Friday, January 30, 2015

Where It All Started...

I've said that I'll write a post about my writing journey & I've put it off for a little while - mainly because I wasn't sure how to explain it.  

I guess I'll start at the beginning: I took a Creative Writing class my sophomore year of high school & fell in love with poetry.  I have a bunch of pieces that I'll post over time (once I can convince myself that they're okay to share with the world; it's hard, okay??).  

I took the class again during my junior year of high school, and one of the assignments for the class was to submit a poem for Teen Ink.  I'm not sure if the publication is still around, but they published original writing from high school (and maybe middle school?) students.  It was awesome.  Anyway,  the poem I submitted was chosen & published in that year's Winter Poetry Journal.  The day I got that letter was one of the best days of my life.  I still have the copy of it somewhere; once I dig it out, I'll share it.  I promise. =)

After I graduated high school I took another Creative Writing course during my time at Farmingdale State (where I earned an Associates in Liberal Arts), and my professor published one of my poems on his website (allll the way back in 2007; you'll have to scroll down to 2007 Winter Collisions; or you can search "Symphony of the Moon, Wind, and Sea" and see it -- I've also pasted it at the end of this post).

I stopped writing after that...for years.  I was blocked mentally and emotionally.  And then...

Last July I had the opportunity to go to the RWA 2014 Conference in San Antonio, TX.  It was a week of hanging out with published & aspiring authors in a very supportive atmosphere.  I felt at home among the masses and was inspired to create this blog (even though I didn't really have too much of a vision for it at the time).  I officially joined RWA in October, after attending the conference, and am now also a proud member of the LIRW Chapter (full of fabulous ladies & Harris)!

I've taken a couple of courses through the RWA University to help hone some skills, and am working on my first novel.  It's a contemporary romance, and I've finally figured out the character motivations & sketched out a plot.  Now I just have to sit my butt in the chair & write.  I'll keep you updated on the story, and might even post some snippets (once I can convince myself that they're worth posting)., here is the poem I mentioned earlier:

Symphony of the Moon, Wind, and Sea

In a quiet whisper of a moment flowers wake
to the symphony of moon, wind, and sea.

A thousand diamonds
dimly shine in mists of time
lost in wood's woven shade.

Shadows dance
beside fallen rose
petals swim on a serene silver lake.

The rhythm of the stars listens
to heaven-fed white lilac
glazed with the kiss of rain.

Dawn's fire flames and dulls
hysterical water,
craves a drunken rest.

Yellow sunsets blossom --
embroidered thoughts thick as eternity
keep time with angels' silken wingbeats.

Copyright, Voule Walker. you give me some feedback on the poem?  What did you guys think?  I know that poetry isn't for everyone and that it's very subjective, but I'd still like to hear what you guys think. :)


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Busy Bee...

     I know that I haven't posted in a little while (a week feels like a lot to me, okay?), and I just wanted to let everyone know that you'll be seeing more posts soon.  I want to get a few posts ready (not to mention a few "if things get slow" posts to keep in my pocket for emergencies).  Also, it feels like I haven't stopped moving long enough to sit down and write a post!
     Honest, it feels like I've barely been home (which is a little sad because I do love my apartment, when I'm not complaining about the small kitchen).  Right after New Year's I helped two different couples move (not into the same apartment), attended my first ever (and first of many) Long Island Romance Writer's Chapter meeting (they are the LI Chapter of the RWA), enjoyed a crazy BOC Book Club meeting, celebrated my mister's birthday...oh, and worked my usual day job.
     I tend to do most of my reading & writing on the weekends because I'm always so tired/drained after a day at the office, and I feel like I've been remiss due to not being home.  BUT...
     I DO have some exciting features I'll be rolling out over the next month or so (mostly February), and I'm working hard on getting them ready.  Since they're all works-in-progress, I'm going to keep them a hush-hush, but only for a little while longer. are some pictures from the birthday celebration for the mister, for your enjoyment!

We had dinner at the local On the Border Mexican Restaurant, with my cousin & her fiancé (who is the mister's best friend), followed by dessert at The Cheesecake Factory (where I had a non-dairy apple crisp...all lactose-free).  

See you guys soon!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Review, Excerpt, and GIVEAWAY of: The Calum (The Calum Series Book 1) by Xio Axelrod

Hi everyone!  There is a lot packed into today's post, so I hope you're ready!

I’m reviewing THE CALUM, which is the phenomenal debut novel of Xio Axelrod.  (I was provided a copy of this novel for an honest review.)  Xio provided an excerpt from Chapter One for your enjoyment, and: Xio is giving away a Kindle copy of THE CALUM -- giveaway details below.

While this is a novel that I read for a review, it also meets one of the 2015 Reading Challenge (#29 - A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit), so...I'm checking that box off the list.  Only 49 left to go!  

A quick note about how I came to read and review this novel.  I met Xio last July at the RWA 2014 Conference in San Antonio.  We ended up having breakfast at a table of about seven wonderful authors (or aspiring authors, such as myself).  We exchanged cards and I ended up following her blog & recently followed her on Twitter (I finally gave in and set up a Twitter account for myself, okay?)  
     Anyway - I saw her post a tweet about having difficulty finding blogs to post reviews for her debut novel.  I got in touch & offered my (very small) blog, which in turn lead to this very blog post that you're reading.

