#IntAuthorsDay interview & #giveaway with author Charity Ayres @versweet #fantasy

Greetings readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors and welcome to The ToiBox of Words. I’m your host Toi Thomas, author of Eternal Curse, and today I have a treat to share. A while back, I had the pleasure to interview a wonderful author named, Charity Ayres. A good time was truly had by all, and here’s how it went down… And since today is International Authors’ Day, I’m also sharing an in depth look at Charity’s book Ice Burns over at “Who is so you?” Be sure to visit my side panel or head over.  But first…


IAD 2016 Banner
Created & hosted by Debdatta at b00k r3vi3ws

I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. I’ve been discovering so many new authors lately and have really been loading up my TBR list. I’ll admit that I’ve been reading a lot more than I’ve been reviewing, but I’m working on fixing that. I actually just loaded a bunch of book reviews I should have written ages ago. You can check them out here if you want. As an author, I know how important reviews are and I’m making a point to do better about writing reviews. I just get so swept up in wanting to devour my next read… but hey, that’s just my love of reading.

Before I dive in, I just want to say that I’m offering a $15 USD or less digital or print book(s) giveaway, no erotica, from either Kindle or Book Depository. Check it out below.

For today, I’m interviewing an author I recently discovered at RavenCon. I just finished her book, The Secret in the Wings, see my review here. I’m halfway through Loki Bound, have acquired a copy of Loki Hellbound, and am interviewing her, here today, to learn about her latest release Ice Burns. Enjoy!


Toi Thomas: Hi there Charity! It’s so awesome to have you here at the ToiBox Blog. I’m excited to learn more about you and your work.

CharityAyresCharity: Hi there, Toi.

Toi Thomas: So tell me, who is Charity Ayres?

Charity: A title? I’m not sure I can make myself fit into a specific title. I’m an author (Loki Bound, Loki: Hell Bound, Secret in the Wings, Ice Burns), veteran, teacher, mom, wife, animal lover, self-proclaimed comedienne, lover of the written word in any form.

Toi Thomas: Well before we dive into your special message today, let’s get to know you, the person inside the author.

Toi Thomas: Who is so you and why?

Charity: I always wanted to be Scarlett O’Hara as a kid, but I’m completely different. I would say I’m a combination of an Agent of Shield, Rachel Ray, and Garfield.

Toi Thomas: What makes you geek out?

Charity: New technology and anything Marvel.

Toi Thomas: What was your favorite book or story, pre-teen years?

Charity: I loved “Gone with the Wind”.  I really think it was because it was the first BIG novel I’ve ever read. I’ve also always loved anything Jack London.


Toi Thomas: In terms of interviews, whose brain are you just itching to scratch?

Charity: Mark Twain or Theodore Roosevelt. Both men are absolutely fascinating to me. I would ask about their struggles in the public eye and with depression. I’d also ask what they think about the world as it is today.

Toi Thomas: Now that we know a little more about you, the person, let’s learn about you, the author, and dive into your special message.

Toi Thomas: So whacha got for me today?

Charity: “Ice Burns” is classic Fantasy with a Dark Fantasy twist. The story is about Chandra who is a magic-user in a world where magic is banned by any not in the royal family. The problem though, is not having magic, but Chandra’s lack of control and the destiny that has been placed upon her that eventually forces her to make some hard and dangerous decisions including killing others to save herself.

Toi Thomas: So who’s starring in this 2 dimensional script read of Ice Burns?

Charity: Chandra is coming of age and struggling with who she is vice who she’s always been expected to be. She was groomed to be this amazingly powerful magic-user and heir to her mentor’s position but could never control her power. When control begins to come it is paired with this taint that seems to be more powerful than any magic Chandra has ever known. She has to decide who she’s going to be and deal with the consequences of that.

Toi Thomas: What’s so special about this story that’s going to reel in the readers?

Charity: Excitement and darkness and magic (oh my!). I really think it is a great example of what Fantasy was always meant to be: magic and the struggle to control it and use it well.

Toi Thomas: Past, present, future, is there a rhyme or reason to your writing?

Charity: Sometimes I am very structured in that I make a chronology, but I never know everything about my story until it is done. I try not to look too deep, to be honest. I feel that if my story surprises me, it will also surprise my readers and I like that. I hate picking up a book and knowing the ending three chapters in.

Toi Thomas: What author(s) has most influenced your writing? Why or how?

Charity: Twain, London, Lackey, Bradbury… I think I really have to say Marion Zimmer Bradley was a huge influence.

Toi Thomas: Now this is where the questions get a little kooky; are you ready?

Charity: Sure.

Toi Thomas: If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Charity: The Mummy.  Don’t ask me why but it makes me laugh and I just love it.

Toi Thomas: Let’s play zombie urban survivor. What 3 things do you need to survive a black-out in Central Park the day zombies attack?

Charity: Coffee, my computer, and an ax.

Toi Thomas: Last question of the day; here we go.

Toi Thomas: Not that you can see into the future, but in your opinion, what does the future hold?

Charity: More books, lots of random conversations with people about books and writing, and more coffee than any one person should consume.


