If you are looking for an incredible adventure of romance, steampunk, and a strong female lead this is a great read! I really enjoyed my time with this book, and was pleasantly surprised with some of the twist and turns. But the one thing I enjoyed the absolutely most about this book was the toughness and grit of the female lead Miss Cara Devon.
Set during the Victorian age in London, Miss Cara Devon is determined to settle her newly departed father’s estate so she can close that harrowing chapter of her life forever. But things don’t go quite as planned as she meets a villainous Viscount and becomes sucked into an investigation to uncover the killer that’s been murdering the daughters of the wealthiest families of England.
As she seeks out all the ancient artifacts her father accumulated in his lifetime and then secretly stashed all over London, she is also forced to face the ghosts of her past. The kind of ghosts that leaves a female member of high society shunned and in disgrace. She finds herself in uncomfortable waters as she attracts the attention of a dangerous Viscount, and comes under suspicion as the murdered daughters body count grows.
This is the first book of the Artifact Hunter series, which currently has five books and two novellas. You can find out more at A.W. Exley’s author site. I, for one, plan on reading them all. I am hooked!
I always make an effort to be thankful, but it’s this time of year that really reminds me of how grateful I am. Each year I find more and more blessings in my life to celebrate and be excited for. This year I have been contemplating my journey writing, and all it has done for me.
How many years has it been since that journey started? I honestly can’t say with any certainty. I started writing as a teenager. I still have some of those crazy stories in a notebook somewhere. I stopped for a good while, but picked it back up in young adulthood. I believe since then, it’s been about fourteen years.
In that time, I have written many, many short stories (a few of them published). I wrote several novels (one of them published). I dived into journaling pretty hardcore (and even published one of those too). I also started this blog that’s been going for about six or seven years.
Besides the physical production of writing, the act of writing has immensely transformed the landscape of my life from the inside out. It’s allowed me to dive deep into myself and the world around me. It’s allowed me to stretch myself and expand into possibilities I once thought impossible.
I would not be the person I am today without writing, and I am very thankful for that. I love who I am. I love the confidence I have built in myself and my writing ability. I love how much knowledge I have accumulated about writing and the writing life/community.
This has given me a new appreciation for myself, my journey, and how much experience I have in writing. And I can’t help but think that perhaps there are people out there who might benefit from some of what I know.
So I have decided to start a journey of becoming a writing mentor. I want to help others who might be beginning their writing journey, or who might be feeling a little lost in their writing journey and need some guidance, or who just needs a sounding board to bounce off story and character ideas.
Here are some writing, editing, design experiences that I have had…
I’ve submitting work to traditional publishers (several short stories published).
I also have two books I’ve self-published.
I’ve helped several fellow writers publish their works traditionally, and a few who self-published too, including my eleven year old son.
I ran a writing critique group for two years.
I am running a writing blog, and maintaining multiple writing social media accounts.
I edited and published articles for Psych Central for four years.
I have a graphic design degree, and have designed many book covers for myself and others.
I also have experience formatting books for ebook and print.
Here are some specific things I can do for you…
Help with story and character development
Help with starting, planning, and finishing a novel or novel series
Help with submitting to a traditional or indie publisher
Help with getting into self-publishing, which includes cover designing and manuscript formatting
Help with starting up a blog
Overall guidance for how to be a writer and how to setup a good writing routine
Be a sounding board for story and character ideas
Help with world building and fleshing out story settings
Offer helpful story critiques for finishing up a specific writing project
Offer support and advice for moving out a writer’s block or staying motivated to write
Right now I have three spots available. So if you are interested, or know someone who is interested in taking advantage of this limited time free mentorship, then please feel free to contact me.
When contacting me, just let me know what sort of help you are looking for. Once you contact me, we can then determine if we want to keep emailing or do a video chat, or a combination.
My wish is to help keep the writing spirit alive in those who wish to travel the path of the writer. Writing itself is a lonely task, but it doesn’t have to be a lonely journey. So if you think you are in need of a writing companion to help you cover some ground in your journey, please reach out and let’s see if I will be a good fit for your needs.
Happiness is a feeling of comfort and contentment. It’s a feeling of rightness and peace. It’s a beautiful thing. But joy… joy is a feeling of excitement and thrill. It’s a combined feeling of freedom, confidence, and absolute pleasure. There is no emotion (that I have yet to experience) bigger than joy. It’s happiness with a kick, and it’s freaking awesome.
I have been working hard to get to a place where happiness, peace, and joy are constant companions of mine. I’m still working on the constant part, but I would have to say these emotions are more with me than not. So for my benefit, and others, I am setting down here some of the key steps I have found to having more joy in my life.
1. Being More Grateful
The number one best way to bring any sort of positivity, happiness, peace, and joy into life is to be more grateful. That is how I started this journey towards more joy years ago, and my gratitude has only grown since. As it did, so did the best parts of my life. I have learned first hand that the more grateful I am, the more I will have to be grateful about. It really is that simple.
2. Being Aware of Your Mood
We cannot change our mood without first being aware of what our mood is in any given situation. So I have taken care to observe how I feel. I don’t judge myself for feeling upset or anger. I just notice what sets me off. What are my triggers, and how can I find ways to move past them or release them? I also pay attention to what makes me feel good. There’s a lot of power in just observing and being aware. A situation can’t change unless we are first aware of it.
3. Being Aware of What You Give Your Attention To
After becoming more aware of my mood, I then began to notice more specifics about what I was giving my attention to. I started to see distinct situations, people, and even thoughts that were dragging me down. It took time to identify everything, but the more attention I paid to my mood, the more aware I became of where my attention was going, and I started to cut back or completely cut out anything and everything that could be a potential joy stealer.
This is a fun science fiction novel that follows a Verkinn named Craze who is abruptly forced off his home world by his dodgy father. In shock, and with little to his name, Craze must fend for himself and find a way to make his fortune.
What makes matters worse is he’s never been away from his home world before, and because of the Verkinn’s sensitivities to environment, he’s not even sure he will be able to survive on other planets. Overwhelmed by all the new places, species, and situations, Craze finds himself adjusting to his new circumstance by doing the only thing he’s really good at––wheeling and dealing in shady business practices just like his father taught him. Along the way, Craze stumbles across good fortune and bad, but also makes some good friends along the way.
This is a straight up space opera novel on the amazing backdrop of lots of creative world building. It’s obvious this is meant to be the first of a larger series. I believe there are seven total right now. If you like lots of excitement and color, then get ready to follow Craze from one world to the next in this adventure!
Elina Vale contacted me through this blog, asking if I would read and review her upcoming novel. I was happy to do so. I’m so glad I did, because I discovered a really lovely story.
This story follows the life of Gina Mansfred, a merchant’s daughter by day, and a thief named Lily by night. She’s struggling to find her place in a man’s world, as she decides where her heart is leading her. She feels obligated to continue the family business as a merchant, but during one of her nightly escapades, a mysterious locket lands in her possession that leaves her unsettled.
Gina’s life becomes even more complicated when she suffers a terrible loss that has her traveling across the sea to visit a family relative for answers about what she should do next. During her travels, she meets a mysterious man she can’t stop thinking about, and who leads her into dangerous waters. She also runs across alarming secrets connected to the locket that sends her world into further chaos.
The Charmed Locket kept me on the edge of the seat almost the entire read (I finished the novel in two days). Elina Vale does a great job in plunging the reader into external and internal conflict that keeps the reader hooked. If you love adventure and romance with a twist of darkness, then this book is definitely for you!
This is the first book in The Treasure Hunter’s Heart series. There is a prequel novella called FireHeart available now, and the second book of the series Hidden Truths is available for preorder.