Hello everyone and welcome back to my blog. It's been a while since I updated it. I'd love to tell you I have more coming and stay tuned but to be honest, I don't really know what to do with my blog. I've been overhauling my social media lately. For example, my Instagram page used to consist of book images and other book related content. Yes, I love to read. But that's not my only passion. Quite frankly, I got tired of trying to post cool photos with books. It was a lot of work and took away from my writing. So, I changed it. Now, my Instagram is being used to share fun photos and info about my writing AND I'm showcasing my other passion. The outdoors and Florida.
Florida has a pretty bad rep in the media and most of it is probably warranted. However, I love my state and there's some pretty cool treasures to find as well as beautiful landscapes. I figured, why not share that with the world? Maybe show Florida the way I see it. And on top of that, I've been posting pictures from my personal life and writing and it's been fun and liberating.
But with my blog, I still feel stuck. Like I've said, I love books and I love reading but that's not all there is to life. I'd like to share more from my blog each week but I don't know what. If you have any thoughts or ideas, let me know in the comments below.
Let's get to the point of this post which is, I was interviewed by a local news station while at a book signing. It was really cool but also nerve inducing. The interview aired on Bay News 9 at 10 PM on Sunday. I didn't see it, not knowing what time it aired. But it was neat being the subject of an interview for the event. If anyone saw the interview, let me know. I'm really curious how it all came together.
Happy President's Day, everyone.
While everyone is out taking advantage of those sweet, sweet mattress sales today, I thought it would be a good time to outline some of the projects I currently have my hands in. So, as you plop down on another mattress and wait for the pushy salesman to leave you alone, have something to read!
First off, let me give you some news on my upcoming novel. If I haven't already broken the news, allow me to do it now. It has a title! It will be called Deserted. I've outlined the plot a few times but here it is again. A YouTube channel known as Living Legends showcase abandoned places and urban exploration. After getting a tip on an entire abandoned town, they decide to go for it. Once there, they realize it's not exactly what they thought it would be. Something terrible lives in the town and they can't seem to escape.
Next project I'm working on is my YouTube channel. I've got one video up there now where I open a mystery bag of books from my local library. It was a lot of fun. I've been getting over a cold so I haven't been able to upload anymore. Now that my cold is gone, expect many more videos. Next, I'll be doing a book review for Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. You can look for book reviews and other fun videos to come. Might even start taking you along with me on trips and vacations. There's a lot to look forward to on my YouTube channel so head over there and subscribe! Click here.
Let's see, I also have a collaborative book in the works with a writer friend of mine. He's currently unpublished but we're changing that. The progress has been a little slow going as I've been writing other books in the process but we should be getting back on track with that soon. And, I should tell you, the book will feature my character Ethan McCormick once again! If you haven't read an Ethan McCormick book, you can check it them out over on Amazon or wherever you like to pick up your books.
I'm still over on Patreon and dropping exclusive short stories and flash fictions pieces. If you want to read stories you can't find anywhere else, head over there and consider becoming a patron. There's a lot of cool rewards for doing so and I'm going to be writing more short stories and more flash fiction pieces which actually segues perfectly into my next project.
I'm currently in the planning stages of a short story/flash fiction compilation. I got the idea from a friend of mine. Her name is Roxie Prince. She's the author of Ealanta and her upcoming sequel Ealanta: The Golden City. Let me just say real quick, her writing is fantastic. If you haven't read her books, you need to go check them out right now! Roxie is awesome and has been a great friend. Back to the topic, I plan to make a collection of several short stories and flash fiction pieces and turn it into a book for everyone to enjoy. This project is a ways off because I don't have nearly enough content to fill it but that can be changed! Oh, and if you want to check out Roxie's work, click here. You better be clicking! I can monitor them you know!
Well, I think that about covers it. I'll be doing a cover reveal in the next few months for my upcoming book. In the meantime, feel free to read my newest release Echoes of the Past. It's a horror book about a woman escaping an abusive past with her daughter only to be caught in the middle of a literal witch hunt in the small town she moved to. It's a great book full of suspense and horror. I think you'll love it! Thanks for reading and as always remember to keep wandering, just not alone...