Okay readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors, that’s all for today. Be sure to follow this blog to see who will be visiting next time. For more from Charity Ayres, check out these great links:

Website: Author Charity Ayres

Facebook: Charity Ayres – Author

Twitter: @versweet

Instagram: charity.ayres

Pre-order link for Ice Burns: | Print and other Online Retailers coming soon. Online release party is August 12 – 16, 2016.

This has been a


Enter to Win your choice of print or digital book(s) valued at $15 USD or less, no erotica, from Kindle or Book Depository.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Unfortunately, I can’t display the linky list becuase it disables my comments, but PLEASE click HERE and  follow along with this amazing and supportive blog hop. There are more books and authors to discover as well as GIVEAWAYS galore.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#Review : Code Name Verity #YA #spy #book


Title:  Code Name Verity

Series: Code Name Verity #1

Author: Elizabeth Wein

Genre: Historical Fiction (WWII)

Pages: 441

Reading Level: YA

Content: PG-13 (war action and violence, intense emotion, mature themes)

This book was part of a new audio promotion, so I received it free from the distributor. I had no idea what it was about and was thoroughly pleased with what I discovered.

The story is about two female friends trying to make a place for themselves in a world dominated by men during WWII. Maddie is a pilot and the other girl has too many names for me to stick with just one, so we’ll call her Verity. Most of the story is told from Verity’s perspective as she writes to save, or at least prolong, her life once captured by the enemy. I want to say more, but I don’t want to give too much away. I’ve read a lot of books, and watched even more movies; this book, with all its twists and turns, caught me off guard and totally surprised me.

Not to give the wrong impression about this book, but it almost made me cry and not because the two main characters are female. This story feels so real that the sense of loss, which multiple characters experience throughout the story, feels all too real. To be a prisoner of war and have the choice of standing strong and die or give in and live one more day isn’t as easy as you might hope, but Verity is tougher than you ever imagine she’ll be at the beginning. In the end, though, it’s Maddie you’ll feel for the most.

Anyone, even men, who appreciate gritty stories of WWII will appreciate this book, but I think it’ll also be a crowd pleaser with women’s groups and historical clubs. I don’t know if it was written for adults, but I don’t think it really matters. These characters are so young, as are many who go off to fight wars. I would totally recommend this to my teenage nieces and nephews. After all the flying, fighting, lying, and surviving there is a strong gut-wrenching message about true friendship which should appeal to anyone.

I give this book a 5.


This review has been posted to GoodReads. If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link: Amazon

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

CHEF #Review – Mock Squid Soup No.20 #cinephiles #film #food


If anyone is interested in my experience of watching CHEF, click here to see my notes.

I’m following in the footsteps of Nancy Mock and MOCK and I hope I can keep up. I made a point not to read their reviews before watching this film so it would be a fresh experience for me. Let’s see how it all went.

This review will consist of me asking myself 10 questions and answering them to the best of my ability.

1. What is this film about?

Chef Carl is good, but he’s insecure. Not a good husband, not a good dad; being a great chef is all he has, but even his idea of what legitimizes a chef is a little askew. After a bad review and discovering the nature of social media in the worst way, Carl is forced to rethink his methods and downsize to a food truck.

2. What did I think of the title, poster, and or trailer?

The title is simple. Made me think the movie would be simple and subtly profound. I never watched the trailer. The poster looks fun.

3. What did I think of the main character(s) and how the actors performed them?

Well first off, this cast is ridiculous. Jon Favreau called in every big name he’s worked with, or wanted to work with, even down to cameos from real chefs and recording artists. No one did a bad job with their roles, but then they weren’t really challenging roles. I did think the boy, Emjay Anthony, did a great job standing his ground next to talents such as Dustin Hoffman, Scarlet Johansson, and Robert Downey Jr.

4. What did I think of the direction and cinematography?

Quadruple-threat-man, Favreau, did a nice job putting this all together. I liked the way he incorporated the social media elements. It was student-film-like in that way that feels natural and edgy, even if it’s not.

5. What did I think of the soundtrack and score?

The soundtrack was the second best thing about this film. The cooking scenes were the first, but I have a thing for cooking scenes. Sadly though, anyone who doesn’t like Jazz, Blues, and or Latin music won’t share my thoughts here.

Let’s all thank Nancy for sharing the soundtrack with us here.

6. What did I like about the story as a whole?

I like that the need to connect and create was at the center of it all. Chef Carl wasn’t able to create and it drove him crazy and because he wouldn’t connect, he stifled his own focus and execution.

7. What did I not like about the story?

Simple is usually good, but the simplicity of how everything worked out seemed generic. It was an enjoyable story, but it didn’t excite me.

8. Would I recommend this movie to others?

Probably, but I’d be picky about it. If anyone asked me if it was worth seeing, I’d say yes, but I don’t feel like I need to hurry out and share this with all my friends.

9. What would I rate this movie?

On a scale of 1 to 5 movie reels, I give this film 3 reels.


