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A Little Excitement

Writing a book is a lonely journey which those of us who don’t require a lot of social interaction might finish to reach our destination: the last word of the last line in the last chapter. Finding just the right substitute word in the thesaurus might even be enough to carry us through to the next chapter. A bit of research into Google may open our minds to a whole new scene that is just the thing to spur us on. It doesn’t take much to excite us. We’re a simple lot.

Today I received some snail mail that just may be the thing to remove my writer’s block on my latest novel. The Library of Congress in the United States Copyright Office sent to me Certificates of Registrations on my books. What’s the big deal, you ask? I’m not sure, but it makes me feel official along with my books! Even if someone wanted to, they would be breaking the law to copy my work. It’s mine. I created it, and the United States Copyright Office says you can’t poach on my land. They say Connie S. Arnold owns these works. (I have it in writing.)

So my characters in The Patchwork Princess, Blaze the Dragon, Mudcat the Pirate, Dangerous Legacy, the Second Son, and Standing in My Shadow may now rest easy between the covers of their books.

Maybe I need to get out more, socialize, get a wider perspective. But here I sit with my computer on my lap, typing away.

What a Trip!

ReadersMagnet created a virtual booth platform from which 150 or so of their authors could have on-line booths. Now keep in mind that for the most part these writers are raw recruits. These authors may be experienced in writing, research, and editing; but computer-savvy?, not so much. Workshops were held on line to educate those of us participating in this new venture. It was successful only to the degree of the attendee’s understanding. The endeavor was dubbed Festival of Storytellers, and I think it is a great, ground-breaking idea.

After several failed attempts (on my part I hasten to add), I think I’ve got it! My author relations officer, Jam Comoyong, is most patient and knowledgeable. I went live from my Let’s Talk About Fairytales booth and had a blast. I had missed interacting with other readers and writers, and I got the opportunity to respond to those “chatting” with me during my live time. I must admit to nervousness at first; but as I talked about a subject that I like, the thoughts and words bubbled out. I can’t wait to do it again.

GUEST BLOGGER REVIEW FROM THE GOLDMAN AGENCY, NEW YORK, NY

Historical fiction novels may be best consumed in large gulps by me. There is no question that C. S. Arnold is a brilliant writer, and her plots are peppered with surprise spirals throughout the novel.

Dangerous Legacy, the Second Son  is a book that depicts life as reality, crafting multiple stories of major and minor characters, molding them all together into a story that holds a reader’s interest with mild tension, and a desire to see what happens to the people who inhabit the book’s pages. It is also where the references should end because there is no doubt that Ms. Arnold can stand on her own. Dangerous Legacy is a compelling story, one worth the time to read slowly.

Bottom line: Excellent writing with a plot based on WWll, with characters that leap off the pages and allow you to get to know them.

Historical fiction authors of this caliber are rare. C. S. Arnold has earned her kudos and honors for our good fortune. Highly Recommended.

GADZOOKS! THE SKYLIGHT SHINETH

In the Middle Ages of 1226, Jupiter and Saturn came remarkably close together. The Traveling Troubadour Trilogy was set in the Middle Ages. Perhaps, just perhaps now mind you, Ra-me, the Traveling Troubadour was looking at the sky at night and witnessed the two round balls coming close together. You can meet Ra-me at conniesarnold.com. Our hero would have looked at the glowing orbs and felt compelled to compose a ballad. Maybe he called it “Ode to Skylight.” He wouldn’t have known that it should have been entitled “Ode to Dome Shine.”

A Middle Ages Troubadour:  Minstrel Singer

Then we move on. Galileo made his first telescope in 1609, but when Jupiter and Saturn passed close again 14 years later, they hardly made a ghost of a showing this time. Don’t know if Galileo saw them or not. It might have been a dark and stormy night.

Now we’re told that Jupiter and Saturn will once more be passing close by each other like they did in the Middle Ages. The figure given us is 0.1 degree apart. The astronomers went on to explain that’s just 1/5 of a full moon diameter. I’m sure that these dimensions mean about as much to most of us in this Modern Age as it would’ve to those in the Middle Ages.

It seems that we are in for a new sky show. The next great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn will be December 21, 2020, but you can watch them as they are coming together now, near the starry band of the Milky Way.

  This is a depiction of a conjunction.

The 21st of this year is also the date of the December solstice.

VIKINGS: THE FIRST PIRATES

VIKING LONGSHIP

In the Middle Ages the Viking sailors were a force to be reckoned with on the waters and by those towns hugging the coastlines. Sailing from Scandinavia, these fierce warriors of the seas were the first known pirates and raiders to plague the Middle Ages. While some set out only to fish or trade, others boarded any ship within their reach, looting and raiding freely from the 8th through the 12th century.

