Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Loud Music Blog Tour

Wow, it's been a while since I posted here. Sorry for the long absence. Honestly, I'm thinking of starting a new blog that is more dedicated to my writing. I will probably keep doing some of these author interviews and book reviews, but I think it is time to have something more professional, rather than my personal blog in order to share with a broader audience. I don't want to totally give this blog up, since it has been a part of me for so long now, but it seems to have mostly run its course, so the new year will most likely see me starting up with a fresh blog.

This blog tour sort of got put off for a while, so I actually read this book a couple of months ago. It was a pretty quick read, that started off a little on the PG13-R rated side, but then settled down into a Hallmark sort of style tale of self discovery and redemption. There were a few elements that surprised me along the way, especially in regards to romance, but I don't want to spoil it. Suffice it to say, there were some surprises along the way.

Be sure to read through to the end for my interview with Gloria :)

Loud Music: If It Ain't Turned Up... It Ain't Loud Music!
By: Gloria L. Geiger
Synopsis from Amazon.com:
Ryan Davies is the lead singer of America's most popular rock group Loud Music. His face is on just about every magazine cover, website, and news program in the country and around the world. With T.V. endorsements and film offers, Ryan is set to become one of the most famous superstars of all time. That's only on the surface, under it all, there are problems, drugs, alcohol, sex, run-ins with law enforcement and his adorable face on the nightly news reporting yet another embarrassing moment in his life. To top that off, his controlling and money hungry mother still wants control of all things Ryan Davies, including money! His band mates hate him and he has been arrested so many times the jail might as well have a revolving door just for him. All that glitters isn't gold in his life,that is until a court judge decides to make him the example by sending Ryan to work on his estranged father's Kentucky horse ranch.
At first, Ryan thinks this might be the death of him until he meets the family he never knew and starts to form bonds with each of them including a special needs cousin who will teach Ryan that there is more to life than being rich and famous.
Amazon Link:
Goodreads Link:

The music is thunderous roaring in my chest and vibrating down to my feet. My body buzzing, itching to move with the beat as the backup dancers come out on stage. Blue, purple and white stage lights along with smoke from the smog machine fill the air as the audience starts screaming and chanting along with Bobby, who raps, "Rock that body, rock it good shake what yo' momma gave ya, promise not to break ya..."
The distinct sweet smell of cannabis wafts towards me on the stage making me want to light up just once before this segment of the show. I follow behind lead choreographer, Benny Henderson, one of my friends on this tour, he’s tatted all over his chest and arms and has large black gauges in his ears, and a buzz-cut so close to his scalp the stage lights gleam off his head. The dancers line up diagonally and wait for me to make my move, and then right on beat, I jump out in front of the dancers as planned to start my choreographed dance. Swaying and stomping to the music with the dancers. A female dancer saunters in front of me, wearing a flesh-colored dress covered in clear sequins and fringe, swaying her hips. She gives me a flirtatious smirk as she runs her finger across my chest. I give her a look that conveys my lustful interest then grab her wrist and spin her into my arms. We begin an insanely fast-paced cha-cha dance as the other dancers follow in suit. The crowd goes nuclear feeding my performers soul. I wink at my dance partner, Chalice, Cherise, Patrice. Whatever, then dip her backwards and kiss her cheek. It’s all part of the show; still, I can feel her melt in my arms.
"Not yet, sweetheart!" I say in her ear then pull herup straight and continue dancing while Bobby’s rapping into his mic. She sways her hips, twisting and turning in step with me.
"Gimme, gimme, give me what I want!" Bobby shouts into his mic as I spin her from my arms and perform a Fred Astaire move with another beautiful redheaded dancer twirling her about like a little shiny spinning top, the fringe of her nude colored dress splaying out from her body catching the stage lights like a human crystal. The music suddenly stops as we stand with our heads down waiting for our cue.
"ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR!" Bobby shouts and on cue the male back up dancers, dressed in only black leather pants, and I rush toward the audience of screaming teenage girls drop to our knees and skid to a stop, turning sideways, leaning back slightly, and start thrusting our hips as if we are sexing thin air. Then we drop forward into the most inappropriate version of push-ups known to humanity and simulate what we'd do to our girl if she were under us.
On the eight count, we flip over, land in a crab position, and thrust our pelvis skyward giving the girls up front the "do me baby" face. Quickly popping up on my feet I race back toward my mic as Bobby shouts in my ear, "Gonna get someone spontaneously pregnant doing that!" I look at my friend and laugh, seeing the surging and frenzied crowd, gives me feeling of completeness, of being whole.
Performing is like flying. Up here, I am untouchable, I get high off the music, the crowds cheers and screaming, lights and sounds! This is where I am free to be the real Ryan Davies. No one to treat me like a kid without say in his future, only the music, the fans, and my voice...up here, I am king. I am alive and up here I matter, not because of what I can do for someone or what my name will get them.
It's because my fans see me! They know I do this for them and them alone! Up here I feel... loved, something sorely lacking for the past twenty-one years of my life.
Shawn steps forward with his guitar and does some crazy Chuck Berry dance moves then spins and walks back to his place next to Trevor they trade looks then continue bopping their heads to the music. The two of them are crazy talented songwriters.
"Gimme your life, gimme your soul, come on baby I'll eat you whole..." I sing into the mic taking over on vocals again. Funny thing about performing it makes me feel as if I took the happiest of happy pills getting the ultimate high! The bad thing about getting high though is eventually you have to come back down again and the crash is always painful. That will be later...after the show, when it'll be Ryan versus... them, me against my entire world. I wish it were different. I wish it could be as it was when I first joined Loud Music. But we can’t go back in time, can we?

