Hoodwinked by Dickens, Charmed by Scrooge

Charles John Huffam Dickens rise to fame came from a serial publication called The Pickwick Papers in March of 1836, skyrocketing him to international literary celeb status a few years later. Seven years after The Pickwick Papers his novella “A Christmas Carol” was born and went on to long-standing and still-standing popularity.

The energy around the holidays coupled with tidings of good cheer, a roaring fire or a lit tree, a comfy blanket on top a sofa nestled with the Christmas classic makes the season complete. But don’t forget the punch or eggnog for some.

At first glance, it appears to be a dark haunting of a bitter man (Ebeneezer Scrooge), who counters with “Bah humbug” whenever someone mentions Christmas or greets him with Merry Christmas. “Who would say such a thing about the most cheeriest holiday?” a small child says.

Upon further review, it becomes more festive with the past, present and future visits from the spirits and realizations, and then in the end–the laughter and joy of having time to change his evil ways. Oh, no! He dashes from his bed and starts the journey of charming his way back into the world where he was once happy. Charming indeed, that Ebeneezer Scrooge has charmed his way into the lives and homes of the masses. Thank you Mr. Dickens!

The first film adaptation was a short British film version in 1901, titled: Scrooge or Marley’s Ghost. And in 1938 Reginald Owen starred in the first “talkie”  silver screen production of A Christmas Carol. I favor the one w/Alastair Sim and of course the stage play production put on by The Goodman Theatre every year. This year marks the 35th Anniversary of A Christmas Carol at The Chicago Goodman Theatre.

What’s your favorite part of A Christmas Carol? Will you and your’s be watching it or going to see it this holiday season?

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Character Bio’s–Meet the Characters of T.O.O.

Check out the Fantasy Realms they inhabit and the Myths they are born from on my Realm Play blog  realmplay.wordpress.com

THE DESTINY ORACLE 

Omniscient narrator.

THE HOUSE OF WILCOX

LENA WILCOX ~Twenty-two-year-old loving, single mom, protector in general to those in need or who appear to be helpless, oblivious at times to her own circumstances.

CAREER: Data Entry Analyst

LIKES: Coffee—lots of it, all the time…everyday.

DISLIKES: Bullies, abusers, people who abandon (Linx’s father), and her childhood.

LINX WILCOX ~Lena’s three-year-old loving, playful son.
LIKES: Pancakes, whipped cream, chocolate syrup and ice cream.
DISLIKES: None yet.

RICHARD WILCOX ~Lena’s adoptive father—deceased.

HANNAH WILCOX ~Lena’s adoptive mother—deceased.

THE HOUSE OF ANDROS ~Descendants of high Greek gods—Enemy of the Unworthy

GABRIEL (GABE) ARES ANDROS ~Blindingly wealthy and sexy twenty-four-year-old magnate, brooding son and heir of Greek coffee mogul Antones Andros—from old money.
CAREER: Investor/coffee empire heir and exec.
LIKES: His family, his Greek bloodline and history, fencing, being a realist, and his space.
DISLIKES: Strangers, the Unworthy, people who meddle in his affairs and emotional attachment.

GABRIE (GABY) ANDROS ~Gabriel’s twenty-four-year-old meddlesome, carefree, fun-loving, spoiled twin sister, daughter and heiress of Greek coffee mogul Antones Andros.
CAREER: Coffee heiress and personal shopper (to herself).
LIKES: Her family, her Greek heritage, shopping and buying things, flaming saganaki, the game of pool, fencing, clubs with dance floors and fun.
DISLIKES: The Unworthy

SOPHIA (SOPHIE) ANDROS ~Thirty-year-old Sophistocrat sister to Gabriel and Gabrie Andros, and eldest heiress of Greek coffee mogul Antones Andros.
CAREER: Head of Andros family and Assistant Chief Medical Examiner at prominent Chicago hospital.
LIKES: Her family, her Greek heritage, medicine and surgery.
DISLIKES: The Unworthy, being the head of the family, wrestling with keeping family secrets.

ANTONES ANDROS ~Father of Gabriel, Gabrie and Sophia—deceased.

MILA ANDROS ~Mother of Gabriel, Gabrie and Sophia—deceased.

MIKOS ANDROS ~Ageless, charming Greek coffee mogul, brother to Antones Andros and uncle to Andros siblings.
CAREER: Greek coffee mogul, family overseer.
LIKES: Family, Greek heritage formulating coffee recipes and traveling.
DISLIKES: The Unworthy.

