Saturday, March 11, 2017

Thoughts on Book Reviews

As a writer, book reviews are critical. I have taken it upon myself over the past 6 to 8 months, to become a reviewer. I want to help my fellow writers draw attention to their work. I also hope that others will do the same for me.

It is said that there is no such thing as a bad review. Every review adds to the author's visibility, and since each reader is different, each review will likely focus on a different aspect of what the writer has to offer. There is definitely truth to this. The more numbers you have, the higher you go up the list. Simple math, and all of that. (Remember, I'm a writer, not a mathematician, but I still get the basics ;)

There is nothing like the feeling of getting a five star review. Even if the person knows you, and is biased because they gave birth to you, or have been sharing their deepest secrets with you since your tweens, these reviews are amazing. Then there are those ones you get from people you've never met, and you think, "wow, I've actually managed to touch someone. This is going somewhere."

On the other hand, there are also one star reviews. Imagine getting kicked in the stomach, then having an elephant sit on your chest. That's sort of what a one star review feels like. It's bad enough to know that someone really didn't enjoy what you were trying to say, but it doesn't end there. I'll never forget reading a blog post by mega selling indie author, Amanda Hawking. She has finally released the final book in her "My Blood Approves," series, but doing so took her years because of negative reviews. People who reviewed her book, rather than simply saying how they felt about the stories or the characters, turned to talking about what a horrible person she must be for even writing such trash. In turn, that made her feel like these books that she enjoyed sharing with the world somehow made her less of a person.

Not everyone will like every book. You can't make everyone happy. It's not possible, even if you write a book that is a best seller, or that wins awards left and right. Even if your book is published in more languages than you knew existed, and has millions of five star reviews, there will be someone who reads it and says, "meh." And it is totally okay for people not to like a book, or to think it is poorly written, or to be unable to identify with the characters, but why do they have to make it personal? Why do they feel the need to belittle the author, just because they didn't like what that person wrote?

I have some theories about nasty one star reviewers, but they aren't overly positive. Personally, I think they're probably compensating for something, and rather than dealing with their own issues, they're using their powers of good for evil. Okay, you can write a scathing review, but maybe you shouldn't pat yourself on the back for the fact that you took someone's dream and crushed it in the cruelest way imaginable.

I could go on and on about this topic, but I'd rather switch to something more positive and save the rest for another time. I'm going to do a talk about my book next week. I have no idea if anyone will show up, but it's the first time I've done anything like this, which means I'm filled with that weird mix of excited nervousness that won't settle until I'm driving home at the end of the evening. I've done plenty of public speaking as a teacher, but it's different when you have to go up and be vulnerable about a topic that is dear to your heart: your precious book baby. So here's to hoping I have an audience, and that they're open to hearing about what led me to write One Week In November.

I'm also hoping to have fresh publication news really soon as I re-release The Darkening Dragons. I'm definitely squirrely with excitement about that, so stay tuned :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

New Cover Reveal

I am so excited to be able to help C.E. Dimond share the new covers for her books Awakening and Wandering in her Lost Legacy series. I was privileged to receive free copies of both of these books for review, and really enjoyed them. I also appreciated the author's willingness to listen to feedback, and how hard she worked to improve her writing. The new covers look absolutely fabulous, and I wish her great success as she works on the sequel. If you're interested in reading more about her books, as well as a fun interview, please check out my blog post from September 29, 2016.

There is also giving away copies of Awakening, so please follow the link :)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Surrender Blog Tour

Wow, two posts in a week. I'm really going wild or something ;) Today I get to share a little with you about the book Surrender, by GR Thomas. I actually haven't started reading it yet, because I'm still in the middle of book one, Awaken, which I am enjoying thus far. The stories are an interesting take on Angels, with bits of fantasy woven in for good measure. Once I have a chance to finish both the books I'll be putting up my reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, but for now, I'll let the author introduce things to you herself :) Be sure to read all the way to the end for insights directly from the author.

