Thursday, October 4, 2012

Discovering My Universe #ReneeRearden #NewHome

Hubs and I purchased our dream home, and we're elated.

We also had a plan in place for things to accomplish  before we move in. First on the list: New carpeting throughout. Final papers were signed October 2nd. Two hours later hubs and I were in the house and started ripping up carpet in the formal dining room.

Imagine our surprise when we discovered pristine oak tongue and groove hardwood floors...that extended through the formal living room and down one hallway. That's the kind of thing you hear about happening to other people but never happens to you, right?

The next day we pulled up the carpet in each hallway on two sides of the atrium, hoping to find more hardwood. Unfortunately, we found an awful, orange-colored linoleum...which didn't make sense because it looked terrible next to the beautiful hardwood.

But, you can't have everything, right?

And then we discovered a chipped corner of the linoleum and found a light colored stone underneath. I held my breath as hubs stripped a large piece of linoleum away to reveal travertine tiles. All I could think was WOW!

Hubs shook his head and smiled at me. "How did we get so blessed?"

Monday, October 1, 2012

Righting My Universe

Okay, I admit I've been off my game lately.

My blog is languishing and writing anything new is on hold. Having limited time to do things I want to do has been driving me crazy...but I'm a firm believer in the bigger picture. You know, everything happens for a reason. There's a cosmic plan in place and I have a part in it.

So I sat down and meditated yesterday. Cleared my head of all the stuff and just was. I opened my eyes an hour later and nearly floated to my office. Everything made sense.

My transcript load has been insane for the last 18 months. I've struggled, trying to keep up with appellate court deadlines and still write. Work feeds my family. Writing feeds my soul. Since work hasn't gotten any less busy, these last few months I've questioned whether I should keep trying to write.

Then we discovered our dream home was for sale--below market value.

It was fluke. I tapped a real estate map on my iPad and randomly landed on the listing. I called the real estate agent. Never got a call back. Two weeks later we stopped by the house to look at it from the outside. The owner was there mowing the lawn. He showed us the house. Told us three other people were interested and working on closing a deal.

Two months later, we still hadn't heard any word on the other deals. So, we decided to purchase a different house. Three hours after talking to the builder, the first home owner called us and offered to sell us our dream home. We signed papers and started the process. Crazy things had to happen for us to have a shot at buying this home (including the extra funds my unusual transcript load provided), but things kept falling our way.

We're supposed to close on the house this afternoon or some time Tuesday.

My point with all this?

I believe there truly is a larger plan than the small pieces I see or try to understand. No matter how difficult or stressful, each circumstance I've encountered has happened for a reason. This last 18-months has led my family to the next milestone in our lives...the last home we ever plan to buy.

This home is where our growing family will gather, celebrate holidays together, where our grandchildren will run and play. It's the home my husband and I will live in together when the last of our four daughters move out on their own. The home where we'll sit on the porch, years from now, reliving all the memories we're going to make.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Reviewing Your World

Cleanse Fire: The Kinir Elite Chronicles, #1
By Anastasia Pergakis 
Ecopy provided by author
Rating:  3 Stars

Captain Derac Vidor takes pride in leading his team of Elite Kinir warrior elves. Serving his country by protecting the weak and rescuing those in need fill his life—until an act of betrayal threatens not only himself but every member of his team. He will stop at nothing to discover who is trying to kill them and why.

Let me start by saying I enjoyed Cleanse Fire. As a debut author, Ms Pergakis is off to a great start. The main male protagonist, Derac Vidor, is an interesting character with internal conflict that is driven by his sense of integrity and honor. The right balance was struck between moral fiber and not overly stiff and prudish.

Several other members on the team are worth noting as well. Kie is a strong female with issues of her own. They are revealed through the course of the book and not all at once, and I liked learning about her in active scenes as the plot unfolded.

Tyn, as Derac’s best friend, is a very likeable character. He had his friend’s back no matter the situation and always looked for the positive from each team member. Rakan, Jardel and Aeli are all secondary characters with distinct personalities that added to the story as well.