First and foremost, welcome to the new and improved Bond's Blog! What's different, you ask? Well, the banner for starters. I hope you like it. I do. That's me as a Funko Pop on the right hand side. I'm also changing up what this blog will be about. It's going to cover book reviews, info about my writing and my books, and, occasionally, my outdoor adventures. There might be some other things here and there but this should be the format going forward. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Moving on, let's get into the review. I finished reading the first Supernatural book in the series at the beginning of February. I'm definitely a Supernatural fan. Which means, when I found out there were books as well, I had to start reading them. I'll keep this review spoiler free for those who haven't read it.
The book takes the Winchester brothers to New York. While there, they handle two cases. A haunting in the house they're staying in and murders modeled after the works of Edgar Allan Poe. The haunting was a lot of fun to read because the author puts the reader in the mind of the ghost. It's an interesting perspective and good for a couple of laughs. The Poe murders are a bit odd, even for Supernatural. It might not be the best case the boys have ever come across but it was still a fun read.
As for the characters, Sam and Dean Winchester, they were great. I really felt like the author captured their personalities well. I could hear their voices clear as day while I read and could even picture them. The author did a good job bringing the two characters to life on the page, which can't be an easy task considering the Winchesters are complex characters.
If you're a Supernatural fan and can't get enough of the Winchesters, you won't be disappointed by this book. Pick it up and give it a read. If you're watching the show live, it's a great way to hold yourself over between season breaks. And it's pre-Castiel and Crowley days. So, it's interesting to go back and see how different the boys were back then.
I'll continue to read the Supernatural books this year and I'll be sure to post my review for each as I go. Hopefully you enjoyed this review and maybe you'll pick up the book for yourself. Have you read any of the Supernatural books? Or maybe you plan to. Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and remember to keep wandering, just not alone.
Recently, I finished reading the novelization of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. The book is based on the original screenplay so it's relatively close to the movie. I should start out by saying I friggin loved this book. But, Indiana Jones has always been my all time favorite on screen hero, so I could be biased. However, I read through this book in only a week. I didn't want to put it down. Here's my review of the book. Note, there will be spoilers. But you should have seen this movie by now!
Let me start with the differences. There are a few and whenever they happened it always made my heart sink for just a moment. For example, after Marion and Indy decide to join forces, after her bar burns down, she tells Indy she's going with him. In the movie, it's one of my favorite lines. "I'm your god damned partner!" She yells, holding up the medallion. This line doesn't exist in the book. I know, trivial but I still miss it. Of course, Indy's famous line "It's not the years, honey. It's the mileage." Also doesn't exist in the book. Again, not that big of a deal. Just very iconic lines. The scene in which Indy takes the RPG and threatens to blow up the Ark is slightly different as well. In the movie, he's up on a cliff pointing down, threatening to blow it back to God. In the book, however, he gets right up in Belloc's face with the thing and threatens to kill them all. As you should already know, in the movie Belloc calls his bluff. It's a pivotal scene where we learn a lot about our favorite whip wielding hero. In the movie, he's jumped by German soldiers and forced to give up.
There's also some answers given in the book that aren't in the movie. For example, Indy knows not to open his eyes after they open the Ark. In the movie, he just shouts at Marion. Telling her to not look. But we're left wondering why and how he knows that. Before you say anything, I'm aware there's a deleted scene which explains this but since it's not actually in the movie, hush! The book includes the scene in which Indy has the medallion translated which warns to not look upon the contents of the Ark or die. Later on, Indy remembers this and tells Marion to shut her eyes. However, this next scene does not have a deleted scene and it's always been a question of mine. How did Indy get to the island in the first place? I'm aware he hitched a ride on the German submarine but how, exactly? Did he sneak around inside? Did he stand on top while they drove it above water to the destination? Well, it turns out, he ties himself to the periscope with his whip. The sub descends but leaves the periscope just out of the water, allowing Indy to ride to the island in peace. He even takes a nap!
Getting inside Indy's head is great. It brings a lot of the character to life in a different way from the movie. We learn a little bit more about him and he feels even more real. If you're a huge fan of Indiana Jones, like me, you will not be disappointed by this book. Definitely give it a read! Later this year I will be reading Temple of Doom and Last Crusade as well. So look out for my reviews for them as well.