Title: Surrender (The A'vean Chronicles : Volume 2)
Author: G.R. Thomas
Summary from
Sophia Woodville's life is anything but ordinary. You can't be ordinary when you've discovered
you're an Earth-born Angel. Alone and suddenly powerless in the stinking heat of the Daimon
realm, Sophia has been betrayed by the one person she trusted most. She must find a way to escape and continue her quest to unravel the clues left for her eyes only, fighting the Zombie-like Rogues to preserve the prophecies of Enoch. Only then can the Fallen Angels return to their homeland and humanity be released from the grip of Yeqon and his evil horde.
Amazon Link:
Goodreads Link:
Syracuse 212 BC
The stench of the narrow, dusty streets made Lucius wish for the battlefields more than ever. The smell of human waste rolled his stomach until the acid of bile lapped at the back of his throat. It mercilessly gnawed at him more than seeing the entrails of a dead soldier. His protracted reposting under General Marcellus was nothing short of mind-numbing. Running meaningless errands for that tyrant not only left his body lacking its former battle strength, but had driven him to the evils of too much wine and women for the lack of adventure. He grimaced with disgust at himself as he wiped strands of amber hair and sweat a third time from his brow with the back of his battle-scarred hand.
He smoothed down his well-kept tunic after a wind gust and re-adjusted his beloved sword across his waist. A gift for bravery, his thumb rolled across the top of the hilt as he made the last turn into the small cobbled street, barely two soldiers wide. The effort of dragging up his right leg with any semblance of dignity slowed him down considerably. The damn injury that saw his last battle a career-ending one. He resented this lameness and ground his teeth in an almost permanent scowl.
Barely twenty-five with a young family back on the outskirts of Rome, who were barely sustained on his paltry wage, the pressure to provide well for them was immense. He could envisage the look of shame in his late father's face when he stared into a looking glass during his morning ablutions.
This extra job though, bringing in the old rogue, Archimedes, would see an extra one hundred
Denari in his eager hands. Yet to lay eyes upon his two-year-old daughter, the monetary reward was all that pushed him to accept such menial tasks so far beneath a centurion of his standing. He growled to himself, but pushed on towards his destination. Lucius found the ramshackle frontage, stopping to rub his temples before he announced himself. Frustrated, he kicked out a stray dog, sniffing for a scrap of food. Headaches had plagued him of late. None of the poultices had worked, not even an entire night's worth of drinking could calm it.
He'd resorted to Vitriola recently, using far too much of his precious wage to acquire the addictive painkiller. It did work somewhat, but left him with nightmares of hellish proportions. Be sure and also pick up a copy of "Awaken," the first book in this incredible series.
With a special gift held close to her heart, it was always going to be hard for Sophia Woodville tolive an ordinary life. As a 20 year old nursing grad, she thought she had her future all sorted.
However, destiny was about to intervene. Her secret was not so secret. The gift she possessed was just a hint of something far beyond her wildest imagination.
Sophia will be pulled, kicking and screaming, into an unseen, ancient world that challenges all that she thought to be true of herself, her family and the origins of humanity.
Original sin, forbidden love and her life in constant danger.
Will Sophia survive this dark twist of fate?
Will the devil be her saviour?
Will an Angel be her downfall?

Growing up in the burbs of Melbourne, Australia, in the 1970's, I had little in the way of technology to entertain me. I loved horses and books. When not riding my pinto pony I devoured fantasy books. I loved Enid Blyton with all the fairies and make believe. Over time, those fairies became darker as I delved into richer, more adult and scary fantasy and paranormal literature. These books mirrored a vivid dreamscape that comes almost nightly to me. Stories swirl about whilst I sleep, both delighting and frightening me. After a wonderful career as an I.C.U nurse and having an amazing family, I finally put pen to paper and began pulling out some of these stories. History and fantasy are what I love to read now, and especially when intertwined together. Anything that takes my mind away from the daily grind is fair game. I am a great fan of diverse and immensely talented authors, some of these being, Ken Follett, Phillipa Gregory, Tolkien, Julie Kagawa, Cassandra Clare, Amy Plum, Rochelle Maya Callen and the very talented Aussie author Matthew Riley. The list could really just go on forever.
Awaken is my debut novel, the first in a three book series.
Follow me on Instagram at grthomas2014 for regular updates on my current writing

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Blog Tour Organized by: Happy Lil Book Tours

1.) When it comes to writing do you consider yourself a plotter or a pantser (someone who just writes by the seat of their pants)?
I am a bit of both. I always plot out important milestones of the story but do a substantial amount of flying by the seat of my pants over a latte at my favourite cafe. I find a skeletal framework with a whole lot of room to move in between allows my mind to wander far. I have had some quite substantial changes occur by letting the story and characters take charge.

2.) When you started writing Awaken, were you already anticipating writing a sequel? If not, at which point did you decide you would need to write more than one book, and do you have plans for more in the series as well?
I always knew this would be a trilogy, with a very clear destination. I’ve had the ending written for a long time so I know exactly where I’m headed. I just have to fill in all the bits in between. This can sometimes make it tricky because I have so much swirling through my mind at once. I have to keep a clear focus on not trying to put too much in too soon. Balancing out the reveal of the story is key.