10. Was there anything in this movie that could be related to me or anything I have written?

Yes, FOOD. I love food and try to include it in my writing though I don’t always do so well. I find that I often create recipes for stories or characters as part of my writing process. I’m no chef, but I understand Carl’s need to create, whether in the kitchen or at my desk.

Watch, rent, or buy this movie here.

Download the soundtrack here.

Mock Squid Soup – Film Society

MOCK! and The Armchair Squid are proud to introduce Mock Squid Soup: A Film Society. Each month, on the second Friday, we shall host a bloghop devoted to movie reviews. We invite others to participate and post their reviews…Don’t be shy; come join the fun! 😀

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#IWSG July 2016: Compliments on your #writing, Celebrity followers, & hashtags.


Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: What’s the best thing someone has ever said about your writing?


This seems like a simple enough question, but it’s sometimes difficult to know what other people really think of your writing. It’s not just my insecurities, though I do have those, but knowing what people really think of your writing is in many ways based on trust (Are they just saying they like it or do they really mean it?). Outside of the reviews we receive on individual publications, there really isn’t a forum for letting authors know what you think of them unless you happen to be one of their followers. While I have many followers, few of them are fan-followers. I did actually receive fan mail once and it made my year. Outside of that, here are some of my favorite quotes from reviews people have left of my book, Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel.

“…thank God for Mira, who didn’t fall into that trap of accepting everything without a second glance. She actually confronted Giovanni and made him fess up, which was a welcome change of pace from usual tropes.” ~Kayla Sanchez

“She is able to write realistically about a subject that has lived in myth for as long as humans trot this earth, and she makes you believe anything is possible.” ~McKerley & Schippers

“I must admit the first couple of chapters were a little slow for me but I am glad I did not stop! It has turned into a OMG book!” ~ReadsterQuilts


Speaking of followers, I got my world rocked when I discovered that actor Taye Diggs was following me on Twitter. Since then, I’ve learned that it’s just something he and a few other celebrities do; they follow random people. Random or not, I still think it’s awesome that such a great actor, and let’s face it- gorgeous man, is following me on Twitter. RT @TayeDiggs daily 😉

This is where I would normally give an update on my WIPs, but there isn’t much to actually report on at the moment. I am writing. I’m trying to do some illustrations. I’m outlining and planning. It’s a work in progress (somewhat pun intended).

On a completely random note, I wish more IWSG members would use the hashtag (#IWSG) when they posted their entries. I like to tweet these things out, but I can’t get to them all. I’ve tried to visit ones that are shared on the Facebook group, but that list gets really long really quick. I would like to share the posts even if I don’t have time to read them by plugging them into my auto-retweet app, but there just aren’t enough of the hashtag for the app to populate any content… Sorry for that. I know that was a pretty lame whiny fest.


Has anyone touched you with kind words about your writing?
Got any celebrity followers?
Do you use the hashtag, #IWSG?


After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Yolanda Renee,
Tyrean Martinson,
Madeline Mora-Summonte,
LK Hill,
Rachna Chhabria, and
JA Scott!


Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #73).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#Question of the Month: a #bloghop to think about. No. 13- What was the first book you really fell in love with?

A little while ago, Michael D’Agostino, of A Life Examined, brought up the idea of a new blog hop called Question of the Month. He thinks blog readers would like to know a little more about us, the bloggers. So we’re all gathering to show you guys who we are by taking part in the Question of the Month blog hop. On the first Monday of each month, we answer the question that gets posted here.

This month’s question is: “What was the first book (or book series) you really fell in love with?”

This is an easy question to answer for me, the only problem is I can’t just pick one. It’s no secret to anyone who’s read a little of my blog that the book Peter and Wendy changed my life at a young age. It made me see the whole world as an adventure, at least for a while. But of course reality set in and one day I realized that no matter how much I tried I would never make it to Neverland and become a lost boy.

Then one day I accomplished the small but notable feat of reading an entire chapter book all by myself- the title was Ramona Quimby. Once I discovered the work of Beverly Cleary, I sped through at least three in the series. Always the strong-willed and mischievous tomboy, I could relate to Ramona; plus, she had a big sister just like me and the similarities, at the time, seemed so close.

As much as I don’t like to admit it, as I grew older reading for enjoyment lessened. Fortunately, I did enjoy some of the required reading in school, but by the time I reached college- if it wasn’t assigned, I didn’t read it. Years later when I decided to rekindle my friendship with books I returned to my comfort zone of fantasy.

It was Gregory Maguire’s The Wicked Years series that helped me reconcile the imagination of my youth with the reality of my adulthood. It’s not my favorite adult series, but it means a lot to me. I’ve always been a fan of pretty much anything Oz and to question my feelings about a world I thought could be so wonderful was refreshing. As a kid you never really question if the far distant worlds you love are actually as good as they seem, but reading The Wicked Years series gave me an opportunity to embrace the child within and still stand firm the in mental and physical maturity I’d grown into. It was basically a reality check of the fantasy kind. 😉

Please visit the other participants in this hop and even join in if you’d like. I can’t wait to see what other books and series have impacted so many.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords