Interruptions and Blurbs

Interrupting your regularly scheduled Saturday to bring you an important announcement. The Fantastic and the Wondrous is coming out in five days! Five days people! That is less than a week. I guess I don’t have time to hide underneath my bed anymore…..

Anyway! If you couldn’t guess. I am super excited! And super nervous! This is the first time that I will be letting people read my stories en masse. Sooooo. Yeah. The nerves may be a little high around here.

However, in honor that it is in five days, ya’ll get the blurb! You read it here first!

What if time travelers showed up at every major event?

What really happened between Winter and Summer?

What would happen if you knew the day you were going to die?

These are the questions, among many others, that are answered in The Fantastic and the Wondrous. The collection brings in stories from the genres of fantasy and science fiction. Veering between the dangerously dark and the laugh out loud funny, each story is unique. Some telling of star crossed lovers desperate to find each other, while others tell a tale full of danger and suspense. Each of the stories are linked by the fantastical. None of them could ever happen in our world.

Or so we think.

Does that look like something you would even be vaguely interested in reading? Or something that you just have to have? (here’s to hoping anyway.) It is something that I would be interested in reading! If it wasn’t written by me anyway.

Something they don’t tell you when you start writing is that if you stick with a project for a long time, you get bored. Or maybe that’s just me?

Basically, my stories should be grateful that they are given the chance to be read instead of being tossed. They really should.

And I will stop interrupting your Saturday. May the rest of it be blissful!

Shaina Merrick

Cover Reveal!

I’m so smart. Why else would I enlist my sister to do the hard work of creating a cover for me? Since I am so smart, it makes total sense that I would decide that the cover isn’t exactly what I wanted. So I do another one myself.

Yup, I’m smart.

Right.

That is actually the story behind the cover for The Fantastic and the Wondrous. In the beginning I begged my sister to create one for me because A) I have limited amount of time and B) I am terrified of all things formatting. Yay me.

The original cover, which I won’t show here because…. Reasons. Was cool, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was not quite what I wanted.

So after thinking this many times late at night when I was supposed to be sleeping, I decided to change it. Even though the reasons I listed above were still valid.

But you aren’t here to listen to me rant about all that. You want to see my book cover! (if you don’t, you can leave now I suppose.)

Tada!!

For being my first cover (wait, why did I just say that?) it’s not so bad! And for all the work it took (not so much, I just like to whine) I like it!

What do you guys think? Does it look like a cover that would catch your eye? Have you ever tried to make a book cover? (how do other people do it so well??) Let me know in the comments! 

Shaina Merrick

Writer to Author

I suppose it makes sense that I would be a writer. After all, I read stories, dream stories, critique stories. So why not create them too? Thus said my little brain many years ago, little knowing the consternation (read blood sweat and tears) it would cause in the years to come.

Guys, writing is HARD. Very hard. Especially if you are a perfectionist. Especially if you sit and agonize over the first sentence in your first draft because you are under the mistaken belief that it has to be perfect on the first try. If you were wondering, no it does not. That is what a first draft is for.

Now, I can sit here and complain about writing which if you have a writer friend you have probably heard it all before. (thanks for the patience mom) OR I can tell you the cool parts of writing.

Namely, being able to share it with other people.

Like this blog, or like publishing a book.

Yup, I’m publishing a book. And here I am acting all chill about it when really I am screaming inside!!!! I’m actually getting a book published!

On Amazon anyway, which means it will become part of the millions of other books trying to get noticed on there. Oh, my poor baby.

So! If you were one of the poor, *cough* I mean lucky people who read my old blog you have most likely heard of this. For months on end.

Well, the months before I publish have turned into weeks and I am realizing just how much I need to do before handing it over to readers.

Sigh.

But before I go back to doing all of that boring stuff, I am here to remind you all of the title and tell you what on earth this long talked of book is even about.

So here you go!

The Fantastic and the Wondrous.

Snazzy title if I do say so myself.

This book is not a novel, or even a novella. It is a collection of short stories. These short stories are all connected with the web of the fantastical. (hence the title) Fantasy, scifi, and mash up of both, all are found in my collection.

You will find time travelers, fairies, hero’s, and robots in these stories. Some of them are designed to make you laugh. Some to make you cry. (that’s the intent anyway, we’ll see if it actually works)

You will get to read all 12 of them on April 4th! The date I am releasing my hard work to the world.

Until then you will get to hear gobs about this book, all in the hope that you will throw your hands up and say “Fine! I’ll go buy it if only to stop you from pestering me!”

Its called marketing folks. Basically an excuse to bug people so that they will buy something.

Anyway.

