Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Warmer Weather

Nature is what we see—
The Hill—the Afternoon—
Squirrel—Eclipse— the Bumble bee—
Nay—Nature is Heaven—
Nature is what we hear—
The Bobolink—the Sea—
Thunder—the Cricket—
Nay—Nature is Harmony—
Nature is what we know—
Yet have no art to say—
So impotent Our Wisdom is
To her Simplicity.  
-Emily Dickinson

As the temperatures surge ever higher, I am recalled to the springs and summers of years gone by. Of the repeating patterns of wax and wane, of growth and renewal and decay and death of each season. This year seems to hold a special kind of promise, though. Good things ahead, beauty on its way,  adventures to come. 

Let's hold on to the magic, and to the thrill that the changing seasons used to hold for us as children. Back when summer meant swimming and shorts and your Dad flipping something or other on the grill and as much time spent outside with your friends outside as possible. Let's bring back that childish excitement for the season. Why not, right? 



Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Library of Panopticon- AVAILABLE TODAY

Dreams do come true. Today I am ecstatic to announce the publication of The Library of Panopticon on both Kindle and in paperback.

While writing Wide, Wild, Everywhere I fell in love with one of my own characters. A precocious little boy who loved reading. Long after the book was published, I thought about him and his life and his family. I thought about his imagination...and somehow I started wondering what it would be like to travel within books. How would one feel if one could simply open a book, and disappear into the world of the pages? What would this society of people be like? What would their mission be? And so,  the The Library of Panopticon was born. 

Today you can step into that world for yourself. Tread in the footsteps of my characters and my imagination and take a peek into the extraordinary. 

Safe travels. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Pensacola: Splash of Sunshine

We recently traveled to Pensacola, about 7 hours away from Houston by car. Which was a nightmarish drive on I-10. No me gusta.

We were there on a work trip, and Mr. Nolandia was gone all day. Which left me hours of sunshine and writing. It sounds nicer than it was. It was basically write OR sunshine, because sand-filled notebooks and weird paper-sharped tan lines and sweat everywhere isn't the best writing environment. But, it was pleasant overall, obviously. 

The water was crystal clear, like a wavy glass before the eye. The sand like spun sugar, so white that it almost resembled snow. The beach near our hotel was largely empty, just a small 100 ft or so stretch of sand on the sky-blue water. No clouds overhead, just pure liquid sunshine, my thoughts, and my writing. 
There wasn't a whole lot else to do in Pensacola, besides walk to parks or go to the beach, both pastimes perfectly suiting my mood. 
At night, we noshed on fresh oysters, like tasting the sea, and drank down cold white wine...the mix of salt and sweetness the perfect almost-summer flavor. 

A quick spot of sunshine and ocean breeze before we headed back to the Houston inferno. 


Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Importance of Adventures

Today's post is a link to my latest article for Coast to Coast Central. It is an examination of why exploring, traveling, adventuring is the most important investment you can make. It is an investment in yourself, in your future and in happiness. Find out why on the Coast to Coast Blog.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Starlight Symphonies on Kindle Book Review

One final HURRAH for Starlight Symphonies of Oak & Glass before The Library of Panopticon drops. The Kindle Book review featured Starlight Symphonies on their site yesterday, and so to celebrate, the price will be 99 cents until Friday, April 24th. 

I have a few announcements about the book coming soon, and so, now is the time to dive into the pages. 

If you like adventure, history, mysteries, romance + magic...you'll definitely find something special between the covers of Starlight Symphonies.

Click the link to download the kindle version to one of your devices at this special price.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Library of Panopticon

In just over 2 weeks, this beautiful book will be available for purchase on Amazon. The kindle version is already available for pre-order CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER!

This is my first full-on fantasy novel, though it does dip into historical fiction and uses Michigan as a backdrop. I find turn-of-the-century Detroit so fascinating, so it was impossible not to feature it in my work in some fashion. The motor-car, the dazzling jewel of the midwest. One of the most diverse and exciting places to be in the beginning of the 20th century. Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, Billy Durant and the influx of foreigners from all parts of the globe. Forget New York and Chicago...Detroit was booming!

But, as I said, the lion's share of the novel is fantasy. Particularly, the notion of a world within books. What would it be like to climb into a favorite novel? To tuck oneself in with paper-quilt pages and move from one story to another like one's eyes on through an interesting volume of writing? Who would oppose such a notion? Who would find fault with this kind of dreamy-daring existence?

