Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
As you can guess, books are my thing. They mean the most to me. I could never think of a better present -- or something that would excite me more.
Books are new worlds, new feelings, new everything. I can have one adventure after the other, without ever leaving my home, without ever getting up. And, as a writer myself, the world is even more open -- I can create new adventures for others, as well as get to know the people inside of those adventures, the ones who deal with all of the dragons, and the flames, and the life-altering decisions.
There is no better place for me than the bookstore. Don't get me wrong, e-books are great for a number of reasons, though they aren't generally my cup of tea. I still do, and probably always will, appreciate the rustling of pages and the smell of ink more than the digital words that remind me far too much of editing my own manuscripts (well, the inputting of corrections, anyway; I prefer paper for "author editing", too). But aside from that, there are plenty of other things about the bookstore that I simply love, which I can't get from the online marketplace.
I love strolling along the shelves, seeing the new displays, smelling that bookstore smell (which usually smells like coffee, as our bookstore has a cafe, too -- to me it smells like home). I love seeing the new displays, perusing the new titles, soaking up the feel of all of the literature around me and thinking about the thousands upon millions (probably far more than that) of hours that have gone into penning the number of books present as a whole. I know that new friends wait on the shelves for me, people I have never met, but who will become dear.
When I think of why I love bookstores, I think of the many wonderful books I have stumbled upon while perusing, many of which have become dear friends to me. One of the largest cases I have talked about before -- one Artemis Fowl, whose books I happened to find on the clearance shelf, due to new covers being produced.
Online, I am given a list of books that I "may enjoy" based on any previous purchases or perusals. It's no secret that I don't spend much time perusing the online shelves -- thousands upon thousands of books is much too overwhelming for me, and far too slow and tiresome to sift through, personally. I have found some good books by recommendation, and I am happy for that, but it isn't quite like looking through physical shelves, and finding something that I would not have picked up -- something that I wasn't looking for, and therefore wouldn't have been on my recommendations list.
I have told my Artemis Fowl story before, but I'll give you all the short version once more: Perusing the store with my sister-in-law, I happened upon a 3-book boxed set, on clearance. I had never heard of the series before, and had no doubt passed directly by it countless times while searching for books. I didn't know what it was about (as I recall, the boxed cover had reviews printed on it, not a description, but don't hold me to it), but something about the books drew me to them. I ended up purchasing the set, and fell completely in love with the story. After reading the first book, I decided officially that I wanted to become a writer -- and now here we are, years and books later.
The thing is, I wasn't looking for this story. It wasn't my normal genre at the time. As I said, I had probably passed by it before -- and then it happened to be in exactly the right place at the right time; many of my favorites have been discovered through re-shelving, displays, or discounts, courtesy of the hard-working employees. If I had been purchasing books offline, it would never have appeared on my list, and unless I had been perusing bestsellers with the book near the top of the sometimes freakishly long list, I wouldn't have seen it.
It might sound silly, but I may never have become a writer without that book, there at just the time I needed it.
I'm not trying to make this into an online versus brick and mortar debate, only a recollection of my time with books, and my reasons for loving the physical bookstores. Artemis Fowl isn't the only book I've found that I wasn't looking for, though it is quite possibly my favorite. I could stay nestled within my genre, reading the books that I know I will like, that I'm familiar with, but I'm grateful to bookstores for drawing me to books that I wouldn't have found or read otherwise, because those books have made me into who I am just as much as my conventional genres have -- and quite possibly have made me better, more well-rounded.
Thinking about it, I couldn't imagine having not found the books I've happened upon by mistake -- especially one such as Artemis Fowl, which led me to writing. When I'm in a bookstore, I feel that sort of gravitational pull, and it's as if the books are calling me...real, there, and alive.
Now Available For Pre-Order!
Young Lilly is sickly in body, but strong in mind, spending her days at home thinking and learning about the world beyond. But everything changes when two strangers appear before her, carried in by the wind.
With a touch of the hand, these strange beings -- mysterious boys named D and M -- take Lilly to new realities, places only imagined in fantasy. Lilly's life changes forever as her small world opens, and time passes. But when a seemingly careless accident occurs, will Lilly be able to keep her new life? Does she even want to?
A short novella about life, relationships, and how we view our strengths, "As Long As Forever" takes readers on a journey through the magic of home.
Pre-Order at: BN.com, iTunes, Amazon, Smashwords.
Release date: April 7th, 2014.