Tag Archives: Andy Smithson

New Cover for Andy Smithson Book One!

You’re familiar with the cover that’s been on Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, Andy Smithson, Book One. Believe it or not, it’s been the same for over four years! I know, hard to believe! So I decided, time for a refresh!

And my cover designer, Dale Pease, did another amazing job!

Was…                                                      New…

And a close up of the new so you can ohhh and ahhh at the amazingness of it…

If you loved Blast of the Dragon’s Fury or the whole Andy Smithson series, be sure to tell your friends and family about it. I would very much appreciate it!

Remember, they can get the eBook for free at every eBook store:

Google Play





Battle for the Land’s Soul Just Launched!

I am SOOOO excited! The seventh and final book in the Andy Smithson series just released! Battle for the Land’s Soul marks the epic conclusion of my first series and has been five years coming. To say that I’m thrilled with how it turned out would be a gross understatement for Andy and company fought harder, endured more adversity, and remained committed to the Land’s future in a way that makes me proud to be their creator. While they had adversity thrown at them before, things really got difficult in the epic conclusion. Read for yourself how things turned out and whether their dreams became reality or not.

Good vs Evil. Destiny Demands the Battle be Fought. But at What Cost?

It’s clear Abaddon, the evil shape shifting ruler of Hadession, Oomaldee’s northern neighbor, must be dealt with if Oomaldee’s citizens are to ever live in peace. But how? What lengths will Andy have to go to in order to wage war against a being whose power stems from evil itself? Will Abaddon plunge the land into darkness or will light triumph?

Battle for the Land’s Soul is the seventh and final novel in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age, epic fantasy adventure featuring page-turning action and terrifying villains. This truly is the age old struggle of good vs. evil, and the stakes couldn’t be higher for the outcome will determine the Land’s very future. Don’t miss this epic conclusion!

Get the eBook now at:
Google Play

Get the Paperback now at:

Andy Smithson Makes It Big, in Drama!

Different than an audio book, you’ve probably heard old time-y radio theater and loved how the full cast of voice actors, cool sound effects, and the musical score just brought a production to life like nothing else could. Well, Andy Smithson just made his way to audio drama!

Seeing the adventure that the Andy Smithson series is, Colonial Radio Theatre approached me a while ago about turning the series into an audio drama. To say I was honored would be an understatement. These guys have been doing award-winning audio dramas for-ever. And they approached little ol’ me? About Andy? Heck yeah!

I was blown away the first  time I heard the original musical score they wrote to accompany this production. If you like Harry Potter, you’ll definitely love this music. But the entire production is amazing! The original music score they wrote is pure genius! I absolutely love how it draws me in every time I listen to it. The wide sweeping score gives it an epic feel and the tinkling of the bells/triangle creates expectation while the percussion/horns tell me I will soon be knee deep in danger, action, and adventure right along with the characters. Perfection that everyone is sure to love!

They just released Blast of the Dragon’s Fury and are well under way with Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning which they hope to release this Fall.

So if my excitement hasn’t created a big enough build up…have a listen to some epic clips on my website. Then go buy it! I promise you’ll absolutely love the action, adventure and music!

Available on Amazon, Audible, and Apple

Review of Snow Like Ashes

Snow Like Ashes I loved Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch! From the well-constructed prose to the riveting storyline to the examination of how to always remain “yourself”, no matter the situation.

SUMMARY (from the back): Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter’s future king—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics—and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I must begin my critique with the world Raasch built. At the beginning there seemed to be so many kingdoms that it felt overwhelming, but the author sorted out how they came to be. While this first book fleshed out only three of them, I presume Raasch will bring the others in to play in defeating the major conflict as we move into book two.

Another thing I love about this book is where the story picks up…not with defeat looming, not with an enemy attacking, but completely and utterly defeated with only impossible hope spurring on the Winterians. And after hopes have been dashed so many times, few dare to hope again. How many world’s have been built thusly? Not many that I can remember. I love the author daring to rise up, daring to consider the possibility, daring to hope again…awesome…

Raasch also did a masterful job of unveiling a major plot twist three quarters of the way through that made so much sense but took me completely by surprise. I’ve read a lot of epic fantasy and it takes a lot to “pull one over on me” but she did it and thrilled me. Well done.