I leave you with another excerpt, which will hopefully seal the deal, and you will find yourself unable to prevent yourself from purchasing this, my newest creation. 

They lived in an enviable part of town. Just far enough away from the real hub and bustle of things, yet so intimately close. Connected by the tramway, the world of the city was a short ride or pleasant walk from their doorstep. She walked a few houses down and paused, realizing the stillness of the afternoon. It was eerie almost, she was so used to the sounds of a growing metropolis, of children outside and people hurrying to work, or back to their snug houses. Of course she knew that there were many others, on the other side of town, that had no comfortable place to warm themselves. Those that slowly froze their icy fingers, hardening up into stony expressions, praying for summertime and warmth. She shuddered involuntarily, and a weight descended in her chest. Sometimes she was ashamed of herself, embarrassed at her own good fortune. 

But, the city around her was lazy today, it was New Years Day and so she knew many of the businessmen and their families were tucked near the fire, dozing or reading a new novel. Many were probably recovering from last night’s celebration, but not Lively. She was out, and striding comfortably down the frosted white avenue, patiently pacing toward her destiny. 
(excerpted from The Library of Panopticon, 2015)

Available April 31st on Amazon.com.  PRE-ORDER HERE!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hold Fast to Dreams

I wonder what the pooch dreams of? I think perhaps treats and belly rubs. Perhaps the occasional wish to wear a sweater one day without becoming inexplicably upset by it. 

Hold fast to dreams 
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
-Langston Hughes, "Dreams"

Just a little inspiration + motivation for your week. Our lives become so small if we have no dreams to sustain us. Our worth is so depleted when we have nothing to strive for. No matter how impossible or terrifying or small of a chance you think you have of success, try. Please try. I have never wept over someone daring the unknown and coming up short, but I cannot begin to express the sorrow I have felt for someone who told me their loftiest goals, and then gave them up un-tried. So many shattered futures, celebrations and successes that could have been lived. 
I dreamed of writing books. And though I am not on a bestseller list, and it takes hardly any time to count the dollars I have earned from my pen, I am successful. I receive notes, emails, messages from people that loved my words. People who read my pages and felt something. That, for me, is riches enough. It is success. 
What would you do attempt if you knew you would not fail? What are you waiting for?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Library of Panopticon-IT'S COMING

Oh, snap! It's almost time for the next book to come out! Have you preordered yet?

Here's another sneak peek at the book, a little snippet to whet your appetite. The story is a fantasy born out of the idea of: "What if you could travel inside of the stories that you read? How would they change? How would you?"  

So many people I have talked to, myself included have been changed so much by reading a book. Not necessarily non-fiction books or true stories or tales of harrowing events. But Fiction. Fictional accounts of events that never happened to people that never existed. Some of these books crawl under our eyelids and we forever see the world through the lens of the message or characters we met in that book. The idea of this was delicious to me. I had to write something that showed what I would imagine it would be like if those ideas not only stayed with us, but if we climbed into the ideas and lived within them. Pre-order the E-book on Amazon or wait and order the paperback on April 31st! The E-Book will be at a special PRE-ORDER price only until April 30th, so scoop it up!

Now, for the sampling of The Library of Panopticon by Alexandria Nolan (that's me!)

Marcus bent his grey head, his hair falling like a veil over his features, and he sank like a stone into the lion-tipped chair. The room was silent for a moment besides the incessant rustling of papers that always seemed to emanate from Relish’s person. 
Waylon Fernsby settled in comfortably, a man who appreciated a fine storyteller and was making himself ready for a tale. Conversely, Theophilus shifted stiffly, and Isadora picked up waves of anxiety rolling off the young man. His usually smooth and charismatic visage was now creased into folds of apprehension. She could not but think that he knew something relating to whatever events Marcus was about to relate. 
His silver veil never raised, his face hidden beneath the shining strands. He cracked his knuckles one at a time, and his gruff voice became suddenly clear and melodic. 

