Sunday, November 24, 2013

We Are Off to California!

I was up at 5 am this morning. I lugged my bags downstairs, hopped into my chariot, and sped to the airport once again. 

First, let's answer a quick question. Why am I flying to San Diego? The answer is simple. I've never been, it's warm, and I need to get away and complete Lyrinian Blade (The Chronicles of Koa #2.) My choices were broad...I almost flew out to Maine...but then I realized that there was a chance of being snowed in. It's cold in Charlotte, so I chose Cali. It's cheap, warm, and full of sights to see!

Okay. Back to the flight!

My first flight is to Utah. I am thrilled that I ended up with plenty of space in my row once again. Another girl and I smiled at each other when the other patrons who had seats in our fully booked flight never arrived. 

Now, as glance out my window, I am astounded by the beauty of Salt Lake City, Utah!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Koa's First Book Trailer!!

video

What would you do if a demon threatened your mother's life? If you're like Koa, you'd sharpen your enchanted sword and go after him...
Our world is threatened by the creatures of an alternate land called the Netherworld. Good thing Koa and the Netherworld division are there to keep the vampire population in check. Koa is a powerful half-blood with a mysterious past. Her best friend is her boss, she has a cursed mother, an enchanted sword, and an attractive human pet.

Koa also has a problem. A Netherworld serial killer, with a taste for little girls, threatens everything Koa has worked hard to protect. Not even Koa's boss, Halston can stop him. But he knows one prisoner that can. Too bad that prison is in the Netherworld.

Is Koa ready to journey to the Netherworld to release the one creature that can break her mother's curse and protect all that she holds dear?

**Bonus Material**
Someone has stolen classified documents from the Netherworld division's vaults. Read the secret interviews that were leaked to the press, and discover the hidden clues of Lyrinian Blade (The Chronicles of Koa #2)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Write Like A Wizard: Top Amazon Kindle Book ‘The Chronicles of Koa’ Aut...

Write Like A Wizard: Top Amazon Kindle Book ‘The Chronicles of Koa’ Aut...: Top Amazon Kindle Book ‘ The Chronicles of Koa ’ Author Releases New Bonus Material for Readers Beloved fantasy novel, The Chronicles o...

Thor: The Dark World

Synopsis:
 Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.

Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard, and Anthony Hopkins return in the sequel to Thor. This time, they are fighting none other than...dark elves! 

Squeal!!!

It's no secret that I'm a fan of elves of any sort, and what a delight to have the good ole Doctor, Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who) as the villain. However, I have to admit that I was quite disappointed. 

The Dark World takes place mostly in Thor's home, Asgard, but there isn't much of that fantasy that I adored in the first Thor movie. In the first Thor, I was captivated by the different powers and skills that Loki, Thor, and the others displayed. We didn't get nearly enough of that this time. The pacing is quite slow, and the characters aren't quite as developed, and sadly, most of the action scenes fell flat.

Wait a minute...

Maybe I'm just upset that Kenneth Branagh (My hero) didn't direct this version. 

Let me take a moment to evaluate.


No, I'm still disappointed. No bias. I promise. 

Back to the review!

Loki has been brought back to Asgard to face his father and accept his punishment. After being sentenced to the dungeons for all eternity, Thor cannot think of anything other than to team up with his old stepbrother to exact revenge upon this evil elf. The leader of the dark elves wants to return the entire world to darkness, but somehow, his only source of power has been consumed by Thor's love interest, Dr. Jane Foster (Portman). 

They speed through the film to take us back to the human realm, where we get to meet a cute Brit, Ian (Jonathan Howard) and have a not-so-epic battle in London. I surely hope they do better next time. 

Oh, and what was that strange addition of Zachary Levi (Tangled & Chuck) as Fandral? 



**shudders** Creepy! 

I much rather have Josh Dallas (Once Upon a Time). Bring him back!

P.S. The new Captain America: The Winter Soldier trailer looks much better than its predecessor. We can only hope so!

Monday, November 11, 2013

The 5 Apps I Could Not Live Without in England!

The following is a list of the apps that helped me make it through my journey to England all alone!

Whatsapp enables you to text people from all around the world, simply with a wifi connection!
Tube Map London was essential for getting around central London. I love this app because you can input two stations and it will map out your journey for you!

