Sunday, October 23, 2016

Butterfly Islands review

Butterfly Islands (Chronicles of the Twenty-One Butterflies #1)

by Chris Seabranch

"Casey is only fifteen years old when her stepfather tries to marry her to a perverted and brutal man twice her age. However, minutes before the wedding, Casey flees into the jungle where she is rescued from her pursuers by a mysterious woman who sets the terrified young girl on a path to becoming a pirate - a path full of adventure, danger, personal struggles, and self-discovery.

Struggling with her own fears and desires, Casey hovers between being an innocent teenage girl confused about love and her own sexuality, and becoming a ruthless pirate seeking revenge on those who have taken all she cherished away from her.

Casey strives to win the trust of the Twenty-One Butterflies, a group of female pirates living on Butterfly Islands, a mystic place filled with dazzling butterflies by day and swarms of moths carrying terrifying parasites by night. A disastrous trip by the Twenty-One Butterflies to a floating city in the sky known as God's Mercy, changes everything. While trapped once more in the hands of her former husband-to-be, Casey discovers that there is a traitor in their midst. From that point on, it is a race to save her new friends' lives and to escape from the man who wishes to make the young girl his wife and a slave to his twisted desires."


Butterfly Islands had a fairly good plot. It started off strong, but a few times the writing seemed incredibly rushed, although that could be in part because the author had a goal to write six books in six months. There were times when Chris bounced around between different characters POV's within the same scene, which can confuse some readers. I myself am used to characters having their own scene, not three different characters POP's within sentences of each other. While I did notice similarities, the characters did have their own personality traits. I do worry about the MC Casey, though. Her heart and emotions are all over the place. I will be sure to read the next book and see how it all goes from there.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Virtual Fantasy Con Giveaway!

 In celebration of the Virtual Fantasy Con, I'm holding a giveaway for the three available ebooks in my Chronicles of Midgard series: Falls the Shadow, Melody of the Dark, and Opening of Lost Doors!
This giveaway will run from Thursday, October 13 until October 19th!
Three winners will be chosen on October 20th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 8, 2016

On Author Events

Today I took part in the first ever Indie Author Day hosted by the Lorain Public Library System in Lorain, Ohio. The event held great promise, but I have to admit that there were certain elements that left me a bit disappointed. Now, the library did the best they could for their first author event. However, as I have taken part in various author events over the years, both live appearances as well as online events, I do have some suggestions to make such live events flow more easily. And thus today's post will have tips and suggestions for helping event runners run their author events more smoothly. Now keep in mind that these are just suggestions of how I've seen things done that have worked out very well.

Your Authors:
What kind of authors are you looking for: indie (independently published), traditional, or both? You don't want a traditionally published author without a single indie published book at an event labeled as Indie authors. Having an event dedicated to indie authors, and then having traditionally published authors there can be seen as a bit of an insult to the indie authors. Traditional authors have completely different experiences in the publishing world than indies. If you wish to have both, consider calling the event a local author event instead.

Be sure you have space for the authors your invite, be it a dedicated room, or spread out throughout the location, as many libraries like to do. Decide on how many authors you can fit comfortably in your space. You don't want to invite too many and have them squished together and bumping into one another. You want your authors and readers to be comfortable and able to move around with ease.

There are a two points of time that are important: set-up time and length of the event. Authors need plenty of time to arrive and set up their tables. Unforeseen circumstances such as road closures, accidents, and construction, can unexpectedly delay an authors arrival. Many events allow up to an hour for authors to arrive and set up their tables, thus reducing the stress of determining their table layout and less chances of authors getting in each others way. Table sizes tend to vary depending on the venue hosting the event, so authors need to adjust their displays accordingly. As for the length of the event, if you want your authors to talk to new potential readers and gain a sale or two, having the signing portion of the event run from three to four hours tends to be the standard length of time. You don't want to rush them with only an hour or so, especially when some of these authors might have driven over an hour just to get there.

Tables and Table Set Up:
This is one is high on importance. Will you be providing tables and chairs, or will your authors need to bring their own? Make sure to let the authors you invite know so they don't show up only to discover they have no place to display their books. When it comes to table set up, be sure to let authors know before hand what is and is not permitted. Many authors have tall floor banners they like to set up at their tables. Be sure to let them know if those are permitted or not.

Many event runners, such as libraries, like to keep similar genre authors located together. That way you don't have a children's author sitting next to erotica authors. Potential readers might be leery of approaching the author in such a case. Having assigned tables or sections will make it easier for readers find the authors and genres they want.

Fees and Costs:
Fees and donations are not entirely uncommon. Some libraries require a donation of 10% if the sales an author receives is over $100. Others venues have a table fee or even require a certain percentage of every sale made. If you will have any such fee, make sure to let the authors know from the beginning. There was one event that initially stated it was completely free, but then a few weeks before the start of the event, they sent out an email suddenly stating they would be taking 35% of every sale made. Unfortunately, that also led to some of the authors dropping out. So, as common courtesy, please state all fees and costs to the author up front.