INANNA ANDROS ~Distant cousin of Andros siblings, visiting from Greece.

ALBERT ~Hired help for the Andros family.

CYPRUS ~Gabriel’s faithful dog.

THE HOUSE OF ANASTOGUS
Descendants of the first demigod Argus
First family of the Unworthy—Enemy of the Andros family

KALEB ANASTOGUS ~Twenty-four-year-old suave millionaire, an Unworthy, and birth father of Linx Wilcox.
CAREER: Mergers and Acquisitions Financial Analyst.
LIKES: Taking what he wants, being possessive and getting his way.
DISLIKES: Zeus and the other Greek gods, the Andros family, being told no, rejection and driving in the rain.

NICOLOS ANASTOGUS ~Kaleb’s scuzzy, abusive twenty-two-year-old brother, millionaire and Unworthy.
CAREER: Mergers and Acquisitions Project Manager.
LIKES: Torturing his wife, taking what he wants, being in control and being outspoken.
DISLIKES: Zeus and the other Greek gods, the Andros family and most people.

DEMETRI ANASTOGUS ~Kaleb’s millionaire older brother, old class mixed with modern nuance, keeps to himself.
CAREER: Architect for family Mergers and Acquisitions firm.
LIKES: Designing various structures and just about everything else.
DISLIKES: Seeing the woman he loves with another man.

ALEXA ANASTOGUS ~Kaleb’s fourteen-year-old mute, OCD sister, skittish around most people.
LIKES: Not talking, staying inside her head, puzzles and spinach soup.
DISLIKES: Being sedated and the bad things her father and brothers do.

DEMETRIUS ANASTOGUS ~Distinguished, charismatic millionaire father of Anastogus family, an Unworthy and head of the Unworthy first family region.
CAREER: CEO of ANASTO-GUST Mergers and Acquisitions Inc.
LIKES: Family, money, power, royalty and plotting revenge on the Andros family.
DISLIKES: The Andros family.

KIMBERLIN ANASTOGUS ~Tortured wife of Nicolos Anastogus.
CAREER: Housewife.
LIKES: Whatever Nicolos tells her to like.
DISLIKES: Being married to Nicolos, her choices and her life.

LOMAX ~Hired Unworthy thug for the Anastogus family.

ADRIANNA ANASTOGUS ~Mother of the Anastogus children—deceased.

OTHER CHARACTERS
~LOWER EARTH~
Earth
PAT MILLER ~Lena’s birth mother.
CHLOE ~Gabriel’s girlfriend.
CALLIOPE PAPAPPOLIS ~A seamstress, an Impartial—mutual friends with the Andros family and the Anastogus family.
PETRUS PAPAPPOLIS ~A tailor, an Impartial married to Calliope.
MERV ~Pat’s boyfriend.
TOMMY ~Manager of The Coffee Bar
KATHLEEN ~The Anastoguses nurse.
MR. GRIFFIN ~Shady landlord.
AUNT DINAH ~Kaleb’s Great-Aunt.

~OLYMPUS~
High up on the mountain
LAYSIA ~Royal Noble
ILIOS ~Keeper of the Scrolls
PHOENIX ~Olympus Guide
ANEMONE ~Royal Arranger
THE GOLDEN OAK ~Tree of Knowing.

OLYMPUS DIRECTORATE ~Hand-picked ancients to the God of Gods.
Females
NEBE
THETIS
ANDRESIA

Males
DODONIS
TALLAS
MELIOS

THE GOD OF GODS ~Over the gods, including Zeus, the drive for all beings carrying them to their fate.

INNER REALM
Sphere first inhabited by Impartials
NYLA ~Trickstress—Descendant of Hermes.
SOD ~Trickster—Descendant of Hermes and Nyla’s brother.
ALLURA ~Temptress
KERREPUS (KERR) ~Leader of the Impartials.
TOLO ~Kerr’s teenage son.
KERRIMA ~Kerr’s estranged teenage daughter.
IMPERICA ~Kerr’s estranged wife.
JOPE ~Imperica’s father.
BAX ~Flower hut vendor.

UNDER EARTH
House of Hades
HADES ~Dark King, ruler of Under Earth
PERSEPHONE ~Dark Queen, Hades’ wife and co-ruler of Under Earth.
LUTARUS ~Under Earth’s Chief Tomber.
CERBERUS ~Three-headed Under Earth hound.