3.) My readers always love a chance to go behind the scenes with the characters. Can you share any background info that doesn't appear in the story? For example favorite color, style of music, celebrity crush, favorite food, etc. about any of your characters.
Background of a character, this is interesting. I had to have a good think on this. I’ll go with Ben because he’s is fairly under-represented in Awaken.
Ben was always a loner until Jaz came into his life. His words are few and to the point. He is keen on keeping his hands and mind busy with the least amount of intrusion by others. He loves to fix things. He picks up what is broken, works out how to fix it and then brings it back to life. He particularly likes motorbikes but also loves the complexity of repairing computers. Ben eats blandly. Food does not interest him. He is at home with an open can of beans and a piece of dry toast any day. Food to him is a means to an end, not a pleasure. Likewise, he is disinterested in fashion but plain and black suit him just fine. Jeans, a t-shirt and a jacket are all he needs. He is often found wandering the local forests, secretly he likes taking Sophia’s dog, Shadow for walks when she is at work. He doesn’t advertise the fact that he has a soft spot for animals. He works out....a lot. At least twice a day he lifts weights giving him an impressive appearance.
He does however like music, hard rock and heavy metal played loud to drone out his worries is not uncommonly heard through an open window at his home. Ben continues to prefer to keep to himself other than his friendship with Sophia and sister, Jaz. He socializes with them, does what they want to do, adapting himself to please them regardless of whether he’s interested in the activity or not. He has always been fiercely protective of them both and has been known to enthusiastically pick a fight to defend them, even for something as simple as a glance in their direction. His fuse is shorter than his calm demeanour infers.

4.) Which of your characters would you most love to spend a day with and what would you do on that day? I would love to spend a day with Brennan. He’s my favourite character. I adore his wit, his light hearted nature, he is the best friend that we always want. Brennan is an irrepressible gossip and people person so I think a night out around the town, taking in the nightlife would be hilarious with him. He’s a decent and respectful guy who would keep you feeling safe whilst blowing your mind with his total lack of modesty and perpetual clowning around.

5.) Was there anything that surprised you, or came out differently than you anticipated when you were writing Surrender?
Surprises did evolve whilst writing Surrender. The biggest was wrestling with a character that really wanted to write their own dialogue. It was quite a shock. Here I was thinking I was in charge, but every time I tried to write this character a certain way it was like they were screaming up at me from the computer screen to let them be themselves. Suffice to say, the character won.

6.) Do you have any writing rituals, favorite places/foods/music to accompany your writing?I have developed a ritual of writing daily at my local coffee shop. I love the white noise of the cafe sounds, I don’t mind all the coffee too. I find it hard to write at home because I see all the housework I’m supposed to be doing Ha Ha! I use post it notes too, a lot of them.

I’ll share a little of my writing inspiration. Awaken evolved from a dream I had many years ago where I was drowning in a flood and I was saved by an Angel. From there, the places I’ve visited both around the world and in my own back yard have been rich with characters and locations that appear vividly in both my books. In particular, I adore the Dandenong Ranges in Melbourne and feature them in Awaken. I really wanted to highlight the beauty of this magical place that is only a short distance from where I live. Since I began writing, everyone and everything is potential writing fodder.

*Hosts were provided with a copy of the book for review purposes in exchange for their honest
reviews and opinions.*

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Kindness Matters

It's a simple thought, really. Through every age, every era, every part of the world, if we take a closer look at people, not politics, we can see the truth shining up at us. We are not a world made of politics, scored by border lines, races, and religions. We are a world full of people. People who live their lives every day, through good times and bad, war and peace, prosperity and poverty, sorrow and joy. While history may chose to focus on the battles and rebellions that shaped our modern governments and divisions, it is our humanity that continues to draw us together.

I started out 2017 full of inexplicable hope. The number 17 is one of my favorite numbers, you see, and so I wanted to truly believe that this would be a year that would be somehow more amazing. But thus far, well, let's just say, not so much amazing. From frozen weather that shut down the city where my business is, to protests that have continued to divide, to the continued daily struggle of figuring out all the "what next" decisions we are facing, it has honestly been hard.

I was encouraged through a challenge on Bookstagram (the obsessive lovers of books portion of Instagram) to choose a word for this year, and in my desire for positivity, I picked the word "Believe." I've put aside my naivety, but I refuse to completely give up on the dream that despite the challenges we all face, I will believe that things can be better. I will believe that I can push myself forward every day to be more of the person I want to be. I will believe that despite the things that appear to divide, we are all people, and we all matter. Kindness matters.

That is really the core of the book I published back in October. It is so easy to see what we want to see in others and in ourselves, but is that really fair? Are we really allowing people to be who they genuinely are? And if they exhibit their true selves, are we willing to accept and love them, even if we don't agree with them or the decisions they make? Does kindness really matter?

Well, this morning, I experienced kindness in a simple but compelling way. I was out of coffee creamer, and so I decided to pick up a Dutch Bros coffee on the way into work. (Yeah, I like my coffee to taste like candy.) After waiting patiently in line, my punch card and money ready to go, I was greeted by a smiling girl handing me my coffee and explaining that the gentleman in front of me had paid for my drink. And here's the thing, this is not the first time this has happened to me. Even as I was sitting in line I had been remembering the kind soul who had done that very thing for me a couple of months ago when I was on my way to a book signing event. It touched me then, and it touched me again today. I will never see either of those people and know who they are, but their kindness mattered to me, more than they will probably ever even realize.