With all the positive story aspects noted up front, it’s time to talk about what didn’t work for me. The book needed a final edit before going to print. Word misuse and grammatical issues pulled me out of the story. That’s a common issue for new authors, but I think the easiest to correct in the future.

One issue I had with the story was the somewhat two-dimensional writing. By this I mean senses. In many of the scenes, I had no real idea what the characters looked like or how things smelled or felt.

My biggest problem with Cleanse Fire is there was no real description of the world. I had no idea why there were elves, faeries and dwarves and why they were allies or enemies. Humans existed in this world, but the mention was so tenuous, for the most part I forgot they were part they existed in Kinir.

Some world description would have been helpful as well. I know Kinir is a fantasy world, but modern phrases occasionally crept into the writing. When comparing that with the dragon’s verbiage and some of the other vernacular, the world did not seem modern in the contemporary sense.

Did all of these issues detract from the book? They did a bit for me. Will they keep me from reading the next book in the Kinir Elite Chronicles? Not a chance. I have a feeling Ms Pergakis’ stories will get better with each telling, and I intend to enjoy the resulting novels!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Reviewing Your Universe

Edge of Passion by Tina Folsom
(Cloak Warriors #1)
ARC provided by NetGalley

Rating:  3 Stars

Tina Folsom came highly recommended as an author. So when I received Edge of Passion from NetGalley, I turned on my Kindle and dove into the story.  Who wouldn’t—the blurb screams interesting: 

Cloak Warriors have been protecting humans from demons for centuries. So when demons discover a way of seducing humans to their side, they jump on the opportunity. Aiden and his fellow Cloak Warriors learn of this new threat to humanity. In order to save mankind, they must protect the one scientist that could unknowingly hand the demons the weapon they’ve been searching for.

Aiden is a strong alpha male, emotionally hampered by a traumatic incident early in his life. His strong, sometimes testosterone laden character is offset by his loyalty and determination to do the right thing.

Leila is a scientist that’s discovered a way to cure Alzheimer’s. Talk about smarts! Once she realizes Demons are real and they’re after her research, she understands how dangerous her discovery would be in their evil hands. Leila is faced with a horrific moral decision. (Don’t worry, she has the moral character to make the right decision.)

Despite the interesting plot and mostly likeable characters, for me, this book could have been better. The characters’ emotions whipsawed often and without much explanation. Also, I understood Aiden’s baggage, but it didn’t make me like him any better when he was being a disrespectful jerk.

Overall, the premise for Edge of Passion was great. I just didn’t connect with the characters as much as I’d have liked. Will I read more of Ms Folsom’s work? Absolutely. Her next book might knock my socks off!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sharing Your Universe

Welcome to Sharing Your Universe. Today, Marissa Carmel has graciously agreed to share a little about herself and her latest release with us.

Marissa Carmel has been writing since a young age and although it has always been for personal enjoyment, she finally decided to breakout and share her imagination with the world. She hopes that her universe is as fun and intriguing to her readers as it is to her. Marissa Carmel is originally from NJ but moved to Maryland several years ago, she enjoys reading, writing, and catching up on her DVR library. She is currently working on the sequel to iFeel, Gravitational Pull, which she hopes to release sometime in 2012.

Contact Info-
Twitter- @MarissaCarmel
Facebook- Marissa Carmel

Her latest release: (and TOTAL cover love here!)

Book Blurb-
Lust. Anger. Hate. Desire. Love. Happiness. Joy. iFeel.

Liv Christianni is isolated, alone, tortured and withdrawn, saddled with the torrential downpour of the world’s emotions. Accepting of her providence Liv has lost all hope, until one day fate steps in and spins the course of her life like a spiraling top. Hunted by a Spirit Stalker, Liv is forced to gain control of herself and her surroundings, threatened by the touch of her immortal love; she must find a way to survive both physically and emotionally as her reality is shaken up like dice on a Craps table. Can she find the courage to accept her true self? Can she love unconditionally cognizant of the condemning consequences? Can she rise from the ashes to become the person she was always meant to be?

Funny, witty, real, and poignant, iFeel rips into your soul, and sets your emotions on fire.

