Review of Kindred Legends: A Burning Ember Anthology

Kindred Legends: A Burning Embers Anthology is a fantastic fantasy adventure with short stories written by talented authors! Each story was enjoyable for me to read and I breezed through it in a couple of days. These are 5 star stories! Here’s each one broken down.

Written in the Stars by T.E. Bradford. I give it 5 stars. It was not what I expected but it was even better! Such a good story. The words are beautifully written and I couldn’t put it down. What an unexpected but enjoyable surprise.

I Am Master Serv by James Quinlan Meservy. 4 stars. Intriguing story and it’s very character driven. It’s nice to read other stories set in James’ creative world. Ended on a cliff hanger and left me wanting to know more about what happens next.

A Fiery Twist of Fate by Rachel Pudsey. 5 Stars. This is my FAVORITE in the Anthology. I absolutely love Kai and adore the baby. He’s a character I love to read and can’t get enough of. The writing in this one is beautiful and the most wonderfully crafted. The action scenes are intense but so well written, it’s impressive. It ended on such a cliff hanger. Please, someone tell me there’s more to this story! I need more!

Flames of Ashes by Alicia Scarburough. Unrated. It wasn’t ready for ARC reads yet, so I haven’t gotten to read this one. The cover is stunningly gorgeous, though, so I give the cover 5 stars.

Crystal’s Magical Tale: A Mermaid’s Heart by Maria Vermisoglou. 4 stars. It was a great story with touching characters. What great action scenes and creative world building. It’s filled with an epic magical adventure. It did have some editing problems I caught that took me out of the story a bit. But this is still a great story.

Overall, I’d recommend this Anthology to fantasy lovers so want exciting and clean books to read with characters that will touch you and stories that you’ll love to read!

My overall rating of the book 4.5 stars.


Psalms 23


The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Most everyone is probably familiar with this Psalm. It was one of the first verses of the Bible I ever memorized.

Let’s take an in depth look at this beautiful Psalm.

The Lord is my Shepherd. What is a shepherd? We all know that shepherds watch over sheep. The sheep provide them with wool for clothes and to make sure the wool is the best quality, the shepherd tends to the every need of the sheep. The sheep need to be happy, content, and stress free and that’s what the shepherd wants for his sheep. He works so hard for them, tends to their every need. In exchange, the sheep give him wool.

The parallels here are powerful!

God as our Shepherd, takes care of our every need. In exchange, we offer him praises. He wants us to be happy and content and safe. He leads us to green pastures and beside still waters, no matter the circumstances of life going on around us.

In this world, there is sickness and death, tragedy and pain, through all the murder, abuse, fights, wars, disease, through every bad and evil thing that happens on this earth, when you’re in the darkness night and the deepest valley, God will carry you through. Though you walk through the shadow of the valley of death, you don’t have to fear any evil, for God is with you!

His rod and staff fends off the evil. It protects you, his precious sheep. Let that rod and staff be a comfort to you. In the presence of your enemies, of whatever people are against you, whatever circumstance is overwhelming you, God will prepare a table for you and give you a feast. He will bless you but more than that, He will pour out blessings over you until they run over—so many blessings that will be far more abundantly above all you can ask or think.

Goodness and God’s mercy, His love, and grace will be with us all the days of our lives. Then, we will live with the Lord forever.

What a true comfort and reassurance this psalm is to us today!








Five Things I Love About the New Lion King

Today I went and saw The Lion King, Disney’s latest live action remake. I know a lot of people feel it shouldn’t be called a live action remake because technically, it’s all CGI. Honestly, with a full animal movie that has tons of wild animals, how can you expect it not to be? Yes, it may technically CGI, but it looks absolutely real, at least in my opinion.

Instead of doing a typical review (yes, this will include my star-rating and overall thoughts), I thought I would list out the things that I loved about the movie and the few things I didn’t like.

First off, I loved how realistic the animals looked. I loved, absolutely loved, that the characters looked like their real animal counterparts, rather than the Disney animated versions. Scar was one I was most impressed with. Obviously, a brown lion with a black mane doesn’t exist, so I was worried about what the live action one would look like. He looked like a regular lion, but he was scrawnier than Mufasa, which is true to Scar’s character. Speaking of Scar, he had scars all over—he looked really rough and overall, just like a great villain.  I even enjoyed Timon and Pumba, because they looked a bit different than their original selves, but again, it was way more realistic. Zazu was another one that I enjoyed—he definitely looked way more realistic.

