Monday, November 30, 2015

Inside & Out

I haven't done a fun, pointless post in a while. I found this on Bookfever, an excellent review and discussion blog that I follow. They stole it from another blog, Books, Biscuts, and Tea. Feel free to steal it from me. I'd love to hear your answers too!

I. Inside flap / Back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough (Discuss)  

I usually read the first three lines of the description/inside flap/back summary. By then I've pretty much decided if it goes on my TBR list. If it looks interesting I'll read the rest, but mostly just skim it if it's more than 2-3 paragraphs. I don't like to much info when going into a book.

N. New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: audio book, e-book, paperback, or hardcover?

Paperbacks are my absolute favorites. Hardbacks are fine but I like the simplicity and flexibility of paperbacks.

S. Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books, taking notes, making comments, or do you keep your books clean clean clean? (Tell us why)

I'll make notes on scrap paper if I'm planning on reviewing the book on my blog. Otherwise I like perfect, clean pages. I get mad if there are even pizza or chocolate smudges on a page. (Which happens a lot.)

I. In your best voice, read for us your favourite first sentence from a book.

That's really hard. So instead, I'll give you the first few lines of one of my all time favorite books...

                                    "They say the first of my kind was a woman named Alasdiar, a human raised by hawks. She learned the language of hte birds and was gifted with their form. It was a pretty myth, I admit, but few actually believe it. No record remains of her life."

                                                                  ~ Hawksong, by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

D. Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when you’re deciding on a book? What if you’re unsure of the author’s gender?

Not a bit. It just so happens that the majority of the authors in my favorite genres are women. But what matters most to me is voice. If you can give me a convincing character I don't care what your gender is.

E. Ever read ahead? Or have you ever read the last page way before you got there?

Guilty. I can't help it. I've never read the entire last page but I have cheated and read the last line when curiosity gets the better of me. And if there is bold text anywhere on the page, my eyes immediately go to it like a Christmas lights display. I've ruined some plot reveals that way, but I don't fault myself for it.     


O. Organized bookshelves, or outrageous bookshelves?

I try to keep my bookshelves organized. I really do. But with a 2 year old, I'm lucky I even have a bookshelf. In fact, most of my books are packed away until we can get a bigger place or install wall shelves. We have 3 tall book cases in the livingroom and my husband takes up 2 of them with his monstrous  boardgame collection. I'd love to have a half bookcase in the bedroom, I even have the spot for it, but that would be impossible with my 2 year old unless I'd like to restock it 10-15 times a day.

U. Under oath: have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?

Almost. I don't really have that kind of money to throw around, though... So I at least read the first part of the blurb before becoming absolutely sure I want to invest in it. I do find myself "click" happy with those free Kindle books though.

T. Take it outside to read, or stay in?

Too many people and distractions outside. I prefer to be completely alone when I read. My perfect "book date" is snuggled in my bed with my dog and a cup of cocoa. Scented candles are nice too, if I'm really up for a wild Friday night. :)  


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Author Spotlight: B.I. Woolet

Guess what! I joined a blog tour group! My first post will be featuring B. I. Woolet. A husband and wife team who authored the World of Arcus series.

1.   Tell us about your series and Arrows of Darkness.

Arrows of Darkness is the newly-released second book the World of Arcas series. The series battles amid realms and rulers who disagree with whether they should reunite an ancient pathway severed long ago between Earth and Arcas. In The Hunter, the Bear, and the Seventh Sister, Jackson is sent on a mission to insure peace by cutting the last ties between the two worlds, but lines quickly get blurred between friend and foe in this traveling adventure full of beasts and beauties. In Arrows of Darkness, Jackson returns to Arcas to escape troubles at home, but the peace he expects to find has been consumed by a violent new ruler that the teen unknowingly helped bring to power.

2.   You're a husband and wife team. What made you decide to join forces and write together?

Though I (Ila) studied and taught English, I never ever considered writing and publishing books. But Benji had this idea for a story brewing in him, and he wasn’t going to give up until I at least wrote the first chapter from his notes. I finally caved, but once I wrote the first chapter with him, we never stopped. J

3. What was the hardest thing about co-authoring a book together?

Finding the right rhythm of life is always a struggle. Like many authors today, we are trying to balance writing time, family time, recharging time, job time, and church/community time. We want don’t want to be overly consumed by any one area, but all of these are important to us!  We also have to compromise over plot-lines to find a balance that we both are happy with.

4. What was the best thing?

While it’s often difficult for busy couples to find time to connect, writing as a team gives us opportunities to enter another world where we can just escape everything else and create together.  

5. What makes your book stand out from the others in it's genre?

Though many tales have borrowed names from the stars, our connections intertwine within almost every fiber of the World of Arcas. We studied both the mythology the science behind the stars before we connected a character or place to them. Readers can enjoy quite the scavenger hunt of deep space objects, nebulae, and wonders in the world of astronomy if they want to while reading our books.

6. What's something you both enjoy together when you're not writing?

We love playing music and singing together (show tunes, gospel, jazz, pop, oldies), taking walks through wooded trails, and playing games like Carcassonne or Settlers of Catan. 

7. Who designs your gorgeous covers?

Regina Wamba is the amazing artist who designs our covers. Though we didn’t use live models on the World of Arcas books, she also does beautiful work using custom photography, make-up, and costumes for cover designs. Check out her other covers at !

8. What advice do you have for other aspiring writers?

Though many people think of writing as a solo sport, that definitely has not been our experience! Besides writing as a duo, we also reached out to a close group of friends and family throughout the process. Some helped us with editing; some just encouraged us to continue to writing and would ask us frequently about our progress. It’s a powerful thing to surround yourself with people who support you, challenge you, and encourage you. Find those people in your life and hold on to them!

9. If you could double date with any couple, alive or dead, who would it be?

We would love to have a double date with C.S. Lewis and his wife Joy. He was an amazing writer of fantasy and theology, and Joy published a book of poetry. We would love to hear their writing advice and learn more about their experiences and passions.

10. What's next for B. I. Woolet?

Though we know we have a least one more book to write in the World of Arcas, we aren’t completely sure how long the series will go. We have book ideas outside of fantasy, but we are definitely going to finish Jackson’s current escapades before we tackle any new realms! Nevertheless, the star-studded world of Arcas will probably always be beckoning us back for just one more adventure…

Friday, November 20, 2015

Author Spotlight: Megan Linski

If you follow this blog at all you know that I'm a huge fan of The Kingdom Saga The Kingdom Saga by Megan Linski. I'm currently reading the ARC for the third book in the series, Redemption From Ashes, and I thought, what better way to celebrate than to feature her with an interview? Here she is talking about the second book in the series Fallen From Ashes.

(Compliments of


Describe your story. 

Fallen From Ashes is a mixture of Aladdin and 1001 Arabian Nights, with themes such as equality for women and staying faithful to your true love, no matter what the cost.

What inspired you to write Fallen From Ashes? 

Fallen From Ashes is the sequel to Kingdom From Ashes, #1 in the Kingdom Saga. When Kingdom from Ashes came out, I got such a high demand for a sequel that I knew I had to get right on making another story in The Kingdom Saga for my readers to explore.

What makes a story great, in your eyes?

I believe you have to have something different in your book that’s unique to you, and you have to stand for something. The books that mean the most and create the most change in the world aren’t afraid of making a
statement and not pleasing people. They’re not afraid to be bold, and I try to do the same thing in my writing.

Where do you live? Did your hometown influence your story?

My hometown is pretty small and boring, so to create the exotic, adventurous desert of Sahrahn (where The Kingdom Saga is set) became an escape for my readers and for me.

How long did it take to write Fallen From Ashes?

Kingdom From Ashes took nearly three years from start to finish. By drastic contrast, I wrote Fallen from Ashes in ten days and took a month to edit and revise.