If you are a fan of Charmed or Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries or The Secret Circle this series is for you!

I direct my anger towards the mocking bottles of crazy pills settled in the cabinet. I attack them; clearing all the glass shelves in one angered fit. Tiny orange bottles fly all around my white tiled bathroom, exploding an array of colored pills against the walls and floor. It feels like I am bombing my past; liberating my future and releasing myself from whatever binds me. I want to be free, and if that means destroying my whole apartment in the process to get there, I am willing to do that.

I can feel the rage course through my veins; my head throbs and my throat burns as I thrash at my tiny bathroom. All I can hear are the voices of people who mean the most to me, those who encourage me, those who support me. To my surprise, the loudest voice is the one who is farthest away. Justice’s words echo against the tiled surface, telling me to let go, to accept my fate, to be magical and not mental. It makes me miss him all the more, but what he said finally makes sense.

My breaths pulse quickly in my lungs, as if the air is thinning. I have worked myself up into a crazed frenzy to expel my true self. My enraged fit has resulted in a bathroom bloodbath, me versus myself.
And I won.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Changing Your Universe

I'd like to welcome Marissa Carmel to Changing Your Universe. 

We're all the sum total of our life experiences, but there are moments when someone or something affects us, possibly even influences the direction our lives will take. Here is one of those stories.

You plan, God laughs.  This is the story of my life.

There are ideals and expectations I assume everyone has; whom you will marry, what your career will be like, where you will raise your kids. And yes, I had all those ideologies in my head, except mine were more like, have a career, don't get married and absolutely no kids.  Boy was I wrong. Today I am married with two kids, and living in a state I only passed through on occasion. And my career? Well let’s just say, I have more than one, and I never saw that coming.  Who needs more than one career? Apparently me. To make a long story short, I started my first career as a logistician, yawn, I won’t bore you with the details. The second career came shortly after.

I've always loved to write. Always. My imagination constantly runs away with itself, and I am without doubt following it. My best subject was creative writing. So when I would write, it was primarily for me (or a good grade). As time went on though, I found myself imagining more and more and wanting to create, but my life was so busy, and what would it get me anyway? Until one day my mother- in- law dropped a bomb that would change my life. She was talking to one of my husband’s cousins who was complaining about getting her college degree (she was already married with 4 kids. Yikes. I’d be complaining too.) And my MIL, the wise woman that she is simply said, honey, time is going to go by anyway, so you might as well do it. Well, it felt like the sky fell on me. The advice wasn’t even directed at me, but it resonated. I started writing that night. And never stopped.

My husband once asked where my creativity comes from, and in return I asked him if he ever heard voices in his head.  His reply, I needed to see a shrink. I told him a keyboard and a curser is the best therapy. I have always loved the supernatural, thanks in part to my mom; Charmed was one of our favorite shows to watch together and still is.  So when I started writing, it only felt natural that it took on a paranormal feel. But I didn't want to write about vampires or werewolves or really anything that had been done. I'm like that; I always tend to steer towards the opposite of popular and then proceed to make fun of it. So I started researching, and brainstorming, and concocting my mix of love, humor and emotion. Liv was already an entity in my head, festering. I'd often imagine a dark haired girl with amethyst eyes, suffering and alone. When I finally established who she really was, and what kind of supernatural elements she would possess, (an Empath-someone who can feel the emotions of others- with active abilities) I asked myself, what would it be like for someone like that to carry the world's emotions? Torrential I thought. What would it be like for her to fall in love? Even worse than torrential.  The story evolved rather quickly after that, but I didn't rush it.  It took me a little over a year to write, over two years to edit. I learned a lot about my writing style during that time, developed my voice and really tried to give it a life-like feel.

So here I am almost four years later, a husband, 2 kids, and a home in what feels like a foreign country; a daytime career and a nighttime career, all jumbling together, fighting for a piece of my time. Go hard or go home, my husband and I always joke, if we have a story, it needs a theme and that is it.  I wouldn't change it though, not for anything. Life is nothing, if not a venture - (I have no idea who said that).

