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


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.


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 14th). Would you like to do a blog swap promo?


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? :/


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!


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

New blog, #ReadingIndie, caters to readers & offers #free promo to authors.

Hey guys. I’m happy, excited, and a bit nervous to tell you about a new project I’ve taken on. The Reading Indie blog is the pet project of the Authors Professional Co-op. This Facebook group is dedicated to offering support and education to indie authors but has decided to try something new. The original idea became the blog, Author Promo Co-op, but the platform didn’t quite work out and so, faded away. As a former Author Promo Co-op Admin and a current Authors Professional Co-op Admin, I decided to contact the founder of the APC to see if I could have a go at creating a reader-targeted blog with the sole purpose of promoting indie authors. This new blog would be powered by the APC, but not limited to it. This blog will be open to all indie authors. She thought it was a great idea, so I started planning.

For weeks, I approached the group with questions and polls to make sure I was putting something together that they would actually want to be promoted on; that’s even how the name was decided. It was all voted on. Once I had a small admin team to help with the development, we took over and put hours and days into making a place that would showcase indie books and authors to excited readers. Since the development of the blog was completed, life has gotten in the way of some of our efforts and some of my team has stepped aside. I’m still going forward with trying to launch this new blog, but will always be open to taking on more help. Click here if you are interested in helping out.

Now, all Reading Indie needs are some amazing indie authors to feature. We have so much to offer and hope that authors, bloggers, and readers will take advantage of our efforts. We are now, and will be each month, running a giveaway to feature the book covers of four authors, for one week on the landing page of our blog. The more the blog grows, the more influence that landing page will have. We are so excited about the possibilities and hope you will join us and follow along… Seriously, please follow this blog. 😉

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

#Author interview with Karl Ayling @AylingKarl #nonfic

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, Karl Ayling. A good time was truly had by all, and here’s how it went down.

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

Karl: Hi Toi. Thanks for having me.

Toi Thomas: So tell me, who is Karl Ayling?

Karl: I’m the author of Massive Power Massive Love. I’m a Christian who found faith later on in life. I’ve written about healing from the activities of paedophile parents and the emotional, physical and spiritual damage that this caused.

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?

Karl: I relate to The Who’s song Love Reign O’er Me from Quadrophenia. I have been listening to this track for many years and one day bopping along with my i-pod, I heard it differently. Something snapped and it hit me right in the heart. Transformation in music.

Toi Thomas: What’s your ideal reading spot for your next highly anticipated read?

Karl: I am currently reading David Finklehor and his research around the sociological background and effects of childhood sexual abuse. It’s an American book and based on US statistics which mirror those in my home country – the UK. I hope that this research will help me in my own writings.


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

Karl: Pre-teen I was into Spiderman and Superman comics. It was a cool way to follow the crowd whilst also hiding (and not dealing) with family issues.

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

Karl: I would like to interview Jesus at anytime from his birth to age 30.

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 what are you sharing with me today?

Karl: Shocking… heart- rending… inspiring… compulsive reading.

My book is a paperback published by Apolostolos Publishing. Its called, Massive Power Massive Love. It tells of my overcoming addiction and sexual abuse. Visit this link to learn more.

Toi Thomas: So where’s the motivation behind Massive Power Massive Love?

Karl: Both of my natural parents were abusive paedophiles; surviving childhood, OCD, and PTSD left me wanting to share. It has been a journey, which continues and the more I share about male abuse survivors perhaps, the more will be inspired to seek help.

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

Karl: Not many male survivors write about childhood sexual abuse and overcoming addiction.

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

Karl: I’m currently researching my next book. Reading around the topics and statistics of child sexual abuse along with client centred counselling. So far, I have chapter headings and some titles for poems. For me, this pre-writing process lets me see and find the edges of my topics before actually sitting down to write.

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

Karl: Coming out the other side of therapy and thinking about what I had to say, I developed my own unique style not based on anything other than an open and honest reflection of events.

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

Karl: OK!

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

Karl: Lord of the Rings trilogy. This was literally the last book I read before finding my faith. And, I thought it was a secular work too!

Toi Thomas: When the soundtrack of your life is playing in your head, what songs express your glee and what songs bring out your rage?

Karl: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – 1812 Overture brings joyful glee whenever I listen to it.

Monster by Skillet brings up rage and anger.

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?

Karl: My bible. My family. My wits.

Toi Thomas: What’s the most fun experience you’ve ever had, to date?

Karl: Racing my motorbike around Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground at 166mph and popping an unintentional wheelie at 147mph.

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?

Karl: As I mentioned earlier, I’m reading research around my core subjects and this may lead to starting up a counselling service in my area of the UK. There are woefully few male counsellors doing this work with my kind of background. There is a charity in a local city that specialises training counsellors and I am booked onto an introductory course later in the year.

Toi Thomas: Thank you so much, Karl for spending time with me today.

Karl: Thanks again, Toi, for having me.

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 Karl Ayling, check out these great links:

Website: KarlAyling.com

Twitter: @AylingKarl

Purchase links for Massive Power Massive Love: Amazon | Book Depository

This has been a

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 Bridge of Deaths by @M_C_V_Egan Promo & #Free eBook Tour by @MoBPromos via #thetoiboxofwords #amreading

The Bridge of Deaths
1st ed. published June 9, 2011- 50,000 words, 372 Pages


2nd. revised ed. published on August 15, 2014


Historical Fiction based on real events
with Metaphysical, Mystery, and Romance influences
Follow Bill and Maggie as they cross THE BRIDGE OF DEATHS into 1939 to uncover the mystery behind the plane crash of the G-AESY. A blend of historical fact and fiction takes the reader through well-known and little-known accounts leading up to WWII.


In the winter of 2009-2010 a young executive, Bill is promoted and transferred to London for a major International firm. He has struggled for the better part of his life with nightmares and phobias, which only seem to worsen in London. As he seeks the help of a therapist he accepts that his issues may well be related to a ‘past-life trauma’.


Through love, curiosity, archives and the information superhighway of the 21st century Bill travels through knowledge and time to uncover the story of the 1939 plane crash.

The Bridge of Deaths


Maggie liked Foyles at Charing Cross Road and shopped there often. She had been raised with all that is unlikely, unconventional, and supernatural (perhaps even magical). When she was a child, her world was that of fairies, ghosts, wishes, and the power of crystals and planets. She was taught that answers were to be found in round circles called astrology charts and that there were many people in the world who were psychic and could foretell the future. Although that world was an appealing world, it was inevitable that Maggie, as so many teenagers do, would rebel against the beliefs she was raised with and seek other philosophies.


She experimented with various traditional religions and belief systems that existed to fill in the voids felt by those lacking any sort of faith. She found that although she liked many traditional religions and appreciated what they stood for, it was indeed Buddhism that made her feel the most complete. Maggie was for all intents and purposes an illogical, whimsical, adventuresome, and happy young woman. She slept soundly and lived a very complete life.


The philosophies of acceptance by which she lived her life made her compatible with most people. She had a nice relationship with her mother, a Danish astrologer, and her father, a successful English businessman who was happy to receive a little guidance from the planets. (If anyone objected to this, he happily pointed out that it had worked for Ronald Reagan.) Maggie often read the books her mother spoke about, and every once in a while, she even joined her mother in some new age ritual or other.


It was the excuse of searching for the perfect birthday gift for her mother that placed her at the same book section and store. From the moment she saw the tall, slender man walking down the street, she felt that she needed to follow him. This is not something she remembered ever having done before. She was pretty, and more often than not, men approached her. Experience had taught her that many men worth talking to could be shy and sometimes needed to be approached. With the confidence that is often exhibited by very pretty women, she was not deterred in the least by his surprised reaction to her smile, and so she spoke.


“So, which of the women in your life recommended that book to you? Was it your mum or your girlfriend?”


She was indeed pretty, and inasmuch as he was instantly attracted to her, it was not in a purely physical way. Someday, as their love story flourished, she would explain to him that when two souls from the past meet, they recognize each other. This happens in love stories, to parents when they first encounter the eyes of their newborn, and to friends as well as enemies.


As so many lovers do, when they first met, neither one of them spoke the absolute truth. Like so many lovers starting out a new love story, if they had known where this would lead, both of them might have run out of the bookstore. But they both chose to stay, and so on a cold winter day in January of 2010, when the world was mourning the passing of so many souls in Haiti, their love story began. He smiled back and answered her question.


“Why would it have to be a woman? Why couldn’t a man recommend it?”


“Oh I see. You are an American.”


“No, Canadian actually.”


“Same difference. Perhaps in America or Canada, a man other than the author would recommend Many Lives, Many Masters. But here in England, well, it would have to be a girlfriend probably on her grand quest as to how you are soul mates eternally destined to be together, or maybe it would be a middle-aged mum who just discovered Brian Weiss, the author. So, it is that, or you have some sort of existential crisis that led you to find the book on your own. So, mum or girlfriend?”


“Hmmm, let me see. My mother prefers to pray and attend church. I don’t have a girlfriend, and it was the medical background of the guy who wrote the book, Dr. Weiss, that impressed me. So, maybe I do fall into the existential crisis category”


Her beautiful eyes widened.


“Existential crisis it is then, but if you seek impressive credentials in past-life therapy, you might want to read this book, Other Lives, Other Selves. Tell me, what triggered your belief in past lives?”


“Belief! I would not call it belief … possibility. I’ve come to realize that strange things happen.”


“You know, once you read that book, you will believe. In life there are certain doorways that once you cross them, they will forever change you. And you might also resolve your existential crisis. What you will definitely find is that women love to sleep with men who search for depth through such beliefs.”


So in that cold European winter when some in the world denied global warming, he lay in bed, holding her. He could not imagine a less likely place to have encountered the perfect girl, the self-help section at a bookstore. She was, by all accounts, very beautiful. Her laughter and smiley eyes were completely contagious. He was ready to settle down, and she might be the one, even if that involved accepting some very unlikely ideas that she held. There was the most extraordinary feeling of comfort in simply being with her.


Maggie had to laugh; she thought he’d be a quick and fun adventure, one that she would soon get out of her system. But this yuppie geek, as it turned out, was surprisingly special from the very first moment. This could be far more than a casual adventure.


Bill had not spoken to anyone about his problems. Not anyone other than doctors or therapists. Maggie worked counseling young kids. She was trained to ask just the right questions to make people talk. Bill was used to carefully giving only the information he wanted to give in business and in his private life. He sometimes caught himself telling Maggie much more than what he expected was safe. She thought that she knew just how to pry and could tell he was holding back; this, of course, made him all the more interesting.


Their love story grew and developed as some do. Maggie usually led and Bill followed. They enjoyed the typical things new couples enjoy, such as going to restaurants, the cinema, shops, and museums. Sometimes, if the winter weather allowed, they went for nice long walks. Before Bill met Maggie, he had spent all his time in London buried in his work, with his colleagues at the gym, or finding ways to run away from the dreams and thoughts that haunted him. He did this by playing any distracting “brain game” that helped him to forget the letters, the same five letters, on the wings and on the side of the aircraft in his nightmares.


He liked to remember how it had been the day they met there in the bookstore by the self-help and philosophy section while he had been holding the book Many Lives, Many Masters, a book that seemed sensible enough to explain past lives. (He had also noticed one discussing future lives. That seemed ridiculous, and he was wondering if in spite of Dr. Weiss’s credentials, this was the right way to learn more about past-life regression therapy.) It was right at that moment that she had smiled and spoken. He liked the thought of how later that day, before they left the bookstore together, they each had purchased a book; he bought Many Lives, Many Masters, and Maggie chose the one about future lives, Same Soul, Many Bodies, the ridiculous one. They often visited Foyles on rainy days.


Maggie loved that bookstore, so it could not exactly be said that she had followed him inside. That would have been completely out of character for her. She had not only felt attracted to his physique, but also the way he moved as he walked seemed so familiar; there was a very strong force there, and there had been something she recognized.


Then he absolutely surprised her; he went to the section she had least expected “his type”—the cute, yuppie geek type—to choose: he went to her mother’s favorite section, the self-help and new age philosophies section, and in his hand was one of the new age beliefs’ basic books, Many Lives, Many Masters.


This was good; it could only mean that he was new to such ideas. That was an old book. It was from the 1980s. Maybe even older. It had to be that old; she remembered a copy or two in her parents’ house for as long as she could remember. This guy, this conquest—Maggie, as many pretty young women do, conquered the hearts of men for sport—this conquest would be a breeze. It was then that he felt different, when he spoke and she heard his accent, an accent so familiar to her from the cinema and the telly, the accent of all the handsome men of her fantasies, an accent that made him even more appealing. Unlike the man she had just met, Maggie was very aware that she was a hopeless romantic.
The Bridge of Deaths **** Revised Edition
The Bridge of Deaths **** Original Edition


Rated 4.7 Stars on AmazonREVISED EDITION

Experience this incredible quest, through the eyes of the author, and also the fictional characters of Maggie and Bill, who discover their connection to this event through a series of past life regressions. Mystery, love, reincarnation, discovery, and life abound. ~ 5 star review by RE


This has elements for the romantic, the mystery buff, and the history buff that will keep you reading until the end. ~ 5 star review by Teresa Watson


M C V Egan catches you in the first chapter and doesn’t let you go. You are sucked into both the historical story as well as the personal and paranormal stories that are intertwined through the book. You are wrapped up in the three main characters in both this life and their immediately previous life and enthralled in the winding trail of research that they follow together and separately to join the two together. Recommended. ~ 5 star review by FBTR


This is an EXCELLENT book! If you have been passing up Bridge of Deaths by Mcv Egan, well, cut it out! This book is VERY well researched. Excellent story with a blend of romance and mystery. I almost passed it by because I’m not a big history buff, BUT I started going thru the reviews and decided I had to go for it! This is one of the most interesting books I’ve read in awhile. From the first few chapters, I was invested in seeing where the story would take me. I was interested in the characters and completely captivated by the plot. ~ 5 star VERIFIED PURCHASE review by Tina “UF and PNR Romance fan”


The story is simple. Reincarnation and real research works in tandem to bring two lovers destined and the past together. The real story is that this book is not close to fiction. Little of this novel is fiction and that adds some wonderful spice to the story. ~ 5 star VERIFIED PURCHASE review by Wanda “Wandah Panda”


M.C.V. Egan is the pen name chosen by Maria Catalina Vergara Egan. Catalina was born in Mexico City, Mexico in 1959, the sixth of eight children, in a traditional Catholic family. From a very young age, she became obsessed with the story of her maternal grandfather, Cesar Agustin Castillo–mostly the story of how he died.


She spent her childhood in Mexico. When her father became an employee of The World Bank in Washington D.C. in the early 1970s, she moved with her entire family to the United States. Catalina was already fluent in English, as she had spent one school year in the town of Pineville, Louisiana with her grandparents. There she won the English award, despite being the only one who had English as a second language in her class. In the D.C. suburbs she attended various private Catholic schools and graduated from Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland in 1977.


She attended Montgomery Community College, where she changed majors every semester. She also studied in Lyons, France, at the Catholic University for two years. In 1981, due to an impulsive young marriage to a Viking (the Swedish kind, not the football player kind), Catalina moved to Sweden where she resided for five years and taught at a language school for Swedish, Danish, and Finnish businesspeople. She then returned to the USA, where she has lived ever since. She is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Swedish.


Maria Catalina Vergara Egan is married and has one son who, together with their five-pound Chihuahua, makes her feel like a full-time mother. Although she would not call herself an astrologer she has taken many classes and taught a few beginner classes in the subject M.C.V. Egan’s new series DEFINING WAYS uses Astrology and other Metaphysical tools www.thebridgeofdeaths.com



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 August 2015: Promotion without a budget.


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.


I know I’m not the only one who takes on too much and expects too much of the world around me, but I can only feel my pain and frustration. I feel so silly sometimes thinking about all these grand ideas that will never come to pass. I mean some of them might or at least something close to them might, but for the most part, I’m sure I dream way bigger than I can actually climb; plus I’m out of shape.

So here I am struggling to publish one story, struggling to complete another, struggling to write one, and dreading the promotion of another. And none of this begins to scratch the surface of other responsibilities I’ve taken on and I’m afraid to back down. I keep taking on more with the intentions to better or alter my life in a manner that would be more beneficial to my health and happiness, but perhaps I should just suck it up and be miserable, save for the times I’m writing and hanging out with my family.

I have an amazing idea for a blowout promo, but I don’t have the following or influence to pull it off. In cases like this people simply make an investment and hire someone to do it. I’ve looked at all the possibilities and to do what I want will cost more that I’ll probably make in my first three months of sales. To be honest, after paying for an editor, I really won’t have any budget left to do anything. Oh well, I can’t give up. I’ll figure something out, even if I can’t get what I want. I guess something is better than nothing…

I’m currently conducting a survey on Facebook Groups, PLEASE check it out.

Click here to visit a Facebook poll.

I hope I haven’t bummed you out too much. I’ll keep dreaming and hopefully you will too.


Any words of encouragement to offer or perhaps a funny joke?
I could totally use it.


After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Nancy Gideon,
Bob R. Milne,
Doreen McGettigan,
Chrys Fey,
Bish Denham, and
Pat Garcia!


Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #102).

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