What an autumn—and a whole new phase of life for me!
As you know, I bought a house. And that meant getting it ready to live in. That’s been an adventure like few other adventures I’ve had; and it has paid off in so many ways. The house was a foreclosure, needed all sorts of work. Plumbing, electric, heating, painting—lots and lots of things to do. So the month of November was really busy with all this—and the first week in December, as well.
But we got it done! And now, we’re all moved in. Not everything is finished; I still have painting inside, a TON of yard work and landscaping, and the side door and stoop won’t be done until January, but it’s certainly livable and cozy.
Cassie and her friends had to be put on hold while all this got accomplished. They’re patient enough characters, but toward the end they were screaming for attention. It’s going to be a while before I can relax enough and have enough time to devote to writing this next adventure, but that’s okay.
Come spring, there will be even more work on the house. And hopefully, we’ll have Cassie’s adventure underway and the writing will be going well. So stay tuned—and enjoy your holidays and your winter, as I will be doing. And keep us in your thoughts for a late-spring release for Cassie’s new book!
Here's some news for you: I now have a Fan/Info page on FACEBOOK for you readers--and for anyone who wants to become a reader or find out more about the books! You can navigate to the page from this link, or go on Facebook and search for The Cassie Rivers Adventures. Either way gets you there--where you will see pictures of events I've been to, read plot summaries of the novels, find out information about where I'll be and what I'm working on, and make comments. It's another way to find out more about the books and me--and what's going on in my world and in Cassie's.
I've also added a Frequently Asked Questions page to this site (look up at the menu bar!) which may answer your questions or spark some new ones--so check it out! And don't forget--Book Five--Wrestling With Evil--is underway.
If this is your first visit to my website, please sign my guestbook--and leave a comment or go to the FB page and leave one. I welcome your feedback. I'm also on Twitter: @Christinsbooks; I don't tweet much, though, since I find it very difficult to keep comments to 140 characters. I'm hoping to build my readership in some new ways; so if you've read the books, please comment!
And just so you know: I'm in the process of buying a house. This means I will be really busy for the remainder of this year--I'm hoping to move into it after the holidays. There is a lot of work to be done yet--this was a foreclosed house that has been vacant a while. It's in need of some serious updating, and some major cosmetic work. But it's exciting and interesting, though progress on Book Five will be slower than I'd like. I'm not participating in NANOWRIMO this year because of the house deal, but writing is happening anyway. Writing is always happening. Here's hoping your November and December will be as fulfilling and interesting--and have a happy holiday season, too!
Sorry for not updating this website for the past three months, but it’s been VERY BUSY in my household!
In August my friend Erin and I had a booth at the Cleveland Pagan Pride festival in Bedford, Ohio—a lovely, lovely festival with really wonderful attendance and management! I sold some books, and some other things, Erin sold a good amount of stuff, too—and I reconnected with a friend, and made lots of NEW friends, too. And got some new readers for Cassie’s Adventures, I hope!! I did pretty well, actually—and that was a good thing. See the link for more info!
I’d had a pretty easy summer up until then.
My 3-week annual vacation had passed without much going on—just a few minor projects, but mostly not—it was a lazy, restful time during July. The garden was growing, the tomatoes actually producing, the peppers coming on, and even the house plants were burgeoning! Then, come August, everything started to move fast.
The festival was fun. But it was just the beginning.
First, we had to deal with a serious car problem. My son’s automobile developed a serious issue with the fuel pump, and that meant a nightmarish weekend where I was traveling back and forth to Bedford to help him get it repaired so he could get back and forth to work. It cost quite a bit, but we took care of it finally. And at the same time, I was also looking for a house to buy.
I decided in early August to start looking. I’m 3 years away from retirement—and I was concerned about being able to live on my Social Security income and my pension—and thought it might be a good idea if I could buy a house for cash, take the next 3 years fixing it up, and then when I did retire, I’d have no mortgage or rent to pay. So I hired an agent and started the process. Within three weeks, I had looked at 10 or 12 properties and found one that I thought would be suitable—and bought it. Of course, signing the contract to buy is only step ONE. Now there are countless other things to do—such as finding contractors to handle electrical, plumbing, heating and repair jobs—small and large.
But we now are the proud owners of a house that will not be financed—I’m paying cash. It’s obviously, a very inexpensive house—and will need some work inside and out—but I have plenty of time and the resources to manage it. So THAT journey has begun! I’m very excited about it.
Next came the Retirement conference set up by my employers—which took me to Harrisburg PA for a few days. It was a great informational conference. I learned a lot about managing my money and my assets during the years to come! But it butted right up against another event, one which I’d been looking forward to since JUNE—the King of Trios Wrestling Tournament for Chikara!
