Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Book Review: Havana Storm by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Synopsis: Dirk Pitt returns, in the thrilling new novel from the grand master of adventure and #1 New York Times–bestselling author.

While investigating a toxic outbreak in the Caribbean Sea that may ultimately threaten the United States, Pitt unwittingly becomes involved in something even more dangerous—a post-Castro power struggle for the control of Cuba. Meanwhile, Pitt’s children, marine engineer Dirk and oceanographer Summer, are on an investigation of their own, chasing an Aztec stone that may reveal the whereabouts of a vast historical Aztec treasure. The problem is, that stone was believed to have been destroyed on the battleship Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898, which brings them both to Cuba as well—and squarely into harm’s way. The three of them have been in desperate situations before . . . but perhaps never quite as dire as the one facing them now.

My Take: I read this in two days, because that is how much I enjoy Dirk Pitt Adventures! I don't know what it is about Dirk Pitt, but I just dig him. He is like Indiana Jones of the Sea. I loved all the anthropological sequences with Summer and Dirk Jr, in Mexico. I studied the Aztecs in college and appreciate the effort for research. It was a fun mix of fact and fiction! I love how he weaves together real life history with creative fiction, like his explanation for the sinking of the Maine. If someone had told me this theory, I would have laughed, but the way the way Clive and his son Dirk weave the story, it makes total sense. That is talent right there! Cannot wait for the next Dirk Pitt Novel!

Have you read Dirk Pitt? What is your favorite book in the series? Let us know in the comments below.

Until next time,

Keep Reading!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, an Analysis

As many of you, my family went to see the new Star Wars movie this weekend.

We really enjoyed it! Then we came home and my husband delved into all of the "Spoilers" reviews we have been avoiding.

I found it interesting that people are so judgmental about a film that they all admit to liking. What is up with that? There were a couple of specific complaints that I felt I really needed to address because I felt that they were unfounded.


The first one that really drew my attention was everyone complaining about Rey being a Mary Sue.... Because she knew everything there was to know about the Millenium Falcon, because she could fly despite not being a pilot... Because she always seems to be able to do things others can't. I promise, I am not going to use the argument "she has the force"  although, I think this does explain a bit.

But lets start at the beginning. Her main "Mary Sue" objection was her knowledge about mechanics. But she is a scavenger on her planet. She has to know what the parts are to be able to pull and fix the best parts and make a living. It makes sense that she knows about compressors and widgets and fuses and such. She works for the guy who stole the Millenium Falcon. She has demonstrated a curious mind repeatedly, so I have every reason to believe that she would ask about the ships around her, and sneak into them at night, and fiddle with them.

Nowhere does it suggest that she hasn't flown them either! I know, there is nothing explicitly to indicate that she has flown, other than her saying she has. But she does indicate that she is a pilot. Perhaps she has only flown short runs on the planet (as she repeatedly demonstrates a need to stay there waiting for her family.) We never saw Luke fly before he did, but there were references to it, just like she says she is a pilot.

Her knowledge of the Millenium Falcon, and the stories of the force are like a history buff knowing everything about the Battle of the Bulge or our general knowledge of the American revolution. These stories were talked about and told, to the point where she believed they were just stories, but it is common in human tradition. It makes sense.

Another common complaint is that it is just a rehashing of New Hope. And in a way, it does have very obvious parallels. But there has been a theme through all of the Star Wars series that history has a way of repeating itself. People didn't notice the parallels in 1,2, and 3. But they are there.
Here are a few examples:
1. Anakin didn't know his father, Luke didn't know his father, Rey doesn't know her father.
2. None of them were taught the force until they were older, and did not realize how their gifts mattered.
3. All of them are found in a time when the Empire, The trade federation, or the First Order, are committing atrocities against the people.
4. All are raised on distant sand ridden planets on the far reaches of the galaxy (perhaps keeping them safe until they are needed.)
5. All must leave the safeness of that planet to assist in a major operation in which the galaxy is in mortal danger.

Some may view this as a tired rehashing of the same plots, but it is simply history repeating itself. If you look at human history, you see much of the same. I think that the parallels drawn between The Empire and the british empire of our own history, the Trade Federation, and NAFTA, and the First Order and The Third Reich are a bit too similar to just be a "lazy re-hashing."

