Next on the To-Read List!

I have maaaaaany books on my “to-read” list. My Goodreads to-read shelf (152 books) reflects some of this, but that’s not even the half of it. So I’m always a little at a loss when deciding what to read next, particularly when I can’t totally decide what book mood I’m in. That said, I made a list of the next 5 books I’m going to read…and I’m going to try and stick to it. I need to simplify my life haha. So here they are, in no particular order except for the first one.

  1. The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. Hello, I’m reading The Name of the Wind right now and I’m freaking out with how much I love this book! I have to read the second one next, and then wait in agony for the third one to be released along with everyone else.
  2. Wool (Silo) by Hugh Howey (indie author alert!). Post-apocalypse, human survival, dystopia, what’s not to love? Plus I have the cool animated e-book version, so I’m pretty excited about getting into it.
  3. City of Skies by Farah Cook (indie author alert!). Norse mythology is soooo untouched in fantasy at the moment, and I’m excited to see what Cook will do with this, especially since I’m descended from Vikings myself.
  4. City of Vikings by Farah Cook (indie author alert!). Hopefully the sequel will be out by the time I’m done with the first 3 books on my list and I’ll be able to read it!
  5. The African Queen by C.S. Forester. I absolutely adore the movie and I’ve never actually read the book, but I found a copy in one of the many used bookstores in our area. This one is definitely one of the next books I want to read!

 

I am quite behind on my reading challenge for the year, but I can still catch up! The year is young.

Throwing Pennies

So I have obviously been self publishing my books, which I felt very good about and which was the right decision at the time. But something has been nagging me, and I can’t ignore it anymore. My dream – the Book Dream – was never to have my books on Kindle. Don’t get me wrong, I love Amazon and I love that they are so good to indie authors. I love having control over my work and owning all the rights.

But ultimately, what I really want most is to have my books on bookshelves in bookstores. I don’t care about making money, I don’t care about winning awards. I just want my characters to be known and loved by people other than myself…to know that they won’t die with me and that their stories and struggles and victories will survive. And not only survive, but thrive, and even inspire those who discover them to follow their own dreams and find the thing that makes them feel free.

That’s what I want. And so, although I thought the journey was nearly ending, I’m packing my writing/editing rucksack and getting back on the road to Shard. I know it will take work, I know that traditional publishing can be a whole other monster, but that’s what I want, so that’s where I’m going. And I’ll toss some pennies into wishing wells along the way.

A Game of Books

I’ve kind of been focusing on my writing for my last few months of blogs, so it’s time for a twist! Yesterday, Conner and I did one of my absolute favorite things everrrrrrr: we went to the botanical gardens after church and just lay out on Maasai blankets on the grass, reading. Many pictures were taken because it was such a beautiful day and many words were read. All in all, it was a serious win. I forget sometimes that I’m a sunflower child and I need to be outside with a book more often 🙂

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I’m now nearly halfway through Dances with Dragons: Part One and I have to say, I think it’s my second favorite book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series so far (the series that the TV show Game of Thrones is based on, for those who don’t know). I only have one book left (Part Two of Dances with Dragons) before I have to join the giant crowd of groupies clamoring for George R.R. Martin to finish and publish the next book in the series. Sigh.

Buuuut anyway. We also had some visitors while we were chilling!

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So, yes. Basically the best day I’ve had in a long time. My best friend / love + outside + nature + trees +sunshine +books +birds = best thing ever.

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The Words That Make Us

I used to think that there was something wrong with me because I enjoy most genres of books, movies, and music. There is this unwritten, insinuated “rule” that if you like all things, you lack passion or conviction. But luckily other people’s ideas about what passion is, or what constitutes conviction, doesn’t have to define you.

I enjoy almost all books except tedious ones (Dickens, I’m looking at you) or ones that are badly written. And I think that as a writer, particularly, or as any kind of artist, it’s important to read widely. To read out of your comfort zone. I enjoy it when I read an Agatha Christie book, or a children’s book, or a sprawling, complex fantasy like A Song of Ice and Fire. I love the classics and I love Brian Jacque’s Redwall series.

You really only have something to gain, the more widely you read. I have lost myself in countless worlds with countless characters, fighting against countless evils and finally coming to countless happy endings (or not). I have faced fears and either succeeded gloriously or failed miserably, and both are important experiences to endure. I have discovered that I have what it takes after all, and I have discovered that I don’t. I have lived and lost a thousand lives and climbed a thousand mountains and seen a thousand seas.

That said, words become a part of you. There is a reason why I chose the books I did to reread every year. The treasure of reading, and in taking in any art form, is in letting it become a part of you. To let it seep into you and form your thoughts and identity. So in that sense, we should be careful what we allow to become a part of ourselves. I wouldn’t read The Silence of the Lambs every year, for example. Words are so much more real and powerful than we give them credit for, and as a reader and writer, I think it’s good to have a healthy respect for them, and use them wisely.

But read widely. Expand yourself. Don’t be afraid of a wider world.

If you’re on Goodreads, add me! I always love finding new avid readers and freaking out about books with you 🙂

NaNoWriMo, and a Book Release!

Yep, it’s that time again. This is my 8th year doing NaNoWriMo and I’ve written scores and scores about this already, so I’m not going to go there again. Y’all know the drill 🙂 If you’re doing it, please drop me a message and feel free to add me on the site. I’ll also be doing 50k Day One again, and you can follow along on my progress here as well as on Twitter.

Book Release: Capturing Devonshire

And speaking of my Twitter, you may notice I’ve linked @authorhelenrose and not @africanstardust. That’s because I have actually finally published my first novel, Capturing Devonshire, and I will be publishing many more under the name Helen Rose. Thank you to all of you who have followed along and supported me throughout my writing journey – I wouldn’t have gotten here without you.

Helen Rose is also on Facebook and Instagram, and I will be blogging under that name as well. As an indie author, likes, shares, and reviews on any of these platforms are crucial to success, and your continued support would mean so much to me. Love your faces ❤

Good luck, me maties, yo ho!