Vote vote vote!

50 Self-Published Books Worth ReadingVOTE VOTE VOTE!

You did it! You got Naked Came the Sharks and The King’s Ransom on the short list for the 50 Self-Published Books Worth Reading. Thank you thank you thank you.

Now VOTE VOTE VOTE to make them winners in their categories, Thriller and Fantasy. You can vote a total of FIVE times for each book. Here’s the link for Naked Came the Sharks and here’s the link for The King’s Ransom.

If King Bewilliam from The King’s Ransom wins he’ll probably want to knight everyone. As for Holly Berry from Naked Came the Sharks, well, this one time she wants the sharks to win.

Posted in arts&crafts, read | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Festival of flowers

April showers bring May flowers but you don’t have to wait that long.

Festival of FlowersYou can revel in a lush floral display on Saturday, April 26. The first annual “Festival of Flowers” will be held at the Allegro House, 29 Mazatlan Drive, on Key Allegro in Rockport from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. This exhibit of paintings in any medium includes a competition, all with a unique focus.

“The Coastal Bend area, and Rockport in particular, is famous for its artists and galleries,” said Patricia Luce Chapman. Pat is president of the Key Allegro Garden Club, organizers of the festival. “However most of the paintings are of boats, fish, palms, live oaks and birds—and relatively fewer present the beauty and variety of flowers. We hope with this annual celebration of flowers to bring a new vitality to our paintings.”

The paintings will not only be on exhibit for all to enjoy, they’ll also be judged and prizes will be awarded. Viewers will have a chance to vote for their favorite and The People’s Choice award of $300 will be decided at noon from a majority of votes cast. Shirley Blackman will select the other prizes and Carla Krueger Rinche will award them at 5 p.m. on the day of the festival. Entries are eligible for the Krueger Prize (Best in Show) of $400, the Allegro Rose (second prize) of $200, the Founders Prize (third place) of $100. Three Honorable Mentions of $50 will also be awarded.

The festival is supported by the Rockport Center for the Arts, the Austin Street Gallery, the Estelle Stair Gallery and the St. Charles Gallery, all of Rockport, and in Aransas Pass, the Mathews Gallery and Studios. Narice Hopp, KRM Consulting, Sigwald Services, Luce Properties, Helen Hough, Prosperity Bank, Lippke Cartwright & Roberts, Key Allegro Marina/Chartroom, Sandy Jump and Parkie Luce all sponsored prizes.

Among the artists who have already entered are:

Sylvia Ramsey. Recipient of many art show awards around the Coastal Bend, Sylvia’s work is on exhibit at the Art Center of Corpus Christi; the KSpace Contemporary Gallery; the Antonio E. Garcia Arts and Education Center; the Texas A&M University Islander Art Gallery; the Beeville Art Museum and Coastal Bend College.

Carol Koutnik: Carol has lived in many places in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and travels to Great Britain, Mexico and Guatemala which have inspired her art. Working mostly in watercolor and graphite, Carol is also experimenting with oil paint. Her recent paintings are of edible plants. Educated at the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, Illinois State University and the Art Institute of San Antonio, Texas Carol’s work was in an exhibition at the Wind Way Gallery Group earlier this year.

Shirley Blackman: Shirley won her first art award for drawing at just six years of age. As Miss New Mexico in the Miss America Pageant she was the first contestant to name art as her talent. She graduated from Baylor University, going on to do advanced studio work in Paris with Reynold and Marthe Arnould. A full time artist since 1970 she has exhibited in numerous solo shows nationally and internationally. Her work is in many private and public collections in the United States, Central America and France.

Christi Mathews: Named for Corpus Christi, Texas, Christi makes both Offset Litho prints and Giclée prints. Christi herself supervises every step of the print process to ensure that the print is as true to the original painting as possible. The Fort Lauderdale area where she lived for many years inspired her art but in 2002 she and her husband returned to Aransas Pass and rediscovered a love for the Texas Gulf Coast. Her work is available from her own studio, Mathews Gallery & Studios, and in galleries throughout Texas and the eastern U.S.

Susan Wax: Susan recalls that her mother always wanted to be an artist but “life got in the way.” Susan traveled the world with her husband and when they finally settled in Rockport she decided to see if any of her mother’s talent lay undiscovered within her. With the support of the local art community she took up watercolor.

For more information about entering art for the festival contact Key Allegro Garden Club Vice President and Artists Liaison Lovelyn Hughes by phone at (316) 729-7188. There is an entrance fee of $20 for one painting or $30 for two. Artists may list their paintings for sale and will receive 100 percent of any sales.

To learn more about the Festival of Flowers contact Patricia Luce Chapman at (361)-790-5715 or send an email to I’ll see you there.

Posted in arts&crafts, events | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

“Swamps” accepted for publication

I am so pleased to share this news. The Swamps of Jersey by Michael Stephen Daigle has been accepted for publication by Imzadi Publishing, LLC. Now more people will get to enjoy a fine read by a great writer.

You can read a sample right now, then eagerly await the launch to read the rest.

Congratulations, Mike. This is great news. I hope this is just the first of many Frank Nagler stories.

Posted in arts&crafts, read | Tagged , | Leave a comment

In the spotlight

I’m delighted to be in the Review Board’s Author Spotlight for April.

Thanks, Nikki Vision.

I hope you enjoy the interview. Be sure to check out all the other goodies on the Review Board’s site and blog: author interviews, book reviews and a chance to sign up for the All Authors Magazine.

Posted in arts&crafts, read | Tagged , | Leave a comment


My author friend Fiona Skye has so many Facebook friends that she’s positively giddy, and giving stuff away to celebrate.

Click here to enter for a chance to win any number of prizes. Winners will be announced on April 28th.

Posted in arts&crafts, read | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ephemeral art

SandFestSandFest 2014 brings a festival of ephemeral art to Port Aransas Friday through Sunday, April 11 through 13, 2014. This is the 18th Annual Texas SandFest.

More than a dozen world-class master sculptors and hundreds of amateurs will create stunning works of art using sand and water. One huge wind gust or wave can easily destroy these fragile creations and by the end of the weekend they are gone forever, making them all the more special.

The festival features another ephemeral art form: live music. Think about it: you no sooner hear music than it’s gone, not to be performed live exactly the same way ever again.

Various bands will entertain throughout the three days but I am most looking forward to hearing the Sand Band.

I first heard the band at the now-shuttered Tarpon Ice House during SandFest last year. The Sand Band was awesome and the place was packed. Now that I’ve learned the secret behind that performance I’m even more impressed.

Sand BandThe Sand Band is a five piece musical group whose origins are in Port Aransas. In September, 2012, Alan White was lying in bed in Yukon, Oklahoma one night and began thinking of a way he could play his congas and bongos more frequently. At the time, he was playing with a Dallas based TropRock band called The Bad Monkeys. So the next day Alan called Kelly Brown, the front man for the Bad Monkeys and Mike Eiras, an incredibly talented vocalist and guitarist from Austin. Alan asked them if they would be interested in playing somewhere in Port A if the opportunity arose. Both said they would love to do that.

Alan’s next move was to find a place in Port A for them to play, not an easy thing to do while in Yukon, OK. However one day White called the Tarpon Ice House , explained the situation and, knowing the odds were remote, said he was looking for a place to play on Friday of SandFest. The answer was an immediate yes. Alan was surprised to have booked an unknown, unnamed group on that day. Of course it helped when he said the band would be bringing 60 or 70 Parrotheads (Jimmy Buffett fans) from all over Texas. (Alan’s a member of both the Parrot Heads of Port Aransas and the Cedar Creek Lake Parrot Head club.)

Fast forward to April, 2013. Upon arriving in Port A, Alan contacted Paul Fain, the owner of the Tarpon. Paul said the booking was good to go. During the course of that month, Kelly Brown talked the bass player and the keyboard player for the Bad Monkeys into coming also. Paul Fain needed a name for the band. Alan said, “Well, we’ve never played or practiced together, but since we are playing during SandFest, we will call ourselves The Sand Band.

The group put together a set list of cover TropRock songs and many of Brown’s and Eiras’s original tunes, plugged in at the Tarpon, and commenced to rock the place. The group was so on that night, that in addition to Parrot Heads, many people came in off the street to see who was playing. Alan says “Inasmuch as we had never played together it was the quintessential jam session. Louie Chambers, keyboardist, said it was the most musical fun he had ever had.”

From where I rocked out in the audience, all I heard was great music. I had no idea then that the evening was essentially impromptu.

The Sand Band is made up of:

Kelly Brown – the frontman for The Bad Monkeys. Kelly is the rhythm guitarist and vocalist. Many of the songs played by the group were written by Brown. (For a sample, check out this YouTube video,, which features Kelly Brown and his original “Song of the Ocean.”) He has been a musician in the Dallas area for over 20 years. As the driving force of the Monkeys, he has performed all over the country.

Mike Eiras – Mike’s musical roots go back 20 years. He has played in groups from Alabama to Texas and points in between. Mike is a virtuoso guitarist. Alan said he would put him up against any guitarist he has ever met. In addition, Eiras is a gifted singer/songwriter.

Randy Brooks – Randy is the bassist. However, he also plays the guitar and banjo. Randy is a regular in the Nashville music scene. He has written many, many songs for himself and others. His most famous tune is “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” (yes, that one!). He currently travels all over the United States singing his tunes and delivering his homespun humor.

Louie Chambers –Much of the lead instrumentation not performed by Eiras is done by Louie, the keyboardist. He has played for many Dallas groups; however, the most famous artist he toured with was LeAnn Rimes.

Alan White – Alan plays all kinds of percussion but for The Sand Band it is congas and bongos. There are no other drums in the band. He has the unique ability in any given song to make his hand drums sound like a regular drum kit and back to hand drums and does so without an audience noticing there are not two drummers. He also plays the guitar and piano.

The Sand Band will perform on Friday night, April 11, from 7 to 11 at Stingray’s, 401 Beach Ave., and again Sunday, April 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.  at the SandFest tent. They’ll also play in September, 2014, for the Parrot Heads of Port Aransas WINGS 2014 fundraiser with the Bad Monkeys. This full seven- piece band features vocalist Sharon Oefinger. I’ll see you there. —

Posted in arts&crafts, events, the beach | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

You can make it happen!

IndieAuthorLand is putting together a list of some of the best self-published books from the past year. Because they have received just under 5,000 nominations they are closing nominations early.  The deadline is now April 6, 2014.

Because the pool isn’t all that large, The King’s Ransom (Fantasy genre) by Devorah Fox and Naked Came the Sharks (Thriller genre) by Jed Donellie and Devorah Fox have an EXCELLENT chance of winning so please cast your vote. Follow the link and fill out the simple form. You can nominate both books on the same form.

IndieAuthorLand will then will collate all the nominations they have received by April 6, 2014 and build a shortlist of 15 novels in each of the 10 genres. These 15 books will be the 13 that have received the most nominations in that category, plus 2 “judges’ choice” novels.

These 150 books will then be put to a public vote to find out the 50 Self-Published Books Worth Reading.

You can make this happen for The King’s Ransom and Naked Came the Sharks. Thanks to everyone who has already filed a nomination. If you haven’t yet please nominate either or both by April 6, 2014 and encourage your book-loving friends to nominate also.

Posted in arts&crafts, read | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Book clubs

Like to read? You might enjoy being in a book discussion club. Members agree to read the same book and then share their comments about it. Hearing someone else’s experience with a book that you’ve read can give you a whole different perspective on the work.

Some book clubs enable readers to get discounts on books. Others occasionally put on programs or invite authors to read an excerpt, discuss the writing of the book and answer questions. I’ve been a book chat guest. It was a great honor and lot of fun.

Book clubs usually meet in libraries, bookstores or coffeehouses. If there isn’t one in your area consider joining an online book club. Online book clubs bring to your attention new books to discover, host contests and discussions and post reviews. Here’s an example, the DVW Book Club which just happens to be featuring my Naked Came the Sharks. Check it out.

Posted in arts&crafts, read | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A source for great reads

How cool is this? I’m now on as an author. is a neat way for readers to find great material–fiction and nonfiction, novels and short works, all kinds of written stuff, lots for free. Check it out.

Posted in arts&crafts, read | Tagged , | Leave a comment

It’s a revelation

Echoes of MemoriesIt’s a cover reveal! I am pleased to invite you to preview author Samantha Lafantasie’s newest book, Echoes of Memories, due out this July.

It’s the next installment in her Nepherium novella series which began with Made to Forget and the intrepid heroine, Elsabetha, waking up in a hospital with no memory. Elsa tries to reclaim her memory but doesn’t know whom to trust or whether anything she’s told is true.

Traitor. Liar. That’s what they call me. No one believes me. Not even my team. I know it’s up to me to get the answers. To stop the corruption and unlock my memories. I’ll do anything to get them back. Even if my hands will be covered in blood.

Elsa’s every move is scrutinized. She’s labeled a traitor by those she sought for protection, and kept from her family and team. Regaining memories has been a slow process. Too slow for the Council’s liking, taking matters into their own hands.

The new captain has history with Elsa and operates with a hidden agenda. Even Elsa’s team reacts differently toward her. If only she could unlock her memories. Everything is playing right into Alexander’s hand, even amassing an army with unconventional methods, designed to annihilate the Nepherium—starting with Noah. Elsa will do anything to stop Alexander … even kill.

About the Author

A Kansas native, Samantha LaFantasie spends her free time with her family. Writing has always been a passion of hers, forgoing all other desires to devote to this one obsession, even though she often finds herself arguing with her characters through much of the process. She’s primarily a fantasy writer but often feels pulled to genres such as sci-fi, romance, and others.

Among her writing credentials, a member of the Kansas Writer’s Association and has authored works such as Heart Song (her debut novel) and Made to Forget.

Samantha loves to take time to enjoy other activities such as photography and playing her favorite game of all time, Guild Wars 2.

Want more from Samantha? Keep up with her at any of her digital hangouts.


Facebook Fan Page

Author Central




As a special treat, Samantha’s running a Rafflecopter giveaway. Click on the link for a chance to win swag, gift cards and free books. And sign up to be notified the minute Echoes of Memories is available.

Posted in arts&crafts, read | Tagged , | 1 Comment