The main heroine, Meira, is a believable 16-year-old complete down to her impulsiveness and lack of confidence. I admire that she loves her country so much that she is willing to act for what she believes even if it means her own life is forfeit. That commitment makes her someone I could support and root for. The other theme I appreciated for Meira is her wrestling with how she can remain true to herself when those in authority over her dictate so much of her life. I enjoyed her search for answers that work for her. How true that is for each of us…we must seek to always be ourselves despite peer pressure or those in authority over us.

As for a budding love triangle, we definitely have one between Mather and Theron, but I appreciate how Raasch constructed it…not whiny, but testosterone driven guys who will clearly come to blows at some point. Personally, I’m rooting for Theron as he seems deeper and able to appreciate more deeply. Will that relationship be possible though? Hard to say.

I gave this 5 stars.

Buy Snow Like Ashes at Amazon

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FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you consider leaving a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!



Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Book Five in the award-winning Andy Smithson coming-of-age, epic fantasy series released today!

5 Stars! “This book is definitely an emotional rollercoaster, and I did shed tears.” – Cassandra L. Middle School Teacher

Get yours Now at amzn.to/1N7fEOI

Series Synopsis: Four years ago, Andy Smithson discovered he is the Chosen one to break a 500-yr-old curse plaguing the land of Oomaldee when he unexpectedly and mysteriously found himself there. To do so, he must collect ingredients for a magical potion. Thus far he has gathered the scale of a red dragon, venom from a giant serpent, a unicorn’s horn, and the tail feather of a phoenix. Now he must ask a griffin for one of its talons. There’s just one problem…humans have poached griffin treasure, causing these mythical creatures to attack on sight.

Complicating matters, the evil Abaddon, sovereign of Oomaldee’s northern neighbor, is turning more and more citizens into zolt in his ongoing campaign of terror as he sets in motion the final steps of his plan to conquer the land. Things really start to heat up in book five!

If you loved Harry Potter, you’ll love the Andy Smithson series chalk full of mythical creatures, newly invented animals like zolt, herewolves, and therewolves, a complex plot with evolving characters, and positive themes including responsibility, diligence, dignity, friendship and more.

Don’t Wait! Get yours Now at amzn.to/1N7fEOI

Review of The Black Mage


Intrigue. Magic. A Dark Prince.

This is how I summarize a series I did not want to see end… I highly recommend The Dark Mage series by Rachel Carter.

SUMMARY (from back cover): Before the age of seventeen the young men and women of Jerar are given a choice –follow tradition, or pursue a trial year in one of the realm’s three war schools to study as a soldier, knight or mage…

For 15-year-old Ryiah the choice has always been easy. Become a warrior and leave the boring confines of her lowborn life behind. Set to enroll in the School of Knighthood on the eve of her next birthday, plans suddenly shift when her twin brother discovers powers. Hoping that hers will soon follow, she enrolls with Alex at the Academy instead –the realm’s most notorious war school for those with magic.

Yet when she arrives Ry finds herself competing against friend and foe for one of the exalted apprenticeships. Every “first-year” is given a trial year to prove their worth –and no amount of hard work and drive will guarantee them a spot. It seems like everyone is rooting for her to fail –and first and foremost among them Prince Darren, the school prodigy who has done nothing but make life miserable since she arrived.
When an accidental encounter leads Ryiah and Darren to an unlikely friendship she is convinced nothing good will come of it. But the lines become blurred when she begins to improve –and soon she is a key competitor for the faction of Combat… Still, nothing is ever as it seems –and when the world comes crashing down around her, Ry is forced to place faith in the one thing she can believe in –herself. Will it be enough?

