Book Marketing Update – New Sites I have Discovered!

I wanted to provide a book marketing update on some new sites (at least new to me) that I have discovered and how things are going on the marketing front. I hope some of this will be helpful to you, too!

The first new site I want to talk about is YA Books Central. I found the site through a tweet that showed up in my feed. Since The Gemstone Chronicles is written for middle grade/YA and up, I decided to check it out to see if I could reach more of my target audience (not that I mind getting reviews from adults). I was impressed by what I found. Here are some interesting things I found out about the site:

  • The site has a ton of books and it has a separate place for Indie books. It makes it easier to find works by Indie authors
  • @yabookscentral has over 33K followers on Twitter
  • The site does offer reviews for traditionally published authors, and may review Indie books on occasion
  • YABC on Facebook has over 14000 likes
  • YABC is on Tumblr, too!
  • Once you submit your book and it is approved (it cost me $3.99 to list my book), it is listed on the site with a cover photo and a link for sales. In the 3 days (as of April 3) since I posted my book, I have had over 50 views of the book.
  • They also have a separate page for Kid’s books

Update! All four of The Gemstone Chronicles are now on YABC! In fact, Book One: The Carnelian is HOT on the site.

If you are a YA or Kids author, this might be a great place to list your book! To give you an idea of what the site looks like, here is a link to my book: http://www.yabookscentral.com/yaindie/17879-the-carnelian-the-gemstone-chronicles-series-1

IndieBRAG: I found this site after seeing a fellow author’s BRAG medallion. BRAG stands for Book Readers Appreciation Group and they will award a BRAG Medallion for books that have passed the rigorous standards for their reviews. Here are some facts about IndieBRAG:

  • IndieBRAG is not a free site to submit a book. It costs $20 for a book to be considered for a review. Since I made a little money from the Augusta Literary Festival, I decided I would submit. We will see what happens!
  • IndieBRAG has over 9400 Facebook Likes
  • IndieBRAG has over 5300 Twitter followers

Update! I did submit my book to the site and guess what – The Carnelian was awarded a BRAG Medallion!

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

The last new place I want to tell you about is Cold Coffee Cafe. I stumbled across this site on Twitter. It’s a free site for authors to join and list their books and trailers. I signed up and haven’t finished setting everything up yet, but I do have The Carnelian listed and its trailer is linked there, too. More information on Cold Coffee Cafe:

  • Just over 600 Twitter followers
  • Just over 650 likes on Facebook
  • Offers promotional packages

My page link at Cold Coffee Cafe is: http://coldcoffeecafe.com/profile/WilliamlStuart

As far as my marketing efforts are concerned, things have picked up since I have been implementing my own marketing plan. I continue to refine my strategy and, once I stumble on the key(s) to successful (and low-cost) book marketing strategies, I will share!

In conclusion, here is my Book Marketing update! I don’t know how well any of these might work within your advertising and promotional budget and strategy, but give them a look!

Connect with me:

If you want to connect with me, I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, or send me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com. Feel free to connect!!

 

 

 

Tektite – Glass Rock or Telepathy Stone? You Decide!

In The Gemstone Chronicles Book Two: The Amethyst, Nana and Beebop buy a tektite necklace from an antique dealer. The necklace, as it turns out, has telepathic powers. I won’t tell you more, as it would spoil the story! Nonetheless, I’ll tell you more about tektite!

Tektite, for lack of a better description, is a glass rock. Similar to obsidian, tektite is mostly silicon. However, tektites are the result of meteorite impacts. Yes, that’s right, tektites are glass rocks formed when meteorites impacted the earth, sent molten particles into the air, and which fell back to earth in the strewnfields. Since tektites formed from the impacts, they have different characteristics compared to obsidian. Additionally, tektites might just have a little bit of cosmic matter in them! How cool is that?

