Change

Change. The wind brings whispers of new times to come.

And no, it’s not the ending of this year and the beginning of the next that’s brought this on. Although, a New Year can be a cause for a lot of changes—everyone has their New Year resolutions.

But I’m talking about how change affects us. Some people easily embrace change while others fear it. Change can be good or bad. It’s as much about losing as gaining because often you have to give up something to gain something new. The key is whether you want it badly enough to accept the loss.

If you look at change as something abnormal, then you will be afraid. We are prone to fear the unknown. It’s part of being human.

This quote from the Bible always gives me some comfort and the ability to be strong:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Change happens for a reason. Either it’s a blessing or a lesson. You can be afraid but letting the fear overtake you will only incapacitate you. But coping with it in spite of being afraid, that’s courage.

You know what the only way to deal with change is? By looking for that silver lining. Looking for the good in the bad. A positive attitude may not solve all your problems but it sure gives you a boost to keep you standing and moving on when things aren’t going well.

It’s okay to feel overwhelmed but it’s not okay to let changes in your life roll over you. Like the familiar proverb, “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”

So, peeps, stand strong like an unbeatable tree and face whatever change is coming your way.

Regards,

S.R. McKade

Listlessness  – The Enemy of Writing

The various voices in your head clamoring to be heard, ensure that your mind is never a quiet place. Wait, I’m not insane – don’t rush off to get me committed! I’m a writer.

Now that we’ve avoided me getting committed, let’s get back to writing. In spite of the wonder of those voices, writing is more often than not, a lonely job. At the end of it all, you’re the one who has to sit there and bring your stories to life with your words.

On good days, it’s the best thing in the world. On bad days… you wonder what possessed you to write. What insanity took you over to put your fingers over your keyboard and type away. Or lift a pen and write.

On those horrible days when listlessness plagues you like a thick, sticky sludge wrapping around you and dragging you down, it feels as if life has no purpose. As if you’re in a bubble where nothing interests you and nothing can touch your emotions. You couldn’t care less what happens to you or your writing.

In one way, not caring can be a blessing when you’re waiting to hear back from agents. If you don’t care, rejections can’t touch you. But then that just means listlessness has its hooks deep in you and there’s no way it’s letting you go. That thick gook again. (Ooh, I like saying the word ‘gook’ – it’s a synonym for ‘sludge’.)

A friend told me that listlessness is a state of the mind. Only you can pull yourself out of that gook/sludge. The best way I know how to, is to force yourself to be active. You might not feel like doing anything but you gotta do what you don’t want to.

It’s the only way to fight it. When listlessness grabs hold of you, writing gets hard. Sticking with it takes effort and courage.

So stick with it. You’ll be better for it.

Regards,

S.R. McKade

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I’ve been nominated by Skylar Finn of Life of a Random for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! Wow, I totally did not expect that. I don’t know if my words are very inspiring but I’m glad someone thought so. So thank you for this wonderful surprise, Skylar! 🙂

Time for the Rules:
1. Thank and link back to the amazing person(s) who nominated you.
2. List the rules and display the award.
3. Share seven facts about yourself.
4. Nominate some other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.

very inspiring blogger award

Seven Facts About Me (Sorry I’m very boring):

1. I’m a Totally Certified Bookworm (TCB). I can’t live a day without reading or wowing over my To-Be-Read mile-long list or checking out books and my favorite authors on the internet or finding new books on Goodreads. Well, you get the idea.

2. I feel insecure without my Kindle lol, so of course, I carry it around everywhere even when I know I probably won’t have the opportunity to use it but I still gotta have it with me. God forbid anything should happen to my baby. (Ooh, that reminds me – I need to put more books in it. You see what I said above about being a TCB?)

3. I love spicy food – the spicier, the better. Jalapenos on pizzas are a definite must. Then there’s dessert – My name is S.R. McKade and I’m a chocolate addict. I admit it. I went to Chocoholics Anonymous and I didn’t even make it 5 seconds there. All I could think was; Chocolate cake, chocolate milkshake, chocolate muffins, chocolate pie, Nutella, Oh My God – Brownies! Who can give those up? Needless to say, I’m still an addict.

4. I tried Zip-lining and I’m a total adrenaline junkie now. Holy Mother of God, best awesome experience ever! I found out though that even suspended in the air hundreds of feet above the ground, I am still not a screamer. Go Me!

