#IWSG January 2018: Schedules, Blog Fests, eBooks, oh my!


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 steps have you taken to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

I’ve written and blogged on a rotating schedule for years. Of course, that means I’ve started schedules I haven’t stuck too. This year I’m keeping things simple. I have an extremely small window of my day not devoted to sleep, my day job, or basic life functions. It’s between 4:30 and 9:00 on weekdays and Saturday. I don’t count Sunday because it’s my day of rest. If I happen to do some writing that day, it’s a blessing and or task from God. Outside of my brief window, I’m not going to stress about writing or blogging. I either get to it or I don’t.


Now on to the personal updates (you know, year-end stuff).

I read 56 books last year and reviewed 54 of them.  Two of them aren’t currently listed online to be reviewed, but I’ll get to them eventually. I surpassed my Goodreads Reading Challenge.

I said good-bye to Reading Indie and hello to A Small Gang of Authors, to which I’m currently working on a blog series on music and writing.

I totally dropped the ball on my YouTube channel, but I’ll give it another go this year.

I’m taking my writing in a new direction which caused me to put a halt to all my active WIPs. We’ll see how things go with my new direction before I give any updates on that.

Lastly, I’m currently about to finish The Weekend Novelist for the IWSG Book Club. Looking forward to our discussion.

Well, that’s enough about me. Here’s some cool stuff to check out.


Flaming Crimes Blogfest

Prompt: What is something ridiculous you would save if there was a fire?

After making sure my husband, dog Margie, and tortoise Betty were safe, I’d probably go back inside to save my favorite vinyl records, comic books, and my Kindle. I’d also try to grab personal editions of books I wrote along with some of the art work my husband has produced.

CLICK this image to see my review!

Series: Disaster Crimes #4
Page Count: 304
Digital Price: 4.99
Print Price: 16.99
Author Rating: Spicy (PG13)

Amazon Barnes & Noble
The Wild Rose Press

BLURB: Beth and Donovan are now happily married, and what Beth wants more than anything is a baby. Her dream of starting a family is put on hold as fires burn dangerously close and Donovan becomes a victim of sabotage.

Donovan escapes what could’ve been a deadly wreck. Their past enemies have been eliminated, so who is cutting brake lines and leaving bloody messages? He vows to find out, for the sake of the woman he loves and the life they’re trying to build.

Amidst a criminal mind game, a fire ignites next to their home. They battle the flames and fight to keep their house safe from the blaze pressing in on all sides, but neither of them expects to confront a psychotic adversary in the middle of the inferno.

Their lives may just go up in flames…

About the Author: Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. She’s partnered with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and runs their Goodreads book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.

Author Links:
Website / Blog / Goodreads
Facebook / Twitter / Amazon

Before you check out some other stops on this blog fest, be sure to scroll down and read below, for another tasty treat.


Electric‘ because they are ebooks.
Eclectic‘ for the various styles, genres and authors who write them.
And ‘Novelettes‘ as not to mislead readers they are anything other than short, sample books; introductory books to new authors and new genres.

Electric Eclectic books are written by some of the best indie authors in the world, each Electric Eclectic Novelette delivers wonderful and entertaining storytelling to a high standard.

People searching for their ‘next favourite read’ can rest assured in the knowledge that Electric Eclectic Novelettes have undergone a rigorous selection process, ensuring the stories meet or exacting standards.

This means you do not need to read through a bunch of ‘hookey’ or substandard books, or spend out on a random book hoping you will enjoy its content.

With each Electric Eclectic book costing, just 1.00 (dollar/euro/pound), it is a small price to pay to ensure a thoroughly entertaining read and an introduction to your next ‘favorite’ author.

Once you have found the right style of stories, the ones you love, you will have found your next favourite author and can start to work your way through their full-length books and novels knowing you will thoroughly enjoy their writing.

Download a handful of Electric Eclectic Novelettes and give yourself a literary treat?

What is more, Electric Eclectic Novelettes are easy to find.

The first way is to visit the Electric Eclectic website where all the Novelettes are shown, along with author insights and links to their personal books and pages.

The second is to go to Amazon books and type ‘Electric Eclectic books’ into the search bar. (In the USA you will need the Amazon.com Kindle search page.)

Alternatively, if you are on Amazon.co.uk you can follow this link: http://amzn.to/2BnYe7u

Website link: https://goo.gl/q2zwTS (This site is available to view, but not fully functional or edited. Estimated date of completion Mid-January 2018)

Email: EEbookbranding@mail.com


Are you going to try a schedule for your writing this year?

What are you grabbing on the way out of your burning house?

Interested in Electric Electic Novelettes?


After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Tyrean Martinson,
The Cynical Sailor,
Megan Morgan,
Rachna Chhabria, and
Jennifer Lane!


Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #57).

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

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse #Review: Armada #scifi #book

The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you’ve finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same. In this way, we’ll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers. Please join us below.

Last month I talked about reading Armada, so this month I’ll post about finishing it. But first…

I finished my reading challenge for the year and might even add to it before January 1st, but we’ll have to see. Since I’ve neglected my YouTube channel for the last few month, and update on what I read and how my challenge went is in the works.

On a completely separate note, I started a new blog series on music and writing over at A Small Gang of Authors. Give it a look, if you are interested.

2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge
Toi has
completed her goal of reading
50 books in

Title: Armada

Series: NA

Author: Ernest Cline

Genre: Science Fiction, YA

Pages: 368

Reading Level: Teen-Adult

Content: PG-13 (some language, violence, bullying, war, combat, espionage, genocide)

This is a fun story. It’s not the most clever sci-fi story ever written, but coming from the man who gave us Ready Player One, it’s still pretty cool.

The story of Zach Lightman is literally one we’ve heard before, but the changes and twist are still fun to watch unfold. Perhaps you’ve heard of Luke Skywalker, (cough, cough) Wade Watts, heck even Daniel LaRusso aka Daniel Son- well then, in a way, you’ve met Zach Lightman already.

In Ready Player One, Cline showed readers a world where virtual reality was the only reality that mattered. In Armada, he shows how conspiracy theories and art (i.e. science fiction) is a true reflection of reality. By comparison, instead of being trapped in the Matrix, our characters are living in Zion, the last human city, getting ready to learn that the Matrix exists. They’ll have a few brief moments to decide if Zion is worth fighting for or concede to be consumed by the program…

A little dramatic I know, but that’s kind of how this book is. Plus, I’m pretty sure it makes reference to every science fiction book, movie, and TV show to ever be Tweeted about. It’s not an original idea, but the execution is great and the characters are entertaining.

The beginning is slow but humorous and then the sh** hits the fan. There are secrets being kept from all sides and a mystery that only a few are willing to pursue. It’s a good story, but somewhat predictable. Still, I liked every minute of it. I let myself get caught up in all the characters, however brief their stories might have been, ‘cause some didn’t make it very long, and I think that made all the difference.

The ending was a bit unsettling for me. If there’s going to be a follow-up, I think it’s a fantastic ending, if not, I feel it leaves too many unanswered questions; it harkens back to the ending of Childhood’s End (see not so original, but still good). In any case, it’s still a satisfying ending, if not also sad, in some ways.

Recommended to fans of science fiction and video games. For this one, I fear that people who are not into at least one, but probably both of these criteria, may not enjoy or even “get” this book.

I give this book a 4.

Please stop by and see what others have read. 😀

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

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse #Review: Fairest #scifi #fairytale

Sorry for being late this month. I forgot to schedule my post. For those of you in the US, be safe out there today. If you’re at home, please enjoy this hop.

The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you’ve finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same. In this way, we’ll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers. Please join us below.

Title: Fairest
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: Science Fiction, Fairytale Retelling
Pages: 256
Reading Level: Teen
Content: PG-13 (violence, brutality, doom, mature and dark themes, adult situations, oppression)

After reading Cress, I wasted no time jumping into this long-awaited backstory into the life of the Wicked Queen, aka Levana. I can barely find the right words to describe how much I enjoyed this book. I’m so afraid of giving away spoilers that I’m purposefully making this a short review.

I will say that, dang is this woman’s life messed up. She is all kinds of damaged, from an early age, and she just spirals into, what I consider, insanity. What she does, what is done to her, what the what…. I just can’t. This is such a sad, and brutal, and terrifying story. You want to feel bad for Levana, but she won’t let you. Her crazy out does any wrong done to her and any sympathy she didn’t ask for.

I absolutely love this villain. I so want her to lose so I can feel bad for her and be completely satisfied all at once… See, just reading her story has made me a little crazy.

Totally recommended to fans of this series, fans of psychological sci-fan, and dark fairy tale retellings.

I give this book a 5.

Please stop by and see what others have read. 😀

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

Remakes Blogfest! The best & worst of #books, #film, #music & more

Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh and Heather M. Gardner.

Remakes – most of them suck. Now and then, one comes along that is as good as, if not better, than the original. And after all of the bad ones we’ve endured, we want to know about some good ones.

On November 13, 2017 (hey, that’s today :D), blog about your favorite remake: movie (or television show into movie and vice versa), song, or book – or all three! Post a YouTube video and links where we can find these treasures. Tell us why THIS remake doesn’t suck!


This post is basically an excuse for me not to do some other posts I’ve been meaning to do, so I plan to make it count. Here it goes; some of my best and worst remakes I know. *DISCLAIMER: Most of the titles listed here are the result of me putting multiple options into a random number generator and posting about the one that came up on the list. There are just too many remakes to consider. There are remakes out there that people don’t even realize are remakes, especially if you go as far back as the silent film era and the golden age of Jazz.


BEST- King Kong

I’ve always loved King Kong, starting with the 1933 film. I’ve watched most of the movies under that title including some of the really bad Japanese movies completely unassociated with Godzilla. When the 2005 film came out, it brought back my childhood and the feeling I had that first made me a fan. This movie pays homage to the original on so many levels and then expands to make it into something new. It introduces a whole new generation to an amazing character and story and does it justice with really cool special effects.

WORST- Clash of Titans

Even with the outdated special effects of claymation, the original release of 1981 was, for me, ten-times better the special effects driven storyline of the 2010 remake. Plus, they got rid of Bobo. :p Not much else to say here.


BEST- Mission Impossible

I only ever watched the original Mission Impossible TV show when it came on classic TV, late at night. By that time, my parents had given up on trying to get me to sleep at night, especially since I seemed to be a well-functioning night owl and only stayed up to watch old TV shows and movies. When the first, Tom Cruise, Mission Impossible movie came out, I was excited. The movie was pretty good and got people talking about the original show, a little. That’s what I think a good remake should do.

WORST- Starsky and Hutch (Never saw the Baywatch remake)

Not sure why they took a decent (well, not terrible) 70’s cop show and turned it into a ridiculous farce/comedy, but it didn’t go over well. Not the first or last mistake like this.

Book/Comic Strip—->Stage Play/Movie

BEST (gender swapper?) Annie

So the original stage-play musical is said to have been based on the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie”, but isn’t that comic strip just a gender-bender for the Oliver Twist story? Well, that’s what I’ve always thought. In any case, this still qualifies as a remake and I’ve so enjoyed the many small stage versions of the play I’ve seen as well as both theatrical film releases.

WORST- IDK, need to think on this more.


BEST- Cloud Atlas

This is a fairly recent book and movie remake in the scheme of things. There are many people who didn’t get the book by David Mitchell, so I’m sure the movie wasn’t high on their list either. Me on the other hand, I loved the book and the movie. Of course, I could tell you a list of issues I had with the film adaptation of this book, but overall, the film’s ability to grasp the multiple themes, story plots, and depict reincarnation is such a clear and vivid way, deserves recognition. I enjoy watching this film just for the visual representation of complicated storytelling techniques you only expect to experience when reading. The effects are good for sure, but it goes beyond that.

WORST- Cat in the Hat

I think this movie was supposed to be cute and funny, maybe a bit mischievous, like the beloved children’s book, but it wasn’t. It was weird. It failed and was totally unnecessary since there have been really good cartoon versions of this and other Dr. Seuss stories around for quite a while.


BEST- With A Little Help From My Friends by Joe Coker

I have always considered Joe Coker’s version of With A Little Help From My Friends to be one of the greatest popular-music song remakes of all time for 4 main reasons.

1) the original song is phenomenal but difficult to pull off without sounding cheesy unless you are The Beatles.

2) Coker not only performs the song well, he makes it into something almost unrecognizable from the original, making it a classic in its own right.

3) Childhood nostalgia will always remind me that I’m amongst friends as I reminisce about “The Wonder Years” to which this song was the intro.

4) I have this song on its original vinyl and the sound is amazing. I can listen to this once a week for the rest of my life and not get bored with it.

WORST- Blue Monday by Orgy

Blue Monday by New Order is not one of my favorite songs in the world, but it’s a decent song; definitely a product of the 80’s. The remake by Orgy didn’t do much to make it stand out other than to make it really really heavy. I just think this is a remake that could have been passed on.


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

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse #Review: Cress #scifi #fairytale

The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you’ve finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same. In this way, we’ll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers. Please join us below.

Title: Cress
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: Science Fiction, Fairytale Retelling
Pages: 560
Reading Level: Teen
Content: PG-13 (violence, brutality, doom, war, mature and dark themes, adult situations, oppression)

I honestly didn’t see the girl trapped on a satellite turning into a Rapunzel retelling, but it totally works. I love how the author embeds plot points from the original fairytale into this futuristic saga in ways that actually make perfect sense. I won’t geek out about it too much because I don’t want to give away spoilers, but if you like the Rapunzel story, you’ll appreciate this installment of the Lunar Chronicles where Thorne kind of plays the role of the prince.

Before I say more about what I liked in this book, I’ll mention that there wasn’t enough Wolf and Scarlet interaction for me. I understand why they aren’t focused on too much and appreciate where the story is going. I will also admit that I’ve been on the fence a bit about whether or not I really ‘get’ Cinder as the great hero and this story really helped me to appreciate her more. I already liked her, but I just had trouble seeing her as a hero, knowing that the character struggles with that notion herself, makes her feel more real.

I also found that this installment made me appreciate Emperor Kai more. As I read the story, I was pleasantly tasked with reminding myself that these are young, teenage, characters trying to save the world. Too often, for my taste, YA stories make me wish the characters were older. I felt it was a mark of superb storytelling and character development that allowed me to accept the, few and far between, teenage angst because I realized that the story needed light tones from time to time.

Being a sucker for “the one” tales, I really enjoyed how Cinder began to hone her Lunar gifts and complement them with her cyborg advancements. I appreciated the uniqueness of her character and role she plays in bringing light to issues of stereotyping, superstition, and discrimination. I also love that Iko got more involved (can’t wait to read her graphic novel).

Recommended to teen and adult fans of fairytale retellings, cyborg or machine tales, and a good fantasy and sci-fi mash-up.

I give this book a 5.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like a Kindle copy of this book, try this link: Amazon.

Get a print copy with free international shipping at this link: Book Depository.

If you’re up for it, I could really use some support for my Thunderclap campaign, which promotes my 10 Kindle book sale and 5 paperback giveaway.

Please stop by and see what others have read. 😀

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