In June we had gone to Detroit for a match, and I absolutely loved it! Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that wrestling was going to be something I’d enjoy—but I had agreed to go in June as a “research” trip for the newest Cassie novel. Once there, however, I had such a good time I immediately ordered tickets to the biggest tourney of the year: King of Trios, in Easton, PA!
King of Trios is fabulous!! Easton was only an hour-and-a-half further East than Harrisburg, and the tournament came immediately after the conference, so I spent a week away from home and enjoyed both in one 8-day period.
Sidney Bakabella and The Devastation Corporation: Blaster McMassive, Flex Rumblecrunch and Max Smashmaster!
And WOW—what fun!! I met scads of cool people, more wrestlers than I ever thought I would, and even promoted my books a bit—and the highlight of that trip was actually getting to be a part of the show!
Dr. Cube and company--the Cube is is unmasked in this bout.
The tournament ran for three days: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 19-21. On Saturday afternoon, the company held a Fan Conclave at the arena; lots of fun games, merchandise for sale, and a Talent Contest—which I won!! Yes—I won. I played my whistle—for 90 seconds—while standing in the actual wrestling ring—and the judges were the wrestlers! And they awarded me the prize! What a kick!
When we attended the evening’s matches, I was approached by several of Chikara’s managers and asked if I would want to play “introduction music” for one of the wrestlers: a “rudo” named Juan Francisco de Coronado—so of course I said yes! Then they wanted to know if it would be okay to grab my whistle and throw it down—would it be okay? Would it break the whistle? Was it valuable? Well, it isn’t, and it WAS okay—of course! That particular one was just a cheap one I keep in the car (to play at red lights or in parking lots or traffic jams!) and I didn’t care if they actually snapped it in half—and said I’d be honored to participate.
I curtsy before I begin playing--Gavin Loudspeaker has introduced me as "the MOST talented of the Chikarmy!" I'm overcome!
So I did! Juan Francisco’s match was the third one on the ticket—they came and got me and led me up to the apron of the arena and I stood near the entryway—and they introduced me as “The Most Talented member of the Chikarmy!” and I started playing—and Juan came out waving his Ecuadorian flag, and then stopped—and stared at me—and grabbed the whistle out of my hands and held it aloft in triumph, then slammed it down on the apron—to a chorus of BOOS and HISSES from the audience! It was great fun—and all in fun! I pretended to be frightened and appalled, and was led away by Gavin Loudspeaker the announcer, and back to my seat to a stream of “high fives” from audience and wrestlers alike—and the match went on with a “rebuke” from Gavin to Juan Francisco—who ended up winning the Battle of the Bowties against a British wrestler named Rockstar Spud. What a blast!!
Getting ready to play for Juan Francisco de Coronado!
Then it struck me—they FILM every match at these tournaments—and at every match—which meant that I am now a permanent and forever participant in Chikara’s Video Archives!! Of course I had to buy the DVDs when I got home—and yesterday I laughed as I watched our little act play out from the best angles and with the great video work from the Smart Mark Videographers. My word—from wrestling VIRGIN in June to fully-fledged member of the CHIKARMY in August!! What a journey! What a thrill.
And it has given me lots and lots of good information for the newest Cassie novel, Wrestling with Evil, which is well underway! Cassie and Mirra feature heavily in this book. Mirra has gone to see Chikara, and has witnessed a horrific event—she’s seen a soul stolen by a demon! And she’s enlisted Cassie’s help, along with Cassie’s husband Jack, and Lizzie. And Cassie herself has undergone somewhat of a transformation—she’s not only a new mother with a baby to care for now, but there are a few mysterious things happening she can’t explain. Stay tuned for updates as this one takes shape. It will feature Chikara. I have received permission from Chikara’s director, Mike Quackenbush, to use the name and the wrestlers and the ideas they present—and he has also agreed to write me a little blurb as a preface or afterword or whatever when it is finished! This is very exciting.
It looks as if it’s shaping up to be a VERY BUSY WINTER!!
The publishing problem has been solved and now all the Cassie Rivers books are available again for sale, including Infantasia. use this discount code to get $1 off each title in the Createspace e-store: 97B6PU4L.
I told you in my last update I would be traveling to Detroit to watch my very first Chikara Pro Wrestling show—and that’s what we did on Sunday, June 22, 2014. It was, for me, going to be a learning experience first—research for the new Cassie Rivers book, but it turned into a lot more than that! I don’t know if I expected the level of fun or entertainment that I encountered.
And that is exactly what I did encounter! The Chikara crowd is first and foremost dedicated to having fun, and creating a story around their numerous wrestlers and the many factions they split into, the back stories of everyone, the personas they create and perpetuate. Every one of them has a story line of his own, and these are woven into a whole that makes for a rich environment, as well as good athleticism. Sorting it all out is a daunting task for me—I don’t have the wealth of experience that my traveling companions have, and probably never will. But learning about it is not as difficult as I thought it was going to be. Or at least, it’s a good “read”—no matter how little I know so far, and how much there is left to find out.
Let’s begin by saying that Chikara, unlike other wrestling troupes, is different in many ways. It is the creation of Mike Quackenbush, who has been a professional wrestler since 1998, and who created Chikara along with his partner Reckless Youth. They founded the Wrestle Factory in 2002, a school to train pro wrestlers, and and opened the first Chikara show the same year. Since then, Reckless Youth has departed, but Quackenbush remains in charge of Chikara. It’s brilliantly presented, though definitely not mainstream. The wrestlers have unusual personas, based on their Lucha Libre style and Japanese memes, tossing in some Eastern European and mythological characters, and some literary and fictional memes as well. In one show you will get everything from an olde-tyme baseball player (Dasher Hatfield) to an Egyptian snake god (Ophidian) to a Hallowe’en-clad pair (Hallowicked and Frightmare) to a mime, and a wrestler who can “slow time” and who engenders slow-clapping and cheering from the audience and for whom even the referee slows his movements! It’s quite a mix of characters, stories, and myths, and all amazingly watchable, though for a newbie like me, it needs a lot of “back story” explanation sometimes. It’s always helpful to have someone who knows most of these stories and their history, and our traveling group was just that—truly rabid fans, Tim, Ted and Wayne.
It was Tim who suggested I might be able to write about Chikara. It wasn’t ANYTHING I’d ever known about, and seemed awfully obtuse at first—but after learning more about the troupe and the shows, I have to admit I was intrigued. Still, I wasn’t sure I was going to ever be up to the task of writing about something I had never (a) had any interest in and (b) knew nothing about! But you know, that’s basically what a challenge is—to do something out of your comfort zone. And I am really glad I took the first step out of my “box”.
We started out early—Tim picked me up then we added Ted, then Wayne and set off for Detroit. Since Tim is from the Youngstown area, Ted is from South Akron, and Wayne lives in Northfield, this process took a while, and once we actually got on the road, it was almost time for lunch! So we stopped in Toledo at Tony Packo’s, the restaurant made famous by Klinger from the TV show M*A*S*H. Famous hot dogs, famous chili, a few oddball menu items like “fried pickle salad” and good service. Satisfying and tasty food, and cool atmosphere. Wayne and Ted had both been to Detroit before, but Tim and I hadn’t—and we were a tad trepidatious about this, having heard all the “bad press” about the city. Would it look like a middle-eastern country after a bombing raid? Would there be any safe places to park? We had no idea—but the Majestic Theater has a good reputation for hosting name-brand talent and music, and it was broad daylight (the show started at 3) so our fears were mostly allayed. Still, it’s painfully obvious when you drive through the city that Detroit is in serious trouble. There are many places that DO resemble bombed-out deserted cities, and lots of signs all over the place about how residents need to “contribute” to the “renewal” of the place. I hope it happens—because it’s a friendly place, and there are some new, shiny and quite nice areas. My own opinion is that it’s ripe for urban renewal if someone would take the time and effort. Real estate would be pretty inexpensive, and it looks like there might be a lot of opportunity just waiting for entrepreneurial spirit to kick in. But evaluating Detroit wasn’t our aim—we were there to see a show.
There was a long line in front of the Majestic, but once we got parked and stood in it, it moved really fast—it wasn’t even 15 minutes until we were inside, having our tickets torn and our arms stamped with a cross stamp that made us all look like members of some odd religious cult. The ring was inside the main area, in front of the stage, folding chairs were only three rows deep on two sides—which made every seat a good seat—and the merchandise tables ranged around the edges. There was a concession area serving beverages—numerous brands of beer, water and soft drinks. It was convenient and accessible. Security was unobtrusive and friendly—blue-shirted Chikara employees ranged around the merch tables and the crowd, talking to anyone who spoke to them and offering helpful info; and the wrestlers manned the merch tables themselves and met with the crowd, offering items for sale. So far, I could see this was a “no asshole” event; having been involved with hundreds of live events, I can tell you how refreshing this was. When no one is hassling you, when the featured performers are just as open and friendly as the fans, you have something really special.
The Author and Shynron at the Show! He looks scary, but he's really a nice guy!
And that sums up the attitude at Chikara shows—they are incredibly family-friendly and accessible. I don’t know exactly what I had expected from professional wrestlers, (never having met one before!) but these guys gave off the best vibes and made this experience constantly pleasing! It was already a real treat!
We staked out some seats, then shopped a bit—I bought a grab-bag of DVDs, and a mask from a wrestler who had hand-painted it himself. Then, having gotten separated from the others, I went in search of Tim, and found him pointing to a guy wearing a yellow suit with a patch of white fleecy “fur” on the front—and I was introduced to Jervis Cottonbelly—one of the featured wrestlers! Jervis was a delight! He had a rather broad British accent, a mask that had a monocle over one eye, a bowler hat, and lived up to his reputation as “the sweetest man in the world.” He was patient and friendly as Tim figured out my phone-camera, and seemed really excited about the book idea when I told him what I was doing. He replied to my ridiculous gushing by saying “I would love to read it!” Well, maybe that was just him being “sweet”—but it sure felt good to hear it!
Jervis Cottonbelly and me!
I was already excited about the show—and it hadn’t even started yet. So many of the wrestlers and the people at the theater were welcoming, and the crowd was polite and nice. That was another thing I hadn’t really expected. My only knowledge of wrestling was from televised shows like WWE “Raw” and it had never really appealed to me. This was vastly different. It was profanity-free, family-friendly and just plain nice.
And when the show finally started, it was exciting! It was a lot easier to understand the rules in person, another thing I hadn’t really gotten from watching DVDs. I used to watch our wrestling team in high school. I had a tremendous crush on one of the guys on the team, and spent every moment I could cheering them on and making posters for them, and trying to get him to notice me. Of course, pro-wrestling is different from the sanctioned stuff high school athletes do, but I had no trouble recognizing a “pin” and a takedown. So it wasn’t all that unfamiliar. We didn’t do tag-teams in high school, though. Still, it was becoming clearer and clearer as I watched Chikara, and the theatrics and the fun was off the charts.
Hallowicked, Frightmare, The Latvian Proud Oak and the Estonian Thunderfrog greet the audience before the match
The show featured five major matches—and an extra one. I laughed, I clapped, I cheered—and when Jervis Cottonbelly came into the ring for his match, he tossed me a yellow rose over the heads of two rows of spectators! It’s still blooming away in my Heinekin bottle on my kitchen counter! I think he’s now one of my favorites. The final match was a 10-man melee—which spread out into the audience and around the theater, with the wrestlers flinging themselves around among the audience and the chairs.Talk about close-up entertainment! I have never seen anything like this—and it was actually really fun. Even the announcer, Gavin Loudspeaker, was amusing—and so were the referees. I was on my feet during the entire match, dodging the occasional flying wrestler, taking photos, and grinning like a fool!Fire and and Silver Ant--two of the Colony!
The rest of the Colony: Fire Ant and Worker Ant
All in all, it was an excellent adventure—and gave me lots of good ideas for the book. I had it started already, but there will be a few changes now. It’s going to feature Mirra and Cassie, the Garnes’ new baby Kore Melissa, a demon that possesses one of the wrestlers (a member of The Colony—Fire Ant!) and some great learning experiences for both Cassie and myself too—which is how I’m going to be dedicating my time this coming summer and fall. I have written to Mike Quackenbush already for permission to use the Chikara name and personas in the book, and he has graciously granted that permission—and agreed to write a preface or foreword for it as well! It should be great fun and (I hope and pray!) good writing about a really interesting topic."Pieces of Hate:" Jigsaw and The Shard
And I've already bought my tickets to my next big show—The King of Trios, September 19-21. Three nights of wrestling fun and more adventures! Maybe I’ll see you there!
The books are now available again. All except one of them--Infantasia. There was a problem during the review process and it is being solved (I hope) now. I've had to re-upload my files to the publisher, and I hope this doesn't take too much longer. I made some corrections, edited and re-formatted them all to be uniform and easier to read, added a little content to the "about the author" pages, including my web address, and added the volume numbers to the cover so you can see which books are which and in which order they should be read. I also lowered the prices on three of them, making them all $12. You can get a discount code to get a $1 off each title if you order through the Createspace e-store, and enter the following into the discount code box: 97B6PU4L.
I have just finished re-editing all the Cassie Rivers Adventures books, and their second editions will soon be available for sale on Amazon and in the Createspace store. I've wanted to do this for a long time--basically since they were first published--but just wasn't prepared for the work it took, and at the time I started to think about it, there was a fee to take the books out of distribution. Since then, Createspace has changed their methods for bringing out re-edited works, and the fee is gone--so I buckled down and just did it. The first book really needed it. The second and third novels weren't too bad. I corrected a few mistakes, removed the extra line between paragraphs, added the volume numbers to the cover and subtitled them, and got rid of my "em dash" addiction. Or most of it, anyway! I am also going to make their prices uniform. They will now be available for $12 on Amazon, with a $2 discount on all Createspace store purchases. This will make them easier to read, more professional looking and hopefully, sell more of them! Look for the new editions within a couple weeks.
In other news, the SJ Tucker concert and book signing party went really well! I had a great time, and so did everyone in attendance. SJ is a fabulous performer--she made an absolutely magical evening happen at the UU Church in Youngstown, Ohio! I hope she comes back this way sometime in the future, because I'll definitely be there to see her if she does.
Coming up next weekend--on June 22nd--I'll be in Detroit, Michigan, to watch Chikara, the Pro Wrestling teams led by Mike Quackenbush, put on their "Goldfinger" show at the Majestic Theater.This should be fun, and I'm hoping it's also instructional. My newest Cassie Adventure is in process, and it centers around Mirra Cahaul and her love for the Chikara team of wrestlers, and a demon that is stealing souls. Since I've never been into pro wrestling before, and this is all new to me, I've got a lot to learn about it, and about the troupe itself. This book will probably take a while to write because there will be a pretty steep learning curve; but from all that I have learned about Chikara so far, I can already see it will be a fun experience. I've got permission from Mike Quackenbush to use the Chikara name and wrestlers' personas, and he's agreed to write a preface or foreword for the book! That in itself is exciting news! Now I just have to be equal to the task!
And on August 23 & 24, 2014, catch me at the Cleveland Pagan Pride Day festival in Bedford, Ohio. This is one of the nicest and most well-run Pagan festivals I've ever attended, and if you have never gone, please consider going! Bedford is a beautiful little town, and the park where the festival is held is lovely! Clean, well-organized, plenty of food and vendors, lots of entertainment and demonstrations, easy access to bathrooms and parking. No charge to come and enjoy! And there will be lots of things to buy and see. Of course I'll be there selling and signing books! Come and meet me and Cassie!
A blessed Litha to all my Pagan pals--and happy Summertime to everyone else!
There is a big deal coming in May! There is a concert on May 7, 2014, which will also be my book release party for Mini-Apple Loss, just published. I have also started working on book FIVE in the Cassie series already--which may or may not include a theme about professional wrestling--that's the plan anyway. We'll see how it goes.
First of all--the concert! SJ Tucker, performer par excellence, will be featured in a concert at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown, Ohio on May 7, 2014. SJ is a fine musician and a really great singer and songwriter--she has performed with some well-known bands and puts on a great show. The tickets are available from Tim Malone, and the show is sponsored by yours truly and the Youngstown Electic Pagan Society (YEPS). It starts at 7 PM. Get your tickets here: YEPS PAGE, and come on out for a great evening of superb music, magic and fun. Here's a photo and some info about SJ Tucker--and I can certainly vouch for her music, it's great! Check out her website for downloads, info and a lot of great photos and background. Just click on any of the links or the photo!
S. J. Tucker is the voice of lore at the campfire and the sharp laughter of modern myth. Named "the voice of neotribal Paganism" by Witches & Pagans Magazine, Tucker is a fixture at festivals and in playlists worldwide. With deft guitar, skillful hand drums and a siren's compelling multilayered vocals, her award-winning body of work runs the gamut from silly to sacred and back again, leaving listeners inspired and smiling.
The concert is also my book release party for my newest Cassie novel, Mini-Apple Loss! I'm excited about this new novel--it marks a different direction for the Cassie Rivers Adventures, and kicks off a series I think you'll enjoy, about Cassie and Jack's supernatural detective agency. I'll have books for sale at the concert, and hope you will all take one home and read--and maybe even buy more!
After that, in June, I'll be traveling to Detroit to attend a pro-wrestling event with the renowned and fascinating Chikara troupe. I'm going to try to set up another book signing there--or workshop--or whatever--along with the evening of wrestling. I have to tell you--this will be my first pro-wrestling show! I've seen Chikara on video, though, and they look like a lot of fun. More on that trip later as details get firmed up.
There will be more news a little later on, but the new Cassie Rivers Adventure has now been published for purchase in both Amazon's book and Kindle libraries, and will be available in about a week there--or you can purchase it immediately at the Createspace store!
This is the fourth installment in the Cassie Rivers Adventures, and begins a new chapter for Cassie, Jack, Mirra, Lizzie and their friends. It's a neat little story--one you will enjoy! I will have more news about this book in a while--but for now, if you're really eager to read, go to Createspace.com to purchase it! Here's your LINK: Mini-Apple-Loss Enjoy!!
I have just finished the fourth installment in the Cassie Rivers Adventures series, and the new volume will be out sometime after the first of the year!
Mini-Apple Loss features Cassie and her husband Jack Garnes, and picks up about 8 years after the events of Infantasia. Cassie and Jack are now the owners and operators of the Arcane Agency--a private detective firm that specializes in odd and unusual (and magical) cases. They've been doing quite well in their new profession until the day that they are visited by a Mrs. Arris--who wants Cassie to find her stolen Apple.
Not a computer--and not a fruit--this Apple is actually a small bronze artifact inscribed with the Greek letter CHI--an X. And it's nothing but trouble. So is Mrs. Arris, who is really Eris, Goddess of Discord and Chaos. The apple, though not the big Golden Apple of Discord, is one of many apples that grew in the same orchard Eris tended when she started the argument that caused the Trojan War! And someone has taken it from the tomb where it has been kept for a couple hundred years. The apple was kept there in an amphora sealed with magical spells, but the amphora has been broken and the spells dispersed--and now it's loose in the world! Eris (Mrs. Arris--an exceedingly UNpleasant person!) tells Cassie that she and Jack will have to travel to Athens to begin their search. Not Athens, Greece--Athens, New York. When Cassie wants to know why the apple was in New York, Eris tells her that there was a slight mixup about that; since Greece didn't need more Chaos, it was decided to hide the apple elsewhere, and since American already had the "Big Apple" it was thought it could probably handle the Mini-apple as well! That's how it starts--and it gets worse. Cassie and Jack are helped along the way by Yoli, a small hairy man who can turn into a dog, and also by Mirra and Lizzie; but an old nemesis of Cassie's shows up as well, to further complicate everything--as if it's not complicated enough!
The book was just finished a few days ago, and after it gets edited and formatted, I'll publish it and let you know when and where you can get it! As usual, there are lots of zany twists and turns, and who knows where Jack and Cassie will end up? You'll have to read it to find out!
In other news, I did the writing workshop at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Youngstown on November 15th, and also paid a lovely visit to a great little shop in Struthers, Ohio--The Hidden Path.
It is a fantastic shop--extremely well fitted out with all sorts of New Age goodies. They hold classes and seminars and readings every week, and have a wonderful Reading room and a bookstore with free tea and comfy chairs, and even a couple of cool jigsaw puzzles to work on. It's a place I felt instantly welcomed and so comfortable! The ladies who own it, Linda and April, are great people; they're more than willing to sit down with you and chat, or show you around or help you find exactly what you're looking for. Loved the shop! Loved the owners! They are also selling my books there--for those of you who are in the Mahoning Valley area and want to pick them up. But I think that even if you don't buy the books, you'll enjoy spending time at The Hidden Path.
The writing workshop went well. I met some new friends, and learned a little bit about Black Dog Arts, who co-sponsored the event with the Youngstown Eclectic Pagan Society. We laughed and chatted and learned how to write our spiritual ideas in a cohesive and helpful way. I have to thank Tim Malone for setting this up for me, and hope we can do something like it again!
Penultimately, I want to give a major shoutout to Youngstown, Ohio itself! I think the last time I was there,(which was over a decade ago!) it was a rather sad place, but I'm happy to say that it seems to have roared back! There is a very lively arts community in this city--and a lot of things to do and see. The downtown area has been revitalized with a lot of new construction and business. Good for Youngstown--you should pay a visit there soon. The people who live there are friendly, accomodating and culturally savvy--and you will wonder why you haven't tried this area sooner. I truly enjoyed my day there, and will be going back to visit and do some further exploration.
Lastly, as this season of Yule approaches, I would like to ask all of you to think of others this year. There have been many tragedies in 2013, and there are many people who need help. You can help in many ways--by donating food, clothing or money to help those who will find themselves bereft, or by spending your time and energy to help a cause, volunteering at a food bank, or just visiting an elderly neighbor.
There are a lot of ways you can do something for someone else. Give of yourself if you can't give something material. Every little bit adds to the joy.
Blessings upon all!! Have a wonderful holiday season and keep scribbling!
To find out the cost and the directions/logistics of this event, contact Tim Malone on the Youngstown Eclectic Pagan Society Facebook page (click for the link.)
Here's a bit about our guest blogger: Luke Murphy lives in Shawville, Quebec with his wife, three daughters and pug. He played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. Since then, he’s held a number of jobs, from sports columnist to radio journalist, before earning his Bachelor of Education degree (Magna Cum Laude). Murphy`s debut novel, Dead Man`s Hand, was released by Imajin Books on October 20, 2012. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Well, that's about it for this time--keep in touch, let me know how you enjoy the guest post and sign up for my writing workshop!! And keep scribbling!!