Contact Info-
Twitter- @MarissaCarmel
Facebook- Marissa Carmel

Friday, August 10, 2012

Gifting Your Universe

Welcome to Friday's Gifting Your Universe!

Aaron Ritchey's been with us all week, sharing his personal story and giving us a peek at The Never Prayer's cover and great excerpt.

AND he's graciously offered to host an ebook giveaway for The Never Prayer.

So, leave a comment below  with your email addy. 

You can also visit Aaron at:

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As always, thanks for stopping by. Please join the blog through Google Friend Connect or Networked Blogs. I enjoy making new friends and sharing my love of everything bookish!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sharing Your Universe

Welcome to Sharing Your Universe. Today, Aaron Ritchey is sharing a
little about himself and his latest release with us.

I was born in Colorado, on the edges of the Great Plains of America, and spent my early years as a trash can for stories.  Everything went in: Greek myths, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, the romance books I snuck in while babysitting, my mother’s psychology text books, horror novels, and a whole lot of Catholic catechism.  The good kind.  And yes, there is such a thing.

When anyone asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was the same: a writer.  On the first day of kindergarten, when I figured out they weren’t going to teach me to read that first hour, I packed up my stuff and walked home.  Cut school on the first day of kindergarten.  That’s how I roll.

Still a complete sucker for fiction, I graduated with degrees in English Literature and World History from Santa Clara University and taught middle school and high school until I burned off all the negative karma from all of my past lives.  While not enlightened, I will be going straight to heaven because of my time in the trenches, molding young minds and avoiding bullets.

I hooked up with a world traveler, got married, traveled the world (since I studied it and what’s history but a bunch of interesting stories?), and returned to the Great Plains to raise two sleepless little girls who never ate a thing.  I think they might be Cylons.

Since I didn’t sleep, I ran triathlons.  It takes endurance to raise children and write novels, so I had lots and lots of practice.

In stolen moments along the way I wrote books, big books, huge sweeping, windy books, too big and bizarre for anyone to read.  Mostly post modern fantasy novels: think David Lynch meets The Lord of the Rings with a Sci-Fi-Hindu-Christian-atheist twist.  A million monkeys on meth couldn’t churn it out as fast as I could.  Lord in heaven, I loved those books.

My writing life changed forever when a genuine literary agent rejected me, reducing me to ashes.  After numerous, fist-shaking rants at heaven, hours spent weeping in critique groups, and membership in Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, I rose from the ashes, very phoenixy, and started writing books people could read and even like.  In my better moments, I think I write genre fiction with a literary twist.  In my darker moments, well, I’ll keep those demons to myself.

Currently, when I’m not scribbling and smoking cigars, I work at the best health care company on the planet helping OR nurses with their computers.  And I’m a recovering TV addict.  My last relapse was with Battlestar Galactica (the new, bleak one) and Firefly (you can’t stop the signal).  I attend support groups.  It helps.


His latest young adult release:

The Fury of Heaven
The Desires of Hell

A Broken Girl
Shattered by the death of her parents, Lena knows she is not handling her sorrow well – keeping to herself, running drugs, risking her little brother. But she’ll do whatever it takes to keep her disintegrating family together.

Two Lost Souls
Lurking on the edges of the afterlife, Chael and Johnny Beels have spent centuries manipulating events, one pushing for good, the other sowing chaos. Now these two desperate souls have taken human form to play a dangerous game of hope and despair with Lena trapped in the middle.
The Ultimate Sacrifice
Lena must maneuver the shadowy realm between angel and demon, love and lust, good and evil, until she finds the courage to see the truth and make the ultimate sacrifice.

When do we struggle to change the world?
When do we let go and embrace life’s broken beauty?

Copyright © 2012 Aaron M. Ritchey
All rights reserved — a Crescent Moon Press publication

"I'm not going to do it again," Lena Marquez whispered to the red purse across the hall from her nestle of blankets. "Never again."

All of her other purses, scarves, and belts were just shadows hanging from hooks on both sides of the bathroom door, but in the glow of the cracked Thomas the Train nightlight, the red purse glittered. Each sequin like a teardrop of blood.

