My January TBR!

Hey guys! So I’m still over here trying to process how it is 2018?!?!? It doesn’t feel real yet.

Anyway, it’s been a week, and the only thing I have read so far is the prologue of Empire of Storms. So, I decided to make a TBR for January that will hopefully motivate me to want to read more!

My TBR is going to be pretty short, mostly because school is starting up again and I sadly won’t have that much time to actually sit down and read. So here we go (titles will be links to Goodreads)!

January TBR:

1. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas28260587

This book is a re-read for me. I re-read books 1-4 in December, and this is the last one before finally getting to Tower of Dawn (which I haven’t read yet at all!). I know I am going to love this one, and this time when I finish it I’ll actually write a review! Hehe.

2. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas31450852

I’ve heard this book surpassed a lot of people’s expectations, so I’m pretty excited to start it! Hopefully I’ll love it as much as I love the other Throne of Glass books!

3. Run by Kody Keplinger23613983

I actually started this book already, but I’m only about 15 pages in, so I’m not really sure what to think of it yet. I loved both The D.U.F.F. and A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Keplinger, so I’m hoping to love this one too!

4. Frostblood by Elly Blake27827203

I don’t know if I am going to have time to get to this one, but I hope I do. It’s been sitting on my shelf for a long while now, and I’ve heard it’s really good from a lot of people, so I’m pretty excited for it!

 

 

Talk to me!

What is on your January TBR? Have you read any of the books I plan on reading? Let me know in the comments below!

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I Had the Worst Travel Experience Ever and Now I Feel Like a Failure.

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Hey guys. So yesterday I flew from my grandparent’s house in Florida back up to my school in Massachusetts. I fly all the time. I’ve literally been taking solo trips four or five times a year for the last six years, and I’ve never had a problem.

But for some ungodly reason everything decided to go wrong for me yesterday.
To start off the day, my alarm didn’t go off. I usually always wake up before my alarm on travel days, so when I opened my eyes, I thought that was the case. Then I looked at my watch.

I woke up two hours after I was supposed to and that meant that I didn’t even have enough time to get to the airport before the gate for my flight closed.

I still rushed to change and throw the rest of my stuff into my already overstuffed backpack, then I ran and woke my brother up because he was driving me to the airport.
About 10 minutes into the drive, I realized that I forgot my water bottle and hair ties at my grandparent’s house. I wasn’t too upset about that, but as someone who is usually very organized, it made me feel like crap. And that feeling was only made worse when my grandma called to say goodbye. I told her that I overslept and she just said “Well that’s what you get for sleeping in.”

Do you think I wanted to sleep in?!?!?! Um hello I feel awful already!?!?!
Anyway, so I finally get to the airport and it is packed . I waited in line for an hour to see what I should do, and when I finally get up, the lady puts me on standby for a flight yesterday afternoon and guarantees me a spot on the flight out the next morning.
So I go through security and sit at the gate from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., when they said they would be able to tell me if I can go on the standby flight.

Then they tell me that I won’t know if I can go on the standby flight until after boarding is over . And, to make everything even better, the flight was delayed from 4 to 6 .

So I sat on down and waiting until boarding, and finally they called up the last boarding group, then they closed the gate.

Naturally I started stressing out, because they didn’t call anybody on standby. So I had just sat in the airport all day for no reason.

But then they did start calling standby. Because apparently they do that after they close the gate. So thanks so much to the airport staff for telling me that before hand, one of the 5 times I went up to the gate to ask about how standby works.

Luckily I get on the plane, and I had an emergency row seat so I had a big more leg room which was nice. I listened to a comedy podcast for the 3 hour flight, and I thought my bad luck was over.

I get off the plane and meet up with my car service that was taking me back to school. The lady was really nice and we chatted the whole ride back and I stopped to get some dinner.

When I got back to my dorm I said hi to my friends and took a shower then went to lie down and listen to some music before bed. But my earphones were missing. And I was trying to remember where I put them. Then I remembered that I put them in my wallet.

So yeah. I lost my wallet.

I knew I had to have forgotten it in the car (cause, you know, I bought food on the drive back), and I went to call the car driver, but she had already called me. She found my wallet, and she is going to try to get it back to me today.

Only today there is 8 inches of snow on the ground. So no school, but also no wallet. And my stress/anxiety levels are through the roof. And I feel like such an idiot for forgetting my wallet.

So yeah. Yesterday was really sucky and I cried a lot. I cried all morning in the airport because I felt like such a failure for missing my flight. Then I cried for a while when I realized I lost my wallet.

Hopefully I’ll get my wallet back today and I can put yesterday behind me for good.

Have any of you ever had a bad travel day? Or just some day that seems to go wrong at every turn? Because right now I feel like this is a sign about how the rest of the year is gonna go, and I really need someone to tell me that it’s gonna get better.

*UPDATE*

Thank you guys so much for all the nice comments! It has really made me feel so much better.

