Saturday, June 1, 2024

Update: Spark, Book 3 in the Elements Series

 Spark, Book 3 in the Elements Series

I'm happy announce that my next novel, SPARK, Book 3 in the Elements Series has been picked up by my publisher.  It has a scheduled release for January 8, 2025.

I have been hard at work completing yet another set of edits to Spark and it is now back in the hands of my publisher.  Next up will be their formal edit and format, and then cover designs.  I can not wait for that step. It's one of my favorite things in the list of tasks that come along with book publishing.  Putting my story into a simple yet compelling picture.  One that I think represents my vision and one that people and my readers will like as well.  My least favorite is the editing.  It's amazing to me that no matter how many times I go through a project, and other people go through it, and then beta readers give it a look, that there are sometimes STILL mistakes in the final project.  It's incredibly frustrating.  

I think I will focus on the exciting bits instead of the annoying ones.  Bring on the cover design!

Saturday, April 20, 2024

2020/2024 Graduates

 Graduation 2024

Creator: Nosyrevy Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

    This spring marks a milestone for many graduating seniors.  However, for the high school graduation class of 2020 that is now graduating from college, this year will bring to close what the Covid Pandemic took from them.  

    If we look back to 2020, the high school graduates didn't get a senior prom.  They didn't get a senior trip.  They didn't have their senior breakfast.  They didn't have a rehearsal.  They didn't get a senior clap out.  And for many, and maybe one of the most important losses for not only the seniors of that year, but also their families too, they didn't get to walk in their high school graduation ceremony.

    Many schools tried so hard to make up for the lack.  They tried virtual events and drive up diploma pick ups that they called graduations.  But let's be honest, it was so far from a ceremony and event, as you can possible get, and still call it a graduation.  It wasn't the same for the graduates. It sure as heck wasn't the same for their families who had been a part of their school journey and had also been looking forward with excitement for the conclusion of that stage of their child's life.  

    Many went off to college and I would bet most felt like sometime was missing, as they didn't get that closure. In my opinion, not having that closure changed many of these young adults. The world as they new it, and felt comfortable in, was no longer safe and no longer known.  Everything was suspect.  Everyone could be dangerous.  They began their adult life, in an unknown world filled with fear and confusion as what the future would hold.     

    Here we are, and 2024 has arrived and with it the chance to finish what they started and attend their graduation, a first for many, with their family and friends there to cheer them on.  These young adults lost so much in 2020.  Their worlds and life came crashing down right as they were about to take off and fly into adulthood with hope for a bright future.

    So to the college graduates of 2024, who are also the high school graduating class of 2020, I am so proud of you all. For your strength.  For your perseverance. And for your ability to pivot and push forward regardless of the obstacles you faced.  You have come a long way, but you made it.  Congratulations to you all, wherever you are.  You made it!  

Saturday, April 6, 2024

April Blues

April Blues

By Courtney Rene

Spring rain in the forest, fresh branches of a bud and young leaves with raindrops, by Kichigin19

    April Showers, brings May flowers. Here in the grand state of Ohio (USA), we live by this saying.  Winters can be hard here.  With below zero temperatures, snow and ice, and don't even get me started on the wind, we wait and dream of spring.  Spring arrives in March, yes, however, for us Ohioans, that does not mean an end to the cold and wintery weather.  By the time April finally arrives, we are a sad and pale reproduction of our summer selfs.  

    The problem being that although the snow and ice may be gone, we do generally get a lot of rain in April. So much so that we go from frozen cold misery to mud city (esp. those of us with pets).  I wondered if maybe the old saying of April showers brings May flowers was a way of saying, hang in there.  There is a purpose to all this wet misery.  You need the rain and storms for the plants to grow and bring forth the beauty of the coming summer seasons. 

    With that in mind as I slog my way through all the wet, the question is: where did the saying come from?  Well, it is not a saying per se.  It is a poem.  Didn't know that.  It has its origin from the year 1157 from a poet named Thomas Tusser.  His very short and sweet poem read:  "Sweet April Showers, Do Spring May Flowers".   I know poems come in many forms and fauna, but is this really a poem or just a quip really.  The idea of what constitutes a poem, may be a discussion for another day.  Moving on.

    Geoffrey Chaucer, however, did write a poem in the fourteenth century.  The original in all its spelling glory is:

"Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote

The Droghte of March hath perced to the roote

And bathed every veyne in swich licour,

Of which vertu engendred is the flour,"


"When in April the sweet showers fall

That pierced March's drought to the root and all

And bathed every vein in liquor tht has power

To generate therein and sire the flower,"  

    I do like the melody that comes with this poem, and the story behind all the flowery (no pun intended) words.  Chaucer, he's got quite the story telling skill in my mind.  I may need to do more digging on the man behind the poem.  I know of him, but do I know who he is?  Stay tuned that may be in the works next, as now I am intrigued.  

    Happy April.  Hang in there. The beauty of spring and summer are on the way.  

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day

With Valentine's Day coming up, here is a little reminder, that this is actually not a day of love, chocolates, flowers, and stuffies. It is in reality a day of death.  

Saint Valentine, statue on church altar

St. Valentine, who the "holiday" is named for, died on February 14th, in the 3rd century.  He was a Saint recognized at one time by the catholic church and then removed in 1969 (Britannica, 2023).  Why was he removed?  Because...the church really could not obtain what they deemed as reliable information on the guy.  There are too many "real" and vastly different stories about him that don't add up.  So, was St. Valentine one guy? Or several?  St. Valentine is still recognized as a saint, but he is no longer documented in the General Roman Calendar and has not been since 1969.  He was named as a saint and was listed as a patron saint of epileptics, beekeepers, and...lovers (Britannica, 2023).  Hence, where our story begins.  

St. Valentine (again, based on unreliable information) was in some stories a Roman priest as well as a physician.  He was martyred in Rome during the rein of emperor Claudius II Gothicus in about 270, during the Christian persecutions.  Another telling of what is believed to maybe be the same story is that he was a bishop of Italy, but again was martyred in Rome due to his conspiracy against the emperor (Britannica, 2023).  

The fairy tale begins and ends in one account that St. Valentine signed a letter with, "from your Valentine" on his day of death.  This letter was to the daughter of his jailer, who he had helped heal her blindness (Britannica, 2023).  During St. Valentines imprisonment, he and the girl had then become friends and in some telling, St. Valentine fell in love with the girl.  This story transpired because St. Valentine was held prisoner in the home of one of the nobles.  Once he healed the blind girl, the entire household converted to Christianity, which angered the emperor. He was then tortured, decapitated,  and then put to the death, which was how in this story St. Valentine was martyred (Gershone, 2024). Just before his death, he sent the letter to the girl, signed "from your Valentine".  I know this is supposed to be a sweet love story, but I get stuck on the idea of how old was St. Valentine and the daughter?  

Another telling of the legend is that St. Valentine secretly married people, in defiance of the emperor's order, for the purpose of sparing husbands from war, as married men were not generally forced to go to war (Britannica, 2023).  Husbands were seen as not being good soldiers as they missed their families too much.  This sounds very romantic in some ways.  Couples in love being married in secret.  Forget the fact that they were only doing it so the man didn't have to go to war.  It's still romantic.  More so than some old guy falling in love with a daughter of a noble.  St. Valentine was captured, beheaded, and again martyred upon his death for his conspiracy against the emperor (Gershone, 2024).  

If you keep digging into the history of St. Valentine, you can find many different stories and tellings.  Who knows what is real and what is made up.  With these historical fairy tales in mind, how will you be spending our Valentine's Day?



Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2023, October 10). St. ValentineEncyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Valentine

Gershone, L. (2024, January 30). Who was the real St. Valentine.  The Many Myths Behind the Inspiration for Valentine's Day.  https://www.history.com/news/real-st-valentine-medieval

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Winter Hobbies

Like many people I have hobbies outside of writing.  These include many artistic avenues, but one I spend a lot of time on is painting.  I paint in watercolors, acrylics, and even dabble in oils.  I'm versatile like that...

I like watercolors the best, simply because they are easy to clean up.  I like oils because even if I mess up, I can just scrap the mistake off and try again.  Acrylics are also fun as I can get deep colors and they are easy to use on any type of surface.  I don't pretend to be very good.  Somethings I can paint very well.  Others...I am very lacking. However, I keep enjoying the time spent on them all the same. 

Here are a few for your winter day enjoyment:

A home in the forest, a watercolor by Courtney Rene

Ladybug, a watercolor by Courtney Rene

Turtle, a watercolor by Courtney Rene

Bluebird, a watercolor by Courtney Rene

You may begin to notice a trend...I have an affinity to animals, bugs, and nature.  

Mountain Landscape in oils by Courtney Rene

Whale, an acrylic, by Courtney Rene

Wolf, an acrylic, by Courtney Rene 

Nothing too awesome but not to shabby either.  I use painting when I'm stuck with something I'm writing or when I just can not get inspired to write.  I think that may mean that if I have not put out anything in the book or magazine world in a while...someone might need to tell me to put my paintbrush down and get to writing!  

We all need our outlets.  Painting is mine.