5. Oh, I’m still on number five. Hmmm, what next? I can’t figure out another fact about me. Oh! *light-bulb* I got it. Fact Number 5 – I am a very, very sarcastic person with a sarcastic sense of humor. I can find something funny in anything. Yep, I’m weird that way. Plus, my sarcasm is an art. My friends call me deluded. What do they know? 😉

6. I wrote a book called “Holding Out For Skye” which is a New Adult Romantic Comedy. It’s an absolute laugh-out loud story and you definitely need to get it. Yes, I’m shamelessly self-promoting. Hey, what can I say, that book is a fact about me so hold back on the lynching!

7. Finally, you’ll be pleased to see I’ve reached Fact Number 7. I’ve bored you enough. I hate betrayal. One of my personal pet peeves is friends who don’t stay loyal to each other or couples who don’t stay faithful. They’re the worse kind of human beings. Betrayal cuts deep and I hate people who do that. Not to end this on a too serious note, I often imagine Betrayers as fat little ducks crossing a street with me at the helm of a Mack truck and going over and over them. Splat!!! On second thought, ducks are too damn cute.

As you can all see, I’m a sarcastic, vindictive and very mean person. Good luck to anyone who wants to know me. Cheers!

My scapegoats, Ahem, I mean Nominees:
– OM @ Harsh Reality (The moment I got nominated for this blog, I knew I wanted the opportunity to give OM this Award for his amazing blog. He’s one of the best Inspiring Blogger I know. And I totally love his blog.)
– Stephanie @ Moonrise Book Blog
– Lola @ Hit or Miss Books
– Misha Jenkins @ A Writer’s Life For Me

Thanks again to Skylar for the nomination. You have one hell of an inspiring blog yourself, Skylar!

Regards,
S.R. McKade

Hats Off to Book Review Bloggers

As a die-hard reader of fiction, you have so many book categories to choose from, e.g.—Middle Grade (MG), Young Adult (YA), New Adult (NA) and Adult. Then there are the numerous sub-genres for each main category: Romance, Comedy, Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal, Dystopian, Horror, Thriller etc.

Not to forget the poem and non-fiction books and Manga, of course. Can’t forget my beloved Manga now, can I?

Are you a dabbler in each genre or are you someone who’s comfortable in one specific genre? Do you venture in the unknown, outside your comfort zone or prefer to stick to what you know?

Me, I admit it, I’m a dabbler—an eclectic reader who reads pretty much everything. I believe there is something worthy in every book I read, that each one enriches me, who I am, in some way, even books that I end up not liking. I wish others would also dabble because that would mean they’d grab my book with hot little hands *hint, hint*

That’s just me—I want to change the world to my vision of it *Ahem, world-domination issues, I know*

But I don’t begrudge others for having a specific taste. A reader’s preferences are their own and are very, very personal. That’s how it should be. Books are supposed to be something you love and not an obligation you have to fulfill.

If reading became an obligation, it would take out all the fun in it—the sense of wonder, the endless myriad of emotions a story pulls out of you—pain, fear, laughter, horror, anticipation, heartache, tears, hope, joy.

So Indie and Self-published authors, don’t condemn the people who don’t love your book. Don’t lose heart when they give you a one-star or negative review. Maybe your book wasn’t to their taste but it doesn’t mean that others won’t like it. At the very least, take comfort that they actually read it to give you the bad review. You can’t force someone to like a book—it’s always their choice, as it should be.

And that brings me to the Book Review Bloggers around the world who have such a wide taste in reading and take so much time and effort to read books and give reviews. I, personally, am in awe of them, of their dedication and just wanted to say thanks.

Book Review Bloggers are the ones who put our names out there and deserve our courtesy and respect. So, hats off and a big thanks for all your hard work and the awesome blogs you have.

Regards,

S.R. McKade

Review – Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower #4) by Stephen King

Roland of Gilead and his fellow pilgrims determine to reach the Dark Tower, but their quest is rife with confrontation, conflict and sacrifice - from a vast computer system which bargains in riddles to Roland's old enemy Walter and the wizard's glass.

Roland of Gilead and his fellow pilgrims determine to reach the Dark Tower, but their quest is rife with confrontation, conflict and sacrifice – from a vast computer system which bargains in riddles to Roland’s old enemy Walter and the wizard’s glass.

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Review: 5 of 5 Stars

“Bird and Bear and Hare and Fish,
Give my love her fondest wish.”

Such a sweet rhyme, yet, so heartbreaking at the same time. I think, for as long as I live, I will always remember this rhyme.

As Roland told his story, I forgot that Eddie, Suzannah, Jake and Oy were there.
There were only Roland, his father, his mates Alain and Cuthbert, the people of Mejis. And his Susan.

