The Waters of Iwingee by Griffin Keener

One of the most important parts of a book is a good story, and Griffin Keener’s debut novel, The Waters of Iwingee, has a good story, and a lot of potential. When Kail and Mani’s grandmother and only close relative goes into a coma, they get transported into the world of Milele, where they find out that they are the heirs of Iwingee. They have to go through many trials to get the waters of Iwingee to get back home and to save their grandmother, with the help of warriors, fairies, bushmen, and a magic bracelet, as well as their own smarts and sarcastic wits.

The title of the book intrigued me, and the basic story was very good and fairly original. However, I don’t consider this a must-read book. The humor often fell flat, and the dialogue seemed forced at times, not to mention it was a little narration-heavy. It wasn’t until halfway through the book that I started to actually care about Kail and Mani. The story does get better, but the beginning had a hard time of keeping my attention, and at times it was hard to follow with what exactly was happening. The story was actually like a dream. There are moments of clarity and everything makes sense as long as you don’t question or look too closely at what is happening. Keener has the potential to be a strong storyteller, once he takes the time to hone his skill. But for his first book, I wouldn’t go out of my way to read. But if you have some extra time and a love of fantasy, then you could do worse than The Waters of Iwingee.


Guest Post: Cecilia Dominic


Ozark Mountains image by Marco Becerra from Lewisville, TX, USA [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Common

A huge thank you to Kara for allowing me to guest post on your blog!

Inspiration comes in the most unlikely of places. Several months ago, I asked my fellow Twitter writing friends what they found to be the most annoying writing advice. One adage that came up repeatedly was “write what you know.”

Okay, that makes sense if you take it literally because even with research, some experiences are beyond us. For example, I’ll never know what it’s like to be fired from a dream research job in the pharmaceutical industry like Doctor Joanie Fisher, the heroine of my novel The Mountain’s Shadow. But even though I can’t know exactly what it’s like, I know the feeling of being disappointed and facing major defeat on a personal level. The year before I wrote The Mountain’s Shadow, I failed on my first try to match for a predoctoral psychology internship.

Not matching for internship doesn’t sound like that big a deal unless you know the consequences. First, it’s a requirement to graduate from a doctoral psychology program, in my case Ph.D., so it put me behind a year in both school and life. I had a serious boyfriend who was waiting until I was closer to being done before he proposed because we knew we’d have to live apart, possibly far apart, for a year. I was also going to lose my cohort, the people I’d been through the ups and downs of graduate school with.

That’s the experience I brought to writing my novel, which opens with my heroine Joanie Fisher facing three huge setbacks: she’s been fired, which also causes her to lose her lover, and her beloved grandfather has gone missing. Sure, he’s left her his multimillion dollar estate in the Ozarks, but since she doesn’t know with certainty that he’s dead, and the handsome, intense Leo Bowman seems to feel he can challenge her claim on it, she can’t really believe it’s hers.

My unexpected delay also gave me the setting and another layer of inspiration for The Mountain’s Shadow. I matched the second try to the Central Arkansas VA, to which I hadn’t applied the first time. The VA drew veterans from all around including the mountains, and they loved to tell stories of the strange things they’d seen in those woods. I’d visited the Ozarks previously, but talking to these veterans gave me a good environment for my werewolves, the local flavor of “tall tales” with an element of truth, and a sense of the dialect. Placing it in the Ozarks caught my editor’s attention because she lives there, so my defeat also indirectly led to my first contract.

Trust me, it took a long time before I could look back and see how not matching for internship the first try ended up being a good thing. Our characters experience the same — initial devastation that they have to overcome so that their lives end up better. I can’t claim that all my setbacks have worked out that well. I’m grateful this one did and that it showed me how write what I know from an emotional level, from experience, and from researching through listening to the stories of others and by reading werewolf legend and lore.

Cecilia Dominic wrote her first story when she was two years old and has always had a much more interesting life inside her head than outside of it. She became a clinical psychologist because she’s fascinated by people and their stories, but she couldn’t stop writing fiction. The first draft of her dissertation, while not fiction, was still criticized by her major professor for being written in too entertaining a style. She made it through graduate school and got her PhD, started her own practice, and by day, she helps people cure their insomnia without using medication. By night, she blogs about wine and writes fiction she hopes will keep her readers turning the pages all night. Yes, she recognizes the conflict of interest between her two careers, so she writes and blogs under a pen name.  She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with one husband and two cats, which, she’s been told, is a good number of each.

Make sure to check out the rest of the Cecilia Dominic tour, as well as the links below. Thanks!

You can find her at:

Web page:

Wine blog:


Twitter: @RandomOenophile

To buy her books, you can get them in all ebook formats from Samhain Publishing:

From Amazon:

From Barnes & Noble:

It’s also available from Apple, Sony, and anywhere else ebooks are sold.