You don't need to spend hundreds of dollars on advertising your event, but something to let potential readers about it is a must. Many authors will help by doing their own advertising, but they can't do it alone. A simple flyer with the event information is a good start. These can be posted in your venue or even left at local coffee shops. Also, social media is your friend. Post details on Facebook and Twitter. Such posts are easily shared and can spread information about the event fast, helping get the word out and draw more people in! Also, if you're brave, tumblr can be good too, especially if you tag the city and state the event will be held it as it will draw in the right people. If funds are available, run an ad in the local newspaper about the event, anything to draw those readers in! Don't forget to let people know if it's FREE, open to the public, if there is a VIP option, or if the purchase of tickets are require to attend. 

Author Panels and Webinars:
Some author events like to also host author panels and YouTube webinars. My only suggestion for this would be to make it optional and to state who the intended audience is. Not all authors want to sit through hours of listening to other authors talk about their experiences when the main thing they want is to meet with potential readers, and readers don't want to show up to it when they think they'll be meeting authors and purchasing their books. Also, if your event will only consist of panels and webinars, please state such as some authors will then decline the invitation. Having an author panel and webinar be separate from a signing event, be it before or after, is highly encouraged. Don't force your authors to sit through something they have no interest it.

I hope you find these tips and suggestions helpful in planning your own author event. And, as I said, these are what I found work the best for all the events that I've taken part in. If you have any questions about events that I didn't cover, or would like to invite me to on, feel free to contact me at here.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Opal Charm: Tha Path to Dawn Review

Opal Charm: The Path to Dawn (Volume One)

by Miri Castor 

"The lively suburb of Dewdrop is home to many junior high school students, but none like Opal Charm. She struggles with life at home and doesn't have much of a life at school without any friends – until she befriends the new girl, Hope. Opal finds herself changing in extraordinary ways as she delves into the enigmatic life of Hope, the new girl's lies and truths blurring together. Opal stumbles across a world separate from Earth, a world she never would have thought existed. She discovers that she has a Gift, a power that can make her stronger than she ever imagined if she can distinguish the lies between the truths. When Dewdrop is threatened, Opal has to use her power to save not only her world, but the new one and its inhabitants before Opal succumbs to lies and finds herself falling from the Path to Dawn. The Path to Dawn is a coming-of-age story geared towards young adults. It is a story that should make one question the power of truth and lies."

First, I would like to say that I am one of those readers who will pick up a book at a store because the cover caught my eye -- granted the blurb of the back is usually the ultimate decider for me. Opal Charm: The Path to Dawn caught my eye immediately. I'd seen it floating around on tumblr for a while and finally decided I really wanted to read it.

Now, I'll admit, at first I really disliked Opal and her attitude. she reminded me too much of my little brother in his teenage years when he went through his whole "the world owes me a favor" phase. However, as the story progressed, Opal began to grow on me and I came to understand why she was like that. I think the author did very well in expressing how a teen Opal's age might feel when such events are thrust at her, between home life, school life, and the painful memory of her brother. My curiosity in her grew as the story progressed and the truth regarding the Charm family was revealed. Sorry, no spoilers from me!

There were times when the pace of the story was quite slow in the beginning. I think some of the school scenes could have actually been omitted without it affecting the story itself. Also, in the beginning, there were a few times the wording was clumsy and I was forced to reread a couple of sentences.

As secondary characters go, I totally fell in love with Evron -- no offense to Aaron. Evron's interactions with Opal left me wanting to see more. I will honestly say that I shall be eagerly awaiting the next installment to see how Opal continues to grow (and to watch her interactions with Evron)!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Upcoming Events

Sunday, October 9, 2016 -
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Where: From the comfort of your own home or anywhere with a wi-fi signal
When: All day
About: Virtual FantasyCon 2016 is an online 8 day Facebook event celebrating Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror! Come along and meet with authors, artists, bloggers, cosplayers, and more! It's just like a regular convention, except its free, you don't have to travel, and you can participate from anywhere you can get online. There will be giveaways, a blog hunt, and much more! The event will feature the following sub-genres:
Sunday, October 9th: Epic/Sword & Sorcery (Includes High Fantasy)
Monday, October 10th: Sci-Fi/Sci-Fi Fantasy/Time Travel
Tuesday, October 11th: Faiytale/Punk (Includes all versions of Punk)
Wednesday, October 12th: Paranormal/Urban 
Thursday, October 13th: Series/Short Stories
Friday, October 14th: Dystopian/Apocolyptic
Saturday, October 15th: Dark/Grim Dark/Horror
Sunday, October 16th: Children/YA Fantasy
I will be participating on Thursday for the Series/Short Stories event, although keep an eye out for your chance to win e-copies of my books and even bookmarks and swag throughout the event! Links to each sub-genre will be posted closer to the beginning of the event. Until then, join the Reader's Corner ( to learn more about the authors participating and join in on fun games leading to the event kick off. This event is run and hosted by Fantasy - Flight of Imagination. Be sure to check out their facebook page here: Don't want to miss out on the event? Sign up for the Newsletter below!

Saturday, October 22, 2016
Where: Brunswick Library, 3649 Center Rd., Brunswick, OH 44212
When: 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
About: I will be at the Brunswick Library on Saturday, October 22nd from 12:00 pm til 3:00 pm for the Local Author Expo.  This event is FREE and open to the public. There will be several authors attending or various genres and age groups. I will have copies of my books available for purchase (cash or credit only). Stop and grab some new reading material!
Want to know when an event is coming up before it is posted here? Sign up to receive my Newsletter!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Dinner to Remember

Today my family lay to rest a wonderful woman. At 98 years old she lived a long life that allowed her to meet her great great grandchildren. During world war II she worked in a factory in Cleveland building bombs to help win the war. They called her Firebomb Aggie. In celebration of her life and nickname, we held a celebration of life dinner at the 100th Bomb Group Restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio. My mother-in-law thought Agnes would have found it very fitting.
 We were a large party of eleven--nine adults and two children. (I'm sure they'll remember us. After eating our meals, we ordered nine more filet steaks to go for tomorrow). We started off by ordering one of each starter on the menu and shared it. We never did end up getting the shrimp, but that was fine. I very much enjoyed the Battered Green Beans, the Truffle Fries were amazing, as was the BBQ Pulled Pork Slider. The Mozzarella bites were tasty and although I didn't try them, everyone else seemed to love the Artichoke Dip and Calamari. Unfortunately, I did find the Short Rib Perogies to be a bit too bland for my liking. For the main meal, I ordered the 3 course filet cooked medium rare with the mixed green salad and balsamic vinaigrette dressing. The salad was nice and fresh and I didn't come across a single bad piece--which made me very happy. The filet was incredibly tender and flavorful. I was in heaven with each bite of it. It's been a long time since I've had a filet that good. I'm not a big fan of green beans, but I found them to be wonderfully crisp and good. The mashed potatoes were absolutely perfect.
I was quite full after all the starters and the meal itself, so I had a slice of cheesecake for dessert boxed up to take home. It was delicious as well, wonderfully creamy and without that certain dryness that I've encountered in other cheesecakes. I wish I had more!
My husband had the chocolate lava cake and was quite pleased with it. Aside from the mildly disappointing perogies and my nephew's dry fish sticks, my compliments go to the chef at this restaurant!

Now, for some general restaurant pictures! The exterior of the building makes me want to live there. So beautiful! And there are some old military vehicles about as well.
View from the parking lot.
Front entrance of the restaurant.

These planes actually move in the wind!
Field ambulance.

Beautiful event room I caught a glimpse into.
My son discovering how many Pokemon Go stops were at the restaurant.
View from the roof of the airport.
View from the roof of the airport.
My son was trying to take pictures of the planes taking off.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Event Pictures ~ River City Book Bash

The River City Book Bash went well. I got to meet some wonderful people, readers and authors alike. The venue the event was held at was the Newport Aquarium in Kentucky in the Riverside Room (right across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio). I must say that the event runner, Christy Pritchard, did a wonderful job and I look forward to taking part again!
My table was by the windows, which was a wonderful spot except for taking pictures, lol! Author Mysti Parker got some amazing pictures if you'dlike to check them out: Mysti's event pictures.

Fantasy Author Intisar Khanani  and myself.

Between the lights overhead and window behind me, it was difficult to get good pictures of my table.

View from the Riverside room when the staff opened the blinds.

You can see Cincinnati, Ohio across the river quite well.
Before the event ended, I made my rounds around the tables and had my bag signed by all the author authors as a wonderful momento of the event.

The day before the event, my husband and I had the chance to hang out with friend and fellow fantasy author Intisar Khanani and her family. We got lost a few times in Cincinnati (why, oh why are there so many one way streets and highways/ramps to confuse the GPS?). I managed to get some beautiful pictures both wandering around lost and from the Purple People Bridge.
Purple People Bridge

Purple People Bridge

Lost in Cincinnati

Coal barge on river from the Purple People Bridge

Stunning shot of Cincinnati from the Purple People Bridge

Another stunning shot of Cincinnati from the Purple People Bridge

As my husband and I were driving down through Ohio, I decided to check the weather as it looked like there was rain in the distance. I decided the weather thought it was being funny and just had to take a screen shot of the smiley storm clusters.
Once the event was over, my husband and I packed up and began the lovely four hour drive from Newport, Kentucky back all the way up through Ohio back toward Cleveland. Our view along 71 North was pretty much this:
Corn. Everywhere corn.
The occasional town and corn.