Where can we find tektites? Across the globe, a few locations yield the majority of tektite finds. One of those locations, called strewnfields, is in Georgia! The Georgia tektites are known as Georgiaites and, just like the stone in The Amethyst, are green. Other strewnfields are in Texas, Autraliasia, the Ivory Coast of Africa, and Europe. Tektites from the different strewnfields have different characteristics which I will discuss next.

I’ll start with Georgiaites. Found principally in Dodge and Bleckley counties in Middle Georgia, Georgiaites are olive green and generally tear drop shaped. Below is a picture of a Georgiaite (Photo by Sean Murray, courtesy of FallingRocks.com). Beautiful and extremely rare, Georgiaites are 35 million years old!

Georgiaite Tektite

 

Moldavites are green, too, though a different shade than Georgiaites. Moldavites are typically found in Czech Republic in Bohemia (no singing of Bohemian Rhapsody, please). The stones are about 15 million years old. The museum quality pieces are gorgeous and often used in jewelry. Here is an example of a museum quality Moldavite. I particularly like the flaky appearance!

Tektite Moldavite

Moldavite

Australites spread across Australia and Southeast Asia. By far the most common variety, Australites are dark, usually black. Found across most of the southern half of Australia, these tektites have a unique disk or bowl shape. NASA (according to Wikipedia) used the shape of these tektites when designing the re-entry modules for the Apollo Space Program!

Tektite Australite

Australite

Due to the size of the impact, part of the same strewnfield reaches into Southeast Asia. The tektites found here – called Indochinites – are black like the Australites. Both Australites and Indochinites are much younger than Moldavites or Georgiaites, dating to about 790,000 years old. Here is an Indochinite.

Tektite indochinite

Indochinite

Lastly, we talk about Ivorite. Found along the Ivory Coast on the Western Cost of Africa, these stones are only about 1.3 million years old. Because of the unstable political climate in the area, I couldn’t find a picture of an Ivorite to include in this post. As a result of the instability, few have been excavated. The found Ivorites resemble Indochinites.

In The Amethyst, the tektite was from the Georgia strewnfield. According to HealingCrystals.com, tektite encourages telepathy and helps with lucid dreaming and astral travel. Sounds a lot like what Nana and Laura experienced, but you’ll have to read the book to find out more!

Obviously, I took some license with the properties of all the gemstones in The Gemstone Chronicles series, but I enjoyed learning about the magical and mystical properties the stones possess. And tektite was a great addition to the collection!

What is your favorite gemstone (or gemstone power) from the series? Aidan’s double-terminated quartz is my favorite. Laura’s invisibility power is the best power, too! What about your favorite? Leave me a comment and let me know! I look forward to it!

Connect with me:

If you want to connect on the socials, find me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, and Tumblr. You can drop me an email, too, at bill@williamlstuart.com or subscribe to the blog (so you don’t miss a post)!

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 bill@williamlstuart.com!

My Collection – Gemstones and More Gemstones!!

After digging through a box the other day, I decided I finally needed to organize my collection of rocks garnered from my many trips to the North Georgia Mountains. I was surprised and excited when I went through my plastic bags and grouped the stones together. I didn’t realize all the cool stones I had!

Let’s start with hematite. If you recall a previous post on hematite, this stone looks like a dark gray lump, but, once tumbled, turns into a beautiful silver color. The cool thing about hematite is that when rubbed against sandpaper, it leaves a red streak (hence the name hematite, which comes from the Greek root word for blood). Hematite is one of my favorite stones!

Hematite Collection

Hematite Collection

Quartz is a great stone, too! It comes in many colors and I haven’t found one I didn’t like. In my collection, I have clear, rose, lemon (yellow), smoky, and the cool pencil quartz. I had clear quartz cut into round brilliant cut stones and they are gorgeous!

Round-Brilliant-3-Carats-Web

Round Brilliant Cut 3 Carats

 

Faceted Gemstones Round Brilliant Cut Quartz

Round Brilliant Cut Quartz Pair

The stones below are quartz as I found them. I will start with the pencil quartz. It is a misleading name, as some of the crystals are much larger than a pencil!

