Curator's Pick: Keeper of the Watch

I approached reading Keeper of the Watch with some apprehension; I seem to have read all too many fantasy-based books that just don’t manage to communicate their ideas very clearly. A lot of their sci-fi and fantasy elements aren’t fully explained, which makes it difficult to fully immerse yourself in the story. I have to say though, that I was pleasantly surprised with Keeper of the Watch.

From the moment that I started reading, I wanted to know more. Kristen L. Jackson does a fantastic job of merging realism with fantasy, and even as we learn about different dimensions and the idea of blood flowing from human body to mechanical watch, nothing seems out of place. As protagonist Chase Walker experiences these things, we do too, which allows Jackson to explain everything in a clear, but not overbearing manner.

For the Book Lover: Dragon & Sword Bookmark

The best fantasy stories always include a dragon. Within the pages of a book, these powerful, beautiful, magical winged beasts  lay waste to anything that stands in their way. And then there is the treasure. Gold and gemstones enough to make Fort Knox look like a piggy bank. 

But the dragon does have one foe. A noble night and his trusted blade. 

If you love fantasy, and dragons are your thing (they are totally our thing!), then you gotta have this bookmark. Made of silver plated metal, this Celtic-ispired dragon is adorned with hematite gemstones, and of course, a sword.

Where Do Stories Grow?: John Saomes

A Guest Blog Post by Author John Saomes

When I first saw this question, I loved the idea behind it because it challenged me to think back to a time when I had the bare beginnings of my first book, and little more. My story contained a simple message—that mankind can be better than we are—that we can do better, and have a better life if we can only find a better way to live.

Through my characters I wanted to offer glimpses of a brighter world where the people were happier and each day held greater meaning. The beginnings of that story came from my own experiences of hardship as I battled to make ends meet in a consumer driven society of unbridled excess. The day-to-day grind of going off to work a job that held no interest depressed me—and I knew I wasn’t alone.

What is an Artisan Author?

Take a little walk through time with me.

The edges of the real world begin to blur and fade as we step back into a simpler, harsher time, when the sweat of your brow, and the skill of you hand was how you made a living.  Here, travel by horseback is for the rich. For us peasants, it’s one foot in front of the other.

We pass through the city gates and into the marketplace. Reams of colored silk draw your eye, then the dizzying array of fruits and vegetables. Near the end of the row, a broad-shouldered man in a floury apron pulls back a cloth to reveal dozens of loaves of bread. Each crusted mound a masterpiece unto itself, each hand-crafted and guaranteed to stave off hunger while delighting your tastebuds.

We Asked Author K.B. Owen: Where Do Stories Grow?

Harry S. Truman once said: “There is nothing new in the world, except the history you do not know.” That was certainly the case with a major enigma in my life, my mother-in-law. (I know what you’re thinking…go ahead, insert mother-in-law jokes here). What I discovered about her, and the circumstances under which I learned it, are responsible for the historical mystery series I write today.

Joan was a school librarian and an avid reader. Books were one of the ways she and I connected with each other when moments grew awkward, especially in the early years of our relationship (she was a stoic Yankee, and I am definitely not). In the summer of 2005—she had been my mom-in-law for fifteen years by then—she suffered a devastating head injury and slipped into a coma. I would read to her in the rehab hospital, though I had no idea if she could hear me or not.

For the Book Lover: Pride & Prejudice Coasters

Sigh and swoon! If you're a Jane Austen fan (or rather a Lizzie and Darcy fan) then these are a must have. Featuring some of the most beloved quotes form the book and movie, this set of four is the perfect furniture-protecting perch for your spot of tea or nip of wine.

Handmade by Eliza Jane's Creations, for a snippet under $20 bucks these can be yours.

Get yours on Etsy by clicking here.

Book Review: Floating in Saltwater

Normal. What's normal? In the modern age I suppose it means flat screen TVs and video games. But what if that normal included outhouses and superstitions and secrets? What if it included a steady stream of borders and renters who kept your imagination as busy as your mother's daily list of chores?

Floating in Saltwater tells the first part of a coming of age story for Barbara Ann. The oldest of two natural born and a handful of adopted relatives and needy neighborhood children, Barbara Ann is slowly starting to figure the world and herself out. It is fast becoming apparent that life is unfair and not everyone is treated equally. She dreams of creating a life for herself, away from the mundane existance of home where she can pursue her art and be happy.

For the Book Lover: Bookmarks are for Quitters T-Shirt

Some people use bookmarks, some people dogear the pages, but the only the true, hard-core book lover reads from start to finish, no bookmarking required.

This t-shirt made us laugh out loud and we certainly appreciate the implied literary challenge. 

If you're one of those voracious reader who just won't put it down until you've read the very last word on the very last page, then you gotta get this shirt!

Made and shipped by Raes Custom Decals, for $26 you can proclaim your reading superpower to the world.

Get your on Etsy by clicking here.

Curator's Pick: Darkness of the Womb

No one ever said motherhood would be easy. And for Marigold? Well, it's harder than most would ever fathom. Her unborn child is destined to be the savior of mankind...only he doesn't want to be. This story is an incredible mash up of mundane reality and a fantastic other dimension where human characteristics like Instinct, Imagination, and Purpose become characters in their own right. Some are working to help Marigold, and her husband Jeff to save their unborn child...others have ulterior motives.

Richard B. Knight has an incredible imagination. The characters and plot line are unlike anything else I have ever read. A forty-something first-time mother makes for an unusual protagonist, but you can't help but find yourself wanting her to succeed. Marigold and Jeff are likable, flawed characters weighed down by life; they are very relatable.

Curator's Pick: Gavril of Aquina

What happens to a king who has everything he could ever want - magic, wealth, women - taken away by a coniving adversary? Does he resign himself to life as a prisoner? A nobody? Or will a chance meeting with a beautiful woman change his mind and give him the reason he needs to find his inner strength and fight for his people?

Gavril of Aquina is a fun fantasy romance that pits strong, interesting characters on a well-paced plot line.  I found myself wanting to know how it all worked out. Would Gavril get his magic back? Would he get the girl he wants and his kingdom?

The plot is exciting with a great deal of fast-paced action interspersed with internal monologues which help to acquaint us with the two main characters' and their journeys. The love scenes offer just enough chemistry without being overly graphic.