Blog Tour Schedule

October 28 – Chick Lit Plus – Review

October 30- In the Name of Books – Review & Excerpt

October 31 – Authors to Watch – Review

October 31- Traveling With T – Guest Post & Excerpt

November 1 – Ink and Paper – Guest Post

November 4 – Authors & Readers Book Corner – Excerpt

November 6 – Book Suburbia – Excerpt

November 7 – Ms. Nose is a Book – Review & Excerpt

November 8 – Escape Into a Book – Review

November 11- Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & Guest Post

November 11- Keep Calm and Blog On – Review

The Elements Blog Tour

Elements Covers on black (3)  Here’s an excerpt from the The Elements series by Melissa Pearl for her blog tour:

Unleashed Excerpt Two

“What are you so afraid of, Lord Athra?”

He glanced at the bulky young man beside him and shook his head, refusing to play this game. What was he afraid of? The question was absurd! Did they not see the army of men controlling them? Did they not hear the whips crack? He had brought them to this place. His arrogant uprising had broken the treaty. He had provoked the giant and the giant had crushed them. His failure was a heavy burden.

“I know the situation seems hopeless,” Benyamin’s steady voice carried across the open space, “but Levi’s right. We cannot give up the fight now.”

“We have lost!” Athra smashed his fist onto the stone floor. “Our women are gone. Our children are marching to a wretched fate. We are being forced to destroy our own city. We have nothing left to fight for.”

“We have everything to fight for,” Benyamin countered. “We have loved ones to save. We have a city to protect.”

“We have no queen. We have no prophecy. Our future is black. The darkness has won!”

His shout was feeble, but it did silence the quiet murmurings in the room.

“The darkness cannot win,” Levi whispered. “The sun rises each morning, filling the earth with light.”

Athra gazed down at the boy, remembering Aunt Daniella’s words. Levi’s brown eyes brimmed with belief. Athra wished he could match it, but his aching body and pounding head would not rise. His shattered dreams were still too fresh, his weary soul beaten.

“You must let the boy try,” Varon said.

Horrified, Athra turned to look at his father. “He will die. Even if he could escape, he’ll be captured. He…” Athra looked across the room, straining through the darkness. “Uncle Ben.” He pointed. “Uncle Ben, surely you don’t approve. He’s your son! Your only living son.”

The words were a deep wound. Athra winced as he felt the pain radiating from his adored uncle. After what seemed an age, the man cleared his throat. “Jethro may be dead, but I refuse to believe that Oron has abandoned us. If Levi does get out of these walls, then yes, it’s a risk, but it’s also a chance.”

“I agree. We need to form a plan, find a way and gather some help from the outside.” Varon nodded.

Athra gritted his teeth, shaking his head to counteract the varied nods around him. Hope sparked among the men. In spite of its futility, Athra wanted to snatch it up. But how could he? He had fuelled these men’s hope before and utterly failed them. He would not do it again.

“You take charge, Father. You were the queen’s right-hand man.” Athra’s voice shook.

“Then why did she appoint you king?”

“What?” Athra’s stomach clenched.

He heard a whisper of a smile in his father’s voice. “Before the black army arrived, she had the documents changed. When she dies, you will be crowned king.”

“But what of Kyla?”

“Whether she is dead or alive, you are still the next king of Taramon.”

If you want to follow the blog tour for reviews, interviews, and more excerpts of The Elements, here’s the link to the tour schedule.

The Elements covers banner 2

The Vampirates by Justin Somper

Most people have read books about vampires. And most people have read books about pirates. But there’s only one series about vampires who are pirates. Vampirates by Justin Somper is a series about two twins, Grace and Connor Tempest who sail away from the town they grew up in when their father died. But only a few miles off shore they get caught in a storm that tears apart their ship and separates them.

Connor Tempest finds himself on pirate ship where he becomes part of the crew, sailing under the pirate rebel, Captain Molucco Wrathe. He’s admired for his athletic ability and quickly becomes accepted by the crew.

But Grace finds herself on a ship where she is kept in the dark and secrets swarm around her. She finds herself sleeping an unusually large amount of time and is only visited by one person: Lorcan Furey, the boy who rescued her. But from her room she hears snatches of conversations about things that make no sense at all. But as her brother was gifted with athletic ability, Grace was gifted with intelligence and it doesn’t take long for her to piece together the truth: she’s on a ship full of civilized vampires, run by a mysterious captain who hides his face beneath a mask.

Somper makes a truly original story where pirates are friendly, and have a government of their own, and vampires live on a ship and feed on volunteers. The Tempest twins must battle a rebel uprising, secrets, petty rivals, and reunite with each other as they figure out the mystery of the vampirates and their father’s mysterious connection with them.

This story is perfect for anyone looking for an intriguing fantasy adventure, whether they like pirates, vampires, or both.

You can find the first book in the series here: