Thursday, October 29, 2015

Why I'm Not Participating In NaNoWriMo...but maybe you should.

That time of year is fast approaching when ambitious writers padlock themselves in dark, soundproof rooms and slave over an unforgiving keyboard. If you're the least bit interested in becoming an author you've probably heard about National Novel Writing Month, a contest held every November. The idea is that you devote the entire 30 days in the month to writing a new novel of at least 50,000 - start to finish.

As their website states, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever wanted to write a novel. It's a great push for those of us who have made every excuse in the book to finally start that work of a lifetime. Anyone who completes the 50,000 word count is considered a NaNo winner. Very few participants come out of this writing boot camp unscathed, but I've never heard someone regret the experience.

So why don't I participate in National Novel Writing Month?

It's simple. Because I'm always writing. In years past I could have joined the revolution and probably should have, but I didn't. Until the entirety of Onyx Moon was on paper, there was no way my mind could wrap around a fresh concept. And I won't lie. Back then I didn't have the drive and devotion that it takes to hide away from society and focus completely on writing for 30 days - even as amazing as that sounds now. Sigh.

Nowadays, I've always got a project or two going. Right now, I'm focusing on the second book in the Onyx Moon Trilogy while I'm waiting to get my the manuscript for my upcoming novel back from my editor. Then, it will be corrections and revisions non-stop until the deadline.

I don't want anyone to think I "disapprove" of NaNo just because I'm a writer and I've never done it. Yes, shame on me, but, I've never really needed it. The contest is a great motivation for people who need that kick in the pants to get started. Even if you don't win  --- look! You've actually gone through on your New Year's resolution and have a first draft of a novel! Or at least more than what you started with 30 days ago.

I'm just not one of those people who need it right now. Since I made the decision to devote my spare time to my stories, I haven't stopped. But if the time ever comes when November rolls around and I have an idea I'd like to start, you bet I'd jump on that wagon.

If you're thinking of signing up for NaNoWriMo, just know that it isn't easy completing an entire first draft in 30 days. Writer and blogger, Nicole Lautore, wrote a very informative post about the obstacles you're bound to face - and how to trudge through them - once you hit the "sign me up" button.

(found this on Pinterest) 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Book Review: Second Stone by Kelly Walker

Second Stone

Souls of the Stones #2


Kelly Walker


With her prince by her side, Emariya Warren begins the journey to Sheas to confront her uncle and bring her father home.

Only days after leaving the castle, the devastating news of her brother's continued treachery threatens to tear Torian and Emariya apart. But before Emariya can try to repair the rift between her and her prince, she must first answer one important question. Why can't she wake up?



I read and reviewed the first book in this series, Cornerstone, book 1 in the Souls of the Stones series about a year ago. I was happy to finally come back to Emariya and get back into her story.

I absolutely adore Emariya Warren. Her strength, her compassion, and her composure are all traits young women should admire. She reminds me of that girl you know that seems so perfect. You really want to just hate her, but you can't because you know you'd be missing out on an amazing friendship. She's not someone who drops everything to stay with the guy she's fatefully glued too. She has her priorities straight and her friends and family are at the top of that list. I cannot stress how much I appreciate this in a protagonist. It's one of the things that brought me back to this series.

Her friends, Jessa and Garith, have also started to come into their own in this sequel. They are crafted so well that I care almost as much about them as I do about Riya. I love their devotion to her, but also that they are dealing with issues of their own and their stories are growing as well. I have to admit, I am hoping a little romance sparks between the just makes sense! But, that's probably why it won't happen. Oh well. We'll see.

Second Stone has all the magic of the first book and more. As Emariya and Torian explore the depth of their feelings for each other, (sidenote: so far, this is a clean series.) the romance intoxicates the reader. What's more, is that Torian's sister gets a forbidden love interest of her own! All the things that make the hopeless romantic in me "squee!"

The only down fall with this sequel, is that I almost felt like a different author wrote it. Cornerstone's prose seriously left me breathless, wishing I had just an ounce of that kind of talent. I won't say Second Stone is poorly written, not by a long shot. But I kept waiting for an amazing line that wouldn't leave my head for days, but nothing like that happened. I can't really pinpoint what's different about it, except that it just lacks the enthusiastic drive of an author being published for the first time. At least, I think that was Kelly Walker's first book. She has a popular contemporary series too, but I think Souls of the Stones came first.

Anyway, I'll be reading the next book, Broken Stone, sometime soon because I bought the trilogy pack when it was on sale. If you enjoyed Cornerstone at all, follow Kelly Walker on Facebook. She will occasionally post about giveaways, but most of all, sales on her books.       

4 Stars
* * * *

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Author Spotlight: Rachel E. Carter

I'll soon be reading Apprentice, the second book in The Black Mage series by Rachel E. Carter. I need to catch up soon because the third book, Candidate, comes out in just a week! To celebrate her newest release, I just had to sit down with her to have a chat. Check out my review of First Year and see why I've already packed my bags to go off to the Academy!

By the way, book #1, First Year, is on sale for just $0.99 through 10/31. I promise, you don't want to miss your chance to start this series for just a buck. I loved it!


Rachel E. Carter is a young adult author who hoards coffee and books. She has a weakness for villain and bad boy love interests. When not writing, she is usually reading, and when not reading she is usually asleep. To her, the real world is Hogwarts and everything else is a lie.

The Black Mage is Rachel’s first YA fantasy series, with many more to come. She loves to interact with fellow readers & aspiring writers, and here is a list of places you can find her online:

Official Site:

What makes your series The Black Mage different from other YA books centered around magic?

Well I haven’t read on every book with magic so this is just solely based off the ones I have read but I think the biggest difference is that magic in my series is only devoted to war. The kingdom of Jerar is obsessed with having the best army in the realm, and as a result they only authorize training devoted to three factions: Combat (fighting), Restoration (healing), and Alchemy (potions-making devoted solely to ones beneficial in war). Magic is cast through a detailed projection of the mind (no words or fancy gestures or staffs/wands necessary) and not everyone has the same amount of power or even magic at all. I also have something called “pain casting” which is magic derived off of intense emotion and pain, and it’s anything but stable.

Were there any books or films that helped inspire The Black Mage?

Harry Potter (the dueling parts with Malfoy and Harry, and later Harry and Voldemort) as well as Tamora Pierce's three Tortall series (Alanna, Daine, and Kel books) majorly shaped how I thought about magic, strong female characters, and the way I wanted to structure my series in terms of the progression of darkness and plot.

Some of the training the Academy students have to go through is so intense! Was it hard coming up with their rigorous schedule or the "rules" for the magical element in your story?

I think a lot of the rigorous schedule was derived from my lack of sleep in college. I worked full-time with school so I was always fighting to keep up with the rest, and I also took a horrible bootcamp PE class which I drew from for the inspiration for the physical conditioning scenes. And, of course, the Protector of the Small (Kel) series by Tamora Pierce shows a protagonist I admire more than anyone else struggling to keep up.

What's been the hardest part of writing this series?

The hardest part? I'm sure this is obvious but writer's block and word count. Some authors can write a million pages a day and never struggle to write, but I am not one of those fortunate few. I have a hundred bad days for every good day, but somehow those good days create a book. 

What's been the best part?

The best part? My fans!!! Getting fan art and music playlists and sweet messages from readers who love m book is the best part. Hearing about other countries' readers who discovered my series just puts me in awes. I feel like people all over the world know about Ryiah and Darren and my seventh grade self who dreamed them up is just in awe!


If you could live in any time period what would it be?

Modern day. I love my modern day appliances and amenities too much, and while I love paperbacks my Kindle is the best thing that ever happened to me. No more driving to the bookstore, whatever I want -the second it releases- even if it's 3am I can start reading a new book.

What advice to you have for aspiring authors?

Don't ever stop writing. Make it a priority to do a little bit a day - a poem, a blog, even a couple of sentences of random dialogue. You only get better with practice, trust me. And find teachers or peers or mentors or whoever you can to help mentor and support you. Also, there is nothing wrong with fanfiction! I started off writing about Julian from The Forbidden Game by LJ Smith for years, and it was all of that practice that helped me take writing more seriously (and a ton of big name authors did this too!)

You're currently writing Last Stand, book #4 in the series. What's happening after that?

After Last Stand I’ve got about 70 competing novel ideas –some barely formed, others brimming with detail. I really want to take a break from a series and do a standalone or two (YA or possibly NA), and then there has been one YA series in particular that I have been dying to write almost as long as The Black Mage and I can’t wait to begin it!


for just 99 cents!

(through 10/31/15)

Amazon (US):        
Amazon (Foreign):
Book Depository:   
Overdrive (library):

Monday, October 12, 2015

Character Interview - Zahid from 'Fallen From Ashes'



Fallen From Ashes


Megan Linski




Hello everyone! It’s me again, Remy Injay, indie book reporter. Today we’re interviewing the totally hot (and drop-dead gorgeous) prince of thieves Zahid from the novel Fallen From Ashes, #2 in the highly-anticipated Kingdom Saga! How are you doing today, handsome?

Try to keep your drool off the table, miss. I’m a married man now.

That’s right! (Obnoxious moaning of women in the background). Now now, ladies, we can’t ALL get to him. Though I wouldn’t mind a turn...


Anyway! In the last book, Kingdom From Ashes, you and your beautiful wife, Bennua, went on an exotic adventure throughout the desert and saved the kingdom from an evil warlord. What’s different in #2?

There’s lot more of our culture to be experienced than the first time around. Readers who want to see a mythical side of our world have the chance to be transported into a realm of monsters and magic. There’s djinn, dragons, and all sorts of perils we have to face. If you liked the adventure of the first book, and the feeling of being transported to an exotic land, this takes you even further into that experience.

So you’re keeping the 1001 Arabian Nights theme going, correct?

I uh...I have no idea what that is.

Oh, right. Sorry. No culture exchange between worlds. I heard there was a new man catching Bennua’s eye. Huh? HUUUHHH?

You have a lot of nerve asking that question, Remy.

What, I can’t pry?

If you read the book, you wouldn’t even think of being so rude. The last few chapters had the fans sending death threats to the author for weeks.

Ouch! Harsh! ...So she picks the other guy?

...I’m going to stay my patience and complain to the author later about this, Remy. All you need to know is the epic romance is going to continue from Book 1 onto Book 2, but it’s a lot less fairy tale. Real life hits Bennua and I, and I guess I have to be honest and say we don’t cope with it well.

So what’s the verdict then, from the fans?

All the author will tell me is it’s quite an emotional ride for them. The few people on her team that have read it already have very strong feelings for it. I suppose it’s a book that gets a response from you. I know I paid the price heavily for it.


I love Bennua.

Right. Of course you do. Anyway, that’s a wrap! This is Remy Injay, signing out, and make sure to grab a copy of Fallen From Ashes by Megan Linski, out October 10th!