Book Blurb (provided by Xio):
Calum, The (Noun) 
  1. fictional hero of best-selling romance novel, A Laird to Love
  2. the perfect man 

     Twenty-six is too old to believe in fairytales, but tell that to Lovie’s roommate. Convinced she’ll find a real life version of her ultimate book boyfriend, Calum MacKenzie, Jo drags Lovie to the Scottish Highlands. Lovie’s no cynic *ahem* but she knows The Calum is a myth. A construct. A freaking unicorn! And there are warmer places to spend a winter vacation.
     If Duff had his way, he’d never step foot in Inverness again. Only his best friend’s wedding, and his ailing grandmother, could bring him home. Duff’s plan is keep his head down and stay out of trouble. Hard to do when the groom targets a pretty blond tourist for one last conquest.
     When Duff and Lovie meet, stones, sparks and insults fly. He’s instantly attracted to the sexy, sharp-tongued American. She’s just glad to have someone to hang out with, especially the bad boy with a mysterious past. Lovie is determined to learn his secrets, but as they grow closer, Duff is forced to choose between his best friend and his heart.

***** (5/5)

Review: You know that feeling you get when you put a book down and wish it had been longer?  Well, that’s how I felt after I read this book.  I absolutely adored Lovie; she’s intelligent, supportive, funny as all hell, and I want her to be my best friend.  (I love finding characters that I want to meet in real life.  Xio delivers on that, fabulously.)
     Duff gives off the aura of someone who is dark and mysterious.  But his point of view shows that even though he has his demons; he also has a vulnerable side.  That’s basically my weakness: the bad-ass with a soft side (see: my love of Dean Winchester from Supernatural).  (And just a little note about Jo -- I was quite surprised by her, in the best way possible.) 
     The interaction between Lovie & Duff was entertaining, and the story moved at a great pace.  I finished the book in less than two days.  And the ending will leave your jaw on the floor.     

You can order your copy of THE CALUM at:
Amazon (Kindle)
Barnes & Noble (Nook) 
All Romance 

Xio is giving away a Kindle copy of THE CALUM!  
The winner will receive a Kindle code for a free copy of the book.

The giveaway begins on Wednesday, 1.14.15 @ 12am (midnight) EST, and ends Monday, 1.19.15 @ 12:00pm (noon) EST.

Once again, Blogger & I had a disagreement about putting the actual Rafflecopter widget on the blog, but here is the link to the Giveaway, courtesy of the generous author herself, Xio.

Excerpt from Chapter One (provided by Xio)

Lovie Grant wished like hell that she had paid the five dollars for the airline headphones. But that balloon had popped, and now she was stuck listening – again – to Joana’s latest “brilliant” plan. She hunched her shoulders and buried her face in the in-flight magazine. Anything to avoid one more word about their freaking trip.

“Are you even listening to me?” Her shrill tone bounced off the airplane window and directly into the oh-my-God-let-me-off-this-sky-bus-before-I-kill-her section of Lovie’s brain.

“What is it now, Jo?”

“You’re not paying attention. And you keep sighing like you’ve been left home on prom night.”

“I’m just tired, and I can’t sleep on planes.” And I should be relaxing on a beach instead of chasing after you.

Flip. Flip. Flip.

Page after page taunted her with one photo of crystal blue waters and palm trees after another. There would be no palm trees where they were headed.

Which asshole decided to put that magazine in her seat-back pocket?

“You’re upset.”

How very astute. “It’s a scientific fact that a lack of sleep causes a decrease in the neurotransmitters that regulate mood.” Flip. “Otherwise, I’m fine, Jo. Let it go.”

“I call bull. You’ve already convinced yourself that this is going to suck.” Jo’s bottom lip poked out in her signature pout. With her blonde locks twisted into two braids, and her bright pink Juicy sweatpants, the picture of a bratty twelve-year-old was nearly complete.

Lovie’s best friend, roommate and constant damsel-in-distress had a plan. A good plan, she’d said. A sound plan, if you dared to believe her. Lovie didn’t, but the plan was this:

● Go to Scotland

● Find “The Calum”

● Marry him

Jo had been saving up for this particular trip for three years – ever since Lovie picked up a dog-eared copy of A Laird to Love at a used book store. It was a great read, sure, but why the hell did that one have to fall out of the stack?

Like millions of other women around the globe, Jo had fallen in love with its hero, Calum MacKenzie.

Unlike most of those other women, Jo believed that someone like him was just across the ocean, waiting for her.

“The Calum,” Jo explained to anyone that stopped long enough to listen, was the perfect man. A lover and a fighter, he was a chivalrous, six-foot-four redhead with a six-pack and a penchant for languages. You could find variations of him in the pages of Jo’s vast collection of romance novels.

Campbell. Covington. Cage. Colton.

She had shelves filled with ideal men, but somehow The Calum stood out to her from the rest. Enough to convince Jo that she needed to go to Scotland and find him.

