Ruins on Stone Hill (Heroes of Ravenford, #1) by F. P. Spirit – My Review!!

Ruins on Stone Hill – My Review!!

 

Ruins on Stone Hill Cover

I went back to my fantasy roots for this review. As with many of my recent reads, this one came up on my Amazon recommendations, so I decided to read Ruins on Stone Hill (Heroes of Ravenford, #1) by F. P. Spirit. Here are my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author): It has been nearly one hundred and fifty years since the end of the Thrall Wars, when the four dread Thrall Masters wreaked devastation across the land of Thac. The world has been relatively quiet since, but dark things have started to rise again around the little seaport of Ravenford. Monstrous bandits stalk the woods to the west, huge creatures terrorize farms to the north, and a dark presence has taken up refuge in the ancient ruins to the south.**

The town’s only hope may lay in four newcomers: a fearless young warrior with blades of fire, an elven wizard as deadly to his friends as his enemies, a cynical halfling who just may be an assassin, and a quiet gnome whose very touch can heal. Banded together with the tall warrior, Titan, and her mercenary companion, the novice heroes set out to confront these creatures of darkness. Yet they quickly find they are facing more than just a few rogue monsters, for there is a greater force behind them all.

From eerie woods to underground caves to haunted ruins, the young heroes encounter terrifying monsters, creatures of the night, and demonic sorcery. Can they stand against the forces of darkness, or will they too fall prey to the evil that has targeted Ravenford.

What I liked: Ruins on Stone Hill took off with a bang and the action was good throughout. The heroes prove themselves as stout companions and great friends. Joined by Titan and her companion, the band best monsters, mages, and trolls while dispensing their own brand of justice. Plenty of sword and sorcery action, short interesting quests, and touches of romance made the book an enjoyable read!

What I didn’t like: My chief complaint about the book was the overuse of certain words like smirk and snuck. Rarely did a character smile or grin, but they smirked a lot. Besides using snuck in the narrative, a few other grammatical errors jarred me out of the story.

Overall impression: Despite the issues listed above, I enjoyed Ruins on Stone Hill (Heroes of Ravenford, #1)! Plenty of action, cool quests, interesting monsters, and enough magic kept me reading. I would recommend this one to any fantasy reader!

My rating: 4 Stars

Are you reading Ruins on Stone Hill by F. P. Spirit? If not, do you plan to read it? If and when you do, please consider leaving a review! Also, plan to visit F. P. Spirit’s Amazon Author page and his website to find out more about the Heroes of Ravenford series!

While you are visiting and reviewing, leave me a comment about the review. Consider connecting with me on social media, too! I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. You can also email me at bill@williamlstuart.com! Don’t be shy!

Wham! (Timewalker Book 1) by Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps – My Review!!

Wham! (Timewalker Book 1) – My Review!!

Wham! Cover

I read the Heart of the Staff series by Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps and enjoyed it tremendously. When the duo released Wham! (Timewallker Book 1), it went on my TBR immediately! Read on for my thoughts.

Synopsis (from the author): When the World Alliance seized power from all the governments of the world, they said it was for the greater good. They said it was necessary to unite all the nations of the globe under one banner in order to bring universal peace, equality and prosperity to the world.

To most families throughout the world, the rise of the Alliance and their grandiose promises meant little. They had long grown weary of the lies of the corrupt law-makers and heads of state and were far more concerned with their day-to-day struggles to survive.

The Greenwood family was no exception, and for a time life went on much as it had before the rise of the Alliance. In time, individual cultural and racial identity were outlawed. They said it was for the greater good. They said it was necessary to create a more harmonious, homogenous world community. The Greenwood family adapted.

But then they took away freedom. They made it mandatory for all households and public buildings to have skinwelers, crystal spying balls in every room, in order to watch the people’s every move. They said it was for the greater good. They said it was necessary for public safety and civil order. And the Greenwood family adapted.

But then the state took their family farm and lands and moved them to Gollsport where they had built barracks for all the displaced citizens. They said it was for the greater good. They said the countryside had become contaminated by farm chemicals and the relocation was for their continued health and safety. Once again, the Greenwood family adapted.

But then they came in the night and took away seventeen year-old Tess Greenwood’s entire family. They said it was for the greater good. They said Tess would adapt and in time she would be far better for it.

But Tess cared not for the Alliance’s greater good. She did not adapt. She wanted her family back and vowed to do whatever she must in order to see them again. Little did she know, that to keep her vow, she would have to become a timewalker.

What I liked: Wham! Brought back great memories of The Heart of the Staff series by tying the old with the new. Though the books are nothing alike, the familiarity was a great bridge. I liked the dystopian feel to the world, and Tess was an easy character to like. Nia was a sympathetic character in impossible circumstances, but found friends, an unlikely ally, and an uneasy relationship with the potentate. Add to the mix Maxi the troll (and an amazing hairdresser), and the stage is set for an enjoyable tale.

What I didn’t like: Maybe it will come in future books, but I needed more background on how the world reached its current state. Additionally, the dialogue from Maxi was a bit hard to follow.

Overall impression: I liked Wham! the start to the Timewalker books! As mentioned above, I liked the bridge to The Heart of the Staff series, and the characters were excellent. As with The Heart of the Staff series, Wham! (Timewalker Book 1), this is a series fantasy readers will enjoy!

My rating: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars) When do you plan to read Wham! (Timewalker Book 1)? Soon, I hope! When you do, please consider leaving a review and let Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps know what you think. While you’re at it, consider leaving reviews for The Heart of the Staff books! You can find all of them on their Amazon Author page or their website.

Thanks for reading my review. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about it. If you’d rather, connect with me on the socials (Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest), or email me at bill@williamlstuart.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Dragon Dreams by Dusty Lynn Holloway – My Review!!

Dragon Dreams – My review!!

Dragon Dreams Cover

 

It’s hard to believe 2017 is almost here. That means my final review for 2016 will be for Dragon Dreams (The Chronicles of Shadow and Light Book 1) by Dusty Lynn Holloway. Read on to find out what I thought about this fantasy novel!

Synopsis (from the author): A prophecy of murder.

An elf hunted by dragons.

One man who risks everything to save her.

Nachal is a human that should not be having prophetic Dragon Dreams. But he does. Every night he dreams of an elf running through flames, trying in vain to outrun the Rebel Dragon Obsidian. Every night he sees her fall. Sees her eyes close. Feels her heart as it slows, and then stops. Every night, through the connection of the dream, he dies with her. It’s a spiral that he can’t control, and it’s slowly driving him insane.

Auri is an elf raised by a powerful human king not of her own blood. Left behind by the mother who perished far from the elven isle El`dell, she seeks to forge her life among the humans. Her journey takes her to the land of her heritage. To a place that holds both a haunting betrayal, and a miracle that just might save her life.

Together, they become embroiled in a conspiracy where destinies are intertwined, love is born in the fallout of ultimate sacrifice, and the only path to victory lies through the searing flames of dragon fire.

What I liked: Dragon Dreams has all the fantasy elements! Dragons, elves, a grumpy dwarf, romance, an epic quest, and the fate of a world in the balance make the story entertaining. I enjoy Nachal’s tormented character, Auri’s character is an interesting blend of human-raised elf and heroine-to-be, and the dwarf is the perfect foil to Nachal. Add Liran the Watcher (another elf) to the mix and the plot thickens. All this against the backdrop of the looming war with Obsidian and his forces. Plenty to keep me reading!

What I didn’t like: Dragon Dreams dragged in places, and the romantic interaction between Auri and Liran, and Auri and Nachal muddies the story. I think a little more backstory could help the book, too.

Overall impression: Dragon Dreams is a good start to the Chronicles of Shadow and Light series. Good characters, an interesting plot, a couple of surprise revelations, and the beginning of an epic adventure makes this a book to read!

My rating: 4 Stars

Interested in reading Dragon Dreams or the rest of the Chronicles of Shadow and Light? Find out more about the series and Dusty Lynn Holloway on her Amazon Author page or her blog! And don’t forget to leave a review when you finish!