WHAT I THOUGHT: You’ll notice I am doing a review of all three books at once. There’s a reason for that, namely, once I got going in the series, I didn’t want to stop to think about the first book, or even the second as I finished it…I wanted to keep reading! I was hooked.

Book One started out a bit slow for my taste, but I kept thinking I’d give it a chance and see where the author took me. Obviously, I was not disappointed. I thought each book built nicely on the next and the storyline compelled me forward.

I loved the protagonist, Ryiah. She began as a regular girl of 15 and through her first year studies at the school, was torn down by a prejudiced instructor as well as her own insecurities as well as second guessing about a certain boy prince. But she grows stronger and in book two, we see her continue to evolve in her magic as well as personally. SPOILER ALERT – I absolutely loved Darren’s marriage proposal at the end of book 2. What a guy! Then in book 3, coming to understand the king, his expectations, and how he raised his sons, Ryiah grows stronger still. I can’t imagine fighting all out against the love of your life, regardless of the circumstance. It truly took a lot of courage on both her and the prince’s part.

That said, I did not appreciate the lack of editing. I found several places where the wrong word was used. I always hate it when that happens for it draws attention to the craft and distracts from the narrative. For this, I always deduct 10% from the rating. That aside, I would recommend this book if you’re looking for a good plot and dynamic characters.

Overall, I give book one 4 stars, books 2 – 4.5 stars and book 3 – 4 stars.

Buy The Black Mage book one (at Amaozn).

PLEASE NOTE!  If you enjoyed this post, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought and then sign up to be notified the instant a new post goes live. Scroll back to top of this page and enter your email.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you consider leaving a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!

Review of Rider of the Crown

RideroftheCrownI have a wonderful book hangover after reading this thought-filled, inspiring, and romantic tale: Rider of the Crown (Crown of Tremontaine Book Two) by Melissa McShane.

SUMMARY (from back): Imogen, warrior of the Kirkellan tribes, has never wanted to be anything else. But when the long war between the Kirkellan and the country of Ruskald ends, the terms of the peace treaty require Imogen to be married to the vicious King of Ruskald for five years. Confined to his freezing city, forbidden to fight, Imogen sees nothing but darkness in her future—until the arrival of Elspeth North, heir to the Crown of Tremontane, brings three countries to the brink of war and sets Imogen free.

Now, sent to be the ambassador of her people to Tremontane, Imogen faces new challenges as she struggles to maintain her warrior’s identity in a world of glittering ballrooms and foreign customs. As a diplomat, Imogen discovers skills she never knew she had—as well as a forbidden attraction to the handsome and charismatic King Jeffrey North. But when war once again threatens not only Tremontane but her own people, Imogen must decide: is she the warrior, the diplomat—or something greater?

WHAT I THOUGHT: Rider of the Crown picks up about twenty years after Servant of the Crown (The Crown of Tremontaine Book One) and includes only cameos of Allison North, the Royal Librarian, that I came to love. I was a bit disappointed initially that this book did not add the next installment of the Royal Librarian’s adventures, but it was nice to see a slice of Tremontaine from other character’s perspectives.

By this time in the story, King Anthony and Allison have had two children, Jeffrey and Elspeth, and Anthony has died, making Jeffrey an unmarried and very eligible King. I won’t go into what all happens for you can read that yourself, but I loved the theme the author weaves throughout the book: who am I really? Am I what I’m good at? Am I what I am passionate about? Am I who I love or who loves me? Something else, or all of the above?

We follow the strong heroine, Imogen, through three phases of her life during which she keeps asking herself this question. The first phase is living as “wife” to an enemy for five years as part of a peace treaty her mother signs as ruler of Kirkellan. She finds herself, a Kirkellan warrior, among the enemy who despise her and her people and she wonders how she will endure for five years in that hostile environment with an arrogant, power-hungry ruler for a husband, temporary though it may be. She grows and learns about herself over a year until the ruler makes a choice that betrays the ethics she believes in and she annuls the peace treaty to stand for what she believes is right.

The second phase of the story, and her life, is as an ambassador of Kirkellan to Tremontaine at the request of her mother. In this foreign nation, she encouters all manner of different cultural norms and must learn how to become an ambassador, moving effectively with norms and practices not her own, all the while holding to who she believes she is, a Kirkellan warrior. She learns and grows through the experience and comes to meet the King who she falls in love with. Nothing like love to tempt one throw away what they care about. But she stays true to herself until…

In part three, Tremontaine finds itself at war with the country who Imogen was initially wed to, and she sheds her ambassador status to retake her Kirkellian warrior heritage to lead her warriors and those of Tremontaine into battle. Clearly a good leader of soldiers, Imogen must, in the end, come to grips with whether pursuing love or the path she had always envisioned, will be her future.

As an author, I appreciate a well-crafted, engaging storyline. And this one lives up to that and adds more by challenging the reader to ask the question of ourselves…Who am I really? I give this book 5 stars.

Get Rider of the Crown (Crown of Tremontaine Book Two) from Amazon

PLEASE NOTE!  If you enjoyed this post, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought and then sign up to be notified the instant a new post goes live. Scroll back to top of this page and enter your email.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you consider leaving a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!

Review of Etiquette & Espionage

EtiquetteandespionagePink Panther meets Monty Python–that’s how I describe this fun YA steampunk novel.

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School Series Book 1) by Gail Carriger

SUMMARY (from back):

It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but the also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.

WHAT I THOUGHT: Steampunk is always a fun read for me because authors invent so many steam-powered gadgets that folks back in Victorian times only wished they had, for all the time and effort they would have saved. But Carriger displayed more creativity than many as she built this world starting with her mechanimals (mechanical animals), a finishing school that floats as a dirigible, mechanical servants on tracks that keep students in line, and more.

The first hint I had that I was in for a treat was the character names–Sophronia, Mrs. Barnaclegoose, Mrs. Temminnick, Diminty Ann Plumleigh-Teignmott, Pillover, Monique Pelouse, Bumbersnoot, Soap, and more. She also included flywaymen (airbourne bandits) to add conflict.

I also fell in love with the language the author employed–long, sophisticated words retired from common usage with much gratitude–some examples: a private conveyance (car), deportment, articulated hassock, affronted, flabbergasted, and so many more I’d love to expound but lack the space. A steampunk novel requires language such as this to effectively carry the genre and Carriger did a splendid job (LOL, I couldn’t resist). But my use of “splendid” brings up another point that I loved about this story: the fact that as I kept reading, I almost wanted to start speaking like the characters…too fun 🙂

The story begins with Sophronia’s misadventure with a dumbwaiter to evesdrop on a conversation and continues through a variety of jaunts as she comes to understand one of the students possesses a valuable object the bad guys (flywaymen) are willing to go to great lengths to steal. As an author, I weave in humor. for I know readers love to laugh. Well, clearly Carriger recognizes that as well, for much humor ensues as the author has her characters observe the absurd decorum of Victorian times. Imagine, a prop-per lady in prop-per apparal, fighting bandits with all manner of propriety, fainting properly (always backward, never forward), or fluttering ones eyes in a correct manner so as to distract the opposite sex.

This was a fun tale and worth continuing on to book 2, Curtsies & Conspiracies, in the Finishing School Series. I give this 4.5 stars.

Get Etiquette & Espionage (at Amazon)

PLEASE NOTE!  If you enjoyed this post, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought and then sign up to be notified the instant a new post goes live. Scroll back to top of this page and enter your email.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you consider leaving a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!

Cover Reveal! Book Five in the Andy Smithson Series

Cover_Bk5_200x300Cover Reveal! Hot off my cover designer’s desk, the cover for Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, book five in the ongoing Andy Smithson epic fantasy series is here!

After five covers together, Dale Robert Pease and I have become quite the team when it comes to design. I provided him with the following ideas to guide him:

The scene to be depicted is Andy and up to 12 others riding on the backs of 12 other griffins, flying back to Castle Avalon that is under seige by the 7-headed dragon, Abaddon. The scene in the book takes place at midday so the sun is shining. Oomaldee is still shrouded in fog so you can include clouds if needed.