Also, I have some exciting news to share with you. I'm now an affiliate of Amazon.com. Which means, if you sign up for Audible by clicking the banner below, you will be supporting me directly and allowing me to continue writing, reading, and leaving reviews. And audible is great. You get two free books when you sign up and every month they give you a credit for a free book. There's so much to listen to on Audible! You won't regret signing up. Click on the ad below and use booksbybond-20 at checkout! Thanks for reading and remember to keep wandering. Just not alone.
Let me start by saying, I didn't read as many books as I would have liked this year. My Goodreads goal was 24 and I came in at 20. Pretty close, though. But of those 20, I do have a few favorites that stood out to me so I thought I would share them with you today. So, let's get into it, in no particular order and spoiler free, of course.
5. Origins by Dan Brown
I guess we'll start with the mainstream title. Ever since The DaVinci Code, the Robert Langdon books have been hit or miss with me. I didn't care too much for The Lost Symbol. Inferno was pretty entertaining but I felt as if these books were missing something the first two had. Angels & Demons and The DaVinci code made bold statements about religion and science. I felt that statement was lost on the others. Then enters Origin. I won't spoil anything about the ending but I will say Dan Brown explains religion and science in such a beautiful way which happens to mirror my own thoughts. Nothing might ever be as good as the first two but Origin sure as hell came close!
4. Brimstone Hustle by Robert McKinney
I discovered this book while browsing a self-publishing Sub-Reddit page. I'm glad I did. This book was a lot of fun to read. I won't sit here and tell you it was my favorite book of the year but it was a lot of fun. The plot centers around a woman who is able to "teleport" anywhere in the world she wants by taking shortcuts through Hell. The idea was original enough to catch my attention. Of course, she uses this power to get payback on an individual and I won't say much more than that. It's the first part in a series and I really should get down to reading the rest. My only complaint, which could be squashed with the sequels, is the power could be used for so much more than your regular thriller story. But still a fun read.
3. Glass Girl by Jessyca Thibault
Poetry is not something I normally read, however, I discovered Jessyca on Instagram a while back while she was doing a free promotion for her first book Doll Eyes. I found myself unable to stop reading and finished it in one sitting. Same with her follow up book Glass Girl. If you like poetry, you must give her series a try. I enjoyed them so much because it wasn't just a collection of poems but a window into the soul of another human being. It allowed me to take stock of things in my own life and try a new perspective. And with so many horrible things in this world and all the hate, opening your eyes to another person's experiences is something we need more of. And Jessyca does this well. She's a talented author with a bright future ahead of her!
2. The Ruins by Scott Smith
Although I didn't find this book as scary as many others have, I still enjoyed every second of it. A group of backpackers on a vacation in Mexico find themselves trapped on top of an ancient ruins site where the vines literally come to life and the locals won't let them leave. The book is dirty and visceral at times but for all the right reasons. I never looked at any character as heroic nor villainous. You could feel the desperation in every choice they made and you could almost feel the utter exhaustion they felt as well. A well crafted tale of horror.
1. The Resort by Bryce Gibson
It was a tough choice between this and Gibson's other thriller, The Reading Buddy. Both were excellent reads full of suspense and death. In the end, I had to give it to The Resort. There's not much I can say about this book without giving anything away. But I can tell you the main character Mackenzie Walker works on an island with his parents running a resort. When college students come for spring break and one of them winds up dead, Mackenzie gets pulled into a whirlwind of happenings and learns there's something terrible inhabiting the island. You'll have to read it for yourself to find out what it is. I promise, it's worth it.
Well, there you have it. My top 5 picks of the year. I definitely will be attempting to read more books next year than I did this time around. What were some of your favorite books? Have you read any on my list? Or do you plan to read any of these? Let me know in the comments below.
I'm giving you a reason to Fear the End of Year. My upcoming horror novel is now available for pre-order and its release date is 12-31-2018. That's right, New Year's Eve. You can bring in the new year right, with a good book. And there's a special promotion going on as well. The pre-order price is only .99. If pre-ordering isn't your thing, then pick it up the first week of January, the 1st thru the 7th, and you'll only pay $1.99! After that, the regular price will be $2.99. How can you pass up those deals? Pre-order now while you still can!
If you need help remembering what this book is about, check out the description below:
For Sasha, leaving her abusive husband was almost as hard as living with him. He drinks, beats, and apologizes every day. She was stuck in an endless loop of abuse and regret. Some days she thought about giving up and ending her own life. Though, she couldn’t leave her daughter with that monster.
