The Rising Book Tour

The Rising extended version will soon be going on book tour. If you’d liketo feature it or have me do a guest post for you, please feel free to contact me using the form above.

But I also wanted to share one of my favorite tools for book tours. I’ve shared several tools for helping you set up a good blog tour, but I’ve never had a tool as amazing as Silver Dagger Scriptorium!

It’s a free website that let’s bloggers join a e-mail list that will send them almost daily updates of new books that need to be featured, reviewed, or have a guest post shared. I’ve been using it to help my Independent Books blog. I get all my books from this e-mail list now.

But it’s not just for bloggers of course; authors can sign up too! It’s simple, easy, and fun. As I said, as a blogger I get all my books to review and feature on my sites from these e-mail updates.

To join the list of bloggers just sign up using this form: Master List Sign-up

If you want to sign-up as an author go here: Book a Tour

Now, for Authors you’re going to want to know that it’s not exactly free, but you choose what you pay. The people who run it work off of ‘tips’ but they do a better job explaining it on the link. You also can pay for better quality tours. I’ve only ever used the free one and paid what I thought it was worth at the end. But these tours are well worth it! So give it a try risk free!


Fan Art Contest!

Do you like being featured? Do you like amazing prizes? Then this is for you!

Starting May 1st I’ll be running a Fan Art Contest!

Winners will get:

  • A free Kindle Copy of The Rising (Extended)
  • Their work featured on all my pages
  • A shout out on YouTube


There will be three winners. That’s right Three winners!


1. Has to be fan art from The Custodian Chronicles
2. Must be your own original work
3. Must be submitted by e-mail by May 31, 2017
4.. There are unlimited entries.

Everyone who sends a picture will have their work featured on the new website and shared on social media, but only the first three winners will get shout outs and a video explaining why I liked their art best.

So good luck, send this around, and may the best fan win!

Submit by e-mailing:

Dealing with Dragons – By Patricia C. Wrede

015204566xFairytales have a simple formula, princess in trouble, prince save princess, right? Not anymore. And “Dealing with Dragons” does a good job of that.

It is clearly written for kids. It isn’t very long, the story and characters aren’t very complicated. For its simplicity, it is a good sweet story.

I really enjoyed its basic story. The main character is a princess who is not fair and petite, but tall and dark haired. She doesn’t want to learn to be a princess, but wants to learn Latin and sword fighting. Sounds like our modern idea of a good princess character, right?

Then of course the dreaded day comes when her parents arrange her marriage to a prince. A prince this princess has no interest in. So what does she do? She follows some great advice. That may have been my favorite part. She tells a talking animal (I can’t recall what it was) all her troubles and he asks her what she’s going to do about it. She told him she told her parents not to do it. The animal then says “I didn’t ask you what you said about it, I asked you what you are going to do about it.”

Such a good quote, I loved it. It helps encompass the theme of the whole book. We want the world to change, we act!

So what does she do? She decides she going to be a dragon’s princess. After all, they normally have to capture princess. She’d offer to be a princess for a dragon. A dragon does take her and she has to deal with telling the princes she doesn’t want to be rescued.

The story then gets really interesting, but I don’t want to give any of it away. But it gets really good, amazing magic, good characters, and hidden villains that you have to hunt for. It is a great kids fantasy book.

I don’t have much more to say about it. I enjoyed it. It was well told, well structured, the story was perfect for young readers.

So if you’re an adult, it might be a little dull for you, but it has a very good into story to help young readers get into the world of fantasy. So young readers, take a look. It an amazing story.


“The Tale of Two Castles” A Review. HURRY UP!



I have always enjoyed Gail Carson Lavine’s work. She produces fun books that I enjoyed over and over again as a child. Her classic “Ella Enchanted” made her well beloved among young readers and I have read most all her books. I didn’t even know “The Tale of Two Castles” had come out until I saw it on a self at the library. (I get most of my books from the library. I only buy when I know I’ll read it more than once or want to let others read it. Until I’m out of college I likely won’t be adding my to books to my collection other than gifts.) So I picked it up, interested.

