Monthly Archives: December 2018

My Christmas Wish for You

adult beautiful christmas cold
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

I just wanted to take a moment to express my heartfelt wishes for all of you out there this holiday season.

I wish you joy, and peace, and a special time spent surrounded by your loved ones.

I wish you health, and happiness, and that you have or find motivation to reach for the stars this next year.

I wish you all love, for yourself, and for those you call family and friends.

Most of all, I wish for you, dear readers, a Merry Christmas to you and yours and a very Happy New Year!

Amy

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My Interview on A Dreamer’s Blog

person using macbook pro
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I was recently privileged to be interviewed by Jason Foss about the inspiration for my novel Virtual: Can you be sure what’s real? and my future work on his blog, A Dreamer’s Blog.

Thanks so much for his kind words, and for his insightful interviews with many other authors.  To check out the interview, click this link: ‘A Dreamer’s Blog’ by Jason E. Foss

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Amy

 

Amy Caudill’s Reviews : Blood of the Earth

Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter
Blood of the Earth (Soulwood, #1) by

Faith Hunter (Goodreads Author)
50275498

Amy Caudill‘s review
Nell Ingram doesn’t think she’s special; actually she’s afraid that the strange “gifts” she has, if discovered by the God’s Cloud of Glory cult she escaped from as a child, would see her burned at the stake. So she lives alone, almost completely isolated save for her mystic connection to the forest that she barely understands. Being alone protects her; being alone is comfortable, but her quiet isolation is not meant to last. Forces meant to help and harm are both coming her way, and Nell will be forced to use her strange connection to the Earth to save lives.

This first book in a new series by author Faith Hunter revisits a world where “paranormals” live and work side by side with ordinary humans, and both groups are touched by good and evil. When Homeland Security’s special division for dealing with paranormal crimes, PsyLED, saves her life, Nell Ingram is forced out of her self-imposed isolation to assist in a case involving the kidnapping of multiple young girls, and work with a group of individuals whose gifts are just as unique as her own.

Nell’s insider knowledge of the God’s Cloud of Glory church, which is suspected to be involved in the kidnappings, makes her a valuable asset. In order to save the lives of the innocent girls, one of whom is her own sister, Nell will have to face her past, and push her strange powers in ways she’s never before imagined.

I picked up this book as a choice from my local book club, and I really wanted to like it simply because of the location; the setting is mainly in East Tennessee, in and around Knoxville, an area that is near and dear to my heart. While the descriptions of the region and are spot on, I had more difficultly with the plot.

The story seemingly meandered along for the first half of the book, before the pacing finally picked up somewhere along the last third of the text. Granted, some of this was necessary world-building, but it seemed to me to be a bit excessive in mass. Still, by the end I was fully invested in the action, and cheered Nell and her team on as they reached a very satisfying ending, and epilogue.

I offer this story three and a half stars, and would recommend that readers interested in paranormal and urban fantasy stories check out this series as well as other works by Faith Hunter.

Movie Review: Ralph Breaks the Internet

The hubby and I actually went out to see a movie last week, instead of waiting till it came to us via Netflix or Redbox, and were charmed with the film we chose.  For those who grew up during the era games like Pac-Man were the latest craze, visiting Litwak’s arcade is like a trip down memory lane.

While technological changes from old-fashioned video games to the burgeoning Internet plays a role in the movie, this sequel to Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, focuses less on that and more in the character development of its principles, nice “Bad Guy” Ralph, and his bestie Princess Vanellope, a race car driver from the overly sweet “Candy Crush.”

When an accident damages Vanellope’s vintage console, Ralph and Vanellope undertake a trip through a new addition to the arcade, a network connection, in order to locate a replacement steering wheel from E-bay. What they find in this new world will alternately amaze and horrify Ralph, while Vanellope soon finds herself longing to stay.

While Ralph is perfectly happy with the way things are and doesn’t want to change anything about his life or his friendship with Vanellope, she is struggling with the monotony of her unchanging environment in the arcade.  Ralph wants to make Vanellope happy, and goes to great lengths to help her fulfill her dreams, and then nearly destroys them, along with the entire Internet, when his own insecurities and possessive behavior come into play.

This version of Vanellope is still adorable; but is experiencing angst that comes from the struggle to come into her own.  She is bored with the current track options of her own game, and quickly becomes enamored when introduced to “Slaughter Race,” a game for more “mature” audiences, and especially its own leading lady, a female racer named Shank.  She regards Ralph as her best friend, but is learning that it’s okay to grow and try things on her own.

They will have to learn to be honest with each other, and accept that it’s okay to want different things, in order to save their friendship and stop the virus destroying the Internet.

One of the highlights for me was the scene where Vanellope accidentally finds her way into the dressing room of the “other” Disney princesses, who then assist in saving the day, or rather the “hero” in distress, Ralph!

This is movie is rated PG, though the climax with the attacking “Ralph” virus may be scary for some younger viewers, and is in theaters now.

Have Yourself a Christmas from the Heart

low section of woman

This holiday season holds the meaning we give it, so make it a good one! Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Pexels.com

There’s no denying this time of year can be hectic-between family plans, social obligations, baking, shopping, and necessary seasonal activities like shoveling the driveway-it can be hard to prioritize, much less breathe!  With so much hustle and bustle, it can be difficult to find a moment to contemplate what the season really means, or what we would like to share with our loved ones.

I don’t have a magic formula to tell you how to organize everything so that you have time left over for mundane things like sleep, but perhaps, we can manage to rearrange the busyness into something more meaningful this year.

Give of Yourself to Others.

Not everyone has the means, or the desire, to spend on elaborate gifts for family and friends, or donate large amounts to worthy charities at this time of year.  That does mean we cannot give gifts from our hearts, or assist those in need.  Enlist your family to help make homemade treats for friends and neighbors, pull out your knitting needles, or make a batch of homemade soaps to share.  Gifting someone with something special made by hand can be more meaningful than the fanciest of presents you could purchase.

There are plenty of organizations that need volunteers to help stock food pantries, collect warm clothing and toys for needy children, or spend time caring for abandoned pets.  If you aren’t sure where you (and your family) could volunteer, check with your local church, or go online to places like the Salvation Army website or the Kids in Need Foundation to find out what’s most needed that you can shop for or collect in donations.

portrait of girl wearing christmas hat

The time you can spend with your family is more important than any present they may recieve.  Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Create Holiday Traditions.

Long after the presents have all been opened and their excitement has faded away, your children will remember the special moments you’ve shared with them over this season.  Let the kids help decorate the tree, or give them one of their own and help them make paperchains and other homemade decorations.  Take the time to read them the classic “Twas Night Before Christmas,” or watch a classic Christmas movie together. Let them help you make a special platter of cookies and milk for Santa, and don’t forget the carrots for the reindeer.

I remember one year when I was a young child my parents arranged for a neighbor to stand by our back door and shake jingle bells while we were in the dining room on Christmas Eve.  My brother, sister and I were told that the tinkling came from Santa’s sleigh as he flew by.  Of course, when we were led back into the living room afterwards, we found that we had been visited by “Santa” while we were distracted.  I don’t remember any of the gifts we received that year, or if my younger brother and sister even remember the event, but the magic in that moment of possibilities, stayed with me long after I knew the “truth” about Santa Claus.

What holiday traditions do your family share?  I would love to hear from you!

Remember the Meaning of the Season.

While it can be very difficult at times to not let ourselves be caught up in the chaos that surrounds this time of year, I hope you find some time to breathe, and to enjoy the true meaning of this season. Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah, or whatever traditions you celebrate, all have deeper meanings than the gifts, the shopping, the traffic, and the music that started as early as the day after Halloween on some radio stations.  This is the season of light, of hope, of love, of joy, and sharing of ourselves with others.  I hope you are able to leave the rest behind, and take some time for your loved ones, and yourself, to spend together and truly celebrate.

From my family to all of yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Amy