So wherever you are, whatever your circumstances, whatever your abilities, just remember that even the smallest acts of kindness really do matter.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Betraying Xaverique Blog Tour

On time this time! Wahoo! I'm trying to cram this in before things get busy here at work. I'm about 80% through with this book, and so wish I could just sit and read, but tisn't the season for free time :P At least I managed to get this put together, so hopefully I can copy and paste it all before we get busy again. Loving this story, by the way. I really liked the first one, and book two does not disappoint!

Title: Betraying Xaverique
Author: Karyn Sepulveda
Summary from Gabby Valis is a Xaverique. Sois the boy she loves, Noah; he’s also her enemy. Gabby and her family are once again thrown into battle with Zlanythe and his crew after they seek revenge by killing one of their own. To defeat evil though, one must first understand it and delving into Zlanythe’s past initiates the ultimate fight between good and evil. ‘Before this week ends, I will lose three people I love. Two will die and one will succumb to the darkness that has been assailing them for so long. If I went back in time, I’m not sure there’s a thing I could have done to stop any of it.’
Amazon Link:
Goodreads Link:

This excerpt is taken from
Prologue March 1961, Sydney
Sophia gripped the metal handrail, watching the veins in her thin hands pulsate rhythmically. Soon, the flow of blood would stop, she thought. She would never have to worry about the fighting, the screaming, the hatred, ever again. Sophia closed her eyes and breathed in the fresh air. It smelled oftrees, of rain and of peace. She wasn’t scared now; the pain would soon be gone. She would soon be gone. Sophia opened her eyes, gazing at the thick bush that filled the deep valley beneath her. She quickly glanced behind her, to make sure no-one was around. She didn’t want to traumatise anyone by dying in front of them. But the bridge was deserted. Sophia looked straight up into the drizzly grey sky and then she simply stepped off. As she fell, Sophia didn’t think of anything. Her life didn’t flash before her eyes; she didn’t feel regret or fear. She just fell; completely aware of the wind rushing through her, the tiny droplets of rain splattering her face, the weightlessness of her empty stomach and then... Nothing. It was over. ‘Hold still. Don’t try to move. Not yet.’ A deep voice filled the darkness. Sophia was thrashing
about, lying amidst broken branches and thick wet grass. Her arms and legs seemed to be moving by themselves. Her back arched, creating a nauseating crunch. She opened her eyes, but everything was blurry. She managed to focus on her hand, staring at the blue veins that had not changed. She was still alive. How? ‘OK, now, let’s take it slowly. Can you try to sit up?’
That voice again.
Sophia squinted. Someone was hunched over, cradling her in his slender arms. The stranger brushed the hair from her eyes and helped ease her to a sitting position. Their faces were close now and hewas wiping something wet from her cheeks. He was an angel, she realised. He had to be. All the crap she’d gone through in her life had been worth it. She was in heaven and this was an angel greeting her. ‘Well, you must beOKif you’re smiling. I’m Nathan; it’s nice to meet you, Sophia.’ The angel put his arm around Sophia and guided her to her feet. Sophia looked down at her body. She was soaked, muddy, and her clothes ripped to shreds. But there was not a scratch on her. She’d felt crushing pain for a moment, she remembered, before she’d blacked out. But now, here in heaven, everything was OK. Sophia, for the first time in many years, felt OK. She must have been smiling again because the angel was smiling too. ‘Sophia, do you feel OK? ’he asked.
She nodded her head. ‘Are we going to stay here?’ She asked, wondering where the fluffy white clouds she’d heard about in primary school were. ‘No, I’m going to take you back to my place. Is that OK?’
‘Is it a cloud?’ Sophia asked as Nathan took her hand in his and began walking up the steep, bushy wall of the valley.
Nathan chuckled. ‘No, just a regular flat I’m afraid. Are you sure you’re OK? How much do you know about transitioning? Physically, you regenerated perfectly. But it must be a lot to absorb.’Transitioning, regenerating – what funny ways to describe death, Sophia thought. ‘I’m OK. I wanted this. I didn’t want to live anymore, so I guess that’s why I regenerated ortransitioned or whatever so well. I’m happy tobe dead. I didn’t think it would feel so, real.’
Nathan stopped walking and turned to face her. He was higher up and toweredover Sophia, but there was not a single intimidating feature in this man. Everything about him was gentle and calm. His soft brown hair fell easily around his delicate face. And blue eyes that Sophia imagined herself swimming in radiated kindness. Sophia felt an odd sensation around him; trust. ‘
Sophia, you’re not dead. You’re sixteen today, you’ve transitioned.’
‘I jumped from a bridge. I’m dead,’ Sophia said. Of course she had tobe dead. But as Nathan shook his head, she couldn’t explain why she knew that she wasn’t. That something else had happened.
‘You’re not dead,’ Nathan repeated. ‘Actually, your real life has just begun. You’re a Xaverique, Sophia.’

March 1963, Sydney

Sophia held Nathan tightly. ‘Why do you have to go?’
Nathan wrapped his arms around Sophia. ‘I’m going to the shops, we need groceries.’
‘We can survive without food, we’re strong enough,’ Sophia said and kissed Nathan firmly on the lips. He returned her kiss, but pulled away when she started running her fingers through his hair.
‘Soph, I’m hungry. I’ll be back in an hour OK?’
Sophia sighed loudly and threw herself onto the huge bed. She laid her head on the soft pillow. ‘Fine, but get me some chocolate.’
Nathan laughed and kissed her on the forehead. ‘I forget how young you are sometimes. Chocolate it is.’
Sophia sat up and threw one of the pillows at him. ‘Eighteen is not that young!’
‘Of course it isn’t.’ Nathan threw the pillow back and Sophia ducked. ‘I’ll see you soon,’ Nathan said and whistled ashe closed the door to their apartment behind him.
Sophia smiled and lay back down on the comfortable bed. She still wasn’t used to feeling so happy. She and Nathan had been living together for over two years, ever since the day he found her broken, under the bridge. She could barely remember the desperate misery she had felt during the days before she decided to jump. The life she’d had before Nathan was now just a blur. She continued to smile as she ran a hot bath and began undressing. As she slipped her dress off and stepped into the steaming water, she thought about Nathan’s eyes. They were blue, but not just any blue; they were the dark blue of the ocean. Every time she looked into them she felt she would always be happy. Sophia bunched up a dry hand towel and placed it under her head to act as a pillow as she lay in the lavender-scented bath. She breathed in deeply and felt happiness reach every part of her body. Yes, she was undoubtedly the luckiest Xaverique that ever existed.
Sophia woke with a start. The water was cold and the bathroom had darkened. She was shivering and reached for a towel. She wrapped it around her body and rubbed at her arms, trying to warm up. She heard the front door close. ‘Nathan?’
Sophia called out and opened the bathroom door. Nathan was standing in the entrance. He was looking around the apartment. ‘Sophia, ah, hello,’he said in his deep voice. He had no shopping bags with him. ‘Where’s the groceries?’
‘Oh,’ Nathan glanced at his empty hands. He looked up again and this time he smiled. ‘I must have forgotten them.’
‘But you were so hungry. Did you eat out? Where have you been?’
‘I had something to attend to.’ Nathan walked slowly towards Sophia and she got the goose bumps. She wasn’t sure ifit was because she was still cold from the bath or if it was a warning. Something about Nathan was different. He stood in front of her and looked her up and down. She pulled the towel tighter and shivered. ‘So what did you do?’ she asked again.
Nathan glared at her. ‘None of your business.’
Sophia took a step back. Something was very wrong. Nathan had never spoken to her like that before. His voice was different too; it was coarse and cold. He threw his head back and laughed. ‘Take a joke will you? Actually, I think I will go back out and eat. See you.’
He looked into her eyes for a moment, then turned and stormed out. Sophia’s body froze, as she realised his eyes were no longer blue; they were black.
Before this week ends, I will lose three people I love. Two will die and one will succumb to the darkness that has been assailing them for so long. If I went back in time, I’m not sure there’s a thing I could have done to stop any of it. The guilt lies with one person; Sophia. And I will never forgive her.
Click HERE to read Chapters 1 & 2
About the Author
Karyn comes from a background in teaching and theatre. Teaching drama, and writing and directing Theatre in Education productions. She’s always loved creating stories and characters, so completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Macquarie University. It was here that her journey of writing Choosing Xaverique began. Now, six years later, she is just a little bit thrilled it has finally been published! Karyn is currently working on the sequel to Choosing
Xaverique, slated for production later this year.
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Blog Tour Organized by:
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*Hosts were provided with a copy of the book for review purposes in exchange for their honest reviews and opinions.*

Now for my favorite part, the Author Interview :)

1. How long did you take off before writing book 2? Was it hard to get back into the characters of did it feel like coming back to hang out with friends?

I wrote the bones of book 2 (about 25,000 words) just months after completing my final draft of Choosing Xaverique - so about five years ago now. I didn't read it again until after Choosing Xaverique had been published (early 2016) and it honestly felt like reading someone else's book, I didn't remember writing most of it. So that made editing a lot of fun, as it was all fresh and new. I absolutely loved returning to my characters and creating more of their story. They certainly felt like old friends.