Many Viking warships sported animal figureheads at their bow, and Viking warriors could be seen in helmets adorned by animal horns. Some figureheads are those of women. These figureheads may relate to the role of the ship and were carved on both ends of the boat.

Pirate longships were double-ended, the symmetrical bow and stern allowing the ship to reverse direction quickly without having to turn around. This trait was particularly useful in northern latitudes where icebergs and sea ice made sailing hazardous. The warships were long, narrow, and shallow.

Without maps and compasses, the sailors in these open, wooden boats braved the North Sea and the Baltic. Using landmarks on the coastlines and the sun, they discovered Iceland and North America. They explored rivers flowing through Europe. It can only be left to the imagination as to the number of souls lost in their treacherous travels.

Pirates were free to roam and attack at will. No central power existed in the Middle Ages, and often countries or even landowners hired pirates to add to their own possessions. Rulers and warlords often sent out their own ships for the purpose of piracy.

The threat of walking the plank was one way the captains used to keep control of their crew. If an enemy ship overtook them, that enemy ship confiscated all treasure aboard and hung the offending captain from the yardarm. There were no ‘peacekeepers’ of the sea in the Middle Ages.

In our book, Mudcat the Pirate, we find our hero, Ra-me the Traveling Troubadour, sailing through stormy waters to rescue the maiden kidnapped by Mudcat the Pirate.  This pirate, too, has been sailing the coastal towns, stealing their treasures. The book, Mudcat the Pirate, Adventures of Ra-me the Traveling Troubadour the third book in the Ra-me trilogy, can be seen at conniesarnold.com

Book Feature: Blaze the Dragon by Connie Arnold

by ReadersMagnet 

Blaze the Dragon by Connie Arnold banner

Arnold’s book Blaze the Dragon is the second book from the Traveling Troubadour trilogy.

The Adventures of Ra-Me the Traveling Troubadour is a series of children’s books written by Connie S. Arnold. It begins with The Patchwork Princess, followed by Blaze the Dragon. The latest installment in the trilogy is the book Mudcat the Pirate. The main protagonist of these stories is a young musician named Ra-Me who roams from place to place searching for adventures. His only weapons are his musical instruments. Since working on these books in 2018, Connie Arnold and her works have come a long way. Her works have gained critical success and positive reviews from a number of children’s books literary circles. Today, ReadersMagnet takes a closer look at Arnold’s book Blaze the Dragon, the second book from the series.

Blaze the Dragon, the Adventures of Ra-Me the Traveling Troubadour

Following the events in the first book (The Patchwork Princess), Ra-Me heads on to another great adventure. After successfully saving the life of the princess from the fierce dragon and the black knight using his songs and musical instruments, Ra-Me gains popularity. In this second book, Ra-me is invited to sing and play in a dragon village. They are celebrating the coming-of-age of Blaze the Dragon. Each dragon in the village goes through a rite of passage when they turn twelve years old. However, the celebration goes awry when Blaze losses his ability to breathe fire. For dragons, breathing fire is the one thing that they must be able to do. Panic sets in the village as each dragon takes turns in making Blaze breathe fire. Their efforts were all in vain. The dragon leader turns to Ra-Me and asks him to play a song that will ease Blaze’s anxiety and make him breathe fire. The chief of dragons, Inferno is pushing Ra-me to do whatever he can so that Blaze can pass the rite of passage and become a true dragon. With the help of his instruments, Ra-Me begins to compose a song with magic and help Blaze breathe fire.

Just like the first and the third book, Connie Arnold’s Blaze the Dragon is filled with adventures and surprises. Blaze the Dragon introduces a whole new set of characters as Ra-Me finds himself in the middle of a dragon village and a looming disaster. Published in 2019, Blaze the Dragon takes young readers into another unforgettable adventure filled with songs and magic. 

BEHOLD THE GLASS GLOBE, or keep your eye on the ball

Modern glass globe found in many gardens

The technical term for gazing into a shiny reflective surface to obtain new information or predicting the future is called “scrying.” 

Medieval Times was a period when omens and superstitions abounded. A time when people endeavored to learn their futures by studying the world around them and by divination or looking into the mystical. A leader might seek, through magic, to know if his enemies were within or without.  Would his own brother fight to depose him from his throne? Would he be successful conquering a neighboring kingdom? He believed that magic might tell him many things if they could tap into it. Fortune telling was an occupation looked down upon in the Middle Ages, but it was available. Some fortune tellers ‘guessed’ right more than they were wrong and became rich. Others were not so good at guessing and were poor. You could tell them apart by the clothing they wore. The rich wore costly robes of purple and red, the poor costumed like other villagers.

Religious leaders throughout the world considered crystal gazing and scrying a forbidden occult. The Old Testament in the Holy Bible forbids divination, saying “for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this. (Deuteronomy 18:14).

Beware of Demons

The Koran forbids the pagan practice of El-Meysar, a method of magic and divination in Ancient Palestine and Syria. The Catechism of the Catholic Church warns against Spiritualism, using divination or magical practices. In the book “The City of God,” St. Augustine said scrying was “entangled in the deceptive rites of demons who masquerade under the names of angels.” DON’T BE FOOLED.

Beware of Demons in Disguise

Being forbidden may have given them a definite allure and certain practices became popular. The balls could be quite beautiful made of quartz crystal. The largest-known true crystal ball is now in the Smithsonian Institution. It weighs 106.75 lbs. Most globes are the size of grapefruits.

One of the most famous crystal balls is the Wicked Witch’s crystal ball from the movie “The Wizard of Oz” which is made of handblown glass. It sold at auction for $129,000.

Gazing Ball Belonging to the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz Movie
Crystal Gazer in Victorian Dress

The above picture is entitled The Crystal Ball by John William Waterhouse dated 1902. This crystal gazer must have been a successful one since she seems to be very well dressed. Or, perhaps, she was attached to the house of someone important. The Victorian Era ended in 1901, but this picture is reminiscent of that period.

Since the 13th Century, gazing globes have been a very important part of gardens, both spiritually and aesthetically. Many felt that the globe could ward off bad things like disease, evil spirits, attackers and even ghosts. It is known in some legends to keep the witches away.

In our time, we are most familiar with mediums who supposedly connect with the spirit world, calling upon those who have passed from this life to the next to send back information to the living relatives.

Fortune Teller That Could Be Seen At A Carnival

Or, there are fortune tellers available in their tents in any carnival, gazing into their “fake” crystal balls. Good news can be yours for a price.

Modern globes in modern gardens no longer have superstitions attached to them, but they continue to grace the landscapes. Gardens now have gazing balls, mostly made of glass and placed on a pedestal. Deep blue and brilliant green seem to be the favorite colors; however, some are made with a mirror-like finish to mimic the original quartz crystal.

The Patchwork Princess

In the book, The Patchwork Princess, the Adventures of Ra-me the Traveling Troubadour Book 1, by Connie S. Arnold, King Lister would have had a gazing ball in the garden in the castle’s courtyard. Perhaps, he used it to divine where his kidnapped daughter had been taken.

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WHEN ARE YOU HAPPY?

Let’s examine when we are happy? Morning, night, or noon? Maybe it’s not a time; maybe it’s an activity that we’re engaged in.

When I was walking the dog at noon today, it occurred to me that I was happy. I was interrupted while writing a post for my blog, but C. S. Lewis said that the interruptions were as important as the writing. I’ve never been very tolerant of interruptions, but now I know what he may have meant.

Leaving my workstation (ok, my recliner), I went outside with a dog who was requesting a walk. The wind was invigorating, and the sun was trying to make up for its chill. I stopped to wonder why I felt a particular sense of pleasure. What had I been doing when I was interrupted? Writing. So, I concluded that writing must have been what was making me happy.

The piece I was working on was describing the sounds of harvest. Fall being my favorite season brought many thoughts flowing from memory to fingertips: farmers reaping in the fields; colors brightening up the wooded areas; cooler winds bringing out new fall clothes; families gathering for Thanksgivings; children anticipating Christmas.

My unfinished novel calls to me. I’m eager to join my characters in their world as together we complete the story and fulfill their destinies. I’m looking forward to seeing my last novel finally published, and the eye-catching cover beckoning readers.

The interruption I experienced today speaks volumes to me. We need ‘time out’ to make room for other ideas, new stimulation. One should not become so focused on the road ahead that we blind ourselves to new incoming thoughts and motivation.

Let’s take time to be happy.

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FACE-TO-FACE IS BETTER

I had a couple of interesting conversations with book browsers who visited my booth at the Swiss Pantry Open House in Belvedere, Tennessee. Others bought books; some took pictures of the covers so that they could order later online.

One gentleman bought Dangerous Legacy, the Second Son.

He said he bought it for his wife to read, but I think he thought that buying it would allow him more “air” time. He told me that once he’d been a singer. He still had a fine voice, and I was serenaded with a couple lines of Marty Robbins’ El Paso. He and his wife were enjoying the day. She was talking non-stop to the man at the booth on my right who sold woodwork. My visitor was fun.