 Who is your cover artist and editor?

I have two editors: Sam McClure from Resolution Edits, and Thalia Smithingell, who works for me under my company, Gryfyn Publishing. My cover artist is the amazing Clarissa Yeo of Yocla Designs.

What have you learned while writing and publishing? 

Before I started I thought I had a great plan and knew everything about marketing, but it turns out I didn’t know anything. Things that I’ve really worked hard on haven’t really panned out, and other things that I’ve ignored have ended up exploding my book’s visibility on Amazon. This is why it’s important to read marketing books and know how to get your product out there. A good one to start with is Write. Publish. Repeat.

What helped you when you got discouraged along the way?

When readers asked for a sequel to Kingdom From Ashes, I had absolutely nothing. No plot, no outline, not even an idea of where I wanted to go. I sat down and didn’t let myself get up until I had an outline. The Kingdom Saga requires a lot of research, because it takes place in an ancient Arabic society, so I did that as I went along and made sure to stick as close to Middle Eastern folklore as possible. I just had a fire lit underneath me, and I didn’t let myself stop. Now that I’m working on #3, that fire is gone and it’s a lot harder to keep writing, but I’m forcing myself through it and not allowing myself to quit, which makes all the difference in the world. When you stop making excuses and start expecting results of yourself, magic happens.

What would you do differently on the next book?

I would treat myself better! My work ethic when it comes to writing is absolutely crazy. It’s not uncommon for me to be icing my hands and wrapping my wrists late at night after I’m done writing. With Fallen, it took only ten days to write, and I didn’t plan it that way. I simply went crazy and wrote as much as I could. I personally think it’s one of the best books I’ve ever written, but when I was finished I was shaking and on the verge of vomiting. I really need to take better care of my temple, otherwise I won’t be able to produce!

Best piece of advice for first time writers?

Stop making excuses and do what you want to do! You’re wasting time and money waiting for the right time or the right opportunity to go ahead and do something. You can always fix mistakes later, but if you wait too long, you’ll miss your chance. One of my biggest mistakes was not publishing in 2011 like I wanted to during the indie boom and waiting until 2014. I lost precious time and sales because I was waiting around until things were perfectly in place, until I accepted the fact they never were going to be.

Before you publish, though, go ahead and read every single book on writing and marketing that you can. You need to accumulate as much knowledge as possible before you go into publishing. The more you know, the less difficult things will be later. 

Another thing: successful people network and know a lot of other people! You may complain that it’s not fair and your career shouldn’t be like high school, but the more popular you are and the more friends (READERS) you have, the more successful you will be. Most authors are natural introverts, and I am definitely not the most social person, but if your book really means the world to you then you will find a way to get yourself out there and make some acquaintances. It may seem unfair, but nobody is going to find you if you’re underneath a rock. Posting your book everywhere, paying for lots of advertisements and spamming people doesn’t work. Making connections and lasting friendships does.

Where can readers find you?

At my site,, and you can sign up for my VIP list here!

Check out the series before I post my review for the 3rd book! Megan is currently participating in NaNoWriMo, working on a retelling of the first book in the Raider Prince's point of view.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Onyx Moon now available on Wattpad

Onyx Moon now available to read for FREE on Wattpad!

A new installment every 10 days! 

Haven't heard of Wattpad yet? It's great! Wattpad is an online community where authors, both aspiring and published can get together with readers and share their works of fiction, short stories, and fan fiction. It's absolutely free to sign up sign up for both writers and readers! Wattpad's free app is also available in the Android and Apple stores. Most authors post chapters a week at a time and you can follow your favorites. I'll be posting every ten days, but if you can't wait to read the rest, you can always download the full ebook here.

 Check it out. If I get enough response from readers on Wattpad, I'll also be posting sneak peeks of Bloodstones before it's release! Let me know what you think. ;)

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Book Review: Queen of Someday by Sherry D. Ficklin


Before she can become the greatest empress in history, fifteen-year-old Sophia will have to survive her social-climbing mother's quest to put her on the throne of Russia - at any cost.
Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophia has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family - and herself - Sophia vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.
Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophia will need to decide how much she's willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be.
In a battle for the soul of a nation, will love or destiny reign supreme?

*** Rant ***

I'm very conscious of the fact that I read a lot of the same, closely linked genres. Because of that, every few books or so I try to mix it up and read something a little more contemporary. Something without a pretty girl in a dress on the cover. With this past week being Halloween, I decided to read something paranormal. I had my heart set on werewolves, so I searched my kindle for that among my endless list of free downloads.

I must have started a dozen books and nothing caught my attention. NOTHING...except some pretty chapter layouts that didn't seem to fit with the quality of writing. Finally, I got so fed up, I decided to break my rule and start a book I've had my eye on for months.

And you know what? I'm so glad that I did. Life is short, and ain't nobody got time to waste reading something of mediocre quality and that doesn't interest them. I'm a mom, and an author myself, so I'm not giving up my daughter time or writing time for something that doesn't give me chills.

Yes, I read a lot of fantasy, especially YA, historical fiction, and romantic fantasy. Magic excites me. I love exotic worlds and quirky characters. I wish more than anything I could enroll in Hogwarts and spin around in frilly dresses all day long when I'm not off on some epic adventure. Most other stories just don't do it for me, okay? I like what I like and I can't escape it.

My point is...I tried. I tried to read something different, but it didn't work out. From now on, I'm not going to trudge through something just for the sake of variety. I'll continue to explore other genres, but my favorites will always be my favorites. I don't care if I'm dorky. 

***note: I'd still like to get my werewolf fix. If you have any suggestions, let me know!  



A couple of my blogger friends really liked Queen of Someday and when I went to check it out I found out it was FREE on Amazon! (at this date, it is still currently free)

I completely devoured this book. I took long lunches at work, put the kid to bed early, and kicked my husband out of the bedroom when he started wrestling with the dog in my reading space. Sherry D. Ficklin is amazing in every aspect. She gives the reader just the right amount of imagery and intrigue to keep reading to find out what happens next. One of the most important things to me in a novel is the narrative. And this author nailed it! Her voice is so captivating, I would seriously read about her describing a slice of pizza she was eating. 

The main character, Sophie, is headstrong and a bit conniving at times, but smart enough to know when to reign in her feelings. Her driving force is her need to protect and secure her family's future (like most historical fiction female protagonists) but also her growing desire for love and companionship. Boat-loads of romance in this book, as Sophie is a teenager and daydreams about every dashing young man she meets. Not really my kind of thing, but like I said, because of Ficklin's storytelling magic, I would read pretty much anything she put on paper. And in honesty, I can't really blame Sophie. I remember being the same way when I was 16. Maybe I liked this book so much because it brought back the excitement of young, tragic love.   

 A few disgruntled readers argue that this story has no plot. I disagree. Though the plot itself was subtle, lacking any disasters or sword fights, the pages turned uncontrollably. I did find one teeny snag in the ending conflict, where I was like, "Yeah, but she could just fix "that" by doing "this". But you know what? I love this book so much I don't even care. I just went with it. Oh! And did I tell you the best part?? At the end of every few chapters, there are little one minute videos of commentary from the author! Brilliant! This really gives the readers a more personable experience and insight into the true history of Cathrine the Great. I hope more authors start doing this if the concept applies to their book.

If you haven't guessed already, I'm definitely going to read the entire series. In fact, I put all three paperbacks in the series on my Christmas list. If I don't find them under the tree, I'll be soooo disappointed.

Queen of Someday is a beautiful, tragic love story, filled with satisfaction. It's a great guilty pleasure to curl up with on a cold evening with a cup of your favorite cocoa. Ahhh....   


5 Stars
* * * * *