2. I noticed on Instagram that you think you're done with this series after book two. Is there any possibility that you might leave things open enough that you could come back and revisit the series in the future, or at least tell more about other Xaveriques?

I was originally planning to write a third book in the series and did write some rough plans for one. But not long ago I had a very strong feeling that I should end the story with book two. I had the idea for the epilogue and wrote it in one sitting. I'm so content with how my story ends, so, while I'll miss my Xaverique characters, it's time to leave them alone :)

3. I am really enjoying learning more about the history of the Xaveriques. What inspired you to create this unusual group of super humans?

I don't know! I just had that initial idea of a young girl finding out she had powers once she dies and comes back to life and the species has evolved from there. Writing the history pieces was so enjoyable - but I wrote them all separately, so fitting them into the novel in a sequence that made sense felt like attempting an impossible puzzle. I still can't believe I managed it!

4. What most appeals to you about the idea of being a Xaverique?

Gabby's ability to heal is the most appealing element of being a Xaverique to me - wouldn't that be an incredible power to have.

5. Are you working on any other story projects?

I am just about to start my newest project - it will be a novel in a completely different style. It's all just ideas swirling around in my mind at the moment and a whole lot of notes in my book.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Breakwater Blog Tour

So I am totally living in busy Christmas mode, and somehow missed the date I was supposed to post for this blog tour. Tis the season for a messy life, or so it would seem. I haven't had a chance to finish reading Breakwater by Errin Stevens yet, but I am enjoying it so far, and hope that once the holiday craziness is over I'll have a chance to finish reading.

Breakwater (The Mer Chronicles: Book 2)
Errin Stevens
Summary from
The sirens of Griffins Bay are in trouble, and the recent slew of royal suicides looks to be the least of their worries. For one, unless a blood relative of the queen shows up, no one's around to staff the monarchy. Well, except for a whack-job bureaucrat and he seriously won't do. Worse is the community unrest threatening siren society, a problem caused by too many humans in the pool, which means Simon and his off-limit girlfriend will have to run and hide if they want to make more of their flirtation... The solution doesn't inspire confidence at first, but the Blakes have everything at hand to set their world to rights - namely, a hidden queen, a dead prince, and a facility for human manipulation.
Once they find their sea legs, they'll restore order, distribute smart phones, and drive that conniving bureaucrat to a grisly, satisfying end.
Amazon Link:
Goodreads Link:


She sensed his death and then ignored the possibility for several days. She couldn't
be sure, couldn't know after all this time, could she? More than forty years had passed since she'd last seen him, and they hadn't been bonded, not could she know? But she couldn't stop herself from thinking about it; she
felt the dissolution and it was not a feeling one could confuse. But...Peter? Why?
She experienced no real grief - she'd grieved over him, over their emotional catastrophe of a marriage, when she was still with him. But there was a distinct emptiness in her now, and a sadness that one of her kind was gone, someone she'd known as well as she knew anyone. Still, she felt unsure. When she could no longer tolerate her unease, she dove into the lake and transformed, a delicious
freedom she craved especially when troubled. Lake Superior had taken some getting used to - she was less buoyant here than in the salt water back home - but her feelings were clearer when she swam. She came here when she needed to think.
What did she perceive? She sifted through her thoughts and sensations, examining each carefully. No, she was not mistaken: Peter Loughlin was dead. And her,
far under the water where hardly any light penetrated, she suffered for her clarity, felt her remorse more keenly. She cried both for him and for herself.
The decision she had always put off would never be made now, the one to tell him or at least get him word he had a daughter. Now he would never know he'd been a father, would never hear her apologize for leaving without telling him she was pregnant.
She liked to believe he would have forgiven her for fleeing as she had, for protecting their baby from the environment that had crippled them both. Peter's inner distress, so like her own, would have schooled him she hoped; would have helped him accept she would have stayed if she could have.
Her uncertainty dispatched, Seneca meandered toward the surface while watching the play of light on the waves rippling overhead. She slowed as she rose, unwilling to approach the world above yet, when this exit from her lake might well be her last. Twenty feet down, she paused to contemplate the most thrilling, heartbreaking endeavor she'd undertaken since running away four decades earlier.
She could no longer apologize to her dead husband, but she could find their daughter, explain to her who she was, where she came from. Knowing she would do this, Seneca wept with relief at the prospect; how many hours over how many years had she yearned for her child? The orphanage and nuns who ran it were long gone - Seneca knew because she'd checked - but her little girl had stayed there through high school. And surely by now she was aware of what she was, although Seneca was confident the sisters had followed her directive, had kept her daughter from the ocean when she was small. She'd used all of her inconsiderable influence to ensure they would. Seneca surged through the last twenty feet of water, took a breath, and re-entered the lake. She flipped and then propelled herself face-up, just below the surface this time so she could watch the clouds. She felt like she was flying whenever she did this. She felt centered. Her understanding sharpened...and the decision to go became solid and right. She headed for shore thinking about all this place had been to her and what it would mean to her to leave it. She would try to leave her fosterling, Parker, behind, although she truly didn't know if she could. And yet the more she contemplated a return to North Carolina, the more eager she was to get on with it and go. If she had to bring Parker, when then she would. But she would at last, go to her beautiful baby, her girl. Carmen. She would find her and explain everything.

Listen to the songs that have inspired Breakwater...
"The Last Broadcast" by The Doves
"In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" by The Allman Brothers
"Our Deal" by Best Coast
"Shangri-la" by M. Ward
"Umbrella Beach" by Owl City

Errin Stevens writes paranormal suspense/romance from her home in Minnesota, where she lives with her husband and son. When not wrestling with unruly narrative –or reading everything from mythology to contemporary romance to literary novels – you’ll find her swooning over seed catalogs (winter), or digging in the garden (the other three days of the year). Visit her blog site at for release updates and random essays on writing and mothering.

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Blog Tour Organized by:
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*Hosts were provided with a copy of the book for review purposes in exchange for their honest
reviews and opinions.*

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Pria Chronicles Blog Tour

I did get a chance to read this one, and quite enjoyed the story. It is told from three different perspectives, and each one is retelling the events that have brought them together. As with a lot of self published books, these could use some editing, but I really enjoyed the story for itself. The author has created a highly imaginative otherworldly connection between the characters, and I am definitely curious to see where the rest of the series is heading. It was one of those books where I found myself really wanting to know what would happen next, and I was somewhat frustrated to have it end right as things were starting to get exciting. Read on for information from the author, a giveaway code, and be sure to stick around for the author interview at the end :)

Title: Echoes (The Pria Chronicles Book One)
Author: Shannon Rieger
Summary from
Michael Hilton was six years old when he fell into an unexplained coma. His mysterious powers emerged when he inexplicably awoke, forever changed. Unearthly creatures that once were hidden from view were no longer invisible to him. Like the creatures living incognito amongst the human race, so will Michael attempt to conceal from others his strange powers and abilities. But his ability to see creatures prowling in his world is just the tip of the iceberg.
Chapter One
Michael Hilton on the topic of His Flair
Like the creatures living incognito amongst the human race, so will I remain anonymous as I write my experiences. I stopped drawing the monsters I see in my notebooks; it was freaking out my teachers and my parents. They seemed to forget them pretty quickly once I stopped, but it didn’t mean that the monsters were gone. I have to get this burden off my chest since seeing creatures is just the tip of the iceberg.
Some people can climb mountains using only their knowledge of the area, spiked, steel-toed, hiking boots and mere nylon ropes to keep them tethered to the rock. Yeah, those nylon ropes are said to be strong, difficult to cut on sharp rocks, but you wouldn’t catch me up there trusting my whole life to them. Others can diagnose the most disgusting ailments without throwing up. I just google some of the ailments and my stomach churns... Imagine touching and prodding and poking around... I’d throw up for sure.
I have heard of people in Niagara Falls walking on tightropes or going over The Falls in a barrel. Crazy? Yeah. But they have courage that far surpasses mine any day. I am envious of those who can act on stage, memorizing all the lines, enveloping the role as if it were second nature. Man, I see spots when I have to present something in front of my classmates. I just don’t have that sort of stage fearlessness.
Have you heard of those who can count the number of matchsticks simply by glancing at a pile of them scattered on the floor? Truly remarkable, yes. But what in the world would that power serve?
I have some abilities that are, in my opinion, way cooler, maybe even unparalleled. I, unfortunately, can’t flaunt them to impress girls; in fact, only a few…er…beings in my world even know I have them. One of those is a cat. Go figure. And believe me... Henry isn’t impressed.

*To keep reading be sure and pick up a copy of "Echoes." You won't want to miss what
happens next.*

Shannon Rieger is a fiction writer for the Young Adult genre and has completed a series of novels called The Pria Chronicles. She has a significant background in teaching at the secondary school level and uses these experiences to present a seamless, genuine world of conflict for teenagers as a backdrop to the story, while adding the infiltration of creatures from another dimension. Teaching at this level has given her the unique opportunity to create believable characters who think and
respond to conflicts like a teen, as well as, an opportunity to include what appeals to them: powers, magic and a hint of dark conflict.
Shannon was born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada. Her parents ran programs for at-risk teenagers, and often had a few living in their home over periods of time. She learned patience and empathy, while finding a way to escape the madness by writing fiction, even at a young age. She has written all her life, creating worlds and creatures, placing them carefully into stories using her active imagination as the key to survival. Shannon’s dream is to share her series of novels with the world. What a fun place that would be!
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Blog Tour Organized by: Happy Lil Book Tours
*Hosts were provided with a copy of the book for review purposes in exchange for their honest
reviews and opinions.*

And now for my favorite part of these blog tours, some inside information from the author:

1. I'm always curious about how writers set about to write their stories. Would you consider yourself a planner or a pantser (literally flying by the seat of your pants)?