Gloria L. Geiger is a lover of the written word, mostly YA novels. Her love of reading started in elementary school when the librarian introduced her to Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. From that point forward she has been an avid bookworm. Reading books whenever and wherever she could. Asan author, she hopes to inspire others. Always be the sunshine and not the black cloud in someone's day.

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Author Interview

1.) Do you consider your self more of a plotter or a pantser (letting the story just carry you along)?
A little of both.

2.) when you create your characters do you use strict character sketches, or do you find that your characters evolve on their own as you write?

My characters seem to have a mind of their own. Each one wants something and if they don't get it. They whisper in my mind all night long until I give in. They also grow and evolve as the story takes it little twists and turns. I love seeing them even mature a little too.

3.). Can you give us some behind the scenes information about your characters? For instance favorite color, food, celebrity crush, any little bit of information you think might give readers a better understanding of who they are?
FAVORITE FOOD: Ryan Davies actually loves cheese burgers, I mention that in the story when he's at Joeys waiting to order his greasy hangover food.
FAVORITE COLOR: Would probably be purple. Royal purple that is.
CELEBRITY CRUSH: Probably Salina Gomez. Cuz she’s so darn cute.
He's also a deep thinker, has a big heart and is a people pleaser to his own detriment I think.

4.) In Loud Music you have an important character with special needs. What lead you to create this character? Do you have any personal experience with people with special needs that you would like to share?
Actually I do have background with both an autistic cousin and then I was a special needs aid in an elementary school. But Billy just spoke in my head one night and that was how he came to be.

5.) if you could choose one of your characters to spend the day with who would you choose and what would you do together?

Ryan, we just go to the movies, he'd have to wear a disguise since he's famous. He likes all things Marvel and DC so probably something like that. He's a huge Thor fan.

6.). If there is anything else you would like to share with my readers feel free to do so.
They can join my face book page, it's new and still growing.

I also have 2 other books out right now. FAMOUS about a stalked celebrity, which was inspired by real events we've seen in the present and past. And TOO YOUNG about a teen age father who steps up to not only be there but raise his baby himself. In this story the girl dumps both him and their baby. People say he's too young to know how to take care of a baby properly. But he knows something they don't. He's got this!
Just follow the links below. Happy reading!

Nov. 11th:
Jen (http://www.happylilbooknook.com)
Nov. 12th:
Sarah P.
Nov. 14th:
Sarah E.
Nov. 15th:
Pagie G.
Nov. 16th:
Kira (http://thelonelybookclub.blogspot.com)
Nov. 17th:
Misty (http://www.mistysbookspace.wordpress.com)
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.*

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Monsters of Selkirk Blog Tour

Summer, it means lots of extra time for relaxation, reading, and catching up on all those things that hibernate over the winter, right? Or it means taking on all sorts of new extra projects, and therefore, having almost zero time for those extra little pleasures. Yeah. So, I have not started reading The Monster's of Selkirk yet, but it looks really good, and we all know that judging books by their covers is a fully acceptable practice. For now, I've got some background for you, a giveaway, and a super fun non spoiler interview with Author CE Clayton.

The Monster of Selkirk - Book 1 "The Duality of Nature"
Author: C.E. Clayton
Synopsis from Amazon.com:
Monsters come in many forms, and not everyone knows a monster when they see one. Afterthree hundred years of monstrous, feral elves plaguing the island nation of Selkirk, everyone believes they know what a monster is. Humans have learned to live with their savage neighbors, enactinga Clearing every four years to push the elves back from their borders. The system has worked for centuries, until after one such purge, a babe was found in the forest. As Tallis grows, she discovers she isn't like everyone else. There is something a little different that makes people leery in her presence, and she only ever makes a handful of friends. But when the elves gather their forces and emerge from the forests literally hissing Tallis's name like a battle mantra, making friends is the least of her troubles. Tallis and her companions find themselves onan unwilling journey to not only clear her name, but to stop the elves from ravaging her homeland.
Amazon Link:
Goodreads Link:

Spotify Playlist: https://play.spotify.com/user/121402516/playlist/5y7UnUZ

C.E. Clayton was born and raised in Southern California where she worked in the advertising industry for several years on accounts that ranged from fast food, to cars, and video games (her personal favorite). This was before she packed up her life, husband, two displeased cats, and one very confused dog and moved to New Orleans. Now, she is a full time writer (mainly in the fantasy genre), her cats are no longer as displeased, and her dog no longer confused. Moreabout C.E. Clayton, including her blog, book reviews, and poetry, canbe found on her website:
Website: http://www.ceclayton.com
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/chelscey

1.) Would you consider yourself a plotter, a pantser, or something in between?

I'm mostly a pantser though I do tend to be in between a bit. I've found that when I over plot, I get bored of my story and therefore, stop writing. Generally, I know what the conflict is and how the whole thing will end. From there, I let the characters shape themselves a bit as I go along. At most, I plot out a few chapters ahead as I get to them so I never lose the thread of what should be happening and what needs to happen in order to get to the conclusion. For me, I've found this approach really helps with the pacing so things don't drift into tangents and the action is lost, but it keeps me engaged and excited to see what my characters do next. I know that sounds like some abstract, frilly artsy thing, but it really isn't, I promise! :)

2.) Do you feel like you have control over your characters, following strict outlines, or do they tend to evolve over time?

They mostly evolve over time. I always know where they start, their background, the things they are afraid of or struggle to overcome, then I get the pleasure of watching them grow and change based on all the drama and characters I throw their way. I don't have kids, so I imagine this is a teeny tiny bit what parents must feel like when they are watching their children grow, and I love it!

3.) Can you give us some behind the scenes info about any of your characters that isn't mentioned in the story? For example: favorite music, color, food, celebrity crush, etc?

Tallis, the main character, hates the ocean! She can swim, but she gets extremely uncomfortable without solid land beneath her feet. It's a mild phobia of hers that she never manages to reconcile. Also, even though Selkirk is based off a medieval version of Scotland, if Tallis were to have a favorite band today, it would be Bastille though her favorite music would be more folk/americana.

Rosslyn's favorite color is bright pink but she never wears it, she feels like it makes her look too "girly", or innocent , rather, so even though she loves it, she won't own anything pink.

Tomas doesn't drink because he's afraid of losing control, especially around Tallis ;) He's not against drinking, so he may drink one day, but for now, he's afraid of what it'll do to him.

Donovan loooovveeesss Rosslyn and her families cooking, especially her lamb stew, but he can't tell her. He disapproves of Rosslyn's influence on Tallis too much to pay her that kind of compliment.

4.) Speaking of celebrities, who would you cast for your major characters in a film version of your story?

I'd cast Amanda Seyfried as Tallis, they look similar in my mind and she has the range to be both a bit insecure of herself but a total strong, badass woman at the same time.

Jared Padalecki would be Tomas, they have similar builds even though Tomas has blonde hair. Really, it's his Sam Winchester character that reminds me of Tomas most. An intellectual, wants to use violence as a last resort, wants to figure things out, is brilliant, but also extremely attractive ;)

Zoe Kravitz always reminded me a bit of Rosslyn, they are both strong, sassy, and fiercely independent women. She's just missing Rosslyn's signature freckles and honey brown eyes. If nothing else, I'd like to imagine the two would be friends!

Chris Evans would be Donovan, hands down, even though they have different eye color. They have a similar look but also, Chris Evans does a fantastic job as Captain America and a lot of those same characteristics are present in Donovan, they are honorable, loyal, and will do what's right at any cost.

All of these actors are a bit older now, and the look isn't 100% right on, so they may not be best suited for my characters who are between 19-25 for the most part, but they all fit well in my head!

5.) If you were stranded on a deserted island, which of your characters would you like to have by your side and why?

Oh that's so tough! It depends on the deserted island to be honest. If it were a tropical paradise, I'd have Rosslyn with me hands down. She's hilarious and exactly the kind of girl you'd want by your side for a good time. But if the island was dangerous, I'd want Tallis! She's still fun, but also pretty deadly so I'd trust her to protect us and help figure out how to get to safety.

This is also why Rosslyn and Tallis make such good friends, they compliment each other really well.

6.) Is there anything else you would like to share?

I love giving my characters complicated backstories and mild mental health issues they have to deal with. Tomas has social anxiety, Tallis deals with panic attacks, Rosslyn has a little brother with special needs, Donovan's mother died when he was very young... all of them are either flawed, or fiercely love someone with mental instabilities. To me, even though this is pure fantasy, it makes my characters relatable because they deal with very real things that so many others deal with on a daily basis. I believe that fantasy is not purely an escape from reality, but that it helps us deal with reality. I hope that when others read about Tallis and her friends, they feel that as well.

Giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:
July 8th:Jen (http://www.happylilbooknook.com)
July 9th:Sarah (http://www.transientdrifter.blogspot.com)
July 10th:Paige S. (http://justonemorepaige.wordpress.com)
July 11th:Kira (http://thelonelybookclub.blogspot.com)
July 12th:Paige G. (http://www.popthebutterfly.wordpress.com)
July 13th: Priyanka (http://abooklionshideaway.blogspot.in/)
Jordan (http://www.readbyroe.com)
July 14th: Jess (https://xlittlebookwormx.wordpress.com)
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.

As soon as I finish reading I'll be sure to post my thoughts on my Goodreads account and on Amazon. Hope to see you all again soon. :)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Immer Author Interview

So I quickly posted all the information about this book and the blog tour yesterday, but I didn't have the interview with the author yet. I really enjoyed her answers to my questions, and I think you all will, too :)

1.) Would you consider yourself a plotter, a pantser, or something in between?

My stories come to me almost like videos and conversations in my mind that won’t leave me alone until I put them on paper. So, when I sit down to type, I usually have a basic concept, often a very loose basic concept, of where I’m starting and where I’ll land in the end. But, I typically have no idea the path that I’ll take to get there, or what might pop up along the journey. It’s this wonderful and beautiful, and sometimes shocking, thing. It’s like I’m riding the story and it can completely surprise me!

2.) Do you feel like you have control over your characters, following strict outlines, or do they tend to evolve over time?

I don’t feel like I have a tight rein on my characters. They definitely have minds of their own and I watch them grow and change, sometimes just as the reader will. I let them flow, as I do the story. Who they are at the core doesn’t usually alter drastically, but it’s incredible for me to watch their development.

3.) Can you give us some behind the scenes info about any of your characters that isn't mentioned in the story? For example: favorite music, color, food, celebrity crush, etc?

This question made me smile.
Will is hard core rock and roll, all the way. He loves black, as is apparent by his wardrobe, and he prefers comfort food from home. He couldn’t name a celebrity, let alone have a crush on one.
Rayne loves the color grey, because it makes her think of Will’s eyes. She loves anything Will cooks for her, and, like me, she adores indie pop. She loves Mark Wahlberg, because he’s tough and sexy, but a super sweet guy to his wife and kids.

