Monday, July 29, 2013

The Hero's Lot Review

The Hero’s Lot
Riveting Sequel from Christian Fantasy’s Most Talented New Voice.
When Sarin Valon, the corrupt secondus of the conclave, flees Erinon and the kingdom, Errol Stone believes his troubles have at last ended. But other forces bent on the destruction of the kingdom remain and conspire to accuse Errol and his friends of a conspiracy to usurp the throne.
In a bid to keep the three of them from the axe, Archbenefice Canon sends Martin and Luis to Errol’s home village, Callowford, to discover what makes him so important to the kingdom. But Errol is also accused of consorting with spirits. Convicted, his punishment is a journey to the enemy kingdom of Merakh, where he must find Sarin Valon, and kill him. To enforce their sentence, Errol is placed under a compulsion, and he is driven to accomplish his task or die resisting.

Sweat, hot and salty, flowed into Errol’s eyes in the sticky heat of the early fall afternoon. He forced a quick blink to shed the distraction, not daring to risk the split-second it would take to wipe his brow. A welt as long as his hand burned his left ribcage. Its twin worked to numb his right shoulder. The staff in his hands blurred and buzzed like an angry insect, nearly invisible, but as yet he had managed only a single strike against his opponent.
And he was tiring.
The man opposite him, stronger and fresher, darted like a snake, the blade of his sword disappeared as his arms corded and he struck. Errol parried at the last moment and flowed into a counterattack. The clack of staff against sword filled his ears like the sound of a drummer’s rim beats.
For a moment he dared hope that he would penetrate his opponent’s defense, but the attack exhausted itself and he retreated to defend against those cursed whip-like strokes of the swordsman’s counter.
Pain blossomed in his side as the sword found its mark. It was no use. Four weeks of food and rest had almost restored him to complete health after Sarin’s attack against the kingdom. But ‘almost’ was insufficient against such an opponent.

My Review:
5 out of 5 Stars

Errol Stone returns in the second installment of The Staff & The Sword trilogy. This time around Errol finds himself accused of a crime he didn't commit in order to once again provide safety and protection for someone else. This turn of events only solidifies his distrust and dislike of the church. Placed under yet another compulsion, Errol finds himself traveling to a land full of enemies to hunt down Valon, the rogue priest. Along the way, Errol is joined by old allies and enemies turned allies, or so he hopes. New friends are met and lost along the way as the truth behind the salvation of the kingdom continues to unravel. Not knowing who to trust and faced with hard truths about his past and future, Errol begins to question his role in the fate of the kingdom. Will he decide to continue to let some unseen force govern his life, or will he finally be allowed to choose for himself?

What I liked. Carr is an expert storyteller. He weaves setting and character into his plot seamlessly. I find my heart aches for Errol's struggles. He continues to try to do what is right, but is hurt by all those he tries to trust. His hardness later in the book is believable, and made me furious at all those who continue to use him for their own purposes. I thought the relationship between him and the princess was very amusing, and realistic. The chaos of feelings and thoughts was exacerbated by their conflicting responsibilities. Once again, I found Errol's odd assortment of companions intriguing and amusing. They both hinder and help his progress towards his goals. More secrets are revealed, while yet more remain wrapped in mystery. This was a great follow-up to A Cast of Stone, and I look forward to the next book in the installment. I'm on the edge of my seat after the very nail-biting ending of The Hero's Lot.

If you love epic fantasy, read this book!

 Hero’s Lot is the Sequel to A Cast of Stones

A Cast of Stones
An Epic Medieval Saga Fantasy Readers Will Love.
In the backwater village of Callowford, Errol Stone’s search for a drink is interrupted by a church messenger who arrives with urgent missives for the hermit priest in the hills. Desperate for coin, Errol volunteers to deliver them but soon finds himself hunted by deadly assassins. Forced to flee with the priest and a small band of travelers, Errol soon learns he’s joined a quest that could change the fate of his kingdom.
Protected for millennia by the heirs of the first king, the kingdom’s dynasty is near an end and a new king must be selected. As tension and danger mount, Errol must leave behind his drunkenness and grief, learn to fight, and come to know his God in order to survive a journey to discover his destiny.