Luke Murphy lives in Shawville, Quebec with his wife, three daughters and pug. He played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. Since then, he’s held a number of jobs, from sports columnist to radio journalist, before earning his Bachelor of Education degree (Magna Cum Laude).
Murphy`s debut novel, Dead Man`s Hand, was released by Imajin Books on October 20, 2012.
Well, that's about it for this time--keep in touch, let me know how you enjoy the guest post and sign up for my writing workshop!! And keep scribbling!!
The third and final Cassie Rivers book, Infantasia, is now available for purchase for Kindle E-readers! The price is $4.99.
Later on this Spring, I'll be putting my other novel, Cowcoons and Other Tall Tales from Real Life on the site for Kindle as well, but for now that one is still only available in paperback. But you can now enjoy all three Cassie novels for your Kindle e-reader! Purchase either book by clicking on the links above, or by searching on Amazon.com for books by Christin Keck. They are also available for the Kindle lending program--try before you buy! Happy Reading!
Just opened my Twitter account--and am learning to navigate around. Check it out! Follow me! Let me know who you are so I can follow you!
The third installment in the Cassie Rivers series, Infantasia, is now available on Amazon.com for sale in paperback! In this, the third book of the trilogy featuring Cassie and her friends Mirra, Gwen-Vera, and Lizzie, the story picks up with Gwen-Vera and her new husband, the genius sushi chef Kujiro, leaving for their honeymoon. Cassie has just discovered that she's pregnant--but she can't figure out how it happened--and Gwen-Vera seems angry and distracted. A lot happened in Book 2 (Altared States) of the series: Cassie returned from the "dead" just in time to find her friends planning Gwen-Vera's wedding, and the amoral ex-FBI agent Bob Golden, along with the even more amoral Lilith, are back--and are trying to foil everyones' plans. But it works out, the wedding goes on (though not quite as planned, of course!) and everyone receives a gift from the scary, powerful Ancestor Spirit--Mirra and Lizzie receive the gift of levitation, and Cassie--well, she recieves the ultimate gift--a baby!
But what is she going to do about this pregnancy? It seems to make everyone a little upset--especially Gwen-Vera and Kujiro, who return from their honeymoon in less than high spirits. Fact is, they have separated because Kujiro is convinced that Cassie is carrying his child! Of course it's not exactly true--but it's a little too close to the truth for comfort. So Cassie and her friends devise a plan to give the baby to Gwen-Vera and Kujiro--who cannot have children of their own--and from that decision, a lot of dominoes begin to fall.
Cassie has also met someone really great. He's a furniture store manager named Jack Garnes, and he seems almost perfect for Cassie; there's just one little thing: how will she tell him about the events of the past two years? How is she going to break the news that her friends can read minds, levitate, and that she has no idea why she's pregnant because of a gift from a ghostly Japanese ancestor? Will he run for the hills when he finds out, or will he really be that great guy Cassie thinks he is? And what is she going to do about Gwen-Vera's anger, Kujiro's reluctance to stay married, all those visits from the Ancestor Spirit, and all the rest of the complications that arise? This baby may be a gift, but there are major strings attached. and then of course, there's that train.....
This is the third and final installment in this part of the series, and it wraps up most of the conflicts in its usual rolicking, zany way--but Cassie and her friends will be coming back next year in a new series of books--and the stories will be taking a whole new direction.
You can order the book through Amazon.com--(Just click on this link!) the paperback is $12.00 US, and it will be available for Kindle e-readers later on this Spring--so don't miss it!
This is exciting! My books in the Cassie Rivers Adventures series are now available in both print form and for the Kindle e-reader! I have just released both in new, updated editions for the Kindle.
I received a Kindle for my birthday this year, and I have to say, I absolutely LOVE it! What a great idea--I can carry 3000 books in a six-ounce device that doesn't even make a lump in my purse! I can highlight, make notes, save comments, change the font size--things I thought you couldn't do or shouldn't do with paper books, but which are extremely handy--and Kindle books are less expensive than paper books, so I can buy more!! I love the e-reader revolution, and so of course, I had to get my own writing into the race. I am excited to announce the recent publication of both The Goddess Loves Your Shoes and the sequel, Altared States for Kindle--available now in the Amazon Kindle Store for only $4.99!!
If you have been hesitant about spending the money for an e-reader like Kindle, you should reconsider. If you spend $25 on every book you buy, or even if you peruse used bookstores to find less expensive titles of your favorite authors, you won't be disappointed in the Kindle. For one thing, you'll spend a lot less on books--even new books--and there are over 9,000 FREE titles for the Kindle that only require downloading--no $$ involved! It takes only a second to download even a big book. You don't need wi-fi to download them. You can make notes and enter highlights and bookmarks without messing up your book--bookmarking doesn't mean bending your pages down at the corner, or finding some scrap of paper to slip between the pages. The Kindle's battery lasts a loooong time and charges quickly. You can see pictures and even play games. There are other applications as well, such as Notepad which you can use to keep your laundry lists, or write poetry, or other effluvia of modern life. I can't think of a whole lot that would be considered a disadvantage, in fact.
And now you can even read ME!
Finally, the newest installment in the Cassie Rivers stories is finished and available! Altared States takes place a little over a year after Cassie leaves. Much has happened since she's been gone--her bequests to her two best friends, Mirra and Gwen-Vera, have helped both women find their own way in the world. Mirra has gone back to college, and Gwen-Vera has been particularly successful as a business-owner; her brainchild, "Camelott " is doing really well. She's also got a new look, and a new love in her life. Cassie, on the other hand, has run into a bit of trouble (what else is new?) and has come "back from the dead" in order to enlist her friends' help to get some badly-needed revenge! Follow the girls as they get into another zany adventure, meet some equally crazy new characters and find out that where love and gifts are concerned, nothing is what it seems! Order through my website here and receive a $2.00 discount on this new title!
COMING SOON!!! ALTARED STATES--the newest adventure of Cassie Rivers and her friends!
The book is done! All finished and edited! It will be published in the first week of December!! Keep watching this space for news of the title for sale here, on Createspace and on Amazon.com, and also for the newest edition of The Goddess Loves Your Shoes!
For those of you who don't know, NANOWRIMO stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it also represents the novel-writing challenge that happens in that month. Anyone may sign up on their website to challenge themselves to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. My second novel Obituary (see review at right) was written for Nanowrimo in 2008.
You may think it's an impossible challenge, or maybe a highly improbable one,but I find that setting a challenge like Nano for myself is the absolute best way to buckle down and get to the business of writing. I like the deadline, the feeling of competition, and the pressure it puts on me to pound out the words and get the ideas down. You can always edit later. In fact, Chris Baty, founder of the challenge, says you should not edit, you should never rewrite, you should only type and type and type until you have your book finally written--then you can go back and do it over if you want. He's right about most of that--it's important if you aren't the kind of writer that has a creative surge mechanism, to just get the words out, so you can have something TO edit later! Many writers work like this.
I'm not one of them, though. When I wrote Obituary, I had absolutely no idea whatsoever what I was going to write. It was as if I sat down at the keyboard and, rather than writing and thinking, I simply channeled the book onto the paper. It took me 24 days to write that novel, and when I went to edit it, it needed almost no work. It's not the Great American Novel by any means, but it's a credible story, a tightly plotted and decently written book that I'm very proud of. The real oddity about this book is that it is about something that I had no knowledge of before I wrote it. Yet, when I did my research later, I had nothing to correct, and found that I was not making it up--it had enough truth to make it work. That's why I felt that I channeled it--the characters came alive in my words, the plot took over and moved them along, and the whole thing came together.
This latest effort, which I completed today, 14 days into the challenge month (!) is even stranger. This one had one small advantage. It is a sequel to my other novel, The Goddess Loves Your Shoes, and continues the story of Cassie Rivers and her friends, a zany bunch of Pagan women who get themselves into some pretty surreal situations. The first book was a satirical look at institutions like Pagan churches, with a hefty dose of weirdness thrown in and a mild thriller at the heart of the plot. This new novel, which is called Altared States, takes place nearly two years later, after the dust has settled and the characters have moved on with their lives. It is no less a zany, surreal roller-coaster ride, and there are a couple of mysteries and one or two whopper surprises in store. I will edit this book and publish after it has been validated and that badge at the top of this page reads WINNER instead of PARTICIPANT. Expect to see this new book offered for sale in the first week of December, just in time for Yule gift-giving! You'll be able to order it through this site, or on Amazon.com like the other two.
And if you feel up to it, next year (or if you are really, really adventurous, this year!) sign up for Nanowrimo yourself and see how you do!
The website is great. It's presented with humor and wit, and there are all sorts of pep talks, forums, regional groups and encouragement available for participants, so you won't feel alone. I have had two years now on the site and in the challenge, and I have loved it! People of all skill levels take part. I've learned a lot, and made some friends, too. Come write with us!
Here's the website for Nanowrimo (this link is also on my links page)