Who I'm Reading

                           Imagining: Stevie.Grace

I came across this author by chance, yet I don’t believe there are coincidences. I first saw Stevie Grace in a thread giving a New Member some advice, in which I was also in need. I came across her shay profile often in other threads, with that memory in my mind. But I had never thought to visit her homepage. Don’t ask me why, I’ll have no answer.  On a long boring weekend, I happen to come across a recommended book with an intriguing cover of a Blue faced guy. Now, I love all kinds of genres, but there was something about Sci Fi that has always fascinated me.   I watched every episode of Star Trek as a child, pondering at every new world shown, asking what type of a person has an imagination so great, that they can create a new world? Not just a new world, but one that is believable enough to have you smelling the tress and plants, and felling the ground under you. What fuels a person to want to create an entire planet? After reading Calypso, I made it my business to ask, Stevie Grace.

“I wasn't a normal Texas kid.”
Imagine beginning your life in Texas, then traveling all over the world throughout your childhood, with a father who was in the Military in his twenties and a mother from New Zealand. Look with your minds eye, a child, joyfully playing in places like New Zealand and Dominica Republic. Now see that child living in an international home where you learned to set a proper table, eat with the correct utensils and drink soup without slurping. See how that child might decide to walk around with a book on her head, because of a beloved story.  These things would fuel any young person imagination, but when you’re a Daddy’s girl, he’ll influence your reading choices, favorite TV shows, and music selection, so that they would be as diverse as your surroundings. See her with everything she needed and wanted. Like all families, hers would have they’re issues, but adversity only made her stronger. Holding yourself apart, to protect your siblings, often taking the brunt of whatever happened, imaginary or real.  Her childhood would give her an appreciation for rain and heat, a love of mud puddles and window seats. And an intense disgust over any beaches where she couldn’t see her hand two inches below the surface. Then you can begin to envision, if only partly, what sparks Stevie’s imagination.

I soaked up school like it was water, hiding behind books and knowledge whenever I needed to."
Stevie’s mother firmly believed in private education, so even through her daughter wasn’t in private school; she dressed her as though she were. Stevie spent her early school years, from Kindergarten to 5th grade, in uniforms while in public school where it wasn’t required.  She was already very self-conscious, which severely limited her attempts to make friends. Stick-thin , she wore huge plastic-rimmed glasses. This, she told me, added insult to her already awkward, nerdy personality, and forced her completely into the only thing she said she was good at: school. In her sixth grade year, Stevie’s mother dreams were finally achieved and her daughter entered a prestigious Christian school.  By middle-school, Stevie had already hit her nerd groove, becoming the popular kid during academic games. Any other time, she just tried to blend into the background, assuming no one would want to be her friend.  She told me honestly, that she had missed out on so many opportunities and friendships because she was too consumed by her own insecurities. 
“Academically, I was awesome. Socially, I’d shot myself in the foot.”

  “From the time I began until the day I graduated, I was immersed in learning.”

She admitted resenting her apparent lack of freedom from the public school life, but that her mother’s choice has infinitely changed her life. I would have to say; I agree. She told me she took four years of Latin, three of Spanish, and one of Biblical Greek and was taught logic and rhetoric skills. She said, she read more Shakespeare than she thought possible and devoured as many of the American and British authors as she could find. Stevie feels she was fortunate enough to have teachers who fostered intellectual thought rather than brainless acceptance of the faith, they themselves professed. They challenged her she told me, to research what she believed and defend it if she truly believed it. As a result of her stellar education, she achieved an impressive ACT score of 32, and by the time Stevie left school, she had a full ride to college.
When I walked across that stage, I had no doubt that I was destined for great things.”

My world collapsed around me.”

Like in many of our lives, life doesn’t always go as we planned, but like I said before. I don’t believe in coincidences. Having spent seven years of her young life in what she called, ‘a secularly-repressed school,’ Stevie was left spiraling upon graduation. She had a full ride to college, so what would one summer of fun be when she had years to accomplish whatever? What indeed, it seems many young people think this way, I know I had. In the course of flinging herself to the wind, Stevie discovered that the party life wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. By chance, she met her Knight in shining amour. He was determined to protect her, first from her imagined demons; she told me, and from herself.  Three months later, she was engaged to her Knight and a month after that, she was pregnant.