Next up will be my cover reveal, so stay tuned for that!

If I disappear before April 4th you can say that cause of death was stress over publishing. All the writers will understand.

Here’s to not dying and getting a book published!

Shaina Merrick

The 20 Questions Book Tag

Sarah over at https://thesarcasticelf.wordpress.com/ (go look at her blog, it’s so much fun!) was kind enough to create an open ended tag. As in anyone could hop on the band wagon. And since it is all about books I thought, why not?

So here we go for a mini roller coaster ride of all things books!

How many books do you think are too many books in a book series?

Weeeell, it depends on the series. Generally I want to tell all authors to stick with three to five. Then we don’t have to worry about them never finishing the series. Also, if there are too many (and this can happen in trilogies too), there tend to be a few books that just feel like nothing of any importance is happening. I do know a few series that are huge and amazing (Wheel of Time for instance). But in general I would say that more than five is a little much.

How do you feel about cliffhangers?

You mean those soul sucking things that tear your heart apart? The cliffs that leave you stranded for ages while you are waiting for the next book to arrive?

Not a fan.

Hardback or paperback?

Hardbacks don’t die as quickly as paperbacks do when you read them outside. Nor do they fall apart after you and your siblings have all read it, multiple times. Definitely go for the hardbacks.

Favorite book?

I just did a whole post on this. And since I don’t particularly like repeating myself, here’s the link. https://thebeautyofastory.com/2019/03/05/my-all-time-favorite-stories/

Least favorite book?

Sword at Sunset.

Heartless.

The List.

Fairest Son.

The Reluctant Godfather.

Would you like me to go on?

Love-triangles, yes or no?

Absolutely not.

Not under any circumstances.

The most recent book you just couldn’t finish?

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak.

It was beautifully written. But the language…. I’m pretty sure that not every person in the world uses that many bad words.

A book you’re currently reading?

Fires From Heaven: Wheel of Time #5 by Robert Jordan.

My reaction to all of those books is. “You can do it Rand!”

Along with, “Shut up Moraine! You too Egwene!”

Last book you recommended to someone?

I think I basically commanded my sister to go read The Scorpio Races. So does that count?

Other than that, you all can consider yourself strongly recommended to go read The Scorpio Races. And All the Crooked Saints.

Oldest book you’ve read?

The Bible.

Next up would be Marco Polos book about his travels. Yup, I’m that history geek.

Newest book you’ve read?

Shadows of the Hersweald by Hope Ann Schmidt.

That was put out last year I think?

I don’t read a ton of new stuff. Most of the books I enjoy were published a while ago. Like a hundred years a while ago.

Favorite Author?

Magge Steifvater.

Patricia MacLaughlan.

Rosemary Sutcliff.

N. D. Wilson.

Just to name a few….

Buying books or borrowing books?

Borrowing books please and thank you!

One: I’m broke.

Two: That way if I don’t like it I can return it and have only wasted my time. Not my money and/or shelf space.

Three: I have no shelf space.

A book you dislike that everyone else seems to love?

Should I list them all? Or just assure you that they do exist, and that there are many of them?

I think I’ll just leave it there.

Bookmarks or dog-ears?

Do I have a book mark on hand? (a.k.a. a slip of paper, another book, money, a piece of string, my phone, a pen, etc.)

No? Then I’ll just flip it upside down. That works just as well.

A book you can always re-read?

Sorry, please don’t kill me, but I am not the hugest re-reader ever. It has to be absolutely amazing for me to read it more than once.

That being said, I do read Little Women every year or so. (and when I have the time *looks pointedly at schedule*)

Can you read while hearing music?

Nope! I have the honor of having a one track mind. I can either listen to the music or be reading my book.

Though having noise of some kind while I am reading is rather comforting. Don’t ask me why.

One POV or multiple POVs?

Multiple! Gimme all the characters!

Unless I only like one or two of them. Then please stay far away from the others and keep it to the ones I like. Kapeesh?

Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?

“All in one sitting!” Says I without looking at the books that have been sitting with bookmarks in them for the last few weeks.

If you enjoyed the tag, feel free to go ahead and go it! It is so much fun! As for tagging specific people I’ll go ahead and tag Sabrina at https://storyalchemist.blogspot.com/ She writes fanfiction, so if you are into that you should go take a look!

Did you agree with any of my answers? Disagree? What book do you despise even though everyone seems to like it? Let me know in the comments!

Shaina Merrick

My All Time Favorite Stories

Bookworms tend to be curious little things. They always want to know what other people are reading. That one person who has her head cocked to the side because she is trying to read the title of the book a random stranger is reading. Then flushing and jerking her head away because the random stranger looked up from their book.

