should be able to find something to suit your needs!!

To enter my monthly give-aways and keep a lookout for those ebook coupons, follow me on the following:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christinee.schulze/

FADBooks Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fadbooks/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorchristineschulze/

FADBooks Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fadbooks

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

~ Christine E. Schulze

Author Meets Illustrator

Wow, so long time no see, my dear readers!!

During this several-month interlude, much has been in the works. I am cranking out a new Zelda fanfic for my eager fandom, finally completing my first series for re-publication, The Gailean Quartet, came out with a new kids’ book, The Puzzle of the Two-Headed Dragon, and have been looking into new marketing ideas–including the awesome book-signing I had yesterday, which I am fixin’ to tell y’all about.

straw5This was my second year doing a signing at the Trinity Farmstead and Garden’s Strawberry Festival. I actually work at Trinity, located in Mascoutah, IL, which means I have basically the coolest day job ever. I mean, if you’re forced to be a starving artist, may as well have an awesome day job in the meanwhile, right? I work with folks with autism and developmental disabilities. They are some of the coolest, most loving and fun people you will ever meet. I get to help them with art projects, music, cooking, gardening, and learning life skills that will help them become more independent.

straw1.jpgThe Festival itself was a huge hit. The weather was perfectly beautiful, and it was overall a great time with great people, great food, great bluegrass music, and lots of selling of strawberries and the clients’ amazing artwork. straw2.jpg

 

And of course, there was the book-signing itself. Twenty-five percent of my sales always goes to ALFA (Abundant Living for All), which is the local charity that provides funds and volunteers for the many programs our folks are involved in. I was able to sell a lot of books, making a nice profit for not just myself but for ALFA as well, which always makes me happy. Every little bit helps our folks, and one of my goals as an author is to help raise awareness for all the wonderful work going on at Trinity.

My favorite thing about signings is always the people. I had two other local authors come up to my table, one of whom expressed interest in the possibility of starting a local authors’ group. I love meeting new people and talking to them. I love it when the kids come up to my table and touch the books and look through them and know exactly which one they want.  I love the power God has given me to connect with and inspire so many wonderful folks simply through the written word.

straw9One of the biggest highlights of the day came when my illustrator for The Puzzle of the Two-Headed Dragon, the very talented and lovely Karen Swartz, showed up along with her boyfriend and family, including some of his family visiting from New York. It was the coolest thing getting to meet all of them, they were the most gracious and sweet family! Karen has been such a pleasure to work with, and we look forward to doing another project together. Who knows? Perhaps together we will just keep making cool things and ultimately take the publishing world by storm. Watch out, readers! ‘Cause here we come.

Overall, God blessed me and everyone at the Farm with a truly beautiful and successful day. I even got to hold a baby bird. And go bowling afterward. Can’t go wrong with bowling.

Well, I’m off to the grind. Next stop is finishing this darned Zelda book before my fans have a conniption.  Then, it’s time to start planning some real marketing tactics. And after that, who knows? I might just be off to tour the world before you know it.

 

Strange Folk Festival 2015

Wow…has it really been that long since I posted??

Rest assured, dear readers, I am hard at work on a number of projects!! And, in the meantime, I got accepted to be a vendor at the Strange Folk Festival!! Strange Folk is a huge annual event for all kinds of eclectic artists to share and sell their work. Naturally, I had a table selling and signing my books.

I met a ton of amazing people from all different backgrounds. I always love just talking to people and getting to learn a little about who they are and where they come from. I even got an impromptu marriage proposal from a fellow author, lol.

My children’s books, In the Land of Giants, The Amazing “K”, and The Adventures of William the Brownie all sold like hotcakes, as did Bloodmaiden which actually sold all the way out.

Also, since I am giving twenty five percent of all profits to charity, I was able to raise a nice donation for ALFA, an organization that helps local programs for adults with disabilities. Because every good author/artist needs a cause he or she feels passionately about and helps support, right??

Enjoy these highlights from the show!!