Realm Play–New Author Blog

I would like to take this time out to thank all my followers and fans. This is also an invitation to check out my new author’s blog on WordPress titled Realm Play at realmplay.wordpress.com

I created Realm Play as a mainstay for my novel series, upcoming projects and to journal my journey so far. Thanks for taking the journey with me! Feel free to interact on the T.O.O. Throne of Olympus Fan Page, browse around and get to know the characters, the myths and their realms. Let me know what you think and if any of you have tips on how I can make the site better, please let me know. Suggestions are welcome!

Book One  Cover 001

As for A Novel Perspective, I will continue to post on this blog. And sorry I haven’t been posting much lately, but with the release of T.O.O. and recovering from a nasty stomach bug…been swamped. Hope Realm Play will make up for some of the lost time and it will updated and more content added as it becomes available. Thank you guys so much for reading my posts, your support means a lot to me.

~ A.M. Day

Christmas Towns

Christmas holds different significant meanings for people: religious meanings, commercial and of course the favorite one for children…the fantasy behind it. Well, raised on the two topics not to discuss–politics and religion, the one I would like to shine the spotlight on is the fantasy one.

We never had Christmas in our house growing up. No tree, Santa who? No decorations, unless you count the candy canes and glitter ornament-adorned evergreen trees I would make out of red and green construction paper. Mommy would let me tape a few to the front window. And I tried hard to believe in Santa Claus. It came as no surprise that not only would Christmas be brought to life in my own home as an adult, but the fantasy of it would be so great. I used to want to live in an actual Christmas Town, where 24/7 it would rain, sleet and snow Christmas any and everything. My town had lights that never went off, snow-covered cottages with ample color and candy accents (think old-fashioned Gingerbread houses). And every house had a brick fireplace.

Share how you see your Christmas Town? Would it have reindeer? Would it be a Christmas Farm? Would it look like a scene straight from How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ Whoville?

The Night the Lights Went Out in Fantasy

It was a cold November day. The tiny animals were scurrying in the yard and down the street to add to their stockpile of winter goodies. And the bird’s nest perched on high above our front door looked a bit fuller. I made a mad dash to my friend’s home for our early Thanksgiving, food-filled foil pans in hands. My stomach was queasy and I was a little shaky…low blood sugar, I thought, since I hadn’t had more than a few cups of coffee earlier in the day.

Within the next couple of hours, my heart was racing, vision blurred and the wrenching in my gut was relentless. The comfort of my home was not going to be enough to end the chaos swirling inside my body. And then it happened! I will spare you all the gory details. But know that I thought my chances of ever publishing my debut novel or any novel had passed right before my watery, squinting eyes.

Nooo, there’s so much left to do, I moaned as I lay on the bathroom floor. Lucidity was somewhere in sight, I just couldn’t see it. I was one more round away from another battle with Murphy (the Law, not the man). That was the night the lights went out in fantasy for me (literally), I passed out. When I woke, I really thought it was the end. There was no light in the tunnel. How on earth could I go on writing in a genre that clearly hated me? I might’ve boycotted fantasy! In fact, I might’ve given up writing fantasy all together…okay, so I’m still recovering from that bug.

Finally, on Thanksgiving Day, I worked and worked on the computer to upload my novel for Kindle e-book edition with the hopes it would be ready in time for a “Black Friday” release. Already behind by several hours to meet the 12-hour deadline from review to live, my novel was born in both paperback and the e-book. *wipes sweat from brow and passes out for a couple hours sleep*

Some of you might think I was a little batty about the whole book thing, but this would’ve been one more setback in a series within the last several months that would keep my book from living outside my flash drive. I am pleased to announce that the first in this modern-day twist/Greek myth, urban fantasy series The Throne of Olympus Book One: Blood Bond is now available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle edition. 🙂

Big Thanks to all of you who continued to support me through this trying time!

New Writers Beware–Don’t trust the one with the shiny apple!

“Thanks, but no thanks.” 

This is a phrase I find myself saying more often than I care to. As an indie author, it can be a challenge to find the right people for your team. Your team may consist of:

1.) A graphics person for that “just right” cover look.

2.) A proofreader/copywriter to crisp up pages and catch errors.

3.) Someone to format the final manuscript.