4.) Speaking of celebrities, who would you cast for your major characters in a film version of your story?
I’ve never thought about this and am struggling to answer. I find it hard to picture my characters any other way than the way I created them. Maybe Lucy Hale could play Rayne and Zac Efron could be Will.

5.) If you were stranded on a deserted island, which of your characters would you like to have by your side and why?
Will, all day long. Yes, Will. Could it be Will??? I must admit, I truly adore him as a character. He developed in my mind before any of the other characters and even with his flaws, he’s pure perfection to me.

6.) Is there anything else you would like to share?
I love being a writer. Becoming a self-published author has been like this fantasy ride that I don’t want to ever end. I am truly grateful for anyone and everyone who has taken the time to read my work. I still get all giggly, like a 5-year-old, when someone mentions that she’s reading my book. So, for everyone out there who is giving me any of your time, I’d like to say thank you, truly, thank you.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Immer Blog Tour

Wow, seems like ages since I've done one of these blog tours. I'm hoping to have an interview to add as well, but thought I would at least get the basics up now. I still haven't had a chance to read the story, but it is up next on my list. Looks like quite an interesting one :)

By: Denise McFarland
Synopsis from Amazon.com:
The world has evolved. Fairies exist and have the power to heal. Vampires are real and aren’t to be trusted. Wolves have revealed their ability to shift into human form. Will Jaxon is both man and wolf.
He is the Alpha of his community’s Wolf Force, the agency that provides security and protection for all mankind.
In addition to his role as the head of his pack, Will has been working undercover to infiltrate an illegal drug organization that is trafficking women. When Will is coerced to take the lead in an abduction, he agrees in order
to preserve his cover. But one look into the terrified, green eyes of the woman he attacks leaves him powerless
to continue.
As Rayne Daniels stares into the face of the man restraining her, she sees a shift, for a fraction of a second he changes and his true form is revealed. She realizes he is a wolf, a protector, and almost before she knows what
is happening, he releases her. Rayne escapes physically, but emotionally she continues to be haunted, held prisoner by the trauma of that night. When Will discovers that members of the organization are still looking for Rayne, his entire world is altered. Now, Will spends his days undercover and every other free moment keeping Rayne safe, because her survival has become critical to him in a way that he cannot explain.

Goodreads Link:
Amazon Link:

Chapter 1 Excerpt:
Rayne Daniels was tired. It felt like a long week and it was only Wednesday. But she'd promised herself she'd exercise three times a week and she hadn't cheated at all for the last four weeks, so she wasn't going to start now. After locking her ground floor apartment, she jogged down the first part of the path, around the corner and three blocks over, heading for the park in her neighborhood. She slowed as she crossed the street and made her way around the corner, with the park in view. The sun was just starting to think about setting, telling her she'd have to do more jogging than walking to speed up her trip around the park and be back home before dark.
Exercise was her attempt to get a little healthier. Following her 25th birthday Rayne had noticed her curves were getting a little softer and she'd heard about women's bodies betraying then after 30.
She'd decided she should get a head start on beating back the clock. She was in the process of congratulating herself for heading out into the cool dusk, despite her exhaustion and the later start, as she rounded the higher bushes on the edge of the park. She'd trained herself to speed up the jogging to a run in this area because as a single girl who ran alone, it wasn't wise to linger near large shrubbery that blocked you from view. Automatically running faster, she continued to think about this new phase of her life.
She was in a new city, with a new business, and now she had a new exercise routine. She was like an entirely new woman. Rayne was so caught up in her thoughts that she failed to notice the bent branches and scattering of leaves around the bushes.
If she'd been paying attention, this would have warned her that something was wrong. As it was, she never slowed, never even suspected danger, until she was caught in the grip of it.
Rayne stopped short as she felt firm hands reach out and pull her off the path. She lost her breath as it was jerked from within her and was so shocked that the attack was really happening that she forgot to struggle for the first 3 heartbeats. But then reality set in and she pulled back, opening her mouth wide to scream.
At the same moment anticipating her reaction, her attacker clamped both of her wrists in one vice grip, and he used the other hand to cover her mouth as he pulled her deeper into the shrubs.
Rayne knew no one was coming for her. The path had been empty as she'd entered the park and with every passing moment the darkness was settling around her. People didn't come to the park after the sun set. She was completely on her own. She silently prayed, please God, please no, please help me.
They were totally surrounded by the high growing bushes and as she continued to struggle, she began to feel helplessly like she was about to live every nightmare she'd ever had.
It was becoming harder to breathe through her panic and she tried to turn her head to find some form of escape. That was when she saw the ground behind her attacker. There was a whole cluster of men watching her world end. She couldn't make out features, but they were standing there, witnessing her terror like it was some new sporting event. She couldn't help the whimper that made its way up from her throat, as she finally looked up into the face of her assailant. She pleaded with her eyes, because her voice was still trapped behind his hand, begging him silently to let her go. Watching his eyes she saw a slight change, so quickly she thought she must have imagined it. He leaned in toward her and almost growled, "Stop. Quit fighting me." He lowered his voice further and tears burned into her eyes as he roughly whispered, "Use your knee and push me away. Do you understand? Make it look convincing. Look at me. Do you understand?"
The words were starting to penetrate her terror. Was he telling her he was going to let her go? She barely tilted her head forward, watching his eyes, momentarily paralyzed by her hope. She watched him match her movement, and saw the spilt second difference in his eyes again as he tilted his head forward, acknowledging that she'd truly heard him correctly.
Louder again he said, "Stop struggling." The words were barely out of his mouth when she reared her head back and slammed it into his face. Feigning that he was caught off guard, his head snapped back on impact and he released her hands. Rayne used that moment to thrust her knee upward and then shove him off balance. The second her hands left his shoulders she turned and ran. She ran with everything she had, her panic and adrenaline pushing her forward faster than she'd ever run. And she was screaming as loudly as she could.
No words would form, she just screamed and ran for her apartment. Nearing her door, she briefly wondered if she was leading the monster right to her home, but a quick glance behind her showed no one was following.


Denise McFarland is thrilled to introduce her very first publication, Immer. As a voracious reader from childhood, she found herself frequently being drawn into paranormal fantasy novels, falling in love with the interesting quirks and powers that made the characters "para" and the stories fantasy. It's not surprising that when she finally jumped into the author pool, she dove toward her favorite genre. She has dreamed for years of being a novelist. So, when she developed a story that she couldn't get out of her head, she knew she had to start typing. Denise is a lifelong resident of Jacksonville, Florida. She spends her summers soaking up the Florida sunshine and the rest of each year teaching 4th grade.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33950142-immer
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/author.denise_mcfarland
Rafflecopter giveaway

June 24th:
Jen (http://www.happylilbooknook.com)
June 25th:
Sarah (http://www.transientdrifter.blogspot.com)
June 26th:
Paige (http://justonemorepage.wordpress.com)
June 27th:
Nikki (http://www.instagram.com/asreadbyginger)
June 28th:
Elizabeth (http://www.instagram.com/throneofshatteredbooks)
June 29th:
Jordan (http://www.readbyroe.com)
June 30th:
Jess (https://xlittlebookwormx.wordpress.com)
Melissa (https://melimimi.blogspot.com)
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.*

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 Amazon.com:
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: https://www.amazon.com/Surrender-Avean-Chronicles-2-
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33146650-surrender
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
Website: www.grthomasbooks.com
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/grthomas2014

January 16th:
Jen (http://www.happylilbooknook.com)
January 17th:
Jordan (http://www.readbyroe.com)
January 18th:
Misty (http://www.mistysbookspace.wordpress.com)
January 19th:
Wilmarilys & Melisa (https://bookalmighty.wordpress.com/)
January 20th:
Camille (http://www.instagram.com/cami_simply_reads)
January 21st:
Julieanne (http://ephemeralwriting.wordpress.com)
January 28th:
Tracy (http://www.thepagesinbetween.com)
Sarah (http://www.transientdrifter.blogspot.com)
January 29th:
Sarah (http://www.sarahinzombieland.wordpress.com)
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.