Thursday, November 13, 2014

Onyx Moon Progress

Just a quick update on what's going on with the book...

Copy editing is almost finished and then the manuscript with be ready to upload. Onyx Moon will be available on Amazon, Kindle, Nook, and Barnes and Noble. In the next few days we will be designing the entire print cover. I have a mock up of what I would like and I'm really happy about it. Simple, yet striking. :)

Also, we only need 4 more people to pre-order the book to meet our goal! I set up the Kickstarter in order to raise a little money for some promotional copies. I'm stringing together a few signings and will have a complete schedule up soon. Once things calm down I can finally get back to the fun part; writing!

Get your copy of Onyx Moon HERE

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Release Party at Yaccovelli's

I've always been proud of my family history, on both sides. My mother's father, John Cunningham,  was a colonel in the air force as well as the sole designer of the F-15 Eagle fighter jet, as well as a big part of the design team for the F-18, Phantom, and other military planes that are still in use today. He fought in WWII and on the beaches of Normandy. He was a brilliant man, and even15 years after his death, my mother is still trying to organize his endless notebooks and design portfolios.

I never met my grandfather on my dad's side, who served in the U.S. Navy. But I have lots of memories of my great grandmother, FilomenaYaccovelli, to cherish. In 1919, she came over from Italy with her husband, Jack, and opened Yacovelli's restaurant. Decades later, in a strange twist of fate, my grandpa Cunningham would become on of it's frequent patrons.

When I was little, going to "the restaurant" was almost a weekly event. Nana (great grandma) would join us at our usual table. While we waited for our food to come, my dad would take me to the bar. I sipped on a Shirley Temple while he chatted with great Uncle Dewey or who ever was working that night. Once the food came, my sisters and I would stuff ourselves on salad, bread, pasta, and shrimp and fuss until we got ice cream. The night always ended with a tummy ache and me curled up in my father's lap.

To this day, Yacovelli's is St. Louis's oldest Italian restaurant. They soon will close their doors forever, but not before I host my book's release party on December 20th.

I cannot tell you what this means to me; the memories of countless weddings, wakes, and family parties. I am so blessed to be a part of this family and history. I only wish Nana was here to meet my baby girl and celebrate with me.

Coming Soon:
~ Top 10 Reasons You Should Read More Indie Authors
~ Book Review: On My Way Home by Allie Walker

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Review: Cornerstone by Kelly Walker

 Cornerstone (Souls of the Stones, book 1)

by Kelly Walker

Amazon description:

Epic Fantasy combines with Young Adult romance in this stunning new adventure set in a richly developed medieval world. Second Stone and Broken Stone are now available! Also be sure to look for Jaded Stone, the thrilling prequel to the Souls of the Stones series.

When Emariya Warren learns enemy forces have captured her father, she'll do anything to save him. Anything. Even marry a mysterious prince she knows nothing about in order to rally the strength to arrange a rescue. During her journey to Torian's foreign castle, Emariya comes face to face with her mother's killers--and a deadly secret.

Not only does Emariya possess a powerful but unexpected magical gift passed down through each of her families, the prince she's promised to marry possesses a third, and an ominous prophecy has warned the three gifts must never be combined.

If she breaks her promise to marry Torian, she won't be able to save her father and if she keeps it, she may bring a curse upon everything she holds dear. Determining which choice is best won't be easy, but when she meets the gorgeous prince who may desire more than just her heart, she realizes she will have to fight just to have a choice at all.

Her heart wants him desperately. Her head begs her to run. If she doesn't want to share her mother's fate, she'll have to find a way to untangle the truth from the lies in time to save herself.

Discover the heartbreaking betrayals, fascinating magic and fated love of Cornerstone.

My Thoughts

The cost to download this book on Kindle is free - a price I couldn't argue with. A lot of indie authors will do this; offer the first book in their series for free in an attempt to lure you in. With Cornerstone, it worked. I can't wait to dive into the sequel! 

This story opens with one of the best prologues I have ever read. In just the first few sentences, I was filled with a sense of urgency. Perhaps it was because of my maternal instincts, but I found myself consumed with the character's anxiety as if it were my own. The author managed to set the back story of a completely new world, all while convincing me I needed to care about its struggles and the people who endured them. In my experience, this is rare and difficult to execute.  