At 18, Stevie was engaged with a baby on the way. She was floundering and terrified, with no idea what to do. She did her best to get as much college credit in as possible, knowing that when the baby came, she’ll have to drop out, if only for a time. Stevie admitted to me, with truthfulness, that she fought what fate had brought her way. “I was bitter that something like this would happen to me, just when my life was looking so promising. I was overjoyed at the feeling of this being growing inside me. But most of all, I was afraid. Even after he was born, I was afraid.” I can’t image how she must have felt, just a child herself, going through this, but she wasn’t along. Her fiancé (her Knight) stayed with her against all odds, facing down the wrath and scorn of both families, and together they somehow managed to make a life for themselves. A year after their son was born, and the young happy couple was married.

Writing is my drug
Stevie said that during her difficult times; she wrote. She said she writes to release all those emotions she can’t talk about: fear, greed, lust, anger, shame, and emptiness. Her writings cradle the strongest of her feelings like desire, love, expectation, and beauty. Many of her poems and short stories she has written were inspired or drawn directly from those struggles in her life.
 Even if it’s just a simple, half-thought-out poem scribbled in the corner of notes, once that pen has touched paper, something strange happens, she told me. “It’s intoxicating.” Stevie decided early on that, if possible, she would make her living off creating worlds and exposing the realities of her soul. The first book she wrote was in sixth grade. It was 15 pages of the typical cat/dog-loving drama. She was so proud of that little story that she gave a copy of it to a friend for her birthday. “God bless her, she hid her dismay well.”  The thrill of knowing she’d created something lingered, and she stuck with it. By the eighth grade, Stevie had written a fan-fiction. It was a massive, 330 pages long, that awed her classmates but did little for her popularity.

She admires authors like, C. S. Lewis, and his way of exposing the inner-most part of the human soul, even the part we don’t fully understand. Orson Scott Card, who weaves his characters, and his beliefs, so intricately into his works that you hardly realize. Anne McCaffrey was offered her first exposure to science-fiction. She was not the first author to inspire Stevie to write, she told me. “ But I devoted 5 or more years to her worlds of Pern. Reading her words, she introduced the possibility of creating worlds of my own. My young mind was blown and my fingers itched to write.

Besides, her excellent educational back ground, Stevie used her love of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern to aid her in learning the process of telling a great story. While in school she joined, ‘Play by eMail,’ a role-playing writing group, one based on the world of Pern. Essentially, she said, it’s a website which contained character sheets and descriptions, maps of the towns and countries, and brief details such as weather, mating times, battles, etc,. Each character sheet lists the name, age, physical, emotional, and historical description of the character. A person chooses certain members to write a story with using their characters. It sounds in depth.  This developed Stevie’s sense of writing, forcing her to work with someone else and to create really in depth characters. Stevie said she used the fan-fics site as a writing tool, describing it, similar to an apprentice copying the master until they could create something of her own. Who knew this invaluable learning tool was out there for young writers, for any writer, to utilize.  “Writing in such detail became a habit, and it’s an exercise I still use whenever starting a book.”

Stevie has taken a few writing classes, most of them she said were disappointing, but some of them were helpful. She told me that ‘writing, like any art, is at times in need of structure - a class - and other times in need of originality.’ To her, a teacher is just one more opinion, one more person. They have skills most readers may not have, but just because they don’t like a certain way a person write, it doesn’t mean the writing is actually bad. She also believes that with each experience, just like each review, it offers a chance for a writer to learn something and to improve. If not everyone likes a certain way of writing, how is a teacher to objectively evaluate it? “If I went by what those teachers said, I probably would have stopped writing.” Now, that would have been a shame. With that said, Stevie told me she had an English teacher in high school that was the poster child for the Grammar Nazis; she was passionate and incredibly strict. Editing papers in her class, Stevie frequently gave out negative scores, because of her strict rules.  “Her perfectionism and passion for English has stayed with me since.”

