#IWSG June 2017: New Adventures, Counting Blessings, Blog Break, & Can’t Quit

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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: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

I’ve never said I’d quit writing once I started and really understood what I was doing and how much it was a part of me. I have thought about saying “I quit” to blogging from time to time, but that’s usually due to me feeling like I never have enough time. Even if I decided at some point not to pursue publication anymore, I don’t think I would ever stop writing.

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Now for some personal and professional updates. 1) I’m taking a one month break from this blog to regroup my focus and put some work into another project. I need to get my head together so my posts will go back to being regular and consistent.

2) I recently shared a few blessings on social media that I’d like to share here now. Over the Memorial Day weekend, here in the US, I did not run any kind of a book promotion, but I still managed to get a spike in my Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel sales. A few days after I realized this nice blessing, I got a fan email from a woman who bought my romcom, It’s Like the Full Moon, at a local Con and loved it. It made my week.

3) New adventures abound for me. I’m working to develop a new blog community, but it’s not what I think other people think it is. I don’t want this blog to be competition for other book blogs and I don’t want to do this all by myself. My hope is to create a collaboration that helps bring indie books mainstream.

As blog admin for the Reading Indie blog, I want to:
-create a list of other book and author blogs to help readers find the kinds of books they are interested in.
-promote books even if they aren’t free or discounted and show readers that authors are people too.
-give authors an outlet to build up their SEO with guest posts, interviews, and creative link backs.
-create a gift box prize that intrigues readers into wanting to know more or experience more that indie has to offer.

4) My adventures don’t stop there. I’m attempting to plan two blog events for the Reading Indie blog:
-one for Indie Pride Day (July 1st I believe). Would you like to be featured in a book promo video?
-one for International Authors Day (July 18th I believe). Would you like to do a blog swap promo?

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So, ever thought about saying, “I quit” to writing?
Thinking about taking a blogging break anytime soon?
Wish me luck for my Reading Indie adventures? :/

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
JH Moncrieff,
Madeline Mora-Summonte,
Jen Chandler,
Megan Morgan, and
Heather Gardner!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #64).

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

Neil Gaiman Spotlight, Blog Tour, and #Giveaway!

Dog Eared Publicity is pleased to bring you Neil Gaiman’s AMERICAN GODS, ANANSI BOYS, STARDUST and NEVERWHERE  virtual book tour November 7 – December 2!

Due to a series of unfortunate events, I am unable to post a review for American Gods today. I promise, as soon as I’m able I will. For those interested, here are the reviews I posted some time ago for Stardust and Good Omens. I hope you enjoy them…

And for today, I give you a special spotlight of the man who needs no introduction, author Neil Gaiman.

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Neil Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains; the Sandman series of graphic novels; and the story collections Smoke and MirrorsFragile Things, and Trigger Warning. He is the winner of numerous literary honors, including the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy awards, and the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. Originally from England, he now lives in the United States. He is Professor in the Arts at Bard College.Visit his website at http://www.neilgaiman.com

Twitter | Facebook

And now, the books. Oooo, so pretty. 😀

What I’m currently anticipating.



Title: American Gods
Author: Neil Gaiman

Release Date: August 16, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Format: Ebook/Paperback/Hardcover
Newly updated and expanded with the author’s preferred text. A modern masterpiece from the multiple-award-winning master of innovative fiction, Neil Gaiman.

First published in 2001, American Gods became an instant classic, lauded for its brilliant synthesis of “mystery, satire, sex, horror, and poetic prose” (Washington Post) and as a modern phantasmagoria that “distills the essence of America” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). It is the story of Shadow—released from prison just days after his wife and best friend are killed in an accident—who gets recruited to be bodyguard, driver, and errand boy for the enigmatic trickster, Mr. Wednesday. So begins Shadow’s dark and strange road trip, one that introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own. For, beneath the placid surface of everyday life, a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and Shadow is standing squarely in its path.
“Pointed, occasionally comic, often scary, consistently moving and provocative….American Gods is strewn with secrets and magical visions.”—USA Today


“Original, engrossing, and endlessly inventive.”—George R. R. Martin

 

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Next on the TBR list.