People complained about how Kylo Ren was a whiny little prat, but so was Luke in the beginning, and so was Anakin... which is why "everyone" hated him. I have a young teenage son, and I hate to tell you this, but they are kind of whiney little prats! It is a part of their growth process. Some are whinier than others, true. But those who are bucking against the parental figure tend to start by being whiny. It psychologically makes sense.

The last objection was Han Solo's whole... everything. From losing the Millennium Falcon, to not being with Leia to his abrupt end. But lets be real.  First off, who really saw Leia and Han working out long term? They are from completely different backgrounds, have very different values, and are both bull headed. I was more impressed that they stayed together until their son went evil. Of course, there isn't a clear indication of how old Ren was when he turned, so...  It is no surprise that Han went back to the only thing he was good at when he failed at being a father. Also, this guy is a huge gambler, the idea of him losing his ship is not a huge surprise.  I was disappointed by his rapid end. It felt rushed, but at the same time, I knew it was coming.

With so much going on in the story, I know why it got rushed. I think it is a shame, since Han is easily many peoples' favorite character. I do think that Han, Chewie and Rey did an excellent job in milking the emotional moment as half the people I spoke to admitted to crying when the scene happened.

All in all, I think that the geeks are being too harsh on the story. We have built up unrealistic expectations based around a trilogy that was our favorite new concept. But if you go back and look at the original trilogy, many of your complaints could be applied there as well.

Despite the complaints, I loved The Force Awakens as much as I loved the original, and as much as I loved the prequels.

What are your thoughts on The Force Awakens, or Star Wars? Share in the comments below.

Until next time,

Keep Reading!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Poetry Corner: Glimmer

So far away
so uncertain
another life
gleams through the curtain.

Distant memories
of a past forgotten.
Cling to fragments
of a time not trodden.

Tantalizing memories
that lead to clarity
that I can't quite grasp
and fail in disparity.

Clinging with desperation
whether fantasy or fact.
Now that I've glimpsed paradise
I can't turn back.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Finishing a First Draft Feels Good!

Hello my lovelies!

Things have been hectic over here as usual! But I am feeling really accomplished. I have finished the first draft of Hell School: Fresh Meat, and am on track for a March release date! SQUEEE!!!!

I cannot tell you how good it feel to finish a draft! There is this huge weight that lifts. But it is far from finished, and I am eagerly ready to start working on the content edits. It has been too long since my last book came out!

This is the serial stalker I have been working on. Book one is Sam Havre's freshman year of high school in a new town. We meet the friends who are going to shape the series, as well as the beginning of her creepy stalker.

I am looking for four or five people who would like to provide a read through and let me know what you think.

If you would like to assist, please let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

Keep Reading!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Author Interview: Mercedes Fox

Hello Lovelies, 

Today we have an exciting interview with Mercedes Fox, author of an interesting looking werewolf series. If you are a fan of weres, give this series a go!

Without further ado, lets get on with the interview!
What is the current book you are promoting?

 I’m currently promoting Poaching the Immortal the hardest. Its my latest release and part two in the Vengeance of the Werewolf series. I do still promote Vengeance of the Werewolf book one and Life After Werewolf Domination book 1.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why? 

I’m going to have to say Ted Applegate. He starred in Vengeance of the Werewolf and is back in Poaching the Immortal. He’s had some rough adventures and turned into that which he hunted. 

What inspired this book?

 I’ve always loved werewolves. Books involving them were what I loved to read. I’ve always had my own ideas of the perfect werewolf. 

If your book were made into a movie, who would you cast? 

For Poaching the Immortal I’d cast Viggo Mortison as Aaron, Demi Moore as Andis, David Morrissey as Dave, Burt Reynolds as Deacon, Robert Duvall as Donavon, Matt Leblanc as Kit, John Travolta as Miles, and Ryan Gosling as Ryann

What is your next project?  

I’m working on the third book in the Vengeance of the Werewolf series. This time I’m focusing on a character from the first book, Principal Nico Howell. I left it open in the first book he was injured, had a broken arm and dogs were very nervous around him. So this is his story.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? 

Harry Potter is my favorite. I love the adventures he has, the world he lives in, the braveness he implores and his love of his best friends. 

Thank you for joining us today Mercedes! Have a lovely day.

Mercedes Fox Bio: I’m an indie author married with three furbabies. I’ve always loved writing stories since childhood. When the opportunity came about four years ago to take my writing to full time I jumped on it.

Learn more about Mercedes by following her links! Where to purchase her books:
Amazon Author Page: 
Learn more about Mercedes Fox on her Website
Follow her on Goodreads: 
Follow her writing adventures on her Blog:
Check out her social media pages

And until next time,

Keep Reading!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Poetry Corner: Human Cruelty

Who do you think you are?

Where do you get off hurting me?
I didn't leave that scar
so deep in your heart.

Why do you hurt me,
someone you don't even know?

Does it make you feel better?
To humiliate me with your show?

So God made me imperfect,
He did the same with you.
I was born to be large
There is nothing I can do.

You were born without a heart.
I feel sorry for you.

I could hurt people too,
but I accept my fate.
Why can't you do the same?

This was a poem I did in high school, because of some bullying I was getting. But it really hit home re-reading it as I see how cruel people seem to be lately. I am not sure if it is just "lately" or if I am simply finding myself exposed to it more. Either way, it makes me sad that our society is so divisive and unkind to those who are different from "us". I was informed that being kind and understanding to others won't fix our world, but I can't help but question that statement. Will it fix everything? No, but I know that as my family has made an effort to display more kindness and understanding (not that we were ever cruel, but we weren't always actively demonstrating an effort to understand or be supportive.) my little family has seen a major improvement in our happiness. Our situation (financial, locale, position in society, and "popularity") has not changed, but the anger one individual was having, the sadness another was having, the avoidance a third was going through, and the anxiety the other was experiencing have all significantly dropped. And considering that Depression and Mental Health Facts Statistics and You shows that 350 million people world wide report suffering from depression and that it is the leading cause of disability, I am thinking little changes can make a difference.

What are your thoughts? Share in the comments below.

Until next time,

Keep Reading!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

How do You Measure Success?

A fellow author, Tim I Gurung, asked a very probing question on LinkedIn: Seriously, how many books one has to sell to become a decent author?

This really struck home for me because as my husband and I are planning out my strategy for next year, he keeps asking a similar question. We are trying to determine how to build my reach and allow me to taste the financial success of a "decent author".  Last year we spent a lot of time and money on advertising in an effort to bridge that gap, but didn't see 1/10 of the ROI. That is a financial recipe for disaster!

Not to mention, it is very disappointing. Looking at my book sales, I should just pack up and forget about becoming a "decent author" because it ain't gonna happen!

 If you are only measuring success based on sales, then you have already lost. I have seen some really poorly written work (50 Shades, anyone) become a bestseller... Playing the numbers game is very disheartening. Keep in mind that many "best selling" authors are no longer making a living solely on their book sales. (If that were the case, they would not be offering master classes, charging to go to signings, or selling their books for movie/ tv deals)... and a lot of well known authors with tons of books are doing precisely that!

For me, I have learned to gauge my success as an author by my fans' response. I read every review and based on people's comments, I realize that I am doing something decent. When I go to a show and have one person eagerly asking me when my next book in such and such series is coming out, I know I am doing something decent.

Am I making a living? Yes. Is it through book sales? Sadly, nope. But many big authors are in the same boat.

Some people think that this is because of self publishing. More content is being produced every day than  a person could consume in a life time. Some people believe that it is because our society has become one that expects entertainment for free. Some believe that books are dead/dying as an art form and that if creatives like me want to make any money then we need to focus on new and emerging fields.

What are your thoughts on the matter? How do you measure success? Share in the comments below.

Until next time,

Keep Reading and Writing!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Book Review: Roamer A Lost to Found Rescue Dog Story By Michael Delaware

Genre: Mid grade fiction

Synopsis: Barney gets separated from his family during the evacuation from Hurricane Katrina. He ends up lost and living on the beach, befriending some of the lost humans living there as well.

My Take: This is a sad story. It has a Lady and the Tramp feel, with a darker twist. There are some beautifully written lines that make me miss the ocean, such as "The wind blew softly across the water in the gulf, and he could smell the salt in the air as he watched the persistent pattern of waves splashing over the sandy shore."

But I had a hard time getting into the story. For one, it bounces around a lot. I know, we are getting the story from the perspective of a dog. However, I feel like the author could have done better managing the flow. As it is, this short read feels a bit repetitive. I would not read this story with my middle grader as it is a bit traumatizing. There is a Where the Red Fern Grows moment that really pulled me from the story because it went from sad to super dark real quick.

The layout also bugged me. The author typically writes nonfiction, and he kept a nonfiction layout. It felt strange. I also had a hard time with the way he displayed speech in italics, rather than quotes. I will give him points for consistency at least.