Pencil-quartz-Jan-2016

Pencil Quartz Collection

I think some of these would look great just hanging from a chain, but a couple of them are too big for anything except maybe a paperweight! Below is a picture of one of the large crystals.

Large-Pencil-Quartz-Jan-2016

Large Pencil Quartz

 

Clear and lemon quartz are beautiful stones, too. I think I might send my gem cutter a couple of the lemon quartz to see what he can do with them. I expect they will be gorgeous! Here are some of each.

Clear-Quartz-Jan-2016

Clear Quartz Collection

 

Lemon Quartz Collection

Lemon Quartz Collection

Aventurine is another quartz stone and usually has bits of mica or other minerals that give it a shimmering appearance. Here is my collection of aventurine.

Aventurine Collection

Aventurine Collection

 

Amethysts and citrines are other forms of quartz. I have a nice collection of each and I have some large amethysts. Which are your favorites?

Amethyst Collection

Amethyst Collection

 

The two large amethysts are shown on the scale below. Using the conversion of 5 carats per gram, the first stone is 630 carats and the second is 575 carats!

Collection 630 Carat Amethyst

630 Carat Amethyst

 

Collection 575 Carat

575 Carat Amethyst

Both of these stones are too fractured to cut into gemstones, but I love the deep purple color of them.

The citrines are a golden version of amethyst. I like the lighter color ones, but the darker ones (second picture) are the ones I might send to the gem cutter to see if he can get anything out of them.

Citrine Collection

Citrine Collection

 

Collection Citrine Dark Tips

Citrine Dark Tips

I have a large number of emeralds, too. One of my all-time favorite stones, these are rough and ready to tumble. I might have a few that are suitable for gem cutting.

Emerald Collection

Emerald Collection

Collection Emeralds to Facet

Emeralds to Facet?

If you recall from The Gemstone Chronicles Book Two: The Amethyst, Laura used a moonstone to turn her friends and family invisible during a battle. Now, I haven’t tried invisibility with these moonstones, but I like them!

Moonstone Collection

Moonstone Collection

I find lots of garnets. The garnets are a deep red and its hard to show the color in a photo. I did manage to capture one, though. What do you think of them?

Garnet Collection

Garnet Collection

 

Collection Garnet Red

Garnet

Lastly, I wanted to share my collection of rubies and sapphires. Now, I don’t believe any of these are gem quality stones, but I like them anyway. I think when I start cabbing (making cabochons) in the near future, I will do a few of these just to see how they turn out. Stay tuned for them!

Rubies and Sapphires Collection

Rubies and Sapphires Collection

 

Collection Rubies and Sapphires 2

Rubies and Sapphires

Connect with me:

I have more, but these are the favorites of my collection. What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment, subscribe to the blog, email me at bill@williamlstuart.com, or connect with me on social media. I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, or Tumblr!

2015 – A Year in Reviews!!

2015---A-Year-in-ReviewWeb

2015 – A Year in Reviews! 2015 was a busy reading year for me. As an Indie author, I realize the importance of reviews. Reviews provide feedback from readers, gives the author a chance to interact with readers, makes new friends, and generally improve his/her writing. In 2015, I decided I would write reviews for all the books I read, post them to as many sites as I could, and try to give constructive feedback to the authors.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I typically buy the books I read so I don’t create any obligation to provide a “good” review. However, since I am trying to help authors, if I cannot give at least a 4 Star review, I try to contact the author directly to offer my comments, rather than post the review. In this post, I wanted to list all my reviews, a link to the Amazon.com review, and the star rating I gave each book. So, without further ado, here is my 2015 review list from newest to oldest!

