American Writers Museum – Chicago

If you caught my most recent Blog post, you’ll know I recently attended ACE Comic Con in Rosemont, Illinois, meeting Tom Holland and Kit Harington and generally having the time of my life. While there, my wife and I stopped by the American Writers Museum in downtown Chicago. Let me tell ya, that was a cool place!

If you’re like my wife and I, and you’ve hit all the big museums and galleries in Chicago, but you’re still looking for that thing you haven’t done before… this is it. It’s not going to kill a whole afternoon, but hit the museum, run into Garrett’s Popcorn across the street, then do some shopping on Michigan Ave. It’s the perfect side dish to a wonderful Chicago meal.

Inside, you’ll find tons of little tidbits about many great American writers from hundreds of years ago up to the present. I’m not a big buff on writing history, but I found out a few things that were quite interesting (Did you know Edgar Allan Poe wrote some science fiction!?).

What I really enjoyed were the interactive exhibits. In a lot of museums, interactive exhibits are either super lame or just for children. The exhibits here were fun for all ages. I took part in a quiz where I found out I have something in common with one of my biggest influences in writing and art, the great Charles Schulz (creator of the Peanuts comic series). There’s also a word selection game, where you can battle it out with a friend to fill in the blanks in a famous novel (my wife kicked my butt). My favorite part of the museum, however, were the typewriters that you could actually sit down at and type up a page! I wrote the first line of Naevia-18, signed it, and hung it up for someone to probably throw away (I’ll imagine someone found it and is currently cherishing it while they finish reading my book in wonder).

That thing was tough to type on! I couldn’t bear having to deal with one of those everyday. Now I’m much more grateful for my eight year old MacBook Air! This took me a practice page and another five to ten minutes of figuring out how to get this thing going right!

I was very impressed with my overall experience here at the American Writers Museum. Give it a go if you’re in the Windy City. You definitely don’t need to be a writer or even be interested in writing to enjoy this place. You’d be surprised what many forms “writing” can disguise itself as. From books to songs to movies, newspapers, and more, this museum has got ya covered. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll end up as part of an official exhibit here!

Plus, it’s got this really cool wall.

COMING SOON

Okay, I might be a bit early in posting this, but I’ve been fast tracking this project the past couple weeks. My goal is to have it in your hands by the end of the year. I’m 99% certain that is attainable, but as we all know, nothing is ever guaranteed. Regardless! This is going to be a fun ride.

I’ve mentioned this project off and on here on the site, in emails, my Facebook page, etc. Do you like the Final Fantasy series of games? This just might be for you. Here’s what it’s about!

Tem and Neema are best friends, but when Tem is taken to join the king’s mindless army, Neema joins the rebellion. For years, she opposes the king in any way she can, but a recon mission gone sour forces the entire rebellion to abandon Essence City and take refuge in the North. As punishment for her actions, Neema is assigned to patrol the wild jungles with a ragtag squad of misfits, and they must steer clear of dangerous wildlife, legions of mindless soldiers, and the dreaded yurdrak, a massive, element-powered beast hell bent on destroying anything in its path. Just as they uncover chilling news about the yurdrak, Neema is brought face to face with Tem, who’s now a mindless soldier with orders to wipe out the rebellion.

It’s a fast paced ride, loaded with action, fantasy, and adventure, as well as a bit of romance… I’m pretty proud of this one! Stay tuned, because I’ll be teasing you with sneak peeks, a cover reveal, and a tad bit of extra art. I’m going all out for this book!

Here’s where I’m at with it: I’ve completed a rough draft, initial revision, and now I’m going through a secondary revision. Once that is complete, I’ll run through it again real quick to smooth and polish, then it’ll be ready for some early readers to take a look at it and give me feedback! Want to be part of that super exclusive team? Let me know! Email me at mail@christopherguhl.com. What do you have to do, you ask? It’s easy! Read what I send you, let me know what worked, what didn’t, what you loved, what you hated, and tell me how many times I misused punctuation,,,, or spelled sumthing wrong. Easy, right?

Totally.

Now, get ready! Things will be rolling before you know it!

Review: The Girls of Paper and Fire

I picked this up at BAM! because the cover looked cool, the blurb sounded interesting, and the author was living in Paris. Since I had just gotten back from Paris, I figured, Why not?

I don’t regret it.

First off, I have to say, this novel is written beautifully. I mean it. There are authors that can write, and then there are authors that sing. And Natasha Ngan can sing like Whitney Houston. Her word choices are so unique. I can only describe it as beauty on paper. She really has a talent for painting a picture composed of letters, commas, and periods. You don’t have to be a fan of YA fantasy to enjoy this kind of writing.

Let’s dive in.

Natasha Ngan creates an interesting world, separated into castes – Moon, Steel, and Paper. Moon is at the top of the social classes, followed by Steel, and then lowly Paper. The Moon castes are animal form demons – bulls, wolves, foxes, and other Moons of varying, humanlike forms. Paper castes are human, and that’s about as fantastic as they get. The Steels are a mix of the two, a result of Moon/Paper breeding I’m sure. Some may not be a fan of this system, but I thought it was an interesting take on social classes. It’s all the result of a war many moons before the story is set.

In order to promote some type of good relationship between the castes, the demon king allowed girls from the Paper caste to be his concubines. Paper girls. Because that’s what oppressive rulers do. They take from the lower class and make them feel like it’s an honor when it’s really just another form of oppression. Sorry, Mr. Demon King, you haven’t met Lei.

Because of her golden eyes, she is selected to be a Paper girl. While some find it an honor to serve the kingdom in this fashion, Lei does not. Her need to keep her family safe is the only thing keeping her within the palace’s lavish walls. Well, that and fellow Paper girl, Wren, whose poise, beauty, and mysterious nature entrances Lei enough to think unthinkable thoughts.

Shenme? (What?)

I’ll be honest, it was difficult reading at times, because of the topics at hand. These girls are victims of sexual abuse at the hooves of this demon, and while some of the girls may not think it that way – they are. Natasha Ngan writes it out in a way that isn’t cringeworthy, so major kudos there. I’ve read and watched other stories dealing with this same topic, and it’s just brutal. After reading the novel, continue reading to hear the author’s thoughts. She explains it very well, and helped me to understand the need for a novel of this nature. Well done.

Now I will say, I’m a fan of action, and you don’t get a lot of that with this book. There is a little taste here and there, but this isn’t Hunger Games or Throne of Glass. It’s not meant to be either, and that’s understood pretty early on.

I won’t spoil anything. I did enjoy the ending. It really cracked open the world, and I’m stoked to see where the characters will end up in the sequel, The Girls of Storm and Shadow. That will be out late 2019. There are a few storylines/character arcs that I’m wondering how they’ll carry out. I have my own thoughts on how, but I’ll save those for myself.

It’s a solid read, and didn’t take me long at all. It’s one of those books that you can pick up and not need to put it down (just one more chapter!). I procrastinated my own writing because of this book, so for everyone that’s waiting for Karxen Chronicles Book 2 you have Natasha Ngan to thank for the delay. 😅

Wren is my favorite character. She added a cool and mysterious air to every scene she was in. I think her arc in the sequel will be an interesting one.

Lei is a good mix of “You go, girl! Get it!” and “Woah, you probably shouldn’t do that… it’s not gonna end well.” But she never gives up, even when faced with such intense odds.

The demon king. He’s malicious, charismatic, powerful. Freakin jerk! He’s the villain that butters you up before he sinks his teeth in, making his feast that much more painful.

The story flows well as Lei tiptoes around the palace, biding her time as the king chooses girl after girl to spend his nights with. What’s happening in the world beyond the palace walls helps her cause of avoiding him, but she knows that her time is coming. It’s this buildup that keeps you on edge throughout the book, wanting to know… And then secrets unfold, thoughts stir, and all of a sudden we’re racing to the finish line, our friends, our words, our bodies weapons against the king and his evil rule.

I’m really glad I picked this book up!

It’s helped me push some writing boundaries of my own. Pick it up and read it. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

DSM Book Festival 2019

I recently attended the DSM Book Festival in downtown Des Moines as an author guest!

The local authors were split up into time segments, so I had a table from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. It would have been nice to have more time. Maybe it’ll be different next year. My wife and I spent a few hours hanging out before my time slot, enjoying ourselves with the costume contest and taking a few pictures at the different photo stations. I was pretty nervous about the whole day, so we didn’t do anything too crazy. I had to mentally prepare!

We recreated one of our wedding pictures!

Then once I was able to grab my wagon full of Naevia-18 copies, bookmarks, and super exclusive Christopher Guhl pens I was ready to get started!

This thing is SO convenient!

Things started off hot! I was wheelin and dealin and selling books like Barnes & Noble!

My old b-boy friend Yinn stopped by and picked up a copy!
Jenny Moyer, the author of Flashfall / Flashtide!

Jenny Moyer found me as she was walking through and picked up a copy of Naevia-18 also! Jenny is the author of the books Flashfall and Flashtide. Check out my review for these glenting good books here!

The best part of the day were the youths! I had a few younger people buying my book, and they were so happy to do so! I couldn’t believe it. A couple of them didn’t get anything else at the festival BUT my book. Freakin awesome!

There was also a book club that picked up a few copies of Naevia-18, and invited me out to discuss the book sometime in the future! I’m up to the challenge!

It was really cool to see so many people out and celebrating books! I’d like to see this festival grow in the future, and bring out some more names from the author community. I’m kicking myself for not joining the costume contest. I’ve got a killer Jon Snow costume that would’ve been perfect! Next time, baby…

Lastly, a huge shoutout and thank you to my amazing wife for helping me sell books and keep my nerves under control. You rock, baby!

Author Event at Barnes & Noble

Hey all! I’m going to be at my very first author event at Barnes & Noble on Friday, February 1st, 2019! I’m excited, terrified, anxious, you know, all the normal emotions! The details:

Friday, February 1st, 2019

5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Barnes & Noble (The Shoppes at Three Fountains)

4550 University Ave.

West Des Moines, IA 50266

I won’t be alone, so come and check out myself and these other amazing authors! It’s going to be a heck of a time! Here’s a link to my own event on FB:

Author Signing: Christopher Guhl

I hope to see you all there! I don’t care if you’ve read Naevia-18 or even bought it, I want to see YOU! It’s about to be LIT(erature).

Release Day!

It’s here! Naevia-18 is officially released to all you Outside dwellers. I hope you enjoy it! If you haven’t ordered yet, you can do so by ordering below:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Let me know what you think by leaving a review, those helps tons! Take a selfie with your copy! Have fun with it!

Hmm… I feel like I’m forgetting something. Oh! My giveaway! I almost forgot! There were over a hundred entries across my email newsletter, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I threw every entry into one of those random name drawing things, and boom! We’ve got a winner! Congratulations, Megan from Twitter! You just won yourself an Amazon Fire tablet and a super awesome signed copy of Naevia-18! I’ve sent a message your way, so let me know where you’d like your prizes sent!

Now, stay up on my newsletter and everywhere else for more info on future giveaways and things! I’ve got an idea for a good one… 😈