As people in my state (Texas) are talking about opening businesses back up, with limitations, life is returning to a tentative pretense of normal. Of course, if you’re required to visit parks only in limited groups wearing masks the definition of "normal" is open to interpretation! But along with all the hard and sad things during the storm of the virus during April in the US, there were little things that were less grave and sometimes even a bit funny.
Like the toilet paper craze that started immediately and is still a problem. Last week was the first in which I saw even a little of it on the shelves at my local grocery and there were still no disinfecting products like hand sanitizer. In fact, people got to the hand sanitizer long before we did and we rely on a tiny bottle we dug out of an old purse. (We rarely used hand sanitizer before, which was why we didn’t buy any quickly enough.) We tried to restart our chest freezer, which we hadn’t used in 4 years, because we had some extra ears of corn as a gift. We usually freeze extra corn until we can use it, but that takes space. So the freezer . . . oh wait, scratch that idea. Nada. That freezer was a no-show. And freezers were also sold out everywhere unless you wanted one the size of an entire room or a tiny one that only stores medicine! 😊
Some cute little pics of life during that month—my sister sews a lot, so she made us little masks. This is a pic of me in my mask and I look a bit like a bandit. Or perhaps a witchy sorcerer in a fantasy novel, who wears concealing face coverings. Since we live in a remote area, I don’t wear the mask much, but I take it with me when I go shopping. The lilies in the window are a memory of an Easter spent at home. Lilies are not exactly the best news for cats--understatement--and we have lots of cats. So we put the lilies in the bathroom window because the cats never go in there. In a plastic pitcher, of course, since we wouldn't want a nice vase to get smashed if it fell out of the window. But I think the lilies looked beautiful there and did a good job of representing the message of the Easter story--humility and sacrifice. And so did everyone who practiced unselfishness during this spring, from the great sacrifices of doctors and nurses as they helped so many families who have suffered loss, to the small sacrifices of everyday people all over the world.
And there will be more updates.
Because of COVID-19, my trips to town are rare these days. I go mostly to buy a few groceries, especially produce, and the stores are usually out of EGGS and always out of TOILET PAPER. So far the virus has stayed away from my family, but with an outbreak nearby our movements have become very limited. Coronavirus news from close to home and around the world draws my attention each day and I wonder how life could have changed so fast. A few weeks ago I was in the library on a routine visit and now . . . it's closed.
But while an emergency requires upheaval, another essential part of human life is a sense of normal. Of things that remain in place no matter what. Steady rocks that provide anchors. Whether it’s just watching a favorite movie, finding encouraging prayers and verses online, walking or snuggling pets—anything—doing these things reminds me of a world without COVID-19. It provides perspective. I can remember what things were like before and what they will one day be like again. Even if there are permanent changes, things WILL become a little more normal eventually.
Routines are precious because they link us in a crisis situation to what we were like in an ordinary time before. It keeps us from losing our identity. All over the world, people are trying to keep a sense of normal in the midst of this situation--even doctors and nurses, although their lives are anything but normal right now. Sending these posts to you helps me maintain a bit of my life the way it used to be because I've written and blogged for many years. I trust in each of your lives you are also finding hope in the things that have survived around you. The things you’re still able to do.
And hope is what’s always really out there, if we know how to find it.
And there will be more updates.
Last week I talked about the central five characters that bring a focus to Facets of Fantasy and about how this is one of my oldest--and most interacted-with--books. And this week Facets is part of a giveaway bundle of fantasy books. The giveaway lasts until the end of March and contains a wide diversity of books--epic, high fantasy, coming of age adventure, young adult, fairy tale, mythology-based stories, etc. There are several books I really liked the looks of! You can download as many of these books as you want by subscribing to author's newsletters here. You can also get Facets of Fantasy along with the other books if you want to read it--just enter your email. If that doesn't work, use this link instead to get it directly.
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All of my early books were sci-fi or fantasy. Beginning with the first part of Victoria published as an ebook in 2014, I started to do historical writing which continued for several years. Of my first 5 books, 4 are sci-fi, fantasy, or dystopian. Of my last 4 books, only one is (Ryan and Essie.)
Some people don’t like to read speculative fiction, particularly. They prefer realistic, especially historical, works. So I wanted to try and capture new characters who might be more likely to appear in a realistic setting. It’s not like you’re going to hate my speculative or hate my historical because they are for entirely different audiences. If I wanted to reach two audiences, I’d have two pen names. Some readers prefer the feel of historical and others prefer sci-fi or fantasy. It’s two ways to tell the same type of story. In fact, I’m open to doing both in the future.
In Consuela, these two sides of my work are almost absurdly manifested. Consuela was originally set in a quasi-historical world (think Disney’s recent Cinderella movie) that it shared with early drafts of Victoria. Later it was unpublished and when it returned, it became part of the City of the Invaders dystopian world. (City of the Invaders is the highlight book for next month, so I will be talking more about it soon.) Consuela remained a comedy story even though that’s not the norm for dystopian. I just felt that it was more emotionally connected to Invaders now than to Victoria, which was steadily moving in its own direction as a historical work set in Spain. But it goes to prove that the bridge between my two main genres is easily crossed. In fact, I'd describe my books as interconnected. That’s why I’m looking forward to publishing more. Every new story adds perspective on the earlier books as well as introducing new characters for readers to play around with. 😊
And there will be more updates.
Pleasant Fiction in an Age of Noise
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When I set about defining my books, I wanted them to be positive places where a gentleness emanated from the pages. A hopeful safety lies in gentleness and there's also an honesty to it. A whirlwind of pushy book blurbs and hot characters (or whatever type character the author wants you to admire) can conceal a reality underneath. A quiet--possibly even lurking--reality that's more visible if you dial down the volume. That lurking reality isn't necessarily bad, but like anything quiet, it gets drowned out by conflict and angst. Peaceful fiction can help explore the truth that noisy books ignore.
Bellevere House has been featured on Ezvid Wiki video "10 Wonderfully Inventive Retellings That Interpret Classic Stories in a New Way." Click to see the video.