It was easy to befriend the main character, Emariya. She is strong, thoughtful, humble, a natural leader (even if she doesn't think so) and just the right amount of insecure. I'm not sure how much of a coincidence it is that she mirrors Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones, but either way, I'm okay with it.

Kellly Walker sets up an intriguing fantasy world full of kingdoms and political obligations, with magical legends lurking in the shadows. Emariya's quest begins as a noble one, but quickly takes her in directions she, as well as the reader, wasn't expecting. The middle of the book slows a bit as the author tries to establish history and the characters try to figure out what to do next. The romance is subtle, but highly enjoyable. The book as a whole definitely  feels like the beginning of something big. 

I was surprised at how disappointed I was by the ending, especially by such a talented writer. It felt rushed, and left too many loose ends open. The last bit of dialogue seemed like it should have been a metaphor for something, but I couldn't figure out what. I was left with a gaping feeling of "that's it?" But I need more of this world, and more of Emariya, so I will inevitably read Second Stone (Souls of the Stones book 2) 

  * * * * 

(4 0f 5)

Kelly Walker's talent for storytelling amazed me. She has quickly become one of my favorite authors and I'm excited to explore her worlds. She also writes contemporary romance, and is getting ready to release her newest book, No One's Surrender before the new year.   

You can find out more about the author and her work here:

Coming Soon!

~ An exciting announcement!
~ Top 10 Reasons You Should Read More Indie Authors
~ Book review: On My Way Home by Allie Walker

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I'm Going To Share A Secret With You

I hate talking about writing.

My own writing, to be clear. It's much easier to let someone else run the show and get me excited about their work, rather than I try to scramble together a few fragment sentences about my project before I loose their interest and the conversation moves back to them anyway.

"Writer" is such a heavy word. It makes you think of someone who is expertly observant, soaking in all the details of the problems of the world so they can formulate some sort of antidote and spit back out on perfectly polished paper for everyone to partake without even realizing they are being cured. I can't even begin to put myself in a category with them.

So I've stayed quiet, for years. I used to call myself a writer, until I realized exactly what that was. So a few friends and family members know it was a hobby I used to peruse, but anyone who's met me in the last 3 years probably has no clue.

It's hard to talk about writing. It's so personal, risky, incomplete. When I start a project I'm so excited I want to shout on the rooftops - but what if all the idea turns out to be was a fleeting thought and it fizzles faster than you can trudge through that dreaded fourth chapter? I've had a few of those. Especially in the few years I wasn't actively writing due to some life changes. For instance, my husband and I moved across the country, (again) I took a job that had me away from home 16 days out of the month, I had a baby. But in quiet times, when ideas would come out of the woodwork, I would jot down a note or two on hotel paper or anything within arm's reach of the baby I was nursing.

But there was one project that would never leave me. It almost faded away (I was really afraid for it) but oddly enough, starting another novel brought it back to the surface. While I still plan to write that new novel, I dove head first back into my current book. And rightly so. It deserved it. We've been through a lot together :)

I am so excited about it. I am buzzing with energy, but I'm also wrenching with fear. The two emotions battling for dominance is keeping me up at night. (and just when I get my daughter to sleep through the night!)

But there is one emotion I refuse to give into, and that is regret. "You don't know until you try. Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars," My mother wrote on my bedroom mirror when I was a teenager. "Create your dream, and live it," I like to remind myself.

A little while ago I had a very vivid, scary dream. I was drowning. I knew I was going to die. At this point, before my daughter was born, I felt I had lived a very full life. I had grown into a decent human being, I had found my soul mate, and I had a strong relationship with my Heavenly Father. What more can anyone really ask for besides that?

There were two things, in the dream, that I felt an over whelming sadness over. I never had children, and I didn't write enough. In that moment, when I was sure I was taking my last breaths, I was overcome with regret for my wasted talents. I needed to be a mother; to nurture children so they would grow up to hold a place of light and good in this world. I needed to be an author; to enjoy my passion and say the things I needed to say that did actually have value after all.

When I thankfully woke up from that dream, I started on those two things right away.