Thursday, December 31, 2015

1 Year Later

It was about this time last year that I started this blog, released Onyx Moon, and started establishing myself as a legit author. Since starting this journey, the connections I've made and lessons I've learned have proven to be priceless. I was blown away by the overwhelming support of my family and friends. I couldn't have kept up the lifestyle of a writer without the understanding friends I blew off to spend my free nights hunched over my computer, the readers badgering me to know when the next book is coming out, all the people who showed up to my events, and the pep talks from my fellow authors.

Book Reviews

Through book reviews and volunteering for ARCs, I've gotten to know some very talented authors. I've been blessed to read their stories and learn from their strengths. I never thought I'd grow up and actually enjoy doing a book report but I absolutely live for it! I love sharing my opinion and helping to promote my new favorite books. I know just how important it is that books, especially independently published, get reviews on blogs and sites like Amazon and Goodreads. These days, people not only judge books by their covers, but also by how many people have read them. Regardless if a book has all 5 star reviews or all 2 star reviews, as long as it has at least 100 posted ratings, the book is going to get attention. That's why leaving a review for a book you've read, even a not so great review, is SO important to the author. It's like leaving us a tip. Except it doesn't cost you any extra money. ;)

All the reviews I've done are based on my personal preferences and opinions It's hard sometimes when a book doesn't really thrill me. Being an author myself, I hate writing bad reviews. I know how much work goes into a book whether or not one specific reader enjoyed it. But I've come to believe that all books have their reader. So I always try to find some aspect of the book I appreciated, whether it be a relate-able character, good narration, or just a fun concept. Just because I didn't like it, doesn't mean it won't be someone else's cup of cocoa.

Highlights of the Year

* Holding a lifelong dream in my hands for the first time, instead of reading it on the computer.

* My first book signing. So many emotions (mostly anxiety) and the perfect day to launch my career.

* Selling out of my first, second, and third print run!

* Getting my new computer! I don't have to plug this one into the wall and strap duct tape to it.

* Being featured in my local paper.

* Reading all of Onyx Moon's great reviews online.

* My niece talking to me about my book.

* Interviewing all of the authors that agreed to be on my little blog. :)

* Drinking "gourmet" cocoa while I work on a secret project. 

* Actually having more than one publisher interested in that new project and having to choose which publisher I wanted. That seriously did not feel like real life.

* Announcing my secret project...Sigil in Shadow!

* Doing my first radio interview.

* Seeing Sigil's finalized cover. I'll share it with you as soon as I get the green light. I promise!

 Coming in 2016

I'll definitely keep up with indie reviews as much as I can, but man, I've got a lot on my plate for this next year. One thing I'm really excited about is that this website is going to get a makeover. Yep! That's right! I really want to streamline things and find a theme that best represents my books. I'll be working with a designer soon and hopefully have an updated website by February. Also, I'll be available on Twitter soon so be sure to follow me. :)

A lot of people have been curious about the second book in the Onyx Moon Trilogy, Bloodstones. Things are definitely progressing, but I'll admit, it's slow going. If you've read Onyx Moon, you know that it's really like two books in one. While Bloodstones will be shorter, bringing the two story lines together has taken a lot of work. It took 8 years of stop and go to write the first one, but I promise, you won't have to wait nearly that long. The sequel is my main writing focus as of right now, but sometimes I have to push that manuscript to the back burner in order to work on promotions or finalizing things for Sigil in Shadow's release. For this reason, I'm not quite ready to give an official release date for the second book. But I will as soon as I finish the first draft.

Meanwhile, Sigil in Shadow will be in stores July 12th and will soon be available for pre-order wherever you buy books online. I'm setting plans in place for the release party and book signings, giveaways, as well as a book trailer. I can't wait to share everything with you!

One last thing....Remember when I said Sigil was a standalone novel?? Well, turns out I can't even follow my own advice. As I was finishing up the last pre-edited draft, I realized that there is another character or two that needs their story told as well. So, nothing is official, but don't be surprised to find a sequel in The Shadow Saga around the corner!

Happy New Year!!!!     


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Book Review: A Kindled Winter by Rachel L. Demeter

A Kindled Winter


Rachel L. Demeter


"Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas." - Dale Evans

A week before Christmas, Jeseca Reed sets off for Blue River, Oregon - her childhood home and a vault of tender memories. However, fate takes an unexpected turn when she's left stranded in the mountains' vast, untamed wilderness. Desperate and alone, she seeks shelter at a cottage and finds herself in the arms of a mysterious stranger.

Dr. David Drake was once a renowned cardiovascular surgeon. But a devastating tragedy has left him scarred both inside and out, unable to use his hands to operate again. For the past five years, his Blue River cottage has been his sole escape - a safe haven where he can shut out the world, bury himself in his grief, and reunite with his son's memory.