A scene similar to Prisoner of Azkaban might trigger fond memories.

My story-griffins have white feathered heads and almond-color fur. Front feet need to be talons and back quarters that of a lion.

Unfortunately, I could not find any griffin stock art that would work, so you’ll need to assemble your own griffin.

Andy sits just before wings begin. Need silhouette again, at least I think so for consistency, no shield. Again he carries a sword. No armor, just tunic. Andy is now age 14.

That input produced this result. Quite snazzy if I say so myself! This book is due out in January 2016.

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FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you consider leaving a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!

Review of The White Rose by Amy Ewing

TheWhiteRoseSuspense-filled. Unique World. Engaging heroine. If you loved Rosamund Hodge’s Crimson Bound, you’ll love The White Rose (Jewel series Book Two) by Amy Ewing!

SUMMARY (from back): Violet is on the run—away from the Jewel, away from a lifetime of servitude, away from the Duchess of the Lake, who bought her at auction. With Ash and Raven traveling with her, Violet will need all of her powers to get her friends, and herself, out of the Jewel alive.

But no matter how far Violet runs, she can’t escape the rebellion brewing just beneath the Jewel’s glittering surface, and her role in it. Violet must decide if she is strong enough to rise against the Jewel and everything she has ever known.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I thoroughly enjoyed Ewing’s first book, The Jewel, which is why I preordered The White Rose as soon as I finished it. That said, this book lived up to my expectations and then some.

The world of the Jewel expands dramatically in this installment for Violet, Ash and Raven are on the run and must navigate the four rings in order to find safety in the outermost, The Farm. Page-turning suspense built as they continually had to overcome obstacles to a safe passage through each ring. While book one gave a glimpse of the rings, book two gives more depth and richness (or impoverishedness as the case is) of each as Violet and her companions navigate each. We come to appreciate, all the more, the unfairness thrust upon all who exist to serve the needs of The Jewel. We also come to learn that this world is actually an island that has been abused for centuries–we learn it seeks to restore itself to harmony and balance and will assist all who work to that end. How this manifests is a very imaginative take on the world that is well done and believable.

Violet also grows in Book Two. We knew she had strength as a surrogate, but together reader and character begin to understand more about that strength as she attempts numerous quests to save friends, endure the unknown, and even help those she loves realize their deepest needs even when it seems foolhearty. One such example is when Ash must see his little sister who is dying. Ewing stacks the situation with everything you, as the omnicient reader, know is crazy to even attempt the effort, but she uses it to reveal more of both Violet’s and Ash’s characters.

As an author, I always have a character’s name represent their role or give some hint about what we can expect from him/her. Ewing clearly utilizes this tool as we see Lucien live up to his name, which means bright light or leader, as we find he is the leader of the black key resistance that is giving inhabitants of every ring of the Jewel hope for a different future.

The one very minor issue I had was with the character of Garnet, the son of the Duchess of the Lake. Somehow he just always shows up at just the right moment to save the day. The thought kept running through my mind, wouldn’t the Duchess know if he stayed out all night, etc? He seemed too convenient at times. But as I said, that was a very minor issue and based upon Garnet’s minor supporting role for now, it’s not a big deal. I will enjoy seeing how he develops in Book Three.

The book is clearly the middle of a series as throughout, the next installment is set up. We see this as three new surrogates join the cast and questions are planted re: how they will behave relative to the mission–will they help or hinder the cause, Violet’s sister, Hazel, is taken to be a surrogate, and Violet finds her little brother has joined the resistance. It is clear Violent has much to lose and much to gain as we move forward.

I know I’ve discovered a great book when I find myself genuinely worried about what happens to the characters. This was one such book! Well done. I’m giving it 5 stars.

Get The White Rose (at Amazon)

PLEASE NOTE!  If you enjoyed this post, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought and then sign up to be notified the instant a new post goes live. Scroll back to top of this page and enter your email.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you consider leaving a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!