Title: Anansi Boys
Author: Neil Gaiman

Release Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Format: Ebook/Paperback/Hardcover
In this #1 New York Times bestseller, Neil Gaiman returns to the territory of his masterpiece, American Gods, to once again probe the dark recesses of the soul.
God is dead. Meet the kids.

Fat Charlie Nancy’s normal life ended the moment his father dropped dead on a Florida karaoke stage. Charlie didn’t know his dad was a god. And he never knew he had a brother. Now brother Spider is on his doorstep—about to make Fat Charlie’s life more interesting . . . and a lot more dangerous.


“Thrilling, spooky, and wondrous.”Denver Post

“Awesomely inventive.… When you take the free-fall plunge into a Neil Gaiman book, anything can happen and anything invariably does.”

Entertainment Weekly

“Delightful, funny and affecting…. A tall tale to end all tall tales.”

Washington Post Book World

 

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Read it, Enjoyed it! 😉



Title: Stardust
Author: Neil Gaiman

Release Date: September 27, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Format: Ebook/Paperback/Hardcover

Now a major motion picture—this charming fairy tale by the #1 New York Timesbestselling author, weaves a magical story set long ago in the tiny English village of Wall, a place where things are not quite what they seem.
Go and catch a falling star . . .

Tristran Thorn promises to bring back a fallen star for his beloved, the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester—and crosses the wall that divides his English country town from another, more dangerous world of lords and witches, all of them in search of the star. Rich with adventure and magic, Stardust is one of master storyteller Neil Gaiman’s most beloved tales.
“Eminently readable—a charming piece of work.”
Washington Post Book World



“Beautiful, memorable . . . A book full of marvels.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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Excited about this one.



Title: Neverwhere
Author: Neil Gaiman

Release Date: November 29, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Format: Ebook/Paperback/Hardcover
National BestsellerSelected as one of NPR’s Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of All TimeThe #1 New York Times bestselling author’s ultimate edition of his wildly successful first novel featuring his “preferred text”—and including his new Neverwhere tale, “How the Marquis Got His Coat Back.”

Richard Mayhew is a young man with a good heart and an ordinary life, which is changed forever when he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk. His small act of kindness propels him into a world he never dreamed existed. There are people who fall through the cracks, and Richard has become one of them. And he must learn to survive in this city of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels, if he is ever to return to the London that he knew.“A fantastic story that is both the stuff of dreams and nightmares” (San Diego Union-Tribune), Neil Gaiman’s first solo novel has become a touchstone of urban fantasy, and a perennial favorite of readers everywhere.“Delightful … inventively horrific.”

USA Today

 

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William Morrow is giving away a (5) sets of American Gods, Anansi Boys, Neverwhere and Stardust!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Five winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one set of all 4 books
  • This giveaway ends midnight December 2.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on December 3.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the tour here:

 Monday, November 7 – American Gods reviewed at The Toibox of Words 🙁
Tuesday, November 8 – Stardust featured at Zach’s YA Reviews
Wednesday, November 9 – American Gods reviewed at Bound 4 Escape
Thursday, November 10 – Neverwhere reviewed at BookStopCorner
Friday, November 11 – Neverwhere reviewed at Dreaming Big
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 Monday, November 14 – American Gods featured at Waiting on Sunday to Drown
American Gods featured at I Smell Sheep
Stardust reviewed at Reading Reality
Neverwhere reviewed at 100 Pages a Day
Neverwhere reviewed at Svetlana Reads and Views
Tuesday, November 15 – American Gods reviewed at Hopelessly Devoted Bibiophile
Anansi Boys reviewed at Dreaming Big
Wednesday, November 16 – American Gods reviewed at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Stardust reviewed at Bound 4 Escape
Neverwhere reviewed at Alexia’s Books and Such
Thursday, November 17 – American Gods reviewed at Fascinating Quest
Friday, November 18 – American Gods reviewed at ABookGeek
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 Monday, November 21 – Stardust reviewed at Laura’s Interests
Stardust featured at I Smell Sheep
Anansi Boys reviewed at Chapter by Chapter
Neverwhere reviewed at Cover2Cover
Neverwhere reviewed at RhiReading
Tuesday, November 22 – American Gods reviewed at Zach’s YA Reviews
Anansi Boys reviewed at Bound 4 Escape
Anansi Boys reviewed at Svetlana Reads and Views
Wednesday, November 23 – Stardust reviewed at Dreaming Big
Thursday, November 24 – Stardust reviewed at Fascinating Quest
Neverwhere reviewed at Laura’s Interests
Friday, November 25 – Stardust reviewed at RhiReading
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Monday, November 28 – American Gods reviewed at Bookish Things and More
Stardust reviewed at Cover2Cover
Anansi Boys reviewed at Deal Sharing Aunt
Tuesday, November 29 – Stardust reviewed at 100 Pages a Day
Stardust reviewed at Freda’s Voice
Stardust reviewed at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Neverwhere reviewed at A Room Without Books is Empty
Neverwhere reviewed at Live Love Books Blog
Neverwhere reviewed at Deal Sharing Aunt
Wednesday, November 30 – American Gods reviewed at Dreaming Big
American Gods reviewed at RhiReading
Stardust reviewed at A Room Without Books is Empty
Anansi Boys reviewed at Fascinating Quest
Neverwhere reviewed at Bound 4 Escape
Anansi Boys reviewed at Live Love Books Blog
Thursday, December 1 – American Gods reviewed at Live Love Books Blog
American Gods reviewed at A Room Without Books is Empty
Anansi Boys reviewed at Cheryl’s Book Nook
Anansi Boys featured at RhiReading
Neverwhere reviewed at Worth Getting In Bed For
American Gods reviewed at Deal Sharing Aunt
Stardust reviewed at Live Love Books
Friday, December 2 – American Gods reviewed at Cover to Cover
American Gods reviewed at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Stardust featured at Romantic Reads and Such
Neverwhere reviewed at Fascinating Quest
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#IWSG November 2016: What’s so great about being a writing & supporting #teachers.

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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 is your favorite aspect of being a writer?

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Considering I mostly write fiction, I’d say I love the fact that I get to make stuff up to express thoughts, ideas, and more. I like that I can write stories that I want to read, even if I do need lots of help perfecting them for public consumption. But, at my very core, writing is something I have to do to feel complete. Even if I never published anything, I think I’d still be writing. Writing just for writing sake and providing myself with something to read is the best thing about being a writer.

I will say, though, I also like the fact that writing has opened me up to new and welcoming communities of like-minded people. It’s nice to now have a community of readers who also like to write… And, I love how much more involved I’ve become in supporting others since I started writing. It’s not like I didn’t care or give to certain causes before I started writing, but I feel like I give more now. I usually give whatever I would normally give, plus I always seem to be getting involved in fundraisers for causes where I donate my books.

Even now, I’m running a giveaway of my own to support classroom teachers with cash for their class. If you want to know more click here. In an effort to spread the word, I’m also putting together a blog tour where authors and bloggers get to share how books and teachers have made a difference in their life. If you are interested in supporting a classroom teacher, please consider joining my very simple blog tour.

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What do you like about being a writer?
Will you consider my blog tour or giveaway?
Also, check out my side panel to see the trailers I made for my new children’s books.

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Joylene Nowell Butler,
Jen Chandler,
Mary Aalgaar,
Lisa Buie Collard,
Tamara Narayan,
Tyrean Martinson, and
Christine Rains!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #71).

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 October 2016: When is your story ready, in case you missed it, & #book drive donations.

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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: When do you know your story is ready?

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The smarta$$ in me wants to ask the question, “ready for what?” When is your story ready for sharing, ready for editing, ready for publishing? Who knows… I guess, for me, this question is asking when is your story ready to be shared with others, whether on a blog, in a message to a select few, or with an editor in preparation for publication.

This is a tough one. I don’t always know in the same way for each story. Sometimes the story is ready only after it’s been self-edited enough. Sometimes it’s ready when the story feels complete and satisfying in a way that I no longer feel I need to add to or improve. Sometimes the story is ready when I’m tired of working on it. It really depends on the story and where I am emotionally.

And now on to the updates and in case you missed it.