Stevie still lives in Texas with her husband and their son; and would love to live elsewhere, eventually, but her husband is a die-hard Texan.
 Only now, when she has so little, does she realize how well off she had it as a child.  Stevie currently teaches at a preschool, were she gets to write during her breaks and edit free-hand, during naptime. “There is nothing quite like a sloppy kiss or a hug, sticky with orange juice. I would like something more intellectually challenging someday, but right now I am very content.”
  She loves traveling, swimming and playing volleyball.  An avid reader, she would some day like to have an entire room devoted entirely of books.” There is something about the smell of a book, the rustle of pages beneath my fingers, the glow of light on creamy pages that draws me ever forward…. I’m a total book junkie.”
 She’s currently in hiatus from school due to finances. She said that if it were just herself, she would gladly survive with very little, but life with a family doesn’t allow for much slack. Hopefully, she’ll be able to return soon. She would like to earn a BA in History or English, and she’s even entertaining the idea of earning a Masters so she can teach at the college level.

Stevie is a self-published author on Amazon and BookRix. Her first book was, ‘Freedom From Chains’ a compilation of short stories and poems she wrote during the dark times just after she graduated and  finding out she was pregnant. She’s won third place in BookRix’s “End of the World” competition and won $200. “Calypso’s sequel, Green World, so I am pretty proud.”
Her username is derived from her first and middle name. She told me she’s incredibly unoriginal, I must disagree there. Every writer has a vivid imagination, if not, how can they envision a story. How can they conjure up a character or create a dramatic scene. I would never call Stevie unoriginal, not with her unique imagination for creating the world I read in Calypso.

  I asked Stevie about it her imagination. “Everyone has something that they struggle with. My imagination, while my main source of respite, is also a curse.”
She told me that she perceive many things, often times, much worse than they really are. And she has a terrible fear of the dark. Either one of those can house enough imaginary demons to fuel stories for a lifetime. After all, who hasn't felt like something was watching them or lurking under the bed and took pen to paper to try and write about them? “I just didn't happen to grow out of that stage.”  Having a unique first name like Stevie, and a wonderful vivid imagination, I foresee a very bright, creative future ahead for this author.

There is such a thrill to creating worlds for other’s to enjoyment. It’s addicting.”


Stevie told me that her great-aunt trained Xena the Warrior Princess's horse. ‘Go NZ!’
Also, that our own R. Lynn graciously allowed her to take a red pen to her second book, of which she felt so incredibly honored. “I think I did a terrible job and hacked it to pieces, so I'm not sure how much value there is in that....”
She won a signed book off Twitter from the  New York Times best seller, Rob Thurman.
 “It was really good, if dark!”
Stevie was brave enough to tweet the New York Times best selling author Sherrilyn Kenyon once and she tweeted her back. “She told me to never give up on my dreams.” I nearly passed out!

A word from the Author
Calypso is my primary focus as a writer.   I’ve placed and still place all my dreams into this book, struggling through barely passable jobs, on and off schooling, and ramen noodles to achieve the dream of seeing it in print. Aside from motherhood, this dream to write is the sole dream I have clung to since I was little
Author's choice

The world is not what it seems. Millions of light-years away from her home planet, Kira is the sole survivor of the Earth colony on Calypso. Trapped on the exotic rain forest planet, Kira is surrounded by natives who want her dead and watched by the organization that sent her there. Without warning, Kira is thrown into a world of politics, betrayal, and desperation. She must relearn the ability to love and trust if she is ever going to survive.

I love the narration!
 Yep I want to buy a copy!
Well done!

You should totally write more!

My Choice.
We agreed on the author's choice, so I read through her work to find another book to feature.
This is the results

  I never noticed how much she did for me. Do you know how much yours does for you?

uuhh, almost cried.
Do not change a thing in this short. I was entranced from beginning to end. A great homage, perfection in all aspects, be proud.
 This is an absolutely
Beautifully written look into a daughters heart of love for a mother who truly is a wonderful person to evoke such a testimony.
True Love
A great little story with a big heart, I hope your mother has read this.

Thank you for coming to read this blog, I hope you will continue to as I go through reading, loving and featuring all the lovely authors on Bookrix.

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