December 14, 2014

LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE: CURSE OF THE DARK WIND

Gwen Bristol:

Hurrah! Another Legends of Windemere book! Looking forward to some fun holiday reading.

Originally posted on Mari Wells:

Dive into the newest adventure of Luke Callindor, Nyx, Fizzle, & all their friends.
LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE: CURSE OF THE DARK WIND
IS LIVE!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

What’s the Story?

After their battles in Gaia and surviving the Island of Pallice, the champions of Windemere are off on their next adventure.

In his quest to be a hero and help others, Luke Callindor has jumped into danger countless times and would do so again without hesitation. So when he is infected by the toxic Dark Wind, it is up to his friends to find a cure and keep his courage alive. With time running out and their enemies in the shadows, one ally will make the decision to share in Luke’s suffering and forge a bond that runs thicker than blood. Such a sacrifice might not be enough when the truth behind this living curse comes to…

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December 14, 2014

The Heart of All Magic is live for Kindle!!! #thenightones #theheartofallmagic

'The Heart of All Magic' went live for Kindle tonight! :)

The Heart of All Magic’ went live for Kindle tonight! :)

I’ve spent the last two months polishing ‘The Heart of All Magic.’ (Which means I haven’t been blogging much.)

It’s finally here. Book two of the two-volume series ‘Legacy of the Night Ones‘ is finished!

Tonight ‘The Heart of All Magic‘ went live on Kindle. The paperback will be available sometime next week.

I really love this game!

Please take a few minutes to look at the Amazon page! If you read it and like it, please leave an Amazon review. And if you get to it in the next two weeks, I would LOVE to have nominations for the Whitney Award! It takes five nominations to be officially entered.

Thanks so much, everyone! I’m looking forward to being on the blog a little bit more again.

Wishing everyone a very happy December. :)

November 8, 2014

Burned

Burned, the second book in the Dragon’s Trust series by Krista Wayment, was released at the end of October. It’s a great middle-grade read but fun for adults who love lots of action, too.

I really love how real Wayment’s dragons are. They are as much characters of the book as Renick, Lainey and Thane are, and their personalities shine through in everything they do.

Also, I love the idea of dragons that can talk.

In Burned, one rogue dragon seeking revenge causes a lot of trouble for Renick and his friends. I really felt for this dragon, and for everyone in his path, because Wayment made his dilemma and his motivations so true to life. For me, the real villains were the dragon-hunters, who only wanted to capture the dragon’s magic. Once again, Renick stepped into the role of a true hero, an ordinary person who does something extraordinary because he cares about others.

I loved this book.

 

November 5, 2014

My #NaNoWriMo progress, #burgersandbooks giveaway and more

Family of the Tri-Rune, by Charles Yallowitz

Family of the Tri-Rune, by Charles Yallowitz

It’s been another busy week, and once again, I’m behind on the blog.

I actually signed up for NaNoWriMo this year–something I’ve wanted to do for about five years now and just never have. So far this week, I’ve written just over 10,000 words. That makes me feel good.

Kathy Robinson, who won the first week of the Burgers and Books giveaway, also won the Burger King gift card. There were very few entrants for this giveaway. I enjoyed the idea of promoting reading parties while promoting indie authors, though, so I may continue to do these once in a while.

I wanted to review Charle’s Yallowitz’s Family of the Tri-Rune on Friday, but the day really got away from me. Here are my top thoughts (and possibly spoilers, so readers, beware):

Where Luke Callindor’s character grew immensely in Allure of the GypsiesNyx’s character grew in Family of the Tri-Rune.  It seemed like she started to come to terms with some changes she needed to make (for the good and safety of all), as well as with who she truly is. There were some remarkable and fun revelations about her origin in this book.

There were more revelations about Selenia Hamilton, too, as well as some of her contemporaries, and I was surprised when someone from Sari’s past showed up. These elements added twists to the plot that gave me lots of A-HA moments. Lots of fun! I also found some compassion for someone I thought was an enemy, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in this character’s future.

Some new champions stepped forward toward the end of this book, which makes me excited to read The Compass Key and start to follow their character arcs, too. While I won’t be running a #burgersandbooks giveaway in November, I hope to find time to read Yallowitz’s most recent book and post my thoughts on it here on this blog.