Secondly, I enjoyed the voice actors. I don’t know if they actually got James Earl Jones to do Mufasa but no one does it better and this sounded just like him. Scar’s actor did a fantastic job and sometimes, I even felt scared of him, which is what Scar was supposed to be. I missed the hyena’s traditional, original voices but I didn’t have a problem with the new ones. I did enjoy how they made Shinzi a bit scarier and almost like a villain of herself. Simba was, well, Simba and he was the one I was gonna be the pickiest about because he’s my favorite, but his actor did him amazingly—both the child version and the adult version. Serabi was another one I loved, and in fact, I loved the live action version of her voice better than the original voice actor. I believe the live action actress of Serabi also played in the animated movie called Dinosaur. Pumba was different, but his original has such an iconic voice it’s hard to get used to anything different. Zazu portrayed his character perfectly. The only voice I hated and cringed at was Timon. He was definitely off and definitely not Timon at all.

Thirdly, I really, really loved and appreciated that even though they followed the original movie to a T, they also added in a few realistic bits and pieces. If you aren’t a knowledgable person about Africa and African animals, then you probably missed these. They were tiny details but I appreciated every single one of them. They were things like, when Zazu told Mufasa the hyenas were in the Pride Lands, he asked where Serabi was and Zazu told him that she was leading the attack. Female lions did do all of the hunting and attacking, or most of it. They also mentioned how lions and hyenas had been at war for years and in reality, lions and hyenas are enemies. Another thing they included was the male lion’s roar. It’s a special and different sound that carries for miles that warns others that this is their territory and they included it in the film as Mufasa was patrolling. All of the details was just so true to real life and yet, still maintained the feel of the animated film.

Fourth, I loved the scenery. It was a beautiful movie to watch because of the aesthetics. It had some of the most stunning scenery and it really felt like I was watching Africa or one of those animal documentaries set in Africa.

Lastly, I enjoyed the music. Disney songs have always been my favorite and The Lion King original animated film had some of the best songs Disney has ever produced. But the soundtrack of it, all the instrumental music, was also so enjoyable to listen to. They added a few different things to some of the music, but it was all styled African and there were parts of the music that got so powerful emotionally or so nostalgic that I almost cried.

Overall, I would give this one a 5 star rating even though I had a few issues with it—Timon’s actor was so cringy and the hyenas were not near as funny—but they pretty much redid the entire original movie scene for scene and honored it in a way. It may have been CGI, but for me, it was so epic to see the live action, realistic, animal version of this movie, one of my all-time favorite Disney movies.


Ariel Paiement and The Bane of Ashkarith

I’m so excited to have my good friend and fellow author Ariel Paiement on my blog today. We met on in writing competitions as competitors at first, then when I became a game host, she started coming on my competitions. After that, we learned we both had self published and she was on my launch team for Hunter and Shifter.  We used to critique each other’s stories and have become good friends. Now, I am honored to say I am on her launch team for her latest novel, The Bane of Ashkarith. 

Let’s get to the interview, shall we?

  1. So let’s go way back for our first question, to let readers get to know your background a bit. What first inspired you to write?

This is a tough question because I’ve been writing ever since I was able to. I used to write stories for myself and give them to my mom to read as young as six or seven. I don’t really remember much from before I was ten, so I’ll just go with what inspired me to start improving with my writing.

As I said, I’d been writing for a long time, but when I was about twelve, maybe thirteen, I had just finished my first fantasy novel. I was really excited about it, and I asked my dad to read it while he was traveling for business. Getting him to read anything of mine was really hard because he was always busy, but he finally agreed.

I waited for the entire time he was gone (maybe a week or two, but it felt like forever to me) to hear what he thought. When he came back, he didn’t give me what I was expecting. He told me that the book was awful and was riddled with plot holes, bad characterization, and terrible dialogue. (Yes, it was harsh, but this is going somewhere good, I promise.)

I was almost in tears. This was my first book, and I’d spent at least a year writing it, so naturally, I was pretty upset.  But I sucked it up and asked him how to fix it. I didn’t really understand everything he told me or how, but I did understand the last words he said to me about it. He told me, “I don’t think you’ll make it as an author. Some people do, but it’s a lot of work, and I don’t think you’re cut out for it.”