The last complaint was the grammar. Several times the word women was used, when it was intended to be woman. There were also several points of syntax error. When it comes to these things, I am a bit more demanding than the average reader. When it comes to writing geared toward youth, I find such errors unforgivable as it dumbs down our children.

To sum up: There is some beautiful imagery in the story, and I think if the author expanded the story, organized the flow, and brought the reading level up, it would be a great YA book, like Where the Red Fern Grows, but at it's current length and structure, I would not read it to my boys.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Poetry Corner: Thinking of You

Sometimes our hearts remember
things even our souls forgot
As I sit here in December
I ask myself  "was it all for naught?"

I remember that fling
it seems so long ago.
I don't understand this feeling
and so I just let the words flow.

As time creeps slowly past
and the wings of night fly by,
It's time to put the former last
and stop always asking why.

No more time to analyze.
It's time to stop focusing on the goal.
It's time to soar above the skies;
it's time to trust my soul.

What are your thoughts on this poem?
Let me know in the comments below

Until next time,

Keep Reading!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Blundering Along, Blogging and Building

Hello lovelies,

As you know, I have been working on building my blogging more intentionally. I have been working on more consistency and I think I am getting that down pretty well. Now I am looking to expand. I have been approaching other authors to do more author interviews, character spotlights, and guest posts on my site to help fill the posts, as well as reaching out to other bloggers to participate in blog hops and blog tours.

I am really excited about one we have coming up in January, New Year New Books blog tour being hosted by Ama et Bema. If you are a reader, you should definitely follow along as we will be showcasing several authors who have new releases in 2016. If you are a blogger, Ama is looking for any bloggers who would like to be a tour host, and if you are an author who has a book coming out in early 2016, definitely get in touch with her so we can showcase your books!

I really enjoy doing blog tours and hops. It is so much fun, not only as a host, but also as a reader being able to go to other blogs and see their different takes.

Anyone else participating in a blog hop or blog tour, let me know as I would love to participate!

I am also reaching out to other bloggers as a guest blogger. This has been a fun and interesting part of building and growing. It often feels hard enough to come up with content for my own blog, and now I am reaching out to these other bloggers and have to come up for content for them as well! But it is fun to be able to step into another writer's space and engage with their audiences. It is also nice because typically they tell me what they would like me to write! Takes a lot of pressure off, let me tell you!

So any bloggers out there who would like me to write on your blog, just let me know what topic you would like covered (Or let me know you would like me to come write on your blog and I will offer some suggestions based on your content. I can handle some pressure ;)  )

And in that vein, I was recently invited to guest post on Tasha's Thinkings, for her Writerly Wednesday post about Editing. (Yes, it goes live today!) If you are looking for an editor, and the different terms are confusing you, (like content editing, line editing, copy editing, final edits and proof reading)  then you will definitely want to check this post out.

 Any thoughts? Share in the comments below!

Until next time,

Keep Reading and Writing!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Author Interview: Colleen S. Myers

Hello lovelies!

We are doing an author interview with Colleen S. Myers who plays many roles. Not only is she a veteran, a mother, and a practicing physician, but she is a writer of science fiction and contemporary romances. Colleen’s dreams include surviving her son’s teenage years, exploring every continent on this planet, except Antarctica, cause that’s way too cold, and winning the Nobel peace prize. Dream BIG! Collen's debut book Must Remember! just came out the first part of November. Without further ado, let's meet Colleen!

How are you?

I am doing really well, Looking forward to Christmas. This is my favorite holiday season, mainly for the sheer glow of goodwill that tends to hang in the air (most of the time, unless you broach Black Friday shopping.)

I hear ya, I love Christmas too! And I never go Black Friday shopping! I am all about decorating on Black Friday! 
What is the current book you are promoting? 

My first book was released 11/2/2015, MUST REMEMBER!  It is the start of the Solum series se otn the distant planet of guess what, Solum! Its sequel is slated to be released June 6th, 2016 and the final chapter (for Solum at least) is scheduled for December 2016

How very exciting! I love series. Especially when I don't have to wait too long for the next book. 
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?  
I am all about the villains. I think the complexity of what made them the way that they are is fascinating. Thus my favorite character in my book is Xade.  The reader will learn a lot more about his motives as the story progresses. 

Juicy villains are the best!
What inspired this book? 
I daydream all the time about what ifs and what could be's. This just kind of came to me that way. I love romance that is sexy but also makes you think.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you cast? 
Charlie Hunnam!  