The heater chugged on sending lukewarm air into the basement apartment, as cold as an icebox. In October, at ten thousand feet, Avalon, Colorado had no pity for the weak or poor. It killed both.

Through anorexic walls, Lena could hear her aunt's barking cough in the next room. But it wasn't the coughing that had Lena awake at 4:46 on a Monday morning. It was her three-year-old brother, Joziah, who would wake up any minute.

He was like an alarm clock, same time, every morning. So regular Lena was awake before he asked the questions she couldn't answer.

Already the work of the day felt like bricks on her chest. Her junior year homework continued to pile up among the dirty laundry around their mattress on the floor.

But first, Jozey, always Jozey, no matter what.

"Mama!" he called out, still caught in the clutches of sleep.

Lena smoothed his hair with dark purple fingernails, perfectly polished. "It's okay, Jozey. Lena's here. Lena'll always be here."

Only half awake, he struggled in his footed blue pajamas and asked the same question he asked every morning. "Where's my mama?"

"She's in heaven, Jozey." Her voice cracked.

"Where's Daddy?" He blinked as if he had forgotten everything.

Lena let go of her tears. She could only cry them with Jozey in the darkness of the morning, because once she had her mask of make-up on, she sealed up all emotion with base, blush, and mascara. 
Everyone was watching.

Jozey sobbed against her, soaking her father's t-shirt she wore as pajamas. "I want them, Weni, I want them." Weni, because he couldn't say Leni, what her parents had called her.

"I want them too," she said through her tears and she cried with her brother until he fell back asleep. She stayed with him, cradling his warm body, brushing the tears off his face.

The ritual of her morning continued. First, her orphaned brother, followed by a shower, then her equally orphaned aunt. Aunt Mercedes shuffled out of her room wearing the bathrobe she always wore at home, holding a cigarette that was always lit. She stopped in the narrow hallway to watch Lena apply her make-up.

Her aunt's voice came out in a slow scratch. "We need a hundred dollars. More if it don't snow and I don't get my real job at Copper Mountain."

An ever so slight tremor shook Lena's fingers as she fought the urge to throw her eyebrow pencil at her aunt. She forced herself to concentrate on her face in the mirror, but Aunt Mercedes was behind her, taking up most of the doorway, all sad eyes and dog face and bad square haircut. Next to her aunt, the red purse dangled on a hook tempting Lena to use it.

Buy Links:

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Changing Your Universe

I'd like to welcome Aaron Ritchey, fellow Crescent Moon Press author to Changing Your Universe!

We're all the sum total of our life experiences, but there are moments when someone or something affects us, possibly even influences the direction our lives will take. Sometimes, just being grateful for the life path we're on is enough. Here is one of those stories.

The Happy Writer – Seven Things I’m Grateful For

Thank you to Renee Rearden for letting me crash her blog and spread the disease that is my blogging.  Incurable.  Mostly when I blog I talk about the angst and the gnashing of the teeth of the writer’s life, but I wanted to change things up for this post. 

I’ve spent the last twenty years complaining and shaking my fist at the heavens for being cursed with the desire to write books.  Yet, if the writing game didn’t have any rewards, well, I think I would’ve stopped playing a long time ago.  I think I would, but I don’t know.  I have a masochistic streak.  Hit me baby one more time.

So I want to do a list of the seven things I am grateful for right now in my writing journey:

1)       I am so grateful for my publisher, Crescent Moon Press, for my cover art, the design of my book, the finished final product of my debut novel, The Never Prayer.  I’ve seen other small presses release books that look like they’ve been photocopied.  Poorly.  Not my book.  My book glows righteously.
2)      So I’ve written twelve or thirteen books, I lose track, but I’m glad I debuted with The Never Prayer, an angel\demon story which is so unique and yet still marketable.  Lord knows the first books I wrote, surreal Postmodern fantasy adventures (think David Lynch meets Lord of the Rings) were unique, but not so marketable.  I’m proud that The Never Prayer is my first book.  Every round of edits, I laughed, I cried, in all the right places.
3)      At every turn in the writing game, I’ve been blessed with wonderful people who’ve supported me, from poor unpublished writer schmoes to elite literary agents to bestselling writers.  I have been involved in wonderful critique groups that have shaped me and challenged me to be my best.
4)      I feel very lucky to have social skills.  Now, I had to learn them the hard way which involved lots of awkward moments when I said the wrong thing, in a loud voice, at the wrong time, naked.  But I learned.  A lot of writers don’t have social skills, but I’ll tell you this, if I can learn how to be social (and clothed) you can too.
5)      I am thankful for the writing skills that seem to have come naturally to me.  I needed help with my actual writing, I can get so purply and wordy at times, and I needed to learn story structure, but creating characters seems to have come naturally to me and people remember my characters.  As my friend says, they are sticky and sticky characters are the best characters.  Get your minds out of the gutter.
6)      I am grateful that after years of suffering, I enjoy the writing process now.  I can get lost in my stories with my characters and the minutes fly by.  It wasn’t always like that, but I learned to love writing.  It is a special thing to create stories out of nothing, to watch your characters grow and change, to weep with them, to laugh with them—in some ways, writing novels is a divine experience.  I’m glad I learned to like it.
7)      My whole life now really revolves around my writing.  Some of that was conscious choice, but in other ways, it all just kind of happened to me.  I have a wife and family who supports me in my authorial madness and my job gives me the flexibility to pursue this dream. 

So that’s what I’m grateful for today.  And practicing gratitude is so much more rewarding than complaining and gnashing teeth.  Less dental visits as well.

For more about me and The Never Prayer, you can visit us both at  And of course, I’m on Facebook, as is the book at  And I tweet - @aaronmritchey.   If you are at all curious about the novel, our friends at would love for you to visit them!

Thanks again, Renee!

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As always, thanks for stopping by. Please join the blog through Google Friend Connect or Networked Blogs. I enjoy making new friends and sharing my love of everything bookish!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Reviewing Your Universe

The Werewolf’s Wife by Michele Hauf
Published by Harlequin Nocturne
Free ARC Provided by NetGalley

Rating:  3 Stars

I love Michele Hauf’s voice. If her name’s on a book, I’ll read it. And I’ve never been disappointed—until now.

The Werewolf’s Wife has a great premise. Who wouldn’t want read about a yummy shifter wolf saving a damsel in distress, commiserating over drinks, getting hitched in Vegas and having a crazy-wild night of passion? Okay, so that’s only the start for the rest of the book, but it grabs your attention, right?

Ridge Addison becomes pack leader. In order to set a good example and help his pack grow, he needs to marry and have children—which means he needs to get a divorce from his who-knows-where-she-is-or-what-she’s- doing witch of a wife. No, seriously. Abigail Rowan’s a real witch with powers and everything.

Here’s where the plot derailed for me. Ridge wants to have a family desperately. Of course Abigail has a son, and of course Ryan might be Ridge’s child (or the deadly abusive boyfriend Ridge rescued her from). A little predictable, but I rolled with that.

When Ridge finally tracks Abigail down to ask for a divorce, all kind of wrong hits the page. Abigail has received a call that her son has been kidnapped. She’s scared, angry, hurt. Then Ridge knocks on her door.

She basically tells him this isn’t a good time so shove off. Ridge says he has divorce papers, but what if he wants to keep her. He’s working an angle just to get inside the house. Lousy angle. These two people had a one-night stand and haven’t seen each other in 13 years. Why would they want anything to do with the other?

I digress. Abigail lets him in. She’s stressed. Then she notices how good he looks. Really? Her son’s kidnapping just occurred. Why wouldn’t she just sign the divorce papers, get him out of her hair, search for her son and fry the bastards that took him? That’s what a badass witch would do, right?

Nope. Abigail’s obsessive, controlling and plain mean. I didn’t like her character at all—which is sad because I really liked Ridge’s character. I had to forgive him for being such a knob toward Abigail, but the rest of his qualities made him a nice, caring, working-on-being-an-alpha male.