Author Patrick W. Carr
Patrick Carr was born on an Air Force base in West Germany at the height of the cold war. He has been told this was not his fault. As an Air Force brat, he experienced a change in locale every three years until his father retired to Tennessee. Patrick saw more of the world on his own through a varied and somewhat eclectic education and work history. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1984 and has worked as a draftsman at a nuclear plant, did design work for the Air Force, worked for a printing company, and consulted as an engineer. Patrick’s day gig for the last five years has been teaching high school math in Nashville, TN. He currently makes his home in Nashville with his wonderfully patient wife, Mary, and four sons he thinks are amazing: Patrick, Connor, Daniel, and Ethan. Sometime in the future he would like to be a jazz pianist. Patrick thinks writing about himself in the third person is kind of weird.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Finding Sheba Review

Finding Sheba (an Omar Zagouri thriller)

An ancient legend is reborn . . . One that might prove the Bible false.

For centuries, historians have theorized the Queen of Sheba as only a seductive legend, and scholars have debated over the legitimacy of King David or King Solomon. When undercover Israeli agent, Omar Zagouri, stumbles onto a tomb in Northern Jerusalem he unknowingly finds the final clue that threatens to overthrow government claim to the Holy Land, pits wealthy collectors against one another, and sends ruthless archaeologists scrambling to find the queen’s secret burial place. An assassination attempt on the Coptic Pope, His Holiness, Patriarch Stephanus II, is only the first in the chain of lethal crimes. Omar must find a way to prevent the greatest discovery of the century from becoming the most deadly.

 My Review:

5 out of 5 stars

Finding Sheba weaves together a diverse cast of characters from the past and present who are brought together under strange and dangerous circumstances. The uncovering of an ancient tomb could provide the answers researchers have craved for years, but when a string of deadly crimes seem to surround this discovery Omar has to work fast to get to the bottom of this mystery. With a slew of hidden intents, scholars, deadly enemies and the sad tale of an ancient queen woven throughout, this book leaves you guessing from start to stunning conclusion. Full of danger, romance, secrets, lies, and fascinating history this book will keep you up way past your bedtime.

I loved ever second of this thrill ride. The Middle East setting was expertly portrayed, and the rich culture, and the people's struggles were described in ways that had me itching for a search engine while truly caring about their circumstances. Each character's storyline merges together by the end to form a cohesive whole that left me reeling from the discoveries, and betrayals. H.B. Moore's love of history is portrayed in the thread of the true tale of Queen of Sheba that is given in counterpoint to the present day scholars who desperately seek to bring her story to light. With illegal cover-ups, undercover operatives, and an ancient Queen's quest for revenge, I wasn't able to set this down until the final word.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Happy 24th

The word remember according the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

: to bring to mind or think of again

May we all remember the sacrifices of those whose struggles and tears taught us to face the future with courage and hope. 

Happy Pioneer Day!

Friday, July 19, 2013

I Spy...a secret Blogfest!


 My latest work-in-progress features a teenage girl who has a lot to hide. One of her secrets is hiding the existence of the two magical races that exist side by side with Regulars (humans). My short scene takes place right after Reilly, the main character, has been pushed into her tray of food by a Shifter named Kemo. (Warning: From a rough, work-in-progress. Forgive cheesiness, and typos.)

Enjoy, and when your done here click on the badge above to learn more awesome secrets!

 “Go ahead and run with your little playmate. You weaklings always hid behind the Regs,” Kemo taunted behind them as Reilly force marched Lattie away.
Her free hand jerked at Kemo’s words, causing the lockers on the wall beside her to crash open.
Oh, no. She hadn’t meant to do that. The magic had just leaped from her just like last week with the stupid television explosion. She needed to control her emotions better.
“What the—” Lattie stared at the open lockers.
Reilly pretended to stare as well. “Maybe the school’s haunted.” Lame, lame, lame.
Lattie didn’t look convinced, but she resumed walking beside Reilly. “Why did Kemo call me that name? What was it? Reg. He acted like he knows you somehow, but I didn’t think you hung out with Damon’s crowd.”
Reilly smiled. Lattie was smooth, she’d give her that. She offered a, what she hoped appeared casual, shrug. “I’ve seen him around the last couple weeks. No biggie. Maybe he thinks Reg is an insult or something.” Her tongue tripped over the lies, but she didn’t know what else to say.
Council Rule # 1: Regs can’t be told about the magical world.
They can, however, find out for themselves, like the case of her father meeting her mother. But she didn’t want her friend dragged into the mess of life with Casters. Not to mention the fact that Lattie might think Reilly was crazy and never talk to her again.
Nope, better to avoid that sticky mess.
Lattie broke into her reverie. “You said you had something to change into.” She eyed the food smeared down Reilly’s front.
“Yep, in my locker.” Reilly’s Rule #1: Always have a spare change of clothes in case one needs to hide blood, claw marks, or whatever else Shifters used to attack. She grinned. Mashed potatoes, definitely a new one.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Treasures Abound

Today I have a very brief post to start off your week that I hope will be full of many adventures.

This weekend I found treasure in the most unlikely place, my mailbox.

Behold the sparklies!

(Happy dance and squeals!)

When I started blogging a little over a year ago, I never thought people would care enough about my opinion to send me books to review. Despite obviously being wrong, I still struggle sometimes with feelings that I'm unimportant and have nothing unique, or clever, to add to this big world of incredible, brilliant people.
But, like I was wrong about the books, I am wrong about my place in the world.
In the long, lesson filled year that has passed, I've began to realize that every voice counts and is important. Even mine with all my stutters, silly comments and paralyzing shyness.

Don't hold back your awesomeness. Let your voice influence the world for the better. And always be true to you. 
Lesson for today: You matter! Everyday and in every way. (Yep, I just made that rhyme. My awesomeness astounds even me sometimes.)

Happy Monday!

What treasures have you discovered lately? New books? About your own awesome skills?

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Wind Whisperer Cover Reveal

Whew, this is my second cover reveal in two days. Crazy! I'm so happy to see so many authors achieving their dreams. One problem, how am I ever going to balance all these awesome books on my teetering must read pile? Luckily, this one doesn't come out until October. So I have time.


While we do have to wait until October to enjoy this, we can savor the beautiful cover designed by Janice Duke until then. 


At fifteen, Anaii is the most important member of her tribe—and the most mysterious.  Ever since Anaii can remember, the spirits of the wind have whispered of fertile hunting grounds and imminent enemy attacks.  But when her people are ambushed by a brother clan without any apparent cause, the spirits remain eerily silent.

As the village prepares to retaliate, Anaii is pressured by her best friend, Elan, to marry him.  It’s an old plea—Elan has spent a lifetime loving her, but Anaii only sees a childhood playmate out of an imposing warrior. Stifled by Elan’s insistence, Anaii escapes into the forest where she meets Jayttin, the beautiful son of the enemy chief. 

Enamored by Jayttin’s carefree spirit and hope for peace, she repeatedly sneaks away to be with him, but when her deception is discovered, Elan is devastated.  Pledging his lifelong affection, Elan gives her a passionate kiss, and Anaii begins to see her friend in a new light.

While Anaii is tormented over which man she must choose, the wind whispers of a new threat that could destroy both tribes.  Only a union will afford a chance at survival, but the reality of that union is based on one thing—which man Anaii chooses to die.

The Wind Whisperer will be released October 15th.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Finding Sheba Cover Reveal

Today I am excited to reveal the amazing cover for Author H.B. Moore's new romantic thriller, Finding Sheba! Heather's series about Book of Mormon and Bible heroes and heroines has been a long time favorite of mine. I especially enjoyed, Daughters of Jared, the most recent one I've read (I realize I'm a little behind). Anyway, enough of my boring rant, check out the cover and learn more about Finding Sheba below. 


An ancient legend is reborn . . . One that might prove the Bible false.

For centuries, historians have theorized the Queen of Sheba as only a seductive legend, and scholars have debated over the legitimacy of King David or King Solomon. When undercover Israeli agent, Omar Zagouri, stumbles onto a tomb in Northern Jerusalem he unknowingly finds the final clue that threatens to overthrow government claim to the Holy Land, pits wealthy collectors against one another, and sends ruthless archaeologists scrambling to find the queen’s secret burial place. An assassination attempt on the Coptic Pope, His Holiness, Patriarch Stephanus II, is only the first in the chain of lethal crimes. Omar must find a way to prevent the greatest discovery of the century from becoming the most deadly.

Author H.B. Moore
 Heather B. Moore is the award-winning author of several historical novels which are set in Ancient Arabia and Mesoamerica. She is not old and doesn’t remember the time period, so Google has become a great friend. Although she has spent several years living in the Middle East, she prefers to forget the smells. Heather writes her historical thrillers under the pen name H.B. Moore so that men will buy her books. She is also the author of two non-fiction books, and several women’s novels including the co-authored series The Newport Ladies Book Club, the anthology series A Timeless Romance Anthology, and the historical romantic suspense novel Heart of the Ocean. These are all written under her real name so that women will buy her books.

Heather graduated from Brigham Young University with a major in Fashion Merchandising and minor in Business Management–which has absolutely nothing to do with writing novels. But at least she can balance a mean checkbook and color-coordinate her kids’ school clothes.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Emblazon Blog Launch

Emblazon is a BRAND NEW website that celebrates tween literature. I saw the banner and was hooked. Captivating!


Emblazon is the new one-stop shop for all things "tween". Twenty middle grade to young, young adult authors are banding together to help parents, librarians and kids find the best in this "in between" genre.

This site is officially launched today. Check out their very first post here and learn more about Tween literature.

Indie Life-Karen E. Hoover Spotlight

Because being Indie doesn't have to mean going it alone.

My post for this month is a spotlight of an awesome indie author I met last year. At the small, unassuming Snow College in Ephraim, UT I met the lively and fun Karen Hoover. 
I picked up her book,  The Misadventures of a Teenage Wizard: Two Souls Are Better Than One, and was hooked. Karen has a wonderful imagination and the charm and humor of her characters left me wishing for more (thankfully I discovered she had two more books out at the time.) 

Speaking of her books, isn't this a great cover? I love the kid's smile. 
Two Souls Are Better Than One (The Misadventures of a Teenage Wizard, #1)

Since that fateful day at Snow College, I have come to learn more about this talented author. Not only does she possess a great imagination, but also a very big heart and a great deal of fortitude. She continues to smile and write despite some serious health and family obstacles. She is definitely a great example to me of perseverance and dedication in the face of adversity, so I dedicate this months Indie Life to her.

Karen writes Middle-Grade and YA fantasy adventures. Visit her blog, A Writer's Ramblings, to learn more about her and her books. 

More awesome Indies!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Secrets and Spies

This post is brought to you by Jordan McCollum, author of I, Spy and Mr. Nice Spy. (Click on the image above to go to the actual page with details on the blogfest.)
Could you keep a secret from someone you loved? A big one? In my book I, Spy, Talia keeps a pretty big secret from her boyfriend Danny: the fact that she’s actually a CIA operative.
While it’s obviously not fun to live, it was a lot of fun to write someone keeping that kind of secret. So I thought we could share the fun! That’s right, it’s a BLOGFEST with FABULOUS PRIZES!

How to participate (and rules)
1. The theme is I Spy . . . a secret. It’s all about keeping a secret from someone you love. So what do you put in your post?
  • Write a scene with one character keeping a secret from someone s/he loves
  • Post a scene from one of your books (WIP, published, draft, whatever) with one character keeping a secret from someone s/he loves
  • Tell about a time in real life where you kept a secret from someone you love
2. You may share a story from your life, OR write a new scene on the topic, OR you may post a scene from your WIP. [This doesn't preclude completed works. Because, after all, no work of art is ever finished, only abandoned.]

3. Please keep all scenes clean , without sex, gratuitous violence or foul language.

4. Post your scene on July 19, 2013, and add it to the Mr. Linky (on my post that day, though you’re free to sign up below, too). Link your post back to the blogfest on here so your readers can read other entries, too.

5. Read, enjoy, and comment on other entries!

6. Fabulous prizes! I’ll be giving away Amazon gift cards (number of prizes based on the number of entries), plus a freebie for anybody who participates (even if you’re only reading!)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

IWSG-Research Mayhem

Welcome to another fabulous month of IWSG. A place where writers gather to offer support for all those many insecurities we all face in this crazy world of publishers, critiques and reviews.

I'll admit, June was a fairly productive month for me. I wrote six chapters on a new work-in-progress, joined a couple writing groups (a big step forward for me) and have tried to be a more diligent online buddy to others (If I really failed here, please don't tell me). I only have one small burr poking at me at the moment.

(Yes, this word needs to be capitalized and in bold type with how big of a headache it has been.)
You fabulous writers and authors have probably long ago mastered this particular beast, but I am still struggling  to tame it. (I will prevail!)

Research is a double-edged sword (quill?) in the writing world. Too much and you never get around to writing. (My problem. I can spend hours and days on learning awesome new facts.) Too little and, well, your have unhappy, disappointed readers. (Also a problem. I get sidetracked just learning and don't know how to incorporate what I learn seamlessly into my tale.)

So with stacks of books teetering on my desk, online searches and raids on my local library, I attempt to be an expert on all my characters likes, dislikes and hobbies. Then forget half of what I studied when it comes time to write and have to re-research all of it again in order to a make my story more "realistic". 

I get fleshing your story and characters out with details is important, but at what point is enough, you know, enough. 

How can I be a doctor, chemist, sports car enthusiast, animal whisperer and far too many roles to name, all contained in one person? (Talk about multiple personality disorder.)

I've found if I know a little bit about a lot of things, my characters are more well-rounded. But I still haven't learned how to research effectively and actually incorporate what I learn into my story without it being obvious that I just inserted a random fact. (Open mouth and out spills text quote.)

Time to dive back into the pile. Historian, there is another role to add to the writer's list of requirements. I know, it just keeps growing. 

Good luck!

How do you handle balancing research and writing? Any tips for more effective use of research?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

INDIEpendance Day!

Welcome to my blog where today we will be celebrating the awesome Indie author

Andrea Pearson!

Her most recent relsease, Rise of  Keitus, continues Jacob's journey to defeat the Lorkon before they destroy everything he cares about. I've really enjoyed this fun YA adventure series since I first heard about at Write Here in Ephraim last year. Andrea presented on self-publishing at the conference, but I was a little skeptical when I left. Could a book not carefully polished and approved by the "professionals" be very worthwhile? I discovered my answer on the first page of the Key of Kilenya. 


Jacob Clark's fantasy adventure has reached its most dangerous phase yet. A swarm of blood-ridden insects overwhelms Taga Village--threatening the existence of the Makalos--and the secret regarding Akeno's strengths is about to be revealed. Not only that, but Jacob's newly honed abilities allow him to discover the origin of the evil Lorkon. But finding out may be his deadliest mission yet.

Join Jacob and his friends in this fourth installment in the Kilenya Series as they strive to prevent the Lorkon disease from destroying Eklaron and Earth.

This is the fourth book in the Kilenya Series. The first book, The Key of Kilenya, is available as a free download. Enjoy!

Here's where you can get The Key of Kilenya and Rise of Keitus:
Smashwords (for other eReading formats)

Freedom to Read Giveway Hop

Freedom to read 2013

I am super pumped to be participating in this awesome blog hop. July 4th is the day we celebrate America's Independence Day. Yea! I'm grateful for this country and the freedom to choose my own path everyday.

In honor of this freedom to choose our own life journeys I'm offering a copy of The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner.


The Thief (The Queen's Thief, #1)
 The king's scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king's prison. The magus is interested only in the thief's abilities.

What Gen is interested in is anyone's guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Monday, July 1, 2013

The Power of Words

Words are such interesting things.

Think about it.

Every word is made of the same twenty-six letters we all, if you live in the U.S., use. But the impact those letters have on a person depend on how we craft them together.

A compliment or positive word can lift someone's spirit for the rest of the day and give them the strength to move forward with their dreams.

The same letters can be used to craft a mean critique, review or comment that can make another feel terrible about themselves.

All this achieved by something we often take for granted and hardly give any thought to before opening our mouths. (Guilty as charged.)

Word are slippery creatures as well.

We use them to label ourselves, each other, object and whatever we feels needs a word to define it. Yet, how often does one word suffice?

For example, five words I label myself with are






You could read those words and assume you know everything about me. But people, unlike objects, are not so easy to define with a quick word or two. We often have to take the time to look past initial labels and see what makes up their soul, spirit, core, whatever you choose to call it, in order to find the words that truly represent them.

This same principle applies to discovering the truths hidden within yourself.

I hope you all have a great Monday and a week full of wonderful words!

What words have touched you lately?