This only made me more upset, but this was the point where things turned around. Something you should know about me is that I’m extremely competitive. Like, I do not back down from a challenge unless it’s going to seriously hurt or kill me kind of competitive. I will (and actually have) take a mouthful of sea water just to prove a point. Stupid? Maybe. But at the point that my dad told me I wasn’t cut out for being an author, the competitive nature kicked in.

I was immediately determined to prove him wrong. I was mad he didn’t think I had it in me, and I was determined that I’d make him proud by showing him I could do it and by writing something that was as good as the published fantasy novels he bought from the bookstore. And that’s what ended up driving me to write, but not just to write. It also drove me to improve no matter how small the issue was or how little the technique that I was honing because I wanted every edge possible to prove him wrong and get to a point where I could be published.

  1. Wow! That’s pretty tough, but sometimes it’s the tough situations that pushes us to be our best. I would have been so devastated though, but I admire your strength and your determination for sure. It sounds like you have a lot of reasons for making it as a writer. Have your reasons for writing changed over the years?

Absolutely! My dad is extremely busy because he’s in management positions at work. He doesn’t really have time to read any of my work most of the time, and he didn’t during the years I wrote out of determination to prove to him I could be an author. Eventually, after disappointment after disappointment when I tried to get him to read my work and failed, I started writing because I really enjoyed it.

I went through some really rough times with my family after my mom had an aneurysm when I was about eleven, and in the aftermath, I started to turn more and more to writing as a way to put the feelings inside down on paper. I didn’t really talk much to anyone or interact in healthy ways when it came to emotions, so writing become the one healthy outlet I had.

Now I still write to get my emotions out (I’m an INTJ and struggle with emotions in general), but I also write because it relaxes me and gives me something I can enjoy doing when I don’t want to be around anyone. I’m a natural creative type (which might be surprising to those of you who know me since I’m also very logical and went into a math-related field.), so I enjoy the process of writing from start to finish for its own sake.

  1. Yeah, that did surprise me because I first knew you as a creative type and was shocked to find out you’re logical and in a math related field. Let’s talk about your latest book for now. What was your reason or inspiration for Bane of Ashkarith?

Well, the inspiration came from two places. First, I already knew the history involving Banach from Pathway of the Moon and another companion short story (coming out in Port & Key’s next anthology in the winter this year), so I knew that the journal existed and had included entries from it as interludes in Pathway of the Moon.

Then I joined Wattpad’s Open Novella Contest, and one of the prompts had to do with myths of the old world and truth becoming a lie while the lie became truth. This became the second place the inspiration came from and was the catalyst for the story.

The idea sparked to life right away when I saw the prompt, and it was a great way to give the readers a richer understanding of Alcardia’s history without info-dumping or giving long-winded explanations in the main series. I wanted to draw readers into the world and share with them the living, breathing place that I’d created. This provided a way to do so that would be appealing and a fun, quick read.

  1. Well, writing a book is definitely a way to draw readers into your world and give them more world building and history. I can tell you really love the world and race building and I’m certain you love your characters too. But who is your favorite character in the book and why?

This will sound weird since it’s not one of the main characters, but Dhiabhan is definitely my favorite. I love the sharp-tongued, keen-eyed air captain to death. So much so that the next book in the Legends of Alcardia series will be about him. He’s got just the right amount of mystery, and I have to admit…I’m a sucker for dark hair and blue or green eyes. Plus, who doesn’t love some kind of mind-reading superpower? 😉

  1. Hehe! Dark hair, sharp tongued, man? I think you know my favorites too 🙂 This is a self-published book which definitely isn’t easy but what has your journey to self-publish Bane of Ashkarith been like?

Chaotic. It’s been neat because I’ve talked with some authors I might not have interacted with much otherwise, so I’ve met some neat people. It’s been a lot of fun in that way. But I’ve definitely learned that I needed to start this way, way earlier than I did! For anyone else thinking about self-publishing and wanting to promote beforehand, start the process months before.

I started mine at the end of June with the release date being the end of this month. And boy, it’s been overwhelming. Finding people on such short notice to help out is hard. I’ve been lucky because I have a great group of core people helping, and they got a lot of people on board, but especially finding bloggers has proven difficult on such short notice.

  1. Yeah, I learned that with Hunter; start as early as possible when launching a book whether self or traditional publishing. Speak of which, why self-publishing?