Admittedly, at first I was rather bored. She normally does a good job drawing you into a new kingdom of interest and into the characters, but in the first few chapters only the character you know well is the main character, Elodie. And even then, the classic saying goodbye to parents was not enough to make me care enough about what happened to her. I didn’t feel the conflict yet. It took me a long time to get engaged in the story, but I am a completionest (not a real word, but best word for what I am) and trust Lavine to give a good story, so I stuck around.

I think the real problem was our main conflict hadn’t come to view until about 1/3 into the book. You follow her as she finds out there are no long free apprenticeships, so she hunts for someone to help her. That felt too long.  I waited and waited for the main conflict. You knew she’d end up somewhere, but was it begging, training cats, as an actress like she wanted or elsewhere? That question didn’t interest me enough. I just wanted to get that over with and get to the conflict.


The Dragon from “A Tale of Two Castles”

Then she finds the dragon, Meenore willing to take her in and actually pay her a petty wage, she’d not even get that as an apprentice. So I thought the story would get going, but admitted it did not. What really ended up engaging me was the character of Meenore. I was honestly trying to find something to interest me so I could endure until the main story started. Then I found it. Meenore became a fascination to me when I realized its personality was well mirrored after Sherlock Holmes in profession and logical deduction and induction. Though the dragon does display even more emotion than any classic Sherlock Holmes ever would. Though hides it as any modern adaptation of Sherlock Holmes will.

I love that kind of character, so it kept me hoked until the mystery started. That finally made me realize it was a fantasy/mystery book. I wondered if it was marked as a mystery genre, but to my confusion, I could not find it on the book or on the Goodreads or Amazon listings. Maybe I’m just bad at knowing where to look, but I think I’d have done better knowing it was a mystery, because I find they do take a while to get into the meat of the story. They help you get to know characters you need but don’t know you’ll need at the beginning.

Once that happened, the story was engaging and interesting as you got to


Fan made Elodie 


the real mystery. Levine uses has a unique way of using new words to explain things we already know. Like Elodie wants to be an actress and act, but in this world it’s call a mashioiner, and she manshions for people. (I don’t know if I spelled it right. It’s her story she may spell it differently.) Also plays with the idea dragons do not liking anyone to know their gender, so you cannot use gender specific pronouns for it. So you are always calling it an it. Which most would be offended by, but lends the dragon some extra mystery and prowess.

The main story itself is grand and ends well. I was surprised about half way through my read to discover there was a sequel. I’d never known Lavine to make sequels before. The closets were “The Princess Tales.” Which I loved as a child and had the whole collection on tape. (Yep, tape not even CD). Though they were not so much sequels to each other’s as the next generation’s fairytale in the same kingdom. That interested me and made the story a bit more interesting too. Wondering how she took her skill to make single books in a world full of trilogies.

So on the whole, I enjoyed “The Tale of Two Castles”. Once the story began, it was an engaging story of mystery, self-discovery, learning not to judge by public opinions and bewaring a “Whited Sepulcher”. It was a fun mystery, with fun characters. I don’t want to spoil it so I won’t tell you all of them or even the main mystery. You’ll have to read it for yourself.twocastles_small

Empty Gold – A Twilight Series Review.

So today’s blog is a bit different. I’m actually reviewing the Twilight series, which I know is so out of date, but with her new book “Life and Death” having just come out, thought it would be a good time to write this review, that I’ve wanted to write for a long time.

“Life and Death” is an interesting idea. It was written for the ten anniversary of Twilight, and it is the story of Twilight only reversed. The vampire is now a girl and the human is a boy. So that is an interesting take. But I’m not reviewing that book just yet. (Not saying I will)

We all know you either love the Twilight Series or hate it. I personally lean closer to the latter, but I wouldn’t say I hate it… okay, well… here’s a link to a video that shows how I feel about Twilight.

There, now I’ve shown you likely my favorite video of all time, we can get more into detail.

I actually started reading Twilight, not because I wanted to, for a very different reason. It was in the middle of the hype and I think the third movie was about to come out. I had no desire to read it and get wrapped up in the ‘Twilight’ word.

At the time, I was already working on being a writer and my first novel was slowing forming. I had a friend who was a literature major and taught literature in high school. She helped me with a school assignment and, because I wondered what she thought, I asked her to read the first chapter of my story. She loved it and thought it was really good so helped me by mentoring me.

As I worked with her, I admitted I’d never read the “Twilight” books and had no interest in it. She understood why, but gave me some advice that stuck to me. You should read what is popular in the genre you want to write. Then you better understand the genre and what your readers want. I always knew you should read what you want to write, but I’d not thought I should read what is popular just because it’s popular. Yes, even if it is not something you like or in some cases crap.

So… I caved. I felt I had to read the series. I won’t lie. I had a hard time getting through the first book, so eventually, I cheated and listened to them on audiobook. Even still it was hard to get through them.

I had the same problem with the series that most people have: the story is hollow, the characters are even more so, the story is just…. Odd. I mean really, after the second book it got really, really weird. Twilight really was a passing fad that has died out.

However, it was a fad. Why did it become so popular, despite the fact a majority of people didn’t like it? When I read the series, this is what allowed me to endure, as I listened, I sought the answer to that question. How did she make such a bad story so popular? (Funny thing is, I have looked almost all of her interviews, and I’m not sure even she knows.)

This is what I concluded was the main reason for its success. We have to admit, the story sucks, but the writing was impressive. Not that her story was worthwhile. We often get good storytelling and good writing mixed up. The best ‘writers’ of our day are really amazing storytellers most of the time. (Though they also are good writers, but the two are different.)

So story wise, when she says the story came to her in a dream, I believe it. The ‘Twilight’ Series is very weird and dreams are weird. So of course the story is strange, just like dreams. This makes perfect sense to me. So it’s clear the story didn’t win her the hype. What won her the hype was how she wrote it.

The biggest advantage she had was she wrote to her readers very well. Now Twilight is, at it’s very heart, a young adult romance. How did she make such an odd story work? By writing to her age range with skill and tact.

It’s all in her characters. Yes, that’s right. The characters that are either loved or loathed. And here is why…

We’ll start with Bella. As the haters say, she’s a wimp, she has no backbone, she is just a winy girl who never did a thing for herself. Mmmm, does that sound familiar? How do most young teenage girls act? Think of a twelve or thirteen-year-old. When they don’t get their way, do they work hard to get their way? A majority of them no. What do most do? Complain. What did Bella do? Complain. Hmmmmm…..

That is why most young girls wanted to be Bella. They already felt they were. Bella is an empty character for the most part, but what does she does have most twelve-thirteen-year-old girls have too. The rest is empty. So what does a young reader do? They fill the empty parts with themselves. It’s something most of us do when we read, right? We love to live the story with the characters. When you have an empty character, if written right, you can turn the character into yourself.

Then what about Edward? He gets more ridicule for being an empty, hollow character. Which is his greatest power. The few traits he does have are what every young girl wants in her boyfriend, right? He’s handsome, he’s cool, he’s protective and would do anything for you, even if it meant hurting himself, and sometimes you, if it would make you happy in the long run. Traits most young girls at the time liked in a man (or thought they did).

Then what about the rest of the characters? The ‘real’ personality? Well, the reader can make it up. Edward is so empty you can turn Edward into your perfect, ideal boyfriend. This is what makes Edward so appealing. He can be what the reader wants him to be. The hollowness becomes the power to be customizable.

You put those two together, you get a perfect young adult romance. Though the popular culture tells us we should teach young girls to save themselves, at the young age of twelve-fourteen, most girls still are not confidant and would rather have someone else save them. So this hero is still what appeals to them.

Then when the second book came out and you added a second interest. Someone who wasn’t quite as hollow, giving a choice, it upped the appeal all the more. Now you have to decide, he boy who’s more real, or the one that is your dream boat?

That is what made Twilight so popular among those it targeted. The emptiness of the characters, though a huge fault in most writing, actually became its advantage. Here is a book that you can perfectly match to your perfect fantasy. Which was way as the books went on, it got less popular. It became less customizable.

I have no idea if Stephany Meyers did that on purpose. Either way, that’s an impressive skill, to write a character so perfectly balanced the readers can do that, not to mention two! If you can make a story as horrible as that, but people still went nuts for it, you have a talent in something. She crafted characters who were able to mold to the fantasy of a young girl so perfectly, nothing else mattered. That’s a talent. Period.

So despite the fact the story and characters are… one dimensional, nearly faceless, and the rest of the story is so twisted that, even if you hate it, you get emotionally engaged, you wrote something impressive. Twilight is such a bad story, but so well written, people who love books can’t ignore it. They either get sucked into it to, or hate it for those exact reasons. That’s impressive. So though I will never endure reading the books again, I admire Stephany Meyers for her ability to write something like that. I don’t think I ever could.

So no, I didn’t enjoy Twilight, but enduring through them taught me a lot about book writing. It is possible to write something empty and get gold. In Twilight, the emptiness was its strength. Edward can be your strong silent type, or he can be your dashing knight with a warm smile. He’s filled with classic prince charming, then left empty for you to imagine for yourself. Bella has nothing but the traits of a young tween experiencing her first romance. The thirteen-year-old girl can turn Bella into herself without even meaning to. Then she gets to live Bella’s story more fully.

So that’s how Twilight managed to be so popular despite it’s emptiness and… plain strangeness. It allowed the young reader to fill in their own imagination. They became what they wanted to be. Which is why her retelling the story only making the vampire a girl and the human a boy is also brilliant. Now young boys can do the same thing. Is it empty, yes, but that is the point. It’s impressive. I don’t like the books one bit, but I have to admit, it impressed me.

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke – A Review by R.M. Donaldson

I truly enjoyed the “The Thief Lord”. It was a sweet tale of brotherhood and the magic of childhood. My favorite had to be The Thief Lord himself. Each character has a sweet story and the magic of wraps up very well.

The only problem I had, was the main story was not introduced until you got a good way into the book. Because of that, I doubt I’d have gotten to the good parts of the story if my friend didn’t recommend the book.

But the connection and detailed painting of each character made the story magic. It fit the magical world of Venice in which the story is set. So thought it took me a while to get beautiful whole that is the story, once you see it, the story was worth the time. There is a childlike dream but yet a real adult fear and worry weaved throughout the threads of the story.

Fan art of the Character Scorpio

Fan art of the Character Scorpio

Scorpio’s story is my favorite. He tries to be very adult. He longs to show he is different from his father in his love and care for the homeless boys. Scorpio feels his father is too stern and has the world all wrong. He longs have the power to prove good wins out over his father’s cold harsh view of the world. He has a beautiful view on life with childlike wonder as well as adult reality. The ending of his story for the book fits him so well.  He is a child who wishes the power to be an adult and change the world.

You see these same features in Prosper. He is a child who is forced to be very adult or be parted from his brother. The deep desire to protect his brother has made him act like an adult to look after him, yet he longs to have the sweet joys of childhood for himself, as well as his brother. The innocents of Boe helps off sent it all beautifully.

I don’t give away much else, but to say I truly enjoyed it. The characters come to life and knowing that, it is worth going through the ‘what’s the point’ moments to see the beauty of the rest of the tail. I love it.

A Picture of the characters.

Would You Want to Be a Tree?

be-like-a-treeI know it’s been a really long time since I’ve posted. But this is such a special post, I had to take time to get it just right.

I read a very interesting blog. This post is in reply to this idea. Take a look at it here:

In Damyanti’s post, she talked about how living life like a tree could be so beautiful. Strong, forever giving without care, never speaking, just watching. I’d like to express my different, yet complimenting opinion on living life as a tree.

I have an experience with a friend who longed to be a tree. Not just live as a tree, but be a tree. For privacy reasons, I won’t share her name or personal information, but she had a very hard life. She dealt with horrible abuse at a very young age, mental, physical and sexual. It left her deeply mentally scared

th (1)When we met, I was trying hard to help her be able to overcome her disorders and live the life she wanted to live. One day, she told me that when she died, she wanted to be a tree, holding God’s hand and bringing joy and happiness to people. That she wanted people to gather around her and share her happiness.

I knew why she would want this. She was scared of people. At a very young age, people had only ever hurt her. She felt that, as a tree, she’d be separated from them enough to not be scared of them. That if she just watched people live their lives, she couldn’t be hurt. She wanted to experience the joy of life without having to actually live it.

There is a beauty to living silently, in quietly giving and sharing, either as a lone tree or as a tree in a grove. Yet there is a danger in living solely like this.

The-Hunchback-of-Notre-Dame-the-hunchback-of-notre-dame-24736671-364-500We are human beings. In Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, one of the gargoyles tells Quasimodo, “Life is not a spectators’ sport.” You cannot find the happiness and joys in life if you do not live life. That takes action.

A tree is a spectator. There is a beauty to watching life go by. There are times in life I believe we do need to take that step back, look at the big picture and breathe. This is healthy, but we can’t forever live as a tree. We should visit the tree phase; we should not live there.

This friend of mine did try to live her life as a tree, both as a child and now as an adult. It allowed life to happen to her instead of her making her own life. Because of fear, fear of people, fear of what would happen, she stood as a strong tree and let every squirrel dig a deep hole into her very core. She let the birds ruin her mind as they made their dirty nests there.

Ents_by_VolcanoTeenWe need to spend time as a tree, but we should not live as a tree. Or else we will end up trapped in a world we no longer control. We need to be part tree. We need to be like J.R.R Tolkin’s Ents. We need to take time to be still, ever giving quietly and listening. However, when we are threatened we need to act.

So let’s live life as a tree. Let’s be living, moving trees. Let’s be the strongest and stillest of trees. Then let us go and change the world. Change is only made by those who act, not those who watch. So be still, love, share without expecting a twig back, but don’t let the world pass you by. Don’t take abuse. When that squirrel you’ve loved and cared for starts to dig your very heart out, it’s time to act. Don’t tolerate any injustice to the innocent. Act. Help. That is how the world will change. If good men do nothing, bad men will do everything and evil will fill the world. The world will have nothing but cruel and evil people and silent, dying trees.

Beyond-the-Mask-ScreenshotDo we all wear masks in our lives? How can we live beyond them and truly be ourselves? These are the kind of questions I thought of when I first saw the title for the movie “Beyond the Mask”. It was a creative spin on the movie. This theme of wearing masks and living beyond them.

I saw this movie earlier this week. It’s been buzzing in my head so I thought I’d share it. “Beyond the Mask” is an action adventure movie. Its target audience is young boys. So be prepared for over the top action. There were several scenes where I was like… ‘This is going a bit too far.’ Yet on the whole I love the film. It had a very compelling story.

Here is the summary as it shows on IMDB.

It comes out on DVD on September 8, 2015. To buy Click Here

“A British East India Trading Company assassin seeks to redeem his past by thwarting a plot against a young nation’s hope for freedom.”

Warning before I go too deep. The movie does have a Christian theme, yet I believe that even if you don’t share the Christian faith, you can really enjoy this movie. The theme of trying to change your past and become who you want to be despite your past is a theme we all are familiar with, no matter what your faith or background is.

The story takes place in the eighteen century just as the American Revolutionary war is about to begin. At once you have toBeyond-the-Mask-DVD credit the movie with a few things they did well. They show you in a behind the scenes video, but they collected a few real facts to add to the very make believe story. When you watch the film they mention a few in the end credits that are very interesting.

So this movie was made completely by homeschool graduates. This is honestly part of what drew me to see it. I was homeschooled my whole life. I had friends in public school, my youngest brother is in public schools and my other brothers came in and out of homeschooling. I saw both sides in my own family and with my friends. I honestly loved it. The biggest reason was the freedom to be creative. I likely wouldn’t be as good of a writer if I hadn’t been home schooled.

I love the story. The main plot line was engaging and very good. I loved the main charactor’s arch. His struggle and longing is easy to see. He has good times, he has bad times. Watching how life changes for him and his struggles to redeem himself and earn the love of the woman he is engaged to really helps your be sympathetic. I also enjoy the plot twits. However predictable much of the time, it made for a beautiful flowing story.

For all it’s great features, there are a few things that could have been done better. For one, the action is over the top. They did market it for young boys. The boys in their target audience loved it. However as an adult I thought it was a bit over done and not quite believable. Most of all in the ending scenes. It made it a little cheesy right there at the end. The love story is very sweet. I enjoyed their relationship through out the movie as well. The other part is there is a big plot twist that surprises you a bit. However they tried to tell you it was going to happen, but it was very hard to understand. Made it very hard to understand until a bit later in the story.


The cast is very good. From the hero to the villain. Both did a very good job of getting their character. Though the movie was carried by the character of the villain played by John Rhys-Davies, most well known for playing Gimli in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. He certainly carried the film, but the other actors did amazing in their parts. The movie was very well casted and well performed.

When it comes down to it. I really enjoyed this movie. I have pre-ordered the DVD to watch again and again. Once you get over the ‘newbie’ mistakes, the movie is really amazing. It is very well done for the fact it was made my people with little to no film experience for the most part. The story is compelling. The characters are engaging. The passion and love for the film is shown in its making.

So though it is a bit over the top in action, the movie is worth the money to go see. I hope they do reach their goal and get to make a second film so they can grow and improve more in their story telling.

I share this story and review because the theme of my blog is finding hope and strength to do amazing things. This movie is proof that even if you have no experience, even if you have next to nothing to start with, if you work hard, you can reach your dreams. The directors of this movie grew up ‘making movies’ in their back yard. Their dream was to make a movie like this. Though the world would tell them it would never happen. Their background would never allow it, they made it. And they have stunned much of the world with the quality of this movie. Despite its beginner mistakes, the movie is widely accepted and has even won a place in the history books. It currently is the highest gross ‘on-demand’ movie in history. It is very well done. I’ll add a link to the trailer below.” target=”_blank”>http://

So go see it. It’s a well-made movie. The story is beautiful. Like I said, even if you don’t share the maker’s Christian beliefs, the story still holds a lot of power and resonance in the idea of trying to change from the man you were, to the man you wish to become. We all can change. We all can become better. This movie explores those truths and our own quest to overcome out own demons. So take a look. If you ever get the chance, go see it. I do recommend it. Four stars.

Pre-Order the DVD here



So this is a brief summary of what is going to be on this blog. If you want to know more about me, I put a short little blurb in my “About” page. This is more of the purpose of this blog. So of course on the home page will be a mesh of everything I have ever made. Then I have a few different categories. 


First one in alphabetical order is “Book Updates”. As I am an author and publishing books, this sections is updates on how far along the writing or publishing progress is. At times I’ll post sneak peeks and other like information. I will also announce new book titles, names and show you the new covers as they come out. For those who sign up for my exclusive e-mails using the contact me section will get to see those a week in advance. 


Second section is called “Defectives”. I work at a sporting goods store as my day job. Every once in a while we have someone return something or we find something is broken in the store. When we do I have to put a defective tag on it. When I do this, I try to describe the broken part in the most creative way. Sometimes it is very cheesy or just plain stupid. However the goal is that it will make the guy who has to read it smile. In the defective posts, I post the defective tag and relate it to how we can make our lives a little less ‘defective’. 


Next category is “Deleted Scenes”. Now I won’t post in there for a while, but this is where I put the hidden scenes that never made it into the book, back-stories or even side stories that don’t make it into the book. I may make a new section for the history of the Custods and other characters if that becomes popular enough. So all kinds of special extras will go here.



“Reviews” is a fun section for me. This is where I will post my views on films, books or other things that I have seen or read. This is mostly for fun. I am NOT being paid to do these reviews. I just find them fun. My first one was for an independent film made my home-schoolers. I also will likely later do more popular books and movies as time goes on.

Who or Whom? 


The last one is “writer tips’. It’s exactly what it sounds like. I post links about writing, I give my updates and options on it and so forth. I also may or may not, just for fun, put some of my silly college papers in there. I’ll talk about what we were learning about and then post the paper. 

So for the start, these are all the posts I have. I had another site where I was posting these blogs, but that site had a bug get into it so I deleted it. This is my new site now. So enjoy! Leave comments, I will read them. I will try my utmost to reply to all of you. You