Together they are summer and winter. Fire and ice. And yet a poignant connection forms between them. Jeseca awakens David and thaws his heart with a romance hot enough to melt snow. But before David and Jeseca can fully embrace each other, they must wade through darkness and confront the ghosts of their pasts ...
Equal parts steamy and heartfelt, A Kindled Winter brings the spirit of the holidays to life with a passionate story of second chances and healing love.



I was looking for a cozy Christmas book and this came highly recommended. It was a quick, easy read, but didn't really meet my expectations for a good story. Despite good writing and developed characters, the plot was mind-numbingly slow and the hype fell flat.

Hear me out. I wasn't looking for heart pounding action and epic battles, but the whole premise of a cute girl stuck in a flash flood in Oregon during the week of Christmas and just happens to land at the doorstep of a hot, heartbroken bachelor is just too far fetched. And nothing happens - except the obvious romance that slowly blooms between them. The book is very emotional, which is fine, except that I kind of feel as though someone was trying to force me to feel for the characters, in a way.

The characters themselves were very fleshed out with tragic backstories, which for me, happened to be the best part of the book. I would have much rather read more in depth about the tragic events of their pasts rather than just what felt like an epilogue. 

But this isn't a bad book. I just don't think it was for me. Check it out if you love tear jerking love stories, but don't expect to find much holiday cheer in this dark romance. The author isn't bad. She also has a historical fiction novel out which I think will suit me better. 

3 stars 
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Monday, December 21, 2015

Other Books of Honorable Mention (2015)

I'm officially reading my the last book I will finish in 2015. Normally, I save this blog space to talk about independently published and small press books. Before the year closes, I wanted to highlight some great books I've read this year that are from more well known publishers or bigger companies that I haven't mentioned here before. Because let's face it, who wants to limit their reading experience to just one genre/author/publisher?


I instantly fell in love with this cover and decided I must have it. (Little tip: Target will price match anything Amazon sells so I got this HARDCOVER for 9 bucks!!) I found out I was slightly deceived, though. The artwork suggests Renaissance court intrigue and drama, which there is, but this story is more dystopian/sci-fi, which kept throwing me for a loop since they would run around castles in pretty clothes and then use their electric super powers to glitch out the security monitors. But all that aside, it's a great book. Kind of reminded me of Game of Thrones and X-men. Definitely getting book two. Hopefully in hardcover. 

My family knows how much I love anything Renaissance so I got this for Christmas last year. It's different than anything I've ever read. It's a collaboration of about 12 different authors and each author writes an act. It's a very interesting story, but drags a lot, depending on who's telling the story. It's kind of a heavier (and long) read so I'd recommend doing a little research on it before investing in it.

This book was great. It's a very subtle Cinderella retelling, but what I liked most about it was the beautiful, unique world and the elaborate masks and costumes. When I read a book I want to escape to another realm, and What is Hidden provided me with just that. I'm definitely reading the sequels! Coincidentally, this book comes from the same publisher who is doing my latest book Sigil in Shadow. So, if you're familiar with this book, you'll probably like mine too!

This is one of the last in the Bloody Jack series - a chronicle of adventures concerning a young orphan girl who disquises herself as a boy to get a job on a ship. Excellent, excellent story telling! This series got me through some tough times and one I hope my daughter will read one day. "Jackie" and I have been through a lot together and I will be very sad to say goodbye to her.

I re-read this before I went to see the movie. Not the best in the series but still, "not the best in the series" in a brilliant series is still an amazing book.


I've got one more review coming up before 2016, but I'll be busy as I expect to get a lot of books for Christmas! What were some of your favorite books this year, indie or otherwise?

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Book Review: The Black Mage: Apprentice by Rachel E. Carter

The Black Mage:


(Book 2)



Rachel E. Carter





  She survived a trial year at the Academy, but that was just the easy part…

Now sixteen-year-old Ryiah is an apprentice of Combat, her school’s most notorious faction of magic. When she finishes she will be a mage, but in order to do so she has to survive four years with a training master she hates and her old nemesis, Priscilla. To make matters worse the unwanted attraction Ry feels for her sometimes-friend-sometimes-rival Prince Darren is at an all time high –even though he is betrothed to the very girl she can’t stand.

Really, the only bright spot to Ryiah’s new life is the time she spends with her friends, including an older apprentice named Ian, who she finds herself thinking about quite often.

Just when things start to get comfortable they take a turn for the worse. An apprentice is killed in a rebel attack and several mages end up dead. Unwittingly, the apprentices find themselves in the midst of a budding unrest between Jerar and its northern neighbor, Caltoth. For Ryiah the impending conflict means many things, but as her apprenticeship draws to a close she finds her biggest problem at home.

Unfortunately for her, Darren’s not going anywhere.