This blog has been through so many changes over the years and I’m not in a place where I want it to change again, but it may have to. Some of the blog hops I participate in are either ending or changing and I’m feeling anxious. My movie review hop is ending, but I’m still going to try to review one movie a month. I feel like the love of cinema is an important part of me and my creative process that I should share with anyone who might want to know something about me from reading this blog. Also, the Question of the Month and Flashback Friday host has decided to walk away from those hops for good and personal reasons. I’ll miss him and am curious to see what direction these hops will take now that he’s seeking replacements. I threw my name in the hat, but I’d be happy with whoever he chooses. I just want these hops to continue. I really enjoy them.

So…now… let me choose my words wisely. Amazon(dot)com and I had a bit of a tiff recently. I’m seriously considering publishing my email correspondence with them as a free PDF download on this blog for anyone who’d like to read them. They are shocking, sad, and terrifying all at once. If you want to know the summary of our tiff, check out the article I wrote about it last week, by clicking the image below.

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I mentioned it before and here’s the results. I’ve updated all my books and am ready to release my children’s books on my birthday. If you have a moment, please enjoy my unboxing video.

And last but not least, I’m trying a wacky campaign that may not go anywhere, but since I’ve only shared it with family and friends so far (I don’t count Twitter), I won’t feel too bad if no one supports it. I’m used to my family and friends ignoring anything involving my writing, excluding my mom and a handful of others who are my biggest supporters. Again, if you have the time, I’d love for you to check out my campaign video.

Don’t say it enough; thanks bunches for visiting this blog and reading my babble.

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When is your story ready?
Do you handle unwanted change well?
Ever had a tiff with Amazon? Should I publish my emails?
Any thoughts on my new children’s books?

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Beverly Stowe McClure,
Megan Morgan,
Viola Fury,
Madeline Mora-Summonte,
Angela Wooldridge, and
Susan Gourley!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #71).

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

#FlashbackFriday: #Scifi #Book Review: Ender’s Game


Brought to you by, Michael G D’Agostino at A Life Examined, this is a time of the month (the last Friday) where you can republish an old post of yours that maybe didn’t get enough attention, you’re really proud of, or you think is still relevant, etc. I’ve chosen to share old book and movie reviews because those are always relevant.

Originally posted Thursday, November 8, 2012.

Ender’s Game (Ender’s Quartet #1) by Orson Scott Card

I give this book a solid 5.

LoveItThis is the story of an earth on the brink of, yet another, alien invasion that the humans refuse to be unprepared for. While the people of the world are at peace for the most part, everyone holds their tongues and hopes for best, knowing that the savior the planet seeks will probably be someone’s child. This is essentially a military drama that takes place in the presence of intergalactic space travel, about the conditioning of super smart children, who will grow up to be the heroes of the future.

The reason I am so enamored with this book is because it points out all the obvious truths, people refuse to acknowledge, in a way that’s easy to accept and almost comforting. This is one of those stories that points out, just how far “the human” is willing to go to preserve itself as a species, with or without politically correct means. I know this all sounds vague to someone who hasn’t read the book, but trust me, this is how it is.

People question and debate as to whether there are hidden meanings in such children’s classics as The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland, but there are no hidden meanings in this story. The reader is immersed in world of juvenile hormones and aggressive needs for praise, but that’s just the surface. From page one, readers get to know Ender and his internal struggles, as well as, his exterior battles, and begin to relate to this “child” in a way they wish they could relate to their co-workers, families, and friends.

Anyone who knows anything about me or has followed me for half a second knows that I’m a proud geek, so when I come across a story like Ender’s Game, I’m ready to put my geekness to the test. This is a great story for three reasons. It has “an old wise man” or mentor, a loner/outcast “super” hero, and something that’s never been done before happens. Whenever a story has all three of these traits, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be a 5 in my book (Thank you George Lucas).

I like the fact the when Ender’s Game comes to an end, the story feels complete, but there is no big stretch to seeing that there could be and is more of the story to tell. This book seems like a children’s book, but there is so much more to it. The whole family could appreciate it, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Before there was the Hunger Games, there was Ender’s Game.

Get a copy of this Kindle book here.

Get a print copy with free international shipping here.

Please visit the other participants in this hop and even join in if you’d like.

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