A young girl confesses to me that she wants to write a book and asks me questions about how to get started. So, I had a captivated audience, talking about a subject dear to my heart! I think she has one up on me, though. She can draw cartoons. I am saddened to say that I can’t draw. I see my illustrations for my children’s books in my head, but that is where they stay until I can convey, with words, what I expect from the artist.

Our day was cut short with the threat of rain, but I sold several books and made good contacts. I consider the work of erecting the tent and making the display effort well spent. Especially since I had the good help of my husband, my son, and my daughter-in-law.

Virtual book fairs are the answer for visiting far-away places and protection from the spread of the present epidemic, but nothing can take the place of meeting people face-to-face and hearing the excitement in their voices as they purchase your books.

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YOU DIDN’T WRITE THAT

“You didn’t write that book!”

I was exhibiting my books at the Swiss Pantry Open House in Belvedere, Tennessee, with various other venders. A visitor marches up to my booth and brings my authorship into question! And, of course, I didn’t have my copyright certificates with me!

“You wrote that one,” he said, again, pointing to the Patchwork Princess.

“But you didn’t write that one.” He pointed to Mudcat the Pirate.

“Yes, I wrote all three of these,” I answered, indicating the children’s trilogy.

“No, you didn’t write that one,” he insisted, standing in front of the pirate book.

“Who did write it?” I asked.

“He did.” He pointed to my husband, sitting at the back of the booth.

“I read it,” my husband said, “but she wrote it.”

“No, you wrote it!” He turns and walks away, unconvinced.

I must explain that this book browser probably hadn’t seen his sixth birthday yet, but he was secure in his belief; his gender lines didn’t blur: girls write girl things; boys write boys things. Princesses are for girls, and pirates are in boys’ territory.

So, for the further education of my fellow authors, if you’re a lady, you may take credit for writing a girly book; if you write a book for boys, you had better use your husband’s name.

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NEW BOOK REVIEW OF STANDING IN MY SHADOW FROM NATASHA MANN AT THE PRAIRIE BOOK REVIEW – August 22, 2021

MA solidly absorbing, page-turning thriller…

Arnold offers an enthralling suspense story that’s steeped in the questions of identity, love, and supernatural in her latest. Linda Grainer was five years old when she was sent to live in a boarding school. It’s only a month before her college graduation that she sets foot again in her childhood home, owing to her father’s untimely tragic death. Struggling to deal with her father’s abandonment, Linda begins to look into her past, unaware of the evil waiting to take control of her life. Arnold ramps up the suspense, skillfully revving up the tension as the characters metamorphose. The story centers both on Linda’s grief and her revelation. The supernatural manifestations are indelible while the poignant romance between Linda and Brett and a vivid paranormal backdrop keep the pages turning. This finely crafted, engrossing suspense thriller with elements of the supernatural supplies plenty of thrills and chills. A stunner.

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HELP! I’M DROWNING IN TMI

TMI has come to mean ‘too much information’.  And when does TMI become too much? When someone gets too graphic about a personal experience, we throw up our hands to stop them—TMI! That’s the context where we know the definition.

But in my personal dictionary, it has another meaning: Too much interaction! The definition goes on to warn that this can cause burnout, indifference, and depression. Perhaps even cause a block in creativity.

I’ve written a book, and I am working on another. So, I’m a writer. Whether I’m successful or not is beside the point, because publishing companies everywhere think I’m going to be. Or I’m going to be if I’ll let them help me.

When a phone contact starts out with the offer of a ‘partnership’, I’m going to hear a large fee which will be greatly reduced if I’ll partner with them. I want to tell them, but I don’t, that I think my portion of the partnership is already invested. I’ve researched, written the manuscript, proofed it, edited it, and have the finished book in hand. That should count for my part of the partnership.

Then there’s the call explaining that my book isn’t selling because the price is too high. If I will let them ‘rebrand’ my book, lowering the cost, it will be more marketable. The price of this ‘rebranding’ is almost the cost of the first publication.

One publisher wants me to hire a professional to incorporate my children’s trilogy into an animated cartoon for them to peddle to potential film buyers. Sounds great. The cost would only be the price I paid for publishing all three of my children’s books in hardback and full color. Another wave with the potential of sinking me under.

My website is up and working, I’m on YouTube, my business Facebook page gets updated, and I bug my friends on my personal Facebook page. You know what I’m afraid of? I fear that when I get a good legitimate recommendation, I won’t recognize it.

I will keep listening because I’m grateful for their interest. One day everything will come together!