Since reading First Year, the opening book in the The Black Mage Series, I've been anxious to get back to Ryiah and her struggle to move up the ranks at the mage academy. Apprentice does not disappoint. All the little snags and hang ups that I complained about with the first one are gone, and replaced with characters you love to hate and ones you relentlessly root for.

I was pleasantly surprised from the very beginning. The story opens in a refreshing setting not often used in fantasy stories. Instead of spending the entire year at the Academy, the apprentices travel back and forth all over Jerar. There's not much filler to the story, like I found in First Year. Hardcore action, which includes exciting mock battles and dangerous ambushes, is only interrupted for key plot points and heart wrenching angst.

There's no way around it. Ryiah is an angsty girl. A tough, resilient, pain casting, blade wielding girl, but a girl who often lets her heart over rule her head, nonetheless. It's easy to love Ryiah like you would a close friend, but I found myself "arguing" with her a lot. - Just as Ella, her actual best friend does, so I feel like my opinions have some merit. ;) But Ryiah is her own woman and has to make her own mistake. Lucky for you, you have a front row seat through all the drama with Darren. I told her many times, "Girl, if you don't get your head on straight, you're going to be singing along to a lot of Adele in your future. Trust me." Needless to say, Ella and I are anxious to see how things turn out.

You can tell when an author pours their entire self into a story. As a reader, I have no choice but to really feel for the main character, even if I don't always agree with her. Rachel E. Carter has such a voice that she puts you right in the story and makes you feel as if you're decked out in training gear with weapons right next to the other characters. Among all the action and heartache of Apprentice, something dark was brewing up for book three, Candidate, (now available) and I'm definitely not going to miss it!  

 5 stars
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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Radio Interview

A few weeks ago I was able to sit down and have a chat with author and radio host Leesia Champion on her show Take Your Seat. Even though I was really nervous, (my first radio interview! ahhh!!!) I think I did okay. We talk about everything from the airline I used to work for, writing while juggling a two year old, and my plans for a Sigil in Shadow book tour. Have a listen!

*~*~*~*Click Here*~*~*~*

to listen to 
the full Broadcast!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Book Review: Redemption From Ashes by Megan Linski

Redemption From Ashes
(The Kingdom Saga #3)

Megan Linski


Her destiny will cost her everything.

It has been three years since Queen Bennua last saw the devil himself flee her borders, and her kingdom warily stands watch. Sahrahn has fallen into chaos, with rumors of countries being flattened at the wrath of Akshalad, the great eagle who seeks to devour the souls of men. Cities burn, entire communities are slaughtered, and Bennua’s faith in Alshams’ is shaken to its core as she witnesses cruelties beyond all imagining. Guided only by blind faith, Bennua finds that she is to play a crucial role in a great battle between djinn, men, and angels, a fight that will determine the fate of the world. Carrying the future of Sahrahn, Bennua’s only hope is not revenge...but redemption.


I was really excited to get the third book in the Kingdom Saga. I couldn't read it fast enough. Seriously, so many annoying day to day interruptions! The end of each chapter made me sigh and say, "How am I supposed to go back to work/cook dinner/reenter society now? This story, especially the epic ending, kept me up at night wondering what was next for our brave queen.


*~*~*~*~* SPOILERS *~*~*~*~*

Everything seemed golden in Sahrahn when we last saw Bennua and Zahid, except for the ever present threat of Rukuh's revenge on the sizzling horizon. Redemption opens after three quiet years have passed without so much as a dark cloud. When a devastating curse is uncovered, Bennua realizes that darkness is quickly closing in on all she holds dear.

I really appreciated the depth of this story. Bennua is pretty much stripped of everything except her faith, and that is all she has to guide her through the third book. The internal dilemmas Bennua faces mirror those of modern times; things her readers can definitely relate to. Linski also gives a new twist on spiritual warfare with magic, monsters, and djinn.

The plot unfolds quickly with one surprise after another. One thing that I really liked, was that when the characters had to get from one place to another, there wasn't a whole chapter on the journey there. I think that really kept the pace going. 

Bennua, Zahid, Shadi, and Nuri are so fleshed out, I sometimes catch myself thinking about them as if they are real people. I love Bennua. I don't always agree with her decisions and the way she handles situations, but I find myself "counsoling" her as I would a friend. And Zahid. Oh, Zahid! Ladies, as if we didn't have enough of a reason to swoon over him! In this installment, he will put all of your other fictional crushes to shame. I promise. By the third book, Linski's characters are like old friends, the kind you wish you could take out and go with on vacation.

Redemption From Ashes is the best in this ground breaking series, and you would be a fool to miss it. Keep an eye out for #4, Prince of Fire coming early next year. From what I hear, it's a game changer. Can't wait!  

5 stars

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