Milestones – or a Few Accomplishments over the Last Seven Years!!


Milestone the first:

Today’s post marks a number of milestones! What milestones, you might ask? The first significant milestone is that August 12 marks seven years since The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian publication date! Since that day,  The Carnelian picked up an Indie BRAG Medallion and a Readers’ Favorite Bronze Medal. I’ve published the other three books of the series, attended many festivals and books signings, spoke at schools, and learned more than I ever thought possible about writing. I’ve met amazing authors, reviewers, and book promoters. I keep writing (can you believe three WIPs?) and hope to publish my fifth book (the start of a new series) in 2020.

The Carnelian Cover Milestones

Though I haven’t hit the bestsellers list yet, I am eternally grateful to each and every person who took the time to read one or all of the books. My favorite author moment came from a teacher (and former classmate). She told me she struggled to get a student to read. When she told the student she knew an author (me), and maybe he would read my books. I sent her a set. She reported back to me that he loved them and has become a voracious reader! That makes it all worthwhile!

Milestone the second:

I also celebrate reaching the 15,000 Twitter follower milestone! Writing The Gemstone Chronicles made me aware of the various avenues of social media and, after trying most of them, settled on Twitter as my main social media platform. I know it isn’t a huge following, but I continue to grow it and I hope I’m providing some assistance to other authors out there.

Milestone the third:

The final milestone I’m marking is that this post is my three hundredth blog post! That’s right! This blog started on August 12th, 2012 to announce The Carnelian’s publication. What a long but interesting journey it has been! I’ve written posts about my books, book promotion sites, gemstones, duct tape, conspiracy theories, and many book reviews! I’ve even slipped a few posts about submarines and my time in the Navy. I like to post my book reviews and maybe give a fellow author a bit of exposure. I hope my posts reflect my rather eclectic interests both in the different genres I review and the occasional foray into my hobbies and interests.

As always, I’m humbled and grateful for everyone’s continued support and for the readers who’ve taken time to read my books and read and comment on my blog posts. Though I can’t thank all of you personally, please know how much I appreciate you and will try to continue to provide enjoyable content!

Connect with me:

Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Say hi and let’s connect! Don’t miss a post either. Subscribe to the blog!

The Sapphire of Poseidon by Scott L Collins – My Review!!

The Sapphire of Poseidon – My Review!!

The Sapphire of Poseidon Cover

I read and reviewed the first three books of the Scepter Series by Scott L Collins. When he released The Sapphire of Poseidon (Scepter #4) it immediately went on the TBR list. I’ve finally got to it and I’m glad I did! Read on for my review!

Synopsis (from the author):

With the Emerald and Ruby now reunited with the Scepter of Harmony, the rebellious group of children intent on overthrowing the malevolent King Argyle must face a new challenge: recovering the Sapphire of Poseidon. In order for the full power of the Scepter to be restored, the jewel must be inserted back into the staff.

With Argyle now at war with Queen Kyrie, and his ships scouting the lake to locate her, as well as the realm of the Merfolk, the small band of insurgents must find a way to cross the Great Lake while avoiding not only Argyle’s fleet, but the kraken he’s released in an attempt to draw the Queen of the Lake into battle.

Time is running short as Argyle is sure to figure out their plans for bringing together all the pieces of the Scepter. Once he does, it’ll be a race to recover the remaining gems, and if Argyle finds one first, the fight, and the kingdom, will be lost forever.

What I liked:

As with the other books in the series, following the cast of characters on their adventures is like renewing old friendships. Daniel and his friends travel to recover the Sapphire of Poseidon. Along the way, they make new friends and reunite with old companions. The story is excellent, King Argyle continues to be sufficiently evil, and our heroes’ abilities continue to grow. All in all, The Sapphire of Poseidon is a wonderful addition to the series!

What I didn’t like:

Other than a couple of slow spots, there really wasn’t much to dislike about this one!

Overall impression:

The Sapphire of Poseidon (Scepter #4) is an excellent book! With familiar characters, plenty of action, budding romance, and the evil King Argyle, it kept me entertained! I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good YA fantasy adventure!

My rating:

5 Stars

Connect with the author:

Find Scott L Collins on his Amazon Author page and his website. Discover more about the author and his books and consider leaving a review for The Sapphire of Poseidon (or any of his other books)! I know he’d appreciate it!

Connect with me:

Please leave a comment if you liked (or didn’t like) my review. Connect with me on social media on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. You can also drop me an email at I enjoy connecting with new friends. I look forward to meeting you!

Dragon Lightning (Dragon Dreamer Book 2) by J.S. Burke – My Review!!

Dragon Lightning – My Review!!



I read J. S. Burke’s first book about dragons and octopuses (Dragon Dreamer) a while back. When she released Dragon Lightning (Dragon Dreamer Book 2), it hit my TBR list immediately. As a bonus, J. S. Burke is a Georgia author, so I got to read another of my fellow authors. Here is my review!

Synopsis (from the author): Dragon Lightning is a stand-alone book and the second in The Dragon Dreamer series. It’s a fast-paced adventure with flying dragons, an undersea world, and unlikely friendships. This science fantasy is layered for readers age 9 to adult.

Drakor seems like a normal young ice dragon with a talent for making lightning swords. But he alone feels the changing heart of his island Volcano. It destroyed his beloved sire. Now he foresees their doom, but none will listen. As he seeks proof, the Volcano shakes him off into the frozen sea . . .

Arak was mocked as a worthless dreamer until he and Scree, a fearless undersea misfit, saved the dragons. Now dragons and octopi sail north in search of mythical ice dragons. They find Drakor and a terrifying reality. When Scree enters the abyss to check his volcano, she discovers everyone is in peril. Can this crew of unlikely friends save three realms?

What I liked: Dragon Lightning was an excellent book! The familiar heroes from Dragon Dreamer return with new adventures starting with the search for the ice dragons of legend. Arak and Scree grow as characters and Drakor adds an interesting twist. The undersea science woven throughout provides cool information, and the trials faced by the unlikely friends entertained me. All in all, a good read!

What I didn’t like: I had a couple of minor issues with Dragon Lightning. First, Drakor stuttered at times, and didn’t at others. It seemed inconsistent. Secondly, the battle between Drakor and his leader was too predictable. Other than that, no complaints from me!

Overall impression: Dragon Lightning (Dragon Dreamer Book 2) by J.S. Burke was a great read. Written for ages 9 and above, I enjoyed the characters’ growth, the science behind the story, and the story itself. If you like dragons, octopuses, and the occasional squid, this is a book for you! I recommend it to any and all science fantasy readers!

My rating: 5 Stars

Have you added Dragon Lightning (Dragon Dreamer Book 2) to your TBR list? I hope so! Once you’ve read it, please consider leaving a review. Reviews let authors know what the reader’s think and how their work impacts readers. While you are leaving the review, check out J. S. Burke’s Amazon Author page and her website and say hi!

As always, if you want to leave me a comment on my review, please do! And, if you want to connect on the socials, find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. You can also email me at Remember to subscribe to the blog so you won’t miss a post!

The Dragon Dreamer by J S Burke – My Review!!

The Dragon Dreamer – My Review!!

The Dragon Dreamer Cover

I enjoy reading authors from Georgia and added The Dragon Dreamer by J S Burke to my TBR not long ago. Read on to discover my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author): The Dragon Dreamer is a fast-paced adventure with flying dragons, an undersea world, and an unlikely friendship. It’s a science fantasy layered for readers age 9 to 99.

Arak is a misfit dragon called “Dreamer”. Determined to prove himself he leaves on a dangerous quest, is caught in a fierce sea-storm, and crashes on ice. Wounded and alone he faces death. Then a fearless undersea shape-shifter named Scree heals him and an unlikely friendship begins. When an undersea volcano erupts it triggers a towering tsunami and a deadly chain of events. Can Arak use his unique talents to save the dragons?

What I liked: The Dragon Dreamer was fun to read. In addition, I learned quite a bit about octopi, squids, and, of course, dragons. I enjoyed the way J S Burke mingled fantasy, science, and science fiction into the story. Arak, our dragon hero, persevered through bullying and teasing. Scree, the octopus, was a bold adventurer, and together they bring their respective cultures together to help one another and improve life for both. Lots to learn here!

What I didn’t like: To be honest, I really didn’t find anything to dislike in this book.

Overall impression: I enjoyed The Dragon Dreamer by J S Burke! Written for ages 9-99, the story is easy to follow, deals with issues many young people encounter, and shows that a positive attitude can go a long way to making life better. Well done J S Burke!

My rating: 5 Stars

Connect with the author:

Have you read The Dragon Dreamer? If you have (or will), please consider leaving a review. Just a few words to let J S Burke know your thoughts on the book. In addition, please stop by her Amazon Author page or website and connect with her. I know she will appreciate it!

Connect with me:

If you liked my review (or even if you didn’t), leave me a comment and let me know or email me at Connect with me on the socials, too! I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. If you don’t want to miss a post, subscribe to the blog!

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.

Connect with me:

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!

Bentwhistle the Dragon by Paul Cude – My Review!

Bentwhistle The Dragon  In A Threat from the Past – My Review!!

Bentwhistle Cover

I’ve seen buzz out there in social media for Bentwhistle the Dragon In A Threat from the Past by Paul Cude. Consequently, I read the blurb, thought it sounded interesting, and gave it a read. Below are my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author): Ever been addicted? Most people have at some point, but it was different for these three. They’d become addicted to their respective sports: hockey, lacrosse and rugby. What’s wrong with that? Nothing, apart from the fact they’re DRAGONS, living in the present day, in a world in which dragons disguised as humans have infiltrated the human race at almost every level, to guide and protect them.

Three young dragons, a master mantra maker, and a complete dragon stranger with more than a little history attached to him, become caught up in an evil plot by a sinister newcomer to steal a precious commodity, vital to the dragon community. How will the reluctant hero and his friends fare against an enemy of his race from far in the past?

Fascinating insights into the dragon world are interspersed throughout the book. Ever wondered how dragons travel below ground at almost the speed of sound? Or how they use magical mantras to transform their giant bodies into convincing human shapes?

In an action packed adventure that features both human and dragon team sports, you’ll learn the true story of George and the Dragon, get a dragon-like perspective on human social issues and insight into what to do if you meet a giant spider grinning at you when you’re wearing nothing but your smile!

You’d be flamin’ mad to miss it. 

What I liked: Who doesn’t like dragons? Especially dragons who nurture and guide humans. And dragons who can change shape and pass for humans and live among us. That is what you get in Bentwhistle the Dragon! The dragon characters entertained me, the mystery of both Gee Tee and Manson intrigued me, and the laminium ball game reminded me of Quidditch! I liked the interplay among the characters, and the three major dragons in the story (Tank, Richie, and Peter) had a delightful friendship. Overall, a good read!

What I didn’t like: The story dragged in a few places. In particular, Peter’s indecision and Richie’s refusal to believe Manson’s evil slowed the booked. In spite of those slow parts, none of these affected the read as a whole.

Overall impression: Good characters, an interesting take on dragons, cool games, and who knew dragons were techies? Couple those things with a good story, and you get a nice read! I recommend the book to anyone who likes dragons and anyone ages 10 and up!

My rating: 4 Stars

Connect with the author:

Have you read Bentwhistle the Dragon In A Threat from the Past? If so, please consider leaving a review! If you haven’t read it, give the dragons a chance! In addition, visit Paul Cude’s website or his Amazon Author Page to discover more Bentwhistle books!

Connect with me:

Did you like my review? Please leave me a comment and let me know. If you want to connect with me on social media, I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, and Tumblr. Or, if you prefer, drop me and email at I look forward to hearing from you!



Blast of the Dragon’s Fury by L.R.W. Lee – My Review

Blast of the Dragon’s Fury by LRW Lee is one of my latest reads. I found the book through the Independent Author Network and I loved the cover and the blurb sounded like my kind of book. Read on to see what I thought!

Blast of the Dragon's Fury Cover

Synopsis (from the author): Ten-year-old Andy Smithson believes he is merely a kid too often in trouble with his overambitious parents–until his destiny as the Chosen One to break a 500-year-old curse is revealed. Swept away to the land of Oomaldee of medieval times, he discovers he must collect several ingredients for a magic potion to defeat the oppressive curse that plagues the land, the first of which is the scale of a red dragon, the fiercest of all dragon species. There’s just one tiny problem, he’s never battled dragons, except in his Dragon Slayer video game. Armed with only his wits, an ancient sword and a magic key, he must overcome grave peril at every turn before he can even attempt the feat. No pressure, but it’s his skill alone that will save – or condemn – the kingdom forever.

What I liked: This book, the first in a series, is a unique twist on the hero tale. The hero, in this case, is a ten-year-old boy who is transported to a kingdom that is under a curse. Andy is a good character, and fits the typical kid profile. His parents are both CEOs, so he feels neglected. The king – who wears jeans and t-shirts – was an interesting take on the ruler who needs help, and Mermin (Merlin’s brother) is a bumbling sort of wizard. My favorite character was Alden, the servant boy who befriends Andy and shares his adventures. The story moves along nicely, with action appropriate to the age group. The book entertained me with its humor and was a good read!

What I didn’t like: The one complaint I have is that the King doesn’t reveal what caused the curse or why Andy must be the one to break it. I realize the story will be revealed later in the series, but a little more information would have helped!

Overall impression: The first book of the Andy Smithson series, Blast of the Dragon’s Fury is a good middle grade and above read. It’s entertaining enough for adults, and younger readers will enjoy the unique use of cow farts! Full of humor, adventure, magic, and heroes, the story flowed nicely and kept me entertained! I will add the rest of the series to my TBR list!!

My rating: 5 Stars

Connect with the author:

If you read Blast of the Dragon’s Fury by L.R.W. Lee, please consider leaving a review! And connect with L.R.W. Lee on her site at!

Connect with me:

Want to leave a comment on my review? Please do! I love to hear from readers! If you want to connect with me, find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, or Tumblr. You can also email me at If you don’t want to miss a post, subscribe to the blog!


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 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!


Connect with me:

As always, you can connect with me on social media on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, Tumblr, or just email me at 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!!

Thanksgiving 2015 – What a Great Year It’s Been!!

Happy Thanksgiving 2015 from The Gemstone Chronicles!! It’s hard to believe another year has almost passed, but it has! Like many people, I like to take a little time to reflect back on the year and list out wonderful things that happened (in no particular order), milestones and accomplishments, give thanks for all I have, and look forward to what the upcoming year might bring. If you readers will indulge me, here we go!

  • The Atlanta Writers Club is the first writers club I have ever joined. The lovely and adorable Lana presented me with a membership as a Christmas present last year and I was so excited to receive it! And, I have learned much more than I ever expected from attending the monthly meetings. I want to increase my interactions with the other members as I move forward in 2016, and learn even more!


  • The Augusta Literary Festival was my first (and hopefully not my last) visit to Augusta. The Augusta Public Library holds the festival annually. The festival is the home to the Yerby Award and was a lot of fun to attend. I met a number of great people, was a panelist for a discussion about self-publishing, sold a few books, and generally had a great time. The 2016 Augusta Literary Festival is scheduled for Saturday, March 5, so make your plans to attend and discover new books for your own reading pleasure! Below is the picture of Lana and me at the 2015 event!

Thanksgiving 2015 Augusta Literary Festival Lana and Bill

  • In April, I submitted The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian to IndieBRAG for consideration for a BRAG medallion. After about a 5 month wait, I was happily surprised to learn the book had been awarded the BRAG medallion! What an exciting day for me and my books! According to the BRAG medallion website, only about 10% of the books submitted are awarded the medallion, which puts The Carnelian in excellent company!

Thanksgiving 2015 THE-GEMSTONE-CHRONICLES-BRAG-for-Web

  • I was lucky to be included in the Oconee Chamber Fall Festival in Watkinsville, GA in October. A wonderful arts and crafts event held in a beautiful small town not far from Athens, GA (home of my favorite team the Georgia Bulldogs). The weather for the event was spectacular, the venue perfect for the festival, and the festival attendees were great. Books sold quite well, and I met tons of new people. A return for the Fall 2016 event is likely.