Each year since college, they’d flipped a coin to see who would pick their Christmas vacation destination. This year, Lovie lost. So there they were, thirty-five thousand feet above the Atlantic, on their way from Philadelphia to Brigadoon…er…Inverness.

Lovie couldn’t believe she’d agreed to spend her measly handful of vacation days tailing Jo through the Scottish Highlands. It was going to be cold and damp.

And damp.

And fucking cold.

There was a beach somewhere with her name on it, and that name was getting washed out to sea. Or sat upon by German tourists. Her lungs deflated in a heavy sigh as her dream of endless mojitos drifted away on the clouds below.

“You didn’t have to come with me, you know.”

Yeah right. Lovie laughed. “You get lost in Chinatown. I can’t even imagine you on your own in another country. Of course, I had to come with you.”

“Your confidence is inspiring,” Jo deadpanned. “I am perfectly capable of looking after myself.” She drew her tiny feet up into the seat and hugged her knees to her chest. “I don’t need a babysitter.”

“Okay, how about a bodyguard?”

Jo snorted. “You’re not much of one.”

Lovie turned, her brow arched. “I’ve got four inches and twenty-five pounds on you. Put on your seatbelt.”

“Yes mom,” Jo said. “I’ve got it all worked out.” She fumbled with her seatbelt. “When I meet The Calum, and I will meet him, I’ll just play it cool and casual. Like I’m not into him at all. Show just enough of the girls to make him pant after me.” Jo smacked the ends together like she was trying to force a size ten foot into a size six shoe. “What’s wrong with this thing?”

“Oh, for the love of…” Lovie reached over and untwisted the contraption, closing it with a snap.

“I had it.”


“Anyway, as I was saying, I’ll be like a piece of candy that he can’t wait to unwrap.” Throwing her blonde locks over her shoulder, she batted her eyelashes in demonstration.

“So your plan is to lustrate him until he falls in love with you?”

“Good word, lustrate.” Jo grinned. “I’ll have him eating out of my hand. You’ll see.”

Author Bio
Philadelphia native and global citizen, Xio Axelrod writes love stories, sexy romance and what she likes to call “strange, twisted tales.” Bitten by the literary bug in 2003, she has self-published two volumes of poetry. 
Her short stories have also appeared in e-magazines such as Oysters and Chocolate. After a five year hiatus from writing, Xio returned with the fiery web serial, Starstruck: a story about finding the right person at the wrong time that became a viral hit. The Calum is book one in a series.
Xio is a vocalist and songwriter by day and lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Mr. X, and their on-again/off-again cat, BB.

Author Links:

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Release (& Review) Day: UNBOUND by Sara Humphreys

Hi all!

Today is the official release day of Unbound, a novella in the Amoveo Legends series by Sara Humphreys!   

Book Blurb
The forces that bind them can also tear them apart…

Zachary McKenna is a warrior shapeshifter from the Lion Clan, trying to catch a break in the sun and surf of Mexico.  Mai Tais and scantily clad beach bodies are just what he needs after his last battle.  But the fun doesn’t last long before a beautiful young woman is mugged on his doorstep and Zach is pulled right back into the fray.
Zach has no idea of the danger Annabelle has unwittingly brought to his doorstep, until he discovers that losing her will almost certainly destroy him…

Rating: ***** (5/5)

     Okay, so I’m coming into this series with this book (which is book #7 in the Amoveo Legend series).  I’m hooked.  Seriously.  Just like that…hooked.  I need to get the first six books and get busy reading them; I found the Amoveo abilities incredibly intriguing & this book makes me want o go back and read the rest of them so that I can learn more about this amazing world that Sara created.
     The chemistry between Zachary and Annabelle leaps off the page, and the characters have depth.  I was in love with Zachary before I was even halfway through the book; Annabelle is strong and fierce…my favorite kind of heroine.  She’s vulnerable and makes mistakes, but she doesn’t back down from what she knows she wants.  

*I was provided an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

You can order your copy for just $0.99! 
Google Books

 (Psst...when you order UNBOUND for just $0.99, you get FOUR chapters of Sara's upcoming novel Vampires Never Cry Wolf!)

Author Bio:

     Sara is a graduate of Marist College, with a B.A. Degree in English Literature & Theater.  Her initial career path after college was as a professional actress.  Some of her television credits include, A&E Biography, Guiding Light, Another World, As the World Turns, and Rescue Me.
     In 2013 Sara’s novel UNTAMED won two PRISM awards – Dark Paranormal and Best of the Best.  Sara has been a lover of both the paranormal and romance novels for years.  Her sci-fi/fantasy/romance obsession began years ago with the TV Series STAR TREK and an enormous crush on Captain Kirk.  That sci-fi obsession soon evolved into the love of all types of fantasy/paranormal; vampires, ghosts, werewolves, and of course shape shifters.  
     Sara is married to her college sweetheart, Will.  They live in New York with their 4 boys.  For a full list of Sara’s books and reading order, please visit her website.

She's also a bit of a social media butterfly & you can find her on any of the below sites (the links take you to her pages!)

Twitter (@authorsara)
Instagram (username: fabfitfortyplus)