Good question. 😊 I really appreciate the freedom it offers. My profits are based directly on me, and I have control over the entire process. How I advertise and when is all up to me, and I get the final say in things. Of course, working with a publisher is fun too. I’ve done that for Port & Key’s first anthology and am doing so again with their second one. I’m hoping to take some of my future works and pitch them to a publisher, but honestly, I’m happy with the self-publishing process and the journey that it’s been.

  1. Hey, as long as you’re happy about it, that’s what matters! Random question here, but hopefully fun. If you could have any actors play your two main characters in a movie who would they be and why?

Ooooo… That’s a hard one because I don’t pay much attention to actors in most movies. So I don’t really know names for most of them. I admit ahead of time that I had to look these people up, but I did watch the shows/movies for them. Just don’t know any names.

For Kaidan, probably Brendan Hines from the show Lie To Me. (For those who know the show but not the cast, he’s the one guy employed with the Lightman Group who always tells the truth—even when it’s awkward.) The guy’s seriously nerdy (in a good way, of course) and his habit of telling the truth combined with that remind me of Kaidan. Plus he looks similar to how I pictured Kaidan.

For Zerua, I’m going to go with Emeraude Toubia, the actress who played Isabelle Lightwood in the Freeform show Shadowhunters. Something about her spunk and wit there really fit well with Zerua. Plus she’s definitely a good fit appearance-wise for Zerua.

  1. Oooh. I don’t know Brendon Hines, so I’ll have to look him up, but Isabel Lightwood’s actress is amazing and I love that show! 🙂 That gives me a great idea about Zerua. So, what was the easiest scene for you to write?

Hmmm… These are tough questions! I honestly don’t remember exactly which scene was easiest. I had a pretty easy time writing any scene with Dhiabhan, to be honest. Those ones just kind of came together for me.

9. Oh, yeah! I have that problem with some of my older books! So what was the              hardest?

The scene at Ashkarith when Queen Banach shows them what Sedra did to her people and her city. That was really hard to write because a lot of emotions had to come into play, and it was difficult to fine-tune them so they’d come out the way I wanted them to.

        10. Awww! Emotional scenes can sometimes be so difficult to get right! I am                      curious, though, what was your favorite scene in the book?

There are so many I like… But I think my favorite would be the scene when Kaidan finally puts together who Dhiabhan is and Dhiabhan tells him that people often prefer darkness to light. That was really a big turning point for Kaidan and Zerua, and it solidified their decision to take the truth to the world no matter the cost. A close second is definitely the scene where Kaidan and Zerua meet with Dhiabhan after leaving Montelishra to escape the Society’s assassin.

Yep, I am definitely going to have to buy and read this book! Here’s a final, bonus question for you to close up the interview. If you could be asked any question in an interview what would it be and how would you answer?

Any question at all? Probably how and where I came up with the various economic and political systems in Alcardia. How would I answer?

Well… I came up with them in my tax and corporate finance classes my senior year of college (last year). The funny part is that for the first week or so of those classes, many of the notes I took brought the concepts I was learning into Alcardia. I would hear something the teacher said, and it would cause questions about how various countries on Alcardia would handle that, so I’d sit there and write down notes on the topic while using Alcardian political and economical systems as examples.

Yes, this is what this particular accounting major did with the various things she learned. I know, I know… I’m crazy. That’s what my friends all thought too when I told them why I remembered anything from class at all. This is why I’m going to get my Masters in English w/an emphasis on education. I’m clearly not cut out for accounting. It bores me so much I have to start using the concepts to go back to writing. 😉

But hey, at least I was paying attention. Many other class periods, I was too busy world-building or writing to pay attention to anything unless it wasn’t in the book or involved practicing. (This was the reason I always had to memorize my quiz and test formulas five minutes before the test or quiz.)

Hahaha! You are definitely hilarious and a bit crazy, but I think deep down, all writers have a little bit of crazy in us, don’t we? 

I enjoyed Ariel and her interview and I hope you guys did too, just as much as I did. Bet you’re wondering about her book, Bane of Ashkarith. Here’s the synopsis:

Ariel's book

Kaidan Tadegan is working on a new site trying to prove the myth that two armies of the gods clashed there. While on the dig site, he discovers the evidence he’s looking for, but he gets more than he bargained for when he discovers a woman’s bones in a section of the dig site where no other remains have been found.

As he digs the bones out, he discovers a journal with the woman’s body, which tells a story that, if true, will turn the myths of the old world and the established concepts of good and evil on their heads. Startled by the find, Kaidan sets out to discover whether the diary’s claims have any validity.

But when the diary leads to a city that’s supposedly long gone, Kaidan’s journey becomes more difficult than expected. Things become even more tangled when he discovers that the city isn’t gone, but it’s no place for the living.

Unable to give up on his quest, he forges ahead. What lies ahead is uncertain, and even more uncertain is whether Kaidan will survive this quest. He has only two questions in his mind. Will he find the truth in this city of the dead? And will the world accept the truth?

Pre-order on Kobo right now.

Release date is July 31st





Blog (I highly recommend checking out her blog; she gives AMAZING writing advice – way in depth)!



Ariel’s bio:

Ariel Paiement is a fantasy author who writes the occasional historical fiction or science fiction novel. She enjoys all ranges of books and writing when it comes to reading, though fantasy and science fiction are her favorites. She likes to spend time coming up with new ideas or in wild flights of imagination. If asked what she spends most of her time doing, she’d tell you that she spends most of it reading or writing one thing or another. She is the author of On the Narrow Way in the anthology Above and Beneath: The World of Angels and Demons and has also written and published In Darkness Lost, a stand-alone fantasy adventure novel. Her novel, Bane of Ashkarith, is coming out on July 31st and is the first in the Legends of Alcardia series.

Mulan Live Action Trailer Is Out!

I apologize that this article is a day late, but I’m back and with exciting news!

So I’ve just spent the past ten minutes fangirling SUPER DUPER HARD because I just watched the trailer for the new Mulan live action movie Disney’s putting out, set to release in 2020! Oh my goodness it looks SOOOOOO GOOD!

If you haven’t watched it yet, do that now!

Watch now!

Needless to say, SPOILERS!!!!!! You have been warned! Do not read any more if you don’t want the trailer spoiled for you.

So it looks like they are changing a few things, but from what it looks like, they might be being more true to historical details than before. A woman starts off saying that the matchmaker has found a match for Mulan. The first thing I notice is that the woman’s actress is this AMAZING Asian actress that’s practically in every single good Chinese movie ever! So I’m super excited to see her and it seems like she’s playing Mulan’s mother.

Mulan doesn’t seem happy about this, but she says she’ll bring the family honor in response to stuff her father tells her. I’m wondering if she’s really going to take his place in the army or run away. Honestly, I loved the idea that she did it to save her father, so I’m hoping they don’t change that. But as long as it’s good, I guess it won’t matter!

It shows her training and in the army camp in a montage thoughout the trailer. We also get to see her in full Chinese getup with all the makeup, so that’s also super exciting and again, very true to historical details, which I’m already in love with. In the army camp scenes, I’m seriously searching for glimpses of who could be playing Li Shang. He’s my favorite Disney prince – or one of my favorites, and I know, technically he isn’t a prince—so I’m SOOO eager to see who plays him. Mulan’s actress seems perfect for the role so far. It shows her training and fighting with a sword, so I’m also eager to see the fight scenes.

All in all, a 5 star trailer and I just hope the movie is as good as it seems! I’m in love and I seriously wanna watch more!

What about you guys? What do you think of the new Mulan trailer? Are you excited for it? What do you think about all the Disney remakes thus far?

Fun and Unknown Facts About Writing Shifter

In honor of my newest novel, Shifter, Book Two in the Valiant Series, being released July 1st, I thought I would share a few facts about writing the book that hasn’t been revealed anywhere else.

  • The size of Nsi’s village caused a great discussion between my husband and I. At the time, he and I were still dating and I remember having certain acres and amount of people listed in the scene but thought I should talk to him about it, since he is smarter than me at things like that. It turns out, my size was either too big or too small (I can’t remember which) and we had a long discussion trying to figure out what would be best. Then, my editor changed it when she was editing it anyway.
  • Beroan and his appearance was based on a character from a movie called Crazy Horse long time ago. The actor for Crazy Horse was played by Michael Greyeyes who is a really good Native American actor. When I wanted to make a character picture of Beroan, I actually took a picture of Michael Greyeyes and tried to give him a blonde tint to his hair (like Beroan has)
  • There is a scene toward the beginning of Shifter where Nsi encounters a little girl. Nsi mentions how the girl pronounces her name wrong and I did that on purpose to show and explain the correct way Nsi’s name is pronounced (nee-see).
  • I didn’t know the ending of Shifter until I wrote it. As I did, the ending few scenes felt as if they were correct and that that was the way Shifter was meant to end. And yes, I’m saying this while avoiding all spoilers.
  • The four types of breath that dragons can breathe (fire, frost, acid, and lightning) was inspired by the video game Skyrim. In it, different dragons shoot out different types of energy but fire and frost are most common. I didn’t want to be cliché or keep the exact same idea, so I added in lightning and acid because those two had never been used before.
  • Out of all the words I invented for the dragon clan’s language, I never thought of the way to say hello. I don’t know why.
  • Likewise, when I invented just a few words for the wolf clan, their version hello was the first one I made – translated into English as “greetings.”
  • Nsi’s escape from her village after the dragon attack was based off the song I See Fire by Ed Sheeran. Some of you may know that, but the fun fact you may not know is that when I wrote that scene, I challenged myself to make it read as if you can feel or almost hear the song playing. The scene wouldn’t be written well, in my eyes, if you couldn’t.
  • Gran (Nsi’s grandmother)’s name is actually Msi. It’s pronounced the same way as Nsi (me-see).
  • Without spoilers, one of the biggest twists in Shifter actually came from when I was writing a scene. One of the side characters made a comment to someone and this comment made me really puzzled. As I thought about his comment, the twist idea instantly came to me, to be revealed later in the book. Once readers know what the twist is, they might see this comment and think I did it on purpose to foreshadow it. I didn’t.
  • One of my favorite phrases in the dragon language is Ym-yah’h, pronounced yee-am-yah-eh-eet. Essentially, it means all will be well.
  • The images I have in my head for the characters aren’t exactly how they’re described or supposed to be. Sometimes my mind takes actors or actresses that are familiar to me and replaces what the characters are actually supposed to look like. It’s weird.
  • The story of the two moons is my favorite story and snippet in the entire book of Shifter (though my favorite scene is the boss fight)
  • The story of the two moons somewhat foreshadows an event later in Shifter.
  • In Shifter, when Nsi decided to leave, I had trouble figuring out why her grandmother and cousin would let her. Or why she would even want to. I wanted to make sure that it made perfect sense and didn’t seem unrealistic or random.
  • When I wrote Rallavast’s lines I used multiple s’s for the words that started with S. The multiple s’s were cut by my editor and instead, we edited the description to describe it.
  • When one of the characters was explaining the Shifter clans and how they worked, I had one of the other characters laugh at the idea of a unicorn clan. The reason why was because I thought it was ridiculous and I thought people would too. So if a character was laughing about it, maybe the readers wouldn’t judge it too harshly.
  • The names of the cat clan characters are all made up but Egyptian sounding. I did that even though I didn’t base their culture on Egyptians, just because cats were important in Egyptian culture.
  • The cat clan is actually called the Pride Clan in the book. I’m not sure why I just say cat clan any other time. Likewise the bird clan is called the Fowl Clan in the book. It sounds weird though.
  • Originally, I was going to include a clan strictly for dinosaur shapeshifters but I thought meshing the two would be slightly odd—fantasy and dinos. So instead, I just included a few vague ones like sabercats. Technically, according to shifter information not in the books, I consider pteradactils—flying dinosaurs—as a part of the thunderbird clan. Which is also another clan but it was unmentioned in the book. These, are now of course, not “canon” to the story anymore.
  • For the final one… Beroan and Nsi’s ship name is…


As a bonus fact: when Shifter was free to read on, it originally got over 30,000 reads!

Are you a book reader who needs something to hold your book open? Or maybe you need one of those little book lights so that you can see better? Maybe you’re just a fan of dragons, or want some cool swag from Shifter.

My giveaway on rafflecopter will give you a chance to win all of that; a book holder, book reading light, a toy dragon, a tote bag and puzzle of Shifter’s cover.

Enter the giveaway!

Oh and naturally, if you want to go ahead and pre-order Shifter, do so here. I’m hoping to get it to the best seller list, so every little bit helps!


Interview With James Quinlan Meservy

Today we have a special guest on my blog, James Quinlan Meservy, author of The United. His new book, Denizens Among Us, will be out soon! I hope you enjoy this interview.

Q: 1. How did you come up with the origin story of the Manditone? I thought it was so tragic and sweet but well written.

Thank you. The Manidone legend. So ever since the Dark Fang short story I created as a child, Dark Fang was a shapeshifter who collected the souls of mankind. So I researched different Native American legends to see if any fit what I needed, and I found ‘Manidone’ similar to the Skin Walkers in most every respect, with the main difference that Manidones were myth and Skin Walkers were believed to be real. Once I had figured out which creature the native culture believed Jacob Hunter to be, the legend described in Chapter 2 came easily to my mind.

Q: 2. Ooh, I just love Native American cultures, so it was nice that Native Americans influenced your book a bit. So how do you choose your characters names?

Well for the minor characters, I went on social media and used the first appropriate name I found. For the major characters, I really don’t remember how I chose their names or even when their names were chosen. TJ was always named TJ. LyAnn was originally named Shelly, but at some point became KimberlyAnn, called LyAnn. Blaze and Amanda and Byron always went by those names. Jacob & Jonathon Hunter always the same as well. I seriously don’t recall how.

Q: 3. Nice! I never thought of using Social Media to think of Names. Are the myths and legends in The United based off real ones or completely made up (or both)?

The Manidone is a real Native American myth I found while researching an encyclopedia of Native legends back when I was in college. The legends of Myrr were loosely based on Arthurian lore but I decided there were enough stories about Merlin and Arthur, so made enough modifications to make Myrr original. (Merlin & Arthur merged into Armaqya; Excalibur became a battle-ax known as Boi-Bresh; Myrr now was located in Northern Eurasia, and so forth).

Q: 4. Whoa, now that you mention it, I can really see those themes woven into the Myrr legends. So where did your idea and inspiration for this book come from?

The original idea was a Halloween themed creative writing assignment in 5th grade. Most of the novelized inspirations came to me in my dreams.

Q: 5. Wow! That’s so neat. Last October, a Halloween themed contest spurred me to start a series that is now in its fourth book. What was the hardest scene you had to write?

Unquestioningly the hardest scene for me to write was the final scene in the Cave Spring parking lot, when Blaze comes to help TJ and Amanda (trying to avoid spoilers here).

Q: 6. Yep. I thought it was that one. How did you come up with such unique voices for your characters? They’re all so different and easy to tell a part especially TJ and Amanda.

TJ’s voice was easy. His voice is based on my own difficulties in speech. I have a slight stutter in speech, and I am known to omit words and change word order in my speech. Amanda’s chipmunk mode is based on a friend of mine who literally did exactly as Amanda. I remember one conversation with my friend where she was talking, she got really excited, and she spoke for about 5 straight minutes without a breath. The longer she spoke the quicker she spoke, and the higher pitch her voice became (I might be exaggerating in the exact time but it felt like an hour), and when she finally stopped to take a breath her face was beet red. Everyone else’s voices are based on how I hear them talking with me.

Q: 7. Haha! Amanda’s voice reminded me of me, because I do the same thing a lot, especially when I fangirl. I think it’s so neat that you use real life voices to influence your character voices (which is probably why they feel so real). What made you decide to kill off a certain few characters (ones that I really liked by the way)?

If it makes you feel any better, I killed off my absolute favorite character. She was not supposed to die originally, but as I wrote the book it became obvious to me that she needed to die. The main reason certain characters died was because I need them to be Creatures of Rai in Book 4.

Thank you, James, for this interview and answering the questions I was dying to know as I read through the United. It’s an epic fantasy that I think a lot of people will like, so here’s the synopsis and buy link down below, so please check it out. 

The United Realm of the Light Book 1 (Rai Saga), by James Quinlan Meservy

Some time ago in a land since long forgotten, an evil force by the name of Lord Yrimwaque – servant of the Threat of Rai – threatens to destroy everything and prepare the world for a harvest. The only thing that stands in his way are three reluctant heroes: Tyler, his girlfriend KimberlyAnn and his best friend Blaze Morrison, who have been recruited by the followers of the Light of Rai. Upon their journey of knowledge, TJ and his friends are forced into an unlikely encounter with a creature of legend, and find themselves in the midst of an ancient battle between the Light of Rai and the Threat of Rai, with our world hanging in the balance. As the Light of Rai teach them to hone their various gifts and talents for the greater good of the kingdom, faith is restored, in the hopes that they will be able to stop Lord Yrimwaque and vanquish the evil horde he desires to unleash upon the land. Amid plots and counter-plots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, allies and enemies, the fate of the land hangs in the balance, as the lines between good and evil become more skewed. But will all their efforts be enough, or will the kingdom be plunged into darkness forever?

Buy now.