The past turned into the present.
Intellectually, I knew that the people Roland talked about were long dead but as he told his story, they came alive for me. I could see the young Roland, so young and innocent.

The showdown at the start with Roland, Alain, Cuthbert and the coffin hunters – that was so cool and brilliant! Man, what strategy, what suspense, what excitement! They were magnificent. That was one of my favorite parts of the story.

At the end, Roland’s deepest grief became mine and I had to put the book away for a little while so I could mourn, too, as he did. Some people stay with you, in your heart, forever.

What stands out most to me in this latest volume, through every revelation – just how hard Roland’s life is, what an ordeal his quest for the Dark Tower is. But what is a quest, if not fraught with pitfalls? To carry the burden of all that pain and heartbreak and not crumble under it. To keep going day after day with what he went through. I wished I had superpowers so I could jump in the book and take it all away for him, make it all better.

Hats off to Mr. King for yet another compelling book. Now onto book 5 – the Dark Tower looms ever closer.

Fringe Fiction GR Group: Where Indie Spirits Find Good Reads and Good Neighbours

For Indie and Self-published authors everywhere

Artsy Fartsy Copyediting

book-2869

It’s never been easier to be a self-published author.

At the same time, indie authors have to tread an extremely tough road to hawk their wares in an overstuffed market.

It’s a bit like looking down the rabbit hole.

Sad fact? Blatant reality you have no hope of overcoming?

Perhaps, but wherever there is despair, people will always find a way to fill the vacuum.

Goodreads (GR), for example, is a great place for authors to hang out with readers, promote their books and develop a community.

Of course, it’s also a place where you can quickly become lost in all the choice and discussion.

How do you separate the wheat from the chaff? And how do you get people to notice your novel amidst all the convos and topic threads?

For starters, you need to find a group you honestly like and make relationships with real people. One such GR group I’m a…

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Blessings in disguise

When I look back over the years and reflect over the things I’ve done or didn’t do, the bad and good things that happened, I had quite a few regrets. Regrets over how I should have done this or handled that or things I shouldn’t have done.

Even though I had regrets, every little thing that happened, molded me into the person I am today and I find myself lucky to be who I am.

Perfect in my imperfections

Besides, everything’s always clear in hindsight 🙂

There have been a few times over the years when I’ve wished – if only I could go back and change the past. Don’t we all? But I think, looking back, that I wouldn’t change a thing. Even the bad stuff.

Because the bad stuff made me grow, deepened my thoughts and my soul. Made me become stronger. When you let yourself despair, when you let the bad stuff crush you and keep rehashing the past over and over again, you don’t grow. You become static, stale, unaware of who you are, cut off from your soul. I chose to accept that everything bad that occurred, happened for a reason.

Every bad thing that has happened to me, turned into a blessing in disguise or I should say, I searched for and found the blessing in it.

There’s a big difference between how you view the things that happen to you. You can chose to fold under them or look them in the eye and say “I’m stronger. I will get through this.”

There’s a prayer I’ve always believed in, no matter how hard things get:
“The Serenity Prayer (extract)

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.”

When one door closes, another opens. All those clichés are really true. There’s always a way out. You just have to look hard enough to find it. Things are never as desperate as they appear to be.

When you feel as if everything’s hopeless, learn to bear it with the faith that it will work out or that something better will come out of it.

Find a way to wield a positive spin on the bad stuff. For me, sarcastic humor always helps. 😀

humor

Find your silver lining. Grow strong like an oak tree and in the face of cyclonic winds, stand tall and true. Grow.

Regards,

S.R. McKade

Review – The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower #3) by Stephen King

Roland, the Last Gunslinger, moves ever closer to the Dark Tower of his dreams and nightmares- as he crosses a desert of damnation in a macabre world that is a twisted mirror of our very own. With him are those he has drawn to this world, street-smart Eddie Dean and courageous wheelchair-bound Susannah. Ahead of him are mind-rending revelations about who he is and what is driving him.

Roland, the Last Gunslinger, moves ever closer to the Dark Tower of his dreams and nightmares- as he crosses a desert of damnation in a macabre world that is a twisted mirror of our very own. With him are those he has drawn to this world, street-smart Eddie Dean and courageous wheelchair-bound Susannah. Ahead of him are mind-rending revelations about who he is and what is driving him.


Genre: Horror, Thriller

Review: 5 of 5 Stars

The Dark Tower looms ever closer and yet even further. The world has moved on and things that should be illogical and impossible, are just the opposite.

I loved this third volume especially because I got to see Jake again. He and Roland have always been my favorites. Eddie and Susannah are awesome, too. It’s endearing to see how their characters are changing, becoming stronger. Oh, yes – Jake, Eddie and Susannah are as much gunslingers as Roland is.