One day, she left and took her daughter Tara to a small town in Maine called Carlisle. The locals seemed cherry, friendly, and helpful. A typical New England small town. The fresh air and change of environment would be exactly what she and her daughter would need to start a new life. That is until a murderer begins claiming lives and the town becomes suspicious of Sasha. Consumed with fear, the town takes matters into their own hands and Sasha finds herself in a struggle for her life and the life of her daughter. Welcome to Carlisle, Maine. Our Lands Whisper with the Echoes of the Past.
Just in time for the holidays, I now have autographed copies available for purchase straight from my website. How cool is that? If you're looking for a great gift for the reader in your life, or maybe for yourself, click here and pick yourself up a copy. And guess what? You can even personalize it! Cool, right? I know!
The paperbacks are priced at $18 (except for Getaway which is only $12) which includes the autograph and shipping. Not a bad deal! Get your Christmas shipping done early this year and check out my store!
Recently, I finished reading the book The Ruins by Scott Smith. There was a movie made about ten years ago based on the novel but I had never watched it. So, I thought this would be one of those rare moments when I would get to read the book first and watch the movie second. I'm always finding out movies are based on books after I've already watched it. I figured I could drop my opinion on the book, the movie, and how they compare. Cause the internet doesn't have enough opinions about things already. And don't forget, there may be spoilers here. You've been warned.
First, let's start with the book. I actually loved it. It wasn't as scary as some have made it out to be. Don't get me wrong, if I was on a hill in Mexico with a sentient killer vine that could imitate noises, voices, and eat human flesh, I would pee my pants and let the Mayans guarding the place kill me. But reading about it wasn't as scary an experience as I thought it would be. I loved how dark and gritty the book was. No one came off as the hero. No one came off as better than anyone. They were all scared, they were all unsure of their actions. And yes, the book is graphic but not for the sake of shock. Instead, it's primal. You get the real sense that these people are trapped on the hill and you feel dirty yourself. It puts you in their shoes. You can feel the dirt and grime sticking to your skin. You can almost choke on the fumes from human waste. It's graphic but necessary to the story. And the ending was great. No one gets out alive. I couldn't imagine a better ending.
Alright, let's move on to the movie. It starts out with a woman all alone in a dark place. She's crying out for help when something drags her into the darkness. Then, cut to our main characters enjoying life in a Mexican beach resort. Everything moves pretty quickly. They decide to take a trip out to some Mayan ruins with a man they met about an hour ago. The quick pace is actually a good thing, though. We don't need a lot of build up. The movie is supposed to be about the ruins and the killer vines. Not college kids in a beach resort. Naturally, they get warned not to go there but they go anyway. The moment they see the ruins, everything happens fast. The Mayans guarding the place come out of the trees and yell at them. Once they touch the vines, they realize they aren't allowed to leave, thanks to the Mayans killing one of the group. The pacing of the movie is pretty fast without a lot of down time. Again, not complaining here. My one complaint is of the characters. They don't feel fleshed out or realistic. Just expendable kids on a summer vacation. In the end, one of them escapes. Not a fan of that ending for this particular story.
Last, let's examine how I feel about the movie when compared to the book. At first, it starts out almost exactly like the book. The Mexican resort, the meeting of Mathias, the Greeks and everything. Though, the movie version doesn't introduce the Greeks at all. They are nameless figures in the background. I understand books have more time to introduce characters but the movie doesn't even make an attempt at this. You would hardly even know they were Greek if not for a quick one line by another character as they walk up on the group at the beach. The group arriving at the ruins is relatively the same just much quicker. Again, this makes sense as the pacing of the movie was much faster than the book. Considering the book had over three hundred pages to tell the story and the movie only has about an hour and a half, it makes sense. So I understand the pacing. What's weird, though, is all the changes made to character's fates. For example, Dimitri (called Pablo for most of the book because they don't know his real name until later) gets killed by the Mayans in the movie and Mathias falls down the well and breaks his back. In the book, it's Dimitri(Pablo) who breaks his back and they care for him for most of the book before he dies. Of course, this change may have had to do with pacing so I understand. In the book, Eric gets infected with the vine and goes crazy, cutting himself to ribbons before stabbing Mathias in the heart by mistake. In the movie, they give that part to Stacy and let her kill her boyfriend Eric. Jeff dies in relatively the same way in the movie and the book. The Mayans take him our for trying to escape in the book whereas in the movie he's merely a distraction to allow Amy to make a run for it. And this is the change I hated the most. Amy gets away. She runs to the Jeep and drives off safely. In the book, Amy is choked to death by the vine in front of Jeff but it's too dark for him to see. He simply thinks she's puking. I prefer the books ending where no one makes it out alive. Of course, in both the book and the movie, the Greeks show up to the ruins in the end. This ending makes sense in the books because we just witnessed our entire group die with no hope of escape. Now, we know what's going to happen to the Greeks. They have no chance. But following the movie's ending, we see there is a chance. The Mayans can be outsmarted. In the book, stepping into the vines meant certain death one way or another. The movie misses that mark and gives us a hopeful ending. Personally, I like the darker ending but that's just me.
