Sunday, November 20, 2016

Fantastic Creatures Review

Fantastic Creatures

by various authors

"Here be dragons ... and selkies and griffins and maybe even a mermaid or two.

Twenty fantasy authors band together to bring you a collection of thrilling tales and magical monsters. Do you like to slay dragons? Or befriend them? Do you prefer to meet cephalopods as gigantic kraken or adorable tree octopuses?

Each story focuses around a fantastic creature from folklore or mythology, and they range from light and playful tales for the whole family to darker stories that may make you wish to leave the lights on. These stories carry the Fellowship of Fantasy seal of approval. While our monsters may be horrifying, you won't stumble into graphic sex and constant swearing.

Perfect for the fantasy lover who can't get enough of mythical beasts."

 I received an ARC copy of this book for honest review. I am happy to be supporting the indie Fellowship of Fantasy Authors in reviewing it.

I love creatures of myth and legends, and this series of short stories did not disappoint in the slightest. This book is suitable for nearly all age groups and gives you glimpses of fantastic, magical creatures that many do not even know about.

I enjoyed how not all of the stories told you straight out what the creature was, letting you guess what they were, such as in <i>Seekers</i>. I was proud to have known exactly what the creature was (I might have a small obsession with myths and legends, especially those tied with Ireland). There were only two of the short stories that I didn't really like. Many the rest left me wanting so much more. For the most part, the writing was beautiful and well done, however there were a few stories that felt somewhat clumsy, but not so much so to take me away from the tale being told.

All in all, I give this anthology 5 stars. I won't allow the few stories I didn't enjoy to drag my rating down. I'm glad I was given the opportunity to read this wonderful collection of short, indeed magical, stories.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Fantastic Creatures Release

To celebrate the release of Fantastic Creatures, The Fellowship of Fantasy has planned a Release Extravaganza! Join our open house-style Facebook party today (Nov 17) from 3:30 - 7 pm to meet many of our anthology authors and get a peek at the fantastic creatures highlighted in our stories. There will be fun, games, and, of course, DRAGONS! You can also join our Fantastic Creatures Scavenger Hunt from Nov 17-20th. Each of twelve stops will feature a post with exclusive content from one of our authors. Many will also include a mini-giveaway... Visit all the stops and collect the clues--a number featured in each post--and you could win a Kindle Fire plus a 12-book digital library! Make sure to scroll down to find the list of Scavenger Hunt stops and get started right away! fof-antho-cover-large goodreads-badge-add-plus  
Here be dragons ... and selkies and griffins and maybe even a mermaid or two. Twenty fantasy authors band together to bring you a collection of thrilling tales and magical monsters. Do you like to slay dragons? Or befriend them? Do you prefer to meet cephalopods as gigantic kraken or adorable tree octopuses? Each story focuses around a fantastic creature from folklore or mythology, and they range from light and playful tales for the whole family to darker stories that may make you wish to leave the lights on. These stories carry the Fellowship of Fantasy seal of approval. While our monsters may be horrifying, you won't stumble into graphic sex and constant swearing. Perfect for the fantasy lover who can't get enough of mythical beasts.
Get it on: Amazon | B&N (Nook) | Kobo | More!
And find out more at the Fellowship of Fantasy website.
fof-fantastical-creatures-scavenger-hunt-banner

The Fantastic Creatures Scavenger Hunt

Visit these authors' blogs to find the numbers hidden in each post, discover exclusive content about the stories in our anthology, and find a few mini giveaways along the way! Each author is hosting a different author's post, so be sure to visit them all. Once you've collected all the numbers, add them together and enter the total in the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a Kindle Fire and 12 book digital library!

Scavenger Hunt Stops

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Indie Author Conference & Showcase

I will be one of the authors showcased at the Indie Author Conference & Showcase. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required to attend the conference (http://www.cuyahogalibrary.org/Events/Event-Results/Event-Detail.aspx?id=96144).
The conference with feature the following authors: 11:00 am - Dana Kaye, 12:00 pm - Victoria Strauss, and at 1:00 pm - AE Jones. The showcase will begin at 2:00 pm and will run until 4:00 pm and will feature 50 local authors. I will have copies of all my books on hand for purchasing (cash or credit only). Be sure to stop by, meet some local authors, and grab some new reading material.
When: Saturday, November 12, 2016
Conference: 11:00 am - 1:45 pm
Showcase: 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Where: Cuyahoga County Public Library:
Parma-Snow Branch
2121 Snow Rd.
Parma, OH 44134
216-661-4240

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."

  Interesting

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.

Space:
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.

Times:
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.

Genres:
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.

Advertising:
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)!