I enjoyed the deeper glimpses in each of their characters, how I got to know them better, how their minds work, what they feel, how each of them relate to Roland. And of course, can’t forget the loyal Oy. Oh, I want a billy-bumbler, too!!

The volumes that follow just keep sinking their hooks deeper in me. I’m so deeply entrenched in The Dark Tower that it has become my quest, too, my obsession as much as Roland’s and I badly need to reach it, till the very end.

Review – The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower #2) by Stephen King

DT 2
The Second Volume in the Epic Dark Tower Series… The Drawing of the Three While pursuing his quest for the Dark Tower through a world that is a nightmarishly distorted mirror image of our own, Roland is drawn through a mysterious door that brings him into contemporary America. Here he links forces with the defiant young Eddie Dean, and with the beautiful, brilliant, and brave Odetta Holmes, in a savage struggle against underworld evil and otherworldly enemies. Once again, Stephen King has masterfully interwoven dark, evocative fantasy and icy realism.

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Review: 5 of 5 Stars

The first book – The Gunslinger – was just a sort of preview of what’s to come – if a book as long as each volume is could be called a preview, lol. The second book details how Roland draws the two necessary elements for his quest into his world.

The lobstrosities always did freak me out a bit. The first time I read this book I was younger and when I’d go to the beach I’d check if there weren’t any lobstrosities coming out to get me. To think those things came out of someone’s imagination. In a world where things on paper’d come alive, those things would definitely top my creep-me-out list.

But I digress. I enjoyed this second volume very much, even more than the first and I got hooked deeper in Roland’s quest. His two companions are total unexpected surprises but as Roland says, each one’s a gunslinger in his/her own right.

And of course, Mr. King’s strategies and action-packed scenes are so totally cool! I loved everything about this second volume, especially the very satisfying climax.

In the first book, Roland’s choice disappointed me but this time he was my hero once again, with how he set things right.

Highly recommended.

 

 


Review – The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) by Stephen King

Book I In The Gunslinger (originally published in 1982), King introduces his most enigmatic hero, Roland Deschain of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting, solitary figure at first, on a mysterious quest through a desolate world that eerily mirrors our own. Pursuing the man in black, an evil being who can bring the dead back to life, Roland is a good man who seems to leave nothing but death in his wake. This new edition of The Gunslinger has been revised and expanded throughout by King, with new story material, in addition to a new introduction and foreword. It also includes four full-color illustrations in the hardcover and trade paperback formats.
Synopsis:    Book I
In The Gunslinger (originally published in 1982), King introduces his most enigmatic hero, Roland Deschain of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting, solitary figure at first, on a mysterious quest through a desolate world that eerily mirrors our own. Pursuing the man in black, an evil being who can bring the dead back to life, Roland is a good man who seems to leave nothing but death in his wake.
This new edition of The Gunslinger has been revised and expanded throughout by King, with new story material, in addition to a new introduction and foreword. It also includes four full-color illustrations in the hardcover and trade paperback formats.

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Review: 4 of 5 Stars

When I first started on the Dark Tower series some ten years ago, I had to stop at book 3 or 4 because back then, book 5 to 7 weren’t available where I lived and it was so hard to find the books I was looking for. Having an E-reader changed my life for the best – I could finally find the books I wanted – no, needed. I can’t count the number of books I’ve read since I got my Kindle. Here’s to hoping I finally make it to book 7 of the Dark Tower series.

Review
Every time I think of the Gunslinger, the image of Clint Eastwood from one of my favorite movies “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” pops into my mind. Oh, how I had my heart set on the rugged and dashing cowboy!

So that’s how Roland of Gilead, the gunslinger, looks like to me. He and Jake are the two characters who totally stole my heart from the very first moment I ‘met’ them. I can’t help but empathize with both of them.

Stephen King tells a gripping, mysterious tale of a gunslinger who relentlessly pursues a man in black in a quest to find The Dark Tower. We don’t know what The Dark Tower is or why Roland is seeking it. I found the man in black totally bonkers and absolutely spooky. *shudder* (Way to go, Mr. King.)

The first book’s like an appetizer, just giving you a tantalizing taste of all the delicacies to come. I was a willing follower of the Gunslinger throughout his journey and the tough choices he faced.

The only reason I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5, was because Roland’s biggest choice made me unhappy but I understood why he had to do it.

Stephen King’s always been an amazing story-teller, but his Dark Tower series? They’re an absolute MUST-READ!