Darkspire Reaches by C N Lesley: 4 Stars

Scroll Back by Jay Stamatis and Steven Stamatis: 4 Stars

We Journey No More by Sahara Foley: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Lodestone Book 1: Witch Hunt by Wendy Scott: 5 Stars

Necessary Evil of Nathan Miller by Demelza Carlton: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Rys Rising by Tracy Falbe: 5 Stars

Daniel’s Fork: A Mystery Set in the Daniel’s Fork Universe by Zeece Lugo: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

The Wanderer: Book One of the Godsend Series: Section One by Timothious Smith: 4 Stars

The Battle for Brisingamen by Harmony Kent: 4 Stars

Timelapse by Lorrie Farrelly: 5 Stars

Halfway Dead by Terry Maggert: 5 Stars

A Pink Zombie, With a Mist by Jada Ryker: 4 Stars

Hero For Hire (Eno The Thracian Book 1) by C B Pratt: 5 Stars

Think Murder by Cassidy Salem: 4 Stars

The Dark Masters: Tales of Nevaeh: Volume II by David Wind: 5 Stars

Worlds of the Never (Tales of the Neverwar 2) by C J Rutherford: 5 Stars

Haunted Hearts – #1: A Lana Malloy Paranormal Mystery by Kim Cox: 4 Stars

The Soldier’s Secret by Heather Anne Osborne: 5 Stars

Simple by Dena Nicotra: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

I Hero: The Beginning by Jason Zandri: 4 Stars

The Dry by Rebecca Nolen: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Glitter of Magic: The Knight and the Fairy (Myth Retold, Book 1) by J. R. Biery: 4 Stars

Dragon Fireside Tales: The Dragon Chronicles by Adam Boustead: 4 Stars

The Revelation Room (The Ben Whittle Investigation Series Book 1) by Mark Tilbury: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Everwud Book 3: Revolution by Marilyn Dieckmann: 5 Stars

Edge of the World: A Dystopian Story Set in the Daniel’s Fork Universe by Zeece Lugo: 4 Stars

Doom (The Heart of the Staff Book 6) by Carol Marrs Phipps: 5 Stars

Crystal Conquest by Doug J. Cooper: 5 Stars

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone: 4 Stars

Born To Magic: Tales of Nevaeh: Volume 1 by David Wind: 5 Stars

Bound to Survive: The Magic Within (The Magic Within Series Book 1) by Sharon Gibbs: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Forever Boy (Clockpunk Wizard Book 1) by Lita Burke: 4 Stars

Origins of the Never (A Prequel to The War of the Neverwar Series) by C J Rutherford: 5 Stars

The Unknown Sun by Cheryl Mackey: 5 Stars

The Reaper Witch (Heart of the Staff Book 5) by Carol Marrs Phipps: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Kyrathaba Rising (Kyrathaba Chronicles Book 1) by William Bryan Miller: 5 Stars

Elevation of the Marked by March McCarron: 5 Stars

The Secret of Excalibur by Sahara Foley: 4 Stars

Crystal Deception by Doug J Cooper: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Alien Nightmares by Sharon Delarose: 4 Stars

A Demon’s Quest: The Beginning of the End by Charles Carfagno: 4 Stars

Riddle of Prague (QuickSlver Legacy Series Book 1) by Laura DeBruce: 5 Stars

Tredan’s Bane by Lita Burke: 4 Stars

Division of the Marked by March McCarron: 5 Stars

Hunter’s Haven by Linda Thackery: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Forest Bull (The Fearless Book 1) by Terry Maggert: 4 Stars

There you have my 2015 – A Year in Reviews list. Everything from fantasy, science fiction, paranormal romance, mysteries, thrillers, adult to middle grades, and a bit of dystopia thrown in for good measure. I hope maybe you can find a new author to read in 2016 based on this list.

If you do decide to read one of these books, or if you decide to read one (or more) of The Gemstone Chronicles, please consider leaving a review. And, if you do find something interesting to read, leave me a comment, send me an email, or connect with me on social media and let me know! I would love to read your review of the books!

Connect with me:

On social media, I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, Tumblr, or just email me at bill@williamlstuart.com! Or, if you don’t want to miss a post, subscribe to the blog!

Happy New Year and best wishes for a fantastic 2016!

 

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy 2016!!

Happy Holidays! I was in my living room last night, helping Aidan and Maggie (yep, the same two whose namesakes grace the pages of The Gemstone Chronicles series) decorate their Christmas tree (we have 2 – one that is the front window of our house where we place most of the presents and a second one we call the kid’s tree). We put many of our favorite ornaments on the kid’s tree, and it always spurs moments of recollection of when we got the ornaments, why they are special, and then we have to find just the right spot for the ornament to hang. It made me want to share some of our holidays with you, my readers and friends! Without further ado, then, here are some holiday images to share!

First, here is our house, well-lit for Christmas! This year, our relatively new boxwood shrubs are finally large enough to light.

Happy Holidays 2015-Christmas-Lights-Web

I really like our front door, too. Our snowman with his red hat and scarf are a great addition to the decorations!

Happy Holidays Christmas-2015-Front-Door

 

As I mentioned above, we have 2 trees. This is the tree at the front of the that house shines with the rest of the lighted decor to lend our house a festive glow!

Happy Holidays Christmas-2015-Tree

The kid’s tree is beautifully decorated, too. Some of my favorite decorations on this tree are the Noah’s Ark ornaments.

Happy Holidays 2015-Kid's-Tree-Web

Here are my favorite Noah’s Ark ornaments!

Happy Holidays 2015-Noah's-Ark-1

 

Happy Holidays 2015-Noah's-Ark-2

 

Happy Holidays 2015-Noah's-Ark-3

To go along with the season, I want to thank all of you readers out there for visiting my blog, leaving me comments, and reading and reviewing my books. You have no idea how much your comments, connections, and feedback mean to me. Thank you all!!

Connect with me:

If you want to connect with me, I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, and Tumblr. You can always just drop me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com, too!

Have yourselves a safe and happy holidays and best wishes for a fantastic 2016!

Merry Christmas!!

 

 

 

Gemstones Again!! Faceted Emerald, Quartz, and Citrine!

Gemstones again! I haven’t done a gemstone post in a while (partially because I haven’t been gemstone hunting due to other commitments – like marketing The Gemstone Chronicles), but I now have some very cool stones to showcase! Before I get to the final versions of the gemstones, though, I wanted to show you what the stones looked like when I found them.

The first stone is an emerald. I sent this one over to my gem cutter friend because it had a great green color when illuminated by a strong light. And, the natural shape was pretty cool!

Gemstones Again Emerald

I know the picture doesn’t show the green color. It was difficult to capture…

The second stone I want to show you is a quartz crystal. I found this one and it was extremely clear. Now, I believe the stone is beautiful in its natural state. What do you think?

 

Gemstones Again Quartz

The final stone is a citrine. For those not familiar with citrines, they are the same stone as an amethyst, but with different impurities to give them a yellowish-orange color.

How did the gemstones turn out? I think they are amazing! Here is the finished emerald. While not as green as Lana’s emerald from posts past, or what I envision the Emerald from the Elven Bow in Book Three: The Emerald, it is a great stone!

Gemstones Again Emerald-Cut-Emerald-6.5-Carats-Web

If you recall from my Rubies and Diamonds post, I asked my gem cutter friend Gene to facet two round brilliant cut quartz stones. They are 1.25 carats each. Here is a picture of them!

Gemstones Again Faceted Gemstones Round Brilliant Cut Quartz

Round Brilliant Cut Quartz

 

To match these, I asked Gene to cut the quartz rough above in a brilliant cut, as well. I think he did a fantastic job! I can see this as a pendant or perhaps a really big ring!

Gemstones Again Round-Brilliant-3-Carats-Web

 

The last stone is the citrine. I have a bunch of citrines, but they are usually so fractured inside that they aren’t really suitable for faceting. The stone above seemed very clear and, as it turned out, it was!

