New Children’s Ebook for Sale on Amazon: “No More Grumpies!”

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Yesterday I published a new illustrated children’s short story ebook on Amazon! It is called “No More Grumpies!“, and is a fun story about a little boy who just can’t shake the grumpies.

Here is the official book description:

Michael is having a very grumpy day. His mother keeps warning him that there will be “trouble” if the grumpies keep making an appearance, but what will happen if Michael can’t get rid of the grumpies? What kind of “trouble” is he heading into?

From multi-award-winning author and artist Maranda Russell, this illustrated short story is funny, cute, and sure to help get rid of the most stubborn grumpies!

The ebook is available for only $.99 per download (FREE for Kindle Unlimited members). If anyone would like a free copy of the ebook in exchange for an honest review on Amazon, let me know and I will hook you up!

Special thanks to my friend Brian Reinbolt for adding the illustrations to my story!

New Art Trading Card Paintings

This first new gouache painting I think looks kind of like souls trying to escape or something:

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This next painting was inspired by the “pizza painting” technique from the book “Drawing Calm” by Susan Evenson:

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Another painting inspired by “Drawing Calm”, an abstract version of their “Little Houses” prompt:

Art by Maranda Russell

And lastly, this painting was inspired by the sea and a collage I saw of paper strips representing the ocean:

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All of these mini paintings are currently up for auction at my Ebay store!

 

Could Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Be Caused by Toxic Mold?

Hello everyone! So today I’m sharing a book review vlog video I made yesterday. For anyone who has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, or similar chronic illness, or who has a special interest in those subjects, this book might be something you would want to check out! If you have already read the book, let me know your thoughts!

Why “Mockingjay” (the last book of the Hunger Games trilogy) depressed me

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After seeing the Mockingjay Part 1 movie in theatres, I finally decided to read the entire Hunger Games trilogy. I had read bits of it in the past, enough to know the main plot of each book, but I had never really sat down and read them all cover to cover. Last night I finished the last book in the series. And I must admit that after I turned the final page, I found myself deeply depressed. To me, the last book was very much a downer, even more so than the previous two books.

So, I sat in our library looking at our darkened Christmas tree and wondering why I felt so morose. I finally decided there were several reasons I found the conclusion of the series so disturbing. First, it felt like the last book was filled with the agony of multitudes dying, often for no good reason (as is the reality in war). In the first two books, most of the deaths were related to the tributes participating in the Hunger Games or were the slow, gradual kind of deaths caused by the perils of poverty. In Mockingjay, the deaths seemed constant throughout, not just a few people here and a few there. Understandably, the thought of mass death and the destruction of the world all around us causes immense despair, even if only on a subconscious level.

Another issue was the very real idea that no matter how many immoral and violent governments, presidents, dictators and groups we remove from power or destroy, there are always just as many waiting in the wings to dole out their own brand of pain and injustice. Even at the end of the book when things seem a bit more hopeful, we know that the world is not safe and secure. The world is never actually safe and secure, no matter how much we may choose to live in denial. Even among those brave enough to rebel against injustice and evil, you will find cruelty, deception and betrayal. Many of those people don’t even realize that they are no better than the enemy they seek to destroy. Vengeance and victory may give us a brief respite, but eventually the same old problems seem to find their way back.

Lastly, it is incredibly depressing how war leaves those who survive broken. Maybe not always physically (although there is plenty of that), but deep down on the inside, the trauma of warfare leaves many human beings irrevocably damaged. Survivors are left with wounds that cannot help but affect the next generation, sometimes starting unending cycles of mental illness and abuse. Often hatred and bias is passed down much the same way, even if it is done so with millions of seemingly insignificant words and attitudes. If we could truly see the damage done by war throughout all space and time, we would probably be shocked by how far the effects trickle down.

After thinking about all that, I guess it is no wonder I found myself discouraged. Perhaps the worst part of all though is that when it comes to fighting for freedom and justice, we are often damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

New book release – “Searching for the Truth: Poems & Prose Inspired by Our Inner Worlds”

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I am happy to announce that my new book, “Searching for the Truth: Poems & Prose Inspired by Our Inner Worlds” is finally available! This is a book that I have been planning and working on for the last few years. I have always been interested in subjects such as spirituality, philosophy and psychology, so I feel a strong desire to share my thoughts and feelings about those matters. Most importantly though, I wanted to show that the real magic is in being allowed to contemplate these deeper subjects and be open to possibilities instead of focusing only on one aspect. This is not a “religious” book because it doesn’t adhere to any specific theology, but it is spiritual in nature.

“Searching for the Truth” embraces simplicity and honesty in an almost zen-like fashion. It is easy to understand, but often filled with layers of meaning for those who like to dig deeper.

If you would like to purchase a copy of this new book, it is available on Amazon ($6.99 for paperback and $2.99 for the Kindle version) and Barnes & Noble. I love to know what my readers think of my books, so if you read this collection, please consider leaving a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Goodreads.

Are printed books really endangered?

With the advent and increasing popularity of ebooks, many doomsday prophets are now proclaiming that printed books will quickly meet their demise. I have heard experts claim that within the next 50 years, traditional books are destined to go the way of vinyl records. They might be used for decoration or sought out by collectors, but other than that, books as we have always known them will be obsolete.

Is this true? I hate to think so. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not one of those purists who believe that ereaders are evil or anything, in fact I own a Kindle myself, but I still prefer the feel of a real book in my hands. Maybe I am old-fashioned or sentimental, but nothing will ever feel the same to me as flipping the pages of a new book.

I don’t really want to live in a world where the only place I can buy books is Amazon either. I like the convenience and wide diversity of internet bookstores, but I would much rather browse a brick and mortar store. I could literally spend hours in a cozy bookstore reading area. I prefer to sit down and try a book out before I buy it. Plus, in the bookstore I get to snoop around to see what other people are reading and get in some people watching, which happen to be two of my favorite pastimes.

As an author, I can also attest to the fact that there is nothing like holding your own book in your hands. I have had both ebooks and traditional books published, and the ebooks don’t elicit near the excitement from myself or others as the handheld ones do. This fact gives me hope for the future of traditional literature. What about you? Do you think that printed books are on their last leg? If so, will you consider it a great loss?

Love the romantic poets? Did you know they were crazy?

As someone who is interested in classic literature and poetry, I would definitely recommend the book ‘Wildly Romantic: The English Romantic Poets: The Mad, the Bad, and the Dangerous’ written by Catherine M. Andronik.  As the subtitle would suggest, this book not only talks about the professional lives of these famous writers, but goes into detail about their personal lives…and boy, did these guys have some issues! 

Without giving too much of the book away, here is a little of what I learned about each main character.  Keep in mind, this is all non-fiction, so it isn’t made up or exaggerated in any way.

William Wordsworth – an interesting fact about William, he apparently liked to walk great distances, in fact, William and a friend once went on a walking tour of France, Switzerland and Italy during his summer break from school.  During this ‘vacation’, William walked over two thousand miles!  While he was walking, Wordsworth would often mutter poetry to himself, a habit that caused some people to think he was out of his mind.

To read the rest of this article, please visit Examiner.com: http://www.examiner.com/books-in-dayton/wildly-romantic-the-lifestyles-of-the-wild-and-crazy-romantic-poets