If you are anything like me, you enjoy any chance to add to the already ridiculously long tbr (to be read) list. So many books, so little time….

To indulge your curiosity, here is a list of my top favorite books.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Yes, I am well aware that this is an old classic that everyone and their sister knows and loves. But there is a reason that it is a classic!

Any book with strong sibling relationships is going to be high on my list. And Little Women has some of the most beautiful sister relationships out there. Sisters who squabble, annoy each other, hurt each other, yet at the end of the day they love and forgive. Choosing their sisters over their petty problems of the day.

Yes, there are some love stories (all of which are adorable), but I read it for the sisters. And for Jo, one of the most like me characters in the literary world.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

If you haven’t heard about this one, don’t worry. No one else has either. One of the least known of the Jane Austen books, it happens to be my favorite. Yes, even over Pride and Prejudice. Don’t hate me.

Northanger Abbey is about a young, sheltered girl who goes to Bath with some family friends. Like all Jane Austens, this is a love story. However this love story is about a bookworm. A bookworm with a healthy imagination. She sees love and drama around every corner, helped along with her newfound friend who also loves books.

This is the most lighthearted of all of Jane Austens books. Throughout the story it makes fun of the popular novels of the day. It would be like an author today making fun of the fantasy genre in her fantasy book. I love it.

It is a must read for all bookworms who daydream more than is usual.

The Last Dragon by Silvana De Mari

Don’t listen to the title. Yes there is a dragon, but the book is actually about an elf. One of the most adorable elves that has ever existed.

In a world that blames elves for the never ending rain, Yorsh is saved by his grandmother and told to run far away. So he does, and while he is running he comes across two humans. Humans who alternately want to strangle him and keep him from all harm.

Begin hilarious scenes. Scenes made even funnier because Yorsh doesn’t understand a lick of sarcasm. He takes everyone at their word, exactly. Cue the humans growling in frustration and Yorsh looking at everyone wondering what the fuss is about.

It may seem that this book is just one big comedy of errors, but it isn’t. Yes, it is funny. But there is so much more to it than that. The people Yorsh comes across are literally scraping by. Sometimes unsure of where their next meal is coming from.

Things are not going well for the humans, and then here comes a tiny elf who has a little bit of magic and believes everything that is said to him. He also believes that everyone he meets is good. Even if they look like the scariest scoundrel that ever lived, he likes them. It is like a living ray of hope is dropped into a harsh world. A world that alternately hates it and wishes that it would never leave.

If you need a laugh, go read it. If you just need another excuse to procrastinate on homework, go read it. It’ll be worth it.

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Steifvater

If you haven’t read this one shame on you! Go read it at once! This book is gorgeous and everyone should read it!

I love this book because one, it is set in Colorado and two, it is set in the desert of Colorado. I live in the desert of Colorado and before I had read that book I had not been able to find a good representation of that desert. Or any desert for that matter.

But this book does it perfectly. Maggie Steifvater brings the desert to life through her book. I love how she describes it.

I also love all of her confused, struggling, beautiful characters. All of which are trying to find their place among their family and the world. The hope that they will someday figure out why they are here diffuses the whole novel.

I say again, go read it!

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Yes, I know that this book is by the same author as the last book. And?

The premise of The Scorpio Races at first turned me off. Why would I want to read a book about a girl riding in a horse race? Even if the horses are all man eating Capaill Uisce. Then I read it, and I wondered why it took me so long to do so.

I had to literally put this book down when I got to the climax for fear that my heart was going to jump out of my chest. Everything just kept building and building until the end race where everything was on the line and you just desperately wanted the main character to win.

However, what made the ending such a crazy climax was the fact that not everything in the book was tense. Sure, there were tense moments. It’s hard for there not to be when you are riding horses that would just as soon eat you as look at you. But after every tense moment was a moment that was a breath of relief. A space for the characters, and the reader, to breath.

That roller coaster of emotions made the book very, very hard to put down. (unless you were afraid that your heart was going to combust) Even when it was late and you still hadn’t gotten anything done….

Anyway. It was worth every moment, and made me obsessed with November Cakes. (still gotta make those)

Now for the honorable mentions, stories too wonderful to leave out but didn’t quite make it to my favorites list.

  • The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
  • Dear Enemy by Jean Webster
  • The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
  • 100 Cupboards by N. D. Wilson
  • A Thousand Perfect Notes by C. G. Drews

If you made it to the end, congratulations! Your patience is amazing and you should go award yourself some chocolate strawberries.

Whadja think of my list? Are any of these books on yours as well? Have you heard of any or all of them? Let me know in the comments below!

Shaina Merrick