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!

 

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

Life Through Quotes From “Cinderella”

cinderella6I just got back from seeing the new 2015 version of Cinderella at the theatre.

Let me just say I was completely enchanted and blown away by this film.

It’s not often I find a film that I would watch every day over and over. When I do, it’s usually because something that has resonated deeply with me. In this case, I saw myself in Ella’s character a lot, in certain losses and cruelties that she suffered–and in the ways that she handled them. I want to be able to handle life’s challenges with her same kindness and courage. Her sweet and giving spirit is something I think we all should aspire to attain.

I could tell from the trailer the film would be spectacular and emotional; proof was in the pudding when I would watch the trailer on repeat and just cry at how lovely it was.

But its beauty was not contained simply to the fancy dresses, the ornate carriages and castle. No, this film, this story, was alive with a spiritual beauty much deeper than that.

Allow me to share a few favorite quotes from the film, and you’ll get what I mean:

 

Narrator: “She saw the world, not always as it was, but as it could be…with a perhaps a little bit of magic.”

Ella’s Mom: “I want to tell you a secret that will see you through all the trials that life can offer. Have courage and be kind. You have more courage your little finger than most people possess in their whole body—and it has power.”

Narrator: “Pain turned to memory.”

Narrator: “It’s better to be alone, than be surrounded by poor company.”

Narrator: “She had few friends, but the ones she had, she treated with an open heart and an open hand.”

Ella: “Just because it’s what’s done doesn’t mean it’s what should be done!”

Narrator: “Perhaps it was just as well that Ella’s step sisters were cruel for had she never run to the forest, she would never have met the prince.”

Fairy Godmother: “What is a bowl of milk? Nothing, but with kindness, it is everything.”

Narrator: “To be seen as we truly are, is the biggest risk we will ever take. Will we be enough as we really are?”

Ella: “No princess, no carriage, no parents, no dowry. I don’t even know if that slipper will fit. Will you take me as I am—an honest country girl who loves you?” Prince: “Of course I will, but only if you’ll take me as I am—an apprentice who’s still learning his trade.”

Ella: “Why are you so cruel? I tried so hard to be kind to you.” Stepmother: “Why? Because you are young and innocent and good. And I…”

Ella (to her stepmother at the end): “I forgive you.”

 

The messages in the film are absolutely beautiful, and we could stand to see more of them these days, in film, books, you name it. From the theme of being courageous and kind to Ella’s unbending beliefs in the magic her parents taught her. From her innocent, sweet spirit to the way she cares for all living creatures. From the way she is so sincere and true to herself to the way she so graciously forgives her stepmother at the end–and yet has wisdom and strength to walk away from her cruelties as well.

A totally brilliant story and a must-see for all people of all ages.

cinderella2 cinderella1

“Wish Granter” Released!!

wishHullo readers, friends, and fans!

I am happy to announce the ebook release of Wish Granter and Other Enchanted Tales, the third and final installment in my Christian Fantasy series for YA, The Stregoni Sequence.

The entire series has been based upon the concept of breaking spells or curses, which I suppose makes it sort of fairy-tale-esque. In each book, there has been one or more characters under a spell that needs to be broken, and the fun of course always lies in figuring out how to break the spell. From vampires to banshees to genies to my own creation, the memory charmer, the books also place a new spin on many different types of magical beings.

The first two books, Golden Healer, Dark Enchantress and Memory Charmer are available in both ebook and paperback forms. Wish Granter is only available as an ebook at present but will eventually be available in paperback as well.

The books don’t need to be read in any particular order. They are connected but each contain their own stories with their own main characters. So, if you’re looking for a fun, light read filled with mystery, adventure, unique fantasy, and a dash of romance, head over to the writers-exchange website to pick up your copy of Wish Granter!

Thanks for your support, and God bless you all!

~ Christine E. Schulze

Artist of the Week: Ralph Vaughan Williams

I grew up listening to classical music and have to say it is my favorite genre to this day. From pieces by more traditional composers like Beethoven, Mozart, and my personal favorite, Tchaikovsky, to pieces from more modern composers, like Nicholas Hooper, Alexandre Desplat, John Williams, Howard Shore, and all those other amazing soundtrack composers, no other type of music induces quite the same level of inspiration, magic, and strong, real emotions for me.

I’ve chosen to feature Vaughn Williams this week because, while he may not be my favorite artist overall, he did compose what has been my favorite piece of music since I first heard it as a young child and always will be till the end of time: Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.

I suppose I was somewhere around ten, eleven…twelve perhaps when I first heard Fantasia. My aunt had gotten me this little radio with headphones, and I accidentally happened upon our local classical station; I didn’t know such a station existed, so I was happy at that discovery alone. But I will never forget the magic of the first song I listened to on that station. It was Vaughn William’s Fantasia. I lay in bed, listening, and as I listened, the entirety of the magical garden of Kezia the Fairy from the Legends of Surprisers series I was writing at the time unfolded before me, and it was beautiful, real, almost tangible.

From then on, whenever that song would come on, I would stop, listen, and let that beauty take hold of me again. Then, one day, at long last, I found a CD with Fantasia as one of its songs.

It is actually a great dream of mine to someday hear and see this song played by a live symphony; from my research, it seems like this is done mostly in Europe. Ahh, perhaps someday when I am able to go overseas and see castles and other wonders I will be able to hear this song as well.

I share this epic, amazing song with you now. Maybe you be blessed, inspired, and uplifted as I have been. Here is Ralph Vaughn Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis:

To learn more about Ralph Vaughn Williams’ life and work, visit this website for the Ralph Vaughn Williams Society:

http://www.rvwsociety.com/aboutsociety.html 

Enter to Win Signed Paperback of “Lily in the Snow”!

Lily13Hi! In honor of my new release, Lily in the Snow (Second Edition), I am hosting another give-away on Goodreads!

As the book contains four stories, I am giving away four copies. Here is the link; be certain to read the blurb below to see what the book is all about!

Best to all who enter!

Lily in the Snow blurb:

Four tales of Elemental beings weave together to craft this magical anthology from YA fantasy author Christine E. Schulze:

Lily in the Snow ~ Mica Schist, a young, naive rock Elemental, has lived all her life in the mountains with Pierson, her melancholy guardian. When Jewett, an Earth Elemental, visits their cave, Mica’s world is turned upside-down—as is her heart. She longs for a life outside the cave, and soon, an approaching enemy grants this wish. But even the gentle forests of Jewett’s world cause Mica to lose her fragile crystals, her life source. Can Mica be saved and live the life she’s always dreamed?

The Story-Teller ~ Eleesa’s gift is that of story-telling. When using her gift for selfish reasons, she’s never noticed the same consequences that befall the other Imps who misuse their gifts. However, through an old friend who mysteriously reappears, she will discover that the consequences are much more severe than she could have ever imagined.

Labyrinth: Heart of Stone ~ Gargoyles, Druids, haughty dragon fairies, a seductive Noelani, a mansion housing an endless maze of stairs—and, not to mention, a handsome, brooding man made of stone. All these magical elements create the perfectly scandalous tale of Catherine, an Earth Elemental who sets out seeking freedom and discovers it in the most unexpected ways.

Spyral ~ A coming-of-age tale in which a Rock Elemental chooses to defy the unjust traditions of her people. Setting out on a journey to save herself and the one she loves, she ends up embarking on a much more personal journey of self-discovery.