Gemstones Again Citrine-Princess-Cut-1.7-Carats-Web

Apologizes again for the pictures as they really don’t show the beauty of the stones, but, as you can see, this Princess Cut weighed in at 1.7 carats and is a great yellow color!

I have to go through the stones I found this past weekend and see if I can find a few more to send to Gene! I also plan to start creating cabochons after the holidays, so stayed as I post progress on them!

What do you think of the finished stones? How do you think they should be mounted? Gold or Silver settings? Pendants or rings? Let me know how you would mount them?

Connect with me:

You can connect with me on social media, too, and let me know what your thoughts about the stones are. I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, Tumblr, or just send me an email to bill@williamlstuart.com!

Happy Holidays!!

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

Connect with me:

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!!

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 bill@williamlstuart.com. 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 Battleship USS North Carolina (BB-55)

I wanted to take a break from my usual posts about The Gemstone Chronicles, books, and marketing, and talk about some US Navy history and the USS North Carolina (BB-55). Lana and I spent a weekend in Wilmington, NC recently (more about Wilmington in an upcoming post) and had the privilege of visiting the World War II era battleship USS North Carolina (BB-55). What an impressive ship it was, too!

USS North Carolina

According to Wikipedia, the North Carolina was the first in her class of battleships. The keel was laid in October 1937 and launched almost 3 years later in 1940. She was assigned to the Pacific Fleet and saw action in most of the major battles in the Pacific during the war. The ship had an impressive battle record and was only damaged once (by a torpedo) during her tour in the war.

USS North Carolina continued to serve through the balance of WWII before being decommissioned in 1947. Stricken from the Navy rolls in 1960, she was transferred to the state of North Carolina in 1961, the result of a campaign by North Carolina school children called “Save our Ship.”

Here are some vital stats for the ship:

  • 728.8 feet long
  • 108.3 foot beam
  • 33 foot draft
  • Ship’s complement 2339 (144 officers, 2195 enlisted)
  • 15 Battle Stars
  • American Defense Service Medal
  • American Campaign Medal
  • WWII Victory Medal

The ship has many more awards and much more history than I can do justice to in this post, so do a little research and discover all about it. But now, I want to talk about my impressions about the ship.

First, let me say that a 16 inch gun is one big pea shooter! I climbed into one of the main battery turrets and was duly impressed. The 5 inch guns seemed adequate to their tasks, and the anti-aircraft guns that lined the perimeter of the deck would have been intimidating the any aircraft that decided to challenge the might of the ship. The picture below is the forward main gun turret with the 16 inch guns.

Uss North Carolina (BB-55)

The picture below shows the 16 inch guns and the 5 inch and AA guns. You can also see the teak decks.

USS North Caolina (BB-55) Forward Armament

Though I didn’t take pictures, the wardroom was large, the officer staterooms were spacious, and the sailor’s racks actually had lockers for storage. I mention all of this because, as a former submarine sailor who didn’t have such spacious accommodations, it seemed luxurious!

There was a group of Air Force JROTC students touring the ship while I was aboard. I imparted a small amount of Navy information to them as we stood outside the Executive Officers office (and liberty chit window). I explained to them what liberty chits were and what liberty was, in general.

Lastly, as I walked the teak decks, looked at the massive armament, the huge anchors, and the launch areas for the seaplanes at the stern of the battleship, the submariner in me came out, and all I could think was what a big, noisy target the USS North Carolina would be!

I could certainly appreciate the bravery those sailors showed as the confronted the Japanese military during WWII, and it brought me back to my own Navy days. Thanks to all who served aboard USS North Carolina (BB-55) and the current USS North Carolina (SSN-777)! Bravo Zulu!!

USS North Carolina (SSN777)

Have you visited any Navy ship memorials like USS North Carolina? How about USS Nautilus in Groton, CT? What about other military memorials? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, or just drop me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com. New friends are always welcome! And, just so you won’t miss a post, subscribe to the blog!