Couchsurfing helped me make it around England without spending tons of money on hotel rooms, or trying my luck with hostels. 

Pocket Guide was incredible. There are tons of tours to pick from. Stand outside of St. Paul's Cathedral, or any museum, etc, and it'll direct you to the great spots with audio history and more.

Yelp helped me chose places to eat, sleep, and shop. Read the many reviews and find the perfect restaurant in most countries!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sundays in England!

It's Sunday in Brighton, England. I slept in once again. You can't blame me. I've been either too excited or too afraid to sleep so far, so my body was seriously craving a little rest. Anyway, my lovely host, Sarah, had a repairman fix her boiler. 

Hooray! Hot water! 

I took a wonderful hot shower and prepared myself once again for the cold and strong winds of Brighton. To my surprise, I stepped out and found the sun shining and the air as warm as a fall day back in North Carolina. I peeled my coat off and began my descent down the steep hill towards the pier.

The sea was calm and beautiful! It was so calm that it practically blended with the horizon. 

Making it to the pier, I also noticed that the winds were a little milder. And then, I saw something magnificent.

The Royal Pavilion!


Once the home of Queen Victoria as well as King George, the architecture and design was astounding. I purchased a ticket and explored the inside of the palace. Wow. I was thoroughly inspired. Heavily influenced by China, the palace was simply decadent. 

I made my way through the palace and resisted buying souvenirs from the shop. Good job! And then...I was taken in by the shops that lined Brighton's streets. Oh boy. It took some serious willpower not to go mad with shopping fever. I did however buy a new suitcase. Hmmm, that makes 4 suitcases now. 

The one thing I knew I simply had to try was fish and chips. And yes, I found some! Yum! 

It was good...but I didn't get it served in paper since I dined in, and I didn't get I try the mushy peas. Nonetheless, it was pretty good. 

Time surely does fly and it is time for me to head to the station to meet my next host, Brad. I'm excited because I have also been penpalling him for some time. I caught a taxi and hurried to Sarah's house to collect my things. I lugged my bags down her two flights of stairs and my friendly taxi driver, Clive, put then in the taxi. The ride to the station was quiet, and then, Clive saved me a ton of trouble by offering to take me to the town where I was to meet Brad.

Whew! That was a relief. By this time I was so sore and tired of carrying my heavy bags everywhere. So I was willing to pay Clive the price of a train ticket. I was pleasantly surprised by Clive's sudden change. The next 40 minutes were spent discussing the various accents of the British people, American politics, and little known facts about Brighton and Sussex. I learned so much. It was glorious! Clive dropped me in from of the Worthing station and I said farewell to one of my favorite new friends.

Now, I stood on the curb and glanced up at an older woman who stared at me as if I was a strange new creature. Perhaps I was. This area was clearly more rural than London and Brighton. I pulled my bags inside and waited for Brad. He arrived right on time. With him, he brought a sense of confidence that perked me right up. He came right up to me, kissed me on both cheeks, and took my bags from my hands.

Yes. A true gentleman...and shall I say...quite dreamy. Ha!

We headed to his car and I met his younger sister, Laura. She was a beautiful girl with lovely blondish brown hair and a friendly smile. I already knew I was in for a fun night with great English folk. We drove thought the dark streets of Worthing to Pulborough and arrived at Brad's lovely home.

Wow. It was remarkable. Newly built, but designed to look older and traditional. Inside I was greeted by two adorable cocker spaniels and Brad and Laura's father. 

We went up to my bedroom and they made the bed for me. What hospitality!

Ah. A warm bed and hot water. I feel spoiled. Haha.

I headed down and Brad's father made me an excellent cup of coffee. My goodness. I've never drank so much coffee in my life, but I must say, the coffee is delicious here.

Little did I know, but I was in for a real treat. It's Sunday, and I get to enjoy a traditional Sunday roast with the family. While Laura finished making dinner, Brad and I headed to a local pub for a quick pint. Excellent conversation ensued and I took in the interesting decor of a real English pub. 

Once again, a wave of inspiration wafted over me. I perhaps took too long to finish my pint and jabbered quite a bit, because we arrive to dinner late. No worries. We sat down to a table of sliced roast, crispy potatoes, roasted carrots, Yorkshire pudding, wine, and cauliflower with the most delicious cheese I've ever had!

Wow. Everything was incredible. I wish I remembered to take pictures!!!

I was intrigued by the television shows we watched during dinner. A man chased sheep up and down a hill, a show about farming, and the British equivalent to dancing with the stars. Very interesting stuff.

After dinner Brad and I somehow got on the subject of ghosts and told each other out best ghost stories. He then showed me his newest purchase. A real...RED COAT! Oh yay! We are truly in England!


And then, before bed, I sat down with Laura and Brad and watched Downton Abbey! Awesome! But before we went off to bed, I suggested a popular American tv show...American Horror Story. Oh boy. That was probably a bad idea. Even I was a little astounded by the first episode of the third season, the Coven. Yeah...Laura looked horrified and Brad politely told me that it was "quite dark." 

Hahaha. Oh well. That's America for you!

Cheers!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The World Fantasy Convention! Brighton, England

It's Saturday and I am finally ready to make my debut at the World Fantasy convention! Woohoo! It's time to make some connections, promote my book, and possibly land a literary agent. 

I AM READY!!

I pulled myself out of bed (remember that I told you my host's boiler broke?)

Yeah...that means no heat or hot shower!

I managed to begrudgingly take a very frigid birdbath and hurried to layer up my clothing. Once I was reasonably warm and ready to face the bitter winds of Brighton, I headed out and began my way to the coast. It was a lovely walk, I must say!

After a thirty minute walk, and a lot of wind trying to pull me into the air and fly me back home, I made it to the Hilton Brighton Metropole. 

Oh yeah! We made it!

I made my way directly to the registration desk and picked up my lovely badge!

Then, I was directed to a table full of FREE BOOKS! Yay! This is already a success!

Oh...but wait a minute...something is missing. 

Hmmm...

Yes! That's better. The Chronicles of Koa looks grand on that table.

I grabbed a handful of books and put them in my lovely WFC bag. I then set some business cards on a table covered with other author's promotional literature.

Now, it's time to network!

Within minutes I found a group of authors, publishers, and aspiring authors who became my new best friends! 
I managed to make a fan out of most of them as well!

And then...something happened that made me shake and nearly cry and shout for joy.

I met Brandon Sanderson's agent! Do you know how major that is? Brandon Sanderson is one of the biggest fantasy writers in the world right now! And I went to this convention specifically hoping to meet his agent. When I found out that he was literally in the same room as me, I got right up, walked over to him prepared to pitch and...

Stood there giggling...

Ha! Sounds like me all right!

The men with him looked back at me and the other girls with a perplexed look and asked if we needed something. OK, time to be professional.

Stop being awkward!

Turns out one of the men was an agent from Zeno! I got his info and turned to my main target. The owner of Jaberwocky, and Sanderson's agent. He was very friendly! He actually listened to my pitch and told me to send him an email! 

Whoa!!!!!!!!

Talk about giddy!

He left and I could have started dancing and jumping for joy. That's when one of my new friends said, "All right, no fan-girling until we leave the room."

Ha! I love this new term "fan-girling!"

After lunch, still beaming about my early success, I went to a few workshop panels. My favorite was a panel of publishers who gave their best advice and input on what they like and don't like. I took pages of notes! Incredible information that I cannot wait to utilize.

I also went to a panel about Machen and how fantasy and realism collide. Very interesting stuff!

After the panels, there was a...PARTY! 

Woohoo! Bring on the passed appetizers and free wine and beer. Ha!

Bring on the cute Belgians!


Bring on Neil Gaiman!

Whew! Welcome to Brighton!

Cheers!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

UK Adventure! Day Two!

It's Friday, and I am heading to Brighton! 

I woke up in my lovely hotel room and took my time packing up and preparing for my trip to the city by the sea. Looking back, I probably shouldn't have gone at such a leisurely pace. Nonetheless, I gathered my heavy bags and made my way to St. Paul's station. 

Luckily I had directions from my couch-surfing host, Sarah. But still...I managed to get a little...confused by the stations. You see, I was supposed to take the underground tube to Victoria. 

However, I was unaware that there is an underground station called Victoria...and a massive overground station called Victoria that pretty much takes you to tons of places outside of London. So, once I figured that out, I turned around and headed in the right direction. 