Will I read more of Michele Hauf’s books? You bet. Hopefully the characters will be more engaging as a whole and the plot will not be so predictable.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Reviewing Your Universe

Talisman of El by Alecia Stone
Published by Centrinian Publishing Ltd
ARC provided by NetGalley

Rating:  3 Stars

I cut my reading teeth on fantasy novels. Nothing cured my school angst better than escaping to different worlds filled with interesting characters and never before seen creatures. So when I read the synopsis for Talisman of El, I couldn’t wait to find some reading time and jump right in.

The idea of an orphaned young boy having trouble fitting into his new life—family, school, friends—is not new, but Ms. Stone found a way to create a story with her own twist.

Charlie is a young boy suffering from nightmares. He gets through the day by rationalizing his dreams. But when Charlie meets a man from his dreams in real life, he discovers nothing is as it seems. A different world exists, and he has a vital connection to it.

As Charlie journeys through this new land called Arcadia, searching for a way to save his new friend Derekin, he encounters allies and foes at every turn. Mythical creatures, people with the ability to shape shift, even demons and angels populate Arcadia.

Talisman of El is the first step in Charlie’s coming of age story. He must decide who his true friends are and how much he is willing to sacrifice for them.

Ms Stone has created a vivid fantasy world in Talisman of El. The creatures, the land they inhabit, and even the “other” beings are clear and detailed. I pictured every nuance described. Unfortunately, the fantasy elements were the best part of the story.

I wish I could say I loved this book, but I can’t. The characters are written younger than described. I felt I was reading a middle school book, not a young adult novel. The characters were not as dimensional as other aspects created by the author.

The plot was also a little difficult to follow. I had to reread several passages to ensure I had not missed a transition. I’m sure the world and its inhabitants are clear in the author’s mind. Regrettably, the story on the page does not reflect the same precision.

Will I read the rest of the series? No. But I do recommend the book to younger kids and tweens who enjoy fantasy. My issues with the book may not matter to them at all.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sharing Your Universe

Welcome to Sharing Your Universe. Kinley Baker is sharing a
little about herself and her latest release with us.

Kinley Baker is the author of the fantasy romance series, Shadowed Love. She read her first romance at the age of thirteen and immediately fell in love with the hero and the genre. She lives with her husband, Benjamin, and her dog, Joker, in the Pacific Northwest. Ruined and Denied are available now. Look for Freed in July 2012. As a firm supporter of all supernatural lifestyles, she writes fantasy romance, paranormal romance, and futuristic romance. You can find Kinley at : 

Kinley's latest release:


When invaders brutally massacred the women and children of the Varner, Caleb witnessed loss and destruction on a scale few can comprehend. As the leader of a race on the brink of extinction, his only hope for survival is gaining acceptance into the Shadow Shifter Kingdom. Struggling with new customs, he meets Tabitha, a woman who challenges his limits.

Refused the right to join the king’s guard because of her gender, Tabitha must be stronger than the men to prove she deserves to be the first accepted female Warrior in the kingdom. She believes Caleb will help improve her abilities, until she learns her goals conflict with the foundation of his culture.

When the realm is attacked, Tabitha and Caleb must come together not only to fight, but to find the strength to win against an evil with the potential to destroy everything they revere most--including each other.

Add DENIED as To-Read on GoodReads!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Changing Your Universe

I'd like to welcome Kinley Baker, fellow Crescent Moon Press author, to Changing Your Universe. 

We're all the sum total of our life experiences, but there are moments when someone or something affects us, possibly even influences the direction our lives will take. Here is one of those stories.

Everyone Needs a Friend by Kinley Baker

I love friends who turn into more than friends in romance stories, probably because it reminds me of my own experience with my husband. He’s really one of the people who changed the direction of my life, and it all started with an unlikely friendship.

During my younger years, I was very conflicted. I started figure skating at age three, and started competing around age five. By the time I was a teenager, I was practicing hours a day, and doing all sorts of off-ice training, as well. Between classes, skating, and my shyness, I wasn’t very close to anyone. When I met my husband at seventeen, he wasn’t my biggest fan. I was very lost and really struggling to figure out who I was.

I got mono and ended up staying home from school for several weeks. We ended up talking online a lot and started a friendship. I wasn’t quite as annoying as he thought I was. He wasn’t quite as much of a jerk as I had thought. And most importantly, at the time, we both could have really used a friend.

We didn’t start dating until college, but those initial years taught me a lot about myself, and he was there for me during the most challenging time in my life. He proved he would stick, no matter what happened.

Eventually, I had to admit to myself that I was never going to the Olympics as a figure skater. Luckily, I found something I loved even more in college: writing. I don’t think my husband understood how important writing romance novels was to me, until I started reading like crazy and writing stories. But he’s supported me for the last four years, as I got serious about seeking publication. I’ve been trying to navigate the publishing jungle ever since.

My husband taught me a lot about friendship and caring for other people. His family taught me about love and acceptance. I’m definitely lucky he came into my life, and didn’t give up. Looking back at how lost I was makes me realize how lucky I am now to have a direction. Everything I went through and we went through together, took me here to writing romance stories set in fantasy realms, and it all feels just right.

I think in my stories, the couples go through a lot. In Denied, Tabitha and Caleb face numerous challenges, and they go through a lot together. I think part of that stems from my own experiences, and finally believing that someone will stay for the first time, and learning to trust that.

I hope you’ll relate to Tabitha’s journey as she fights for the right to be the first female guard in her kingdom, and Caleb, who wants to protect her after losing the women and children of his home realm, and his homeland. They’re both struggling to find their place, and I definitely relate to their journey.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sharing Your Universe

Welcome to Sharing Your Universe. Louann Carroll is sharing a little about herself and her latest release with us.

I was probably 7 or 8 the first time I read a horror story. It was The Haunting of Hill House, straight out of Reader's Digest condensed stories. I was frightened, curious, and fascinated. The thoughts and ideas expressed within the Haunting thrilled me. One day, I thought. I'd write something that would thrill a reader, well, hopefully that is.

As I grew older different ideas about my first horror story surrounded me. My friends and I played with ouija boards, automatic writing, we put tape recorders in graveyards. Elements of the paranormal surrounded my family and close friends. Each of us had our own unique experiences. I often wondered if in some way I was trying to find my father whom I lost when I was five.

Still, things happened to me--continue to happen to me. In some way we are all interconnected. You run into old friends, people you haven't seen in years but you think about them and the next thing you know you run into them in the grocery store. You have the odd dream that sparks into reality a week or so later. You think of someone and the phone rings. A friend's son sees the future. Your dog runs around the house, barking at someone or something that floats near the ceiling, something she can see and you cannot. You get a phone call from a relative with a warning about someone in the family.

I held my nose, took a deep breath, and jumped into theoretical physics. What a miraculous place we live in where thoughts can influence reality. Strange things happen outside of our visible world. There are more dimensions than we can comprehend, a world filled with wonder and delight. And ofttimes cruelty.

I wondered, is evil real? Or is it genetic, crossed wires, written in our DNA.

From all these thoughts A Shadow of Time was born. It is a world of possibilities, multidimensions, evil, and the overpowering force of love. Welcome to my world, where things that go bump in the night are all too real.

Louann Carroll has written numerous radio talk shows, articles about adoption, Gemini Rising, a sci-fi romance, and The Journey Series, helping our children navigate through life.

Louann can be found at:

And her latest release is A Shadow of Time.

Kellyn O'Brien strives to create the perfect family. Then, disaster strikes. Her husband is dead. Three weeks later, she discovers her son is heir to Shadow Ley, a nineteenth century estate nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Reeling from Michael's death, Kellyn moves to Shadow Ley. Soon, the ordinary becomes the extraordinary: broken drinking glasses repair themselves, stair rails that were once old are now new, and suddenly the estate of Shadow Ley is not what it seems.

She turns to the local historian and learns of Sha' na ho bet, the angry fire god, bound forever to Earth. Native Americans tell her about Coyote, the Trickster who creates chaos out of order. Then the dreams begin with windows into past lives, hints of multidimensionality, and the promise of life beyond death.
Legends abound and so Shadow Ley, the home Kellyn had hoped would bring peace to herself and her children, becomes mired first in doubt, then in terror, and finally in love eternal.

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