Also I got my wallet back!!! The woman who drove me to school from the airport braved the bad weather today to bring it back to me. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to her! She really is an amazing woman!

Author Q&A- Christopher Westley

Today I had the honor of interviewing an amazing author as well as a veteran; Christopher Westley. When he is not flying in a helicopter or travelling the world, you can find him at home, writing amazing books and editing Seven Days To Brooklyn, his newest novel.

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?

A: I have been writing for nearly two decades, starting in college.

Writing is a good escape from the daily stressors of life, just as reading a book or watching a well-made movie.

Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?

A: Inspiration comes from many avenues, but I am inspired mostly to do my best. Big name Authors, but mostly I am inspired by the sense of accomplishment when I finish a novel.

My muse or source of inspiration: Clive Cussler, Stephen King and a few others. This is why you need a good editor….because, mostly is mostly overused!

Q: You were enlisted in the U.S. army for a three-year tour. Does that have any influence on your writing? How did that experience change your life?

A: The Army will always influence those that served. Many of the situations that I detail in Seven Days to Brooklyn are based on military protocols and experience. Although, I will state that I never went to war even though I served during desert storm and never shot anyone. I am thankful for that and am grateful to have served and appreciate those that are still serving, we owe them more than we could ever pay them. Military life instills discipline and structure; at age 19, it was a good fit for me. Every day, I use things in daily life that I learned in the military.

Q: You are an avid traveler. Tell me about the places you’ve been. Where was your favorite place? Least favorite?

A: I recently drove to Alaska, up the Alcan Highway with my wife and cat (Angel). The rest of last summer, we lived in a 16×16’ cabin on a remote lake on the Kenai Peninsula, while I flew for the US Forest Service, fighting wildfires. Other places of note include: Belize, Honduras, Mexico, Canada and I have been through every state, adding Alaska last year. My most favorite place is Puerto Vallarta Mexico. Least favorite, Virginia; it is not a bad state, we just prefer to live in the western states.

Q: If you could visit one of the places you’ve travelled but in a different time period, when and where would it be? Why?

A: The Yukon, during the gold rush. It is still a very remote place and one of the most beautiful places I have visited on the planet. It is refreshing to drive down the highway and not see another car for hours. I am a risk taker, so I’m pretty sure if I had lived in the 1800, early 1900s, I would be out there digging for gold in a mountain stream.

Q: How much ‘grunt work’ goes into your writing?

A: Writing is tough work. The headliners spend months on end, 14+ hours a day or more banging away at the keyboard throwing their mental energies into trying to make a story readable and acceptable to the public. It took four years to write Seven Days to Brooklyn, and a couple of months editing (we are just finishing up now.) The next two books, I wrote in four months. Just to clarify, the two I just wrote in the last four months, was full time writing nearly six days a week at least four to eight hours a day or more. Once the juices get flowing, I just go with it. Writing is like that, some days you can bang out 7000 words, the next day you will be lucky to get 500. I also spend a lot of time researching what goes into the book, just to make it as accurate and truthful as possible, even though it is fiction.

Q: You have said that you love coffee; especially a cappuccino. How much coffee would you say you drink every day?

A: Cappuccino is my kryptonite. Some days I drink 1 cup of coffee, other days as much as six, but I try to stick to two cups a day.

Q: Which of the characters you have created is most like you? In what way?

A: My characters are fiction, but I guess they all have a piece of me in them. My experiences definitely play a part in what or how the character reacts. I’ve never killed a zombie before, but do know how to chop some brushy jungle down with a machete’ and have spent days on end walking in the Army. I also fly helicopter and have a fixed wing rating (airplane) so my main character Sara Robinson, fly’s and I use firsthand knowledge but keep the terminology simple for my reader (nobody wants to hear the technical jargon of wing twist, etc., lift and those boring things, unless you are reading a technical publication on aircraft. Sara is a survivalist, like myself and has to overcome many things en-route across the states, much like I have with various jobs and travels.

Q: What advice do you wish you received when you were in high school?

A: High School advice: High school teaches you the basics. I.E. how to go to lunch, add a+b to get c and basically interact with other students. What they need to teach you is how to function in the job market and how to deal with difficult bosses and difficult work situations. You learn this by doing. Myself, I have learned it by making lots of mistakes.

Q: What is something you want the world to know?

A: All humanity should know that life and people are generally good. To put it simply; the Dalai Lama and Buddhist teachings view all people as their mother. In doing so, this makes them appreciate even the most difficult person or someone they really do not like. Viewing that person and treating them with respect and kindness like they would do for their mother alleviates a lot of problem in and of itself. The golden rule, that’s what they should teach you daily in school.

Find Chris Online:

Website

Twitter

Author Q&A- Clive Culverhouse

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing a very talented author, Clive Culverhouse. Between raising awareness for mental health and blogging, he has created a whole new world in his book, The Legend of Heliodor.

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Q: When did you start writing?