4.) A marketing person, if you’re not doing it yourself.

5.) And depending on how busy your schedule is, someone to make sure all these things are running smoothly, so that everything will be ready-set for your projected release date.

But, buyer, BEWARE! There is always some damn wolf in sheep’s clothing, some traveling salesman handing out snake oil or some soft-spoken old lady holding that shiny apple, tempting you, ready to pounce and offer you bells and whistles for the low introductory price of your first born in the end (metaphorically speaking).

I have heard plenty of first-timer horror stories and nightmarish experiences, my own included. In fact, my nightmare only recently ended. And finally, after months of promised release dates, my book will release at the end of November 2012. And if I have to cut the paper to proper trim size and write the words out, in ink, by hand for that to happen…so be it. Okay, that last part might be a little dramatic and desperate.

Sadly, desperation and eagerness makes that shiny apple that more appealing. And when someone offers additional services (I call these offers of grandeur) for something not listed as part of their expertise…RUN! I say that with love. Oh, and experience. True seasoned pros in the field will take on a project that they specialize in–no extras. For that, they will usually point you in the direction of someone who can meet your needs and deadlines.

Disappointment plagued me for the past four months because I believe in giving people a chance to express their creative sides and I still do. The only difference now is that I know when to say when. From this point on, I will treat my work like a body on an operating table–each organ is delicate and every member on my team must be at their surgical best.

In my case, I was refunded for an unfulfilled service. That didn’t make it better or right. Friends cheered me on and told me I was lucky to get a refund because it could have been a scam. Well, in my eyes, it was a scam. When you hire someone to do a job and both parties agree on terms and you’re less than a few weeks out to release your debut novel, it can be crushing. And that it was!

Quitting for no apparent reason to me is never an acceptable option, especially, at the very end of a project. If the person you hire is not willing to see it through and offers up non-sense excuses for why they can’t or won’t fix what they did wrong usually means they are in over their head. RUN! If they try to make you believe that’s the way your book should look or they try to convince you those are industry standards, but you know in your gut it’s wrong…RUN! This is when you can see that they really didn’t know what they were doing to begin with–LESSON LEARNED!

It’s never too late to avoid making these mistakes. READ THE FINE PRINT! If something is not listed under their specialty, no matter what extras they offer you…even if it’s free, say “Thanks, but no thanks” or “I already have someone working on that for me.”  READ BETWEEN THE LINES! Harsh or degrading criticism in the comment panel from a proofreader/copywriter, unwanted suggestions about your characters ages, names etc. and comments about scenes from your story that are blatantly in the story, but the  proofreader misses it, are all unprofessional and signs to flee.

Some of you might be thinking, “she sounds a little bitter.” I’ll own that! But my bitter levels have come down considerably as I think about the taunting, cowardice email that was sent to me, offered up as an “I quit.” I felt like the jilted ex. My phone calls went unanswered. Now I just feel like the somewhat wiser newbie. And while I don’t really believe in bashing others so much, I do believe in standing up for myself and speaking out against those who mistake me for a doormat.

Don’t give up or give in. There is a solution, a lifeline, dangling close by. You just have to be willing to stand on faith and grab it.

Remember, this is the work you slaved over and poured your heart and soul into–no one should be allowed to take even a tiny portion of that away from you.  So new writers beware and don’t trust the one with the shiny apple because you just might bite into a worm.

Have you experienced something like this? Would you like to share your story? Please do so! It can help someone going through this now.

New Release Review–Don’t Judge a Book By Its Magic

REVIEW by A.M. Day
Don't Judge a Book By Its Magic by Kate Policani
Cast inside a world (literally) that she never knew existed, eighteen-year-old Colleen Underhill must quickly adapt to and learn how to survive her new, magical life and her new, magical college, SPRU. And she has to do it without her family around for support. Colleen, values intact, offers up her aversion to casting spells of any sort the very first day of classes. She navigates inside more of the unknown after seeing power shoot from her fingers with the realization that her old life is just that. Her new life is filled with secrets, hot guys, Work Study, brewing romances and magic. All of this because she stumbled upon a mysterious book at the library.
Kate Policani captures some of the slightest details that one could easily miss. Even those tiny human habits we have. Don’t Judge a Book By Its Magic was written in delightful prose. Kate’s wit was spot on. A definite, entertaining read that leaves you wanting more.
~ A.M. Day