“Many years ago, throughout our time on Earth, back to the beginning, back to the first written words, and the first men and women who could travel within them we begin our tale. Into the myths, into the stories that people wished to keep sacred, into the very coarsest lines of the reed pen or ancient words carved into rock. Many of these first Lectors, were descended from tribal storytellers, from the poets, from the keepers of a nomadic history. These were the people that would take hold of the imaginations of their weary families, brothers, sisters, cousins, all members of a tribe. This keeper of stories, lodged legends within their brain in a special way, recalling the details that made the story come to life for their listeners, the exact cadence in which the tales must be told. And so, these people were living two lives. One as a member of a family group, or tribe; and the other as a person who lived outside of the realm of the present reality, and instead had one foot in the land where stories live. From the moment that these tales were put to paper, the reader and writer of these fables, these legends, these allegories, was able to leave behind completely the reality of their time and escape into the narrative itself. And almost at the same time, there were members of these same tribes, same families, same societies, that disapproved of this practice. That saw no gain to be found by a physical body leaving their share of the work to be divided among their own kindred. A spirit of discord was then born, or perhaps it had always been there, waiting in the shadows for a body to live in and take hold of. Some believe it to be a physical being, others believe it to be an apparition. For myself, I believe it is like the stories themselves that the Lectors travel into, invisible to anyone who is blind to them, but visible to all those who would give in to its power. The spirit has no name, but he is the root of all of Tenebrae. This being sows hatred, confusion, dissatisfaction. He infects people in the world, and the creatures and characters within the story. He is not a leader, but instead…more like a virus that leeches onto the fears and doubts of its host, and drives them mad by feeding those feelings.”


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Houston Down-Low

Recently, I did a post for Coast to Coast Central on Houston. The city that Mr. Nolandia and I call home is large, varied and complex. There are interesting people, great coffee shops and incredible restaurants. The margaritas here are insane, and don't get me started on the fish tacos. 

But, truth be told, I find no joy in being a Texan. No reason in particular, I just can't hang my hat here. Michigan is always home, of course, but this place...as awesome as it can be, I can't help but think of it as a stepping stone to our next adventure. (and it honestly can be awesome. Which I freely admit, though don't tell Mr. Nolandia because I do  like to grumble. And complain and whine and command him to get a transfer abroad. Which has worked marvelously, as we are still here.)

Anyway, I tried my best to offer up the best of the city that I tolerate, to find the best hangouts, the best places to spend a steamy day and the most delicious spots to imbibe the choicest Bayou City booze. 


Thursday, April 2, 2015

30 Day Minimalism Challenge

Anyone up for spring cleaning? Let's de-clutter, de-stress, and unburden ourselves. From the demands of technology, from the crowding of our own stuff, and from friendships and aspects of our lives that are no longer serving us. Basically, let's pare down on the unnecessary in order to make room for things that make us happier and successful. Every day, try the suggestion from this graphic. Aim to make each of these suggestions part of your routine. 

A friend of mine recently told me that she was stacked at work, and didn't have time for social media for a few days...and so she didn't check anything. By the time she got back on to checking her accounts...she cared less about them. That, in just a few days they had lost power over her. It made her re-think why she compulsively checked them in the first place. She realized...IG, Twitter, Faebook...they didn't make her happy. That she was much better off on a walk or reading a book or knitting or anything. 
Take that example, or my own. Every few weeks I go through my closet. I look for items I haven't been wearing, or things we have purchased that we don't use. If I haven't worn it or used it in the last year, I chuck it. You would not believe how much you don't miss things. That thought in your head, that "but, what if I need a plaid shirt?" is silly. If you don't wear it now, then you won't ever need a plaid shirt. Don't let things own you. 

Simplify, simplify. 
Get at me on IG at the end of the month (if you are so inclined) and let me know if your life is any less complicated. @alexandrianolandia


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Water Bluer than the Sky

I have nothing important to say today. No overview of a recent vacation, (though I did just go on one and am in the midst of planning several more.) No recipe. No tongue in cheek account of my father's antics from when I was a child.

Just these two photos and some thoughts.

I am putting out my latest book later this month. It is a fantasy novel, and in the midst of the novel, the characters find themselves looking up at the same terraced hills in the above photographs. They marvel at the same lapis-blue sea. And so I guess, I marveled with them. ( I did create them after all)

The coast line in southern Italy, as I have shouted from every rooftop before, is a thing of singular beauty. And not for the way it looks alone, though it is truly stunning. But because of something hidden. (isn't that how all truly beautiful things are? Something indefinable about their fineness?)

A place where the clouds bend down to kiss the hills and the sun has a way of shining just so, as if creating the perfect lighting to show off the geography to its best advantage. 

Much like writing, I think. A good writer frames their words just as the sun I have described. A worthwhile novel makes the reader wish to lean in, climb inside, to kiss the words on the pages with their mind.

Madness, probably. What am I even talking about today?

I hope you have beautiful thoughts today. Thoughts so gorgeous they shine out of your eyes and onto everything you see. I hope you have an exciting and lovely book to read that holds your attention rapt and sets your imagination aflame. 

And if you don't...wait a few weeks. My book will be out by then. 


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Remember the Magic

Nolandia is traveling to Disney today and honestly, we couldn't be more excited.

People think that Disney is for kids, and having gone many times as an adult AND as a child, I can tell you that people are dead wrong. 
Disney is magical. Absolutely in the most corny, saccharine way possible. If you don't get up every morning at Disney and say out loud, "WE ARE IN DISNEY WORLD" then you don't belong in Disney World. If you aren't peeing your pants with excitement to get on the  Tower of Terror, or willing to chew off a small child's arm to get a better seat on the Aerosmith ride, then stay home. 

Disney is amazing. The meal plan makes it totes ok to eat way more food than a normal human would reasonably consume. Epcot is MADE for day drinking, and it's the only place in the world that its cool to wear Disney shirts as an adult. You wanna wear a tank-top with Cinderella on it? Get down with your bad self. Want Mickey Mouse ears? You BETTER want Mickey Mouse ears. Want to wear a pin every day that says "It's My Birthday"? You're damn right you do. I wear one every time, birthday or not. I LOVE when strangers wish me a happy birthday. I don't care how far away it is from my real birthday... I deserve that recognition. 

It's also great exercise after downing Funnel Cakes at the American pavilion. You literally walk MILES every single day. Snagging fast passes  is like a Amusement Park dream come true. They didn't have that nonsense when I was a kid. We had to wait in line for every single ride, or wake up at 6am to be the first people to burst into the park like the Spanish running of the bulls. 

Anyway, being an adult in Disney World is way better. Especially if you're two creepy weirdos like Mr. Nolandia and I who have no children, and are instead acting as if we are repeating our own childhoods. At Disney, you can eat dessert for every meal, drink around the world at Epcot and hop on over to Animal Kingdom to drunk-watch animals on safari. 

You guys can keep your adult vacations, your Las Vegas nightclubs and Club Med bullshit. We'll take a meet and greet with Jasmine and Aladdin any day of the week. 

See ya next week! 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Morning Vibes

Mornings are not my thing. I'm more of a night owl. But, because Mr. Nolandia has to get up for his normal person job at normal person time, it means I have to wake up too. I make his coffee, make his breakfast, pack his lunch and send him off to work with a kiss and an admonition to drive safely.

And then I go back to bed. Because I'm a grown ass woman.

I don't normally wake up again 'til about 9. 9 is a solid time for me. I take my coffee to the couch and read the news, catch up with all blog BS, look at my book sales and try to pump myself up for walking the dog and working out so hard that my face feels like it's melting. Later on, I write. I write my little heart out.

That's a good day.

Lately, I have been trying to pump up my mornings with a few things I will share with you.

First, it's nothing new, to me anyway, but a piece of Ezekiel bread with avocado is an amazing waker-upper. Healthy fats, fiber, filling and delicious. Plus some pleasant green in the morning is always a beautiful thing. I usually add half a grapefruit, (the other half consumed later) and there's a Nolandia breakfast fit for the Queen. (Queen of Nolandia, which is me)

Also, the right tunes really step up my morning game. I like songs that are familiar, kind of like an old sweater that always looks awesome when you throw it on. My favorite jams in the morning are peppy and comfortable and make me feel good.  Now, Eminem is reserved for workouts, and Cole Porter and Billie Holiday for writing, but my mornings look a little bit more like this:
Vampire Weekend- Mansard Roof
Arctic Monkeys- Do I Wanna Know?
XX- Sunset
The Neighborhood-WDYWFM
Great Lake Swimmers-Easy Come, Easy Go
The Submarines-1940

That's all the vibes I got. Smack your lips on some avocado toast + give a listen to those jams.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Starlight Symphonies Sails Again!

The book about sailing on Great Lakes...is on SALE. Get it? Isn't that ├╝ber punny?

Anyway, I am delighted to announce that Starlight Symphonies of Oak & Glass has been chosen for the Fussy Librarian Newsletter. As a result, the Kindle Version is once again, for a limited time, 99 cents.

Click the link to read the wonderful reviews, peruse the blurb and ultimately BUY this entertaining book of swashbuckling, history, romance, murder, fantasy and folklore.
Click the link below!

Starlight Symphonies of Oak & Glass on Amazon.com

Also, BONUS, as I recently finished writing my upcoming release The Library of Panopticon, (publishing date of April 31, 2015) I am currently working on the second book in the Starlight Series. I have decided that Starlight Symphonies will be part one of a three part trilogy. So, get reading!