Book Review: The Dragon Cager

I’m finally back to regular posting every Thursday and once a month I’ll be sharing a book review from an Indie Author I’m currently reading or have read. I wanted to start these new reviews off with an awesome author. So, here we go!


Since her father’s sudden death, all Evie wants is comfort and security for her family. Especially from dragon cagers. The two-tongued serpents are said to take the shape of a man, woo their ill-fated victims, and then devour them whole. But no one ever told Evie she could be kindred to the creatures. When Evie is framed and exiled, a cager called Lachlann discovers her roaming in the barren dragon country. Now, while being hunted by the same slayers seeking his magic-imbued heart, Evie must put her trust in Lachlann and seek out his clan for help. Only then will they discover what ancient blood flows through her veins.

I’m going to start this review off by saying – (SPOILERS)-:

I want my own Crag. Give me a plushie of him and I’ll live vicariously through my imagination. Create some Crag Swag with his snarky little comments on there and I’ll buy them like hotcakes. Let’s just be honest here, no one dislikes Crag. #TeamCrag4Life 

All amusing critters aside, let’s break into the review. 

I loved this book. I read the entire book in the drive from St. Louis back home to Indiana without stopping to breath. A few times hubs had to remind me we needed to stop for potty breaks and I almost let my food get cold twice. The book was interesting catching and well worth the read. 

The story was solid. I didn’t find a lapse in the ideas from beginning to end and everything felt like it belonged. Poor Evie is thrown into the bowels of emotional hell right out of the gate, accused of crimes she didn’t commit. I found this trope used well to bring the story full circle and the ending, though will give you a tiny jolt of shock. You fall right into the action and are kept on your toes. 

Though the overall pacing was good, there were some issues. You fall into a lull when Evie first meets Lachlann. Evie’s continuous and almost ignorantly stubborn refusal to change her opinions can leave your head beating off hard objects for most of the adventure. It carries on for most of the story and because of it, the ending feels rushed. Though everything is closed nicely, you are left feeling a bit let down by how quickly everything seemed to resolve. Another 3 or 4 chapters could have carried the story further and made Evie’s insufferable stubbornness be more understandable.  

Which leads me to the characters. Lachlann is a goofy beautiful creature that you don’t mind being the typical awkwardly charismatic male lead. He feels like a teen girls fantasy romance which is only furthered when he and his rather blunt buddy tussle over the pretty Evie, but he’s not too likable you want to hate him. 

Evie is stubborn. She has a lot of strength and readers might find her inspiring, but her refusal to grow for most of the book or to stunt her own growth by reverting to her prejudice babble makes it hard to not want to strangle her. 

Crag was a sanity-saving grace. He is witty, sarcastic gold and most of the words out of his mouth are those you are screaming in the back of your head while reading. There are times I think he got the short end of the stick, booted off the story’s focus when he would have been dynamite, but I’m biased

I have a very unhealthy obsession with judging romance or potential there for romance. This book left me trapped in the mid-section of cheering for the two main characters to just make out already and hoping they never even crossed the lewd lines of holding hands. I feel that Evie as a character is – still by the end of the book – beneath Lachlann as a character. I find this resolution of my feelings odd but in the end, it is just where I sit. Everyone likes their romance in different flavors, so disagree you may! 

The last thing I want to point out is the readability based on ages. This interesting and adventurous little story is something I’ve handed off to my mother to read knowing full well she will enjoy it, and at the same time, my 13-year-old is still waiting impatiently for her turn. It can be read by anyone in this range both because of the content of the story and the overall readability. Words are never too hard, and concepts or plots are never too thick, yet they are captivating and interesting-locking as to not bore the older or more mentally sturdy types. 

As for the author, Lilian Oake is a naturally interesting creature herself. I follow her on social media, stalk her blogs, and pick up everything she’s written. She was wonderful enough to sign this copy of the book and I’ll be buying more of her work as it comes out. You can’t deny she has talent and works hard to showcase it in everything she does. The Dragon Cager is just another example of her and her strengths. 

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Making Plans

I feel like I’ve been here before. I probably have, though I’ll leave blame for my anxiety in general. Either way, we are taking steps in the right direction.

This is not a very awesome post…

My publishing company is taking off, and we are putting a lot of thought into the end of this year and going into next year with some awesome new projects. Until then, I’m trying to get back to a place I was a long while back and find some organization that will help me stay on track with my writing and the dreaded social media. Enter the planner! Return of the planner? You have no idea how good it feels to have a functional planner back.

Between bi-weekly doctor visits and weekly injections in the hospital, I’m super busy in my real life. It’s gotten a bit harder, but I’m working hard.

One thing I found helps me stay focused is being organized, and if you’ve never suffered from a complete breakdown due to mental illness, it may not make a lot of sense how it took this long to climb back out of that hell and reach a point where I feel human again, but due to something massively damaging, here we are.

At least I’ve gotten things organized. I even got my pens and pencils back in order. I can see my desk’s top again.

So, there is a lot coming. I’ve released my schedule on Patreon already. I’ll be releasing it later here on the blog once I’ve finished organizing this place. I’ve decided to make some changes to the way my site is set up to better reflect my publisher.

And, back to writing.

Book Highlight – Heshayol The Blood of Dragons Book 2

Today is a special highlight, coming March 5th, 2018!

Heshayol The Blood of Dragons Book 2


Over a millennium ago, at their father’s command, Tyran and Drast sent the Horned God to the Netherworld in hopes of gaining everlasting life. Instead, they sparked a chain of events that led to the near destruction of the Ash Tree and the liberation of the old gods. Now, with the world waning, the two brothers are freed from Anaerfell to travel to the frozen realm of the dead and resurrect their enemy with hopes of restoring balance. Tyran and Drast journey between time and space with limitless magic at their fingertips to face demon legions, forsaken immortals, and the realization that the malevolence of their father is not yet done.

They knew killing a dragon wasn’t going to be easy. Especially not one that was also a god. But they never expected to be punished so brutally, or for so long. Death is no escape when you’ve already slain the Horned God to the Netherworld.

Pre order only $2.99 and for a limited time you can get the first book Anaerfell for only $.99.



Joshua Robertson is an award-winning author in epic, dark fantasy. You may recognize him as the dude whose dragons were said to destroy George R.R. Martin’s and Christopher Paolini’s dragons in a very biased Twitter poll. His first novel, Melkorka, was released in 2015, and he has been writing fantasy fiction like clockwork ever since. Known most for his Thrice Nine Legends Saga, Robertson enjoys an ever-expanding and extremely loyal following of readers. He currently lives in North Carolina with his better half and his horde of goblins.





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J.C. lives in the Midwest with his wife and two dogs and has an M.A. in English Literature. The first novel in his world, Blood and Bile, was released in 2017. Before completing junior high, J.C. had received his first box set of Dungeons & Dragons and devoured J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Since, he has been heavily influenced by a myriad of fantasy authors, such as Weis and Hickman, Robert Jordan, and Ed Greenwood.


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Enter the Chaos

The end of January has proven to be less organized than I originally intended it to be. I mean, my desk is a mess.

I’m starting to realize that a system isn’t infallible. Damn it.Going into the next month with an even busier schedule, I clearly need to adjust fire.

Firstly, I need better alarms and lately, I’ve been finding I have some unnecessary ones. So cleaning out my Alarmed app is a must. Adjusting my schedule is also important. The husband has been killing me with his graveyard shift – I don’t sleep well alone – and finding myself tired I’m going to give myself an extra hour of sleep each day.

Finally, I’m starting to see a need for additional drawers. I’m looking into solutions, but folders, paper organizers, and drawers for pencils is a must. Mugs full of supplies is no longer working out. Maybe I just need a bigger desk. If we were in a different place, mounting my monitors might be a good option.

The point is to quell the mess before January comes along and throws the busiest schedule I’ve ever had at me and I drown in rogue office supplies.

Who else struggles with office supply surplus?

Introducing my Guild

I consider myself a rather lucky person. I have a wonderful family that I love and that loves me in return. They are creative and full of energy. We are a family of six, which is considered a large family, but we really do hope to grow larger in the future. For now, this tiny guild is pretty happy.

In 2001, I met Jeremy, my now husband. We started dating in 2002, we got married in 2004. In April we will be celebrating 14 years together. We’ve been gaming together since, and he continues playing World of Warcraft since 2005 as CyanideJay. He’s rather dedicated. If you are interested in video games, specifically WoW, my hub is starting to build a platform for gaming on Twitch and his website.

Not to be outdone, and often finding themselves interested in the same things as Cyanide and me, my children are beginning their own ventures into the world. Each of them is unique, and as they slowly build their platforms, it is my responsibility as a parent to support them.

Ayrelia is our zombie. She’s a creature of habit, slow and steady, loves the darker side of things, and has a world of interest in storyboard art, comics, and writing.

Zaharra is affectionately known as Ducky. She started quacking as an infant and she’s never lived it down. She loves fashion, special effects makeup, and she’s stepping into the world of cosplay.

Phoenix is a cute and bubbly child with no end to her talking and no end to her eating. She loves food and is always in the kitchen, making it cute, pretty, and full of delicious food.

Varian is the only son, the youngest, and a tad spoiled, but like his sister, he loves food. He enjoys video games, working out, and learning. He’s only a toddler but he often shocks people when he starts to talk.

I love my family. I hope that’s obvious, but more than anything I’m proud of how they’ve grown and continue to grow. It inspires me. While I would love to brag about them more, and I know I could go on for days about them, we’ve decided to work as a family towards a different goal.

We’ve always kept records of family meetings, family game nights, and how our house functions, but one day, our kids asked if we could be like “those other families”. Those others being family vloggers.

I’ll admit it first, I’m not down with being fully dressed and polished 24/7, but I didn’t think they had a horrible idea. With a few other influences, such as adoption and distant relatives, Cyanide and I thought of a good enough plan.

We are making a website. I’ve officially added more to my workload, but it is a labor of love.

That’s enough ramblings from me today.


It was eight large stones and a dead mouse Hannah pulled from her worn down jean backpack. She kicked the rocks around her mother’s empty garden and dumped the rodent into a shallow grave. It was the third time this month someone broke into her locker. Last week her jacket was stolen and the week before half her textbooks were ruined. When she showed the shredded pages and the painted covers to the principal, he accused her of doing it for attention. Tattling now would make no difference. Instead, she trudged down the five blocks from school to her front door, trying not to cry for all the old folks on porches to gawk at. It was hard enough to not cry at school; every word she spoke was shouted over and laughed at. Crying in front of a bunch of adults she didn’t know, Hannah couldn’t handle that embarrassment.

When everything was dealt with, she climbed the three cement steps to her porch and unlocked the door. There were forty minutes before her sisters got off the bus and that was just enough time to wash her backpack and her face. Her mother wouldn’t notice the new rocks in front of the house. Her mother barely remembered to eat most days, but her little sisters would see her red eyes and start chanting around the house about her crying. They’d chant until their mom came home and she’d grill Hannah for hours on why she was upset. Was she suicidal? Was she on drugs? Why was she so sensitive? Then she’d scream about how weak Hannah was and how pathetic being the victim made her.

Her mother meant well. A single mother raising three kids from two useless men that abandoned the lives they created for the better sense of pleasure and excitement new women gave them. She heard her mother crying sometimes. Other times, she heard less desirable things. The damp basement and its dirt walls didn’t make much of a difference when her mother brought home a new boyfriend. Sound carries when your ceiling is someone else’s floor.

If everything was quieter… a hoarse, familiar voice whispered.

Hannah shuddered, opening the door to her room. A dark descent of thirteen stairs and an arm’s length reach to turn on the dim lights of her hideaway cave was littered with potential tripping hazards made of fluff. The creaking of the door was an alarm that set off whimpers and mews. It brought a smile to her pale face.

“I’m home guys,” she said. She could hear the thumping of Night’s tail against the steps, Teddy whimpered from her bed in the corner and Jet weaved between her feet, purring. Her mother liked to bring home animals they couldn’t afford and they all ended up downstairs in her basement. Three dogs, two cats, the washer, and dryer. It was always her job to fill the laundry and put it away since no one wanted to be in the basement. “I’ll feed you guys in a minute.”

Dropping the lid to the washer and turning the yellowish dial, she pulled it to start and dropped her forehead on the cold metal surface. The vibrations of water rushing into the drum were enough to ease her headache and the cool sensation felt nice against her heated face. A few serious yips and a large rottweiler mutt jumping on her back and Hannah got the hint. She pushed herself off the machine with a grunt and trudged her way up the stairs with animals at her feet. Past the kitchen, snagging a soda from the fridge, she pushed open the back door and let the dogs out, set her drink on the counter, and filled the cat bowl next to the ceramic duck on the window sill. Hannah ran a finger over the duck and squinted at it. Her mother had faded duck curtains and towels in the kitchen. Event he potholders with holes were covered in ducks.

Petting Jet and Queenie, the fat cats pushing each other out of the bowl, Hannah took a drink and filled the dogs’ water bowls. The same routine, day in and out. She’d get to sit down later, after helping the twins with their homework, and read a book or two. When the lights went out upstairs she’d crawl into bed, turn on some low music, and start her homework. She couldn’t wait to open her new book. It was sitting on her crooked nightstand under her grandmother’s old lamp since yesterday. She’d saved her birthday and holiday money and finally gotten to go shopping with her grandparents. That book was everything she could afford, leaving her with enough pocket money for a few candy bars at lunch over the next two weeks and a few dollars she needed for supplies from the school shop.

Hannah let the dogs back in, looking over the private backyard. Her eyes lingered on the darkest corner of the tall wood fence. She’d broken her knuckles on the board once. The blackness was enticing. A surplus of color being absorbed into a single space, it pulled at her as if she were a ray of light.

You don’t have to listen…

Hands rested on her shoulder. They crawled up her neck, traveling through her long blond hair towards her face. Hannah relaxed, closing her eyes.

The squeaky horn an old bus rang out. Impatiently, it went off again and Hannah let the storm door slam behind her, racing to the front of the house. Her socks slid on the wood floors, grabbing the handle to steady herself and throwing the front door open. She was out of breath when she reached the last step of her porch and waved frantically at the bus driver. The woman glared, parked the bus, and snapped the door open, letting Annie and Bonnie off the bus. With a shake of her head, the bus driver closed the door and drove off.

“Hannah almost got in trouble,” Annie laughed.

Bonnie nodded. “Hannah forgot us.”

“No,” Hannah whimpered. She beat on her chest trying to stop her racing heart. “I didn’t forget, I got stuck. The dogs wouldn’t let me out.”

The girls laughed. “Silly dogs.”


Want to read more? Join me on Patreon to finish the story.

Anxiety, Stress, and Reveal

Stress is a normal part of human existence. It’s a normal part of most living creatures. Even animals can suffer from stress, and knowing how to deal with that is very important in life.

But what happens when stress isn’t a situation but a state of being?

Indications of stress read a lot like anxiety (According to

  • Pain
  • Palpitations – the sort of irregular beats of your heart against your chest that feel hard and too fast or fluttering. You can feel them in your neck, throat, and chest.
  • Fatigue
  • Crying
  • Overeating, Undereating
  • Low Social Drive
  • Low Sex Drive

But what really separates stress from anxiety?

While stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed by the goings on in your life- usually and external pressure- anxiety is a state of uneasiness or fear, which can sometimes stem from stressful situations and tends to linger long after the issue is resolved.

Often, stress stems from a real problem or situation and the strain on someone is reasonable or makes sense. Anxiety is often illogical and unnecessary, relentless worry.

According to doctors on stress can be related to panic attacks, though panic attacks themselves are more commonly linked to panic and anxiety disorders.

The common denomination is that stress can cause anxiety and anxiety can lead to stress, though the two are markedly similar, they boil down to one difference:

Stress is reasonable and often triggered by something real for understandable reasons.

Anxiety is a constant, long-drawn state of being often triggered by unnecessary overthought, worry, and a disorder that often needs intervention.

What is the point? I’m sure people are reading this and asking themselves what the reason behind a fantasy writer talking medical jibberish really is. The answer is pretty simple.

I suffer from anxiety. Not then the stress-related kind that fades over time. I suffer from a 24+ year disorder that has become worse within the last five years due to major stressors in my life.

Living with Social Anxiety (or social phobia), General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). No, I’m not washing my hands 3 times, clicking fingers or those other more common images of OCD, though they do happen to people with OCD. Instead, I’m less likely to drink the bottom of a bottle or can of soda, I’ll throw a drink away if it has sat for more than 10 minutes, I eat most foods by ensuring my cheeks are even – 3 M&M’s in one cheek, 3 in the other- I like my books organized by category and I’m constantly stopping things to reorganize and improve my system. When I’m cooking, I have been known to throw away several dollars worth of food because I think it has been contaminated with something or just forgo eating.

I sound like a basket case, and I understand that. Logically, my state of existence is ridiculous, much like my irrational fear of snakes, clowns, and balloons, but they exist as a part of me. So, I’ve learned over the years while being grossly underdiagnosed most of my childhood, how to manage a good portion of these issues and live with the rest. Thankfully, my children and husband are also well equipped to tease me and laugh off my ridiculous without needless stress between us.

This is why it has taken me 3 years to get my blog off the ground and try putting my work out for people to read, and when the day is over, I’m still battling my demons. Why has no one commented? Am I not good enough? Did I do enough? Will I succeed? Will people hate me? Why am I doing this? Her voice is this loathsome sound that resonates with deep vibrato, whispering in my ear.

As a child, this sort of darkness manifested as a woman in my imagination. She was wicked and cruel, stealing the light and pleasure that I should have found in most situations. As an adult, I had become skilled in ignoring her, but from time to time, like an imprisoned soul on the other side of the mirror, she pounds on that wall, clawing for freedom and screaming her hateful tar at me.

She is Suoixna.

-To be continued on Thursday, January 18, 2018.

Creators and Caffeine

Hang onto your horses, this is going to be a big pile of ramblings.

Have you seen the #mugshotmonday ? If you haven’t, you should. There are two things you will notice, real mug shots and MUG shots.

I’m the latter. MM for me falls into the darkest reaches of my depraved mindset: my addiction to caffeine. And I’m not alone. I’ve seen people of many walks of life, particularly creators, who are all in when it comes to a big mug of a caffeinated beverage. Teas, coffees, the occasional bad-for-you sodas. These things exist, and it got me wondering why.

Now, hold on. I’m not going to run into a heap of science here, though there will be some sourced information. I simply want to examine: why do we need caffeine as creators. And as a disclaimer, not all creators need caffeine or consume it. This does not refer to any set number of people, it is simply a fun look at my own life.

I recently came across this video by a Youtube Creator, James Taylor. It is something rather interesting.

And ASAP Science explains what caffeine does to your brain.

So, the first thing I realize is quitting caffeine is going to be difficult for me, but it also gives a possible explanation to that tired feeling when I’m cutting back on my consumption. This explains a lot of my feelings of emptiness when I feel as if my brain isn’t working well. I really dislike this feeling because I’m drawing blanks on everything I am trying to do and I just want to sit in front of a TV and binge watch shows.

Not very productive.

But caffeine is also a happy pill. It increases adrenaline and dopamine. This is, in itself, enticing. It is also rather self-explanatory. If something makes us happy and gives us a rush, we crave it and often seek it out. This is how addiction works.

So in short, I am addicted. I already knew that.

Good news is, it’s pretty much impossible to overdose on caffeine. The amount needed to kill us is way too far out of reach. The bad news is, it is still addictive and wreaks havoc on our system.

What does this all have to do with me, or with creators in general?

I’m going back to this blank space here.

Caffeine wakes up your brain, even if it is only temporary, and I find that I think the best when caffeine is readily available to me. When I have open access to caffeine, I can keep my head running, and unfortunately, I have learned that this is also the reason falling asleep is hard, but when it all comes down to my brain being so full of ideas, I like to think the caffeine is part of the reason. Otherwise, this entire post is pointless and I have no reason to really keep drinking it.

And then there is anxiety, but that is another topic.

I’ve recently made a pact with my family to start drinking mellowing, caffeine-free coffees before bed, trying to adhere to a sleep schedule, and removing caffeine from my drinks about two hours before bed.

In conclusion: Caffeine is an addiction, I am addicted, and it helps my creative brain fire on all pistons, but I promise to try and at least sleep better at night.

Taming my Wild Brain

I’m certain someone imagined a hunter, hands out, face to face with a snarling brain and a tiny heart pulsing above it.

Some people probably imagined a brain being lassoed.

Most people think I’m crazy. That’s fair.

Truth is, my brain is insane. Jokes like “Your brain is a mage portal, you just keep popping up in new subjects”, or “get shock therapy”, and “do you sleep?” have been made for years. No, I do not have ADD/ADHD. That’s my husband’s department, but my train of thought is often derailed by three other directionally challenged trains of inspiration and if I were to keep going with this ridiculous amount of figurative speech, we’d be here all night.

Wrangling in the wild beast – I swear I’ll stop never – was a big issue for myself for years. Suffering from General Anxiety Disorder or GAD, I tend to be consumed by illogical paranoia and worry that only leads to further anxiety. In the past, if I couldn’t organize something or put it under my undying control, I’d leave it. Let’s say this: It left my home on the line between lived in and tornado victim.

I’ve been with everything. Planners, journals, and diaries, alarms, reminders, giant wall calendars, husband secretaries (as sexy as that should be, don’t imagine it. It isn’t what you think). Nothing ever seemed to work and I was never satisfied with the way pre-made planners worked. They didn’t meet my needs, and making my own was a task I dreaded. I did everything on the computer.

Nothing was working. After a while, I gave up and just drown in my disorganized heap. Until mid-2017 when the last three years of effort spent on trying to find a system once again to keep my family sane finally paid off.

I found bullet journaling.

Now, hang on. Don’t roll your eyes and start shouting fad, cliche, overused, waste of time! I thought those things as well, but when I realized I didn’t have to be as pretty and artistic as those “Bujo Bloggers” out there, I was finally able to find a system that worked for me! Trial and error, trying to do too much at once or not giving myself a plan, these things really set me back, but I have finally found myself a plan and plan schedule that is keeping me on track.

Storytime over, I’d like to give you a preview of my system. Later in this year, I’ll be sharing far more organized and detailed systems to which I work. How I organize my inventory, how I file my writing, what my planner setup is and when I make time to plan- eventually, I’ll post all about these things, but for now, I want to give you a sneak peak.

I’ve grown to love many programs and tools but these are my organization love affairs in no particular order:

  • Evernote – notes, ideas, and inspirations, information dumping, brainsplaining (this is a word, love it.)
  • Airtable – Inventory, tracking, database management, and record keeping.
  • Trello – Major To-Do’s and team To-Do’s, thought organization and active listing.
  • Pacemaker – Wordcount tracker (this is a new friend. We are platonic at this moment but I am interested.)
  • Google Calendar – In synch with my phone, kindle, and PC, this baby is life.
  • Google Docs – Because this is the simplest place to share documents with writing and critiquing teams.
  • Dropbox – Art drop and share. I don’t use this often but this is a great place for sharing large files.
  • Missingltr – Oh, we just met but I’m already in love.
  • Buffer – Because filler posts are necessary.
  • Outlook – People, EMAIL IS LIFE.
  • Samsung 128GB Thumb Drives – (I also have a finger, but we will talk about this later.)
  • 6-8 Active Notebooks, mostly soft cover composition notebooks and one awesome Zelda notebook.
  • Big Oven App – Eating is important.
  • Alarmed – Because I NEED relentless reminders.
  • Ripl – I should use this one more often.
  • OneDrive – Backing up is key.
  • Scrivener – This is my one and only writing tool.
  • Discord – The applications for this chat tool are endless.

That’s my huge list of how my brain is kept in check. I look forward to sharing more about this as the months go on.

See something on the list you want to know about now? Leave me a comment!

Welcome to 2018 – Patreon

Happy New Year’s everyone and welcome to 2018!

I’ve said it several times, but 2018 is going to be a busy year. My blog will be busy, my art will be growing, my writing will be reaching the stages of publication, and my Patreon is calling you!

For anyone that doesn’t know what Patreon is, it is a monthly subscription support page where you will receive tiered rewards for your monthly financial support. You can give anywhere from $1 to $25 each month and with each tier comes unique rewards.

Interested in seeing what these rewards are? Check out my live stream this Friday, Jan 5, 2018 at 8PM eastern time right here on Twitch.

I’m welcoming my fans to join me here on Patreon where you will have access to weekly poetry, short stories, and first looks into the art and writing of my current projects!

I look forward to the coming year with everyone!