I am definitely a planner. I plan in journals for months before I start, and I always know what the two climaxes, my twists, the ending, and the cliffhangers between chapters are before I begin writing. I work very hard on character development and growth during this time, as well. I don’t write linearly. I usually write the middle of my novel, followed by the ending before I even attempt the beginning of the novel. Chapter One is always done last. If I wrote pantser-style, I couldn’t write this way which works best for me.

2. When you started writing Echoes, did you already have a series planned, or did you decide that along the way?

I began Echoes over a decade ago and put it away for quite a few years. When I learned that I needed lung surgery, I had a lot of time off to heal. I picked up the book and began writing it again. I changed the storyline into what became Echoes and I had no idea that I was going to write two books, let alone seven. It just kept growing based on the dreams that I was having. When I wrote the end of book five, I woke crying and thought, “I’d better put that as my ending and begin book six!”

What's ironic is that the original idea I had for Echoes over a decade ago is now the novel I am currently writing called Paranormal Painless. When readers read this book, they will find it quite interesting to learn that Echoes was supposed to be about a serial killer and an ominous cat that had a connection to the supernatural. Boy, how did it change!

I never planned on writing a series. I always get to the end, and realize that there is a unique idea that can lead to another.

3. I think everyone loves having insider information about the characters they meet in fictional worlds. Can you tell us any little tidbits that don't appear in your story about your characters? For instance would Michael prefer having a dog rather than a cat? Does he have a favorite food or preferred style of music? You mention him reading, but what book is he enjoying the most? Any little details about him or other characters would be amazing.

What lies between the lines? Michael would never own a dog. Henry wouldn’t allow it. Michael enjoys reading but only as an escape from his reality. He is interested in novels like The Lord of the Rings but finds little time due to Henry’s pestering.

Avery is a rescuer and cannot stand seeing an animal suffer. She loves working with children. She is an only child which has made her quite selfish, but not intentionally. She loves to read, but enjoys writing poetry more. She has a very strong bond to her Grandmother, stronger than she even knows.

Greyson is the most charming and lovely person, but he has secrets living deep within him that will cause some turmoil later to come. He will destroy those around him at no fault of his own. He feels helpless and hopeless when he hurts those around him, and he wants desperately to live a normal life. He is a genius. Barely needs to study. He has a photographic memory and can remember everything he reads.

4.) If you could spend a day with any of your characters who would you chose and what would you do?

I’d spend the day with Henry and Michael. I’d want to take the opportunity to meet Kritch and the Girl with the Rainbow Coloured Hair. I’d want to travel with Michael and have him tell me every Echo he sees, and describe every creature he meets. I’d want to help him cope and feel normal even for a little while. I’d want to sit Avery, Greyson and Michael down and explain early on what the connect they have is in order to give them the opportunity to figure out the secrets before book three. I would also love to spend time in the Girl with the Rainbow Coloured Hair’s world. It is beautiful. (book five)

5.) What made you decide to have a boy as your main character? Did you find it difficult to connect with him as a female writer?

I teach special needs students and within that level, there are more boys than girls. I feel like I understand teenage boys better than girls, and I didn’t want the drama that would come along. I wanted Michael and Greyson to eventually become brothers, and I feel after the events that take place in the first three books, girls couldn’t overlook their differences to be friends. I connected with Michael immediately but not Avery. Avery took me a lot longer to create. I feel I grew as a writer and when I wrote book five, the girl with the rainbow coloured hair was a better written female protagonist. I have learned a lot about how to write girls/woman. Avery was difficult because I didn’t want the reader to like her. I wanted her to be true to the teenaged female, but I found people didn’t like her. I had to change her many times, and smooth her personality out. Female teens are dramatic, selfish, boy crazy. I teach them every day. That’s who they are. They grow. Learn. I wanted that for Avery. By book seven she is a strong and wonderful person. But she needed to have the time to grow. I feel I have done what I intended to do.

6) What else would I want to tell the reader?

One thing readers have said after completing the series is that it isn’t just about teenagers and high school. The world opens up, creatures infiltrate Michael’s world so terribly that by the time book six is written, they are captured in a dark world called Necrotic Rot. They are fighting off creatures that are trying to kill them just to get to Avery because of the secrets she holds. Everything is at stake. He must fight to keep what is his, even his own daughter. The powers he possesses are weak and will not help him succeed. The friends/creatures he meets along his journey will be the ones to protect him. I created over twenty species of creatures and every creature that you meet in the first three books will have an essential part to play in the series. Every single one. The world opens up...the reader just has to be patient enough to find it.