Thanks for spending part of your 2016 with me. I hope my reviews helped readers find new authors and books. I’ll continue in 2017, so stay tuned (and subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a post). If you are so inclined, find me on the socials and let’s connect! I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Or just email me at bill@williamlstuart.com! Happy New Year!!!

Suwanee Fest 2016 – A Great Weekend – Even With the Rain!!

Sorry I’m a little bit behind on my posts. Been a crazy couple of weeks! And the crazy weeks started with Suwanee Fest 2016!

Suwanee Fest? What’s Suwanee Fest? Well, as many of you know, I live just north of Atlanta, GA in Buford, GA. Just south of Buford is Suwanee, GA, Suwanee is a small city of about 18,000 people. Every year, the city hosts Suwanee Fest. The event website refers to the festival as “Two days of family, friends, food, and fun!” I can attest to the fact it was all of that!

There was a ton of entertainment (including my favorite Who’s Bad – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band), great food, almost too many amazing exhibitors to count, and The Gemstone Chronicles!

Yep, I was there with books in hand to meet and greet new friends and readers of the series. And it was a blast! Not only did I sell a few books, but I also met so many awesome people. I talked about gemstones for hours, referred a few to my favorite gem hunting spot (Gold n’ Gems Grubbin’), and got to spend a couple of hours with my brother John and my niece Aidia. Overall, not a bad way to spend a Saturday! Below is the picture of my booth before the fun began.

Suwanee Fest Booth

Book interest was at an all-time high, and my editor extraordinaire Abby (who doubles as the City of Suwanee Public Information Officer) tried to stop by a few times to say hello. Every time she tried to stop by, though, I was interacting with new friends! Like I said, not a bad way to spend a Saturday!!

Unfortunately, Sunday was not the best day. Despite the great entertainment, the rains came and wouldn’t go away! Nonetheless, The Gemstone Chronicles staffed the booth in hopes of meeting more new friends. Alas, it wasn’t to be as the rains kept visitors away. On the plus side, though, John came by (and helped me pack up during one of the few breaks in the rain) and I had the chance to talk with Abby for a few minutes.

Suwanee Fest 2016 was a great event and I hope to attend again next year! If I met you, sold you a book (or 4), gave you a gemstone, or simply talked about gemstones, thanks for stopping by the booth! I truly appreciate each and every person who took time out of their celebration to visit with me and buy a book. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! If we did interact, and you have my contact information, give me a shout and let me know.

In case you didn’t pick up a card or a bookmark, you can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, or Tumblr. You can also email me here at bill@williamlstuart.com!

Silevethiel by Andi O’Connor – My Review!!

Silevethiel – My Review!!

Silevethiel CoverI’m back in my favorite genre (fantasy), but wanted something new from an author I haven’t read. I saw Silevethiel by Andi O’Connor and thought it looked like a good read. I was correct!

 

Synopsis (from the author): Following her father’s murder, Irewen is betrayed and left for dead in the forests of Mistwood. Rescued by an elf, Irewen awakes an exile with no home, no country, and no people. But as the horrific memories of murder and betrayal return, she realizes the nightmare is only beginning.

The world of Vaelinel is failing–its fate bound to her in ways no one fully understands. A mysterious elven prophecy may provide her with some answers, but continuously hunted and fighting for her life, Irewen quickly learns that unearthing the truth will be more difficult than she ever imagined.

Can she accept the friendship of the Wood Elves, or will she stand alone against the terrifying evil now threatening to destroy the entire world?

Review Likes and Dislikes:

What I liked: Silevethiel is a good read! The elves paired with the animals (Protector and Guardian) is a unique twist on characters, and Laegon’s Guardian has a few great lines. Laegon’s character is easy to relate to, and Irewen’s spoiled princess to warrior growth makes it interesting. Her cousin’s betrayal sets the stage for the story, and, though predictable, still provides intrigue. In addition, the evil spirits that attack the cave are a great enemy! The burgeoning romance between Irewen and Laegon adds a nice touch, while Irewen’s embrace of her heritage plays nicely into the ending and sets the stage for the next book.

What I didn’t like: Though I understand the reason, the time spent in the cave dragged a bit for me. More time spent in Mistwood learning her heritage and discovering her abilities might help. A few of the developments are too predictable.

