Blog, Interviews, Reviews

Guest Author J. R. Krol

Today I have a very special author visiting my blog, my own brother, J. R. Krol, who just published his very first book, Success: How to Succeed or Accept People After a Traumatic Event, a nonfiction piece about dealing with traumas. This book is written both for the victim and for the loved ones and friends trying to help the victim. First, let’s get to know Jake a little bit and then I will share some of my thoughts about this wrenching book at the end.

Jake & Nikki (1)About the Author:

J.R. Krol lives in southern Michigan with his wife Nicole and their five dogs.

Hello, Jake! What inspired you to write Success?

I did not like the way that people would treat, react, or misunderstand people who suffer from mental health; especially, those who received it through traumatic events.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from this book?

A better understanding of the struggles, feelings, thoughts, and hopelessness that these victims go through on a daily basis and if they are a victim to have a better understanding and acceptance of themselves.

Can you share one lesson you have learned from your writing with your readers?

I have learned to be a better communicator.

What’s your next project?

My next project is another self-help and informative book being titled, Friend or Frenemy. I also am hoping to complete my sci-fi novel The Storm Within before mid-2019.

Bonus: A dragon invites you over for dinner: What do you do?

Make sure to bring a herd of sheep along as a gift so I do not become dinner. This way I do not have to offend by not going.

~~~

You can purchase your copy of Success here.

Now, as promised, my review of Success:

I didn’t even know my brother was writing this book, so it was a pleasant shock when I discovered he’d written and finished his first book. I had the honor of helping him design the cover, so I won’t leave a starred review (and he IS my brother, so I may be a tad biased), but this book was so good I have to say a few words about it.

Success is a quick read, but it packs a wallop. There is so much emotion and personal experience packed into this book. My brother suffered a tragic accident a year and a half ago, which makes him uniquely qualified to talk about trauma and the ongoing problems a traumatic event inflicts on its victims. This book reads like a personal letter or testimony, with inspirational quotes and personal experience bits. The best thing about this book, however, is that is written for the victim AND the people trying to help a victim. The battle doesn’t end with the traumatic event. Life goes on, but for someone who has suffered a tragedy, life can’t go on, not in the way it did before. J.R. Krol does a marvelous job of reminding us of this very fact and offering a battle cry to keep battling for success.

If you’ve suffered a trauma, or know someone who has, you may find this book inspirational, and an incredible resource.

Blog, Reviews

The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reeder

The Electrical Menagerie (The Celestial Isles)The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reeder

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie Reeder

I LOVED THIS BOOK.

This novel is filled with snark, colorful characters, beautiful descriptions, and one of the most original story worlds I have ever encountered. The floating islands, the trains that soar across the skies on star rails, the steampunk circus acts…this book will capture your imagination and carry you to the stars. There are some truly funny moments in this book—as in, funny enough to make you spew coffee across your lap. There’s one at the ending I found particularly hilarious.

The characters are very dynamic in this book, even the minor characters such as the electricals. You feel as deeply for the robotic characters as you do the flesh and blood ones. Carthage and Huxely, the two main characters, are very well developed, dimensional characters who play off each other in heart-warming and hilarious ways. The way they strive for the same things but in such different ways is amazing.

The only thing I didn’t care for in this story…I can’t tell you about because it’s a major plot spoiler, but it isn’t because of anything the author should have done differently, but rather my own preferences wishing certain things had turned out differently. Was that vague enough, friends? I hope so, because I don’t want to spoil anything for you all, because I really think you need to read this book. Like, right now. Go buy it.

If you enjoy original worlds, colorful characters, and circus performances, you are sure to fall in love with The Electrical Menagerie.

I rate this book PG.

Blog, Reviews