 

October 30, 2014

Ghost Moon Night is available–just in time for Halloween!

 

Just a  very quick post to let people know Jewel Allen’s book Ghost Moon Night is finally available. I wasn’t able to go to the release party last night, but I downloaded the book last week and couldn’t put it down.

The ghosts/zombies are really scary, and the island culture is so woven into the story that readers learn a lot about the Philippines, as well. There was a sweet romance subplot, great friends and a terrific main character that I really couldn’t help liking.

If you’re looking for a great Halloween read, check this one out.

October 30, 2014

#lukecallindor grows so much in ‘Allure of the Gypsies’

 

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

I didn’t get to blog last Friday, and I’m still playing catch-up. While there were no new entries to the #burgersandbooks giveaway, I did have a chance to read The Allure of the Gypsies by Charles Yallowitz.

Here’s a moment of thoughts for the character Luke Callindor:

I enjoyed his character development in the first two books of this series, but I would say his personality deepened quite a bit in this book. For most of the book he struggled with pain and how to deal with it, but by the end, I began to feel that the pain was making him grow, and he was becoming a better person because of it. Nicely done.

I was surprised at how strong Luke Callindor became during the battle scenes, too. Some new powers developed, which surprised and delighted me.

Now about the rest of the book.

My favorite scenes centered on the battles as Sari the gypsy, Nyx the caster and Luke Callindor fought a vampire caster. This was about halfway through the book, but there was so much more to enjoy. Luke’s greatest growth came after these battles during other fight scenes, and Sari’s ability to accept what had already happened to her life didn’t play out until the very end.

Oh, and one more favorite thing: In Allure of the Gypsies readers find out something important about Selenia Hamilton, one of my favorite characters from Beginning of a HeroI found that one bit of information completely rewarding.

This is a fun fantasy adventure!

 

October 19, 2014

A change in my tagline

My well-loved 'Level Up' binder

My well-loved ‘Level Up’ binder

Remember way back when I wrote this post about my semi-secret level-up project?

And then remember when I wrote about journaling my life rather than setting goals?

That’s kind of happening. I am still writing for all I’m worth. I’m also still trying to balance it with volunteer opportunities, running a household, and other great level-up projects that I love.

While I’m still very interested in marketing and plan to continue studying it (and posting about it), it’s begun to take a back seat to other interests. With that in mind, I thought a change in the purpose of this blog was called for.

I recently changed the tag line for my blog from ‘Writing, Marketing and Life’ to ‘Writing, balance and my level-up life.’ I may change it again, depending on how well it fits as I ramble on and on about whatever I want to. It may not always make sense, but it’s always aimed at making me a better person and on bringing as much joy as I can into the lives of everyone I meet. Even electronically.

Meanwhile, week three for the #burgersandbooks giveaway is beginning, and I am celebrating by reading book three in Charles Yallowitz’s Legends of Windemere series. Want to read with me?

 

October 18, 2014

Excellent weekend reading: The Prodigy of Rainbow Tower

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

I first read The Prodigy of Rainbow Tower back in 2013. Here’s the Amazon review I wrote for it:

Months after reading this book, my mind is still drawn to it. The fight scenes are descriptive without being overdone, the characters are realistic and dynamic, and there are surprise punches I just didn’t see coming. It’s a great adventure story. There’s a lot going on in this book, but Charles Yallowitz somehow made it all flow together seamlessly. I’ll continue to recommend this series to anyone who enjoys reading fantasy.

That holds as true now as it did when I first read the book. Nyx is a complex, exciting character who I feel really compliments Luke Callindor’s character. The fight scenes are realistic and the action is both fast-paced and smooth. It kept me reading and reading.

It’s been a busy week, so I haven’t finished reading through The Prodigy of Rainbow Tower the second time, but I’m enjoying what I have been able to read. I’m looking forward to finishing it again sometime soon.

I will say this: I don’t read every book twice. Especially when it comes to an entire series. Charles Yallowitz has done a great job with his books. (Check out his blog, and watch for his first video interview coming up on October 22).

From my blog review last year:

According to Dave Farland’s Million Dollar Outlines, books should evoke strong emotional responses. I would say Yallowitz’s settings do that for me. I’m only a third of the way through the book, but I had to fight myself to put it down long enough to blog about it.

If you’re looking for a book to really draw you in this weekend, this is a good one. I’m hoping for more entries to the #burgersandbooks giveaway this week so I can give this book away next Friday.

Happy reading!

 

October 18, 2014

Squirrels, apricot leather and sharing the joy of writing

 

The squirrel who ate dried apricot mush

The squirrel who ate dried apricot mush

A few years ago, my sister gave me a pair of shoes that I have absolutely loved.

She passed them on, not because they were worn out, but because she is much more fashion conscious than I am, and she knew it was time for her to try something different.

Now those shoes are about beat into the ground. The insides are falling apart and the sole is peeling off at the toes and the heels, and still I love them.

Here’s one reason why:

Two summers ago, I wore those shoes when I went to pick apricots. So many apricots had already fallen off the tree that they created slippery mushy spots on the ground. When I went home, my shoes were too yucky to take inside the house, so I set them outside in the sun to dry.

And dry they did. I had a veritable layer of apricot fruit leather baked all around the edges of my shoes.

I wore those shoes to garden in, after that, and then one day I wore them on a trip into the mountains with my mother and my children. After our picnic, I started taking photos of the scenery. My girls started laughing and pointing at my feet just as I felt something tickle the side of my right foot.

I looked down and saw a squirrel, peeling the apricot leather off my shoes.

I was reminded of this tonight in a strange way. I spent the day at a local pumpkin patch selling books with other local authors, and I thoroughly enjoyed the autumn-harvest-festival feelings that pervaded the little fair. For a moment, I felt a little bit like the squirrel–afraid of people I think are bigger than I am when it comes to writing, but so hopeful for a delicious successful-writer experience that I was willing to sneak up upon it and nibble at it.

It turned out well. I learned SOOO much from one day behind a table, and I had the opportunity to strengthen friendships with other writers and meet groups and groups of other locals. I actually sold books. Friends from my own neighborhood drove all the way to the pumpkin walk to support me. The sun was bright and cheerful, but it never got too hot, even in the late afternoon.

Marketing is a lot easier for me when I have a support group around me like that. By the end of the day, all of us were promoting each other’s books. There was a real sense of community lining our two tables. Until I returned home, I didn’t even remember that no one new entered the #burgersandbooks giveaway this week.

Now it doesn’t even matter. I plan to keep promoting books and holding give-aways, but that’s because I like them. It’s not really dependent on anyone else.

So I guess I really do feel like that squirrel. I glean happiness wherever I can find it.

Even if it’s not something I planned for.

Even if it’s not easy to access.

Even if I have to get out of my comfort zone to do it.

Overall, it was a smiley, feel-good day. Better than old shoes and apricot leather, and I plan to keep sharing the joy.

 

October 11, 2014

First winner for the #burgersandbooks #giveaway ! Prize: Beginning of a Hero, by Charles Yallowitz

Week one of the October #burgersandbooks #giveaway is down. The winner of Charles Yallowitz’s Beginning of a Hero is Kathy R. Congratulations, Kathy! I will send you your electronic copy tonight. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Beginning of a Hero, by Charles Yallowitz--book one in the Legends of  Windemere series

Beginning of a Hero, by Charles Yallowitz–book one in the Legends of Windemere series

The first time I read Beginning of a Hero I was struck with the action. The fast-paced writing drew me in, and my mind created great and immediate images around Charles’ Yallowizt’s story.

It was one of those reading escapes in which I felt like I really was inside the book—climbing the stone walls, trudging through the swamp, and going through the training exercises.

If I had to pick a favorite reason why I enjoy this book now, I would have to say it’s the characters.

Luke Callindor is strong willed and stubborn, and maybe more than a little cocky. He ran into his fair share of trouble because of that, but he handled himself well in those times of trouble. That built my confidence in him as he built his own confidence in himself. For me, that made the entire story believable.

There were some strong female characters, which I always love to see. One of my favorites is Selenia Hamilton. Her role is a supporting one, but her character is steel-strong and absolutely immovable. I liked that she was a sort of mentor to Luke Callindor and that she learned to respect him as the book progressed.

One of Charles Yallowitz’s writing strengths is his ability to write in present-tense. I haven’t read many books written this way, and he does an amazing job of it.

I recommend this book and the rest of the Legends of Windemere series to other fantasy fans.

 

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