Have you read the book or seen the movie? How about both? Which did your prefer and why? Let me know in the comments below. And if you haven't seen the movie or read the book, you really should. I quite enjoyed them both.
I've often wondered about the first person in history to consider trapping a horse, buckling a saddle to its back, and climbing on the two-thousand-pound muscular creature. Then I always wonder how someone could train these horses to perform on command. Attend any horse show and you will see the relationship between rider and horse. It’s not one of control and submission but of respect and understanding. Each horse has its own personality, much like we do. Learning these personalities seems crucial to being able to teach them and, in some cases, ride them.
Out past the major cities like Tampa, you will find farmland for as far as the eye can see. Horses are a common sight while traveling these quaint roads far from the highways. My destination was a town called Lithia about an hour from my home. I was invited out to the ranch by horse enthusiast, Savannah. In her spare time, Savannah takes care of a beautiful horse named Dee Dee. She’s a friendly horse with a lot of character and had once taken home third place at a horse show.
First, we had to make our way out and retrieve Dee Dee. Savannah told me she wouldn’t allow herself to be reined in if Savannah was holding the harness. I followed Savannah to the back of the ranch, stepping through patches of mud and puddles. It had been advised to wear boots to the ranch and I now understood why. It was, unfortunately, an advisory I had neglected to follow. But a pair of muddy shoes wasn’t going to stop me from getting up close with these magnificent animals.
I waited as Savannah approached Dee Dee with careful concentration and gave her a calming rub. Dee Dee stood proud and waited for Savannah to clip the harness around her. With that, we led her back through the muddy field and to a large wooden post. This was where Dee Dee would be groomed. A brush was handed to me and I went to work trying to brush out the shedding coat. It’s not as easy as brushing, say, a dog or a cat. No, this coat takes a bit of hard work to brush it out. Before my arm could grow too weary, Savannah informed me it was much harder to brush out their winter coat. I had never been more relieved for summer to be upon us.
There’s a lot of terms when it comes to horses. For example, a gelded horse is a male that has been castrated. A horse between the ages of one and two is known as a yearling and anything younger is foal. You can also call a baby horse still nursing a suckling. It seems like too much to remember but Savannah cited it like letters of the alphabet.
One of my favorite questions to ask during these adventures is “How did you get into this?” because the answer is never simply “Just felt like it.” Everyone has a story to tell about their favorite hobby and Savannah’s is no different. Since she was little, she had always wanted to work with horses but never had the opportunity. One day, her aunt invited her to climb up on a horse and rest in the saddle. From there, her aunt proceeded to smack the horse’s rear end and shouted after her, “You either hang on or fall off.” From that moment, Savannah was hooked.
After we were finished brushing Dee Dee’s coat, we lead her to an open field were Dee Dee could get some exercise. I watched as Savannah led her around the field, leading her left and right with nothing more than a shift of her body. She could get her to trot and stop on command. Of course, I was impressed by their combined showmanship.