A: I have always enjoyed writing, whether it be short stories or comedy sketches for television. I started writing my book The Legend Of Heliodor: The Crystal Spirits in 2010 after finding myself with a long period of time suddenly on my hands. Writing a book was something I always wanted to do but never got around to it until I was injured out of my career as a Paramedic and then I had all the time in the world so eventually I began to write it.

Q: What inspires you to write? Do you have a muse?

A: I’ve always had an urge to write something no matter what it is. Life is full of inspiration. I like the stories people tell. When I was a paramedic I got to hear a lot of what people said as we chatted in the back of an ambulance. Everyone has a story to tell.

Q: Tell me about your book The Legend of Heliodor. What was the original idea behind it?

28688701A: One thing I like about books, especially the fantasy genre, is the world that can be created out of the imagination. I always liked the world of Tolkien, the lands and the maps. I had the idea to invent my own world, a magical land far away. I combined that with a long-time passion of rocks, minerals and crystals to come up with a world and a people who worship and use crystals. I also wanted the people to be named after the crystals we know today. The other main thing about the book I was keen to install is also Tolkien-like and inspired by the bible. I’m not religious but I do like the fact that we have all grown up with ancient tales, folklore and myths. I wanted my book to be centred on an ancient story that has been passed down for generations where it suddenly springs to life as the current characters are thrown into the legend and then become part of its continuation.

Q: You raise awareness of mental health, and have been depressed before. What is one thing the world needs to understand about depression and mental sickness?

A: It was the loss of my job and career due to injury that sent me into a long clinical depression. I lost my function, my role, my purpose both in work and at home in my family. I let friends go and drifted into a world of solitude almost losing my family too. I cut everyone off. But I did come back to reality after a long and difficult fight. In fact I retrained as a counsellor and gained qualifications in mental health. I now co-run a mental health support group. So it is there that recovery IS possible, a new life can come from the ashes of the old. The life I have led since and especially the people I met along the way is something I wouldn’t change, so therefore I look at the depression and mental illness I suffered and think it was necessary to make me who I am now. The illness and experience doesn’t have to be negative, for me it is all positive and I wouldn’t turn back the clock. I still have bad days and re-occurrences from time to time but I cope a lot better now. They are just little nudges to remind me to self-reflect.

Q: If you could give advice to yourself when you first started writing, what would it be?

A: Just to plan and plan again.

Q: Are you currently working on any writing projects? If so, what can you tell me about them?

A: When I was planning The Legend Of Heliodor I wanted it to be told over three books. So I’m working on the next two instalments. Although actually, they’re taking a back seat because I decided to write a book called The Legend Of Heliodor: Tales From The Realm. It’s a collection of short stories, tales, myths and fairy tales from the world I created. It’s a way I suppose to draw people into the main story. I’m really enjoying the experience of writing short stories using different writing styles and formats. Good practice!

Q: Which of your characters do you have the strongest bond with?

A: I think the character would have to be my main character Kyan. With him being the main one, it’s him that I have had to be with most of all. He finds himself thrown into a world due to things happening to him, not by choice and in a world where he has to learn quickly and he’s unsure with worries and fears. He shows self-doubt and needs reassurance and support. I think that sounds like me!

Q: Do you have any advice for budding writers?

A: I think if you’re creating a world then that world has got to work. A society needs to function and so there has to be a logic that needs to be thought through and that will need a look at all aspects of that society to remove inconsistencies or things that wouldn’t work for whatever reason. I like my magical world to be believable even though it’s just fantasy. So the key is to plan and plan again. Then again. With magic there has to be a way the magic works, it can’t just work any old how, in my world of Heliodor the magic comes from the mind linking with the crystals. People in my world can’t just summon up magic, there needs to be a crystal. So I think the most important thing about writing is the story, the plot, the world and the magic all needs to work with no flaws or contradictions. You can have the most bizarre world imaginable but if it functions logically then it will work!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in any time period, where would you go and why?

A: I’ve always liked the Victorian era of the 1800’s. It was a time where science started to take off and a lot of inventors are from this period. A lot of things were getting started, and they were the first to realise that life needn’t be hard work and so they invented leisure! They were the first to go on holidays! Some of the great writers and works of fiction came from this period. Science fiction, fantasy and horror all came from this period. Plus my great great great grandfather was a chemist and apothecary, his father before him was a chemist and I like to believe an alchemist. I’d love to have a look around their laboratories, shops and back rooms.

Q: What is one thing the world should know?

A: I discovered that instead of suffering from something, whatever it is can be used. It’s a tool for your toolbox of life. I wrote a blog post called ‘A Lightbulb Moment’ which explains it well. I use my mental illness to be non-judgemental and understanding of others, I don’t ‘suffer’ it. I still have depression from time to time but depression doesn’t have me! I use it now, therefore I have ownership of it and it has made life easier thinking of it like that.

You can find Clive online:

Blog

Twitter

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