  • I saw a post on Facebook one day about the Ambercrest Little Free Library. I did a little research and thought the concept of the little free library was very cool, so I contacted the man who got it started in the Ambercrest subdivision (which is near my house) and donated a couple of my books. As a lifelong reader, I hope to help spread the love of reading to a new generation. If you look closely at the picture, you will see one of my book marks and, on the lower shelf of the library, The Gemstone Chronicles Book Two: The Amethyst!

Thanksgiving 2015 Ambercrest-Little-Free-Library-Web

  • Lana and I took a weekend trip to Wilmington, NC. We had the opportunity to wander through the city, take a boat tour up the Cape Fear River, and visited the USS North Carolina (BB-55), a World War II battleship. For a submarine sailor, visiting the ship was an interesting experience. I was impressed by the amount of space (something at a premium on a boat), and the 16 inch guns were awesome!

Thanksgiving 2015 USS North Carolina (BB-55)

  • We didn’t take our usual spring or summer trip with Aidan and Maggie this year as Lana had back surgery. That didn’t stop me from building Maggie’s fort, though. Maggie wanted me to transform her play set in the backyard, so I did. What do you think of the finished product?

Thanksgiving 2015 Maggie's Fort Finished

  • There are so many more things for which I am thankful and there were some tough spots, too. Lana’s back surgery has been a resounding success and for that, I am forever thankful to the wonderful doctors and staff of Emory Healthcare. Lana’s grandmother (yes, we have 5 generations alive on Lana’s side of the family), Polly,  turned 100 this past April. What a blessing!
  • On a sad note, though, Lana’s Uncle Bud passed away as did her Aunt Virginia. Both were great influences in Lana’s life and we miss them every day.

There are so many other things I could discuss, like my continuing education in the ways of book marketing, the growth in my social media connections, or my WIP (an adult thriller). However, I won’t take up any more of your time for now. After all, there are turkeys to eat, presents to buy, and family and friends to enjoy! Do take some time, though, to be thankful for all that you have and for the family and friends who surround you. I know I’m truly blessed by Lana, Laura, Mike, Aidan, Maggie, and the rest of my family and friends too numerous to name here!

I also want thank all of the readers who have purchased the books this past year, those who have left reviews, and to my future readers, too! You have no idea how much it means to me when someone reads the books and leaves reviews or comments! Thank you!!!

Connect with me:

If you want to connect with me on social media, I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, Tumblr, or you can email me at If you don’t want to miss a post, you can also subscribe to the blog! Drop me a note and let me know what you are thankful for this year!

Happy Thanksgiving 2015!!


The Carnelian – Time to BRAG Just A Little Bit!!!

If you recall, a few months ago I did a post about some new (at least to me) marketing opportunities I had discovered. One of those was IndieBRAG and the BRAG medallion. BRAG is an acronym for Book Readers Appreciation Group and the organization brings together readers and book club members from across the United States and ten other countries to evaluate submissions of Indie books. I submitted The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian for consideration. The criteria for the BRAG medallion includes:

  • Plot
  • Writing Style
  • Characters
  • Copying editing
  • Dialogue
  • Cover/interior layout

According to their website, about 50% of books submitted are rejected in the initial screening, with another 40% being rejected during the review process. Only about 10% of the books submitted receive a BRAG medallion. Well, guess what? The Carnelian was awarded a medallion!


When I received the emaiI announcing the award, I was chuffed (to use one of my Irish writer friends favorite terms)! And, they sent me files so I can add the medallion to my books covers! How cool!!

One of the other perks of being a recipient of a BRAG medallion is that I can submit my book to Awesome Indies as a pre-qualified submission. This opens up another avenue to get my book(s) noticed! I have to wait until early October to submit, and it may take a fair amount of time to get a response. And I will be sure to update everyone on that progress, too!

I hope my successful submission will encourage other Indie authors to submit their works to IndieBRAG and take a chance on getting their own BRAG medallion!

Have you submitted your book to IndieBRAG? If not, what are you waiting for? If so, let me know how you progress!

Connect with me:

I think that is enough BRAGging for now. If you want to connect with me, I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, or just email me at I look forward to interacting with all of my new connections (and friends)!