Naturally, it was my turn. Savannah handed over the rope and gave me a quick rundown of how to get Dee Dee to move how I wanted. There was a warning, however. She would try and test me. Little things, like stopping just after I wanted her to or taking extra time to turn. Like I said before, they do have their own personalities. But she walked with me with very little effort. She turned when I wanted, walked where I wanted her to and came to a stop when I pulled on the rope. However, she did always make it point to be ahead of me, apparently letting me know she was the one in charge. Then, Savannah asked if I wanted to make her trot. I was a little reluctant but went for it all the same. And I’m glad I did. She told me to take two large steps forward as we walked and Dee Dee would follow with a trot. As I did, she trotted along. Guiding an animal larger than myself with nothing but a short rope, and at a trot no less, was powerful, to say the least.
Finally, it was time to end our time at the ranch. It was fun meeting the horses, the barnyard dogs, the wonderful people who work there, and Dee Dee, of course. Being out in the hot sun can be brutal and yet, working with these majestic animals is rewarding. It’s not hard to see why someone would spend their time caring for these wonderful animals and training them for the shows. Savannah invited me to come along with her to the ranch sometime later, when the weather was a bit cooler. I had such a fun experience, that I might just take her up on that offer. Of course, I’ll bring you all along as well. Thanks for coming with me on this Avocation Adventure and remember to keep wandering, just not alone.
There’s something relaxing about the aroma of fresh wood. Maybe it stems from a primal nature somewhere within our DNA. Walk into any home improvement store and find the lumber aisle and stand there with your eyes shut. You would be forgiven for thinking you had been transported to the middle of the forest. The trees sway in the light, summer breeze. Maybe a brook babbles nearby. Birds sing their pretty songs as they flutter about. Of course, when you open your eyes and realize you’re still in the home improvement store, you may notice some odd stares coming your way.
Wood working can conjure up these same images and from the comfort of your own work shop or garage. In my case, it was in someone else’s. I had the pleasure of hanging out with Joey and learning as much as I could about wood working. He’s been crafting such things as coffee tables and cutting boards for the past six years. His garage was less for storing cars and more of a wood working utopia.
Beneath the work table, crafted out of wood of course, rested planks of wood from various sources. Some were salvaged from an old bench in his backyard which had broken. Other pieces he had received from places such as Offer Up or Craigslist. Our project was a wooden chest meant to look similar to a pirate’s chest. We wanted it to look weathered and old as if it spent most of its life at the bottom of the ocean. Luckily, Joey had just the pieces.
He sorted through his stack and pulled out the broken bench pieces and handed them to me. They were old and weathered alright. I could almost picture the chest in my mind. But how to actually craft it, I hadn’t the faintest idea. Of course, that was no issue for him. I could see the excitement on his face as he snatched the pieces and went about telling me our plans for the day. Before long, I was excited to jump in and start sawing some wood.
Saw dust encompassed the entire space as we sent planks through the table saw. As the day grew longer, the heat grew with it. After an ice-cold beer and some pizza, we returned to the garage to continue our work. I learned Joey had always loved crafting things out of wood. From a young age, he would whittle things with nothing more than a pocket knife and sticks. Coincidentally, I had done the same when in Boy Scouts. I told him my skills had merely been sharpening sticks with pocket knives.
Wood working is a lot of just that, working. It’s a lot of sawing, drilling, hammering, measuring, and repeating. But something about it is fun and relaxing. Therapeutic, almost. I could tell it meant more than just a weekend hobby for him. It was a passion. In fact, it was a passion he was dying to share. I was taken under his wing and shown the ropes and sent home that day with a project I would need to finish. So, that day, I took a trip to the home improvement store and picked up some items I would need. For the first time since I started Avocation Adventures, I brought the hobby home with me and might very well make it my own.
“Pretty soon,” he said, handing me a few pieces of wood to take home with me. “You’ll be taking your kitchen knives and smashing the handles so you can carve yourself a wooden one.” In fact, he had done that very thing with one of his own. Had he not told me he had crafted it himself, I would have never known.
Handmade items have a certain character to them. It’s personal and real. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with buying a factory-made desk or entertainment center. But when you see what a skilled craftsman can do with a few planks of wood and a Saturday afternoon, it makes you want to own nothing but handcrafted goods. Or better yet, it might make you want to start creating your own. Thanks for coming along on this Avocation Adventure and remember to keep wandering, just not alone.
I am a self-published horror/thriller author. I love reading, writing, and taking long walks through scary parts of the forest. I'm learning new tricks everyday to become a better author and occasionally will share those tips with you. Otherwise, you can read book reviews, info about my writing, and personal stories about my adventures in nature.