No big deal. I'm a go with the flow kinda girl and didn't let the setback bother me. 

I entered the station, bought my ticket to Brighton and found a seat on the train. Yay! Progress! I'm starting to feel like I kinda know what I am doing. 

I did however grow apprehensive when I realized that I had no way of contacting Sarah on my phone once I was outside of the tube. 

Oops! 

Luckily, I found a lovely PAY PHONE! Woohoo! You don't see those in the states anymore! I called my host and waited for her to arrive. What fun to finally meet the girl that I've been pen-palling with for over a month! She's incredible. Too bad she doesn't like being photographed. Anyway, we walked with my loads of luggage up the many hills of Brighton. 


Oh boy, my arms...and feet are so sore! I'll remember next time to carry very little luggage.

We made it to her charming street.

Then she made a late lunch. By this time, it was way too late to go to the convention. So, what do you do on a Friday night when the sun goes down in Brighton? Take a guess.

It's party time! Woohoo!

Haha! Actually we just had walked to the pier and had dinner and a couple of pints at a pub that's been around since the 1800's.



Funny story:
I went up to buy a pint from the bar and the guy behind the bar totally embarrassed me as I was counting my coins... He basically took the correct coins out of my hand, probably thinking that I didn't know the difference. 

Hey fella, I knew what I was doing! I'm just a little slower! 

Ha! Anyway, I laughed it off, as did he, and went to enjoy my pint of English lager. 

Alas, my host was tired...as was I, and we took a taxi back to her lovely 3 story home. Yeah...the boiler went out at her house and we were without heat and hot water. 

Yay! Adventure at its best! 

Ha! Looking forward to sharing day 3 with you all! 

Cheers!

Friday, November 1, 2013

London! Day One!

It's 7am, my flight has landed in London Heathrow International Airport. I did not sleep...at all! I sat beside a kind football player that traveled to the US with his teammates. I must say, British moms do a good job. He was such a polite and helpful young man. 

Anyway...back to my arrival to...LONDON!

I tell you, I walked off that airplane with the biggest smile on my face! I think I actually skipped down the lane and possibly did a little victory dance. I made my way to the immigration line, answered a million questions, and was finally allowed to enter the land I'd dreamed about since childhood. 

I was thrilled! And then, I was nervous. The London Underground (the tube) awaited me. Instead of freaking out over having no idea where to go, I gathered my wits, bought a tiny cup of coffee from Costa,
and charged my cell phone. We, my friends, are embarking on an adventure, and I'll need all of the caffeine and battery life I can get!

I must say, I am one lucky girl. I was surprised to find that my Italian friend, Antonio, that I met off a social networking site called ASW, booked me a room at a 5 star hotel...directly across from St. Paul's Cathedral! 

Holy moly! 

Who is this guy? 

I'll tell you. He's quite possibly my guardian angel. 

Anyway, I used the incredible, FREE, texting app called whatsapp to contact him and get directions, bought an Oyster card, and hopped on the train to St. Paul's station. Still, I kept smiling! I sat down on the tube and prepared myself for the time of my life! 

Once I arrived at the station, Antonio carried my bags and took me to my hotel, The Grange St. Paul's, and set my bags aside with the concierge until my room was ready. Then, we set off to the Tate Museum, just across the Thames River.

 I was entranced. I always knew London was beautiful. Actually being there is another thing entirely. My heart fluttered at moment. I think I could have cried, but I didn't want to look like a strange weirdo. Haha. Instead, I just kept smiling (probably still looking like a weirdo). I had brunch at a cafe in the Tate Museum.
It was delicious! Then we wandered around the many amazing rooms of art. There was plenty of Salvador Dali and Picabia, and a special exhibit by Paul Klee. Lovely!

Then, we walked over to the St. Paul's Cathedral.


I wish I could show you the inside, but cameras were not allowed. It was beautiful! Stunning! Unbelievable! I also learned quite a bit from the audio tours they hand out to you once you buy your ticket. The crypts were my favorite part of the tour. Creepy and beautiful. 

I finally made it to my room afterwards, showered and changed, then headed out for a little exploration on my own once Antonio headed back to work.

Enjoy the photos! Shops, Soho, and club hopping ensued!

Cheers!