Well not really, but he is my current man crush (I loves him so). I haven't really thought about casting per se as of yet, But if you check out my Pinterest page, you can see how I envision the characters.

Charlie is super yummy, but I love your character visuals on your Pinterest page. What a great idea! 

What is your next project? 
I am currently writing the third book in this series and finishing up a contemporary romance novel that is Earth-based and pulls on my experiences in the military with a crippled hero.

Sounds great! I am always working on multiple projects too. Gotta keep that creative juice flowing.
Who is your favorite author? Oh, that is like asking me to only eat one potato chip!  I love so many authors. I think that is why writing is so interesting. Yes, we all have genre's we gravitate towards, but some days I want to read a comedy, others a thriller.  It all depends on my moods. My tastes do tend to run toward fantasy authors though, Ilona Andrews, Nalini Singh, Jim Butcher, John Grisham, Thea Harrison. So many good ones out there!

I love meeting author's who are as eclectic in their reading tastes as I am! It was such a joy to have you join our little piece of the blogosphere. 

Here is the teaser for Must Remember!

Nineteen-year-old Elizabeth ‘Beta’ Camden is a survivor.
When the E’mani—those pale alien freaks—destroy Earth with a plague of madness and scoop up the remains, Beta is one of the ‘lucky’ ones. For years, she endures their tortures, experiments and games. Then one day, she manages to escape their ship with her life, and no memory of her time with them.
Stranded on their world, Beta wanders the mountains, looking for a way home. She stumbles onto the Fost—the E’mani’s ancient enemy.  Their war with the E’mani is old and rooted in magic that the Fost once had and the E’mani crave. Magic Beta soon discovers she’s developing along with strange tattoos and disturbing glimpses of her past. The Fost take her in and train her in their ways. As she spends more time with them, she falls in love with their culture and with Marin—he of the hot hands and slit eyes.
But the E’mani took her for a reason and they want her back—dead or alive. If Beta doesn’t remember that reason soon, they’re all going to die.
If this appeals to you, you can purchase Must Remember! on Amazon:
It is also available on
Barnes and Nobles Kobo All Romance/ARE cafe and Champagne books 

You can keep up with Colleen S. Myers on her website 
or on her social media sites:
Have you read Colleen's book? Would you like to read Must Remember? Let us know in the comments below.

Until next time, 

Keep Reading!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Poetry Corner: Lies

I can't believe a word you say
why must you always treat me this way.
Someday you're gonna be lonely,
and you won't find me waiting around.
That's when you will be sorry,
and realize what you had found.

But it's too late,
after all the lies you chose.
You've lost your chance.
You'll want to hang yourself by the toes.

But you chose to lie instead.
You could have had true love,
but now you hang your head.
I cannot blame you,
but I know it is not my fault.
I guess that is just the way it goes.

I wrote this after a play I did, in which the male lead led me on and used me for my vehicle and my support of him. The irony is that I would have given him rides and everything, even without him leading me to think that he liked me. Unfortunately, he only knew how to use others to get what he wanted.

We are still in touch. He has a relatively successful career playing bit parts in B movies and I support him by watching every single one. My husband laughs every time he sees the guy and says that idiot really missed the boat. That is one lie I will gladly believe!

What are your feelings about this poem? Share in the comments below!

Until next time,

Keep Reading! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Writerly Things: Black Friday-Cyber Monday Promo Results

Hello my lovelies,

As you may (or may not) know, I did my first Black Friday through Cyber Monday promo....
and was very disappointed with the results. Because results are what matter, right?

Let's start with the good stuff:

I got several shares during my promo (thanks everyone on Facebook and Twitter who shared!)

I noticed something interesting on Facebook. I did not promote my posts as my budget is... limited at best. Facebook gave my promotional posts a lot less exposure than my other posts. (None got more than 20 views, even though most of my posts get 40+ views at any given time.) Very shady, Facebook!

I got a lot more engagement on Twitter, despite not promoting my posts. Makes me more inclined to spend my valuable limited budget there.

I got about the same number of views directly on my blog. I also shared on Pinterest and Google + and with several promo groups on Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn and Goodreads, but got no notable reaction.

Fortunately, I did not spend a penny, but I did spend upwards of 15 hours of effort in planning, promoting, and after analysis.

At my other jobs, 15 hours of work gross's me $300.

From my promo? $9.38


Back to the drawing board.

What are your top tips for promotion? Share in the comments below.