Overall impression: Silevethiel is a nice read. The characters are well-developed and the story has enough twists and turns to keep it interesting. I enjoyed the banter between Laegon and his Guardian Bregen, and the fight scenes gruesome enough for most fantasy fans. I recommend this one to readers who enjoy elves, magic, and a little romance!

My rating: 4 Stars

Find out more about Andi O’Connor on her Amazon Author page or at her website. If you read Silevethiel (or any of Andi O’Connor’s other books), please consider leaving a review. I know she would appreciate it!

If you want to connect with me, find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Tumblr, and Google+. You can also drop me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com. I look forward to connecting!!

 

Christmas Offers from The Gemstone Chronicles!!!

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone for another year (and I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was as amazing as mine was), the focus shifts to Christmas and gift giving. In the spirit of the season, The Gemstone Chronicles is proud to announce two Christmas offers!

Offer Number One (for US only): If you want to order a set of all four of The Gemstone Chronicles books in paperback (and autographed by me), the special price through December 15th is $45. You can also order individual copies of each book for $14 each.

 

  • Buy autographed copies of The Gemstone Chronicles for $14 each (and I will pay shipping and handling)!





  • Buy the entire 4 book series for $45 (which is $11 off the cost of buying the books separately – and I will cover shipping and handling)!




 

Just send me the ship-to address, who you would like the books dedicated to, and they will be on the way! Send the information to bill@williamlstuart.com. I will email you to let you know when the books ship (and I promise I won’t spam you or share your email address).

Offer Number Two: I decided to make the entire series, in ebook formats, $0.99 for the month of December. Not just the first book, The Carnelian, but also The Amethyst, The Emerald, and The Ruby. Perfect way to load up a new Kindle, iPad, or Nook for Christmas! And for less than $4! That is a hard deal to beat! And this one applies to my international friends, too, so check your country’s Amazon site, Kobo, iTunes, Smashwords, or other sites for the reduced price!

Christmas Offers The Gemstone Chronicles series

Take advantage of these two special Christmas offers and find out why Book One: The Carnelian was awarded a BRAG Medallion! And, if you are so inclined, consider leaving a review. I would love to know what you think of the series!

Christmas Offers THE-GEMSTONE-CHRONICLES-BRAG-for-Web 1

As always, you can connect with me on social media on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, Tumblr, or just email me at bill@williamlstuart.com. I look forward to meeting new friends!

I also want to thank all of my new readers and readers from years past. Your comments, reviews, and feedback have made me a better writer, and will be instrumental in making my next book better by far! So, thank you!

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!!

Mysterious Places – Gobekli Tepe and Baalbek!!

Conspiracy theories, odd history, unexplained events, mysterious places, and similar things intrigue me. Even my fantasy adventure series, The Gemstone Chronicles, is based on the legendary magical and mystical properties of gemstones. In an earlier post, I talked about two of my favorites conspiracy theories – the Philadelphia Experiment and the Knights Templar. And I admit to a guilty pleasure of watching Ancient Aliens on the History Channel (I mean, who isn’t intrigued by Giorgio’s haircut?). Remember my posts on The Georgia Guidestones? That is a neat mysterious place not far from my home!

Mysterious Georgia-Guidestones-Web

Today, however, I want to talk about a couple of mysterious places around the globe. I don’t mean places like Stonehenge, the Carnac stones, Mayan temples, or Machu Pichu. Nope, I want to go for the really mysterious places!

I want to start our mysterious journey with a discussion of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey. What makes this a mysterious place? Well, according to our oft-cited friends at Wikipedia, Gobekli Tepe is thought to be 12,000 years old! Put into perspective, the site is twice as old as Stonehenge and 7,000 years older than the Pyramids at Giza. OK, so the place is old, but what makes it so mysterious? Well, consider that most scientists believe that humankind, at that point in history, were hunter-gatherers and lived in small nomadic bands that moved around in search of food. Yet, the amount of tools found at the site would indicate a workforce of, perhaps, hundreds. And, given the conventional wisdom that there weren’t any wheels or beasts of burden, how did the builders move blocks of limestone weighing up to 16 tons hundreds of feet? Interestingly enough, there isn’t much evidence of habitation (trash, cooking fires, bones of animals, etc.) at Gobekli Tepe, which leads to the question of what purpose the site served. Could it have been a religious site – at a time when religion wasn’t thought to exist? Here is a picture of the Gobekli Tepe site.

Mysterious Gobeckli-Tepe-site-Web

Some of the pillars at Gobekli Tepe are decorated with carvings and depictions of animals, scorpions, and other creatures. Again, consider this was during a time when cave drawings were being made, but not so much sculpture. And who built Gobekli Tepe? No clue on that one, but it does cast a mysterious shadow over what is now considered the oldest monument building in the world! Below is one of the pillars from the site. Note the animal carving.

Mysterious GobeklitepeHeykel-web

Gobekli Tepe was abandoned about 10,000 years ago, but instead of simply leaving, the site was carefully filled in (which accounts for its amazing preservation). Archaeologists estimate that only about 5% of the site has been excavated, so there may be many more surprises as it’s uncovered!

The next mysterious site we will visit is Baalbek in Lebanon. Baalbek is a site that has multiple layers of construction. The top level is a Roman city called Heliopolis and has some of the best Roman ruins remaining in Lebanon. The picture below is the Temple of Jupiter at Baalbek.

Mysterious Roman-Temple-at-Baalbek-WebThe second level of construction is Phoenician. Baal was the Phoenician Sky-God and Baalbek appears to have been an important pilgrimage site for the worshipers of the deity. The city was conquered by Alexander around  334 BCE, and then by the Romans almost 300 years later.

All that is interesting, but what makes this a mysterious place? How about the Baalbek Trilithon? What is the trilithon? It’s three massive stones that are part of the foundation of the Temple of Jupiter. The stones are placed about 40 feet above ground and each stone weighs about 1000 tons. Below is a picture of the trilithon. They are the massive stones outlined in green. Compare them to the surrounding stones and you see just how large they are.

Mysterious Baalbek-Trilithon-Web

The next picture is a megalith from the nearby quarry that was, for whatever reason, not completed. With a person (not me) in the picture, it gives an idea of the enormous scale of the megaliths!

Mysterious 1024px-Baalbek_stone

This is what makes this a mysterious place. Not one to believe in aliens, and not discounting the ingenuity of ancient people, it does make me wonder how on earth they moved stones like this. Even today’s technology would make moving the stone difficult, so I can only marvel that 2000 plus years ago it could be done!

What do you think of these mysterious places? How do you think the people of the day in Gobekli Tepe and Baalbek accomplished these engineering feats? Leave me a comment and let me know!

I will do some additional posts about mysterious and interesting places, so connect with me on social media on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, or just send me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com. And, if you don’t want to miss a post, subscribe to the blog!

 

Gem Hunting in the Southeast US – Where Will I Go??

Y’all know about my gem hunting hobby and how the gemstones are such an integral part of my fantasy adventure series The Gemstone Chronicles. You also know about my favorite gemstone hunting spot in the North Georgia Mountains. You might have even read about my trip to the Hogg Mountain Mine near LaGrange, GA or the trip to Hiddenite, NC. I hope the posts inspired you to go out on your own gem hunting excursions (or at least read and review my books)! Living in the Southeast, I decided to find new places fairly close to home and consider them for a visit, or share them with y’all in case you want to make a trip! To be fair, I didn’t look at other Southeast US states likes Florida, and Mississippi and Arkansas are a bit far for me (at least for a day trip).

Today, though, I want to give you an overview of places that I have researched on the Internet and where I might have to go for a visit over the next few months. Let’s start right here in Georgia, where I found this emerald and my brother John found the peridot that I had cut and set for a birthday present for the lovely and adorable Lana!

Southeast Lana's-Emerald-Web

Southeast Lana's-Peridot-Ring-Web

 

The North Georgia Mountains have many places to hunt for gemstones (and gold, if you are so inclined).

  • Graves Mountain (Lincoln County, Georgia): According to GeorgiaEnclcyopedia.org, Graves Mountain is a unique geological area filled with some of the finest specimens of kyanite, pyrite, pyrophyllite, rutile, and lazulite. They occasionally open the site to rockhounds, and I intend to be at the next dig!
  • Consolidated Gold Mine (Dahlonega, Georgia): A great place to visit to get an idea of what it was like to dig for gold underground. You can tour the mine and will end up about 140 feet underground. At the end of the tour, you can pan for gold and screen for gems.
  • Crisson Gold Mine (Dahlonega, Georgia): Another gold mine in Dahlonega, you can pan for gold here, too. If you want to, you can sign up to be a member of the Weekend Gold Miners at Crisson Gold Mine and gain access to the leased lands operated by the Weekend Gold Miners and prospect to your heart’s content!

South Carolina:

  • Diamond Hill Mine (Antreville, SC): The website for the Diamond Hill Mine says you can find quartz, amethyst (though rare), and other gemstones. For me, it would be about a 2 hour drive. Hours are 9-5 and no digging after dark. The website has some pictures of finds at the site and they look pretty good. I think I can foresee a road trip!

North Carolina: I have to say that North Carolina offers many opportunities for gemstone exploration. I will only list a few, but do your own research and find many more!

  • Mason’s Ruby and Sapphire Mine (Franklin, NC): This mine sounds like my kind of place. While they do offer salted buckets, they also offer the opportunity to dig your own dirt and keep what you find. I think this is a place for me! They are open from March 1 – December 1 and a day of digging will cost $30. This is about a 2 hour drive for me, so easily doable for a1 day trip.
  • Cherokee Ruby Mine (Franklin, NC): Another mine that is now offering dig your own dirt option. This one comes with a little bit of a limitation: for the dig your own option, you can fill 6 buckets for $30 and you can fill 4 additional for $10 more. They do offer a flume to wash off the stones, but the fee seems a bit high for my tastes. The hours are 9 am – 4 pm Monday through Saturday and 10-5 on Sunday. The mine is open May 1 – October 31. The mine is also cash only.

Tennessee: Other than copper mines around Ducktown and barite mines in other areas, I couldn’t find much about gem mines in Tennessee. Any of you Tennessee readers who want to give us some ideas, it would be greatly appreciated!

Alabama: Similar to Tennessee, I couldn’t find a lot about gem mines in Alabama, though I did fond some references to gold prospecting. As with the Tennessee folks, any hints you Alabama readers could give us would be appreciated!

For states outside the Southeast, please feel free to give us ideas about gem hunting opportunities near you. I can always try to plan a trip!

Connect with me on social media at Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, or just email me at bill@williamlstuart.com. You can also subscribe to the blog so you won’t miss a post!

 

 

 

 

Suzuki SJ 410 – My Ride in Idaho!!

In previous posts, I talked about my path to and through Naval Nuclear Power School. I was looking through some old pictures the other day and found some pictures of Idaho Falls, and it sent me down a path of remembrance of my days in Idaho Falls, Idaho at prototype. Remembering those days reminded me of the house I lived in (the Roy House – so named for our landlord Roy), the snow, the lack of sleep, the relief of completing my qualification as a reactor operator, and the vehicle I drove to Idaho – my Suzuki SJ410.

Suzuki

For those who don’t know, the SJ410 was a small 4WD convertible. Many may remember the Suzuki Samurai that came after the SJ410, but this was the predecessor.

When I bought my SJ410, I was in Florida at Nuclear Power School. I saw the small 4WD at the dealership and decided to buy one. If I remember correctly, I paid just over $5000 for it brand spanking new! As you can see from the photos, it was red and black (UGA colors) with a white convertible top. No AC (but who needs one with a convertible), a 59.4 cu in motor (not a typo), and a ton of fun!

After Nuclear Power School, I was assigned to S1W in Idaho Falls, ID. I gathered up my seabag and a few others things, and headed west. I remember arriving in Idaho Falls on February 14th, 1985 to about 3 feet of snow. As I turned to head toward my rental house, there was a Ford F150 stuck in a snow drift. I graciously pulled the F150 from the snow bank and never even locked in 4WD. The F150 driver was grateful- but somewhat embarrassed that my little Suzuki (which he had never seen before) had to pull him out.

Working 12 hour rotating shifts didn’t leave much time for enjoying the Suzuki in the snow and ice, but my roommate had a Mustang that just didn’t fare very well in the weather, so the Suzuki became the workhorse of our house. I took it everywhere and had to park it in the driveway as the Mustang was in the garage. That meant knocking the snow and ice off the convertible top everyday so the weight wouldn’t tear the top. Here is a picture of my SJ410 parked next to a snow drift. And yes, that was the depth of the snow next to the house!

Suzuki SJ410

When summer rolled around, the top came off, and I cruised as often as I could. As the second RO to qualify, I got to change to 8 hour shifts earlier than most, and I rode a lot. Top down and radio blasting, I had a good time in the few hot days of summer. Below is a picture of the Suzuki with the top down!

Suzuki SJ410

Alas, I had to depart Idaho and report to USS Sandlance (SSN660) in Charleston, SC. I remember leaving on August 18th and it was 32 degrees that morning. I was a newly minted Reactor Operator, had a sizable reenlistment bonus, and was headed back south. When I got to Charleston, I bought an Audi 4000S (my favorite car ever). I let my brother John drive the Suzuki to college and he brought my beloved SJ410 to a tragic end when he totaled it.

Suzuki Wrecked 1

Suzuki Wrecked 2

I left the Navy in 1993, after 10 years of service. I married the love of my life, the lovely and adorable Lana, raised an amazing daughter, Laura, and have been blessed with 2 extraordinary grandchildren, Aidan and Maggie. I have had a brilliant post-Navy career, written The Gemstone Chronicles fantasy adventure series, and generally have enjoyed life. I occasionally miss portions of my time in the Navy (mostly the people), and will always have a special place in my heart for the first brand new vehicle I ever owned – my Suzuki SJ410!

What was your special vehicle? A sports car? A truck? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Connect with me own social media on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, Tumblr, or just email me at bill@williamlstuart.com. If you don’t want to miss a post, subscribe to the blog, too!

Oconee County Fall Festival – Book Signing Fun!!

The Gemstone Chronicles is headed to Watkinsville, GA on Oct. 17th for the Oconee County Fall Festival! I will be there (with the lovely and adorable Lana) signing books, meeting new friends, fans, and hopefully celebrating a UGA win over Missouri later that night. Below is a picture of an older UGA mascot, UGA VI!

Oconee County Fall Festival UGA

UGA VI

Where is Watkinsville, GA you might ask? It is about 10 miles south of Athens, GA (home of the UGA Bulldogs) and the county seat of Oconee County. This year’s Fall Festival is expected to draw a crowd of more than 20,000 visitors, with over 200 vendors in attendance (including me)! This makes it the largest arts and crafts event in the area!

I will be there with all 4 books in The Gemstone Chronicles series and will have some swag to go along with the books. As I usually do at signings, I will you give a gemstone when you buy a book. So, if you buy the IndieBRAG Medallion honored book,  The Carnelian, I will give you a tumbled carnelian.

 

Oconee County THE-GEMSTONE-CHRONICLES-BRAG-for-Web

Here is an example of the carnelians I will be handing out with each book sold.

Carnelians-for-Oconee County -Web

 

The Amethyst will get you a tumbled amethyst.

 

Oconee County The Gemstone Chronicles The Amethyst Cover

Here are the amethysts I plan on handing out with each purchase.

 

Amethysts for Oconee County

The rubies and emeralds are in the tumbler. They won’t be smooth and shiny like the stones above. In fact, they will be in their natural rough stage. I put them in the tumbler to clean them up a little bit, so they will be recognizable for what they are.

Plan on coming over to Watkinsville, GA for the Oconee County Fall Festival and enjoy the food, arts and crafts, and pick up your copies of The Gemstone Chronicles. Then, go cheer on the Dawgs as they play the Missouri Tigers between the hedges! I promise to try to send some pictures out via Instagram (which is new to me)!

If you would like to connect with me, I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, or just email me at bill@williamlstuart.com.

See you on October 17th!