Review of Coiled by H.L. Burke

CoiledCoiled by H.L. Burke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

H.L. Burke never disappoints. Like always, she has created a rich world with compelling characters and high stakes. And the cover of this book is gorgeous, by the way.

Several things I really liked: I loved her main characters. Laidra and Calen were such good, kind, wonderful people in spite of the monstrosities forced upon them. I loved how selfless they were, putting the needs of others above their own comfort and survival. The sacrificial nature of this love story was truly well done. Their love story is also so beautiful, two people who look beyond appearances to the beauty within. There was just the right amount of heat in their relationship while still being tactfully handled. It’s a perfect romance with lots of sexual tension but no sex.

Ms. Burke also painted an incredibly rich world, with layers of history and colorful characters. It wasn’t just a retelling of a Greek myth in a typical Greek world: Ms. Burke made it her own and added her own unique spin. I LOVED how she implied the gods weren’t really gods and that an Unknown God had created them. It was a subtle touch that I really appreciated. I’ve never been a huge fan of Greek myths, but Ms. Burke won me over to her side.

There are very few things I wish she would have done differently. This story doesn’t have quite as much snark as her stories usually do, but that isn’t a bad thing. This is first and foremost a love story and didn’t need the snark to pull it off—this only proves what a powerful writer she is. The only thing that bothered me a little is a bit of a spoiler so stop reading if you haven’t read the book yet. I would have liked to see a greater learning curve for the antagonist. Ellea’s growth was allowed to happen naturally, which made her change more real and compelling. However, Volen’s change of heart had to happen so quickly that it didn’t have quite as much impact. Still, I loved that he WAS redeemable in spite of the horrible things he had done—and I especially loved that Calen and Laidra were able to forgive him and realize this fact as well. I thought he should have suffered some horrible consequences for the awful things he had done and wouldn’t have been so gracious to him if I had been in their shoes. 🙂

If you like well-developed worlds, epic love stories, compelling quests, and original retellings, this story is sure to enthrall you. I highly recommend this book.

I rate this story PG-13 for thematic elements and mild sensuality (no sex).

Blog

Ink Blotted Beka Blog Tour

IMG_0480Today I am delighted to be sharing about the recent artistic endeavors of a very dear young lady. She has been doing fan art for authors for ages, and now she is venturing forth into the world with her new business, Ink Blotted.

About the Artist:

Beka hails from the Great White North (aka Canada), where she reads, dreams, and doodles away. She loves bringing characters from the written page to the visual eye, and dabbles in pencil and coloured pencil and the occasional watercolor. Her dream is to one day get into digital art and save some trees.

You can connect with Beka on Facebook  and Instagram

Giveaway!

For a chance to win a free character drawing, enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Some of Beka’s work

 

 

This blog tour will be going on for a few days. If you’d like to see some of the fun interviews Beka has prepared, you’ll want to keep an eye on the schedule.

Oct. 1

Anne Louise Twitchell – Spotlight

Tammy Lash – Spotlight

Savannah J. – Spotlight

 

Oct. 2

Jenelle Schmidt – Spotlight

Bryn Schutt – Spotlight

 

Oct. 3

Skye – Spotlight

Katie Hanna – Spotlight

 

Oct. 4

Rebkah DeVall – Spotlight

Elizabeth Brown – Interview

 

Oct. 5

Penny Wood – Interview

Fran Laniado – Interview

 

Oct 6.

W.R. Gingell – Spotlight

Grace Mullins – Spotlight

 

Oct. 7

Rachel Rossano – Interview

Sarah – Spotlight (I need your blog URL)

 

Oct. 8

Anna Willis – Spotlight

Grace Maples – Spotlight

Liv. K Fisher – Spotlight

 

Submissions

Submissions Open for On My Own

On My Own: How to Format your Ebook and Print Layout in Microsoft Word

On my own formatting_coverWhat we are looking for:

Articles or blog posts about interior formatting. Reprints and old blog posts acceptable. Multiple Submissions are also accepted. We are interested in Step-by-Step or problem solving articles relating to formatting layouts, preparing images for prints, uploading to KDP and KDP Print, using Kindle Create, and so on. We will also accept personal experience pieces as long as they relate to formatting. For example, a humorous article about the mistakes you made with your first format will be accepted while an article about marketing your first book will not. We are most interested in articles relating to Microsoft Word, Calibre, KDP, and Photoshop, but will also consider other articles involving other platforms like Adobe InDesign or comparing the various programs one might use for formatting. The aim of your article should be to instruct authors on how to “Do It Yourself” or to encourage them as they do it themselves.

Deadline: October 5, 2018

How to Submit:

Please send your article as a Word file or Google Doc, in Times New Roman, 1 inch margins, to dragonwriter84@gmail.com with the subject line: SUBMISSIONS: (Author Name)/(Submission Title). Images or graphics are welcome.

Rights:

Looking for ongoing, non-exclusive rights to your article. This means you are free to publish it else where at any time.

Payment:

A one time payment of $5 per article will be paid to the author upon acceptance. NOTE: No royalties will be offered, only the one time $5 payment.

Blog, Reviews

Spice Bringer by H. L. Burke

61Cz37rf6tLThis was one of those stories that pulls you in and digs deep into your soul. It will make you laugh; it will bring you to tears; it will linger long after you finish the last page. It isn’t a story for the faint of heart. After all, it’s about a young girl dying from an incurable disease so how can it be a happy story, right? But it is. Somehow, it is.

A few things I loved about this story:

  1. The characters. They were so well developed and so multi-faceted. Even the “villain” of the tale, the future empress, wasn’t just a mindless face of evil, but a young woman with a heart and story of her own. Niya was the perfect balance of fragility and strength that every heroine needs. Jayesh was swoon-worthy, beyond words, in all the ways: flawed and yet so romantic. I’m not sure I can tell you the one thing I loved most about him because it contains spoilers. Alk–oh, horrible, sweet, awful, wonderful Alk! His story arc, to my surprise, touched me almost as deeply as Niya’s: not something most sidekicks can boast of.
  2. The setting. This fantasy world is so vivid and colorful. Set in an ancient realm reminiscent of our own far eastern cultures, Spice Bringer is a delicious blend of jungles, waterways, and spices. The people are just as diverse, some wonderful and others horrid.
  3. The religion. This surprised me most of all. I went into this book knowing the religion wouldn’t be a strict representation of Christianity, but since I’ve always been fascinated with other cultures and their beliefs, I wasn’t worried. However, I wasn’t prepared for how deeply I would like this culture and the gods they worshiped. Instead of One God with Three Persons, Ms. Burke created a three god culture that each represented a characteristic of the One God (Kind, Just, and All-Knowing). And the religion wasn’t just a vague backdrop in the story, but it actually played a huge role in the characters’ development and worked its way into their discussions so naturally. It was thought-provoking and fascinating.

I could go on and on. I tried hard to think of something I didn’t like about this story–because I do like to be honest and open with other readers–but this story truly earned its Five Star status in my eyes. My one regret was that it was such a sad book…but this ended up being one of the things I also loved most about it. So if you love books that make you smile and sniffle in turn, if you love being swept away to foreign worlds and strange cultures, if love going on quests with consequences that reach farther than most of us could ever truly imagine, you are sure to adore Spice Bringer.

PHOTOAbout the Author:

Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

She is the author of a four part fantasy/romance series entitled “The Dragon and the Scholar,” the Award Winning (2016 Realm Award for Young Adult Fiction) Nyssa Glass Steampunk series, and MG/Fantasy “Cora and the Nurse Dragon,” among others .

Sign up for her monthly newsletter at http://www.hlburkeauthor.com.

Purchase Spice Bringer here

Blog, Interviews

Worth of a King Blog Tour and Interview

Today I am honored to have the talented Kendra E. Ardnek visiting my website to talk about her new release, Worth of A King. She will be telling us a little bit about herself, her writing process, and her characters.

Hello, Kendra! What inspired you to write this fantastical story? 

The desire to write a book with my friend, Jack Lewis Baillot. We both loved twins and king stories, so this seemed to be the natural choice. Unfortunately, she had to drop out of the project, but … writing with her was fun while it lasted.
Are any of the characters in your story inspired by real people? 

Not that I can remember, no. Well, except Laura was based off a character who was originally a self-insert of myself.
Tell us about your writing space: what does it look like? 
Currently, it’s a state of flux, as I’m moving from my bedroom out into my living room.
Do your characters talk back to you?
All the time. These characters in this book weren’t so bad (apart from Nadilynn, who kept showing up to ask if she could pretty please be the main character), but I’ve had characters go as far to throw shoes at me in the past.
What is one thing you LOVE about Worth of a King?
Twin awesomeness.
Can you share a brief quote from your book with us today?
“Like cake will make up for finding out that his entire life has been a lie.”
And, finally, a dragon invites you over for dinner: what do you do?
Make sure that I’m wearing my official Dragon Trainer badge and bring Sunset, my dragon, with me.
Thanks for joining us, Kendra! Now let’s hear a little bit about Kendra’s book and where you can connect with her.

the worth of a king 4Book Description:
Princess Obsidia’s father was killed the night she was born. Since there was no male heir, the crown went to the man who killed him, by Dialcian law. This never bothered her, growing up, and when it comes time for Obsidia to choose her husband, she chooses Prince Delaney, the son of that man, with little hesitation. Only then does her life start crumbling around her.

Adrian expected to live a normal life, taking his father’s place at the print shop when his father retired. But, on his eighteenth birthday, when the princess’ engagement is announced, his world is ripped out from under him when he learns that his life was a ruse, and he is the twin brother to the princess – and expected to take back his father’s throne.

Delaney knows that his country is hovering on the brink of war – and that his father may harbor murderous intentions towards his intended bride due to her Zovordian blood. He wants nothing more than to protect Obsidia and his people, but as merely prince, he has little power against his father.

The ancient war between the Dragons and the Immortal King and Queen is nearing its climax, and the three are already caught in it.

Opening Chapter

Add Book on Goodreads

Kendra E. ArdnekAuthor Bio:

Kendra E. Ardnek loves fairytales and twisting them in new and exciting ways. She’s been or acting them on her dozen plus cousins and siblings for years. “Finish your story, Kendra,” is frequently heard at family gatherings. Her sole life goal has always been to grow up and be an author of fantasy and children’s tales that glorify God and His Word.
Find her online at: Website || Blog || Goodreads || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon 

Giveaway!  Kendra will be giving away a paperback copy of the book and a 15ml bottle of Peppermint oil (US only). She also has a special prize for whoever leaves the most comments across the blog tour – and that one is international. So comment away, dear friends! You can find out about the rest of the  blog tour HERE! This is today’s schedule as well:

Saturday, September 1st
Knitted By God’s Plan: The Fall of a Star
Reviews:
Books, Baking, and Cowboy Boots
Interviews:
Dragonpen Press – Kendra E. Ardnek
Regarding Reading, Writing, and Sometimes Life – Kendra E. Ardnek
Cobonha – Adelaide

Sneak Peek:

Adrian heard the door, then a long silence before Father announced, in a regretful voice, “She chose Ossian’s boy.”

Mother gave a small gasp.

Frankly, Adrian didn’t see what was so surprising about the news. Obsidia was far from the first Dialcian princess to marry the son of the king who had killed her father.

“This means that we have to tell him,” Father continued.

Tell him? Him who? Tell him what?

“I can’t believe that this day has already come,” said Mother. “It seems only yesterday that Adelaide…”

“Do we really have to tell him?” This was Jerolin. “Right now?”

“There’s no time like the present,” said Father. “In my opinion, we should have told him years ago. Celeste, can you get the letter?”

“Yes, yes, of course,” said Mother, distractedly.

“But right now?” Jerolin repeated, voice rising. “He’s still asleep!”

“It’s nearly noon,” Father replied. “It’s high time the boy woke up. We can give him cake to soften the blow.”

Jerolin snorted. “Like cake will make up for finding out that his entire life has been a lie.”

Adrian went to his bedroom door. It was now clear that he was the “him” in question, but how was his life a lie? What did it have to do who Princess Obsidia chose to marry?

He pushed the door open and stared at his father, seated at the kitchen table, and Jerolin, pacing frantically. “What blow?”

Adrian had never experienced a more awkward moment of silence than the one that followed.